Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An example of why the Court Challenges Program matters

A couple of days ago, responding to the Progressive Bloggers feminism meme, I noted that insufficient attention was being paid to the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program.

I hadn't realized, writing that post, how soon the Conservatives would launch legislation that would certainly face such a challenge. Apparently, should their vote to re-open the same-sex marriage debate fail, they're going to create a Defence of Religions Act to allow justices of the peace, for example, to continue to discriminate against same-sex couples on the basis of their religious freedoms.

I just find it curious that this proposed legislation would come so soon after the Court Challenges Program was axed, and I doubt that it's completely coincidental.

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At 7:20 am, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Hmm. Do you really think such a law can pass? I'm really not sure they have the numbers for it.

At 7:24 am, Blogger Matt said...

I think it will depend on how it's worded, and whether the other parties decide to crack the party whip on it. I suspect that at least all of the Liberals who voted against SSM would support such a law, given their druthers, as well as a number of rural or small-town Bloc and Liberal members.

Even if it doesn't pass during this Parliament, a Conservative majority government would try again with this one. It's precisely the sort of law that I think we need to have the Court Challeges Program in place for - so that less-well-off would-be challengers can test its constitutionality.

At 7:27 am, Blogger Matt said...

Oh... and on a completely unrelated note - What the heck are you doing in front of your computer at 5:20 in the morning, IP? Don't they let you sleep in Alberta?

At 8:27 am, Blogger bitch said...

This is infuriating! And while I don't know if this specific piece of legislation will pass, there is already president for not fulfilling job related obligations based on individual religious (or moral) opposition.

Currently, doctors in Canada can actually choose not to prescribe the pill to their patients, or to refer them to the appropriate places to obtain funded abortion services. There have also been instances where pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill.

I do not think the majority of the Canadian population is actually this conservative. It angers me that this ridiculousness continues.

At 8:31 am, Blogger bitch said...

precedent, not president, sorry *sheepish smile*

At 12:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Court Challenges Program (CCP) was a biased program that did not support legal equality at all; it routinely only funded one side of a rights issue being challenged in the courts. It was made a crown corporation so as to be beyond the scrutiny of Parliament and the Auditor General.

At 6:41 am, Blogger Matt said...


Thank you for the official party line. Did it ever occur to you that the other side of the issue was being represented by the government? Effectively, this program meant that when these laws were challenged, both sides had access to government funding.

At 11:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous replies:

Well, during the Chretien years the 'opposing' side (the Government - specifically the Executive - more specifically the Prime Minister and Justice Minister) actually supported the challenges brought by the CCP-funded litigants. That is why the mechanism is to get a court to decide in favour of the CCP litigant and then have the Justice Minister not appeal the decision. This allows and end-run around Parliament.


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