ADAM DODEK Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jul. 08 2014, 12:34 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 08 2014, 12:42 PM EDT
Minister of Justice Peter MacKay has confidently asserted two things about Bill C-36, the Government’s new proposed prostitution law: that it will certainly be challenged in the courts and that it is constitutional. Mr. MacKay is undoubtedly correct that there will another round in the legal battle over the country’s prostitution laws that will make its way back to the Supreme Court. Until then, we will not know if he is correct about the bill’s constitutionality.
Mr. MacKay can, however, back up his second claim by showing Members of Parliament and Canadians the legal advice that supports his confident assertion. And he should.
Canadian governments have remained steadfast in their refusal to publicly reveal the legal advice that forms the basis for many of their decisions. Governments love to rely on solicitor-client privilege – the protection afforded by the law to confidential communications between a client and lawyer. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized solicitor-client privilege as a fundamental legal and civil right that enjoys constitutional protection in certain circumstances. For reasons that I have argued elsewhere, it does not make a lot of sense to talk about the government enjoying such constitutional protection.
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National Post article
Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014
MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge facing possible removal from the bench over allegations he bought cocaine during his days as a lawyer has gone to court in an attempt to halt a disciplinary procedure before hearings are even held.
In an application for judicial review filed with Federal Court, Justice Michel Girouard is challenging the Canadian Judicial Council’s powers to investigate complaints against judges.
Among other arguments, Judge Girouard is saying the council has no business examining his behaviour when he was practising law before his 2010 appointment to the bench. “Only the provincial authority has the jurisdiction to investigate and draw conclusions on the conduct of a lawyer,” his lawyers write in the application.
The Council, whose members include Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and all superior court chief and associate chief justices, announced in February that it would hold a public inquiry into Judge Girouard’s conduct.
“After a careful review of the matter, the members of the [review] panel decided that the issues in question are serious enough that they could warrant the judge’s removal from office,” the council said at the time. A three-person inquiry committee was named last month, but proceedings are on hold until the Federal Court case is resolved.
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