This post marks the beginning of a series of post that I’m trying out: Video Reflections. One out of two posts (at least for the time being) will be a short post on my relatively immediate personal reflections on a short video that encourages us to think. I highly encourage you to share your thoughts on the video through a comment. This will allow me to post more regularly as these posts require less time to write than my regular posts, and I simply thought that it was a fun idea that would change the pace of my blog. The idea germinated in my head when I started watching the RSAnimate videos on YouTube. They are basically a series of video on short 10 minutes presentation on a topic inciting reflections on what the RSA has called the 21st century enlightenment. My series of posts will thus start with the RSAnimate videos. The first video selected is a video introducing the concept on 21st century enlightenment:
On 30 September 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada released the Insite decision. This case began when the Government of Canada made it clear that it wouldn’t renew Insite’s – a supervised drug injection clinic in the Down Town Eastside of Vancouver – exemption from the application of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (the CDSA). Insite and its many supporters decided to challenge the constitutionality of the CDSA applicability to Insite and of the refusal of the Minister of Health to grant the exemption. A few weeks ago, the judicial battle ended with a victory for society, and for Insite and its patients.
I am happy for the people who are involved with Insite; it is a great victory for them and probably a great relief as they won’t have this Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads anymore. It was, however, a predictable victory. The Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal had already found that the applicability of the CDSA to Insite violated section 7 of the Charter (right to liberty, life and personal security of the person). The facts of this case were overwhelmingly in favour of Insite. The project had the support of the community, the business close to Down Town East Side, the public health authorities, the City ofVancouver and theProvince ofBritish Columbia. The federal government, to no surprise, only had demagogical arguments. It was thus a predictable victory as I couldn’t conceive how the Supreme Court, in anyway shape or form, could agree with the federal government. The CDSA was not found inapplicable but the refusal of the Minister of Health was found to violate section 7 and the Court ordered the government to exempt Insite and to give an exemption to any safe injection site that would meet certain criteria.
I would encourage people to read the About page before diving into this first blog post, especially the Disclaimer section… Now that that is done, enjoy!
Many commentators (often conservatives – and I use that term in its wide sense not solely its political or partisan sense – but also people who [over]value the sovereignty of Parliament) have critiqued our courts, especially the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), of indulging in judicial activism. This was particularly true after the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom in 1982. These criticisms have resulted in an increased deference to the two other branches of government (legislative and executive) in public law. The Khadr 2010 decision is a perfect example. This trend is not healthy for our judicial system and I intend to show why in this post.