Bill C-51

Welcome Trudeau!

VoteThis morning Canadians woke up with a new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Canadians wanted change and most voted for a “real change”.  68.49% of eligible voters took initiative and voted in the election. The last time there was this large of a voter turn-out was in 1993 when Jean Chrétien swept the office. Similar to 1993, the Liberals did not win a minority but a majority in the 2015 election.  There is no denying that the Trudeau legacy comes with great hopes and expectations from citizens.

Pierre Trudeau’s son

Justin Trudeau will be the first offspring of a Prime Minister to be elected into office. Justin is also the first Prime Minister to be born in Ottawa and the second child to be born to a serving Prime Minister.  October 18th, would’ve been Pierre Trudeau’s 96th birthday, a day later, his son Justin Trudeau won office.  Justin was born on Christmas Day –based on these facts it seems like Justin has an interesting relationship with numbers.

Also, Trudeau’s maternal grandfather, James Sinclair was a Liberal cabinet minister in the 1950’s. Trudeau was a social science and French teacher, an actor, an advocate for animal rights and now our Prime Minister. His wife Sophie Grégoire is a former television personality and model who had her own show that aired in Quebec. She is also a women’s right activist and holds matters ranging from equal pay to Aboriginal rights close to her heart.

What does “real change” entail? Every_Canadian_Needs_A_Copy

Justin Trudeau has spoken against the two-tier citizenship law and believes that a “Canadian is a Canadian” and should not have their citizenship revoked by elected officials, but only by the justice system.  He aims to honour the Charter of Rights and Freedoms his father put in place and legislation that provides tax cuts to middle class Canadians. He wants to amend Bill C-51, the Anti- terrorist Act.  Trudeau has also argued that the government needs to be pro-active with the Syrian refugee situation; he wants to bring in 25,000 refugees and spend $100 million this fiscal year to speed up the processing, sponsorship, and settlement services in Canada.

Trudeau wants to legalize marijuana and protect sex – workers; two stances the opposition did not support. He also wants to launch a national public inquiry into the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis to obtain justice for victims and their families. As a result of this election, 8 Liberal and 2 NDP MP’s with indigenous backgrounds will have places in the House of Commons. Trudeau also wants to put in place the Transparency Act; he wants the public to know how their tax money is being used.

His goals sound like “real change” but will Trudeau measure up? Canadians have high hopes and a need for improvement.  Living up to the Trudeau name carries its own weight without considering the state that the economy, environment and global issues Canada is facing.  All the best to Trudeau, Canadians are counting on you.

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Discussion Points:

  1. Is it fair to expect Justin Trudeau to live up to his father’s legacy?
  2. Did you vote for Trudeau? Why or why not?
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Game of Thrones Meets Canadian Politicians

GotI recently found an article portraying election party leaders as The Game of Thrones characters. Needless to say, the comparison was brilliant! I decided to expand on the article by supporting some of the statements with corresponding legislation and my own thoughts. If you aren’t up to date with the show, there are some spoilers.

Harper; Joffrey Baratheon

Harpers government has been known to swiftly remove individuals who oppose their regime and ideals. One may argue Bill C-51: The Anti-terrorist Act, Bill C-24: The Citizenship Act and the niqab debate have resulted in an “us vs. them” mentality. The article states that Harper is largely disliked by many. Some women argue that Harper’s government lacks respect for women. For instance, many Aboriginals argue that not enough has been done to protect and find missing Aboriginal women. Finally, opposing politicians have argued that Harper (much like Joffrey) has disgraced the global perception of Canadians due to his choices. Nevertheless, unlike Joffrey, Harper still has a strong following.

Jon_Snow_and_Ghost Trudeau; Jon Snow

Trudeau has a famous father and aims to bring a new approach to politics. Like Snow, Trudeau was underestimated by his seniors but has become a leader to many of his followers. Trudeau portrays himself as a teacher, advocate and leader – all of these qualities are possessed by Snow. Trudeau claims to be concerned about climate change, like Snow, he too acknowledges “winter is coming”. Trudeau argues that supporting the Anti-terrorism Act was a means of survival; he felt forced to support the legislation to protect Canadians against ISIS but claims he will amend the bill once in power. Similarly, Snow had worked with the opposing group (the Wildings) for survival as he took up arms against the white walkers to protect others.

khaleesi

May; Khaleesi

Khaleesi: a powerful woman with great plans for empowering the vulnerable members of society. She advocates for the homeless, displaced and marginalized individuals in society. She wants to provide homes, a safe environment and protection for Canadians by improving the National Housing Strategy and implementing her Guaranteed Liveable Income. She is creating a strong and loyal following based on her social policies. However, much like Khaleesi, she is overlooked by her male counterparts.

TyrionMulcair; Tyrion Lannister

Mulcair has considerably more political experience than his opponents. He has demonstrated opposition to the throne (Harpers government) by opposing bills such as the Anti-Terrorism Act. He has compassion for marginalized individuals within the community and is often close to but never on the throne – however, that can change in this election. He claims to be willing to work with the green party to create the change he believes Canada needs. Similarly, Tyrion is willing to work with Khaleesi to create as well. Finally, if Mulcair doesn’t win the election, much like Tyrion, this probably won’t be the last you hear of him.

Did you enjoy this piece? If so, please press “like” and subscribe! Share this post with other Game of Thrones fans.

Points of Discussion:

  1. Are these characters a good fit?
  2. What else would you add to each of these characters?

The original article link: http://www.joeydevilla.com/2015/10/12/game-of-thrones-canadian-elections-edition/

It’s Election Time!

Now some of you may be wondering why TSP is writing about political matters in a legal forum, but the reality is that the two realms are closely linked; many legal developments take place for political reasons especially during election periods.

TSP is not aiming to sway your vote for one party over another but rather to highlight the legislation that has helped shape the competing political parties. The candidacy for Prime Minister is compelling but the support/lack thereof for certain legislation has impacted how voters view the candidates. The competition currently seems to be strong between three parties: The Conservatives, Liberals and the NDP. Here are some legal decisions which may impact your vote. Since most individuals are familiar with the Conservative party, this post will focus more on the Liberal party.

The Conservatives

The Conservatives have received considerable backlash due to their recent legal proposals including Bill C-24 Citizenship Act and Bill C-51 Anti-Terrorism Act. Each of these legislations is discussed more at length on the TSP as individual pieces. Many Canadians feel betrayed by these decisions and find the acts to be unconstitutional and unnecessary.

The Liberals

Justin Trudeau chose to support Bill C-51 but since then has suggested amendments to the act. Trudeau claims that while preventing terrorism is essential, he believes Canadians’ rights should not be compromised. However, many Canadians are weary of his words due to his choice to support the legislation in the first place.

Trudeau has also put forth the Transparency Act in Parliament which proposes keeping the public informed about how their money is spent. How? By providing the public access to the dealings of the Board of Internal Economy in the House of Commons; this board decides how money is spent. Trudeau also suggests he’d like to amend the Access to Information Act to require government information to be open to the public by default. This legislation would also allow the Information Commissioner to order the release of information to the public. Furthermore it would limit the cost of an access to information request; if the information is not provided within the specified time, then the government should provide a refund. Trudeau wants the Access to Information Act to be reviewed by all parties and consistently reviewed every five years to ensure it is up to date.

Trudeau has also suggested that he would support abortion until point of birth. Many Canadians are discontent with this proposal as they believe it is a violation of the Charter to prevent a fetus from coming into this world.

Canada Post was asked to distribute flyers of a graphic picture of an aborted fetus accompanied with a picture of Trudeau stating a vote for Trudeau was a vote for abortion. Some Canada Post employees have since refused delivering the flyers and are now suspended. You might be surprised to learn that Canada Post does not have a right to determine what materials are distributed.

These developments are merely the tip of the iceberg but provide a little more insight into what the legal implications of voting for a party may look like. Did you like this article? If you want more information about the elections going forward, make sure you like, comment and share! Based on the response, I will write additional pieces on the rest of the parties.

Points of Discussion:

1. Has this post provided some additional insight to the legal implications of voting for a particular candidate?

2. Would you like to read more about the legal implications of voting for each candidate?

100 POSTS!

The Social Paralegal (TSP) has covered numerous legal topics and developments ranging from bylaws to international entities commenting on Canadian laws. This post will provide a brief recap of some of the most interesting pieces with key words for searches (underlined) and links to some of the pieces.

Paralegal Profession

One of my favourite pieces “I’m a Paralegal but I’m Not Rachel Zane” outlines what the paralegal profession entails. Many individuals were shocked to learn the difference between Canadian and American paralegals. Have you read the piece yet? If not here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/pw4wsnu. In addition to this piece there were multiple pieces regarding the paralegal scope of practice and debunking legal myths. TSP also focused on consumer rights, landlord tenant issues and summary conviction matters.

Collaborations

Another much-loved piece was my collaboration with Child, Youth Worker student Ms. Poonia. Ms. Poonia helped me examine the issue of youth delinquency and where the problem lies. This piece provoked significant discussion and enlightenment among readers: http://tinyurl.com/p25ebog. A second collaboration I enjoyed working on was with a police officer who helped identify issues faced by victims of domestic violence and what they should expect when pursuing a legal action.

Legal Developments

Some controversial pieces include the Bill C-24 Citizenship post, Bill C-51 Anti-terrorist Bill and the “Bare With Us” piece regarding women’s rights. There were also pieces addressing: the new Sex-Ed curriculum, Instagram pictures, Facebook legal complexities and the impact of social media in the legal realm. TSP analyzed the legalities of new phone apps and methods to protect yourself from having your personal information misconstrued via social media. These pieces continue to provoke discussion among readers on Facebook and WordPress.

Personal Favourites

A piece that is very close to my heart is my post “Mental Health: It’s Not What You Think”. Many individuals are impacted by mental health issues and unfairly live with stigmatization. Mental health is far more complex than one may think and this post explains just that from a legal perspective. Make sure you give it a read! http://tinyurl.com/o5sevq6 .

Everyone is familiar with the term “FHRITP” but I put a twist on the term and explored the legalities of misbehaviour in the public eye while working for a well- known firm http://tinyurl.com/kvxny6t .

Finally, although American dramas are exhilarating to watch they often do not reflect the Canadian justice system. The objective of this piece was to counter popular misconceptions of what the Canadian judicial system entails http://tinyurl.com/l4cxfce.

I’d love to hear from you! What were some of your favourite TSP posts? What do you like about TSP? What would you like to see more of on TSP? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Help TSP celebrate by sharing some of your favourite posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Thank you readers for your consistent support via comments, likes and shares! Your efforts have helped TSP reach 400+ likes on Facebook, 50+ WordPress subscribers, almost 100 followers on Twitter and 250+ followers on Instagram!!

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United Nations Criticizes Bill C-51

Many Canadians were frustrated by the passing of Bill C-51 also known as the Anti-terrorism Act when it first became public; this concern has now made its way to the United Nations.

After the United Nations (UN) reviewed the Anti-terrorism Act, it too had some concerns regarding human right violations. The UN Human Rights Committee has urged the Canadian government to reform the anti-terrorism act which came into effect last month. The UN Human Rights committee has concerns regarding the violation of Canadian fundamental rights. Below are just a few of the concerns the UN voiced to the Canadian government.

The UN Human Rights committee spoke against how security certificates that allow government officials to detain and remove individuals may lead to unlawful deportations. Although the government would use legal means to deport an individual, the UN Human Rights Committee is concerned that the government may exploit this power in an unlawful manner.

Secondly, the committee suggested that legal safeguards should be put in place to avoid right abuses. The committee also encouraged the government to employ judicial involvement in matters pertaining to the authorization of surveillance measures. The UN Human Rights committee also encouraged effective and adequate oversight mechanisms for security and intelligence agencies. Finally the UN encouraged the government to also consider using judicial involvement when determining if someone should be placed on a no-fly list. Furthermore, the committee suggested that the government should inform individuals placed on the no-fly list to allow them a chance to challenge the decision.

Although the UN Human Rights Committee has made these suggestions and voiced their concerns, their decisions are not binding. The Canadian government can consider the suggestions and take action as they wish. The Canadian government has suggested that they are protecting the rights of individuals and will continue to do so when applying the Anti-terrorism Act.

Currently, in the domestic sphere, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression have launched an action against Bill C-51. This domestic case is supported by numerous Bill C-51 critics who believe the legislation is ineffective and unnecessary

Supporters of Bill C-51 argue that the government should do whatever is required to ensure Canadians are safe and protected from terrorist attacks. Furthermore, supporters argue that they have nothing to hide and believe they will not be impacted by the government’s stricter laws and new mechanisms to combat terrorism.

Points of discussion:

1. What are your thoughts on the UN intervention in domestic matters?

2. Do you have any concerns regarding Bill C-51?

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Bill C-51: National Security versus Personal Rights

The Senate voted 44 in favour and 28 against Bill C-51. The bill has passed and is now awaiting the Governor Generals assent. The bill is over 60 pages long and impacts eight existing legislations and will create new legislation as well.  The bill is meant to protect Canadians from terrorism but the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) along with many citizens have an issue with the new bill.

CCLA’s Stance

Bill C-51 generally expands on the existing legislation that counters terrorism. The CCLA argues that the existing legislation is sufficient and there is no need to extend its scope.  According to CCLA, Bill C-51 will result in further surveillance of Canadians, including their online actions.  The CCLA also argues that the existing laws against terrorism successfully prevented the Via Rail and Toronto 18 attacks; thus the present laws are effective. Nonetheless, the CCLA argues that if the laws were not successful in preventing the attack on Parliament and the murder of the Quebec solider then citizens should be informed as to why the laws were not effective rather than having the laws changed without an explanation.

What does Bill C-51 entail?

Bill C-51 will make changes to the jurisdiction of the CSIS, freedom of speech, fly list, the criminal code and penalties for suspected terrorist activity.  Below are some of the CCLA’s concerns explained.

CSIS

The bill will allow The Canadian Security Intelligence System (CSIS) to act on security intelligence information.  Prior to Bill C-51 the CSIS only collected information.  Many individuals and legal experts are concerned that their privacy rights will be compromised as citizens will be subjected to surveillance without knowledge.

The Canadian Security Intelligence System (CSIS) will now have the ability to impede travel plans, cancel bank transactions and secretly interfere with radical websites. However the CSIS needs “reasonable grounds to believe that there is reason to interfere” before doing so.  If the CSIS’s actions will disrupt someones personal rights, then the CSIS will require a court order before proceeding.  The CSIS also has more power to intervene with suspected terrorist attacks.  Essentially, this bill will allow the CSIS to act almost like a policing entity.

Speech

When Bill C-51 receives royal assent, promoting/advocating terrorism will be added to the criminal code. Generally advocating for terrorist attacks will be criminalized.  The intent to follow through with a terrorist act is not a prerequisite for an arrest. You can be arrested for advocating terrorism without committing a terrorist act.  Language which is considered to be a threat to national security will be treated similarly.

Protestors worry about what language constitutes a threat to national security. Some individuals argue that they would be afraid to express themselves politically in fear of persecution. Since the legal language of the bill is vague and confusing even to legal experts, one must tread lightly when discussing matters of national security to avoid being misunderstood.

Fly list

The no fly list would become even more secretive and the evidence explaining why someone is on the list will also remain secret. If someone thought they were on the list and wanted to find out, they wouldn’t have access to the list. Canadians may be placed on the list and won’t know why. They also won’t have the right to see the evidence against them but they can appeal the decision in court.

Detention

The bill will lower the threshold for detention of suspected terrorists. If the police believe that a terrorist activity might be carried out they can detain an individual for double the time they could before without a charge. Thus individuals could be arrested and detained on suspicion of terrorist acts.

Personal information

Your personal information can be shared with the RCMP via Health Canada and the CRA if you are suspected of terrorism. These government institutions will also be encouraged to look for suspicious activity.

Supporters

Bill C-51 supporters suggest that these changes are a form of progression.  Supporters argue that these are necessary measures to protect Canadians from terrorism and not extreme actions.  Furthermore, some argue that these laws do not impact most people and only individuals that are partaking in illegal activities have reason for concern.

Where do you stand?

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