19 October 2006

Save the Court Challenges Program

Find out more about the Court Challenges Program. The site includes summaries of some of the many cases on which the lawyers from the program have worked. Many of them involve enforcement of language rights under the Charter. I'm not surprised Stephen Harper doesn't see the benefit in them, because as an anglophone who hasn't really left the country he's probably never known what it's like to be standing in front of some police officer or faceless bureaucrat who doesn't care to take much trouble to try to understand your broken attempts at communication. Of course, Steve has probably traveled in Quebec, but it's one of three provinces where official service in both official languages is legally required - his language rights are being protected!

(PS he also doesn't understand China and Taiwan, but if he can't even get Quebeckers, you wouldn't expect him to understand that situation).


Blogger Olaf said...


Thanks for the link. It is definitely not in line with my challenge, as you said. My point would be is there some reason to believe that these cases could not have been brought to court, like challenges falling under non-language and non-equality rights provisions have?

That's the breaking point for me. When we start privilaging certain rights over others, as if they're inherently more worthy of support, we have a problem.

October 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Conservatives point out that the Court Challenges Program is totally political. They fund challenges from the left, but never from the right. A cynical Conservative would just expand the program to fund a slew of challenges from the right. But the government should never be involved at all, so cancellation is the best course.

October 20, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

Olaf - Agreed. There's finite money, so they have to prioritize, but the mandate indicates some set of rights are funded and the others not, so I suppose it should be expanded.

There is a problem in many cases, because usually the problem is someone trying to enforce a right that's not locally popular. Where there's no french community, a single french family will have toruble getting almost any services. They certainlly will have trouble raising money to demand those services, since it's the unwillingness and inability to provide them that are causing the problem. It is their disstant minority status the is at the root, and which explains why they can't simply ask their MP to back them - he can cut hem loose without fear of electtoral repercussions.

But in terms of actually finding out which oculd not have continued, probably we would have to talk to a lawyer who worked on the files.


October 20, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

John - I'm not sure that the official languages are a "left" issue. But imagining that all rights to be free TO are left, and all rights to be free FROM are on the right, then you are right that most of the challenges would come from the left. The right won pretty much all of its major battles like a hundred years ago, which is why it is now 'conservative' (e.g. living in the world of 100 years ago). People who thought the way conservatives do now back then were considered liberal! Funny how these things change.

In case I'm wrong or to clarify, what sort of right side challenges might one fund? Right to bear arms? Right to a triple E senate?

Also do recall that the Courts became part of the political discourse with the adoption of the charter. You may think that's bad, but it's a fact, and it's naive to think that groups can practice their rights if they don't have basic access to justice.


October 20, 2006  
Blogger DivaRachel said...

Conservatives point out that the Court Challenges Program is totally political. They fund challenges from the left, but never from the right.

The CCP is totally fair. If only the challenges from the left are being funded, its because the challenges from the Right-Wing are unlawful in the first place. If they had a valid case, it would get the green light just like anyone else.

October 24, 2006  

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