Tag Archives: LEAF

Women, the Constitution & the Senate: via LEAF

embattled conservative senator pamela wallin

This is about more than just Pamela Wallin’s taxi expenses!  Canada’s LEAF (Women’s Legal Education  & Action Fund) requested intervention in the upcoming (November 13-15_) Senate Reference (see Maclean’s mag background information here) but they report that the compressed timelines due to the fast tracking of this reference led to LEAF needing to request late filing, a request which was denied by LeBel J. on 2013-06-14.

Here is a link to LEAF’s memorandum of argument in the intervention request, and here is a little snippet:

4. Inclusion and equality, including equality of women and men, are fundamental principles of our democracy. 

5. Given these fundamental organizing principles, Canadian women have an expectation that electoral and appointment processes will include appropriate measures based on current knowledge and analysis to ensure equality of access and result. Such processes must promote the substantive equality of Charter rights-holders, recognizing the importance of reflecting the diversity of Canadian society and achieving overall gender balance in the composition of the Senate. Senate reform must avoid processes that will result in the underrepresentation of women and minority groups. 

6. LEAF seeks to intervene in this reference in order to assert the necessity of taking the rights of women and minority groups into account in all constitutional processes and changes touching upon Canada’s democratic institutions given the important role they fulfill with respect to law and public policy. 

This is from LEAF’s  Open Letter to the First Ministers of Canada which demands that women be consulted on Senate Reform:

The outcome of this Referencewill affect the manner in which Senators are chosen in the future. Any new selection and/or election processes must address the historic underrepresentation of women, minorities and Aboriginal peoples in Parliament. Over almost a century from women’s first right to hold office, and almost half a century from the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, women do not yet even approach gender parity by population, let alone attaining, as a matter of course, the level of participation historically accorded to men. (2)

The undersigned do not take a position with respect to the division of powers aspects of the Reference, nor do we take a position on the preferred route to reform of the Senate.  We rather urge that all governments ensure that whatever process is undertaken, the mistakes of past constitutional amendment processes will not be repeated.  Any such process must take into account the established principles of constitutional law.  Women in Canada and other Charter rights-holders have a right to be included in any Senate reform process and any Senate reform process must promote substantive equality for women and minority groups.

h/t Mary Jane Mossman

Twitter Roundup for those who don't do Twitter: Opportunities, Tips, Cases, Law Schools….

speakupWith thanks to the wonderful people who tweet out these gems for me to collect, and a special note for the always interesting and now much more active site http://www.bloggingforequality.ca “run by a group of Law Professors from the University of Ottawa…to share information about equality-related news and initiatives here at the Faculty of Law and in the broader community, as well as to disseminate our research and views on current issues.”.  On twitter at @blogforequality.   Go and have a look.

Opportunities

Law Schools

Tools, Tricks, Tech

Gender Representation

Fiona de Londras ‏@fdelond2 Oct  See work of my colleague @erikarackley for much more on this // Lady Hale ‘disappointed’ at lack of female judges http://bbc.in/153YLTM 

LEAF National Breakfast in Toronto

Ont. HR Commission ‏@OntHumanRights9 Oct

October is Women’s History Month. Watch OHRC’s YouTube video about the first Black woman in parliament. #WHM http://bit.ly/1gmXN9Z 

Diversions?

David Cameron: ‘I am a feminist’ | Politics | The Guardian http://bit.ly/1e2yMyF  hmmm.

Conferences (past)

Gender&SexualityLaw ‏@GenderSexLaw5 Oct  Missed #queerdreams conference? Video of plenaries and audio of all panels is here: https://echo.law.columbia.edu:8443/ess/portal/section/c5c7d5ae-4bd9-4afc-94a1-42bc07c889a6 …

 

Caselaw & Controversy

ReValuingCareNetwork ‏@ReValuingCare8 Oct Gender abortion not illegal, says top prosecutor: Starmer says nothing in law prevents a woman… http://dailym.ai/15ifhzD  via @MailOnline

Court dismisses lawsuit over Arizona’s “race- and sex-selective” abortion ban http://bit.ly/GDFLDd 

Farrah Khan ‏@farrah_khan8 Oct  Afternoon read: SALCO report Who, If, When to Marry: The Incidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario http://buff.ly/1a8q3qI  #forcedmarriage

Kyle Kirkup ‏@kylekirkup7 Oct   “Transforming Sentencing? Gender Identity, Prisons, & Cdn Criminal Law” (my first contribution to @blogforequality): http://www.bloggingforequality.ca/2013/10/transforming-sentencing-gender-identity.html …

South Africa Constitutional Court Declares Portions of Statutory Rape Laws Unconstitutional http://flip.it/sMVvG 

Steph Guthrie (@amirightfolks) argues that online misogyny isn’t just deserving of a response–but rather demands one http://youtu.be/_KHEkR5yb9A Globe and Mail Series on Sexual Assault

Farrah Khan ‏@farrah_khan7 Oct  Important read re: how Canada’s sex-assault laws violate rape victims – The Globe and Mail http://buff.ly/GHHZRF   [Kirk Makin Article]

brenda cossman ‏@BrendaCossman8 Octmy thoughts on what’s wrong with sexual assault laws http://bit.ly/16PyzzP 

[Also in the series David Butt, Courts are Failing victims of Sex Assault: Here’s how to fix a broken system]

 

Thanksgiving

 ♥ students.Yesterday, listened to engaged talkative 1Ls on judges role in democracy. Today, fab ideas of #osgoode SJDcand @estair Thank You!

Schlifer, METRAC, LEAF Submission to the Parliamentary Committee re Bill C31

 

These changes, considered cumulatively, remove the ability of a significant number of women who come to Canada with their abusers and rely on the abuser’s refugee claim while living under his power and control, to have their risk of persecution assessed at all. The lives of many women will be put at risk and Canada’s reputation as a safe haven of gender equality will be severely undermined.

Read the full submission here:

Submission of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immigration regarding the Committee’s review of Bill C-31
April 24, 2012

 

SCC decision in D.A.I.: Tomorrow

The Supreme Court of Canada will be releasing a decision in D.A.I. tomorrow.

Here is a link to the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in this case.  The Supreme Court summary says:

Criminal law – Evidence – Witnesses – Competence – Testimony of developmentally disabled witness – Does a mentally challenged witness need to demonstrate an understanding of the obligation to testify truthfully before being permitted to testify under s. 16(3) of the Canada Evidence Act? – If s. 16(3) imposes this requirement, what is the standard for determining whether a witness understands the duty to speak the truth and how should it be applied? – Did the Court of Appeal err by failing to identify errors in the trial judge’s hearsay admissibility analysis, which resulted in the exclusion of the complainant’s out of court statement?

The accused was charged with sexually assaulting a 19 year old developmentally disabled woman with the cognitive capabilities of a three to six year old child. He had been cohabiting with the complainant’s mother, the complainant and her sister from 2000 to 2004. The complainant told her teacher about a “hugging” game that she played with the accused which resulted in the police being contacted. During her recorded interview with a police officer in 2005, she demonstrated that the game involved the touching of her breasts, genital area and buttocks underneath her pyjamas and stated that this happened “all the time”. At a preliminary inquiry in 2006, the complainant was found to be a competent witness under s. 16 of the Canada Evidence Act. The issue of her competence arose again at trial.

Here’s the Crown Factum and D.A.I.’s.

Here is the factum from LEAF/Disabled Women’s Network of Canada (DAWN). Other Interveners:

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

 

Criminal Lawyers’ Association (Ontario) and

 

People First of Canada and Canadian Association for Community Living

 

 

 

Winnipeg FP on Crown Appeal/LEAF interest in 'Clumsy Don Juan' case

‘Clumsy Don Juan’ appeal eyed – Winnipeg Free Press.

A national legal group hopes to convince the Manitoba Court of Appeal to uphold the conviction of a rapist infamously dubbed a “clumsy Don Juan” by a Manitoba judge.

On Thursday, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) will ask an appeal judge for intervener status in the case of Kenneth Rhodes, in light of “systemic issues” it says prejudices judges and juries against female survivors of sexual violence.

Do you think we can identify people’s view on this case according to whether they describe it as the Clumsy Don Juan or the Sex in the Air case?  Maybe not. Reminds me that I need to stop calling that other case “the spanking case”.