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.
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.
With 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.
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.
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.
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”.