The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Justin Ling

Inter-provincial trade

Interprovincial beer case heads to the SCC

By Justin Ling May 5, 2017 5 May 2017

Interprovincial beer case heads to the SCC

A case that will decide the fate of Canadian liquor laws, and perhaps inter-provincial trade itself, is heading to the Supreme Court.

R. v. Comeau, which found that a ticket issued against Gerard Comeau ran afoul of the Constitution Act, 1867, was decided at the Provincial Court Of New Brunswick in 2016.

Since then, the province has tried to appeal to both New Brunswick Court of Appeal and the Court of Queen’s Bench, to little avail. Their hail mary pass, which came with the enthusiastic support of Comeau himself, was to file for leave to the Supreme Court.

The top court granted leave yesterday.

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Trade

Why we can't seem to solve the softwood dispute for good

By Justin Ling April 27, 2017 27 April 2017

Why we can't seem to solve the softwood dispute for good

 

How many softwood lumber disputes is it going to take before Canada gets a long-term deal with the U.S.?

This last week appears to have been the beginning of Lumber V, the fifth incarnation of a long-standing trade dispute that has taken place on the margins of NAFTA, wherein Washington has consistently insisted that Ottawa has dumped subsidized lumber into its market. Trade tribunals — even America’s own internal trade authorities — have sided with Canada.

Indeed, past disputes have wound up before arbitration, and led to agreements that have cooled cross-border sniping on the file. Now the two countries have been without a deal since 2015.

And while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had marathon talks to try and get a deal to pre-empt Lumber V, none came (according to one former U.S. trade representative, Canada was close to sealing one with the Obama administration, but decided to hold out for better terms with his successor). And, as such, President Donald Trump has picked up the mantle.

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Criminal law

Will the new roadside testing rules pass a Charter challenge?

By Justin Ling April 21, 2017 21 April 2017

Will the new roadside testing rules pass a Charter challenge?

 

Much has already been made of the Liberal government’s pledge to legalize marijuana, and parliamentary debate has yet to even begin.

But one element of the massive legislative effort that has received less scrutiny is a pledge to implement mandatory roadside tests for intoxication — the common breathalyzer test for alcohol, and the still-unproven oral swab test for THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Bill C-46, the legislation updating the Criminal Code’s impaired driving sections, reads that a police officer may, in their “lawful exercise of powers under an Act of Parliament or an Act of a provincial legislature or arising at common law … by demand, require the person who is operating a motor vehicle to immediately provide the samples of breath.”

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Criminal law

The system will adapt to Jordan

By Justin Ling April 12, 2017 12 April 2017

The system will adapt to Jordan

 

Ever since the Supreme Court put a hard cap on trial delays, and the subsequent slew of stays of proceedings in a variety of high-profile cases, there’s been a spirited debate over where to point the finger: At the top court for fumbling the file? At Ottawa, for its lackadaisical response? Or at the Crown, for failing to prioritize serious offences?

The finger pointing has correlated with a rise in attention over the impact of R. v. Jordan, the case that led the supreme justices to shoulder the prosecution with an obligation to conclude the trial within 18 months, 30 for serious offences, barring certain circumstances.

A high-profile case in Montreal is the most recent one to shine the light, where the prosecution of a man accused of brutally murdering his wife was stayed because it passed the 30 month ceiling — a delay caused largely by the prosecution’s push to upgrade second-degree charges to first-degree, contended the accused’s counsel, Joseph La Leggia.

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Criminal law

Countdown to 2018: Why the courts might not allow prosecutions for pot?

By Justin Ling April 10, 2017 10 April 2017

Countdown to 2018: Why the courts might not allow prosecutions for pot?

 

Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana is coming down the pipes, as soon as this week.

You could be forgiven for wondering what, exactly, took the prime minister so long — he’s had a set of clear recommendations since December — but, if reports are to be believed, it will be more than a year before the actual legislation comes into force.

That leaves Canada with more than 12 months before the arrests and prosecutions of marijuana users and dealers comes to an end. Stuck, in other words, with a system that “does not work,” according to Trudeau’s own campaign document: A system which “does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”

So the question now is: Will the courts allow it?

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