Thursday, September 07, 2006

Court Challenges Program Challenged?

Newspapers of the CanWest Global chain distributed a Janice Tibbetts article today that claims that the federal government may be considering the elimination of the Court Challenges Program as part of an overall review of government programs.

The Program provides funding to help minority, women's and other disadvantaged groups so they can launch "test court cases" challenging laws that may violate equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The CanWest News Service article entitled Funding for minority groups to challenge federal laws under review reports that the program, first set up under former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, "has been the target of harsh criticism from social conservatives and critics of so-called judicial activism, who assert the initiative is a slush-fund for left-leaning groups to circumvent the will of elected legislators by challenging them in court".

The article continues:

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, was among the most vocal critics of the Charter Challenges Program in his 2002 book Friends of the Court: The Privileging of Interest Group Litigants in Canada. It was written when he was a political science professor at University of Western Ontario (...) Justice Minister Vic Toews recently denounced the program for its lack of accountability because it is not publicly disclosed which groups receive money or how much they get".

At its annual general meeting last month in St.John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canadian Bar Association - a long-time supporter of the Program - "urge[d] the federal government to support the continuation of the Court Challenges Program and to increase its funding in order to ensure its long-term financial stability".

The Program's 2004-2005 Annual Report is available online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:12 pm

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mike Gifford said...

I've posted an eAction to prax.ca here:
http://prax.ca/court_challenge

You can post your concerns about cuts to this program here.

12:32 am  
Blogger RightGirl said...

Michel,

I am a taxpaying Canadian woman, and I have to say I resent your inferrence that I am part of a "disadvantaged" group. I have the same advantages as every other Canadian - and such advantages were granted to me long before the CCP ever existed. The only sexist issue I have ever come across is from people like you, who think I need help. I can help myself just fine, thankyouverymuch.

RG

3:34 pm  

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