Media @ McGill

Open letter to Mr. Vic Toews, Minister of Justice, Canada

Submitted by Susana on
English

Darin Barney,
Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship
Associate Professor and Chair
Dept. of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Montréal, QC, Canada, H3A 2T6

Hon. Vic Toews
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8

An open letter to Mr. Vic Toews, Minister of Justice, Canada

28 September 2006.

Dear Mr. Minister,

As part of a package of program and spending cuts announced on September 25, the Government of Canada has decided to close the Law Commission of Canada. As former and present members of the Commission’s citizens’ Advisory Council, researchers who have contributed to the Commission’s work, and citizens who recognize the importance of its contributions to justice in Canada, we ask that you reconsider this action and restore funding to this vital and important agency.

In 1992, a previous government abolished Canada’s path-breaking Law Reform Commission. It took five years before the federal government realized the value of what had been lost, and established the new Commission in 1997. We urge you to avoid making this mistake again.

The mission of the Law Commission is to engage Canadians in the renewal of the law to ensure that it is relevant, responsive, effective, equally accessible to all, and just. Its mandate is to provide independent, non-partisan advice to the government to ensure that our laws and legal system meets the changing needs of Canadian society and its citizens. It also stands ready to advise the government on specific questions referred to it by your office.

The social issues Canadians face in their communities are complex and dynamic. The Law Commission facilitates an approach to law reform that recognizes this complexity and is equal both to Canada’s diversity and to its common commitments to justice, equality, fairness and accountability.

Since its inception, the Commission has addressed a range of difficult questions. How can the law be used to restore the dignity of those who have suffered institutional child abuse? How can law better support close adult personal relationships? What should the relationship be between public and private law enforcement? How can law support participatory and restorative justice? How should age be used as a category in law? Does contemporary labour law adequately address the realities of working in the new economy? What can we learn from our country’s indigenous legal traditions? Does Canada’s electoral system produce just outcomes? What is the status of Canada’s laws beyond its borders? When is criminal law the best means to control unwanted social behaviors? When are other alternatives preferable?

These are complicated questions that go to the heart of justice in this country. The Law Commission of Canada has been uniquely positioned to address them. Parliament and the Ministry of Justice develop policy and make laws. The Law Commission does neither. Instead, it gathers the best expertise and sponsors comprehensive research on the toughest questions. Most importantly, it engages everyday Canadians directly in deliberating upon how law and the legal system can best serve their communities.

Through its citizens’ advisory council, and through innumerable forums, roundtables and consultations held across the country on a regular basis, the Commission engages diverse Canadians from all walks of life in debate and discussion about their laws and legal system. In this way, it fulfils its mission to ensure that law is relevant to Canadians, by actively ensuring that Canadians always remain relevant to the law, and to those who make and enforce it.

The quality of debate and proposals that emerges from this process is nothing short of outstanding. In the nine years of its existence, the Law Commission of Canada has become a model of best practices to law reform bodies operating in over sixty countries throughout the world. Should you close it down, Canada will go from being a country that boasts one of the world’s finest such bodies to one that does not have a law reform commission at all. Sadly, Canada’s international reputation is only the least of that which will suffer should the closure of the Law Commission proceed. Once again, we urge you to reconsider.

Signed,

Darin Barney, Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship, McGill University

For:

1. June Callwood, Companion of the Order of Canada
2. Doris Anderson, Companion of the Order of Canada, past- president Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women
3. Alan Buchanan, Former Commissioner of the Law Commission of Canada, 1997-2002
4. Dr. Marie-Andrée Bertrand, Professor emeritus, University of Montréal, Officier de l'Ordre national du Québec
5. Peter Russell, University Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
6. Lorraine Berzins, Community Chair of Justice, Church Council on Justice and Corrections
7. Benoît Dupont, Canada Research Chair in Security, Identity and Technology, Université de Montréal
8. Pat O'Malley, Canada Research Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
9. Kim Pate, Executive Director - Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
10. Bruce Ryder, Assoc. Professor and Director, Centre for Public Law and Public Policy, Osgoode Hall Law School
11. Janet Dench, Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees
12. Ervan Cronk, Administrative Vice-president, Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada
13. Dave Farthing, Executive Director, YOUCAN, Youth Canada Association
14. Gordon Christie, Associate Professor and Director, First Nations Legal Studies Program, Faculty of Law, UBC
15. Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
16. Professor Rosemary Cairns Way, Vice-Dean of Common Law, University of Ottawa
17. Robert Simpson, CEO, Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre
18. Philippa Lawson, Executive Director and General Counsel, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic,University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
19. Roger A. Shiner, H.L.A. Hart Visiting Fellow, Centre for Ethics & Philosophy of Law, University College, Oxford
20. Richard Ericson, Professor and Director, Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto
21. Robert Menzies, Professor and J.S. Woodsworth Resident Scholar, Simon Fraser University
22. Richard F. Devlin, Professor of Law, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Dalhousie Law School; University Research Professor Dalhousie University.
23. Susan B. Boyd, Professor of Law and Director, Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, UBC
24. Donna Franey, Executive Director, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service
25. Dr. W. Wesley Pue, Nathan T. Nemetz Chair in Legal History, University of British Columbia
26. Jeffrey Miller, President and Publisher, Irwin Law Inc.
27. Dr. David Diamond, Artistic and Managing Director, Headlines Theatre
28. Professor Elaine Gibson, Associate Director, Health Law Institute, Dalhousie University
29. Chantal Morton. Academic Director, Intensive Programme in Poverty Law, Osgoode Hall Law School
30. Clifford Shearing, Director of the Institute of Criminology, University of Cape Town
31. Lloydetta Quaicoe, Project Coordinator, Sharing Our Cultures
32. Bradley Crawford, Q.C.
33. George S. Rigakos, Associate Professor, Dept. of Law, Carleton University
34. Dr. Philip Stenning, Professor of Criminology, Keele University, U.K.
35. Stephen Clarkson, Professor of Political Economy, University of Toronto
36. Stepan Wood, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
37. Alisa Posesorski, Vice President, Irwin Law Inc.
38. Dr. Elizabeth Comack, Professor of Sociology, University of Manitoba.
39. Mary Jane Mossman, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School
40. Professor Janet Mosher, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
41. Jennifer Nedelsky, Professor of Law and Political Science, University of Toronto
42. Janet Moss, Acting Head Law Librarian, Gerard V. La Forest Law Library, University of New Brunswick
43. Joan Brockman, Professor, Simon Fraser University
44. Leena Evic, Iqaluit Nunavut
45. Nicole LaViolette, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
46. Freya Kodar, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Victoria
47. Dr. Natasha Affolder, Assistant Professor, UBC Faculty of Law
48. Martha Shaffer, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto
49. Roxanne Mykitiuk, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School
50. Kim Brooks, UBC Faculty of Law
51. Lynda M Collins, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
52. Margaret E. Beare, Associate Professor of Law and Sociology, York University
53. Jennifer Chandler, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Ottawa
54. Professor Garry Watson, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
55. Stephanie Ben-Ishai, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
56. F. Tim Knight, Head of Technical Services, York University Law Library
57. Craig Forcese, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
58. Carrie Rentschler, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, McGill University.
59. Fiona Kelly, Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
60. Professor Brian Slattery, Osgoode Hall Law School
61. Angela Cameron, Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
62. Patricia Cochran, Ph.D. Student, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
63. Jennifer Llewellyn, Associate Professor, Dalhousie Law School
64. Dayna Nadine Scott, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
65. Rakhi Ruparelia, Law Professor, University of Ottawa
66. Augusto Lima, Ph.D. Student, UBC Faculty of Law
67. Kirsten Manley-Casimir, B.A., LL.B., LL.M
68. Professor Martha Bailey, Queen’s University Law School
69. Judy Fudge, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
70. Paul-André Comeau. Professeur invite. École nationale d’administration publique.
71. Dr. Barbara Perry, Faculty of Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
72. Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, Law Professor, University of Ottawa
73. Dr. Jennifer L. Schulz, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba
74. Lise Gotell, PhD, Associate Professor, Women's Studies Program, University of Alberta
75. Shauna Labman, LL.M. Candidate, UBC Law School and member of the Law Society of Upper Canada
76. Jacques Dufresne, Éditeur de L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora
77. Devon Peavoy, Dalhousie Law School
78. Mavis Henry, former member of the Advisory Council, Law Commission of Canada
79. Craig Scott, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
80. Constance MacIntosh, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University
81. Ms. Aaju Peter , Advisory Council , Law Commission of Canada, Iqaluit, Nunavut
82. Mark Lewis, Reference/IT Librarian, Dalhousie Law School
83. Heather MacFadgen, member of Law Commission Advisory Council, Yukon
84. Dr. Andrew Woolford, Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba
85. Lisa Jung, barrister and solicitor.
86. Geneviève Cartier, professeure, Faculté de droit, Université de Sherbrooke
87. Professor Robin Elliot, Q.C., Faculty of Law, UBC.
88. Professor Margaret Denike, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University
89. Debra Parkes, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba
90. Maneesha Deckha, Assistant Professor, University of Victoria Faculty of Law
91. Dianne Pothier, Professor, Dalhousie Law School
92. Professor Ken Hatt, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, University of Victoria
93. Denise Reaume, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
94. Margot Young, Associate Professor of Law, University of British Columbia
95. Joe Hermer, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology University of Toronto
96. Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications, McGill University
97. Gerry Ferguson, University of Victoria Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Law
98. Robert J. Currie, Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University
99. Professor Martha Jackman, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
100. M. Cheryl Crane, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
101. Dr. Dorothy Chunn, Professor of Sociology, Simon Fraser University
102. Andy Kaplan-Myrth, Manager, Law & Technology, University of Ottawa
103. Claude B. Gingras, Président, Ginsberg Gingras & Associés
104. Kim Nayyer, Research Lawyer and Librarian
105. Joan L. Rush, Barrister & Solicitor
106. Professor Bruce P. Archibald, Q.C., Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University
107. Peter Eglin, Professor in Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University
108. Karin Mickelson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
109. J. Anthony VanDuzer, Associate Professor, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
110. Gail Kellough, Associate Professor & Coordinator, Criminology Program, York University
111. Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, Law Professor, University of Ottawa
112. Steve Coughlan, Professor, Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University
113. Professor Leslie Green, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
114. Jane Bailey, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
115. Hugh Kindred, Professor of Law, Dalhousie University
116. Natasha Bakht, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
117. Ted Tjaden, Law Librarian/Lawyer, Toronto, Ontario
118. Kent McNeil, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
119. François J Larocque, Assistant Professor & Director, National Program, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
120. Jacqueline Huston, Professor & Co-manager of Student Services, Faculty of Law University of Ottawa
121. Dr. Aaron Doyle, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University
122. Colin S. Campbell, Chair, Dept. of Criminology, Douglas College
123. Michelle Giroux, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
124. Kim Shayo Buchanan, Assistant Professor, York University
125. Stewart Elgie, Professor, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
126. Dr. Dawn Moore, Assistant Professor, Department of Law, Carleton University
127. Joseph Eliot Magnet, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
128. Desmond Ellis, Professor, York University
129. Mohamed Khimji, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University
130. Aline Grenon, Full Professor, French Common Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
131. Professor Obiora Okafor, Osgoode Hall Law Scool
132. Joanne St. Lewis, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
133. Joanne C. Minaker, Department of Sociology, Grant MacEwan College
134. John H. Currie, Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa
135. Susan Drummond, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
136. Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Assistant Professor of Civil Law, University of Ottawa
137. Dr. Douglas Harris, Assistant Professor, UBC Faculty of Law
138. Sonya Nigam, Research Facilitator, University of Ottawa
139. Tara Lyons, Carleton University
140. Anne Van Iderstine, Judges' Librarian, Halifax
141. Susanna Duke, Law Librarian
142. Emily Snyder, MA, Carleton University
143. Dr. Neil Craik, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick
144. Steven Hutchinson, Doctoral Candidate, Carleton University, Ottawa
145. Sheila Wildeman, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie Law School
146. David Bell, Professor of Law, UNB-Fredericton
147. Annie Rochette, Département des Sciences Juridiques, UQAM
148. Nathalie Gagnon, Library Services, Ogilvy Renault S.E.N.C.R.L., LLP
149. Aldo Chircop, Professor, Dalhousie Law School
150. Dominique Robert, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
151. Carla Cesaroni PhD, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
152. Annette Demers, Reference Librarian, Paul Martin Law Library, University of Windsor
153. Trish Desjardins, MA Candidate, Sociology, Carleton University
154. Dr. Margaret McCallum, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick
155. Karen Eltis, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
156. Professor Kevin Walby, Department of Sociology and Anthropology Carleton University
157. Muriel St. John, Reference Librarian, E.K. Williams Law Library, University of Manitoba
158. Dr. Julia Hughes, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick
159. Kristen Gilchrist, MA Candidate, Criminology and Women's Studies, University of Ottawa
160. Michael Gulayets, Department of Sociology, Grant MacEwan College
161. Katrina Jurva, MA student in Communication, University of Ottawa
162. Ruth Mann, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
163. Susan Daly, Librarian, Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP
164. Lee Gomes, MA Candidate, Carleton University
165. Vincent Kazmierski, Department of Law, Carleton University
166. Anna Holeton, Reference Librarian, UBC Law Library
167. Gail Mackisey, E.K. Williams Law Library, University of Manitoba
168. Balfour Halevy, Prfessor Emeritus , Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
169. Linda Ramsay, Directrice, Services de la bibliothèque , Gowling Lafleur Henderson s.r.l.
170. Michèle Lesage, Coordonnatrice, Service Documentation juridique, Société québécoise d'information juridique
171. Gail A. Hogan, Law Librarian, Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
172. Kirsten Kramar, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Winnipeg
173. Anika Clark, Advisory Council Member, LLB Candidate, University of Ottawa
174. Randy Lippert, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
175. Justin Piché, PhD Candidate (Sociology), Carleton University
176. Marie-A. Miquelon, avocate Conseillère juridique,SOQUIJ
177. Michael Petrunik, Criminology Department, University of Ottawa
178. Wade Deisman, Director, National Security Working Group, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
179. R.Cheran, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
180. Trevor Farrow, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
181. Dr. Gerald Cradock, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Windsor
182. Louise Langevin, Titulaire Chaire d'études Claire-Bonenfant sur la condition des femmes, Faculté de droit, Université Laval
183. Jim Mulvale, Head, Dept. of Justice Studies, University of Regina
184. Kathleen Fisher, Poet, Research Lawyer
185. Fiona Bergin, Acting Director , Health Law Institute, Dalhousie University
186. Barry Adam, University Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
187. Valerie Steeves, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
188. David MacAlister, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
189. Brian Tanguay, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University
190. Liz Elliott, Assistant Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
191. Hamar Foster, Professor of Law, University of Victoria.
192. Alan Reynolds, Sculptor, Edmonton, Alberta
193. Lawrence Buhagiar, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, Carleton University
194. Kathleen G. Simmons, Law student, University of Ottawa
195. Me Lucie Lamarche, professeure, Département des sciences juridiques, Université du Québec à Montréal
196. Cindy Baldassi, Ph.D. student, UBC Faculty of Law
197. Jacques Auger, professeur, Faculté de droit, Université de Sherbrooke
198. Jennifer Bankier. Dalhousie Law School
199. Aaron A. Dhir, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
200. Rose Voyvodic, Associate Professor, Academic Director, Clinical Law Program, University of Windsor
201. Colleen M. Hanycz, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
202. Tim Morris, PhD Student, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
203. Andrew Kadler, Partner, Koffman Kalef Business Lawyers
204. James Sheptycki, Associate Professor, Criminology, York University, Toronto
205. Don Sanders, Head, Law Library, University of Calgary
206. Maeve McMahon, Associate Professor, Department of Law, Carleton University
207. Michael Lines, Law Librarian and Information Coordinator, Canadian Forum on Civil Justice University of Alberta
208. Sanjeev Anand, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta
209. Bradford Morse, Professor and Co-Director, Graduate Studies in Law, University of Ottawa
210. Bernard Schissel, Professor,Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan
211. Brenda Cossman, Professor of Law, University of Toronto
212. Robert Gaucher, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

(212 signatures)

cc. Réal Ménard, Bloc Quebecois, Joe Comartin, NDP, Sue Barnes, Liberal Party