MMIW resignations…

July 1, 2017

Toronto Star – Tanya Talaga
Executive director of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls inquiry resigns

As further proof of the tensions and problems confronting the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women inquiry, the fourth significant staff person this year, in this case the Executive Director, has resigned.  “Previously, Michael Hutchinson, the communications director left in February, then his replacement Sue Montgomery left in May and Tanya Kappo, a lawyer and one of the organizers of the Idle No More movement, left on June 15.”  The inquiry is expecting to deliver an interim report in November 2017 and a final report in December.   Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the inquiry and a British Columbia judge, insists the dates will be met.  Related article: CBC News    Missing and murdered inquiry’s executive director resigns – Michele Moreau’s resignation is effective July 21, ‘for personal reasons’

 Policy Options – Guy Laforest  and Janique Dubois
The Prime Minister has struck a noble tone on reconciliation with Indigenous people, but the rhetoric has not been followed up with coherent action.

The authors are suggesting that Trudeau is revising the vision of the Canadian federation by his reconciling approach to Canada’s First Nations.  Shortly after the last election, Trudeau said:  “We will further strengthen our great country with a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”  Laforest and Dubois draw out some of the implications for “reconciling federation.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Suzanne L. Stewart and Charles Pascal    Facing the truth makes for a worthy celebration

 New York Times – Jonathan Tepperman
Canada’s Ruthlessly Smart Immigration Policy

Here’s a welcome breathe of fresh air from the US: an assessment and comparison of the success of immigration and refugee practices by the government of the US and Canada.  Says Tepperman:  “they’re ruthlessly rational, which is why Canada now claims the world’s most prosperous and successful immigrant population.”  Canada welcomes 320,000 per year and 82% of Canadians think immigration has a positive effect on the economy.   Related article: Toronto Star – Heather Mallick   Canadians see U.S. through a glass, darkly  Related article:  National Newswatch – Glen Pearson   It’s Called “Civil” Society For a Reason

Policy Options – Craig Forcese and Kent Roach
Two of Canada’s foremost experts in national security law give their assessment of Bill C-59: there’s much to like, but also room for improvement.

The two authors, who say they are offering a mid-term assessment, have some pluses and some criticism of Bill C-59, the revision of the Harper government’s C-51.  They offer “high honours” for the creation of a parliamentary oversight committee.  But they offer only a pass (with potential for improvement) on the communications security establishment.  CSIS gets high honours with caveats; a pass on police powers, and an incomplete on administrative power.

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Supreme Court of Canada toughens hearsay rules for criminal trials

The Supreme Court has ruled 5-2 in a double murder case in which a video re-enactment was introduced.  “The truth-seeking process of a trial is predicated on the presentation of evidence in court,” Justice Andromache Karakatsanis wrote in the majority opinion.  The video evidence presented in court did not allow for any cross-examination of the re-enactor.

CBC News – Eric Rankin
Convicted B.C. child killer wins right to appeal after 34 years in prison – Lawyers for Phillip Tallio claim he was wrongfully convicted and DNA could prove relative was the real killer

Aged 17 when convicted, Tallio is now 51, and if DNA does prove him innocent, he has served more wrongful conviction time than any other in Canada – 34 years.  Permission to appeal is in itself very unusual coming some 30 years after the expiry of the time limit for appeal.  But the discovery follows the unsealing of evidence previously under publication ban.  The evidence implicates a now deceased relative in the killing of Tallio’s 22 month old cousin in Bella Coola, BC.

 CBC News – Trevor Dunn
As Trump travel ban takes effect, lawyers mobilize at Canadian airports – Federal government is trying to determine legality of enforcing travel ban on Canadian soil

Following the US Supreme Court ruling that allows the imposition of certain parts of the Trump Muslim travel ban, many are left confused about how the ban will in fact be applied.  Anticipating the confusion, Canadian lawyers are making themselves available to airport travelers who may fall under the ban.  The confusion also stems from the implications for the pre-clearance practices and exactly what a Canadian resident may face from the US personnel.