A CBC Interview with Peter Russell: Why the government is coming up short in legislative court challenges
Article By Andrew Pinsent, CBC News
Posted: May 3, 2012
Stephen Harper’s federal majority win a year ago was seen by many as the green light for the Conservatives to push ahead with legislative changes that weren’t possible under their previous minority, but the government has run into a string of stiff court challenges.
Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard’s decision to uphold Quebec’s challenge to a federal bid to phase out the gun registry is the most recent example.
Bill C-19 received royal assent on April 5, effectively killing the registry, and it also calls for all the information obtained by the registry to be destroyed. Quebec has been fighting the bill on the grounds that it wants a provincial registry and would like to use the federal information that taxpayers have already paid to gather. The federal court justice decided April 20 to extend an injunction barring the destruction of information from the provincial gun registry until June 13.
As a result of the injunction, the registry is still in effect in Quebec despite the federal efforts to dismantle it, and all firearm owners in the province must continue to register their guns. Justice Blanchard says he expects the case to eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court.
Besides the battle over the gun law, recent judgements against federal government legislative changes include:
CBC News spoke Peter Russell, Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto and one of the leading experts on Canadian constitutional politics, to get his insight into how the government formulates its policies and legislation, and what influences court rulings.
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