April 30, 2007

Date for remedy has changed - stay tuned

UPDATE April 30

June 14 will NOT be the date for the remedy. Waiting for new date from lawyer.

Click here for original post

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April 23, 2007

Date for remedy re Ontario constitutional challenge

UPDATE April 30
June 14 will NOT be the date. Waiting for new date from lawyer.

Lawyers for both sides will be back in front of the judge on June 14, 2007.

When I find out time and location, I will post it here.

The basic decision of the judge, as far as I understand it, is that the following parts of the law are unconstitutional:

  1. The phrase "pit bull includes";
  2. The phrase "pit bull terrier" as a definition of a restricted dog;
  3. The use of only a document from a veterinarian as proof of breed, thus placing onto the defendant the burden of the costs of cross-examination and calling of experts to refute the document.
The full text of the judge's decision is here.

Here is a plain English interpretation of what could happen, courtesy of the Fundamental Freedoms Project:
The Charter is a part of Canada's Constitution, and is included in the Constitution Act, 1982. Section 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 gives courts the power to say that a law that violates the Charter is not valid. You can ask a court to make such a declaration. When applying section 52, a court might:
  • strike out the part of the law that violates the Charter
  • interpret a law narrowly so that it fits Charter rights
  • 'read in' features to the law so that it meets Charter requirements
  • declare that you are not covered by the law that violates your Charter rights (a 'constitutional exemption')

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We can spend your money and you can't find out where or how much!

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario recently asked the province's Attorney General (of the Liberal Party) to give them some information about how much it has cost Ontario taxpayers to ban a non-existent dog.

Below is the response, printed with the permission of the PC party.

Do you really want to vote for Dalton McGuinty's and Michael Bryant's Liberal Party when they clearly use privacy protection laws to deliberately prevent taxpayers from identifying an incredible waste of money and they cannot (or will not) track how much time their own lawyers have spent on this issue?

Ministry of the Attorney General
Freedom of information and Protection of Privacy
720 Bay Street
5th Floor
Toronto ON M5G 2K1
Telephone: (416) 326-4300
Facsimile: (416) 326-4307

March 23, 2007

Private & Confidential

Policy Advisor
PC Research and Services
Rm. 200 North Wing
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A8

Re: Our File Number MAG-A-2007-00195 / hk

This is in response to your request for access to information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act) for the legal costs associated with all aspects of defending the constitutional challenge against Bill 132, Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

The respondent was represented in the Cochrane v. Ontario application by counsel of the Ministry of the Attorney General. No accurate cost can be assigned to the work of counsel and support staff at the Ministry because they are all salaried employees.

Records containing information relating to legal expenditures have been identified. Please be advised that access to the records at issue in this request is denied under s. 19 of the Act, which protects material subject to solicitor-client privilege and records prepared by or for Crown counsel for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation of or for use in litigation.

In addition, for some records, access is denied under s. 21 of the Act, as disclosure would constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy, and under s. 18(1)(c)-(e) of the Act, as the records contain information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the economic interests of an institution, information where the disclosure could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the financial interests of the Government of Ontario, and positions, plans, procedures, criteria or instructions to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of an institution or the Government of Ontario.

A copy of the relevant sections of the Act is enclosed for your reference.

The person responsible for making this decision is Stephen Patterson, Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Legal Services Division.

You may, within thirty days from the date of receipt of this letter, appeal the Ministry’s decision, to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1A8, telephone (416) 326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073. An Appeal fee of $25.00 is required by cheque or money order, made payable to the Minister of Finance.

In the event of an appeal, please provide the Information and Privacy Commissioner with a copy of this decision letter and the original request for information you sent to this office.

Yours truly,

Ruth Maillard


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© Copyright 2007 Steve Barker