|The past few months have been very busy for ICJ Canada! Read on for a brief overview of our recent activities.
Understanding and strengthening the Rule of Law in Canada – We are very proud to have published a unique book: “Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération”. This book features 35 short, thought-provoking essays by lawyers, judges, and professors from across Canada on the meaning of the rule of law and the state of the rule of law in Canada today, with a significant focus on human rights issues and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. We will disseminate it widely, including to our members, and hope that it will contribute to public debate and meaningful change. Donate to ICJC or renew your membership today to receive a copy.
Thank you to all book contributors and to our editorial committee for their work to make this interesting and meaningful publication a reality.
Improving the judicial appointments process - In a bi-coastal team effort, British Columbia VP Rebecca Robb and Maritimes VP Richard Devlin are leading a comparative research project on foreign judicial appointments’ processes. They will prepare a report that summarizes the experiences of other foreign jurisdictions, and compares those experiences to the Canadian context, which was previously summarized in ICJ Canada’s Interim Report: The Canadian Federal Judicial Appointments Process and Opportunities for Reform. This research will be used to develop further recommendations on reforming judicial appointments in Canada.
Ending Modern Slavery – since our panel session in Toronto in November, we have been continuing to develop partnerships that are bringing us closer to our goal of seeing a Canadian legislative or regulatory response that will improve supply chain reporting to address forced labour. We have held discussions with the Canadian Securities Administrators, SHARE (which focuses on responsible investment), and various stakeholders, including securities issuers. More consultations are planned and we are optimistic that we will see progress in response to our efforts.
An Evening with Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton – Our annual fundraising dinner, held May 29 in Toronto, was a great success. With a sold out audience of over 100 lawyers, business people, academics and law students, Ambassador MacNaughton delivered an inspiring talk on how vital it is for trade and other relations with the US to be governed by the rule of law as opposed to administrative discretion. He presented excellent arguments that preserving the foundational rules of trade in the North American Free Trade Agreement and those under the World Trade Organization was in the long term interests of Canada, and the US and Canada would be resolute in promoting and protecting those foundational rules.
Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism Conference - ICJ Canada is proud to have been a partner of this timely Conference, held June 8 to 10 at the University of Ottawa. Participants heard from close to 70 speakers over three days, including Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Rowe, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Leilani Farha, and National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde.
A very special event at the Conference was our ICJ Canada book launch panel, featuring 13 of the contributors to the book (pictured L-R: Raj Anand, Samer Muscati, Hanna Gros, Marie-Claude Landry, Robin Sully, Errol Mendes, Janine Lesperance, Scott Fairley, Richard Devlin, John Packer, Julius Grey, Alex Neve; Karen Busby missing from photo).
Annual General Meeting – held June 7 in Ottawa and by teleconference, participants discussed ICJ Canada’s ongoing activities and ideas to ensure the organization’s continued success.
Calgary-based ICJC group is growing - A dynamic new ICJC Prairie Steering Committee has been working since the New Year. They are planning a speaker event for the autumn, to follow up to the successful dinner with Dick Pound held last October (which featured a special guest appearance by Olympic Gold medallist Erica Wiebe!). They are also launching a research project, focusing on migrant children’s rights and the Safe Third Country Agreement. The enthusiastic group includes leaders from the legal and broader community including members of the judiciary, representatives of the University of Calgary, and social service participants, and is happy to welcome new members.
Renewed Faculty Group at the University of Ottawa – Students at uOttawa have drafted a constitution and are eager to officially launch an ICJC Faculty club in the fall. These students will be participating in research, communications, and event planning. We look forward to supporting the development of the group.
Tarnopolsky Award to honour human rights leaders – A winner for the 2017 Tarnopolsky Prize has been chosen by the Selection Committee. We look forward to announcing the name of the very deserving nominee soon, and look forward to planning a ceremony in his honour, likely to be held this autumn. Last year’s ceremony was held on Parliament Hill and featured a captivating discussion on responding to the refugee crisis between Senator Ratna Omidvar and 2016 Tarnpolsky Award winner Professor Jennifer Bond.
If you would like to know more about any of the activities mentioned, and/or would like to contribute more directly to ICJ Canada’s work, please contact ICJC Executive Director Janine Lespérance: email - janine.lesperance [at] icjcanada.org or phone - 613-562-5199.