Roundup: Clarity is not an appeal

With another court case involving First Nations children, you’d expect there to be a bunch of hue and cry, and there certainly has been, but I wonder how much of it is actually misplaced. In this case, the government is seeking clarity from the court on a couple of aspects of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision on applying Jordan’s Principle, which is not an appeal. I’ve seen all manner of people, from reporters to advocates on Twitter railing that the government is appealing the decision. Asking for clarity is not an appeal.

If you actually read the story, they have legitimate concerns about the restrictions around case conferencing and on timelines in the decision, both of which seem to be pretty fair concerns to have given that both ministers are medical doctors and have expertise in what these issues mean. And I fail to see how getting clarity is trying to find a loophole to get out of the decision – it doesn’t track with either the promises, the investments made, or the fact that the whole file is more complex than many of the advocates would let on. You can’t simply pour money into a system that doesn’t have the capacity to absorb it and distribute it effectively, and you can’t just wave a magic wand into a jurisdictional minefield like this particular decision addresses and expect that everything will always have the best outcome by sheer force of willpower, especially when there are areas that are unclear to players involved.

The fact that I’ve been a justice reporter for the past couple of years means that I’ve been exposed to a lot of the sensitivities involved in complex cases, and this certainly qualifies, despite what certain advocates and opposition MPs would have one believe. Outrage that the government is going to court isn’t necessarily warranted, and most of the time, it’s been pretty disingenuous, whether it’s on this case, or in assessing the damages in the Sixties Scoop class action, where again advocates, opposition MPs, and even reporters characterized it as an appeal when it wasn’t an appeal – it was the next stage in a process where they needed to determine damages on a case-by-case basis rather than simply mailing out cheques. Not every time the government goes to court is nefarious, and people need to calm down because there is a lot of crying wolf going on that’s helping nobody, most especially the people who these decisions are supposed to benefit.

Good reads:

  • Ralph Goodale insists that national security agencies are fine with the new bill, while another former CSIS director whines that the oversight is too onerous.
  • While Thomas Mulcair says that the record-breaking sniper shot raises questions about our mission there and whether it is combat or not.
  • Here’s a look at why Canadian snipers are the best, and an explanation of what factors need to be taken into consideration to take the shots.
  • The government assembled a group of experts to talk about the public health risks of marijuana, and laid out their public guidelines.
  • Apparently, the new Access to Information changes would only improve our world rankings a couple of points because there remain too many exceptions.
  • The head of the Royal Canadian Navy defends submarine upgrades, but won’t spell out what threats are.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff looks poised to issue a directive that encourages any member of the Canadian Forces to attend Pride parades in uniform.
  • There was a deputy minister shuffle after the DM of Justice was named to the bench.
  • The Government of Nunavut says that Franklin Expedition artefacts were removed by Parks Canada without permission.
  • Here’s a needed plea to take interference in elections more seriously, after a chat bot via Tinder experiment in the UK shows how vulnerable we are.
  • Paul Wells observed NATO exercises in Lithuania, which our forces participated in as part of the deterrence mission there.
  • Susan Delacourt wonders about eventual marijuana advertising, and if it will be like beer adverts or squelched like tobacco.
  • Colby Cosh examines Prince Harry’s remarks about desire for a normal life and duty, and explains why it is a hallmark of our functioning monarchy.

Odds and ends:

Bono and Edge from U2 will join the Canada Day stage show.

3 thoughts on “Roundup: Clarity is not an appeal

  1. Thanks for (once again) pointing out the panty twisting by all concerned viz these court applications by the government. Come on you lazy (and opportunistic) politicos and journalists–do your real job.

  2. As factual context, the Tribunal has been so unsatisfied with Canada’s compliance with the January 2016 order to stop discriminating against First Nations children it has issued three non-compliance orders since then and another is expected shortly. The federal government’s public arguments about the appeal do not match the evidence before the Tribunal, the CHRT order nor do they match the federal government’s legal submissions on appeal. The federal government created a “case conference” procedure to review requests for payment of services related to Jordan’s Principle and this has resulted in significant delays in the provision of services to First Nations that would not be experienced by other children. No one has ever suggested that clinical case conferences should not happen. The Tribunal ordered that case conferences related to payment/jurisdiction cannot delay services for First Nations children. Read the full record of the case including the three non compliance orders (2016 CHRT 10; 2016 CHRT 16 and order the feds are appealing (2017 CHRT 14) at

    • PS you can read the government’s full application to Federal Court early next week as we will post it on timeline. Nothing in the legal paper work requests a clarification – the language they use is “quash” with no replacement wording suggested by the feds as a remedy.

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