Rory Leishman

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In Carter Supreme Court should be bound by Rodriguez

In Carter Supreme Court should be bound by Rodriguez

Sue Rodriguez (left) and Lee Carter (right) In the 1993 Rodriguez case, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutional validity of the ban on assisted suicide in section 241(b) of the Criminal Code. Since then, advocates of so-called death with dignity have made several failed attempts to legalize assisted suicide by means of a private-member’s bill; most recently in 2010, when the bill was thoroughly ... (Continue reading)

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‘Enduring’ vs. ‘living’ constitutions

National Affairs Rory Leishman Among proponents of judicial restraint, Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court is widely esteemed as one of the most brilliant, learned and principled judges in the English-speaking world. Bruce Allen Murphy disagrees. In Scalia: A Court of One, he sides with the partisans of judicial activism who deride Scalia as a vainglorious hypocrite who imposes his conservative, Catholic ideology on the ... (Continue reading)

No need for buffer zones

National Affairs Rory Leishman On June 26, the United States Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts’ law prohibiting pro-life counselling or picketing on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of the entrance to an abortuary. In the opinion of the Court, this law violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the enactment of any law “abridging the freedom of speech.” Meanwhile, several ... (Continue reading)

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Perverting ‘security of the person’

National Affairs Rory Leishman In response to the outrageous ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada v. Bedford last December that struck down Canada’s longstanding laws on prostitution, Justice Minister Peter MacKay has introduced a commendable new bill on prostitution, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, that, for the first time in Canada, criminalizes the purchase of sexual services. Will Canada’s top court invoke the Canadian Charter of Rights ... (Continue reading)

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Parliament should commit to improving palliative care

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus deserves credit for introducing a motion into the House of Commons that calls upon the government of Canada to establish “a Pan-Canadian Palliative and End-of-life Care Strategy” that has the goal of “ensuring all Canadians have access to high quality home-based and hospice palliative end-of-life care.” It is noteworthy that this NDP initiative also has the support of several Liberal and Conservative MPs. In speaking ... (Continue reading)

Religious freedom at stake in Loyola case

Arguments have begun in what, for faithful Christians, is one of the most important cases ever to come before the Supreme Court of Canada: at issue, is the fundamental right of Canadians to have their children educated in accordance with the basic principles of Christian faith and morality. This matter has been brought before the Court by the relentlessly secular government of Quebec, which, in 2008, imposed a compulsory course ... (Continue reading)

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Freedom of conscience in the culture of death

Freedom of conscience in the culture of death

On Jan. 30, the Ottawa Citizen reported that three local family physicians were refusing to prescribe birth control pills. Not so long ago, the great majority of Canadians would have responded with an amazed: “So what?” Not so the anonymous woman who brought this story to public attention. She was incensed when, in response to her request for a birth control prescription at an Ottawa medical clinic, she was given ... (Continue reading)

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Religious freedom at stake in Loyola case

Arguments have begun in what, for faithful Christians, is one of the most important cases ever to come before the Supreme Court of Canada: at issue, is the fundamental right of Canadians to have their children educated in accordance with the basic principles of Christian faith and morality. This matter has been brought before the Court by the relentlessly secular government of Quebec, which, in 2008, imposed a compulsory course in Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) on every school, ... (Continue reading)

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Pay attention to the nutty professors

Pay attention to the nutty professors

John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money drew little public attention when first published in 1936, but soon developed into the most influential economics treatise of the 20th century. Keynes was not surprised. As he pointed out: “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled ... (Continue reading)

Debating euthanasia

Debating euthanasia

It is difficult to imagine how a fair-minded reader of Debating Euthanasia could come to any conclusion but that Keown is right: euthanasia is an unmitigated evil that can never be justified. Emily Jackson and John Keown are two of the foremost experts on the law as it relates to euthanasia in Britain and the United States. Together, they have written a most informative book, Debating Euthanasia, (Hart Publishing, 2011) in which ... (Continue reading)

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The meaning of Rasouli The case’s impact on physicians, patients and Hassan Rasouli

The meaning of Rasouli The case’s impact on physicians, patients and Hassan Rasouli

Hassan Rasouli In a ruling of vital national significance, the Supreme Court of Canada has held in the Rasouli case that the Ontario Health Care Consent Act (HCCA) prohibits a physician from unilaterally terminating life-support for a patient who is incapable of consenting to medical treatment. While this case dealt specifically with Ontario, physicians in other provinces should beware that the Court has signalled in its judgment that it could eventually impose ... (Continue reading)

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Same-sex parenting is not neutral: study

National Affairs Rory Leishman In a report five years ago, the “Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption,” a body appointed by Deb Matthews, then Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, admonished the government of Ontario to assure that people from the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer (LBGTQ) communities” have access to assisted-reproduction and adoption services on the same basis as married, opposite-sex couples. What about the ... (Continue reading)

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Using reason to win moral arguments

National Affairs Rory Leishman Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, has been aptly described by the New York Times Magazine as “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.” In his latest book, a collection of essays entitled Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, $31.32, 384 pages) he has summarized and advanced the reasonable arguments for upholding the sanctity of ... (Continue reading)

Accidental death from pain treatment is not euthanasia

National Affairs Rory Leishman After years of debate over euthanasia, it is amazing that so many generally well informed people can remain fundamentally ignorant about the issues at stake. Consider the observations on end-of-life care expressed by Dr. Cameron Ghent in his book Medicine Outside the Box: Musings about Health-care Issues. Ghent is a distinguished, Yale-trained hepatologist, and recently retired adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, who ... (Continue reading)

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U.S. Supreme Court throws out pro-traditional marriage law

National Affairs Rory Leishman While judges in Canada and the United States usually hand down reasonable decisions in conformity with the separation of legislative and judicial powers, occasionally some rogue judicial activists take the law into their own hands with potentially disastrous consequences. A case in point is the judgment on June 26 by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defence ... (Continue reading)

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