OCLA’s 2016 Year in Review


 
Dear OCLA Supporter,
 
It has been a busy year for our small, dedicated and volunteer-based organization! We have made many interactions and contacts, concentrating on the most egregious Ontario cases that do not easily receive attention from other rights associations. Here are examples of our visible work in 2016.
 
Dr. Bruce Allan Clark Receives the 2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award
 
Lawyer and aboriginal rights activist Bruce Clark received the 2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award at a public event held in Ottawa, Ontario, on October 14.
 
Dr. Clark spoke about his life’s work of trying to obtain judicial recognition that Canada’s violations of aboriginal land rights stemming from the Indian Act of 1876 are unconstitutional. Dr. Clark’s determination to have this legal argument heard by Canada’s courts led to his eventual disbarment and imprisonment on a charge of contempt of court. The courts never allowed the argument to be heard.
 
Bruce’s wife Margaret and friend and former client Chief Gary Metallic spoke about the painful professional and personal costs that Bruce, his family, and his clients were subjected to because of his struggle for justice. And Bruce participated in a deep and wide-ranging discussion with attendees.
 
Much more information, including a February 2016 video interview with Bruce Clark can be found starting at the following link: http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-liberties-award/
 
A video about the October 14 award event is currently under production by filmmaker Peter Biesterfeld.
 
Opposition to Anti-BDS Bill and Motion in Ontario’s Provincial Parliament
 
On May 19, the OCLA sent a letter to all Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) calling for the rejection of a proposed law (Bill 202, Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism Act, 2016) intended to punish participants and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to influence the policies of the State of Israel. The bill was voted down later that day.
 
On November 30, the OCLA again wrote to Ontario’s MPPs urging the rejection of a motion (Private Members’ Notice of Motion No. 36) denouncing the BDS movement. The OCLA argued that any such motion denouncing a citizens’ social movement constitutes an attack on freedom of speech. The motion was passed on December 1.
 
Intervention re: Unconstitutionality of Canada’s “Hate Speech” Criminal Code provision (R. v. Topham)
 
The OCLA wrote to The Honourable Mr. Justice Butler of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to argue that the s. 319(2) “hate speech” provision of the Criminal Code of Canada is unconstitutional and incompatible with the values of a free and democratic society.
 
Our argument centred on the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent determinations that Canada must provide at least as much protection for basic freedoms as those found in the international human rights documents that Canada has adopted. The “hate speech” Criminal Code provision does not require the Crown to prove any actual harm, and therefore fails to meet the “strict test of necessity and proportionality” set out in the international human rights documents.
 
You can read the OCLA’s intervention letter at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-01-13-Letter-OCLA-re-R-v-Topham.pdf
 
Letters about Mohamed Harkat and Hassan Diab
 
The OCLA contributed letters to support campaigns about two important and deeply disturbing cases of abuse of individuals by the Canadian state:
 
1) OCLA letter to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness asking for a stay of the deportation proceedings against Mohamed Harkat: http://ocla.ca/ocla-letter-canadas-threatened-expulsion-of-refugee-mohamed-harkat/
 
2) OCLA letter to the Minister of Justice of Canada asking for the return to Canada of Dr. Hassan Diab: http://ocla.ca/ocla-letter-hassan-diab-case-and-protection-of-canadian-citizens/
 
OCLA Director Speaks at Got Law? Mini-Course and “Charter for Children” Book Launch
 
OCLA Executive Director Joseph Hickey was a guest speaker at the “Got Law?” mini-course taught by Barbara Ann Vocisano of Legal Education Consultants at Carleton University on May 3, and at the launch of the French translation of Dustin Milligan’s book series “The Charter for Children” (“La Charte pour les enfants”) at the Ottawa Public Library on May 14.
 
OCLA in the News
 
• May 19, 2016: “Overcoming ‘Divisive Politics of Fear’, Ontario Rejects Anti-BDS Bill”, CommonDreams: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/19/overcoming-divisive-politics-fear-ontario-rejects-anti-bds-bill
 
• Apr. 19, 2016: Interview (in French) re: OCLA petition to allow cameras in Ontario’s courts, TV Rogers Ottawa: https://youtu.be/yEfq2SDoycQ
 
• Feb. 8, 2016: Interview re: DNA order in animal abuse case, Talk Radio AM640, Toronto: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-02-08-Talk-Radio-AM640-Toronto-Ryan-Bonnar-DNA-dog-case.mp3
 
Full list of media articles at: http://ocla.ca/our-work/media-coverage/
 
How to Stay Connected and Donate to the OCLA
 
Website: http://ocla.ca
Twitter: @oncivlib
 
The OCLA is an independent, volunteer-run organization. Donations help cover operating costs such as booking rooms for public events, printing promotional material for campaigns and events, and paying for court filing fees and court document production costs (copies and binding) for court and tribunal interventions on civil liberties issues.
 
As we are an entirely volunteer-run organization with a very small budget, we do depend on donations to continue our work, and appreciate any contribution you can make.
 
Donations can be made in two ways:
 
1) Through Paypal, by clicking the “Donate” button in the top-right corner of http://ocla.ca; or
 
2) By sending a cheque to “Ontario Civil Liberties Association” to our mailing address:
 
Ontario Civil Liberties Association
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 20
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K2P 1P5
 
Thank you for your support!
 
Yours truly,
 
Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
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Email: MPPs must vote down motion censuring BDS to protect free speech

The OCLA sent the following email this evening to Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) of Ontario:

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Photos and report from the 2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award — Bruce Allan Clark

The OCLA was honoured to present its 2016 Civil Liberties Award to Dr. Bruce Allan Clark at a public event in Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, October 14, 2016.

Dr. Clark gave an address (text available here) about the central constitutional question at the heart of his life’s work of researching and defending aboriginal land rights in Canada, summarized in the following paragraph from his speech:

The legal truth is that the settled constitutional aboriginal right is the power of veto over provincial development of crown land, based upon the Royal Proclamation of 1763, section 109 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and the leading precedents St. Catherines Milling, 1888 and In re Indian Claims, 1897. The lie, recently invented by the Supreme Court of Canada in wilful blindness, is that the aboriginal right is no more than “the right to be consulted:” Haida Nation v. British Columbia in 2004; R. v Van der Peet in 1996; Delgamuukw v British Columbia in 1997; and Mikisew Cree First Nation v Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage) in 2005. Each of these was in the Supreme Court of Canada.

The enormity of Dr. Clark’s contribution of exposing the injustice of the Canadian legal system’s violations of aboriginal land rights and the painful price paid by himself, his family, and his clients, became apparent in a deep and wide-ranging discussion with attendees, Dr. Clark, and speakers Chief Gary Metallic and Bruce’s wife Margaret.

A few photos from the event are below. A video montage from the event is currently in production, and will be made available in some weeks.

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Bruce Clark’s address, 2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award

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Speakers Chief Gary Metallic (left), Margaret Clark (centre), and Dr. Bruce Clark (right) answer questions from the audience

eagle-feather-presentation

Sherry Condo (left) presents Bruce Clark with an Eagle Feather

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Communiqué : Le Dr Bruce Allan Clark recevra le prix de l’Association des libertés civiles de l’Ontario 2016

(OTTAWA, le 11 octobre 2016) – L’Association des libertés civiles de l’Ontario (ALCO) décernera son prix annuel au Dr Bruce Clark lors d’une réception publique à Ottawa, Ontario, vendredi le 14 octobre à 19h00 (édifice de l’Alliance de la Fonction Publique du Canada, 233 rue Gilmour, Ottawa).
 
Le Dr Clark a consacré sa vie en tant qu’avocat, académicien et activiste à l’avancement de l’argument légal que les violations des droits fonciers autochtones commises par le Canada et découlant de la Loi sur les Indiens de 1876 sont inconstitutionnelles. Le Dr Clark prononcera un discours à ce sujet. La détermination du Dr Clark d’avancer cet argument légal devant les tribunaux canadiens l’a mené à être radié du barreau et emprisonné pour outrage au tribunal. Les tribunaux n’ont jamais permis que cet argument soit entendu.

Le Chef Gary Metallic, des territoires non cédés du bassin hydrologique de la rivière Restigouche, ami et ancien client de Bruce Clark, viendra de la réserve de Listuguj (dans la péninsule gaspésienne) et fera une introduction avant le discours du Dr Clark. John Shaver, un autre ami, viendra de Toronto et fera une introduction à propos des conséquences personnelles et professionnelles subies par Dr Clark.
 
L’ALCO espère que cet événement, gratuit et ouvert au public, sera une occasion de se réunir et de discuter de ces enjeux fondamentaux.
 
Plusieurs ressources à propos du travail du Dr Clark, y compris les titres de ses livres et des liens à ses articles, sont disponibles à la page web du prix de l’ALCO (en anglais) : http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-liberties-award/
 
L’ALCO a produit une entrevue vidéo avec le Dr Clark l’hiver dernier. Un extrait de 5 minutes est disponible au lien suivant (en anglais) : https://youtu.be/wd-SVbA4wYM
 
Les récipiendaires des derniers prix de l’ALCO étaient M. Harry Kopyto (2013), Mlle Terri-Jean Bedford (2014) et Mme Connie Fournier (2015).
 
À propos de l’ALCO
L’ALCO défend les libertés civiles à une époque où les droits fondamentaux subissent une érosion systémique dans toutes les sphères de la vie sociale. L’ALCO s’oppose à toute décision qui prive l’individu de sa liberté individuelle ou qui l’exclut des fonctions démocratiques de la société.
 
Contact :
 
Joseph Hickey
Directeur exécutif
Association des libertés civiles de l’Ontario (ALCO) http://ocla.ca
 
Co-sponsor de l’événement :
 


Centre de ressources autochtones, Université d’Ottawa
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OCLA Newsletter – Spring 2016

Dear OCLA Supporter,

This email is to give you an update about the OCLA’s work so far in 2016.

Letter to Ontario MPPs opposing Bill 202, “Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism Act, 2016”

On May 19, the OCLA wrote to all Ontario MPPs calling for the rejection of legislation proposing to punish participants and supporters of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement. An NDP MPP responded that the NDP would not support the bill, and it was killed at second reading later that day, on a vote of 39-18 against.

Our letter can be read at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-05-19-OCLA-to-ON-MPPs-re-Bill-202.pdf

Video Interview with Dr. Bruce Clark

The OCLA has produced a must-see video interview with Bruce Clark, an expert on aboriginal rights jurisprudence and a dedicated advocate for aboriginal land rights in Canada. From defender of Aboriginal rights before Canadian and international courts to being jailed and disbarred for advancing legal arguments, Dr. Clark’s struggle is itself a mirror of Canada’s genocidal crimes.

• 5-min video excerpt: “Lawyer Bruce Clark – Canada’s Genocide”: https://youtu.be/wd-SVbA4wYM

• Full 1-hr video interview: https://youtu.be/lp97_pKafC0

Petition: “Allow Cameras in Ontario’s Courts”

“Ontarians want to see their judges in action, want to see Crown attorneys make their arguments, want to see police witnesses testify under oath, and want to see the full court procedures. Likewise, litigants in family and civil courts, many of whom are self-represented litigants, want to know that they have the security of an actual open court.”

The above quote is from our petition statement calling for cameras in Ontario’s courts, as a needed measure to improve Ontario’s justice system. Please read and sign the petition at the following link: https://www.change.org/p/madeleine-allow-cameras-in-ontario-s-courts

Intervention re: Unconstitutionality of Canada’s “Hate Speech” Criminal Code provision (R. v. Topham)

The OCLA wrote to The Honourable Mr. Justice Butler of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to argue that the s. 319(2) “hate speech” provision of the Criminal Code of Canada is unconstitutional and incompatible with the values of a free and democratic society.

Our argument centred on the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent determinations that Canada must provide at least as much protection for basic freedoms as those found in the international human rights documents that Canada has adopted. The “hate speech” Criminal Code provision does not require the Crown to prove any actual harm, and therefore fails to meet the “strict test of necessity and proportionality” set out in the international human rights documents.

You can read the OCLA’s intervention letter at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2016-01-13-Letter-OCLA-re-R-v-Topham.pdf

Letters about Mohamed Harkat and Hassan Diab

The OCLA contributed letters to support campaigns about two important and deeply disturbing cases of abuse of individuals by the Canadian state:

1) OCLA letter to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness asking for a stay of the deportation proceedings against Mohamed Harkat: http://ocla.ca/ocla-letter-canadas-threatened-expulsion-of-refugee-mohamed-harkat/

2) OCLA letter to the Minister of Justice of Canada asking for the return to Canada of Dr. Hassan Diab: http://ocla.ca/ocla-letter-hassan-diab-case-and-protection-of-canadian-citizens/

Article: “Canadian Defamation Law is Noncompliant with International Law”

Dr. Denis Rancourt prepared a critical article about Canada’s law of defamation for the OCLA. The article was published online on Feb. 1, 2016, and is available at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/DGR-Canadian-Defamation-Law-Violates-ICCPR-for-posting.pdf

From the article:

“SUMMARY: Defamation law in Canada is contrary to international law, in both design and practice. (…) With Canadian civil defamation law, the state has unfettered discretion from an unwritten common law that provides presumed falsity, presumed malice, unlimited presumed damages, and broad gag orders enforceable by jail, using a subjective judicial test for “defamation” without requiring any evidence of actual damage to reputation. (…)”

OCLA Director Speaks at Got Law? Mini-Course and “Charter for Children” Book Launch

OCLA Executive Director Joseph Hickey was a guest speaker at the Got Law? mini-course taught by Barbara Ann Vocisano of Legal Education Consultants at Carleton University on May 3, and at the launch of the French translation of Dustin Milligan’s book series “The Charter for Children” (“La Charte pour les enfants”) at the Ottawa Public Library on May 14.

OCLA in the News

• Feb. 8, 2016: Interview re: DNA order in animal abuse case, Talk Radio AM640, Toronto: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-02-08-Talk-Radio-AM640-Toronto-Ryan-Bonnar-DNA-dog-case.wav

• Apr. 19, 2016: Interview (in French) re: OCLA petition to allow cameras in Ontario’s courts, TV Rogers Ottawa: https://youtu.be/u1XuzHuOwqM

• May 19, 2016: “Overcoming ‘Divisive Politics of Fear’, Ontario Rejects Anti-BDS Bill”, CommonDreams: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/19/overcoming-divisive-politics-fear-ontario-rejects-anti-bds-bill

Full list of media articles at: http://ocla.ca/our-work/media-coverage/

How to Stay Connected and Donate to the OCLA

Twitter: @oncivlib
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/110883345731728/

The OCLA is an independent, volunteer-run organization. Donations help cover operating costs such as booking rooms for public events, printing promotional material for campaigns and events, and paying for court filing fees and court document production costs (copies and binding) regarding court and tribunal interventions on civil liberties issues.

As we are an entirely volunteer-run organization with a very small budget, we do depend on donations to continue our work, and appreciate any contribution you can make.

Donations can be made in two ways:

1) Through Paypal, by clicking the “Donate” button in the top-right corner of http://ocla.ca; or

2) By sending a cheque to “Ontario Civil Liberties Association” to our mailing address:

Ontario Civil Liberties Association
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 20
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K2P 1P5

Thank you for your support!

Yours truly,

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca

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