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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