Monday, May 28, 2007

Juridics: Canada: Supreme Court affirms economic-class basis for access to Canadian legal system carries a major news story from Toronto by
Joe Schneider "Canadians Don't Have Entitlement to Legal Services, Court Says" (May25,2k7):

Canadians don't have a constitutional entitlement to legal services, the country's highest court ruled, overturning two lower court decisions that declared a British Columbia tax on legal fees unconstitutional.
Yes, the narrow issue was a taxation issue. But it's quite obvious that recent pronouncements that the Equality section of Canada's Charter of R+ts and Freedom's has done its job in getting equal pay for equal work and other issues of equality related to the situation of women in Canada. But then it was stretched beyond the meaning of the Charter-writers in order to be used for other purposes in lower courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. The Equality sections were activistically stretched beyond reason to demote the unique status of 1woman1man intimate unions and to alter the traditional meaning of the word "marriage" in law, so that the term itself becomes a mere generic for any kind of intimate union without difference in the Canadian legal system. Now the Court has mothballed the Equality section for any foreseeable future.

After this addle-brained decision, you can't use a legal concept of equality to render fairness for members of all Canada's classes and income-levels before the law, equality of the poor to have the same access to the legal system as the middle and upper classes. Unequal, if you can't afford to pay to hire a competent lawyer.
Dugald Christie, a British Columbia lawyer killed last year on a cross-country bicycling trip, had sued the provincial government saying a 7 percent tax on the purchase of legal services made it impossible for some people with low incomes to pursue claims. A trial judge agreed, saying the tax breached a constitutional right to access to justice. A provincial court of appeal upheld the decision.

``The impugned provincial legislation is constitutional,'' Canada's Supreme Court said today in a 9-0 decision. ``The right to access the courts is not absolute.''
Well, nothing is absolute; only God the Almitey Creator is absolute. The Constitution acknowledges God. So the Court's statement on absolutes is no comfort to the poor who can't afford legal representation in various jurisdictions. It's the poor who are unequally served by how the Canadian Supremes deploy thru the legal system their own tragic Equality history and very self-contradictory conceptualization of Equality. The recent decision is nonsensical.

Juridics > Canada
British Columbia is the only province in Canada to tax legal fees. The tax was imposed in 1993, ostensibly to add funding to the provincial legal aid program, which provides lawyers to people with low incomes at no charge. The money collected is included in general revenue and the high court said it's difficult to ascertain how much of the tax goes to legal aid.
This manoeuvre by the BC govt is a typical tax shell-game that is typically used by govts' to rip off specially-designated revenue streams which are such in name only. The court should demand transparency of the BC govt in regard to legal aid revenues.
Christie, 65 at the time of his death on July 31, was struck by a van on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, as he was cycling across the country to raise awareness about access to legal services.

He was the founder of the Western Canada Society to Access Justice. The Supreme Court said his net income between 1991 and 1999 didn't exceed C$30,000 ($27,787) annually because his clients often couldn't pay their bills.

Under the provincial law, he still had to pay the tax on fees that had been levied, even if he didn't get the money [from his impecunious clients].

``Notwithstanding our sympathy for Mr. Christie's cause, we are compelled to the conclusion that the material presented does not establish the major premise on which the case depends -- proof of a constitutional entitlement to legal services,'' the Supreme Court said.
So much for legal equality in regard to class and income-level in Canada.
The case is Attorney General of British Columbia v. Christie, Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa), Case No.: 31324
I think in this decision the Court has been found out in the contradictions of its own juridical hypocrisy, in the emptiness and self-contradictoriness of its collective conceptualization, and in the unanimous philosophy entrenched in the personnel of the Court, to the exclusion of any genuine jurisprudential viewpoint-pluralism.

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