Canadian Lawyer

July/August 2020

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UPFRONT 10 QUEBEC UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Racism alleged against Montreal police Complaint filed on grounds of systemic discrimination, racial profiling of Indigenous woman THE ORGANIZATION Quebec Native Women has filed a complaint alleging systemic discrimination and racial profiling by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal. The complaint, filed with the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse du Québec, stems from an incident that occurred on May 3 at Cabot Square in Montreal as it was reported by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. That broadcast stated that 17 SPVM police officers, supported by a K-9 squad, were the first responders at the site at which an Indigenous woman, showing signs of psycho- logical distress, waited for an ambulance so that she could receive emergency hospital care. QNW, which represents Indigenous women, their families and communities in Quebec, strongly denounced the police intervention, which it called inappropriate and excessive. "Is the extent of this intervention linked to the fact that it had to do with an Indigenous woman?" said QNW president Viviane Michel. The Assembly of First Nations Quebec- Labrador, alongside its Council of Elected Women, the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal and Resilience Montreal joined QNW in denouncing the incident. A press release from the AFNQL cited a 2019 report examining SPVM data that found Indigenous and Black people are four to five times more likely than white people to be stopped by the SPVM, while Indigenous women are 11 times more likely to be stopped than white women. AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard said that the organization has called upon Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Justice Sonia Lebel and Montreal City Mayor Judicial appointments announced in Quebec Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti has announced new appointments to the Quebec bench. Mark Phillips, counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Montreal, was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal, replacing Justice C. Auclair. Jocelyn Pilote, partner at Larouche Lalancette Pilote Avocats in Alma, was appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Chicoutimi, replacing Justice C. Lachance. Isabelle Germain, partner at Stein Monast in Quebec, was appointed a puisne Judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Quebec, replacing Justice M. Lacroix. SCC dismisses appeal of Bill 21 The Supreme Court of Canada said on April 9 that it will not look at whether parts of Quebec's secularism law should be suspended while a full legal challenge of the measure plays out. The law, known as Bill 21, prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work. In December, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected a bid by a national Muslim organization, a civil liberties group and a university student who wears a hijab to have the central elements of the law suspended while their legal arguments are heard. CJC stays complaint against former Quebec C.J. In April, the Canadian Judicial Council closed the matter involving Nicole Duval Hesler, former chief justice of Quebec, relating to the decision in Hak v. Attorney General of Quebec. Frédéric Bastien, an historian, had alleged bias by the chief justice for comments she made during a hearing and called for her to recuse herself from the proceedings. A judge concluded that since Duval Hesler retired from the bench in April, the CJC's jurisdiction had lapsed. This is consistent with the CJC's past practice when judges have retired or resigned while a complaint is pending. McGill to deliver fall 2020 term remotely McGill University and its Faculty of Law have announced that it will continue to offer a wide selection of courses in all its programs in a remote environment this fall. The Faculty of Law's steps to facilitate the transition to remote teaching and learning include an ad hoc committee to support instructors, a facilitator working with instructors in first-year courses to ensure that incoming students have a strong pedagogical and social experience and additional research funds to allow professors to benefit from student research assistance in adapting their courses for remote delivery. Montreal lawyer receives Volunteer in Profile Award Catherine McKenzie of the IMK firm in Montreal was named the 2020 recipient of the Canadian Bar Association's Volunteer in Profile Award for her pro bono work in defence of fundamental rights and freedoms. McKenzie was chosen by the Access to Justice Subcommittee, which recognizes CBA members for outstanding pro bono activities. McKenzie acted in 2018's El-Alloul v. P.G. du Québec case and on the legal campaign against Bill 21.

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