Canadian Lawyer

May 2021

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UPFRONT 10 www.canadianlawyermag.com OTTAWA UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Ottawa's carbon tax is constitutional Majority of Supreme Court finds matter is of national concern, in Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act reference THE FEDERAL Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is constitutional in its entirety, and Parliament has jurisdiction to enact this law as a matter of national concern under the peace, order and good government clause of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether Parliament had the constitutional authority to enact the act; the majority found that it did. In a 6/3 decision in Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Chief Justice Richard Wagner, writing for the majority, outlined a three-step analysis for deciding whether a matter is one of "national concern." Parliament may then take charge of matters that might otherwise fall under provincial jurisdiction. In dismissing the appeals by the Attorney General of Saskatchewan and the Attorney General of Ontario, which challenged the constitutionality of the act — and in allowing the appeal of the Attorney General of British SCC sets out framework for inconsistent verdicts An error in instructions to a jury in a sexual crime case did not affect convictions but, rather, it reconciled the apparent inconsistency in the verdicts, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in March in a decision. The decision will guide appellate courts on inconsistent jury verdicts. In R. v. R.V., the majority of the court found the trial judge had misdirected the jury on the charge of sexual assault against R.V. If inconsistent verdicts can be resolved or explained by a faulty jury instruction, in general, the conviction of the accused can stand. Competition Bureau, foreign agencies study pharmaceutical mergers The Competition Bureau Canada has joined a multilateral working group to identify concrete and actionable steps for updating the analysis of the impacts of pharmaceutical mergers, which are often subjected to review in numerous jurisdictions. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission started the joint project, including the European Commission Directorate General for Competition, the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority, the U.S. Department of Justice and certain offices of state attorneys general. The group will study competition-related concerns regarding M&A in the pharmaceutical industry and consider remedies for resolving emerging issues. Convictions restored in Via Rail train plot Jury selection errors can be remedied if certain requirements are met, the Supreme Court of Canada found in restoring two accused convictions in a plot to attack a Via Rail train. In the unanimous decision in R. v. Esseghaier, the court found that the curative proviso of s. 686(1) (b)(iv) of the Criminal Code can be applied to cure jury selection where the trial court has jurisdiction over the class of offence and the court of appeal finds no prejudice suffered by the appellant as a result of the error. New coat of arms, flag, badge for SCC On March 15, the Supreme Court of Canada unveiled its new coat of arms, flag and badge, designed by former chief herald Claire Boudreau. The coat of arms includes the laurels from the court's historic badge, created by Montreal architect Ernest Cormier, who designed the Supreme Court building. The Cormier emblem is embedded in the marble floor of the SCC's "Grand Hall" and features the stylized letters S and C, surrounded by laurels. The court also announced its new motto, "Justitia et Veritas," the names of the two allegorical statues standing outside the Supreme Court building. Human rights ombudsperson creates new online complaint system The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise has launched an online form to enable individuals and communities abroad to raise concerns regarding potential human rights abuses caused by the operations of Canadian mining, garment and oil and gas companies operating abroad. The office accepts complaints filed by individuals, organizations and communities alleging negative effects caused by Canadian companies on internationally recognized human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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