ICJ Canada has published a unique collection of essays on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération features 35 short, captivating pieces by jurists from across Canada, interpreting the theme in diverse ways.
Topics addressed in the book include the Canadian ‘origin myth’, the interpretation of the rule of law in Canadian constitutional jurisprudence, the relationship between access to justice and the rule of law, the role of members of the judicial profession in relation to the rule of law, and the need for a rule of law that upholds fundamental human rights. Authors identify areas in which our continued vigilance and commitment to improvement is critical for ensuring a strong rule of law, particularly in relation to human rights. Several essays in the book focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, and advocate for a rule of law that respects Indigenous laws. The essays are written in both English and French.
Our book launch took place on June 10, as part of the Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism Conference. ICJ Canada Executive Director Janine Lespérance chaired the discussion, which featured 13 other book contributors: Raj Anand, Karen Busby, Richard Devlin, Scott Fairley, Julius Grey, Hanna Gros, Marie-Claude Landry, Errol Mendes, Samer Muscati, Alex Neve, John Packer, and Robin Sully.
Additional contributors to the book are Roger Bilodeau, Ian Binnie, John Campion, Adam Dodek, Maureen Duffy, Mary Eberts, Dennis Edney, Allan Hutchinson, Fiona Keith, Marcia Kran, Lucie Lamarche, Anne Levesque, Kathleen Mahoney, L.S. Tony Mandamin, Jesse McCormick, Bradford Morse, Pamela Palmater, Debra Parkes, Kimberly Prost, Daniel Proulx, Michèle Rivet, Colleen Sheppard, Shauna Van Praagh, Sherri Walsh, and Jack Watson. ICJ Canada wishes to sincerely thank all of our contributors for their excellent, thought-provoking writing.
We’d also like to acknowledge the editorial team that made this publication happen: Janine Lespérance (Lead Editor), Richard Devlin, Errol Mendes, John Packer, Michèle Rivet, and Peter Tinsley.
We intend to distribute this book widely, and hope that it will spark discussions about the nature and meaning of the rule of law for Canadians.
On November 21, 2016, ICJ Canada hosted a timely and engaging panel discussion in Toronto: "Modern Slavery in Supply Chains: Trends in Global Corporate Liability and Legislation". A continuing professional development event, attendees learned a great deal about the problem of modern slavery, challenges for companies, and legislative responses to the problem. The event featured a diversity of viewpoints, which the lawyers and students present had the opportunity to continue to discuss at a reception following the panel. The presenters were:
- UK solicitor Peter Talibart, Managing Partner of Seyforth Shaw LLP London office
- Kevin McGurgan, UK Consul-General and Director-General of UK Trade and Investment in Canada
- Mark Trachuk, Partner, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto
- Ruth Dearnley, Chief Executive Officer, Stop the Traffik
- Jonathan Drimmer, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Barrick Gold Corp.
- Mora Johnson, Barrister and Solicitor, Former Chair, OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, Former Senior Advisor, Global Affairs Canada
If you were unable to attend the event in person, or if you would like to revisit the discussion, ICJ Canada is delighted to share this video of the panel with you:
Would you like to know what we were up to in 2015? Read on...
Exciting Projects Underway
The rule of law and judicial independence have been at the heart of ICJ’s mission since its inception. We are researching best practices on judicial appointment processes in Canada and internationally in light of international norms, with a view to making concrete recommendations for improvements both in Canada and through the headquarters of ICJ in Geneva in other interested countries with ICJ Chapters around the world.
ICJC’s Quebec branch has partnered with the University of Montreal Centre for Research in Public Law to launch a new online resource, the “Observatory on national security measures”. It is a web-based resource that stores documents and follows developments related to national security measures. As it continues to grow, it will be a hub for discussion –in both of Canada’s official languages- on the risks and challenges in this area.
ICJC participated in round table discussions on the inclusion of access to justice and the rule of law in the new post-2015 sustainable development agenda, co-authored a written submission to the Minister of International Development, and hosted a panel at a Canadian Council for International Co-operation conference. With the adoption of the new and transformative 2030 Agenda this fall, ICJC looks forward to continued work in this area.
Finally, we are in the exploratory stage of developing a multi-stakeholder process of engagement to ensure Canadian corporations respect human rights in their operations abroad.
Events Across Canada
Celebrating the Magna Carta
The year 2015 was an important one, not only for ICJC as an organization, but for jurists everywhere, as it marked the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta, which remains a revered document for its embodiment of the rule of law. Its legacy endures today, and it is often considered the foundation of modern democratic societies. ICJC members had the opportunity to attend two different events celebrating the Magna Carta.
First, members were invited to a private reception and viewing of the Magna Carta at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC, featuring special guests Julia Nolan, Head of Foreign Policy of the British High Commission; the Honourable Paul Crampton, Chief Justice of the Federal Court; and Nathalie des Rosiers, Dean of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. The event was attended by over 80 judges, lawyers, and members of the general public.
Second, ICJC’s Quebec chapter hosted a professional development conference, held at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal, on the impact of the Magna Carta today. An impressive list of speakers dealt with topics such as women’s rights, fundamental liberties, and jury trials, tying in the historic provisions of the Magna Carta with today’s pressing issues. Presenters included Chief Justice of Quebec Nicole Duval-Hesler, Senator Serge Joyal, criminal law lawyer Jean-Claude Hébert, and President of the Quebec Human Rights Commission Jacques Frémont.
Honouring the 2015 Tarnopolsky Award Winner: Louise Arbour
On November 5th, 2015, the ICJC recognized the Honourable Louise Arbour, C.C., G.O.Q. as this year’s recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky award. The award ceremony took place in the intimate setting of the judges’ conference room of the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montréal. ICJC President Errol Mendes praised Madam Arbour as being a person who needs no introduction for most Canadians, given her outstanding contributions to justice and human rights in Canada and around the world. Attendees were privileged to listen to Madam Arbour candidly share her reflections on the state of human rights today and new approaches to global challenges.
ICJC co-hosted several speaker events this year, working with other organizations to host captivating talks. Our special guests were:
- OSCE advisor Marwan Muhammad, on tackling Islamophobia
- Justice Richard Mosley of the Federal Court, speaking on national security
- Former diplomat Robert Fowler, relating the lessons he learned from being held captive by Al Qaeda
- Ontario Court Justice Brent Knazan and lawyer Heather Neun, presenting a report on the risks faced by human rights defenders in Colombia
- Patricia Kosseim and Daniel Caron of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, discussing the implementation of national security legislation and implications for privacy
Fundraising Dinner Featuring New York Times bestseller Bill Browder
ICJC hosted Bill Browder at a sold-out dinner event in Toronto attended by over 100 guests. His acclaimed book, “Red Notice” tells the story of his experience as an international investor in Russia, where he encountered corruption and cronyism firsthand; his lawyer was murdered for exposing corruption. Ever since, Browder has been an outspoken critic of authoritarianism in Russia, and an advocate for the rule of law and human rights. His compelling presentation was followed by a thought-provoking discussion moderated by ICJC Board member, the Hon. Ian Binnie.
Building the ICJ Canada network and ensuring sustainability
The exciting activities and events we’ve undertaken over the past year have been made possible through huge amounts of largely volunteer effort. We are focused on ensuring our organization remains active and sustainable in the long term, and are prioritizing fundraising.
We are also enthusiastic about involving the next generation of jurists in our work. We have identified representatives from law faculties across the country, and look forward to growing an engaged student network.
ICJC, in conjunction with the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa, invite you to attend this important and timely event, featuring a presentation by Marwan Muhammad, Advisor, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 4 to 6 p.m.
University of Ottawa, Fauteux Hall (57 Louis Pasteur Private) – FTX570
Magna Carta and its impact here, followed by the launch of the Observatory on National Security Measures, and a special ceremony to award the Tarnopolsky Prize to the Honourable Louise Arbour.
Location: The Quebec Court of Appeal (Ernest Cormier building)
Date: November 5, 2-5pm
Crédit : 3h training with the Quebec Bar Association
Cost, including cocktail:
- FREE for members (please sign up as a member before registering for the event)
- 75$ for non-members
- $20 for non-member students
Please note that the majority of this event will take place in French, and translation will not be available.
CLICK HERE to register! As space is limited, we ask that all attendees register in advance.
Click "Read more" below to view the program (French only).
ICJ Canada invites you to an evening with New York Times bestselling author Bill Browder. This dinner event will feature a talk by Mr. Browder about his recent, highly acclaimed book, Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice, a real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. The evening will be moderated by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie.
October 27, 2015
University Club, 380 University Avenue
Tickets are $275 per guest, in support of ICJ Canada.
You are welcome to purchase a table that seats ten people.
Charitable receipts will be provided for $200 of the cost for each individual.
For more of Bill Browder, watch his interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria here.
We hope you will join us on October 27.
"This indispensable look at the brutal realities of the Putin regime is of even greater relevance thanks to Bill Browder’s unique expertise and personal experience inside the belly of the beast."
– Garry Kasparov, Chess Grandmaster and author of How Life Imitates Chess
"A riveting account of Browder’s journey through the early years of Russian capitalism….Begins as a bildungsroman and ends as Greek tragedy…. ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ Magnitsky tells Browder, in the book’s most memorable line. Perhaps not, but they do have inspiring ones."
– The Washington Post
Former Ambassador Robert Fowler, one of Canada’s most distinguished diplomats, presented a riveting talk at the University of Ottawa on June 29th, 2015. The event was organized by ICJ Canada, along with the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development, University of Ottawa.
Professor Mendes, President of ICJ Canada, introduced Ambassador Fowler as a dominant force in Canadian foreign affairs who experienced a most devastating life-threatening event. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, acting as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Niger, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, becoming the highest ranked UN official ever held captive. In his presentation, Ambassador Fowler related how, along with his colleague Louis Guay, he lived, slept and ate with his captors for nearly five months, gaining rare first-hand insight into the motivations of the world’s most feared terror group. Ambassador Fowler discussed how his capture, release and subsequent media appearances have helped shed new light on foreign policy and security issues as we enter the second decade of the “War on Terror” and a new understanding of the so called “clash of civilizations”. The presentation was followed be a lively discussion moderated Professor Mendes with the 60 participants from the government, civil society, the diplomatic community and the legal profession.
Ambassador Fowler's book, A Season in Hell, is the compelling story of his captivity, told in his own words.
On July 21, 2015, ICJ Canada, in collaboration with the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development and the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa along with the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, Quebec held private reception and viewing of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest at the Museum.
The Magna Carta remains a relevant and revered document, 800 years after England’s King John affixed his seal to it in 1215. This celebrated historical document, together with the Charter of the Forest, laid out key precepts that lay the foundations of democratic societies in Canada and around the world today — including the principle that no one is above the law, the foundations of the rule of law that include rights such as freedom from detention without cause and trial by jury; and protection of the common good and the some of the earliest enunciations of the rights of women. The most well known parts of the Great Charter included the following:
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled or in any other way destroyed, nor will we proceed with force against him, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay, right or justice.” …Magna Carta 1215 Due Process of Law (Chapter 39,40)
Over 80 participants including judges of the Federal Court, lawyers, government officials and the general public along with ICJ Canada members enjoyed presentations on the modern day legacy of the Magna Carta by distinguished speakers before viewing the historic document. Speakers included Julia Nolan, Head Foreign Policy, British High Commission, Paul Crampton, Chief Justice, Federal Court of Canada, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Dean, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa, Bianca Gendreau, Manager, Contemporary Canada and the World, Museum of History and Professor Errol P. Mendes, President ICJ Canada. Professor Mendes encouraged those attending to join ICJ Canada and participate in its key initiatives and objectives.
It is hoped that there will be similar events organized by ICJ Canada members to celebrate the Great Charter across the country as the document travels to Toronto and Western Canada.
“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled or in any other way destroyed, nor will we proceed with force against him, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay, right or justice.” …Magna Carta 1215 Due Process of Law (Chapter 39,40)
The Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development and the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in collaboration with the International Commission of Jurists, Canadian Section, along with the Canadian Museum of History are pleased to co-host a private reception and viewing of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest. All members of ICJ Canada are welcome to attend and to invite their colleagues.
The Magna Carta remains a relevant and revered document, 800 years after England’s King John affixed his seal to it in 1215. This celebrated historical document, together with the Charter of the Forest, laid out key precepts that lay the foundations of democratic societies in Canada and around the world today — including the principle that no one is above the law, the foundations of the rule of law that include rights such as freedom from detention without cause and trial by jury; and protection of the common good and the some of the earliest enunciations of the rights of women.
Speakers at this event include Julia Nolan, Head Foreign Policy, British High Commission; The Honourable Paul Crampton, Chief Justice, Federal Court of Canada; and Professor Errol P. Mendes, President, ICJ Canada.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Magna Carta Canada Exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History
Voyageur Salon, 100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Québec K1A 0M8
Paid parking is available onsite. Visit the Museum’s website for complete details.
RSVP required - Space is limited and registration is required. Online registration is now open.
We look forward to seeing you!
Robert Fowler has had a distinguished career as a Canadian diplomat and public servant. In addition to serving as Canada's ambassador to the United Nations ('95-2000) and to Italy (2000-'06), he has also been foreign policy advisor to three prime ministers. Robert was also the Deputy Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister's Personal Representative for Africa.
For decades, Robert was a dominant force in Canadian foreign affairs. In one heart-stopping minute, all of that changed. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, acting as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Niger, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, becoming the highest ranked UN official ever held captive.
Along with his colleague Louis Guay, Fowler lived, slept and ate with his captors for nearly five months, gaining rare first-hand insight into the motivations of the world’s most feared terror group. Fowler’s capture, release and subsequent media appearances have helped shed new light on foreign policy and security issues as we enter the second decade of the “War on Terror.” His book, A Season in Hell, is Fowler’s compelling story of his captivity, told in his own words. It is also a startlingly frank discussion about the state of a world redefined by clashing civilizations.
The presentation and following discussion is organized by Errol Mendes, President of ICJ Canada and law professor at the University of Ottawa in partnership with the University’s Centre for Continuing Education and its Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development.
This event will be held on Monday, June 29, from 5-7pm in Ottawa on the University campus, in Desmarais Hall Room 12102. This event is free to attend, but attendees are requested to register online, as space is limited.