My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Now, these women are nuts....

When women talk about 'different conceptions of equality', we know that means more power/rights to women, no?
A group of female lawyers have formed the Women’s Court of Canada to rewrite key Supreme Court of Canada decisions from a feminist perspective in hopes of ending what they call a recent neglect of equality rights.

“The goal is to spur a debate about what equality means and to do that in a very concrete way, not in an overly abstract academic way,” says University of Toronto law professor and WCC co-founder Denise Réaume.

“We have the impression that the way equality jurisprudence has gone in the last few years was, in a way, making the debate shut down. People were getting pessimistic about the prospects for getting anywhere with equality litigation, so people were starting to just shut up about it. We thought this is too important for people to just shut up about it. People have to keep talking about what equality can and should mean.”

The WCC came out of discussions a few years ago at a conference of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, says Réaume, where a group of some 30 female lawyers were pondering the future of equality law.

At a dinner meeting, “all of a sudden somebody said, ‘You know, we could do a better job of this than the Supreme Court is doing,’” says Réaume, who teaches tort law and discrimination law. “It was something said in frustration, and not really that seriously, but it kind of stuck with everybody.”

The off-the-cuff remark received further discussion the following morning at the conference, and the group decided that rewriting entire SCC cases “might be a way of really engaging with equality issues at a deeper level,” says Réaume, who adds the hope is the rewritten judgments will appeal to a wider audience than academic articles would.

A few of the women at the LEAF conference volunteered to write a few of the cases, and the idea continued to catch fire, with several other female lawyers jumping on board to participate

The WCC is now made up of academics, activists, and litigators. Its first set of judgments has been published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. Their publication was celebrated earlier this month during International Women’s Week at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. The schools held a reception and symposium under the theme “rewriting equality.”

The project is funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Law Foundation of Ontario, and the federal Department of Justice. The group says it is guided by Oscar Wilde’s statement that, “The only duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.”

Avvy Go, a Toronto lawyer and Law Society of Upper Canada bencher who is writing a WCC case, says the group is a reaction to its members’ disappointment in the way women’s equality issues have been handled by the courts in the past five to 10 years.

“There seems to be a regression of the equality rights in terms of the Charter of Rights jurisprudence,” she says. “The courts seem to be showing more and more deference to the government of Canada; they are allowing some questionable laws to be left unchallenged.”

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law co-editor Janet Mosher, who is an Osgoode professor, says the initiative dovetails with her publication’s goals.

“It creates the opportunity to open conversations about different conceptions of equality,” she says. “It creates a written record of some of those ideas. There’s lots of academic work about equality, and I think one of the really significant contributions is to put those alternative conceptions into the form of judgments, to show the way alternative conceptions of equality can actually shape the judicial decision itself.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, why not hand Suzuki a bunch of dough to rewrite SCC decisions to make the court greener?

Or the radical anti-racist groups a load to rewrite decisions?

This is more proof of leftist legal activism is elitist and largely ignored by mainstream.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now hold on. On the face of it the knee-jerk reaction to this story is to dismiss what they're doing as political and underhanded but there might be more to it. As usual we don't get the whole story in the MSM... just the most sensationalistic bytes. The question I have is exactly what legislation are they complaining about? What does one of their "rewritten" decisions look like compared to the original? I think it's entirely possible that they MAY have a point if the decisions were written in a gender-biased way. That being said my gut feeling is that the decisions were likely written to be as equal and inclusive as possible and these feminist types are taking a book out of Quebec's play book and wanting MORE than equal rights. We're women... we're MORE equal than men.

But all that said I'd be interested to see one of these rewrites. At best it'd expose some inherent inequalities in the system that nobody likely would have a problem addressing. At worst it'd be good for a laugh and a pat on the head.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous herringchoker said...

Shurly they are being ironic. After all, if they looked into it, they would note that the primary author of those decisions they find so odious is none other than the Chief Justice herself, the Rt Hon Beverly McLaughin.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radical feminists are in abundance in Canada's law schools.

You can sure as heck bet that if this were just about any other group, these feminists would be predicting dire consequences and unaccountable manipulation etc.

The old feminist double standard.

And dont call me Shurley! ;)

5:59 PM  

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