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Friday Brief

The Friday Brief: Managing Editor’s must-read items from this week

Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 4:14 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
Here are my picks for the top stories we published this week.

Ottawa proposes legislative changes to repeal some mandatory minimum sentences
Members of Canada’s criminal law bar are largely welcoming proposed legislative reforms announced by federal Justice Minister David Lametti that would repeal some mandatory minimum sentences for drug and firearm-related offences, make conditional sentence orders more available and encourage greater use of diversion programs.

No turning back from pandemic’s changes to justice system: CBA report
When transmitting the first message to officially open the Baltimore to Washington telegraph line, Samuel Morse included a simple statement: “what hath God wrought?” The same question has likely passed through the minds of many people over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools and forced many people into makeshift home offices.

Quebec Civil Code discriminates against trans people, Superior Court rules
Quebec, once on the forefront of trans rights, is now joining the ranks of most Canadian jurisdictions after Quebec Superior Court declared unconstitutional several articles of the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ) that discriminated against trans and non-binary people.

Appeal Court OKs race-based argument in granting intervener status in drug appeal
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision granting the Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA) intervener status in a significant drug law case later this month reflects the increasing openness of judges to consider societal factors in criminal law such as anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, say lawyers involved in the cases.

Three reasons why lawyers should engage with climate change
In their column, Meredith James and Aladdin Diakun write “At the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) annual general meeting on Feb. 17, 2021, a Climate Leadership Resolution will be up for debate. Here are the top three reasons why lawyers should care about climate-related risks and opportunities as we move toward a net-zero emissions economy.”

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer’s Daily.