NEWS

A list of the federal government's recent Supreme Court of Canada losses

02/04/2015 03:52 EST | Updated 04/06/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court has unanimously struck down Canada's ban on doctor-assisted death, a practice opposed by the Conservative government. The court, of late, has repeatedly ruled against federal government arguments on a variety of issues. Here's a look:

Feb. 6, 2015: The court unanimously rejects as unconstitutional the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to mentally competent but suffering and "irremediable" patients, giving Parliament a year to draft new legislation. The judgment says the current ban infringes on all three of the life, liberty and security of person provisions in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does not limit physician-assisted death to those suffering a terminal illness.

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April 25, 2014: The court rules the Harper government cannot use Parliament alone to impose Senate term limits, allow consultative elections for senatorial candidates or abolish the upper chamber. The justices hold that the first two changes would need the consent of seven provinces representing half the country's population. Abolition would require provincial unanimity.

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April 11, 2014: The government's Truth in Sentencing Act sought to stop judges from routinely giving inmates extra credit for time spent in jail before custody. The court ruled judges have the discretion to allow up to 1.5 days credit.

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March 20, 2014: The court rules that retroactive changes to parole eligibility are unconstitutional. The Conservative changes, which lengthened the amount of time a non-violent, first-time offender had to spend behind bars before being eligible for parole, were deemed by the court to be a form of double jeopardy.

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March 21, 2014: The court rules 6-1 that semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon, named to the Supreme Court by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in September 2013, is ineligible to sit. They found he did not meet the special criteria laid out for candidates from Quebec.

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Dec. 20, 2013: The court struck down the country's laws prohibiting brothels, streetwalking and living off the avails of prostitution. The Harper government had strongly argued in favour of the laws. The 9-0 court decision gave the government a year to enact a new statute, which resulted in Bill C-36 being enacted last November. Many legal experts expect the new law will also face a constitutional challenge.

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Sept. 30, 2011: The court rules that Vancouver's controversial Insite safe-injection facility can stay open. The Harper government tried to close it by denying it a renewed exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The court found that denial contravened the principles of fundamental justice and ordered the exemption renewed immediately.

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