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Derek James From

Derek James From is a staff lawyer with the Canadian Constitution Foundation.


Continuing Ontario's Campaign Against Vaping Will Cost Lives

The Making Healthier Choices Act -- true Orwellian doublespeak -- treats vaping as if it was as harmful as smoking. This imaginative warping of the facts requires the province to ignore the growing scientific evidence that whether inhaled directly or second-hand, vaping has not been strongly associated with the negative health effects of inhaling combusted tobacco products.
03/15/2016 05:07 EDT

These Metal Musicians Were Jailed In Iran For Blasphemy

Now, you may not like Confess's music. You may not like that they've chosen to express themselves through a loud and vociferous medium. But that's just a matter of taste, not of principle. Consider this fundamental tenet of a free society: it is too dangerous to grant a monopoly over expression to any government.
02/17/2016 12:33 EST

This Could Be Calgary's Most Expensive Parking Ticket

On January 13, the City of Calgary sold Lukas Pesut's truck after impounding it 36 days prior. The regulations of Alberta's Traffic Safety Act permit the City to deem a vehicle abandoned after 72 hours and then sell it 15 days later after giving notice by ordinary mail to the owner's last known address.
02/16/2016 10:49 EST
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Is Affordable Internet As Important As Affordable Housing?

Whether it's Internet access or affordable housing -- the same problem presents itself. Government interference drives up prices while constraining the problem solving power of a free market. Consumer advocacy groups should be fighting for less interference, fewer regulations, and a less powerful bureaucracy. The solution is never more government. It's less.
02/11/2016 11:57 EST
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Canadians Deserve To Drink Beer Without Borders

On October 29, the Calgary Herald reported that big changes would be coming that will affect craft brewing in the province. Brewers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and B.C. would receive favoured treatment while beer originating from outside of these provinces will be taxed 20 to 30 per cent more than suds originating from within.
11/06/2015 12:43 EST

Calgary Should Butt-Out the Vaping Ban

The narrative concocted to support this ban is a sham. Vaping is not a public health crisis. Aside from a handful of deeply flawed studies that have been discredited, the accumulated evidence is becoming clearer and clearer--vaping is orders of magnitude less harmful than smoking is. And it's hardly more of a nuisance than wearing an excessive amount of perfume.
07/17/2015 01:07 EDT

Legislators Shouldn't Decide What's Best for Children, Parents Should

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that Loyola High School, a private Catholic high school for boys in Quebec, should be permitted to teach a portion of the province's mandated Ethics and Religious Culture course from a Catholic perspective. Compelling parents to do to their children that which they deeply oppose is immoral, even if most of us believe that the state's goals are wise and right.
03/20/2015 06:04 EDT

Don't Be Surprised that the Police Use Steroids

Generally speaking, steroid users are not impressionable youth--they are young adults fully capable of making informed decisions about their own health. Steroid users are not devious cheaters--they are not involved with organized sport and are not bound by the rules of any sporting body. Steroid users are not less intelligent--they are professionals with more than average education. And steroid users bear little resemblance to addicts--they are seeking to improve their health, not feeding an addiction.
03/10/2015 01:53 EDT
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Canada's Anti-Spam Law Is a Recipe For the Abuse of Power

Here's the full depth of the problem with CASL. When Parliament enacted this confusing and ambiguous legislation, it relinquished its legislative power to those regulators charged with enforcing the law. And since those same regulators have the power to directly levy enormous penalties, CASL permits bureaucrats to play the roles of legislator, police, and judge simultaneously. This combination has no place in a free and democratic society like our own.
08/21/2014 09:15 EDT

Canada's Anti-Spam Law Punishes Charities

Proponents of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) have touted it as a giant leap for economic efficiency in e-commerce by making spam illegal. And CASL does list the promotion of "efficiency" as its purpose. But contrary to the good results this efficiency may bring, CASL could have a decimating effect on charities. Here's how.
07/02/2014 12:56 EDT

Canada's Hypocritical Blasphemy Law

Most Canadians probably do not know what blasphemy is, let alone that publishing blasphemous materials is still a criminal offence in this country. But there is some irony here, because the Canadian government publicly defends the freedom to publish cartoons that mock a religious figure and looks abroad to protect religious minorities from oppression while at the same time punishing that at home.
10/01/2013 05:49 EDT

Alberta's Municipal Anti-Bullying Laws are Deeply Flawed

One of the easiest ways for a municipal politician to keep his constituents happy is to give them what they want. Sometimes this means enacting popular yet dubious bylaws. Perhaps this is the impetus behind the Town of Airdrie's push to amend its Public Behaviour Bylaw to prohibit bullying. After all, nearly everyone will rally behind politicians who enact laws to protect children from harm, regardless of those laws' faults.
09/26/2013 06:06 EDT

Is This Bylaw the Equivalent of Slavery?

Richard Hykawy believes he is being treated unconstitutionally by the City of Winnipeg and is asking the courts to vindicate his rights. He plans to argue in court that a bylaw forcing him to mow the city's grass on the boulevard surrounding his home amounts to forced labour, or in his words, slavery. It would be unwise to disregard Mr. Hykawy's argument merely because he has couched it in incendiary language. Compelling someone to work without compensation is one of the hallmark characteristics of slavery.
09/20/2013 05:31 EDT

There's Nothing Exploitative About Paying for Blood Donations

On June 27, 2013, the federal government released a summary report of its consultations with stakeholders regarding payment for plasma donations. Right on cue, the union representing employees at Canadian Blood Services proclaimed that safety will somehow be jeopardized if plasma is collected by anyone other than a public facility. Other opponents have attempted to sway public opinion by arguing that payment for plasma is somehow exploitative. Both criticisms are smoke-and-mirrors. I know from experience.
07/03/2013 05:05 EDT

Do Free Speech Laws Favour Lesbians Over Christians?

Amateur comedian Guy Earle is forced to pay a former audience member $15,000 after he ripped into the woman's sexuality. While in Alberta, a case that involved a metal band and a Christian was tossed. The two cases serve as a reminder that human rights laws only protect certain people.Because Pardy is a lesbian, her feelings are protected by the law. As a Christian, Johnson's are not.
07/03/2013 01:02 EDT