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Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. R. v. Nur, 2015 SCC 15

[1] Gun-related crime poses grave danger to Canadians. Parliament has therefore chosen to prohibit some weapons outright, while restricting the possession of others. The Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, imposes severe penalties for violations of these laws.

[2] Section 95(2)(a) imposes mandatory minimum sentences for the offence of possessing prohibited or restricted firearms when the firearm is loaded or kept with readily accessible ammunition (s. 95(1)) — three years for a first offence and five years for a second or subsequent offence.

2. Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City), 2015 SCC 16

[1] The state is required to act in a manner that is respectful of every person’s freedom of conscience and religion. This is a fundamental right that is protected by the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms, CQLR, c. C‑12 (“Quebec Charter”), and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Canadian Charter”). Its corollary is that the state must remain neutral in matters involving this freedom. The interplay between freedom of conscience and religion, on the one hand, and this duty of neutrality, on the other, is sometimes a delicate one.

[2] The respondents, the City of Saguenay and its mayor, would like to continue the recitation of a prayer at the start of the municipal council’s public meetings. In their view, the issue is one of respect for their freedom of conscience and religion. The appellants, the Mouvement laïque québécois (“MLQ”) and Alain Simoneau, are asking that the respondents cease this practice, which, they submit, interferes in a discriminatory manner with Mr. Simoneau’s freedom of conscience and religion. They demand that the City and its official comply with the state’s duty of neutrality.

3. Paradis Honey Ltd. v. Canada, 2015 FCA 89

[120] The difference between private parties and public authorities matters not. For reasons never explained, Canadian courts have followed the same analytical framework for each: we examine the duty of care, standard of care, remoteness, proximity, foreseeability, causation and damages.

[121] To make this analytical framework suitable for determining the liability of public authorities, courts have tried gamely to adapt it. And then, dissatisfied with the adaptations, they have adapted the adaptations, and then have adapted them even more, to no good end.

The most-consulted French-language decision was Mouvement laïque québécois c. Saguenay (Ville), 2015 CSC 16

[1] L’État est tenu d’agir dans le respect de la liberté de conscience et de religion de chacun. C’est un droit fondamental que protègent la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec, RLRQ, c. C-12 (« Charte québécoise »), et la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés (« Charte canadienne »). Son corollaire veut que l’État demeure neutre en la matière. L’interaction entre cette liberté de conscience et de religion et ce devoir de neutralité est parfois délicate.

[2] Les intimés, la Ville de Saguenay et son maire, désirent continuer la récitation d’une prière au début des séances publiques du conseil municipal. Pour eux, il en va du respect de leur liberté de conscience et de religion. Les appelants, le Mouvement laïque québécois (« MLQ ») et Alain Simoneau, demandent plutôt qu’ils cessent cette pratique qui, selon eux, attente de façon discriminatoire à la liberté de conscience et de religion de ce dernier. Ils exigent que la Ville et son représentant respectent l’obligation de neutralité qui incombe à l’État.

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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