Wait­ing on Lib­er­als to re­in­state CCPC

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Dur­ing the re­cent fed­eral elec­tion cam­paign, the Lib­eral Party com­mit­ted it­self to re­in­stat­ing the Court Chal­lenges Pro­gram of Canada (CCPC) af­ter the Harper Gov­ern­ment abol­ished it in Septem­ber 2006.

Prior to that, the CCPC, sup­ported by a na­tional Board of Direc­tors and two in­de­pen­dent pan­els of ex­perts, a Lan­guage Panel and an Equal­ity Rights Panel, all serv­ing on a vol­un­tary ba­sis, pro­vided sup­port and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for in­di­vid­ual test cases of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance be­fore the courts of Canada.

It sup­ported cases that im­pacted the ad­vance­ment of hu­man rights in Canada, en­sur­ing that Canada’s most vul­ner­a­ble and his­tor­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged groups had ac­cess to the courts and a voice in de­fend­ing their rights un­der the Cana­dian Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms.

Af­ter 2006, a Lan­guage Rights Sup­port Pro­gram (LRSP) was cre­ated to pro­mote and en­sure fund­ing for con­sti­tu­tional lan­guage rights cases. Nonethe­less, the CCPC con­tin­ued its work in clos­ing ex­ist­ing files. A group of com­mu­nity-based vol­un­teers with a va­ri­ety of back­grounds and ex­per­tise and a small part-time staff con­tin­ued to tire­lessly sup­port Equal­ity Rights cases as they pro­ceeded through the courts and to rec­om­mend fur­ther fund­ing to the Depart­ment of Cana­dian Her­itage. Nat­u­rally, no new Equal­ity Right cases were con­sid­ered for fund­ing.

Most re­cently, the Board of Direc­tors of the CCPC con­tacted both Her­itage Min­is­ter Joly and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Wil­son-Ray­bould to of­fer our sup­port and as­sis­tance in es­tab­lish­ing a mod­ern Court Chal­lenges Pro­gram. We look for­ward to hear­ing from them in the New Year. Linda Jones, Chair of CCPC Board of Direc­tors

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