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Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Canada is sending up to 500 observers to Ukraine to monitor the fairness of the coming presidential election. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Canada is sending up to 500 observers to Ukraine to monitor the fairness of the coming presidential election. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Harper v. the Supreme Court: Five recent losses for the PM Add to ...

Canadian Press

Senate reform

In the Matter of a Reference by the Governor in Council concerning reform of the Senate, April 25: The Conservative government asked the top court whether the federal Parliament could make the Senate an elected chamber, impose term limits or abolish it all together.

Ruling: 8-0 that elections and term limits would require the consent of seven provinces, representing half the country's population, and abolition would require the unanimous consent of provinces.
Canadian Press

Pre-sentencing credit

R v. Summers, April 11: Under the Truth in Sentencing Act, the government tried to stop judges from routinely giving extra credit to offenders for the time they serve in custody before sentencing.

Ruling: 7-0 that judges have discretion under the act to routinely give 1.5 days credit for every day served.

Globe and Mail

Prisoner transfer

R v. Khela, March 27: A prisoner wanted to challenge his transfer to a maximum-security jail from a medium-security one. The federal government said he had to go through a slow process that involved the Federal Court.
Ruling: 8-0 that prisoners' ancient right to habeas corpus gives them prompt access to superior courts in whatever province they are in.

Reuters

Justice Nadon

Reference re Supreme Court Act, March 21: Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Justice Marc Nadon to the court, to fill a Quebec vacancy. The question was whether, as a judge on the Federal Court of Appeal, he was eligible to represent Quebec.
Ruling: 6-1 that he was ineligible because he did not have the special qualifications required for Quebec judges on the Supreme Court.

Canadian Press

Early parole

R v. Whaling, March 20: The government (Justice Minister Peter MacKay pictured above) took away access to early parole from non-violent, first-time federal offenders, including those already sentenced.

Ruling: 8-0 that the law must not be applied retroactively.

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