Posted Jun. 14:
Regarding your item on judicial activism in Canada
and the court's striking down of the "spouse in the house" welfare rule
(May 31-Jun. 2), which
cites a column by Christina Blizzard: First off, Christina Blizzard is
one of the most partisan pro-right writers in Ontario in the mainstream
media, and heavily favors the current provincial government. Typically,
it's not what she says, but what she omits. I admit to not having the time
to read her article, however, for a good alternate opinion, it would be
worth reading another column from the Toronto Sun written perhaps
a week earlier by Marianne Meed Ward on the same topic. I wish I could
find a link for it...
This "central plank" of welfare reform is actually a very old rule which
was originally abolished in the late 1980s. Everyone knew
that it would not stand up to constitutional scrutiny. Why? Because the
law is applied unevenly:
1. Same-sex spouses are not included;
2. The classification of same-as-married does not agree with
3. The classification of being a "spouse-in-the-house" is highly
Co-tenants found themselves being classified as spouses, yet were unable
to claim their sudden spouse as a dependent under other laws.
What was the most silly of all this was that a progressive ruling which
allowed a welfare recipient to sublet part of their apartment without having
to declare the income (unless the welfare rent supplement amount + the
rental income amount exceed the total rent on the unit, I believe), easily
led to single mothers suddenly having a new spouse if they sublet a room
to a male. They don't even have to have intimate relations to get classified
as spouses. If the tenant so much as babysits, or picks the kids up from
daycare here or there, suddenly he's a spouse-in-the-house, and all of
his financial details are the government's business.
The rule is really an excellent example of assumed guilt, which plagues
welfare recipients everywhere. I agree that people can and do abuse
the system, but this rule as defined and applied is unfair. I am
not a lawyer, or a welfare advocate. But the amount of mis- and disinformation
on this issue has astounded me. If only my government was as zealous tracking
As for judicial activism in Canada - often its presence is in the eyes
of the beholder. Anyway, in Canada, the judiciary does not have the final
say on constitutional issues. The various legislatures and the federal
Parliament do as they can enact the constitution's notwithstanding clause.
-- Mark Francis, Orillia, Ont.
After having read your April 2002 Archive page, I was prompted to write.
The story (Apr. 19-21)
about Daniel Hannant suing the - guess who - bat company sounds so simple.
I wonder what your spin would be on this story if your child (or one close
to you) was in that position. Maybe you could have a little more compassion
for a family who agonized for days, waiting to find out if their son would
live or die, and has now been humiliated (thanks to several news columns)
on top of dealing with Daniel's injury. They don't use these bats in the
major leagues, why should they be used in school? It amazes me that writers
are so quick to type up a newsy tidbit without searching for the facts.
If you had done so, you might have realized that this lawsuit was not about
money, nor about warning labels, but about the safety of the next pitcher
who has no reaction time due to a specific type of bat. When all is said
and done, you might also consider that you are slamming a teenager with
your columns, a young man who was a good baseball player, who worked hard
to get over a serious head injury, and who does not deserve the harsh criticism
that he is receiving. -- Cathy Ervin
You discuss the slogan of a drunk driving defense lawyer, "Friends
don't let friends plead guilty" (May
13). It probably came from this
website. -- Cole Thompson, Senior News Producer, Court
I have read with interest your recent report (May
10-12) on the Audubon Quartet dispute. You seem to have obtained
most of your information from defendant Clyde Shaw or persons close to
him. For a broader perspective on the facts of this case including
facts you may not have been told, I invite you to look at my
web site. I think some of its highlights regarding the defendants'
conduct are very much in tune with the general theme of your website.
-- Michael Renardy, Blacksburg, Va.
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