I’m David Crossin and I have the privilege of serving as president of the Law Society in 2016. Throughout the year, I plan to use this blog to talk about the work of the Law Society and about topics of interest to the public and the legal community.
I thought I’d start the year by addressing what is a matter of importance to everyone in Canada — the provisions of the Anti-Terrorist Act (2015), which most of us know as Bill C-51. As part of our objective to uphold and protect the public interest of all Canadians, the Law Society raised concerns regarding several aspects of Bill C-51 in a submission to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in March 2015. The Law Society was particularly concerned about the amendments to the Canadian Security Intelligence Services Act that permitted CSIS officials to apply for judicial authorization to violate the freedoms guaranteed by the Charter in the course of taking measures to prevent threats to the security of Canada.
I am encouraged by the news that the new Liberal government pledged to revisit Bill C-51. In November of last year, Past-President Ken Walker, QC reminded the government of our concerns in a letter to the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice. As part of the work of the Law Society in 2016, I plan to ensure we follow up with the new government to ensure appropriate changes are made that will preserve the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens guaranteed in the Charter and maintain the rule of law.