Interference with independent institutions

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

From the moment of Israel (“Izzy”) Asper’s personal initiative to create a Canadian museum dedicated to the Holocaust, to the inauguration of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in 2014, the CMHR has been the focus of debate, dispute and dissent. This case study focuses on the controversy surrounding allegations of interference with curatorial independence of the CMHR by the Harper government between 2008 and 2014, and on the unique vulnerability of ‘ideas museums’ and human rights to instrumentalization by state interests.

National Energy Board

A series of changes to the NEB Act in 2012 limited the scope of the National Energy Board’s project reviews and public participation opportunities. The Board also exercised its discretionary authority to apply these new provisions in ways that effectively silenced many environmental and Indigenous peoples’ voices in these proceedings.

Marc Mayrand

Marc Mayrand

Marc Mayrand was pressured by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to interpret a law so as to prevent people from voting if they were wearing a veil, despite the fact that the law made no reference to such a prohibition and that the Chief Electoral Officer's power to modify the law is limited to e

Munir Sheikh

Munir Sheikh

In the summer of 2010, Munir Sheikh resigned as the head of Statistics Canada, claiming that Industry Minister Tony Clement had misrepresented Sheikh’s and Statistics Canada’s position on the mandatory long-form census.

Canadian Human Rights Commission and Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Harper government rolled back longstanding human rights protections in Canada by repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).[1] Section 13 prohibited speech inciting hatred of people based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.

Public Science

The previous federal Conservative government waged a systematic assault on public science. ​The assault included the natural and social sciences. It was not restricted to government scientists, but ran the full gamut of organizations connected to scientific research: government departments, at arms-length government funded organizations, organizations that funded other research, universities, NGOs and individual researchers who obtained grants through one of the funding agencies, and even included a UN convention conducting research relevant to climate change.

Federal Judicial Appointments

Chambers of the Supreme Court of Canada

An independent and impartial judiciary is a cornerstone of Canada’s constitutional democracy. However, the past decade has seen trends towards political judicial appointments and opaque appointments processes that threaten to undermine the judiciary’s role as protector of the rule of law and facilitator of a robust and diverse Canadian democracy.

Bill C-377: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act - requirements for labour organizations

Bill C-377: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act - requirements for labour organizations

UPDATE: 19 January 2017 - Liberal government’s election platform had included restoring fair and balanced labour laws that recognize the important role of labour unions in society. However conservative commentators continue to be critical and maintain their support for changes made in Bill C-377.

Refugee Access to Welfare Benefits

In October 2014, as part of its omnibus budget bill, the Conservative federal government proposed changes to the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (“FPFAA”), the legislation governing social assistance programs.

Canadian Citizenship (Bill C-24)

In June 2014, the Harper government amended the Citizenship Act, making citizenship in Canada harder to get and easier to lose. Key provisions of the amending legislation, which has already been approved by Parliament, will be coming into force at a later date. Under the new amendments, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted abroad of terrorism, treason, or spying, or who are or may have been part of an organization considered to be at war with Canada.