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Ontario's top court allowing rare livestream of carbon-price legal fight

TORONTO — Interested Canadians will have a rare opportunity this week to watch Ontario’s top court sort out a federal-provincial legal battle over carbon pricing.

It will be the first time in more than a decade cameras are being allowed in the Court of Appeal to livestream an event.

“Typically cameras are not permitted in courtrooms,” said Jacob Bakan, special counsel in the office of the province’s chief justice. “The court is making an exception for the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.”

The case, beginning on Monday, pits the Ontario government and supporters against the federal government and supporters over Ottawa’s imposition of a charge on gasoline, heating fuel and other pollutants as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario maintains the federal law is unconstitutional.

In an order last week, Justice James MacPherson gave the CBC permission to put up to five cameras in the courtroom. The livestream will be available to other media and on the court’s own website.

Off-limits are any private chats between justices, lawyers and their clients, or court staff, or shots of documents. No camera is permitted on the dais or behind the justices.

While rare, cameras in Appeal Court have been allowed in the past. In 2007, the CBC webcast the hearing concerning the conviction of Steven Truscott.

“Cameras were also permitted in courtrooms for a pilot project in 2008 conducted by the Ministry of the Attorney General,” Bakan said. “During that pilot project, 21 cases were webcast.”

The webcast can be accessed starting Monday at http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/

The Canadian Press

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The information in this article is both incomplete and inaccurate.
• The First Report by a blue-ribbon panel was in 2006:
https://ciaj-icaj.ca/wp-content/uploads/documents/import/RT/R25.pdf?id=579&1535086938
• Pilot Project 2007
• Second report 2008. It came with an overwhelming success and recommended
All of those surveyed agreed that cameras should be continued in the Court of Appeal and 11 of the 13 participants thought that their use should be expanded to other Ontario Courts.
The pilot project tested the key elements of the Panel’s Recommendation re Cameras in the Courtroom and justified an amendement to the Courts of Justice Act to permit cameras in the Court of Appeal
The questions are:
1. Why this important report was not made public and concealed, you need to go through freedom of information to obtain it?
2. Why despite the “overwhelming success” of cameras in the Courtroom, the unanimous recommendation to open the court was not implemented, against the public interests.
• March 20, 2019, I launched a constitutional challenge to s.136(1) (a) (i), (b), (c) and the punishment under subsection 136 (4)of the CJA and I am awaiting the COA decision
All Canadians must have the right to video record their legal proceedings and be allowed to disseminate. I am requesting that the COA declares these provisions with no effect in order for all Ontarians to gain access to these materials as a constitutional right that is guaranteed to every Canadian.
Presently, Canadians have to sign an undertaking designed to silence the public and should be alien to the tradition of free and democratic nations such as Canada. The ban imposed in this undertaking based on the impugned subsections 136(1) (a) (i), (b), (c) and the punishment under Ss. 136 (4) infringes and denies rights guaranteed by section 2(b), 7 and 12 of the Charter and cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society as required by section 1 of the Charter.
S. 136 (4) of the CJA is a liberty infringement. It threatens the public with unfair steep fine and/or imprisonment if they do not comply with an order that is arbitrary which is evidence of a totalitarian and oppressive regime. It shifts the focus away from an illegitimate publication ban that infringes on individual’s constitutional rights to an alleged offence where in fact there is none. It is preposterous and unjust to require an innocent person to pay any fine at all, let alone a grossly prohibitive fine of $25,000.00 and/or serve six months imprisonment for exercising a right guaranteed by the Charter.

April 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm