There is no shame in asking legal professionals for their help at the front end in drafting these bills. Extensive consultation with lawyers is crucial. The government seems to be relying less and less on lawyers in drafting bills. This is apparent in Bills C-75 and 51. Are these recent half-baked bills the government’s way of saying that they are more concerned with winning votes than passing laws that can survive Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) scrutiny? Apparently so.

At the time of writing, of the 30 federal cabinet ministers only eight have law degrees……This trend is not isolated to Canada. In a study conducted by professors at the law schools of Yale and Harvard, researchers found that the percentage of lawyers in the United States Congress has fallen drastically over the years with nearly 80 per cent being lawyers in the mid-19th century, to less than 60 per cent in the 1960s and less than 40 per cent in 2015. Compare that to 1890 when one out of every 265 lawyers were members of Congress and now the ratio is one in 6,000.

Lack of involvement at the front end will necessitate judicial invention to read down or declare these offensive laws to be of no force and effect. We are seeing this now with the remnants of Harper’s tough-on-crime laws from 2012. It has taken six years to clean up many mandatory minimum sentences. The tough-on-crime laws were ill-advised. Many still exist.

Published in the Lawyer’s Daily Crime Analysis June 15th, 2018: