Going for a walk by the house.



Nick Anderson Cartoon from 2014-08-22


I do not believe that Chopin will ever stop being my favourite composer.


9. The Executive Government and the Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

17. There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.

Constitution Act, 1867, sections 9 and 17 relating to the authority of the Queen.

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.


Remember the 2008 federal leaders’ debate featuring incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative Party of Canada), Stephane Dion (Liberal Party of Canada), Jack Layton (New Democratic Party), Gillles Duceppe (Bloc Québécois) and Elizabeth May (Green Party of Canada)? It was hosted by TVO The Agenda’s Steve Paikin.


Jean Chrétien on George Stoumboulopoulos Tonight, 3 Feb 2014.


This seems disturbingly the case.
Ht: affably-evil

And we’ll get guns too, and they will get bigger guns, and then we’ll get bigger guns…


This seems disturbingly the case.

Ht: affably-evil

And we’ll get guns too, and they will get bigger guns, and then we’ll get bigger guns…



APOD site - other Cat’s Paw Nebula pics:

1) Wide Angle: The Cat’s Paw Nebula by ESO, DSS2    Apr. 21, 2010

2) NGC 6334: The Cat’s Paw Nebula by T. A. Rector (U. Alaska), T. Abbott, NOAO, AURA, NSF    Mar. 4, 2008

3) The Cat’s Paw Nebula by Robert Gendler & Martin Pugh   Jun. 28, 2006

4) The Cat’s Paw Nebula by Bernd Flach-Wilken & Volker WEndel (Spiegelteam), 2002 Namibia trip

5) The Cat’s Paw Nebula by Jason Ware    Dec. 7, 1999

6) NGC 6334:The Bear Claw Nebula by Kathleen Kraemer et al (Boston U.), SPIREX    Apr. 6, 1999

(no explanation for the change from Bear Claw in April 1999 and Cat’s Paw later)



A portrait in blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a specialised medical imaging technique used to visualise blood vessels. Here, tangled white tubes represent the major blood vessels of the head, neck and upper thorax. Looking at the uppermost portion of the image, one can see the silhouette of the brain whilst the aortic arch takes the center bottom. All these vessels are hard at work beneath your skin, even as you read this post. 


Israel will hit back hard if more Gaza rocket attacks: PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that Israel will hit back hard if Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza resume, speaking just hours before the midnight expiry of a five-day ceasefire.

"We are ready for all scenarios… the army is ready to respond with force if the firing (of rockets) resumes," he said in a meeting with Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon in Ashdod, a statement said.

Netanyahu’s warning came as the clock ticked down to a midnight deadline in Gaza and as Palestinian and Israeli negotiators held crunch indirect talks in Cairo.

The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt more than a month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8, and that has killed 2,016 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

But Netanyahu said the offensive dubbed Operation Protective Edge, aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza and destroying Hamas’s attack tunnels, “will continue until its objective has been met… restoring calm and security” to Israel.


This album still has shock value. But this live BBC version is especially well put together.


McTeer v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONCA 578

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that the oath to the Queen, required by all persons over the age of 14 wishing to become citizens of Canada, is constitutional. The judgement was handed down after several appellants brought forward evidence that such an oath would violate their political opinion with backgrounds in republicanism, Rastafarianism and judaism.

The Oath

In accordance with section 24 of the Citizenship Act which requires a person to take an oath and section12(3) which requires the oath to be taken before a certificate of citizenship becomes effective, a person seeking citizenship is required to state the following oath in accordance with a schedule of the Citizenship Act;

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.

Only the following portion of the oath itself is being disputed in this case, “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.”

Violation of Sections 2(a), 2(b) and 15(1)

The appellants claim that the oath is a violation of their rights under section 2(a) freedom of conscience and religion, 2(b) freedom of expression and 15(1) equality of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The previous case was dismissed in the Ontario Superior Court on the grounds that there was no violation in the appellants freedom of religion or equality rights and, although there existed a violation to the appellants right to freedom of expression, it was justified under section 1 rights and freedoms in Canada. The case was appealed by the appellants on the grounds of their dismissal and the Attorney General of Canada cross-appealed the finding that the oath violations the appellants’ right to freedom of expression.

Interpretation of the Oath

The appellants’ claim represented a profound misunderstanding of the oath itself. The court maintained that there was no violation in the appellants’ freedom of expression on the grounds that the “plain meaning” of the oath presented by the appellants did not represent the historical, purpose and intention behind the oath. 

The court applied statutory interpretation in accordance with provisions from the Supreme Court through the approach adopted from E.A. Dreidger;

[T]he words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament.

In the recent Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, the Supreme Court of Canada adopted a “plain meaning” of the text because the majority held that the underlying purpose of the section was consistent with the plain meaning of the text;

Section 6 [of the Supreme Court Act] reflects the historical compromise that led to the creation of the Supreme Court. Just as the protection of minority language, religion and education rights were central considerations in the negotiations leading up to Confederation, the protection of Quebec through a minimum number of Quebec judges was central to the creation of this Court. A purposive interpretation of s. 6 must be informed by and not undermine that compromise.

The historical perspective of the oath in Canada starts where British rule begins on September 8, 1760 when Governor Vaudreuil surrendered New France to the British invasion force by the Articles of Capitulation. The colony became under British law which required an oath including anti-Catholic sentiments to be made to the King. In the passing of the Quebec Act, 1774 an oath which no longer made reference to the Protestant faith was adopted in Canada which recognized the religious freedoms of French Canadians. In the subsequent passing of the Constitution Act, 1791 several repeals concerning the powers and composition of the council were made to the Quebec Act, but amendments requiring an oath were not included. Furthermore, the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867 provides for a “Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom.” Under sections 9 and 17 of the Constitution Act, 1867 the authority of the monarch in Canada is defined;

9. The Executive Government and the Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

17. There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.

Section 91(25) of the Constitution Act, 1867 permitted legislation regarding “naturalization and aliens” however such laws could not be inconsistent with British law. Under the Statute of Westminster, 1931 the restrictions on repealing or amending pre-Confederation imperial statutes was removed. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of Canada has maintained in Reference re Secession of Quebec that the final vestiges of imperial rule and supremacy of British law in Canada were removed with the adoption of the Constitution Act, 1982. The court maintained in its ruling that such historical development of the Queen as a symbol in Canada would have to be considered when ruling on the interpretation of the oath itself.

The Ontario Justice found;

[50] I agree with the application judge’s comments. Viewing the oath to the Queen as an oath to an individual is disconnected from the reality of the Queen’s role in Canada today …

[51] However, as Canada developed as an independent federalist state, the conception of the Queen (commonly referred to as the Crown) evolved. Unlike the unitary role of the Crown at the height of the British Empire, its role in Canada is divided into three distinct roles. First, the Queen of Canada plays a legislative role in assenting to refusing assent to, or reserving bills of the provincial legislature or Parliament - a role that is performed through the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors. Second, the Queen of Canada is the head of executive authority pursuant to sections 9 and 12 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Third, the Queen of Canada is the personification of the State, i.e., with respect to Crown prerogatives and privileges: Laskin, at pp. 119-20 [The British Canadian Tradition In Canadian Law, 1969]. “The law and learning of Crown privileges and immunities came to the colonies as received or imposed English law, and through section 129 of the British North America Act [which continues the laws in force in Canada, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick at the date of Union] they were absorbed in the Canadian federation.” Laskin, at 120. Thus, English constitutional law, which had gradually subjected nearly all royal prerogative power to parliamentary sovereignty, made its way into Canada. Moreover, the Crown may for some purposes fall within provincial power under s. 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, and for other purposes fall within federal power under s. 91. For the purposes of Canadian federalism, the Crown therefore cannot be viewed as a single indivisible entity: Laskin, a p. 119. The Crown is “separate and divisible for each self-governing dominion or province or territory.”: R. v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, es part Indian Association of Alberta, [1982] Q.B. 892, at 917 (Eng. C.A.), per Lord Denning.

Freedom of Expression

The appellants argued that the oath violates their right to freedom of expression in two ways. First, that it compels them to convey a message which they disagree and second, they state that is contains their future expression by precluding them from working towards an abolition of the monarchy. In the previous case, the application judge saw a prima facie reason to hold the oath within the scope of guarantee in section 2(b) freedom of expression of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The application judge highlighted the fact that section 2(b) would include the right to refrain from expressing objective, uncontested facts. The only way to violate section 2(b) would be under the provisions of section 1 reasonable limits.

The Attorney General of Canada in this case cross-appealled the claim from the application judge that the oath was a violation of section 2(b). Arguing that the oath;

"does not deprive the appellants of a meaningful opportunity to express themselves; therefore, despite the finding that the oath is ‘forced expression,’ it does not violate section 2(b)."

The Ontario Justice found the following with respect to a violation of section 2(b);

[68] With respect, I disagree with the application judge’s conclusion that the appellants’ freedom of expression has been violated. For the reasons that follow, I would hold that the requirement to recite an oath to the Queen of Canada in order to become a Canadian citizen does not violate the appellants’ right to freedom of expression and would allow the Attorney General’s cross-appeal on this issue.

The court found reason to dismiss the appellants’ claim that the oath violations their freedom of expression. It held that there was no form of expression to be found under analysis in Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec (Attorney General) which required three questions to be answered when dealing with an allegation that a person’s freedom of expression has been violated;

[69] … The first question is whether the activity in which the plaintiff is being forced to engage is expression. The second question is whether the purpose of the law is aimed at controlling expression. If it is, a finding of violation 2(b) is automatic. If the purpose of the law is not to control expression, them in order to establish an infringement of a person’s Charter right, the claimant must demonstrate that the meaning he or she wishes to convey relates to the purposes underlying the guarantee of free expression, such that the law warrants constitutional disapprobation.

The judge found that the oath’s purpose is not to control expression.

"[73] The purpose of the oath is to inquire into prospective citizens’ willingness to accept the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In exchange for the privileges of Canadian citizenship; the would-be citizen solemnly promises to be loyal to the values represented by Canada’s form of government and to accept the responsibilities of citizenship."

The judge furthermore found that the effect of the oath was not to control expression.

[80] The appellants’ subjective belief that, in taking the oath, it would be hypocritical for them to work within the bounds of democracy to change our form of government cannot be used to trump the objective fact that they are entirely free to express their opinions. …

[81] … [T]he appellants beliefs reflect a fundamental misapprehension of what the Queen of Canada symbolizes and, as Mclachlin C.J. stated in Khawaja, at para. 82, “cannot ground a finding of unconstitutionality”. …

[82] [I]f the reference to the Queen in the oath were eliminated, or made optional for the appellants, such a remedy would only be a superficial cure for the appellants’ complaint. Because the Queen remains the head of our government, any oath that commits the would-be citizen to the principles of Canada’s government is implicitly an oath to the Queen.

And if there did exist an encroachment on the freedom of expression contained within the oath than section 1 would apply without hesitation, as upheld by the appeal court;

[102] I agree with the application judge’s comments on proportionality. Accordingly, I would hold that the application judge properly conducted the s. 1 analysis, and would dismiss the appellants appeal on this point.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience

The court traced the history of the oath back to the time of the Quebec Act and amplified the amendment of the oath as a form of religious inclusion. Furthermore, pointed to Roach v. Canada (Minister of State for Multiculturalism and Citizenship), a case raised in the Federal Court of Appeal which Linden J.A. held;

Parliament’s purpose in framing the oath or affirmation was to require a statement of loyalty to Canada’s head of state and its institutions, not to interfere with religious freedom. There is no mention in our Constitution nor in this oath of the Queen in her capacity as Head of the Church of England. The oath requires no statement of allegiance to Anglicanism nor to the Queen in relation to her role in the Church of England. Indeed, the Anglican Church of Canada is governed, not by the Queen, but by an independent Synod established in Canada. Therefore, the purpose of the oath or affirmation is not interfere with the guarantee of freedom of religion, because its purpose was not in any was to insist upon loyalty to the Anglican Church.

The application judge maintained that there was no prima facie violation of the appellants’ freedom of religion for several reasons;

[110] First, he held that the oath is a universal requirement that applies to everyone, without regard or reference to religion.

[111] Second, the application judge applied the Supreme Court of Canada’s holding in Reference re Same-Sex Marriage, at para. 46, that “the promotion of Charter rights and values enriches our society as a whole and the furtherance of those rights cannot undermine the very principles the Charter was meant to foster.”

[112] Third, he held that the appellants’ desired remedy, accommodation of their subjective religious beliefs by making the oath optional, would itself undermine the values enshrined in s. 2(a) of the Charter because it would de-secularize the oath and discriminate in favour of one religion.

[113] Finally, he held that freedom of religion has both a subjective and an objective component, both of which must be shown to be infringed before s. 1 is addressed. He concluded that the objective component of the test had not been satisfied. In other words, the application judge found that the appellants had failed to establish a nontrivial and non-insubstantial interference with their sincerely-held beliefs, as required by Supreme Court jurisprudence Hutterian Brethren, at para. 32.

The appeal judge found that the oath is not a violation of the appellants’ right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, writing;

[120] The oath to the Queen of Canada does not violate the appellants’ right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience because it is secular; it is not an oath to the Queen as an individual but to our form of government of which the Queen is a symbol.

Equality Rights

The appellants made a claim that the oath violation their right to equality because a failure to take the oath would result in them not becoming citizens and facing persecution as a result of such action. The application judge acknowledged the existence of non-members when viewing citizens and non-citizens under the very concept of citizenship. The application judge relied on a decision held by Linden J.A. in Lavoie v. Canada which stated;

[I]f an immigrant and a citizen were required to be treated equally within the meaning of s. 15(1) of the Charter, the concept of citizenship would disappear.

The appellants claimed that the oath discriminated on three different grounds: national origin, religion and the analogous ground of citizenship. However, the appeal judge upheld the ruling of the application judge that the appellants failed to meet the objective component in the  section 15 analysis. Finally, the argument that an oath to the Queen is discrimination based on religion is disposed under similar conditions of section 15.

The judge rejects all claims under arguments that the oath violates equality rights stating;

[129] I agree with the application judge’s conclusion that the appellants’ rights under s. 15 have not been violated. I would dismiss the appellants’ appeal with respect to s. 15.


[130] For the reasons given, I would hold that the appellants’ rights under ss. 2(b), 2(a) and 15(1) have not been violated. I would dismiss the appellants’ appeal and allow the Attorney General’s cross-appeal.

[131] In the event that I am incorrect with respect to my conclusion in s. 2(b), I would hold that any infringement is justified under s. 1.


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