This is a summary of my thoughts of the idea: stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.
The reverse onus test is one more example of how extreme cases can produce bad law. This idea is anathema to Canadian ideas of liberty and our English traditions. I predict if this law ever gets enacted in some form, it will run afoul of current habeas corpus provisions. As Andrew Coyne has noted, "How do you prove you're not a threat to society?"
Coyne also notes that this idea violates the Charter. In this, he is quite right to suggest that Martin/McGuinty idea violates the Charter, because it blatantly does.
10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
- a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
- b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
- c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Martin's spokesman says that he is confident such a condition will past muster in the Court system, saying "the importance of protecting citizens against gun violence is paramount." Unfortunately, I don't suppose anything short of wartime will ever justify this reverse onus test.
Martin ought to eat his own words on the subject of defending the Charter. Remember when Martin said "We have to recognize you can't cherry-pick Charter rights. What you have to do is say, 'If you want your rights to be respected, then you have to understand other people's rights have to be respected.' When the courts said this is a Charter right, then it is the responsibility of the prime minister to defend the Charter. "
Will Martin use the notwithstanding clause to overturn a court decision which does not jive with the Charter? As Martin said of Harper, so too he might ask himself: "If he wants to overturn a Charter right, then he should come clean and say, 'Yes, I will use the notwithstanding clause.'"
For in a transparent display of political opportunism, he has dismissed one of the Charter's -- and the common law's -- most treasured legal right. It is so myopic - so stupid - that I can not see how it can possibly be justified as either policy or law.