Despite allegations by veteran Justice Department lawyer Edgar Schmidt that the Criminal Justice Department’s vetting standards are inadequate, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson asserts there is “no question” that the series of criminal justice reforms introduced by his government will stand up to constitutional tests.
Allegations of inadequate vetting standards surfaced when Schmidt suggested that government lawyers were told not to voice their concerns over new legislation, even if they found that a Charter challenge would most certainly succeed, so long as they could muster some kind of reasonable argument to defend the legislation.
Nicholson says he believes there are no problems with the current system for vetting legislation. According to Nicholson, “It’s been the same for about the last 20 years or so… So it’s the process in place. And the department is very careful on these, and again, they analyze these, and they give us advice. And I’m confident that all the pieces of legislation that we’ve introduced are constitutional. … No question about it.” If challenged, Nicholson said the government is prepared to defend its legislation in court. He once again asserted, “we will defend those [bills that are challenged] and we’re confident that they are constitutional.”
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