Here’s what we’ve found to be of interest recently:
A resident of Alberta, Mr. Sutherland, refused to hand over the password to the computer containing his accounting records to tax auditors, which landed him in jail. The penalty was made deliberately severe to deter others from failing to cooperate with tax authorities. Though Mr. Sutherland provided the password after several months of imprisonment, upon which he was released, the case is also notable because Mr. Sutherland’s tax troubles began with his strange belief and assertion that each Canadian’s SIN is actually the number of a secret bank account opened for him or her by the government, from which each Canadian has the right to settle accounts.
City Council will hear a motion to grant city authorities to not pursue complaints for by-law violations which are vexatious in nature. This is prompted by a woman who has been flooding the city’s by-law authorities with complaints about the height of her neighbours’ hedges, lawns, fences, and the like, which resulted in by-law fines for a number of neighbours, causing them to believe she is waging a war on the community. Of interest is the fact that in Kitchener, authorities do have the right to not investigate alleged violations where the violation poses no danger to public safety and the complaint is seen as vexatious. Having encountered cases were charged with by-law violations as a result of an unrelated feud with their neighbours, we are inclined to support this motion.
Here is another example of how the law is having to keep up with technology. Nowadays, a lot of defamation is posted anonymously online, as opposed to channels like newspapers and television where authorship can be rather easily determined. A BC trial court has determined that under these circumstances, the defaming party can be served with a lawsuit on an electronic message board of a forum, Facebook, or similar platform, at the person’s alias.
A group of individuals is pursuing a case in court hoping that they (and others) would be allowed to become Canadian citizens without swearing an oath to the Queen. The claimants, who object such an oath on political or religious grounds, believe that the requirement of an oath to the Queen infringes on their rights, and that an oath to the country should be sufficient for citizenship. Given that Canada is a constitutional monarchy and an oath to the Queen is, therefore, a fundamental part of its political system, we don’t anticipate that this claim would be successful, though we will watch the matter unfold with interest.