Orgins of Law

Orgins of Law

Assignment #2: Where do laws come from?

There are hundreds if not thousands of laws in Ontario and Canada. Where did they come from? Most were introduced by the Government of the time- whether federal or provincial. Others have been introduced by a private member of the legislature. In both cases, they had enough support by other elected representatives in the legislature to get the law passed. Some laws are out of date and have never been revoked. Others have been amended over time.

Usually the reason why a law was passed seems fairly obvious. Laws related to speeding or crime are quite clear. Sometimes, however, it is a result of special circumstances or unforeseeable events. For example, changes to security at airports and the Anti-Terrorism Act were a result of incidents or threats related to terrorism after the bombings of 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001).

The federal gun registry became law after an intense lobbying effort across Canada, particularly by women and families of the 14 young women who were gunned down by Marc Lepine at the École polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. There had been a lot of debate before that incident, but it was the “final straw” that persuaded parliamentarians to pass the law.

Another example is the recent changes to the Criminal Code related to Street Racing. An MP from B.C. (Chuck Cadman) made it his passion to get changes made because his son had died as a result of a street racing incident. Although the MP died of cancer before it was passed, he inspired others to unite to have the law changed.

In April 2008 an Ontario MPP introduced a Private Member’s Bill to be considered by legislators at Queen’s Park that is being dubbed “the Apology Act”. It would allow everyone – including doctors, nurses and police – to apologize for actions taken without worrying about having their statements being used against them in civil court. In other words, they could apologize for an action without being held responsible and being...

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