Bennett v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 FCA 161 (2013)

Parts:Bennett v. Canada (Attorney General)
Reporting Judge:TRUDEL J.A.
Docket Number:A-86-12
 
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Federal Court of Appeal - Bennett v. Canada (Attorney General) [Anonymoused]

Source: http://decisions.fca-caf.gc.ca/en/2013/2013fca161/2013fca161.html

Date: 20130619

Docket: A-86-12

Citation: 2013 FCA 161

CORAM: TRUDEL J.A.

STRATAS J.A.

MAINVILLE J.A.

BETWEEN:

CHRISTOPHER BENNETT

Appellant and

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR CANADA

and THE MINISTER OF HEALTH FOR CANADA

Respondents

Heard at Vancouver, B ritish Columbia, on May 15, 2013.

Judgment delivered at Ottawa, Ontario, on June 19, 2013.

REASONS FOR JUDGMENT BY: THE COURT

Date: 20130619

Docket: A-86-12

Citation: 2013 FCA 161

CORAM: TRUDEL J.A.

STRATAS J.A.

MAINVILLE J.A.

BETWEEN:

CHRISTOPHER BENNETT

Appellant and

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR CANADA

and THE MINISTER OF HEALTH FOR CANADA

Respondents

REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

[1] This is an appeal from the judgment dated November 15, 2011 of the Federal Court ( per Shore J.): 2011 FC 1310.

[2] The Federal Court judge copied, without attribution, 144 of 152 paragraphs of his reasons for judgment from the respondents’ memorandum of fact and law. In this Court, the appellant invokes this as one of his grounds of appeal.

[3] Soon after the hearing of this appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada gave direction on when that sort of practice will vitiate a judgment: Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre , 2013 SCC 30. We invited the parties to offer written submissions on Cojocaru . We have received and considered those submissions.

[4] In the circumstances, we need not deal with that ground of appeal. The appeal must be allowed on another ground.

[5] In this case, a key issue is whether the appellant’s beliefs and activities concerning cannabis constitute a religious practice protected by the guarantee of freedom of religion under subsection 2( a ) of the Charter, as opposed to a secular practice or lifestyle choice.

[6] The reasons for judgment show conflicting factual findings on that key issue. At the beginning of his reasons, the judge writes, as original prose, that “[i]t is not for a Court to affirm or deny a revelatory experience,” suggesting some acceptance that there was some element of spirituality or spiritual epiphany surrounding the appellant’s beliefs and activities: Reasons, paragraph 1. Later, however, the judge reproduces, as copied prose, that the appellant’s beliefs and activities were matters of “lifestyle” and “secular lifestyle choice[s]”: Ibid. , paragraphs 46 and 95.

[7] We exercise our...

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