Who won the first challenge to the IRP law?
An interesting event took place on the first Monday in March, 2014 – the BC Court of Appeal confirmed that the IRP legislation that came into effect in September 2010 is unconstitutional because it violates the Charter-protected right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The Appeal Court confirmed that the BC Supreme Court was right to strike down the law back in November 2011.
If you watched the news, that wasn’t the narrative at all. So the question is, who won the first challenge to the IRP law? How could the Government claim that they won if the law was struck down?
The simple straightforward and true answer is that they lost. And the news reports were just the narrative that the reporters stuck with.
One thing we’ve learned as lawyers is that reporters create product. It’s no different than any other industry. And the product is content. If you produce problematic content, that stirs up trouble, you may lose your job.
So what really happened? The particular issue that the lawyers in the case wanted to sort out was whether the provincial government in BC could infringing on the federal government’s power to write laws dealing with certain issues and whether this was the case with the IRP law.
On this narrow issue the government succeeded. Although the federal government in Ottawa can decide what is criminal, the provincial government can also legislate when it comes to governing roads and highways, in a manner that may in some respects conflict with the federal law.
Most lawyers expected this outcome and in fact, the decision from the Court of Appeal appears to be a repetition of the BC Supreme Court case that was appealed from back in November 2011.
So did the government win? If you’re the BC government and your law is struck down, you did not win.
Somebody should explain this to the reporters.