By Taisha Lewis, Third Year English Common Law student
The Supreme Court of Canada decision that strikes me the most is Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) for which Justice L’Heureux-Dube wrote for the majority. The decision resonates with me because it exemplifies Justice L’Heureux-Dube’s consistent advocacy for equality and women’s rights, even where to do so may have been contrary to the popular stance of the day or in opposition to her fellow justices. It is a decision that involved an immigrant mother of several children who suffered from mental illness and whose deportation was pending. In deciding that procedural fairness applies to humanitarian and compassionate decisions and that our domestic law should have regard to international standards (in this case, regarding the rights of the child), Justice L’Heueux-Dube acknowledged and integrated Baker’s personal circumstances and granted the stay of deportation that she sought. By dealing with an administrative issue in this manner – an issue that, until then, may very well have dismissed the human element – Justice L’Heureux-Dube acted without inhibition or regard to the status quo in order to ensure a fair and just result.
I believe Justice L’Heureux-Dube is a forward thinking individual willing to go against the grain to secure justice, particularly for minority groups. Baker is just one example of Justice L’Heureux-Dube’s demonstrated ability to revolutionize our justice system.