Law dean weighs in on wait times

The media turned to Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, for expert comment in anticipation of the June 9 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on whether the right of Canadians to “life, liberty and security of the person” means that nobody should suffer agonizing pain for a year while waiting for hip surgery.

  • The National Post reported June 9 that Monahan appeared before the Supreme Court on behalf of the Senate committee studying medicare, which had called on governments to establish a set of nationwide wait-time standards. Monahan said the judges could uphold the Charter challenge but leave it up to the federal and provincial governments to determine how to remedy the situation. “We expressly said to them that they ought not to prescribe the solution. We simply referred them to the health care guarantee in order to rebut the claim made by governments both in the lower courts and the Supreme Court of Canada, to the effect that the present system, even though it was flawed, had to be upheld because there was no alternative.”
  • CTV News June 8 interviewed Monahan about Montreal businessman George Zeliotis’s legal argument for a parallel private health system. Zeliotis had to wait a year for surgery. Monahan said: “Well the charter guarantees, first of all, a right to life. It guarantees a right to security of the person,” he said. “Whether you have cancer, you need heart surgery or you need a hip replacement, you’re forced to suffer and wait and sometimes even die waiting for that medical service.”

Vaughan plays for stadium

Vaughan politicians are moving ahead with plans to build a 20,000-seat soccer stadium – providing they land $33 million in funding promised to the cancelled York University stadium project, reported the Toronto Star June 9. The proposed venue would play host to the 2007 world under-20 soccer championships, which were planned for York. “We have the site, we have the plans,” Mayor Michael Di Biase said Wednesday. “We’re here. We’re ready to go.”

Vaughan is not the only city looking at building a soccer stadium to house the championships. Hamilton, London and Mississauga are said to have talked to the Canadian Soccer Association about the project. And there have been “some discussions with the City of Toronto,” said Guy Bradbury, executive director of the Ontario Soccer Association. “It comes back to the consistent sites previously named, including Downsview and the Canadian National Exhibition,” Bradbury added.

Stigma persists about adoption

Anne-Marie Ambert, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts who has studied perceptions about adoption, says that while most people profess acceptance, the reality is more complicated, reported the National Post June. 9. She points to newer debates on whether children conceived through sperm and egg donors should have the right to know the identity of their biological parents; a “genetic consciousness” that reinforces the hurtful perception that biological bonds are superior to adoptive ones. Adopted children often report receiving unwanted attention from other children in the form of questions about their backgrounds. “So many adoptees report being told things like, ‘You don’t have real parents,’ ” Ambert said. “It’s a double standard. We believe the biological family is sacred.”

On air

  • Chris Sherrin, criminal lawyer and director of the Innocence Project at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, was interviewed about Ontario’s chief coroner Dr. Barry McLellan ordering a review of Dr. Charles Smith, a pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” June 8.