Five recent Supreme Court setbacks for the Harper government

The Supreme Court of Canada dealt the Harper government another blow Friday, this time on the subject of Senate reform. Here's a look at five recent cases in which the high court rejected the government's arguments.
The Supreme Court of Canada on Friday told the federal government it can't enact major changes to the Senate with support of the provinces. It was the latest decision to go against the Conservative government. (Canadian Press)

The Supreme Court of Canada dealt the Harper government another blow Friday, this time on the subject of Senate reform. Here's a look at five recent cases in which the high court rejected the government's arguments.

April 25, 2014: The court rules that the Harper government cannot use Parliament alone to impose Senate term limits, allow consultative elections for senatorial candidates or abolish the upper chamber. The justices hold that the first two changes would need the consent of seven provinces representing half the provinces. Abolition would require provincial unanimity.

April 11, 2014: The government's Truth in Sentencing Act sought to stop judges from routinely giving inmates extra credit for time spent in jail before custody. The court ruled judges have the discretion to allow up to 1.5 days credit.

March 21, 2014: The court rules 6-1 that Justice Marc Nadon, named to the Supreme Court by Harper last year, is ineligible to sit. They found he did not meet the special criteria laid out for candidates from Quebec.

Dec. 20, 2013: The court struck down the country's laws prohibiting brothels, streetwalking and living off the avails of prostitution. The Harper government had strongly argued in favour of the laws. The 9-0 decision gave the government a year to enact a new statute.

Sept. 30, 2011: The court rules that Vancouver's controversial Insite safe-injection facility can stay open. The Harper government tried to close it by denying it a renewed exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The court found that denial contravened the principles of fundamental justice and ordered the exemption renewed immediately.

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