Saturday, April 26, 2008

SCC rules random sniffer-dog searches are unlawful

In CTV Winnipeg, it seems that unlawfulness is more important than children's safety. Read on...

There are comments also included after this article.

Supreme Court of Canada

SCC rules random sniffer-dog searches are unlawful

Updated: Fri Apr. 25 2008 19:48:10 News Staff

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that police cannot use random dog searches to find drugs at schools or in public places, with the exception of airports.

The Court ruled 6-3 that the random searches were a violation of section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects Canadians from unlawful search and seizure of their property.

The ruling stemmed from two cases involving evidence seized as a result of sniffer dogs.

In both cases, police did not have reasonable grounds to conduct the searches, the Court said.

"This is one of those cases where the court kind of steered a middle ground between requiring a judge to approve the use of dogs or no regulation at all," Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, told CTV Newsnet.

"They said... if the police have a reasonable suspicion that there's criminal activity taking place, they're permitted to use these dogs.

"Otherwise, it's too intrusive and too exceptional to authorize on a random basis."

Background of the cases

In one of the cases, police visited St. Patrick's High School in Sarnia, Ont., in November 2002 at the invitation of school officials.

While police and their dogs searched the school, students were confined to their classrooms. During the sweep, a dog led police to a backpack in the gym that contained marijuana and magic mushrooms.

The student who owned the backpack was charged with possession of marijuana and psilocybin for the purpose of trafficking. He challenged the admissibility of the evidence on the grounds that his Charter rights were violated.

The drugs were excluded and the charges dismissed. A Court of Appeal ruling upheld that decision.

In the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Sarnia case, Justice Louis LeBel wrote:

"The subject matter of the sniff is not public air space. It is the concealed contents of the backpack. As with briefcases, purses and suitcases, backpacks are the repository of much that is personal, particularly for people who lead itinerant lifestyles during the day as in the case of students and travellers.

Teenagers may have little expectation of privacy from the searching eyes and fingers of their parents, but they expect the contents of their backpacks not to be open to the random and speculative scrutiny of the police...By use of the dog, the policeman could 'see' through the concealing fabric of the backpack."

"The dog-sniff search was unreasonably undertaken because there was no proper justification. The youth court judge found that the police lacked any grounds for reasonable suspicion and the Crown has shown no error in the youth court judge's finding of fact."

In the second case, police and their sniffer dogs were patrolling a Greyhound bus station in Calgary in 2002 as part of an initiative to patrol travel ports looking for drugs, bombs and other contraband.

Police approached a man and, while conversing with him, a sniffer dog indicated the presence of drugs. That search turned up cocaine and heroin in the man's bag. He was charged with possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking, as well as possession of heroin.

In this case, the courts found that Gurmakh Kang-Brown could not have had an expectation of privacy because of the odours of the drugs emanating from his bag and into the air.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the sniffer-dog search of Kang-Brown's bag violated his Charter rights.

"The sniff in this case was an unreasonable search since the RCMP officer did not have grounds for reasonable suspicion at the time the dog was called," Justice Ian Binnie wrote.

Implications of ruling

The implications of the findings are expected to be far-reaching.

It is now unlikely that schools can invite police in to conduct random searches of lockers and backpacks, unless there is a strong suspicion that students are carrying drugs.

Paul Wubben, director of education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, told The Canadian Press prior to the ruling that allowing sniffer dogs into schools can be an important tool for ensuring student safety.

"Parents send their children to school with the underlying assumption that school is a safe place," Wubben said.

"And having a drug-free environment certainly lends itself to being a safe place."

Addario, who was involved with Friday's ruling, said the decision will also stop police from walking into a shopping mall with a drug dog and approaching people without reasonable cause.

"(The SCC told police) you're free to go ahead if you have a reasonable suspicion but when the case gets to court we're going to examine your grounds and they better be reasonable or we're not going to let you do it," said Addario.

The ruling does not apply to airports as a special federal law protects the use of drug-sniffing dogs at such facilities.

"We thought that airports should be off the table for this appeal," said Addario.

"When you're dealing with explosive devices at airports it's a completely different set of factors."

Link to R. v. A.M.

Link to R. v. Kang-Brown

Comments are now closed for this story

Yes...let's REDUCE the number of tools available to the police. Of course the SCC will rule that sniffer dogs can't be used. Upholding the rights of the accused is more important than public safety after all...

Have you been in these high schools lately? 2000 kids who know they are legally untouchable.

My heart goes out to their teachers. At least prison guards have a baton, spray, and iron bars to protect them.

Drug sniffing dogs are essential.

"It sends the wrong message to children in our schools that they can be arbitrarily detained en masse and searched without any grounds to believe they have contraband or have committed any kind of offence."
It may send the wrong message if the kids are in their bedroom at home, but school is a public place, where the good of the public outweighs the individual. You can pretend to have a bomb in your bedroom at home, but don't try that at an airport, right? Same deal. I'd be very surprised if they ruled against the cops here.

Gary Keigan
Quite interesting!! The police are using the dog to search without a warrant as they are claiming it is only a dog, however, hurt one of those animals and you are charged with assault on an officer, as the dogs actually have ranks. It appears as though they are playing both sides of the fence. If the dog is to be considered an officer than a search warrant, in my opinion, should be required. The dog is not there by chance. It has been meticulously trained to search, therefore, if the animal is to be used in this manner, it should require a search warrant. In my opinion, without a tip or evidence, the police have no right to hold children on a hunch. I belive the school and teaches do not have the right to represent the children during a legal search and containment. They are lucky it wasn't my child being held without legal council.

.....the Canadian Civil Liberties Association..... - along with the Canadian Chart1er of Rlghts and Freedoms, and the Human Rlghts Tribunals end Commissions, one of the most insidious things ths country has seen for a long, long time!

Ian Yellowknife
When is this stupidity going to end? The safety of our children should trump anything. Drugs are illegal and the police should be given the tools required to stop them from damaging the lives of the users and the families of the users. The lawyers and judges and our "ELECTED" officials have to support the needs of our society against the drug trade. Yes there is a lot of money being make by these protectors of the "Rights and Freedom" listed above which makes them as bad or even worse than the trafficers they protect with there Court appointed attornies. The needs of the many are way more important than the needs of the few. If you are Leader's dammit, then Lead. Put the prisons up North where if the prisoners want to riot amongst themselves they can do it and live with the results. If they want to escape then Good Luck getting back to the South. And make them work and learn a trade. There would be fewer Medium Security Murderer's and Sexual Deviant's walking off and re-offending innocent people who respect the law. Taking the tool's away from the police...How stupid are these people anyway? The difference between a Lawyer and a prostitute is...? There are some things a prostitute won't do for money.

This is the equivalent to an employer who can't search an employee's own bag/purse.

On the other hand, if the school had clear rules which stated that they may use dog sniffers to check bags without opening them, then I'd be for that. Even better, add a further rule [maybe with parental approval prior] that if a dog sniffer does detect anything "odd", they may open the bag only then.

Holding kids in a room for 2 hours is rediculous.

I think it should be a regular practice and maybe look for guns also. Maybe there would not be as many drugs and guns at schools and it would not be such a scary place for the ones that want to be there. School is a public place lockers are to hold books and coats not drugs and guns. Give your head a shake.

Put dealers in JAIL!
Everyone complains about drugs and drug dealers in schools. The police found a drug dealer and removed some drugs. I think they should be commended, not berated and further restricted from doing an essential job that is tough enough.

Would we be having this conversation if there had been a gun in the backpack along with the drugs?

A lot of you don't understand the whole situation.
Yes, of course, children's (and, broader, people's) safety is number 1 priority. And drug trafficing is illegal. But if there's really a drug ring in a school - they for sure won't act so foolishly as to keep the drugs in their own backpack. They'd rather ask - or force - other students to "hold it for a while". So without knowing individual's background, it's impossible to judge whether s/he is a drug dealer or simply a victim of school bulying. Policy cannot solve this case - it should be handled by school authorities in close cooperation with parents. I'm sure if it were your child whom you least suspect to be connected to drugs - you would've fiercly opposed his or her detention and criminal prosecution. Please, just remember the times when you were 10-12-15 yr old - it is not that obvious as you think. If you really want to protect children - you should educate them, not send them to jail.

It wont suprise me that the SCC rules against the dogs. If someone is stupid enough the bring drugs to school and or to malls or other public places that police dogs can/should be allowed to frequent is souly responsible is they get caught. I fail to see how this constitutes an illegal search. The statement "It sends the wrong message to children in our schools that they can be arbitrarily detained en masse and searched without any grounds to believe they have contraband or have committed any kind of offence." is a joke. they will only be detained when the dog picks up on their scent which to me, as a canadian citizen, is far within reason. How about the message that we have continually been feeding our society "its okay to break the law with impunity as we are doing our best to limit any possible ways you can get caught". Alberta ruled on a similar case and found that police sniffer dogs did not constitute an illegal search. It appears Alberta doesnt tolerate crime as much as the rest of us.

The SCC and Civil Liberties groups are going to be the downfall of this country. These are children who have not yet reached the age of majority and need to be protected.

Unless something has changed without our knowledge, drugs are illegal, schools are public property and the public screams to get rid of drugs in our schools. When they try, they are shot down.

Every single school in Canada needs to set a policy that states that their school is subject to random checks by drug-sniffing and even gun-sniffing dogs and if either are found, prosecution will result. This needs to be driven home so that when it comes time to go to court, issues like this won't happen.

Why are we so intent on taking away the tools that our police forces have to combat crime?

Mr. Lisus, I hate to tell you but what you want to see will send the wrong message to kids that it is okay to take drugs and other contraband to school without fear of detection or charges. That it is okay to deal drugs to children. Give your head a shake. These are children who need to be taught right from wrong and to be protected while at school.

If you have nothing to hide, why would you worry about a drug sniffing dog? Drugs are illegal and are the cause of so much crime that we should put lots of dogs out there. Who among us likes having to put up with senseless crime and vandalism due to drug loving people?

Nick T
They think that it will cause kids to fear authority? GOOD! That's the way it should be! Too many of these 'Civil Liberty' groups push for protection of people (criminals). I would gladly allow police to search my stuff if it means they are going through everyone's gear to make sure drugs aren't hitting the streets... And people wonder why drugs and crime have become so rampant lately...

Yep, teach our students that it's ok to break the law, bring drugs to school, sell them, do whatever they want and they can get away with it. I'm sure these kids that were caught, and their friends, are laughing so hard, knowing they got away with breaking the law and nothing can be done about it. Nice way to teach our kids right from wrong. And of course, I'm sure the parents are also laughing, afterall their kids could do nothing wrong, little angels that they are.

DP I completely understand the situation, the police can search my house anytime they want I have nothing to hide and my children have nothing to hide, if they do then they do not have to worry about the police they have to worry about me. Do you think anyone wants a teenager in jail or have a record for a first offence maybe this would set that kid straight knowing the next time he will get in big trouble. That is the way it should work and if you speak to any police officer they will tell you that first mistakes (non violent) they probably get a slap on the wrist. If you have nothing to hide why would this bother anyone.

Robin Hood
"The student who owned the backpack was charged with possession of marijuana and psilocybin for the purpose of trafficking. He challenged the admissibility of the evidence on the grounds that his Charter right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was violated.
The drugs were excluded and the charges dismissed. A Court of Appeal ruling upheld that decision."

... basically this kid was caught red-handed and still the charges were dropped on the basis his rights were violated?!"... I could understand them being dropped on the basis that the drugs could have been planted there which raises a reasonable doubt but based on the defense argument used here shows that the Courts have lost touch with reality and cannot be trusted to protect society. Time the politicians started to earn their pay and legislate less vague laws that serve as loop holes for criminals.

Roy LaValley
The challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada is just another example of the poor construction of the Charter or Rights and Freedoms. This legislation has done more to DESTROY Canada as a place to live by destroying the rights of Society to securely live in peace and safety. Former Prime Minister Trudeau and his government of that time, will be known throughout Canadian history as those who have done more to destroy Canada as a secure society than anything else. We have taken the legislative ability of Parliament and delegated it to a group. of Judges who are appointed for life (age 75) rather than be elected by the people of this country. The SCC does not appear to have a clue as to what the electors want as government action.

I work at a place where a beautiful young woman in her late 20s with her whole life ahead of her did drugs a few time's, one day they went bad, and now she sits with full brain damage for the rest of her life. Yes, yes, the RCMP and Drug Inforcement should be able to use any tools available to them to end the use of drugs and drug crimes..

DJP of Calgary
Interesting that the dogs that are in question are searching for "drugs, bombs and other contraband" and that this "will be the law of the land from coast to coast" on all sniffer dogs. So what does this really mean for our country, Hey all dogs can't search, just get on the plane come over and wear some explosives?? What next, the airport machines can't scan as it invades our privacy?

Not many seem to care about the safety of our future. The future is in those kids, help them to them ourselves is our only chance. Public places is the place to teach them, if parents don't agree with keeping thier kids out of harms way including but not limited to drugs, well then home-school your child.

Dustin Ellis
The Supreme Court of Canada knows what its doing. Respect the law of the land. Charter of rights and freedoms is there to protect us from this kind of situation. Drugs are bad and people that use them should get some help. Drug sniffing dogs in schools should be debated by elected members of parliment

Can the dogs sniff out parents with poor parenting skills too? That might be a little more useful.

We don't need drug sniffing dogs violating the charter rights of our citizens, we need better parents who can educate their kids on the dangers of drugs.

If the supreme court overturns the court of appeals decision, we are headed down a slippery slope similar to that of the Patriot act in the U.S. I for one do not want to see that happen.

I have the right to my freedom and not to be searched randomly without just cause.

To those who think otherwise, would you mind if a police officer and squad came to your home while you were at work and began going through your personal belongings for no personal reason whatsoever and without notice. Hardly.

The comments here are so one sided, I can't help but wonder if they are being cherry picked by the moderator. I guess I will find out when this post is or isn't posted. Allowing these kind of actions combined with new pc marijuana laws will undoubtedly be quite successful at filling our prisons with innocent kids. How many kids lives will this ruin for having a joint or two in their coat pocket. While I don't condone drug use, the fact is kids will experiment. Police authorities want to use that as an opportunity to destroy young lives. Absolutely shameful. Airports and the like, I'd say ok, but schools, no way. If pot were legal, I'd say ok for schools also. But this will just be ruining too many kids lives, saddling them with criminal records for simply carrying a joint.

Make it simple for the students. An open warning that contraband items are not allowed on school property and that searches by drug sniffing dogs can be done at any time. If they have the warning and still break the rules then there is no reason that this behavior can be tolerated. Same can be done in public areas, put up a sign that simply warns of the potential of search in that area. Let the police use the tools that they have!

Yup... sure dont want to arrest people for breaking the law.
Needing a warrant to search someone who's holding illegal contraban is ridiculous... illegal search a seizure, what a joke. If someone is breaking the law, they're breaking the law. Getting off because you were searched without a warrant in these situations is ridiculous...
Does that mean if they come out with a dog that can say, smell gunpowder to look for people carrying guns, we shouldn't be allowed to use them to keep the public safe? Give me a break...

OnTheKidsSide - you have it backwards. Drugs ruin kids lives, not authorities.

Police searches and dog sniffers should be mandatory in all schools. The sooner you get the kids out of drugs and on the right path, the better. Allowing kids to experiment with drugs is dangerous. Some manage to turn away from it themselves, but many are drawn in and have their lives ruined.

I agree that youth drug-dealers probably conduct themselves with the notion that they are nearly impervious to the law. However, treating ALL youth like criminals in order to catch a few real criminals is like committing genocide in order to corporally punish a few murderers.

We're conditioning our kids to live under police-state authority. How on earth is that a good thing?

Remember the famous quote: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Jim McB
I disagree with the position of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. They do not speak on my behalf, their positions in many cases are extreme and this one in particular is dangerous.

When we set rules in a society for the public good, it is wrong to advocate limitations that neuter the intent of those rules. If you cannot prosecute people for transporting or being in possession of illicit or contraband material known to be dangerous to human health, why is it that the same person can be indicted for not wearing a seat belt or a helmet while transpoting that material?

I think it is a basic right of mine to not support this type of advocacy. I do not want to pay for it, but I am indirectly doing so by having this group and similar entities subsidized by being able to claim charitable status. If it is advocacy it should be paid for by their supporters without the benefit of tax breaks. Paying lawyers large sums of cash is not a charitable act.

Advocacy groups are directly responsible for the imposition of a significant majority of laws that over the past decades directly affect the individual freedoms of citizens that have never and would likely never break the law. They are basically left wing thinking and their position is that what they want, should control others by making it law. Once they achieve these goals they rarely if ever suffer the financial conseqences; in fact we subsidize them to achieve their goals.

If the SCOC buys their position it will be another disappointment for Canadians. The court has to my mind been too supportive of criminal rights in the recent past. Their focus on the rights of the individual criminal has trumped my right to live in a free, ordered and safe society. Add the human rights tribunals and their attacks on free speech to the mix and our freedom is being flushed down the drain.

David Murrell
I agree with Cris and the majority of posters. The Supreme Court no longer cares for the welfare of our young, and the fact that a high proportion of our young use drugs.

The SCOC only cares for the welfare of drug pushers and criminals. This is their priority. These are the values that the SCOC, the elitist media, and the left-leaning judicial system, hold dear.

Jim Murphy
So I guess bomb sniffer dogs would fall under this ban now. Good news for airport security. Bring your drugs and bombs to Canada.

Mike R
The school is a public place, the police have the right to be there. NOT if it is private property.

Robert M
Most of you miss the whole point. The point isn't about whether dogs can be used to sniff drugs. They can. The point is warrantless random searches.

The day we allow police to arbitrarily walk into someone's house, with or without a dog, to search simply for the hell of having something to do, or because they THINK you may have something illegal (and remember, in the right set of circumstances, a kitchen knife is a weapon) we have reduced ourselves to a police state.

IF police have reason to believe that there are drugs or weapons, they can get a telephone warrant and conduct a search. Until then, we are protected from being stopped and searched simply because a cop feels like he has to do something with his time before returning to his post at Tim Horton's.

Are they nuts? This is outrageous! They are saying that it's more important to protect pushers' rights than to protect our children from drugs. If it were me I'd have a sniffer dog in every school! They should be backing zero tolerance for drugs in schools. That court has got its head screwed on backwards.

T. Phillips
This is unthinkable! Since when does the safety of the innocent and our future come second to the personal protection of a person who decides to partake in illegal activity?!

What is next? - the inability to use sniffing dogs at our borders?

I hope the Prime Minister does the most important thing - ignores the ruling and continues to allow law enforcement officers to ability to use this tool.

The supreme court is more of a political sideshow than it is a legal mechanism. The kid in the high school was conducting illegal business anyway you want to look at it!

Shame on his parents for even thinking about challenging it as a SCC case. They are as shameful as the child they raised.

I do not see how this is any different than having students pass through metal detectors. Many US schools already have this practice in place to help ensure a safe environment. Each day they are thoroughly searched as the enter the school, what is wrong with a random search? It is not as if they ransacked each & every locker. Make it known throughout all schools that these random searches will be held each year & move on people!

David fm NS
If I was in charge, every Jr. High and Highschool would have a mandatory sniffer dog that searched for drugs and guns everyday. I would feel safer sending my kids to this type of institution.

This is insane. I have a hard time believing those judges are Canadians. These two cases demonstrate that the judges have no perspective on right and wrong - the people possessing these drugs for the purpose of trafficing should be convicted. We all expect the government to keep the schools safe, so I don't see the searches as unreasonable. What's next - can't search terrorists going on to a plane? Conservatives - please bring on a new law that will make it more clear that these types of searches are legal. It is more valuable to society to have these activities curtailed than to consider it an unreasonable search. And while you are at it, get rid of some of those liberal judges on the SCC.

Judicious use of drug sniffing dogs can be an effective tool in schools and public areas if there is sufficient suspicion to warrant it. I reject however, the comments of some, and of Hans in particular, implicating all students of being troublemakers waiting to happen. I have a son in high school and I've spent time there. Those comments are unfair. They only reinforce stereotypes and create fear. To compare teachers with prison guards is particularly odious.

"It is now unlikely that schools can invite police in to conduct random searches of lockers and backpacks, unless there is a strong suspicion that students are carrying drugs."

Nowhere is it saying that dogs cannot be brought in to find those breaking the law, just that there should be some strong level of suspicion first. Maybe it would be wise to have someone in the schools whose job it was to monitor and document so that a case could be made.

As mentioned before, violating the charter, whether for the greater good or not, starts you down a very slippery slope.

Kathleen Cameron
In regards to the man's comment where a search warrant is needed. A school is a public place - is a search warrant needed? A bus station is a public place. These are not private residences or private business establishments. I feel that once again, the courts have removed a very useful tool in the defense of the rights of the public against low life individuals that know they can get away with crimes against humanity (drugs are a crime against humanity). So this now would have implications towards the search of all baggage in airports since they have no grounds with which to search my baggage when I go through. In other words, there doesn't need to be security at airports since all people are innocent until proven guilty. I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. They must immediately remove all search tools from all airports in Canada based on this ruling (leaving the public open to safety issues). I think this ruling has not reached its end.

Crazy Jim
The dog does not search. The dog tracks and detects. Detection is reasonable cause to search.

This is disturbing and sickening. It’s obvious that the lack of rationality in some of these posts is related to choice of lifestyle and self-justification. The fact is laws were broken, people did something wrong and our system is now helping it to happen without justice. This must be corrected. A new law must be passed! We must not sink into this sort of irrationality.

This is a stupid ruling plain and simple! Times have changed and the courts need to keep up with modern realities. I want my kids to feel safe at school and the use of sniffer dogs is a good tool to weed out the problem 'students'.
Change the law!!

So if they can't use dogs as a tool to find illegal drugs and such, then I guess using radar as a tool to find speeders can be considered the same. Whats wrong with our justice system? Police need help not political road blocks. Could it be that the HA has infiltrated our top courts also.

DUH !!!!
The reason every school has drugs is because our laws are already too lax.... we wont clean up the problem by making it harder to catch the culprits.

This should be a "no brainer" but apparently it is a problem for many Canadians.

Johnny Mat
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I feel that this was stated in the context that the people were good and the government(authority) was bad. It a good philosophy when it goes one way but what if? What if a persons rights were violated (up for argument) and this person was found to be breaking the law. What then? Its like speeding, we all try to get off on a technicality, but in the end.. you know you were still speeding, breaking the law, and hence increasing the potential safety risks...and not just for yourself but others on the road.. The problem is here.. How do we fix it?

Youth crime and violence up in Canadian schools, no sniffer dogs. Are the judges that much out of touch with reality?

Time to ban all laws that regulate crime. The courts keep siding with those who break the laws.

Why bother having laws anymore?

I cannot believe the attitude of the majority of people commenting on this story. This is not about illegal drugs -- it's about the police doing an illegal search!

Canada has a Charter of Rights that protects it's citizens and we should be grateful for having this document in place. Tell me, would you prefer to live in a dictatorship where anything goes? I think NOT.

If police (or any other form of security in this country) are allowed to do whatever they want to whomever they want, then we no longer live in a democracy. Laws are put in place for a reason and they must be followed by all parties. No one should be subject to search unless there is reasonable suspicion. Period.

What a mess! I am a teacher and I believe that students know that they are above the law! In my view, how can a lawyer defend something that is so clearly against the law. Students need to know that there are consequences to inappropriate behavior. Some suggest educating students about drugs and the law! To those individuals/parents I suggest that most if not al students are very aware of the above. If they don't, it's a choice that they have made to remain ignorant. Schools do alot to educate on the issue of drugs! Schools are public places, an educational instition for young minds, not an environment where these young minds can be brutally currupted by those who don't care, the untouchables! Probably a lesson that this decision teaches our young minds is that the law will protect crinimal acts but to those students who care, "Make sure your paper is in on time or you will lose 10%." Schools are public places and deserve any protection available to the student body! We have a responsibility to protect our youth from crimals. If students don't want to get identified by sniffer dogs, maybe they could get their parents to hold it until schools out!

Another mistake by the Supreme Court in Canada.

The criminal has more rights than I as a law abiding citizen do.

Not allowing random searches within our schools will only allow more abuse of our children. Drug dealers use our kids to transport and sell their drugs. The Dealers get off scott free and kids will suffer.

Next thing we know there will be no drug or bomb dogs at airports as it infringes upon the rights of terrorists and international drug dealers.

Canada better tighten it's laws and borders or we are going to be in even bigger trouble in 10 years.

Our high school in a small city in Alberta runs a program called dogs for drug free schools. The police dog has been raised in the school and most of the students actually really love the program. New legislation needs to be implemented to keep drugs out of our schools.

Roger Taylor
Wow!!! This is unblieveable. As a former teacher and principal I am appalled at this decision. That's the price we pay for liberal appointed judges to the supreme court. Who are they protecting? Not the innocent children in our schools.

I read the comments left by people on many different articles and rarely feel the need to speak out....but the way people are recting to this case just made me angry. This case is open and shut: it is illegal to detain any citizen without proper suspicion. If we let authorities detain kids in schools randomly and arbritatrily in the name of public safety, what other rights are we willing to give up? I wholeheartedly agree with our highest court on this one.

I am sorry, but random searching without suspicion conjures up a vision of Nazis in jackboots. Relinquishing this type of authority to police under the pretence of student safety sets a dangerous precedence. I think there are other ways to initiate safety without the a totalitarian presumtion of guilt.

What's this country coming to? Once again we see people, young people, breaking the law and getting away with it. No wonder there are youth out there that do whatever they want whenever they want.

Kevin P
There is ridiculously little risk for criminals these days.
A great day for criminals indeed.

The Supreme court has gone so Liberal(not the political party) in its thinking these days that victims have no hope or recourse. Just accept that we will be victims.

If they keep taking away the few tools that law enforcement has to use, you will start to see the re-arming of citizens. We have to be able to defend ourselves against the slime in this country! If law enforcement cannot, then decisions like this will bring about most unfortunate consequences.

Crap like this really makes you wonder who's side the elite judges of the land are on.

I find these comments supporting random searches disturbing. This is supposed to be a free society where everyone (including children) are free from being arbitrarily detained. If you allow random searches here then next they'll be happening elsewhere. Eventually you can prepare to be searched whenever the state deems it appropriate.

The spirit of the law is innocent until proven guilty. Random searches presume a certain level of wrongdoing without evidence.

Anyone who thinks random searches of anyone are ok is simply a sheep.

The guy in the bus depot is out of luck according to the SCC, because odors have a way of escaping into the air. The dog just happened to be present to smell the drugs. It's not considered an illegal search. I guess if a police officer came across a serious accident and decided to ignore it. The SCC would say the officer did not do his job. But going into a school and using sniffer dogs and finding drugs, is doing your job, but not in a correct manner.
Will their ever be a situation where society can say the courts are not performing well to our satisfaction. Courts make all kinds of decision that effect the life of all citizens.
PS we have organizations run by lawyers who delight in exposing the many shortcomings of the courts. How paradoxical is that.

Daniel H
Let's approach this from a correct perspective. We need to respect the rights of individuals. When an individual enters into an public area they should expect that they can be searched or checked by any means for breaking a law. This is really no different than police using radar for traffic or checking for drunks at a roadside stop. When you go into Walmart your on video where you being watched for theft. Only criminals use this dodge. Post a sign in the school that indicates dogs will be used to surveil for drugs. Same at the airport. If the dog indicates drugs, you will be searched.

Allan Kuan from Vancouver, BC, Canada
As i see it, the current definition of unlawful search and seizure of property in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevented the police from doing dog searches without reasonable grounds.

That could easily be fixed with some amendment in the Charter or the definition making it possible for dog searches to happen without restrictions. I wouldn't really mind about that.

It's all about the wording people. The wording may be misunderstood by some, including the RCMP, when they apply more and more practices in situations that have not occurred before the charter is made. In this case, it's to do with dog searches at schools and transportation centres that were uncommon at the time the charter was made in the 1980s.

The courts are only doing their job of checking the integrity of laws and law enforcement practices to make sure that they do not breach the rights of the people as defined in the Charter or in other associated laws and regulations.

All that has to be done is amendments to fix that.

- Allan Kuan

Score one for criminal in Canada. Thank you very much SCC, to tell the criminal world that they are welcome more to this country then lawful citizens.

Ben from Winnipeg
Welcome to Canada where criminals have more rights than those who follow the law. I love this country with all my heart, but our laws are embarrassing and a danger to public safety.

Linda BC
The Civil Liberties Association has crossed the line on this one.
I'd howl along with them if they were using these techniques in a persons private home.I am a strong advocate for privacy rights and personal freedoms.
However,public schools need to be safe for everyone.They are not places for drugs,guns or alcohol.If it comes to a choice between some minor privacy concerns,and safety in PUBLIC schools,I know which one I'd be choosing.
The problem with the Supreme Court,And the Charter Of Rights,is that they don't include a Charter Of Responsibilities.
Parents and schools ASKED for police help in getting drugs and weapons out of the schools.For the greater good of all.We all know many parents aren't doing their part at home.
I guess the ext step is to try informing everyone,that this PUBLIC school is subject to random searches for contraband.Feel free not to enter if this policy offends your sense of liberty.
Once again,we have to fight the criminals,and the SCC.

It seems to me that if the school (teachers, students, staff) are aware of drug activity in a school, then there is "reasonable grounds to conduct the searches". Intuitively, no one's "rights" were violated by a search of a public property and as such I think the SCC is interpreting too much into the Charter, as usual. The evidence should be admissable. That said, it is up to the court to weigh such evidence, as very clearly in a school situation the backpack's owner is "possibly" not the prime offender.

A. Bica
Hooray for the Supreme Court!

One more victory for our rights. One more victory for the people.

Those of you who oppose the decision fail to realize how close we are coming to a police state. If you don't stand up for yourself, no one else is going to!

Rob Harrison
Once again the SCC takes the handcuffs off the criminal and puts them on the police. Perhaps the police should just sit in their stations and wait for the willing criminals to turn themselves in. Oh! Those convictions would probably be overturned as well. It seems that crime is okay as long as you don't do it openly or get caught. I feel for the next family that has to bury a loved one who get shot while on duty.

Ian Yellowknife stated;

"The needs of the many are way more important than the needs of the few."

Cases before the courts are argued applying precedent.

If the law ignores the "expectation of privacy" we can open a "Pandora's box".

The Nazis "arbitrarily detained en masse and searched without any grounds to believe they have contraband or have committed any kind of offense"

This is a classic case where the courts have to decide whether "protecting the rights of many" will later allow for the individual rights of all to be abused.

You decide.

Dale Wilson
The kids aren't above the law, that's not the point. To those teachers complaining...tell me how you would feel about having your vehicle, your desk and your personal effects searched every day when you arrived at school. Oh and lets keep a camera on you to make sure you're actually doing the work for which you are being paid. Guardhouse checking identification at the exit to the teacher's parking lot would be nice too, just to make sure you're working the hours stipulated in your contract. Those who aren't leaving early don't have anything to fear, do they?

I wouldn't work in a place like that, thank you SCC for protecting what little remains of my privacy.

I find it interesting that the very people who complain about the Charter of Right and Freedoms giving people too many rights, end their posts by claiming that their freedoms are in jeopardy! Don't you get it folks - sniffing out drugs in schools looks like a good thing to do - but the price we all pay in losing our civil liberties makes it too onerous to bear. The same tactic that can be used to find pot in a kid's packback can be used to turn Canada into a 1984-style police state. They already want to put cameras on every corner. What's next- cameras in our homes? It's the thin edge of the wedge. Do you really want to live in a dictatorship to prevent some kids from smoking pot? We'd be better off legalizing dope and controlling it, than we would be handing over our freedoms to the state. Those complaining about the "left wing" thinking are the same ones who then cry that their rights are being taken away. Ironically, you complain that Civil Liberties groups want to impose their thinking on others, then turn around and condone the use of warrantless searches by the police! And this is to protect your freedom? But in this case, it's the left wing that's protecting your rights against the power of the state! And if you'd bother reading the story all the way through, you might have noticed that the Supreme Court left the use of bomb and drug sniffing dogs still available to the police at airports. So your convern over protecting us from terrorists is simply irrelevant.

Paul on the West Coast
There must be reasonable grounds to search, that is a basic condition of living in a democratic country; otherwise we become a police state where authorities can randomly search private property without cause.

Obviously all want to help police out as much as possible, but there is always a danger of that slippery slope into a totalitarian society with unreasonable search and seizure.

Remember the book "1984" where all citizens are watched continually.

The Supreme Court was correct on this decison.

Vince M
So some of you don't want the kids' lives ruined for "experimenting" with a joint. Last time I looked that joint was illegal - you know, like guns, heroin, and under-age drinking.

Would you also want to avoid having their lives ruined for "experimenting" with booze, needles, or a gun at school?

At what point does the safety of MY CHILD take precidence over the dangerous behavior of someone else's?

phill b12
After 35 years working in both pre and post charter Canada as a police officer one tends to develop certain beliefs. Here are a few.
1.The Charter of Rights was well intentioned legislation with lofty goals. Trudeau was an intelligent and patriotic individual. I believe even he would be disgusted with how the legal system has twisted his work to the benefit of criminals and the detriment of Canadian society.
2. Canada does not have a justice system we have a legal system. 3. There are only two winners in a legal system, the defence lawyers that get incredibly wealthy defending the criminals and the criminals they defend.
4. Canada is a haven for organized crime. Organized crime gets wealthy from illegal drugs. They organize the distribution of illegal drugs right down to the students in schools. B.C. Hells Angels Chapters are among the wealthiest in the world because they benefit from the legal protections of the Charter, a bottomless pit of criminal proceeds to pay their lawyers, and the softest legal system in Canada. Their lawyers get wealthy from proceeds of crime and our laws allow them. (who do you think wrote those laws? it wasn't a room full of crown prosecutors).
5. The Canadian legal system itself has many lawyers and judges that are as frustrated with our laws and previous legal decisions as are police. They are unable to do what is right, they must do what is lawful.
6. Despite political gains from announcements about a 'war on drugs' there has never been a war on drugs. In a war you send your soldiers out with the tools needed to win. Police have never been given the tools. We are successful in minor skirmishes despite being hobbled by previous court decisions but the overall battle is lost in the legal system.
7. If Civil Liberties Lawyers had to deal with the victims of crime one on one, from start to finish, in the legal system, before they opened their mouth in front of a microphone, they would sing a different song.
8. Civil Liberties lawyers scream the loudest when they have been the victim of a crime, quick to blame the police for their plight for not doing our job.....sometimes justice just happens, and police smile.
9. The current state and future of Canadian Society is ruled not by elected officials, it is dictated by the judges appointed to the SCC. Some of their decisions are good.
10. (last one) Law abiding and honourable Canadians will not experience justice in the current legal system until it is changed to give priority to the rights of victims of crime, the needs of society and lastly to the criminal. Yes, criminals must benefit from certain legal protections, but not at the expense of the victim and society in general.

Many people who have commented here have not understood what this ruling actually means.

Police are still allowed to use a Sniffer Dog to Police Dogs will still be used within schools to search property when there are reasonable grounds for a search and not just a simple 'sweep' of the school.
search student's property on school grounds, HOWEVER there MUST be REASONABLE GROUNDS. This is no different than anywhere else in society and is what I expect from our Charter.

Nobody here would ever allow their workplace to be shutdown while every person's car, purse, backpack are searched by the police.

The 'Nothing To Hide' reasoning does not mean police can go through your personal belongings.

Schools need to be safe places, but our students need to feel safe from teachers and the police too.

I would never allow anyone to search anything belonging to me or my children without a warrant.
Without my privacy, I have no rights or freedoms.

I strongly, strongly disagree with the SOC's ruling. These searches were done on public property, property that basically belongs to the taxpayers. The SOC once again has stuck a road block in the way of our police, working to prevent the sale of drugs to our children. Apparently, the SOC would prefer to see our children purchase the drugs, use them and then maybe if we catch them in the act, we can punish them with a time out.

Our SOC judges are the remnants of the hippies out of the 60's, who never liked any kind of authority and who have tried to prevent, even bend the law as to ot allow justice to prevail.

I am all for the election of judges who sit on the SOC, no more appointments from politicians or committee's, let the people of this country decide who sits on the bench.

Dick Varley
Once again most of the writers here miss the point. The SCC interprets the law as written. If you do not like the law have it changed. Unfortunately this is not easily done. Thanks to former Prime Minister Trudeau we have a Charter of Rights which is difficult to amend and which, more often than not, is favouring the criminal.

I wholeheartedly agree with their decision. The Supreme Court of Canada is the last institutional bastion to protect our Charter Rights. I find it deeply disturbing that so many people are willing to simply waive their rights in the name of law and order.
We do not live in a police state...yet.

I'm curious about the comments made by everyone who is comparing these searchs to the police searching their homes... Can someone explain to me the corralation between a privately owned house and a publicly funded educational institution? In my opinion that argument doesn't hold water.

There are several references to "the bigger picture". The bigger picture is security, a police state is not defined by drug sniffing dogs being allowed to search a school without direct cause. Perhaps we should all look up the definition first. Also, statistically, we as a society know for a fact that drug use is rampant and out of control in our education system, so knowing this, does it not constitute reasonable cause to search schools for drugs? In my high school days, we had dogs come in about once a month, they did the search during classes to limit disruptions and people were caught and prosecuted regularly. I don't remember anyone needing to goto the SCC for guidance 10 years ago.

There is a few people complaining about this forum being one sided. That's because most of us detest drugs in our schools. Do what it takes to continue the use of these dog's!! If my kid had been the one arrested, I would be disappointed, but hopefully I could now get the kid the help they needed to get out of this rut. If you are man enough to peddle drugs in our schools, you bloody well be man enough to go to the "big house".

I'm eternally thankful our judges ARE appointed and not elected. It sounds like the majority of Canadians would vote in fascism thanks to short-sighted fear... "Please, PLEASE take my freedoms away.. save me from the "big bad criminal".

Rulings like this are not to protect criminals, its to protect YOU from the slippery slope of corruption and fascism.

I've never done drugs in my life, and I'm probably the most law abiding person you can find, but I would rather have drugs present at my child's school than have my child subject to the detainment and invasion of privacy at the whim of a police officer.

I think that it was wrong to search lockers. For those of you who disagree, would you like them too come and search your personal belongings? Just because those students are young doesn't mean that the police can violate their rights.

Irate taxpayor
The Supreme Court doesn't get it do they. It is surprising to me that police officers still show up for work with the lack of support they get from our so-called justice system. The kid was breaking the law. He said his rights were violated- What about the rights of all law abiding kids in that school? and the rights of the parents who expect safe environments for their kids- WAKE UP SUPREME COURT!! Do your job

This is much more important than a few druggies and a power hungry school administrator. Its about our basic freedoms. Detaining hundreds of kids while the police go on a fishing exidition is outrageous. One person charged hundreds of peoples rights violated only because of their age. Thank goodness for the supreme court.

JD in Alberta
The SCC is a joke.. always has been and always will be until serious changes our made. I have no use and no respect for it. They do not render decisions on fact or the rule of law, they render these decisions based on their personal opinions and political views.

As far as the Charter... It's not worth the paper is was written on. It was never written to protect all Canadians, just a select few groups. And unfortunatley those select few groups exploit it every chance they get. Only in Canada do druggies, perverts and other low lifes have more rights than honest people.

What this country needs is a COMPLETE overhaul of our judicial, political systems. We need to get with the times actually bring thes two systems into the 21st century.

But honestly, I can never see it happen. The lawyers, judges and politicians make too much money, the way the system works now.

Canada is becoming a Politically Correct joke.

Public safety means upholding the rights and freedoms of all Canadians, including accused persons.

Of course the judges were right - students for example in this case have the right to their privacy - to carry guns, grenades, home-made bombs etc in their backpacks - hey - their privacy rights are much more important than say -those who may become a victim to a crackpot who decides to kill people because of any mumber of reasons he/she decides to do to kill. Let's all turn a blind eye to everything - for everyone's privacy - more important than say, the police doing their job at protecting the public. Why bother with police at all - the judges will just stop them from doing their jobs anyways...And we wonder why criminals are so "brazen" in Canada - what a laughing stock!

I do agree that privacy is very important, but to what extent is privacy more important than safety of others.

In these cases, there should be an amendment in place that allows officials to place signs or notices in public view stating that this site is subject to routine searches via a Dog Sniffer. The public then knows that this policy is in place. Knowing this they would have to say to themselves "Should I really bring drugs into this environment?"

I think in doing so, if they bring drugs in, that they are consenting to having their bags searched "IF" it is detected that drugs are present. At that point the act of the dog smelling anything becomes their "just cause" because the individual knows.

Now some might consider this a "General Purpose Warrant" stating that anything can be searched, but are they really doing anything less at airports, with those scent detection devices? They are designed to sniff out explosives. would that not be considered invasion of privacy? NO becuase there is an expectation that you would or could be searched.

After all these items are illegal. If you are meant to have it legally then you will have the documentation and no harm no foul.

This is one of many opinions I have on this situation.

It's sure nice to see that we have lawyers who do nothing but twist and pervert ideologies and issues around in such a way so that once again potential criminals have rights because of the Charter while the rest of us law abiding citizens don't. Quite frankly I could care less if drug dogs sniff my bags, or locker, or whatever else. I have nothing to hide. Seems to me the only ones who would be concerned about being sniffed by a dog as being unconstitutional would be those who have something to hide. That's okay though, at least they can sell the drugs to make money to hire the lawyers to keep them out of prison. Doesn't the protection of the public and society as a whole trump the rights of would be criminals? I just don't get this. What a pathetic joke our legal system is and shame on the lawyers who abuse our legal system coming up with this clap-trap.

So now I am convinced...the laws protect those that choose to break them. Wow we could get into such a debate here but really - shouldn't a criminal or would-be criminal have the reasonable assumption that if he/she were to break the law they would then abandon some expectation to be protected? I mean yes there are some that are duely theirs - no one for example should be shot or beaten but to hide something and know that you CAN get away with it? I don't think that is right. Right now we're just talking about drugs...what about someone hiding a bloody knife or a gun, police suspect the person of nothing but see it anyway as they are talking with him/ we just let them go too? What a quagmire...

I fully agree with the decision. The second you broaden police powers to search without cause is the same second you can say good bye to all privacy and freedoms. How would you like to be pulled over for a random check and have your car torn through while you are detained? Is it OK because they are doing it for the greater good of protecting the many and you are on a public street or do you expect to be free of unlawful search and seisure? where would you draw the line? It is a good thing we have an active court to protect us from the rights infringements many of you seem so willing to give up to the state.

I have to add to my previous comment, after reading what others have posted.

It's patently obvious that many people posting have notions of youth being out-of-control drug-using thugs with no respect for authority and the law. You are showing outright fear of the youth of this country, and are showing them great disdain and giving them great disrespect.

These people will be running the show when you're old and not in a position of control. If they have been raised in conditions that dictate that the individual should have no privacy and no right to make their own decisions on what is right and wrong, that same attitude will come right back out once they are adults. Don't be surprised to find yourselves treated as less-than-human in the future, for that is the same treatment that you would call upon the youth.

Treating all youth like criminals is absolutely abhorrent. Treating all people that use public transport like criminals is equally abhorrent.

Your attitudes are positively shameful.

This was a much cost effective way inforcing the law. The alternative would be to have something similar to airport security in the schools to keep drugs, knives, guns... out of schools. How many kids will suffer while the drug dealers run operate freely in the schools. How many more kids will have to suffer the ill effects of drugs before we let the police uses the tools that they have to rid our schools from drugs. Canadain Courts are a joke.

Of all the stupid decisions I've seen come out of the Supreme Court - this takes the cake. The SCC powers to harm society need to be curbed; sad to say, but -the highest court in the land is a hazard to us all. The justices are clearly out of touch with society and the realities of day-to-day life. I am sure - from their ivory tower view of the world - the justices think they are correct; in theory, they may be right. But life is not lived in a legal theory. We need to curb the power of such elites to make rules that threaten the safety of all of us.

Comparing a private home to a public school is ridiculous. My child goes to a public school. I need to know he is safe. I have no problem with the police conducting an unannounced search. If you aren't guilty there is nothing to worry about.

Having our rights and freedoms will always be the most important. Good for the supreme court for upholding the charter. To lose this will only invite tyranny.

John P
I can understand people's outrage at this decision. However most people never consider the long term implications if the court had ruled other wise. It would have started the beginning of random, warrant-less searches in society. It would have started the errosion of civil rights. I know for some people the words "civil rights" are tantamount to extreme leftism but civil rights are what stand between us and a dictatorship or communism.

I have to side with the comment below regarding the one-sided nature of these posts. I am a soon-to-be graduate in Criminology at an accredited university in Canada and I feel really compelled right now to say to many of these posters that we cannot cherry-pick when to uphold our rights and freedoms. Our rights and freedoms are entrenched in our Constitution for a reason, so that each and every citizen is not subjected to unfair treatment before and under the law.

For those individuals who feel that youth crime is on the rise, that Canada's laws are too lenient, and that tougher laws and greater police presence will deter crime are simply wrong according to a wealth of peer-reviewed journal articles from a great variety of disciplines which I have become familiar with over the last 5 years.

Youth crime is actually much lower than many Canadians would presume and is actually declining. Canada actually has some of the toughest laws in the world, imprisoning more youths and adults than many other countries. Lastly, the presumption that tougher laws and greater police presence will deter crime assumes that all offenders are rational, risk-calculators that will choose not to act based on the risk of being caught. If this were true, countries with the death penalty would have the lowest rates of crime, but actually have some of the highest rates in the world. Strengthening laws and police powers will not change the fact that drugs exist. If students feel they can't bring them to school, they'll bring them somewhere else. What needs to change in our society is much deeper than debates over reasonable search and seizure. We need to take a closer look at why individuals would turn to drug abuse in the first place. We need to take a look at the socio-economic, racial and gender injustices that exist at the core of our society in order to make real change for the betterment of all, offenders and law abiding citizens alike.

While this may appear a bit of a rant, I really feel like it has to be said.

Can any of you show me where it says that the use of sniffer dogs is not allowed. What I get from the SCC ruling is that unless there is actual knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of something illegal on the premesis then sniffer dogs cannot be used. Think of it this way, you are sitting at home minding your own business when the cops knock on your door with dogs in tow and say "we're here to randomly search your home for anything illegal", you all would go apecrap if that happened to you. Like it or not even our children and schools are subject to the law of the land. I am the first to say that if you know Joe Smith is dealing dope out of locker #0000 then by all means bring on the dogs, but if you don't know or don't have a reasonable suspicion that Joe is dealing then you have no right to bring on the dogs or go through his personal things that happen to be in the locker which is owned by the school.

Louis-Paul C
What about the rights of people to be safe? Their constitutional rights have been broken by someone distributing an illegal substance. It should be an automatic trump on the criminal's rights no matter what. The SCC needs to be reprimanded for this by the government.

Nick T
I have to add this:

It was not a random search. The school invited the police officers. It was requested by the management of the PUBLIC building for them to come in and look. The dog alerted to a particular backpack. That gives police probable cause right there! This nation has become way too Liberal and lenient.

Also, as I stated, a school is owned by the public (in most cases), therefore, a PUBLIC building. This wouldn't apply to your home, since that is PRIVATE property. Big difference. People making the comparison of this situation to police searching their homes is ridiculous.

I wouldn't want anyone coming into my home without an invitation or a warrant, but schools are public property and random checks for drugs should be performed. Anyone who agrees with the SCC has something to hide and don't want to be sniffed out.

I'm not sure how anyone's safety is jeprodized by someone selling narcotics. I'm pretty sure the drug trade is supply and demand and I doubt these dealers were going to force any children to do drugs they didn't already want to do. What does imperil our safety is when police officers are out harrasing students and radom strangers while violent crimes are taking place in the interm. The so called war on drugs is a complete waste of resources and actually fuels the drug trade. Police know this of course but since drug enforcement is a huge part of thier budget they would never talk about the futility of the entire excersise. Kudos to the SCC for standing up for Canadians rights.

I am sure the Supreme Court of Canada has gained the admiration and respect of every drug pusher, criminal and defensive attorney in Canada. As for the rest of us Canadian parents, teachers, police officers and generally law abiding tax paying citizens simply disgust. I don't know how any of the judges are going to be able to look their families and neighbours with children in the eye after this one. Is there now any doubt why Canada has a worldwide reputation for being a haven for terorists and criminals. You would think they would all be trying everything they could to get back here to be tried in our system. Oh yah! I guess they actually are.

To Lauren,
I agree that there are major socio-economic issues such as poverty, gender and race issues that need to be fixed. However, just because you read a book on them does not mean you have this all figured out. Those issues do have to be fixed but they will take a long, LONG time for them to be fixed. What do you expect to happen in the meantime? We will ignore criminal activity just because a solution may be available a hundred years for now. I don't think so. Until your idea of a utopia state is upon us the rest of us will have to live in a real world. A world that you obviously haven't experienced like a lot of has. I for one see drug dealers, assaults and worse in my neighbourhoos almost daily. I gotta say I am thankful thatthe Police actually have some limited powers left.

Gary -London
The SCC seems to have a complete disconnect with the average Canadian as far as having a sense of logical reasoning.Time after time, decision after decision this court has become crime-friendly as it allows the criminal-minded a door to freedom. These activist judges are creating an anything-goes society that will eventually become none functional.

A Montrealer for Human Rights and Freedoms
The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is one of the best instruments in place to protect people. This law "spells out and protects the rights and freedoms of every person, in order to harmonize the relationships of citizens between themselves and public institutions and takes precedence over any other law and regulation" and "every public institution must respect the rights and freedoms outlined in the Charter". For all you people commenting about the SCC ruling against sniffer dogs, you are missing the point entirely. This has to do with violating people's rights and it is not acceptable to bend the law and conduct a random search, hold kids who've done nothing wrong because you think they may have. The SCC is an institution of very highly regarded individuals who have much knowledge of the law.

They did the right thing and did what they were supposed to do ---uphold the law!!!!

Curtis Pine
Good on the Supreme Court. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is of utmost importance. Canadians should be proud of this decision. Trudeau would be.

Another reason why Pierre Trudeau should not be praised. His push for a written Constitution and a Canadian Charter of Rights has destroyed Canada. In later years, historians [if allowed by the Supreme Court] will look back in Canadian history for "the day the rights of the majority died" and it will be when those documents were signed and put into law. Look how many guilty people have escaped!

Don J Hoover
Correct me if I'm wrong, but does it seem to any other Canadians that we have given up basic rights in the name of privacy ? Not just in this case but in other avenues as well. I feel that in this electronic age we have no privacy anyways, yet the courts and lawmakers impose all these "privacy" laws on the population knowing full well the rights of privacy are limited when the interests of the population are at risk! Very two faced.

Doug BC
I'm a huge advocate for privacy rights and personal liberties.I go to great length to push that agenda.
However,the safety and liberty of well behaved,law abiding children in those schools comes FIRST.
If my kids ever brought drugs to school,I would want them to get caught.At least this parent would be able to take action.
Also,I would think that parents who can afford to,would end up sending their children to private schools,if drugs are allowed in public schools.I would bet that,notwithstanding the nonsense from the SCC,it would be a condition of enrollment that those who attend would be required to give "informed consent" to drug control policies.
Perhaps civil liberties would also give these kids the right to pack guns as well.
These are chidren!! I want them to know there are possible consequences to breaking the law.Not learn how to invoke rights as a method of not getting caught and reprimanded.And I don't want drug free kids exposed to a drug culture they may be totally uninvolved in.
I would not advocate this kind of a search of adults,or even kids in their own homes.
Schools need to do all they can to be safe for ALL children.The vast majority who are not involved with drugs.
This is very wrong for "the greater good",and the safety of our kids.

"If you have nothing to hide, why would you worry about a drug sniffing dog?"

If I want to carry a joint with me to my friend's house I don't want to be subjected to a random search and get charged with possession. Why should it be anyone else's business other than mine, including the police, that I have a joint in my pocket?

So many people in this counrty have forgotten that we were created with the hope of peace, order and good government. Not life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many of their cherished "freedoms" actually came to us from (horrors) the hated US judicial system. I teach in a middle school. We can educate all we want, but kids these days know they are free under the law like we never were. They are far more into "experimenting" with far more potent drugs (which hook and destroy with more ease.) This kid was not caught with a "joint" in his pocket. He had some heavy drugs. He may have been forced to carry it by a dealer, but why didn't he tell the authorities that when he was caught? We bring the dogs in when we believe there are drugs present (which sadly, is most days.) Drugs are our society's greatest challenge. We need to get control of our kids back in our hands and out of the hands of organized crime and commercial interests. If I have to sacrifice a little of my freedom to do so I will. After all, 50 000 Canadians sacrificed their freedom for mine.

Dave Arbo
Someone hasnt stopped to think how much MORE the search for drugs will cost. More Police will be needed to search for drugs. These sniffer dogs are very fast and efficent. So besides the time to find drugs lots of these drugs will be missed. I can see more drug smuggling happening

The police didnt suspect this kid of drugs, they went into the school and basically searched for drugs, If they had suspected the kids of having drugs and searched only his locker, this would not have happened. But they decided to search everyones locker. It has nothing to do about protecting the kids, or keeping drugs out of school. The police used a bully search tactic, and the court said its not allowed. I applaud the court for this.

We cannot live in a world where everyone is presumed to be a drug dealer or carrying a gun. Canada is and should always be a free country.

Jay Love
Schools are places where finding education is the primary objective. With respect to educating ourselves let's all acknowledge the following:

Schools have become places where people are
no longer taught how to think, ask questions, and learn. On the contrary they've become places where understanding isn't necessary so long as students are conditioned a certain way and able to memorize.

In either case the right to privacy only exists today because of court decisions like this one. I for one am grateful and overjoyed that we live in a beautiful country where the personal interests and freedoms of individuals are still upheld regularly and only compromised for the rights of the nation under extreme circumstances.

The truth is simple and often neglected. Laws are arbitrary and never represent the opinions or desires of all individuals which is why we are constantly dealing with misunderstandings created as the result of conflicting interests. We also need to realize that individuals are responsible for making their own decisions and if we educated our children properly about accepting accountability for their choices and actions. Once properly educated I believe safe responsible drug use with certain illegal substances can be achieved the same way irresponsible and dangerous results can be achieved through ignorance regarding legal drugs.

Why is it that we can't assume responsibility as parents instead of finding scapegoats elsewhere to blame? Ask yourselves: Is it justified to suspect every teenager in a high-school as a would-be drug distributor and violate their basic rights to privacy based on nothing but speculation? Technically we could all look at each other with the same fearful ignorant attitude as everyone has the potential to commit crime based on the arbitrary, demographically associated laws depending on where we are. In addition to which certain laws (ie: marijuana possession) are absolutely ridiculous to begin with.

We should at least appreciate that we still have a nation with it's own judicial system. Obviously it doesn't always work well or represent the opinions of the presumed rational majority but it exists. The fact that it exists altogether is a beautiful thing. Love it or hate it, humanity is slowly moving in the direction of becoming a globalist surveillance society. Eventually individual rights will cease to exist on all levels including national, provincial, municipal, and virtual environments. Even now civil liberties and the rights of civilians in most countries are violated every day by govenment officials, law enforcement agencies, the military, "private security" groups (ie: Blackwater) and other "unnoficial" agencies (ie: Echelon) whose very existences are often denied or simply unconfirmed.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this story let me tell you about a teenager named Omar Khadr who, as you should be aware is a Canadian citizen living under controversy (in Guantanamo Bay) over a supposed incident (to which there was no evidence nor any witnesses) that occurred several years ago when he was only fifteen years old. Now let's ask ourselves what freedoms do we really have as Canadians when people (including Canadian citizens) are arrested, transported, detained, tortured, and labeled guilty of crimes in offshore prisons without even being technically or officially charged and then have no right to legal council or a fair judicial hearing whatsoever. You can call it fascism, political authoritarianism, soft totalitarianism or whatever other fancy word you want to use but the reality is that personal freedoms are dissolving at a progressively increased rate because the powers that be find ways to justify violating them in in order to insure protecting others (be it a particular social group or humanity as a whole) from the few people who, with the right access to certain tools and/or information could potentially threaten and therefore presumptively endanger the rest of us in some way. If history teaches us anything it is that fear is the greatest tool which can be used to impose control over the minds of groups and individuals in order to further any agenda be it obvious or hidden and discrete.

The lesson is we must evolve socially and make this a better world together. If we all give into the irrational fears of artificial or potential threats which often don't actually exist we'll lose the few freedoms we have left and nobody will be safe, only more easily controlled. In conclusion I think it's important that we all learn to put ourselves in someone else's position before passing judgment on them.

Once again the Charter of Rights rears its head and the result is this. While the intention of the Charter was probably good it has, over the years, been twisted, manipulated and abused by not only criminals and defence lawyers but many other individuals and organizations to further their own agendas. The SCC ruled based on the current laws and their interpretation of the charters, whether right or wrong to many of us. As for those who say we are heading towards a police state, with jackbooted Nazis on every corner, give it a rest. We dont have people in this country being randomly taken in the middle of the night, convicted without proper trials and summarily executed, as happens in real police states. Leave the drama out of your comments please.

For Sean - let me know where your children go to school so that I ensure mine dont go there. I for one would rather not have drugs present in my childrens school.

Vince M
"Why should it be anyone else's business other than mine, including the police, that I have a joint in my pocket?"

Oh I don't know... because ITS ILLEGAL?

Another proof of a "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" flaw... Many other laws can be proven unconstitutional simply because of the same "right".

Steve B
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

I believe that that the SCC made the correct ruling in this case, and don’t get me wrong, I am dead set against drug use and feel that perhaps the Charter of Rights and Freedoms needs revamping.

However the salient point here is that this student’s rights were violated when I read the Charter as it stands today. This was a “random search” with the aim of “hopefully nabbing a criminal.” From the information provided in the article, there was no reasonable grounds to conduct searches; therefore making it unreasonable.

After reading the Charter, I believe, and I’m not a lawyer/judge or profess to be an expert on law or our Charter, but sections 2, 9, and 15 may have also been violated, which are provided above. 2. d) guarantees freedom of association – this random search without reasonable grounds implies that all of the children of this school are associated with the known drug criminals. Section 9 was violated because all the students were arbitrarily detained to “hopefully” nab one or a handful of students possessing drugs, again without reasonable grounds. Section 15 was violated because all the children were not treated “equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination” – I interpret that, because there was no reasonable grounds to conduct this search, that Principal and police must have thought that all the children were guilty of possessing drugs.

This is food for thought and the way I interpret our Charter, which guarantees are rights and freedoms. If our justice system doesn’t rule on the way the Charter is written as is and free of common-sense (which isn’t universal), then we as Canadians would be tremendously let down because our Rights and Freedoms would no longer be guaranteed. Perhaps you need to chat with and put pressure on your Member of Parliament to have the Charter amended to reflect today’s reality and correctly address the significant security issues we are facing as a nation.

Daniel Fedele
This is a beautiful system we have. The SCC will be the downfall of our great country. With decisions like this one they are protecting the people who break the law. Another tool that police officers can not use to protect the law abiding citizens. The charter of rights can have very positive effects on our society, that is until the SCC makes decisions like this one. How can they vote against this. In each of these cases the accused were caught with drugs on them. The dogs did their work. Let's keep in mind that the dog wasn't searching the bags, they were smelling the air around the bag, that is quit different from a police officer detaining someone and searching their belongings. The dogs are a great tool for police officers and for the safety of all. The SCC needs to make laws to help protect society from criminals, and not protecting criminals...a concept that the SCC has yet to grasp.

Ron Thornton
In regards to the Supreme Court ruling that sniffer-dog searches are unlawful, I admit my first reaction was negative. On the surface, I'm with the cops. If there are drugs in my kids' school, I want them sought out. However, "slippery slope" considerations should not be forgotten.

For example, if the police can "sniff" the school, they can "sniff" your neighbourhood. If the dog smells something coming from your house, then you might soon be getting some company dropping by your home with guns drawn. For the law abiding citizenry, that should be no problem provided every cop was a good cop and every law maker and government officials was a saint. Unfortunately, the world provides many examples how the corrupt and incompetent can mess up even what on the surface appears to be a good law.

There is a solution. If a principal has reason to believe there are drugs in his/her school, get a warrant and get the place sniffed. If there is an ongoing problem in the school, or the bus station, or the airport, or anywhere, for that matter, all we need to be informed of is that such premises may get "sniffed" on a regular basis.

Secret police do things you don't know are happening or could happen. However, if we all know that we might be subject to such an invasion of privacy, for very definable reasons, then it allows the public the opportunity to react so that a law may be changed or altered to their satisfaction. We already do it in our airports for security reasons, so precedents have been set.

Meanwhile, so many are quick to point out their rights, be they real or imagined. What I would like to know is what, along with those rights, are their responsibilities? You would think promoting measures that support getting drugs out of our schools and keeping bombs out of airplanes, even at the expense of loosening our right to privacy for very definable and publically acknowledged reasons, would be a couple of responsibilities all of us should be willing to embrace. I mean, one's fellow students and passengers have rights, too.

the people that are saying that sniffer dogs are infringing on kids rights at school will be the first to cry & complain when something happens in our schools like the Columbine shooting! They will be the first to ask where the police was, and what could have been done to make sure it had never happen?

While the safety of children is important, most definitely, this does not constitute making them safe. This is a harmful lesson, that people in a position of authority can and will invade your privacy if they feel justified in doing so. It also tells them that doing something as harmless as drugs like pot (no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose)is something that will be severely reacted to, with draconian laws and sentencing.

There is also something inherently wrong in us being willing to give over our rights in this manner, in order for one pothead to be caught (and since it was deemed an illicit search, the kid went free anyways)

Our basic human rights are something to be upheld at all other costs. Human rights can come at the cost of personal safety, but when one loses their Rights, they lose their safety with them. I'd rather have my rights and that little extra amount of danger.

also, those who uphold the law should not be the ones affected by it. In this instance, the children who were not criminals...all but one apparently, were treated as suspects in a crime.

Those who break the law should be the ones punished for it. don't make me suffer because someone else is doing drugs, and that is exactly what is happening in this instance.

This has to be one of the most flagrant and abusive wastes of our tax dollars since the gun registry.

Privacy Concerned
Very Good Ruling!
I agree with some others here that you complaining people are not reading the law properly...this is about privacy and illegal searchs. This is not about more tools for cops...its about cops following the laws they are there to uphold...not for them to violate those same laws.
Its a sad dictators world when police can search you anytime they want with whatever tools are available.

"The Ontario Court of Appeal says the registry may well infringe on the freedom of an offender, but the public's right to safety is more important."

This is the type of ruling the SCC should have come up with.

Students and parents alike should be made to read and sign a legally prepared document prior to being registered in any school, acknowledging that they are aware of the drug and weapons security policies and they should also acknowledge that they understand that them, their vehicles and their belongins are subject being searched without provication to search at any time. Then there is would be no grounds for redress. Signs stating the search possibility are placed in clear sight at every entrance to a military base in Canada and it's no big deal. No Military Policeman or Commissionaire would stop you without a pretty good reason or suspician that you were in violation of the policies in place. I've been in the Canadian Military for 31 yrs and have never been stopped and searched.

Law and Dis-order.
Schools should not be run like democracies, but benevelont dictatorships. Parents who are worried that their children's rights might be trampled on should opt for home schooling.

I don't understand the confusion here that people are having. This is not a home that police were sniffing through. A school is public property and should be treated as such. Your home is your private dwelling and what you do behind closed doors (within reason) is your perogative. When you bring items, such as drugs and firearms, to schools, you are putting the lives of OUR children in harm's way and I will do whatever I can in my power to prevent this from happening because that is my obligation as a parent. People should be happy that the police are using these valuable tools (K-9's) to help keep our schools safe. Our MP's should definately inquire into this situation and legalize random searches by K-9 units in our schools to deter children from trafficking drugs and contreband.

As a current university student not too far removed from high school, I can't help but snicker at some of the parents on this board who complain of the potential dangers of drugs in school and what this judgment has done to stop it.

Guess what? It's reality check time. There are drugs at your kids' schools! I can almost flat out guarantee it. The fact that so many parents remain ignorant of this, and rely on the police to waste precious time shows a neglect in good parenting.

Educate your kids, but ultimately trust that your positive parenting will guide them to make the right decisions. The police have much better things to do than waste time over petty non-violent drug dealers.

Whats in your house? I can understand the frustration that this ruling causes but in the name of privacy we need to have these rules to protect us all. There are times when governments decide it is wrong to do something, like harbouring a slave or someone of a particular heritage, such was the case in ww2 germany. When privacy controls such as these are in place and upheld it protects us all from unjust surveilance. We need our rights protected to maintain this great contry of ours. Sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow but for the greater good and personal privacy it is important to protect the privacy rights of all individuals, even criminals.

I wonder if the people handing down this ruling were on the contents of the bag found.
So, the school does not have a right, on its on property to expect and ensure safety of the rest of the law abiding citizens but this loser has "human"rights. I have news for you, nly humans are supposed to have human rights. I can already tell that I have this one draing my tax dollars as well.
I guess I'll have to work a few more years.

Maybe its time we used Sec. 33 of the Charter (Notwithstanding Clause)

Duncan Letby
I am dismayed at the ruling, drugs are in every high school that I know of in Manitoba. This just makes it harder for administrators, officials and parents to get something done about the constant flow of drugs into the schools.

How will this apply to places of employment where there is a drug problem? This is already a frightening issue to deal with just on a safety basis alone.

I am glad the airports are exempt but I feel lots of other places must be exempt too.

How about Oil Refineries? Want a drug addict high on the job at one of those places?????Ka Boom!

Sometimes Imany people believe it to I think he should have brought it to school? Of course not.

How in the hell is using drug/gun sniffing drugs an invasion of privacy when it's done on public property - which a school is?! The dogs are smelling the air, they are not opening lockers or bags.

What about those "bomb-sniffing" machines they have at the entrance of some buildings? Or metal detectors? That's not unlawful search. Unlawful search is when someone is physically searched or had their property searched without law-enforcement having reasonable grounds to do the search. The odour particles in the air are fair game.

In my opinion, either the socalled "Justices" are dumb as dirt, or they are protecting someone (maybe themselves).

Iain Ricketts-Moncur
What a horrible decision; Bad in law and bad in practice. This judgment is flawed because it is an interpretation of privacy that goes beyond what is reasonable. Because the offensive items were in a public place, but concealed from sight means, there isn't reasonable grounds for a search? So does that mean that if I am in a public place smoking a joint, but I have concealed the joint and all that can be detected is the smoke emanating from my nose and rising above my head that there aren't reasonable grounds?

The sniffer dogs are a tool just like speed radar. From a kilometre or more away the officer at the roadside has no reasonable grounds to suspect I am speeding. He may not even be able to see me. He uses the radar to extend his vision. Just like the dogs are used to extend the ability of the officers to smell. Why is he allowed to use the radar as a tool to determine that I am breaking the law?

The worst part of this judgment is it lends further weight to the argument for limiting the ability of the Supreme Court to interpret the Charter. While we have a Conservative right wing government, it will add to the momentum of the politicisation of the judiciary, resulting in judges being appointed based on litmus tests of how they will judge hypothetical cases rather than based on their experience and knowledge of the law.

STUPID RULING.. Society > Individual
thanks SCC & charter-o-right, the more stories you civil liberties groups and activits tout like this just means more and more regualr people will feel that the document is out of touch and needs replacing. It's too broadly worded and interpreted, it needs to specifically outline how far society can go and in what circumstances to protect itself.

chalk one up for the bad guys

Kevin in NB
Congratulations to our supreme court on a well thought out decision. To all those whining about how warrants should not be necessary in a public place, I wonder how long you'd feel that way if police began stopping you on the streets any time they feel like it in order to search your pockets/bags/wallet for no good reason. You'd all be crying fowl then. Young people deserve the same rights as all of us. To those comparing pot to heroin and guns, get real! To the officer with so much experience he thinks he can't be wrong, this is just another way to make your job easier like tasers, so you can get back to Tim's as soon as possible. Most of you have no clue about civil liberties and how an opposite ruling would have eroded your rights. We are so lucky to have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a supreme court that understands it's importance.

We are blessed in this country with the experiences of people who are from countries where civil liberties and freedoms have been eroded to the point of non-existence.Talk to these folks.Learn from them.They came here for reason.Freedom is that over-riding reason. They all say the same thing.Their freedoms were lost to the people among them who said"If you've done nothing wrong,then you have nothing to fear."Constant vigilence is needed to protect our freedom.Allowing the State to usurp these freedoms in even the smallest way is the first step to tyranny.

The level of stupidity has reached the level as promised by Dr. Peter.

Is the Supreme Court of Canada telling us that because a dog can sniff drugs we should let a drug dealer loose in the hallways of our schools, what if he had crystal meth and was going to give it to your 10 year old son or daughter ..... a drug dealer is a drug dealer and anything and I mean anything we can do to get them behind bars to stop them killing our children or ruining their lives for good is justifiable

The law and school policy still allows adminstrators of schools to search any student, as long as there is a "reasonable suspicion". So searches are still possible, they just have to be done by the school administrator - the police can then be called if in fact drugs/weapons are called. In schools, school administrators have more rights and leeway than do the police.

This is a great time to use the 'notwithstanding' clause. Rewrite the law, even if it means changes to the charter of rights. Society and the police need better tools than they have after this decision. The SCC is totally wrong.

stephen Kriegar
Are you serious? I am an American that spends a lot, I mean a lot of time in the Toronto area, and I think this is one of the dumbest things, that the SCC has ever done. That in itself is a long list.
you guys are killing a great country from the inside out, and I hate to see it.

I wonder how many children of Supreme Court Judges go to public school? Being a principal of a High School I can tell you drugs are becoming an epidemic within the educational setting.

Once again the elite have their heads in the clouds and leave "us" to wonder who is supposed to teach our young adults right from wrong.

A decision devoid of any sense of reality. But then a link to reality for the top brass of Canadian judiciary would be too much to expect. Reality to the justices of the SCC is a continued legal argument put forth by the country's best lawyers in a serene historical setting. No sites, smells or tastes present that could upset the selected demigods with exaggerated sense of their individual role in the history of Canada.

Loony in LotusLand
The Supremes are usurping the authority of Parliament and the common law which is "written by the collective will of the people". Judge McGluaghlin has said that the Constitution is a living document, subject to the Courts' Interoperation of evolving societal norms and practices as they see it. Their most recent judgement interprets the Charter statement on right to privacy excludes random drug searches now because of the change in attitude of the Canadian mind set which no longer views recreational drug use as inherently evil.

God help you if you are driving your private automobile on public roads paid for by your tax dollars. Unlike twenty to thirty years ago, drinking and driving is now a personal moral shortcoming and in itself sinful. Therefore; your right to privacy driving your vehicle is now a privilege granted you by, and revocable by the state and not a right covered by the Charter. Police may stop you in a random road check, search your vehicle for contraband, demand to see your drivers license ( papers please!) and identify and interview any of your passengers.

Just hope that the next interpretation by the Supremes does not involve any your personal interests or pastimes now considered moral shortcomings by the courts. If you are a Christian, a smoker, an over eater, a couch potato, a global warming denier, a biker without a Helmut, a hunter, a non-aboriginal, or not deemed to be green enough you are not protected by the glorious Charter in the Court..

Loony in Lotusland .

Yet another example of our laws being manipulated to protect the rights of criminals. A school is a public place and the lockers are property of the school - police should be allowed to do random searches on school property. Don't want to get in trouble with the police? Leave your drugs, etc at home!

j from ontario
oh no the kid had some marijuana and mushrooms, the world is going to end! The problem is not illegal
"search and seizure", its the illegal part i dont get. I personally dont use drugs, but if i wanted to its none of your business. The war on drugs is a joke, and does nothing to deter use. Education is the only way to stop drug abuse and until people get that, usage will continue to climp among our children.

Black Bart
Good for the judges - they are a corrupt bunch of reprobate, political appointees, and the best way to build a newer, better country is to tear it right apart first. Rulings like this help that day come a little quicker.

What a stupid decision. The school does not belong to the students but rather to the school boards . If the principal,acting as an agent of the board invites the police to do a search, any contraband found should be legal evidence. No wonder we have a drug plagued society.

Anyone upset about this should consider whether they want to live in a country where police can bust into our homes to do a "random search" for anything considered illegal; or if they would rather live in a country that protects peoples privacy. Just think about all bad things they would find.

It would really clean up the country, but, at what cost? Have we not given up to much of our freedoms already to live in this cradle to grave nanny state?

"I have the right to my freedom and not to be searched randomly without just cause."

Yes you certainly do ... you also have the right to be protected by the laws that govern our country and the people that are placed in these positions to do so.

Police officers and squad teams don't just randomly show up at your home while you're at work and begin going through your personal belongings. I am almost certain that in our city ... they have more pressing concerns than going through your underwear drawer.

However ... if your home is seaping with condensation and it smells like some strange crop (not basil)could be growing in the basement ... well there may be some just cause.
People need to start giving more credit to the people that are trying hopelessly to inforce our laws and keep the public safe.
If you've got nothing to hide ... you haven't a thing to worry about.

Some of you need to step back, and look at the big picture. So a few people get away with a little drugs...they will get cought eventually, the proper way. If we as Canadian citizens allow laws to be passed were a "law enforcement agency" can start serching you without probable cause, then alot more freedoms will dissapear too!
For example, lets pretend that the police could use the dogs, and yeah, they get a kid for having pot...good job What about the hundred other searches it took to find that one bad guy, how about those peoples rights.
Hey lady surender your purse now. What LEGALL items do you have in there you may not want exposed, hmm?
Why would the police and dog approach you in the first place. Could it be because the way you looked to the officer. Hmmm looks like grounds to racialy profile.
I like my freedoms!!
I will never give them up.

M. Cameron
j from ontario: When you break a law, it is EVERYONES business. Try arguing against that in a court of law.

Unfortunately most kids today fail to realize that RESPECT is earned not GRANTED. And if there are sniffer dogs in schools, then obviously there is a need. If you have nothing to hide, why are you worried...

Embarrassed to be a Canadian
What's the use of having laws if the courts says you can't enforce them. And people say that Canadians are not stupid.

Layton in Moncton
These dogs are used almost exclusively to detect marijuana, that is the drug of choice in the Drug War, our government declaring war on its own people. If we were to follow the advice of the Senate, we would legalize marijuana and this whole argument would become moot. Teens use drugs because they're EASIER to get than booze. You see, when something is actually sold in a store with regulations you can actually control who can buy it. If its illegal then the control is in the hands of criminals and they will sell it to whoever has money. This is why our drug policies fail, this is why we have drug sniffing dogs in the first place.
And god forbid if the cops can't use a dog to search bags without consent, warrant or even grounds. Say if you have nothing to hide you mind me going through your purse. "Those who are willing to trade their freedoms for security will soon find they have neither" Ben Franklin

dale worsfold
i think it is time we have elected officials making laws instead of unelected judges.

It is easier for minors to get illegal drugs in this country then it is for minors to get alcohol or tobacco products. What is wrong here with the war on drugs. Drugs should be made availible and require a age limit to obtain said drugs.

The dog is what gives you suspicion and grounds for a search. You have no expectation of privacy on odors that are emitted from your person or personal property. If you have nothing to hide you have no worries.

I live in Sarnia and was not out of high school long after this happened. It appalls me to think that I have to be subjected to drugs and the criminal element and that I have no protection and when my kids go to school they will have no protection from this garbage.

But I can understand the privacy issue for a search on a private backpack, so have the police get a warrant when they get a hit by the dog.

Nothing good will come from this. Get ready to have our communities inundated with drugs.

Susann Blazett
Canada - wonderful country where criminals have all the rights and the innocent are the ones assumed guilty first. Then the government wonders why they can't hire enough police officers - who would want to work where they are always wrong and young offenders are the protected ones - I grew up thinking that the uniform was the most important symbol of this country: both the RCMP and city police uniforms. Canada is becoming a joke.

When are things going to swing over to the side to help police not hinder them. Unreasonable searches are a key component to the justice system, however, what is unreasonable when a dog picks up on a scent of an illegal narcotic in a school, or a bus station. We don't see any law being passed which requires drug traffickers to post a sign on their back saying "I have drugs in my possession today". It is already extremely difficult for police to conduct investigations into drug offences. This is because in many cases the items being sought are there one minute then gone the next.By the time a search warrant is obtained or a drug dog is brought in the items can be long gone.
Let's be realistic here, illegal searches against people for no just reason are wrong. However, protection of society which includes our children at school is also paramount for everyone to enjoy their own freedom. Stop tying the hands of police again, again and again. The only people who should be happy to see this ruling are the drug dealers themselves.

What is next for the SCC of Canada? I can't believe how they can once again remove all common sense from the rulings. When will the SCC and the Federal Government wake up and see the damage that a decision such as this makes. As a retired Police person who has seen the change the Charter has made too our country and legal system I am extremely grateful to be done with it. I truly feel for my fellow officers who continue with such a useless fight. To the SCC and the members of the Federal Government "Wake up" and support the few that everyday try to make our country a better and safer place to live.

We need an elected Supreme Court. We need a body that must answer to the people. Who are they accountable to? The Supreme court has definitely assumed too much power in the last decade, and I haven't seen the elected parliament be able to challenge their mockeries. The scales of justice are in need of an extreme re-calibration.


NorCalTim said...

Love. What is love.
You can not touch it.
Or can you.
A loving wife can be touched.
My 2 dogs Pandora and Cypress can be touched.
My past girl friends who I was in love with could be touched (one of them by my friend with out me knowing, but thats another story).

Love. Can you hold it in your hand?
I can hold my dogs in my hand.
They are pure bread American Pit Bull Terrier.
The breed is very smart, strong and loving.
No other breed has been temperament tested (by way of 2 dogs in battle with
2 dog handlers with in inches of the fight knowing that the dog would never
bite them) the way the APBT has.
I would never, ever, ever even think about fighting my dogs.
I have never seen, wanted to see, or been to a dog fight (or a cock fight for that matter).
Does that mean I can not respect how someones grandpa can win The Ultimate Strong Man competition,
or be boxings' Heavy Weight Champion of the World?
Does that mean that you love unconditionally.
Can I say "I love the way I see your grandpa Swartz in your eyes to your Jewish grandson
wile being in front of Nazi guards looking for Jews to exterminate and throw in jail?
I love my Jew.
I love my American Pit Bull Terrier.
Hear me scream.
Here me Thomas Jefferson!
Here me god!
Here me you people on the "left" trying to take away my rights.
Here me people on the "right" trying to take away my rights.
Here me fellow amputees who are in pain!
Here me single people who have no family but there pet!
Here me!
Here me!
Here me! The humane society openly hired ALF members and claim to want to help the APBT -
by putting them to sleep.
The rights that are the most important are the ones you don't believe in.
America here me!
America I cry for you.

I am 34 years old.
What has happed to our freedom loving ways?
Is it just the "headline mentality", or are we as a country judging people way to much?

Punish the deed, not the breed.

Any one remember Our Gang.
The Little Rascals?
The dog Pete was a match dog.
He was an APBT.
Did you ever see him act mean toward the kids?
Were they scared, or did they love the dog Pete with his big black circle around one eye?

My dogs have been on TV to promote kids to be good people.
It was a 3 minute Character Education Program that ran on many cable channels.
We should have made one for the "adults",
I think they needed it more.
They wanted to pay me for the use of them, but I said no.
Its my duty to help make the APBT more respected and loved.
It helped!

My photo of my dog Cypress was chosen to be displayed at a local museum in a photo contest.
She did not win, but the breed did!
Among various photos was mine.
"Cypress at the Salmon".
A older lady asked me at the opening night show "where is the Cypress tree".
I told her the dog was named Cypress.
Cypress and her puppies were the only photo used in the American Dog Breeders Association magnet
handed out at the Las Vegas Dog Convention in 2003.
They were used for the cover of the ADBA Spring 2003 gazette.
Our girl Addy is helping mentally disabled children at a school in San Francisco.
The parents and kids love their Addy.

Come and kill her.
Come and take Addy away from the children in the Bay Area.
She is Vicious!
She is a pure bread American Pit Bull Terrier.
Thousand of family members killed off in Denver!

I will die for her.
I will die for America.
We fought (along with our dogs, some of which were APBTs') to long for our rights to loose them in
my life time.

Cypress is love.
Pandora is love.
A strong marriage, thats love.
The bond between myself any my family who live 720 miles away, thats love.
Willing to die for your family, that is love.

Good luck America.
I still love you.

a guy trying to keep the SS away

仔仔 said...