An Announcement from the BCCLA’s new President and Vice President

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Dear friends and supporters,

We are writing to you as the new, incoming President and Vice President of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

This may come as news to some of you, but Lindsay Lyster was appointed to the Supreme Court of BC in July! We are incredibly proud of the contributions Madam Justice Lyster has made to the organization over many decades – as pro bono counsel on many of our interventions and as the Board President for seven years. As well in September, we congratulated Caily DiPuma as she accepted a new position with the BC Attorney General’s office. Caily served as the Board Vice-President and stepped up as President last year.

We congratulate and thank Caily and Lindsay for their many important contributions to the Associations’ achievements. Best of luck to both as they bring their strong commitments to their new positions!

Due to the requirements of their new positions, Lindsay and Caily had to step away from the Board, and we had some big shoes to fill. We are honoured to accept the Board’s nomination as the President (David Fai) and Vice-President (Haran Aruliah). David is a Vancouver-based lawyer and brings decades of experience in civil liberties and criminal law to the organization. He has been a director of the Board for five years. He is a strong advocate and brings a keen sense of justice to the role. Haran has been a director for two years and is a lawyer and chief technology officer for a local software company. His concerns at the intersection of law and technology touch on many emerging civil liberty issues.

While there has been a transition at the Board level, the organization’s priorities and work continue ahead at full pace. Our responsibility to promote, defend, sustain, and extend civil liberties and human rights continue to be guided by our 2020-2025 strategic plan.

A small sampling of our recent and upcoming work includes:

  • Interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada in criminal justice reform in CP (arguing for a young persons’ right to appeal), Chouhan (argued the abolition of peremptory challenges reduced jury diversity), and Zora (persons should only be convicted of bail violations when they actually, not ‘ought’ to, know they’ve breached a condition)
  • Three educational webinars on policing available online here
  • Participation as the only civil liberties organization in the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC.
  • Victories for freedom of expression at the Supreme Court of Canada in an anti-SLAPP case, and at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal protecting healthcare workers’ right to criticize the health care system.

These are not easy disputes, but we remain uniquely situated to champion the cause. Despite the challenges 2020 presented, we have had numerous triumphs. Most recently, we secured an important victory for human rights at the Supreme Court of Canada, reinforcing that s.12 of the Charter – protection against “any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment” – does not apply to corporations.

We are grateful to help the Board navigate these challenges and recognize this is only possible with the hard work and determination of our staff, volunteers, and supporters’ commitment.

In solidarity,

David Fai

Haran Aruliah

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