For most of Canada’s history, vagrancy was a criminal offence.
While the wording of the vagrancy laws changed from time to time. As of 1972, there were two different forms of vagrancy.
The first form of vagrancy made it a criminal offence to beg or be found in a public place without apparent means of support.
The second form of vagrancy prohibited people convicted of sexual offences from loitering near parks, playgrounds, school yards or public parks.
The case that ultimately determined the second type of vagrancy was unconstitutional arose from Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. It involved a man previously convicted of sexual offences involving children being found twice near a playground in the park. The man had a camera with a telephoto lens. When he was arrested for vagrancy, the camera was seized. When the film was developed, it included pictures focusing on the “crotch area of young girls playing in the park with their clothing in disarray.”
A five-four majority of the Supreme Court of Canada found the second form of vagrancy unconstitutional because it was overly broad.
Vagrancy was subsequently removed from the Criminal Code.
Also on the show: a report from the Judicial Council of BC indicated a dwindling number of applications for jobs as a Provincial Court Judge in British Columbia.
From an average of 37 applications per year, in 2022, only 23 people applied.
Why are potential candidates shying away? Is it because of the less than satisfactory remuneration? For over a decade, the BC provincial government has repeatedly overruled decisions of an independent commission that is supposed to set the salaries for judges.
We draw parallels between the earnings of these judges and those of family doctors and other government officials.
Also on the show is an exploration of the duty-to-defend clause in insurance contracts.