Karen Busby

Karen Busby

Karen Busby likes to write about sex, politics and religion. She is a law professor and director of the Centre for Human Rights Research at the University of Manitoba as well as author of Manitoba Queen's Bench Rules. She can be reached at Karen_Busby@umanitoba.ca.

Column: Rights Matter
Canada becoming a go-to destination for those seeking surrogate mothersNepal, Thailand and India, once popular destinations for Westerners seeking surrogate mothers, have now effectively closed their doors to international surrogacy. In a curious twist, Canada may be emerging as the new go-to destination for people from around the world wishing to become parents with the assistance of a surrogate mother. Why is this happening? Should we be concerned about it?
Queering refugee claims: IRB gets rid of problematic stereotypes and impossible paradoxesKudos to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board for its new guideline designed to prevent queer refugee claims from being unfairly dismissed.  
How to keep sexual assault cases on trackCanada’s substantive and procedural sexual assault laws are pretty strong on the books. Consent must be affirmative, contemporaneous and continuous. Mistaken belief in consent must have an air of reality. Sexual history is presumptively inadmissible. Personal records are rarely relevant. Yet only one in 10 sexually assaulted women makes a report to the police and only one out of 10 of these complaints will result in a conviction.
Seeing justice done: Sexual violence policies at universitiesLaws and policies governing inter-personal and group-based sexual violence, misconduct and harassment at many universities and colleges across Canada not only prevent participants from seeing whether justice is done, they also prohibit open inquiry and impede learning. Disturbingly, the trend is toward even less disclosure about findings and outcomes.
SCC to rule on preservation of residential schools survivors’ filesThe Supreme Court of Canada has just granted leave to hear an extraordinarily difficult case. It could throw gasoline and a match on one of the largest archives ever created that thoroughly documents a systemic human rights abuse. 
Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in a post-TRC worldCentennial fever gripped Canada in 1967. The national celebration of our country’s 100th birthday left Canadians with rich physical legacies, such as concert halls and cultural centres, and, more importantly, a deep sense of civic pride and regional dynamism. But there seems to be little excitement about Canada’s 150th birthday. Few institutions or people are asking, “How can we ensure that 2017 fosters pride and an engaged citizenry?” 
Time to take bold steps towards independenceIs the time ripe for some fundamental changes at the Canadian Human Rights Commission? Marie-Claude Landry, who was appointed chief commissioner more than a year ago, thinks so.
Who counts? Transparency and inclusion in the 2016 censusWhat if the Canadian census form required participants to choose either English or French in answer to the question, “Which language do you speak most often at home?” Many Canadians — one in five, according to the 2011 census — would be perplexed about how to answer this question, since neither is correct.
Monday, 21 March 2016 09:00

Keeping up with international treaties

Keeping up with international treatiesUnless you are a keen observer of international human rights, you probably don’t know that earlier this month a United Nations expert committee issued its periodic review on Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. By acceding to this and other treaties, our governments accept the obligation to implement the provisions of the treaties and to report every five years on their progress.
Karen Bushy

Thirty years ago, Baby M captured public attention. A newborn was taken from her mother and given to an American couple that had contracted with the woman to carry the child. Concern for surrogate mothers deeply influenced North American approaches to assisted human reproduction, including development of the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

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