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Cruise suit over first hurdle

Eudora Pendergrast — October 1983

The nuclear disarmament movement won a major victory last month when a Federal Court judge ruled that Canadian citizens can fight, through the court system, the cabinet’s decision to permit cruise missile testing.

The September 15th ruling by Justice Alex Cattanach defeated an effort by the federal government to have the anti-cruise court case of Operation Dismantle and 26 other labour and peace groups declared “frivolous and vexatious.”

Justice Cattanach’s decision was immediately appealed by the federal government. According to Justice Minister Mark MacGuigan, the government’s appeal was launched in order to establish the rules under which cabinet decisions can be reviewed by the courts. The government’s position is that (he cabinet decision to permit cruise testing was a political decision by elected politicians and therefore should not be heard by the courts.

The court date to hear the federal government’s appeal has been set for October 11.

The Operation Dismantle court suit was filed on July 20 of this year. 11 argues that the cabinet decision to permit the U.S. to test air launched cruise missiles in Canada violates the Canadian Charier of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the right to “security of the person.”

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