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ISSUE 11 - FEB 25 2013 obiter-dicta.ca

Submissions are due at 5 pm on March 3, 2013. Please send your articles to: obiterdicta@osgoode.yorku.ca

Based on the ideals presented in Mock Trial Live, the gist of life at Osgoode is that we study hard, enjoy a drink from time to time, follow our Dean/professors religiously on Twitter, and have an odd fascination with utensils.

‘The Definitive Source for Osgoode News’

Mock Trials and Mock Tribulations of Mock Trial MAXIMILIAN PATERSON Arts & Culture Editor For those of you fortunate enough to score a ticket to Mock Trial (and the even more fortunate of you who scored a ticket to the proceeding pub night), you were treated to an entertaining romp of musical numbers, videos, comedy, dance, and mance. Taking its theme from Saturday Night Live, this year’s Mock Trial » continued on pg 8

ILP Advocacy Week

Tbe Great Internet Crackdown: Censorship and Expressional Constraints in China KENDALL GRANT & KATHEY GUO Contributors In most countries, the Internet has been responsible for helping to facilitate greater freedom of expression for its citizens. However, this is not a universal truth. To take the starkest example, the Internet censorship system in China, dubbed the “Great Firewall of China,” is among the most stringent in the world. The government has constantly blocked Web sites that mention the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square, Falun Gong, and a number of other “forbidden” topics. In January 2001, Human Rights Watch reported that a new Chinese government regulation made it a capital crime to send “secret” or “reactionary” information over the Internet. In late 2008, a pro-democracy movement named Charter 08 released an online petition calling for an end to

the Communist Party’s monopoly on power, but was promptly shut down. Since then, bans on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, once thought to be temporary, are now considered permanent, with “governmentfriendly” alternatives strengthening in influence. China’s endeavours have even brought it into conflict with the largest of online behemoths. Google initially closed its search service in mainland China in March 2010 before its subsequent reentrance in June, announcing that the Beijing government had renewed its license to operate. However, tensions between China and Google have persisted, and in March 2011, » continued on pg 7

NAVEEN HASSAN & KATHRYN FOX Contributors International Legal Partnerships (ILP) is a student-run, experiential education program at Osgoode which fosters opportunities for students to gain hands on international legal experience. ILP aims to provide global policy, legal regulatory, and research assistance in lowincome countries. Among several annual initiatives, ILP hosts Advocacy Week each year. The week aims to bring light to significant international issues. In past years, the themes for the week have included sexual and gender based violence and forced migration. This year from March 4th to 8th, we are excited to host a week full of events around freedom of expression. Throughout the week, we hope to expose the Osgoode community to current issues related to freedom of expression both domestically and abroad. Through this exposure, we will bring our lens to focus on the role that the freedom of expression has in dictating the direction and reproduction of discourses that influence » continued on pg 8


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OBITERdicta

“The definitive source for Osgoode news” Osgoode Hall Law School, 0014G York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Tel. 416.736.2100 x77527 Fax. 416.736.5736 E-mail. ObiterDicta@osgoode.yorku.ca Website. www.obiter-dicta.ca Twitter. @obiterdictaoz “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” - Woody Allen Senior Editor-in-Chief: Nancy Situ Editors-in-Chief: Thomas Mastoras, Travis Weagant Business Manager: Adam Cepler Features Editor: Cass Da Re News Editor: Nadia Guo Opinions Editor: Karolina Wisniewski Sports Editor: Andrew Cyr Arts & Culture Editor: Maximilian Paterson Staff Writers: Jihee (Marie) Park, Citlally Maciel, Harjot Atwal, Angie Sheep, Daniel Styler, Michael Capitano Crossword: Emily Gray Contributors: Kendall Grant, Kathey Guo, Naveen Hassan, Kathryn Fox, Corey Rubin, Dean Lorne Sossin, Professor Richard Haigh, Julia Dmitrijeva, Ankita Kapur Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Devin Santos, Patricia Wood, Wendy Sun, Maximilian Paterson Photography: Ron Montes, Slavica Stojimirovic Website Editor: Ricardo Golec The Obiter Dicta is the official student newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School. The opinions expressed in the articles contained herein are not necessarily those of the Obiter staff. The Obiter reserves the right to refuse any submission that is judged to be libelous or defamatory, contains personal attacks, or is discriminatory on the basis of sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Submissions may be edited for length and/or content. The Obiter Dicta is published weekly during the school year, and is printed by Weller Publishing Co. Ltd.

The Obiter Dicta is a member of Canadian University Press.

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editorial

Your father smells of elderberries As a newspaper editor and loudmouth, the freedom of expression is one very dear to me. While the freedom is certainly necessary for the healthy development of a democratic state, it also addresses something more personal. The basis for every step – forward, backward, or sideways – that we have taken as a species is the expression of a thought: from the discovery of fire to the invention of the iPad, no thought in history ever had any value to a society until the thinker shared it. Thus, to hamper a person’s expression is to hamper their usefulness, their purpose, and their value. This is why, in 1982, politicians opted to enshrine the freedom in Canada’s constitution. Politicians, of all people! The tricky part, naturally, is whether and how to limit the freedom. For all the bluster and litigation surrounding this question, the answer seems to boil down to how we interpret this maxim: expression is unacceptable when it is, itself, incompatible with expression. For this reason, violent expression is prohibited, lest it maim or eternally silence another voice. Likewise, counseling or inciting violent expression is prohibited: a morally acceptable form of risk management. The state must, after all, try reasonably to protect its citizens from harm, and punish or rehabilitate those who harm others. These are the limits that the law must place on the freedom of expression. I wish, now, to caution my readers against interpreting too broadly the above maxim. If we wantonly broaden limits on expression, we undermine the freedom itself. For example, in 1984, the state began its criminal prosecution of one Ernst Zündel for “reporting false news.” He, like many before him, had published pamphlets claiming that the Holocaust didn’t happen. In 1992, after eight years and two trials, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed Zündel’s appeal, finding the provision under which he was charged unconstitutional, since it’s not a goddamn crime to tell a lie, even in public.

those people. Why then, do we add the insult of a criminal prosecution to the injury of being wrong? During the eight years of litigation surrounding Zündel’s charge, he made headlines. The tripe he published made headlines too. Perhaps it is trite by now to ask, but why do we give people who say such things a public platform on which to say them, when they pose no danger to anyone, and we could simply let them languish in obscurity, where falsehood belongs? We should all have the right to express ourselves, as loudly and objectionably as we wish, but we must always remember that no one is obliged to listen. Only truth will have an audience in the long run. Further, we mustn’t forget that free expression is sometimes offensive. Last October, Rowan Atkinson championed a movement to abolish section 5 of the UK’s Public Order Act, which outlaws “insulting words and behavior.” Naturally, prosecution has been rather selective, given that the Act applies to British people, and the Crown found it impractical to enforce fines against all 62 million of them. After all, as Atkinson points out, insulting one another is something of a national pastime. The point is that free expression sometimes hurts our feelings. Mock Trial performances can be particularly insulting, especially to our beloved faculty. But, as Professor Haigh notes later in this issue, social norms are flexible and responsive – far more so than the law. Those who say mean, objectionable, and untrue things will be judged for them in the long run. That should be consolation enough for the offended. As an editor of a newspaper, I urge you all, readers, to keep your differences of opinion and hurt feelings out of court, no matter how right you may be. It’s an Obiter Dicta guarantee that you’ll be far more satisfied calling them names instead.

Ernst Zündel is the most irritating sort of man. He makes ludicrous claims that offend the memory of so many, be they Jews, Roma, Communists, racial minorities, or any of the other groups systematically murdered in Europe during the Holocaust. He frustrates those who value the memory of those people, including me. This is because humans instinctively defend the perceptions that they believe or know to be true. On occasion, some of us get it wrong, and wind up defending the wrong perceptions, and I am confident that Ernst Zündel is one of the OBITERdicta


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news

Dean for a Day Winning Submission CORY RUBIN Contributor My Dean for a Day idea is focused on improving the student learning experience. As many students can probably attest, many times after receiving a grade it is unclear as to how the mark was actually determined. My proposal is focused on improving the feedback process that currently exists when exams, essays and assignments are returned. I believe that it would be beneficial to have an exam return week, much like at other law schools such as Windsor. This would entail a full week in which students can come in and review their exams at their convenience. In my experience, it has not always been convenient meeting with professors as a result of both of our busy schedules. At times, I have had to meet with professors outside of the school setting and I believe that this acts as a deterrent for many students to go in and review their exam. By offering students a full week to see their exams it creates an opportunity that many students would otherwise not have.

To ensure that this system is truly convenient, what would be required is quick access to every exam. Students would be required to come to a specific room with their exam number. They would provide an individual with their exam number and their courses. The person would then sort through the appropriate courses and exams and then provide the student with their exams. The students can then go to a desk and review their exam and make any notes they deem appropriate. Obviously, desk space would be limited, but due to classes it would be unlikely that everyone would come at once. Additionally, a full week allows every student ample opportunity to wait and review their exams. As the students review their exams, they should also be provided with a general outline of what the professor was looking for in an answer. This will allow the students an opportunity to review their answers before deciding whether they » continued on pg 12

Science and Expert Evidence: Raising a Doubt JIHEE (MARIE) PARK Staff Writer

At Osgoode Hall Law School, we are familiar with our own Innocence Project, led by Professor Alan Young. In Canada, it is one of only a few, along with those at the University of British Columbia and McGill University. However, Professor Moran’s presentation showed that this force is hardly sufficient in tackling the probably underestimated rates of wrongful conviction in criminal systems in the United States as well as in Canada.

sciences have given light to other cases. However, David Gavitt’s case was an atypical one, as the key evidence that led to his incarceration was new findings in fire science. Mr. Gavitt was charged with three counts of first degree murder, of his wife and two daughters, for setting his own house on fire by arson. Though the investigators knew that Mr. Gavitt had no motive for committing this alleged crime, there were several facts that led to the conviction. The Innocence Project took on his application for re-opening his case, as they believed there was a strong chance of finding that the evidence the experts presented was fraudulent or faulty. The one pivotal piece of evidence was a food scientist’s interpretation of a gas chromatogram, where he confidently declared the presence of gasoline from the readings taken from several samples from the scene. The Innocence Project was able to get the original chromatograms, and their experts confirmed that there was no gasoline indicated by the readings at all.

Advances in genetic identification technologies have given many cases the chance to be opened again, as accuracy and reliability of DNA analyses have continued to increase. Other forensic

This marks an interesting point for modern society. Today, we are so heavily reliant on science and technology that, in virtually every aspect of our daily lives, we would be impaired without it.

Even though it was a Friday afternoon leading up to Reading Week, the small meeting room was packed. The rest of campus was all but in a rush to start their weekends, but the audience at the talk given by Professor David Moran listened in hushed attention as the head of the Michigan Innocence Project told the story of the wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration of David Gavitt, through the combined efforts of law students, new scientific experts, and believing supporters.

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This reliance on technology has led to a disproportionate trust in science and its applications, to an extent where we sometimes let simple human common sense lose against hypothetical scientific theories. This is what is also happening at crime scenes, where society has now given the final word to scientific evidence. But what if the science was wrong? Professor Moran points out that there is often no scientific basis to forensic discovery tools. Fingerprinting is not actually supported by biological science, but by statistical probability and much guesswork. The same goes for bite mark analyses; apparently some odontologists mistakenly matched a suspect’s teeth to a wound on the victim’s body that was later discovered not to be a bite mark at all. The same goes for Mr. Gavitt – during the time of the incident, there was a prevalent misconception about the characteristics of arson fires. Fires caused by arson (e.g. by gasoline being poured on the floor and ignited) were thought to be unusually hot and unusually fast spreading. Testimonies gathered by witness neighbors » continued on pg 12 the OBITERdicta


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ilp advocacy

Canada as Beacon and Haven: The Ironic Peril of Global Freedom of Expression PROFESSOR DEAN SOSSIN Dean I congratulate the ILP on choosing to focus on the freedom of expression for this special edition of Obiter Dicta. In a recent paper (co-authored with Valerie Crystal), we explore the sub judice principle, under which journalists, politicians and others are restricted from reporting on pending and on-going litigation. The rationale for this rule, which dates back to the origins of the press, is to avoid prejudicing a jury by public discourse about a case and to preserve the integrity of the judicial process. While restrictions on the attempt to influence or undermine the impartiality of such a proceeding may be justified, in our analysis, the principle is often overstated. Reporting on litigation is now commonplace (not to mention live tweeting of high-profile trials), and the increased public awareness of the judicial process is arguably is a greater good than the potential of tainting judges or juries. Where this is not the case, the option of a formal publication ban remains open to the parties to seek, and politicians should not be able to use this legal doctrine to skirt accountability through blanket excuses of “no comment.” As we conclude, in the context of the sub judice

principle, if the aspirations of our constitutional democracy are to be fulfilled, limits on the freedom of expression (and its companion, freedom of the press), must be both exceptional and minimal. The freedom to express one’s views, especially unpopular or dissenting views, lies at the heart both of constitutional democracy and the rule of law. It is the first freedom to disappear in a dictatorship, because without it, it is far easier to take away all the other freedoms. By the same token, when the freedom of expression is safeguarded, other freedoms and civil liberties become inevitable. The Pen International Caselist, which chronicles the stories of writers in prison around the world, is a sober reminder of how elusive this freedom can be. Consider this description of a typical entry: Frank Fuamba: managing editor of the Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo-based Mining News magazine. He was abducted on 6 June 2012

at about 6pm by a group of armed men in civilian dress who forced him into a jeep. Forced to wear a hood, the journalist was taken from place to place over the course of the night. These included a Katuba home where he was questioned at length about his personal relationships, the politicians he knows, and the political news stories that appear in his magazine. They took all of his belongings and finally let him go near a school in the neighbouring town of Katuba at about 4am. That same night, Mining News journalist Sylvie Manda received a threatening phone call while seeking assistance for her abducted colleague. The caller promised to find her the next day. Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) has launched a campaign focused on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, entitled “Put » continued on next page

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ilp advocacy » continued from previous page Human Rights into Headlines: Help End Impunity for Rights Abusers.” The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression was first appointed in April 1993. This office’s mandate, just extended in 2011 until 2014, is to gather information on discrimination, threats or use of violence and harassment directed at individuals or professionals seeking to exercise or promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Special Rapporteur reports to the UN on ways and means to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression in all its manifestations. Just this month, the UN released a report on proposed legislation – a Bill on Mass Organizations - in Indonesia that threatens the rights to freedom of association, expression, and religion.The UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Frank William La Rue, observed that “the State must ensure that any restriction on the rights to freedom of association, expression, and religion is necessary in a democratic society, proportionate to the aim pursued, and does not harm the principles of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness.” The Bill on Mass Organizations imposes the requirement on the founding of associations not to be in contradiction with “Pancasila” - the official State philoso-

phy in Indonesia that consecrates the belief “in the One and Only God.” It also stipulates that organizations have the duty to maintain religious values. The UN also issued a warning about events unfolding in Iran, where security forces raided five newspaper offices and arrested at least 17 journalists, who now join at least 40 journalists already imprisoned in Iran. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, the 17 arrests carried out so far are part of a broader campaign to crack down on independent journalists and media outlets in Iran, under the accusation that they have collaborated with ‘anti-revolutionary’ foreign media outlets and human rights organizations. The arrests and detention appear to be designed to retaliate against the exercise of freedom of expression and, ahead of the upcoming elections in June 2013, will send a message reinforcing self-censorship. Ironically, at a time when expression has never been easier around the world – a video uploaded to YouTube or a blog post are a click away for millions – free expression has never been more perilous. Canada has a vital role to play on the global stage with respect to freedom of expression in at least two respects. First, Canada’s own protection and promotion of freedom of expression ought to serve as a beacon for how difference

of identity, diversity, and views can be mediated through expressive rights.Second, Canada ought to serve as a haven for those fleeing persecution arising from the deprivation of their expressive rights. Canadians should rightly be proud but not complacent about our achievements in both contexts. In Canada, thankfully, the threat is not to the lives and safety of journalists and writers. Rather, the concern is often about creating viable spaces in which critical or dissenting expression can find its voice. To give just one example, the Federal Government’s attempt to demonize and discredit environmentalists and indigenous groups protesting against the Northern Gateway and other pipelines reflects one kind of threat to free expression, not to mention the kind of attempt to influence or undermine a judicial process where the sub judice principle still has application. As we have witnessed under section 2 of the Charter of Rights, protecting the freedom of expression is the easy part. Any attempt to curtail expressive freedoms, broadly understood, will almost always violate this section. Determining the reasonable limits on this protection – the section 1 analysis – is the challenging part. Whether regulating tobacco advertising or prosecuting hate speech crimes, there is clearly a role for the state but competing rights are never easy to reconcile. The balance between human rights protection, for example, and the freedom of expression when a religious tradition is mocked through a novel or cartoon reflects the kind of setting which most vexes our constitutional and democratic instincts. And with respect to Canada as a safe haven for those fleeing persecution for the expression of belief and opinion abroad also may be eroding due to changes to immigration and refugee laws in 2012. In both these senses, the protection of free expression remains a work in progress in Canada. This special edition of the Obiter and week of events and discussions led by ILP represents an ideal time for Osgoode students, staff, faculty and alumni to reflect both on the importance of the rights of free expression and the work needed to ensure they are broadened and deepened here and abroad.

© 2012–2013 Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. All rights reserved. | 416 869 5300

Cassels Brock 2012/2013 season

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Obiter Dicta student ad “Yellow - School Kid” 4B Prestige, b&w

Contact: Heather Murray hmurray@casselsbrock.com 416 869 5782 - fax 416 642 7137

Please PRINT a hard copy of the file and either FAX it or SCAN and EMAIL it back to me, thanks!

ILP will be hosting a panel with Professor Jamie Cameron and Nathalie des Rosiers on Monday, March 4th at 12:30 pm in IKB 2002. This discussion will focus on speech and protest issues in the Canadian context. the OBITERdicta


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ilp advocacy

To Speak or not to Speak: University Speech Codes PROFESSOR RICHARD HAIGH Contributor In 1964, the Free Speech Movement formed at Berkeley in California. It began as a student-led rebellion against university attempts to restrict student speech. In the end, it extended well beyond California and beyond basic issues of free speech: students in all major universities gained greater freedom and self-determination and ridded campuses of archaic rules of behaviour and decorum that had been in place since the modern university began. In over four decades since, it has been assumed students and universities across North America continue to benefit from the battles fought in the 60s. But the reality is less clear. If one looks closely, any forward steps made in the 60s have been illusory. It has been more like a crab walking: forwards, sideways and backwards, virtually all at the same time. For example, as far as I’m aware, all Universities now publish codes of conduct and limit the types of posters that can appear on campus. These policies may regulate diverse areas of campus life, such as sanctioning inappropriate behaviour during classroom discussions, setting out both approved and outlawed campus activities, and controlling acceptable content and placement of posters. In many cases, therefore, the rules relate to, and often restrict, the constitutional right to free expression (let’s ignore the fact, for now, that Universities may be exempt from the application of theCharter). York University is no exception. Here are two excerpts, the first fromthe StudentHandbook of Rights and Responsibilities,the second from York’s postering policy: 1. Students have the following rights and responsibilities: - the right to freedom of inquiry, expression and assembly on campus and the right to engage and participate in dialogue. - the responsibility not to disrupt or interfere with University activities, to uphold an atmosphere of civility, honesty, equity and respect for others which values the inherent diversity in our community. - the responsibility to consider and respect the perspectives and ideas of others, even when the student does not agree with their perspectives or ideas.

2. Postering Policy - under‘‘Permitted Posters,’’ s 2 states that a‘‘poster that advertises an event…may only be posted on University property with the prior approval of the Department of Campus Services and Business Operations (which may assess an appropriate fee);’’ - under‘‘Restrictions,’’ s 3 states that posters shall normally be in either English or French or both, and s 6 states that posters are prohibited‘‘on or inside commercial advertising signs.’’ Thus, most of the postering provisions can be classified as prior restraints: that is, they set out rules that outline acceptable postering, and require an adjudicating body to approve them before allowing public display. So what are the free speech concerns? A strong proponent of free speech would likely claim that it is not the role of a university to be a moral guiding light for society. Universities are, first and foremost, centres of higher learning. And we learn, most frequently and optimally, by testing competing hypotheses, by allowing ideas and opinions to clash against each other, and by tolerating a fair amount of disharmony. Tenure and academic freedom are both ideas that promote this at the faculty level. Codes of conduct and regulating posters, unfortunately, promote the opposite, especially within the wider staff and student community. On the other hand, the concerns expressed by those in favour of such codes are usually connected to another constitutional right -- that of equality. The need to correct abuses of power is more important, in this context, than untrammeled freedom of expression. In fact, the argument continues, such codes lead to more fully realized expressive rights -- setting out students’ responsibilities, and reviewing posters before they are posted, can assist in ensuring that marginal and vulnerable groups are heard. Who’s right? Maybe both; maybe neither. I don’t know if we can honestly answer the question without further experimentation. What I’d like to suggest is something that might have received

the blessing of the Free Speech Movement. The idea came to me as I read about traffic experiments taking place in Europe. In Drachten, the Netherlands, an innovative traffic engineer named Hans Monderman came up with the idea of removing virtually all road signs and markings, curbs and other traditional visual cues that separate cars and pedestrians, reating a much more inclusive‘‘shared space.’’ So far, somewhat counterintuitively, it has made the streets safer. Nothing on the streetscape tells drivers what to do. Thus, they take extra care and show everyone more consideration. In short, everyone ends up acting more reasonably. Social norms, continually negotiated by drivers, pedestrians, shopkeepers and others, guide behaviour. I’d like us to try the same thing at York. Let’s get rid of the conduct codes and the postering policy for one year. Let’s make a big splash about it: President Shoukri should announce the idea, promoting it as a new experiment in which York University members will be looking after and monitoring themselves. Incoming students can be made aware of how York is, once again, at th forefront of post-secondary education in Canada. And, at the same time, as with drivers in Drachten, the responsibility to be reasonable, tofeel the danger inside oneself instead of having it imposed from above, will rest with all of us. Like many local bylaws and traffic laws, codes of conduct and postering tend to be clumsy, cumbersome, heavy-handed, over-broad and often unenforceable. Social norms are lithe, flexible and negotiable. They are, to put it bluntly, more human than codes and laws. I think that they would allow, in the university environment, both free expression and equality to flourish. Or at least, after a year, we’d know a little more about the truth of that. After all, that’s an important goal of free expression. ILP will have a Free Speech Wall located in Gowlings Hall during the entire course of Advocacy Week, March 4th-8th, 2013.

As the Handbook notes later on, these rights and responsibilities can be interconnected. So, the right to participate in dialogue must be tempered by the complementary right to expect respect for one’s personhood and the responsibility to behave civilly. These, the Handbook explains, are achieved by determining an ‘‘appropriate balance.’’

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ilp advocacy Internet Crackdown » continued from cover

Google accused Beijing of making it appear as if technical problems at Google, and not government intervention, were to blame for a disruption of its Gmail service in the country. As online efforts to organize protests began reverberating throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, the Chinese government became more aggressive in its commitment to smother all hints of anti-government sentiment. Restrictions continued to tighten during 2012, and faint hopes of a possible reprieve were squelched when the once-a-decade party conference in November (at which power was handed to younger officials) did nothing to indicate governmental deviation from its hostile censorship strategies. In addition to its massive firewall and other tactics, the government employs thousands of commentators, known derisively as “50 Cent Party members,” who pose as ordinary users to counter criticism of the government and are often paid 50 Chinese cents per posting. It is estimated that up to 50,000 Internet police and 300,000 commentators participate in this effort to shape and alter public opinion. Yet despite one of the most technically sophisticated Internet censorship programs in the world, China still has a vibrant online community of 70 million bloggers and more than 300 million Internet users, higher than in any other country. The most effective method to counter the harsh regime, and its detrimental impact on freedom of expression, has been the subject of intense debate. Steven M. Bellovin, a professor of computer science at Columbia University, says the issue of online censorship is ultimately related to cost, and that the real question is how much China is willing to spend on measures that keep up with technological innovation. Ross Anderson, a professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, argues that due to the volume and complexity of web traffic, as well as the growing use of encryption, censorship is becoming more difficult. Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law at Harvard, is equally optimistic, claiming that while individual users must take most steps, Web sites could design new protocols to better share information, creating a kind of “mutual aid treaty” for the Internet. Companies like Google can also assist by investing in improved circumvention technologies. However, most concede that Internet censorship in China is as much a social and political problem as a technological one, if not more. Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for Intermonday - feb 25 - 2013

ILP will be hosting a screening of ai wewei: never sorry on tuesday, march 5th at 1:30pm. This documentary explores the valiant efforts of weiwei, a Chinese artist and activist.

national Studies, and Timothy B. Lee, a member of the Center for Information Technology at Princeton University, correctly emphasize that defeating censorship is something that only the Chinese people themselves can achieve. Throughout history, censorship and propaganda have been major tools of many dictatorships. In contemporary society, the Internet is the most efficient way to communicate and share information. In China, however, it is clear the Internet is not being used as a tool to advance access to information and freedom of expression, but as an instrument of authoritarian rule. Internet policing encourages self-censorship by reinforcing the perception that users are being monitored by the state surveillance system, thus keeping political challengers at bay and isolated from others who are similar-minded.

sion, it has the power to liberate and empower people under repressive regimes. These dynamics have significant implications for the prospects of democratization in China. Freedom of expression is not only essential to foster progressive political change; it is essential to foster the democratic spirit itself. Despite Beijing’s best attempts at restriction, the Internet remains a key portal into a freer and more representative China, and any actions taken to increase freedom of expression, whether by users, citizens, students, or Web site developers, will be steps in the right direction.

The Communist Party is acutely aware of the Internet’s potential to effect fundamental change, and that as a platform for free expres-

Sources: the New York Times, opendemocracy.net.

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1. Bile or bitterness [GALL] 5. Hammer, for example [TOOL]

1. Challenge, to a knight [GAGE] 2. Kendrick of "Pitch Perfect" [ANNA]


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ilp advocacy Advocacy

» continued from cover

Canada, and other countries around the globe. These discourses are important because freedom of expression has been, and continues to be, a site of oppression and manipulation around the world. The speakers will captivate your attention with discussions stemming from their experiences as exiled journalists or as survivors of the Rwandan genocide; our panelists will facilitate discussion around the contemporary state of the law with respect to freedom of expression. In addition to our annual advocacy week campaigns, each year ILP arranges fellowships for Osgoode students throughout the global south. Students volunteer their legal knowledge and research skills to host organizations, provid-

ing legal research and assistance in exchange for valuable, hands-on legal experience. These international placements have become a centerpiece of Osgoode’s global outreach. ILP aims to make the fellowships accessible to all Osgoode students. While the placements are currently largely self-funded, we hope to provide this year’s fellow with financial support through our inaugural silent photo auction. The photos were all taken by ILP fellows during their placements around the world, and all the funds raised from the auction will fund the summer 2013 fellowships. The event is being held at the Campbell House (160 Queen St. W) on March 8th and the photos included here are just a sneak peek at what you should expect at the event!

Monday,

March

4

Monday, March 4 **Kick-off Breakfast** Gowlings Hall 8:30-10:00 am Come have breakfast with ILP and learn more about the exciting events we have planned for Advocacy Week! **Freedom of Expression in 2013: Issues and Currents** (Panel Discussion, In Partnership with DSSOC) IKB Room 2002 1:00-2:30 pm Panelists: Professor Jaime Cameron, Nathalie des Rosiers Tuesday, March 5 **Documentary Screening, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”** Room TBA 1:30- 2:30 pm The incredible true story of a Chinese dissident and activist in the digital age. Wednesday, March 6 **Presentation on Freedom of the Press with PEN Canada** Room TBA 12:30-2:30 pm Featuring a Writer-in-Exile **ILP World Cafe** Junior Common Room (JCR) 4:00-6:00 pm Come get a drink with ILP and engage in lively discussion about freedom of expression issues around the globe! Thursday, March 7th **Stories from the Rwandan Genocide** (In Partnership with BLSA) ADR Room 3:30-5:30 pm Friday, March 8th **ILP Photo Auction** Campbell House (160 Queen St. W) 4:30-6:30 pm

arts & culture Mock Trial » continued from cover Live is one of the few Osgoode traditions that allow Ozzies to stop and reflect on the occasionally bizarre environment that is our law school. As business manager Jon O’Kane informed me, Mock Trial 2013 found its beginnings as individually rehearsed acts that were eventually corralled into a larger production by the show’s producers, Spencer Bailey, Hilary Fender, and Quinn Harris. After adding a pinch of lighting and audio cues, a dash of video production, and gluing the whole thing together with a showstopping house band, the result was a 29 scene four-hour theatrical bonanza. The only issue with assembling a show of this length and magnitude is trying to determine how the crowd will react to what is happening on stage. In the case of Mock Trial Live, the audience on Thursday night consisted of a theatre full of law students who spent the majority of their time before the show and at the intermission in the JCR. Often with a crowd this bevmonday - feb 25 - 2013

vied, rowdiness can ensue, and it did. However, besides the catcalls from the pickled crowd, and the terrible flatulence from the girl in front of me, the majority of the evening’s amusement emanated from the stage. It would be excessive for me to go through each of the 29 scenes and applaud or critique each moment of Mock Trial Live, however it would be irresponsible of me not to touch upon some of the highlights that caught my attention and had the whole crowd roaring. Mock Trial Live kicked off with a Jimmy Kimmel-esque video of “The Handsome Professors Club” featuring several ‘handsome’ professors such as Prof. Trevor Farrow, Prof. Benjamin Berger, and Prof. Allan Hutchinson to name a few. This video was a great opener for the 15 other scenes that made up Act 1. Highlights of Act 1 include the wonderfully deadpan pantsless delivery of “MidWeek Update”, the funny-buttrue skit depicting “The Serious Law Students

Association”, and the outstandingly gut wrenching “Bad Idea Bears” skit. In fact, Stephen Partridge’s performance as the easily misguided student in the “Bad Idea Bears” skit appealed to the inner procrastinator in all of us, reminding us to study where there is no Internet; lock the liquor cabinet a month before exams; and to always use a condom if you must commit section-incest. Act 2 brought about more comedy skits, digital shorts, and rousing song and dance numbers. One of the most ambitious skits focused on the invasion of Osgoode students to the U of T law library. Spencer Bailey brought the wonderful writing of this scene to life through a great Woody Allen impersonation, and the crowd erupted when Bailey perfectly timed his climactic realization that he had been “living a lie, in a library”. Despite these fantastic Mock Trial moments, the crowd seemed to get restless around the time the graphic “Sex Contract” » continued on next page the OBITERdicta


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arts & culture all photos by ron montes the mance

the serious law students association

mock trial band bad ideas bears » continued from previous page skit warped unexpectedly into “The Devil Went Down to Osgoode”. It was clear that around this time the gin-soaked crowd were starting to cheer more for the possibility of pub night rather than more Mock Trial skits. When one extremely rude and obnoxious audience member loudly told a student at “Career Disservices” to fellate his penis, it was clear that things should wrap up soon. Other than the terrible outburst, the crowd was generally very enthusiastic about the entire production. Often many skits would open with encouraging shouts of support from the audience for specific actors on stage, however the most well-humoured audience member was easily the man in the front row, Dean Sossin. The Dean was one of the main targets of satirical mimicry in several scenes, however Dean Sossin seemed to be genuinely tickled by his likenesses and chuckled to himself as he calmly sipped on a can of ginger ale. Last but not least, the Mance happened. Truth be told, I had never heard, nor been warned of the Mance before attending Mock Trial Live. monday - feb 25 - 2013

Apparently the Mance finds its roots deep in the annals of Osgoode history, when a group of men decided to turn the tables and perform a scantily clad routine that had been critically objected to when done by women who had also been sparingly dressed. To put it directly, the Mance is a raw writhing of library dwelling bodies expressing their inner most masculinity through tightly choreographed sequences of bravado. It is an expression of bare-chested macho decorum steeped in testosterone. It was oddly graceful, in a SportsCenter highlights sort of way.

Sisqo’s “Thong Song”, and then jump into the theme from Ducktales should quit this whole law thing and focus on ticket sales rather than hourly billing. A particular note should be made about Michael Sheps’ lead guitar magnificence. Sheps’ face-melting solos shone through on several songs, allowing members of the audience who had skipped dinner to feast on his tasty licks. In addition, an honorable mention must be given to Kalen Lumsden who blew his sax with great gusto as a backing track to the pub night themed parody of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”.

The most consistent source of entertainment throughout Mock Trial Live, was the live band. The Mock Trial Band could best be described as a group of extremely talented musicians who happened to know a few things about the law. Every member brought something to the table, and the biggest feat the group accomplished was to successfully showcase both their diversity and stamina throughout the evening. Between each act the band held the audience’s wavering attention with renditions of classic rock tunes, pop hits, Motown jams, and rap instrumentals. In my opinion, any band that can easily pull off Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4”, then transition into

It is safe to say that the target audience for Mock Trial Live was the people that are within the Osgoode community, and if the ‘ordinary person’ was to stumble upon this production they would have a very skewed perception of what we do in law school. Based on the ideals presented in Mock Trial Live, the gist of life at Osgoode is that we study hard, enjoy a drink from time to time, follow our Dean/professors religiously on Twitter, and have an odd fascination with utensils. Overall I’d say that’s not too far off. the OBITERdicta


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arts & culture

A little Sheep told me: Spring Fling ANGIE SHEEP Staff Writer The great thing about fashion is that it always looks ahead and always moves forward. While designers around the world have been occupying themselves with their next big hit, I’ve been busy cleaning out my closet to make room for spring fashion. With reading week behind us, and the dreary winter finally coming to a close, it’s time to prepare for the impending arrival of sun, warmth, and cheer. I simply cannot wait to break out my summer dresses. Some of you may think this is premature, but I have devised a few great ways to make summer wear perfect for the cool spring. Leggings & Tights This is perhaps the most conventional way of keeping warm in a summer dress. To make your ensemble more striking, however, opt for unique colors and patterns instead of the traditional opaque style. Wild colors, animal prints, fishnets, and floral designs will be the focus this year. You can try planning your outfit around that. H&M and Forever21 have great selections at a reasonable price, so you won’t feel as bad about switching them out if they go out of style. Cardigans & Blazers If you want to let your legs see the light of day instead, try adding layers upon light layers.

See Olivia Palermo for inspiration. You’d be surprised how much difference covering your shoulders can make in Canadian games of staying warm. For the colder days, opt for outerwear that is thicker, such as knitted cardigans or tweed blazers (but let’s hope there won’t be many of those left). Wrap Up Scarves and winter go hand in hand; we strangle ourselves in oversized knitted scarves all the snowy season. Surprise, surprise! Spring is also all about wrapping up. Wraps, shawls, and ponchos are great accessories to throw over your summer dresses. They are also perfect for the bottom floor of the library, where the draft always makes it chilly. Instead of hauling your big winter coat around, simply carry a shawl with you and drape it over your shoulders to cure the dreaded study goose bumps. Moreover, these versatile accessories can be worn in many different ways to flatter your figure, so never overlook the power of a nice shawl. Summer… Shirt? If you’re like me and own quite a few minidresses, a great way to make them wearable for spring is to layer them under a longer skirt. This transforms your dress into a top and allows you

Stronger roots lead to greater growth Are you looking for a challenging and stimulating environment where you can roll up your sleeves and dig in to the business of law? Come and put down roots with Lerners. With over 80 years of experience, we’ve grown to be one of Ontario’s leading law firms. We’ve nurtured the professional and personal growth of hundreds of students. Let us help you maximize your talents and energies so you can become the best lawyer you can be! To get the whole picture, visit www.lerners.ca. London Tel. 519.672.4510 Fax. 519.672.2044 80 Dufferin Avenue, P.O. Box 2335 London, ON N6A 4G4 Toronto Tel. 416.867.3076 Fax. 416.867.9192 2400-130 Adelaide Street West Toronto, ON M5H 3P5 www.lerners.ca

L AW Y E R S

monday - feb 25 - 2013

to show it off. The added skirt also makes the ensemble look more elegant and professional so you won’t stand out unfavourably at Osgoode. T-Shirt Your Dress Putting a t-shirt under your summer dress may seem a little strange and perhaps uncomfortable; nonetheless, it remains an excellent way of staying warm and giving your feminine maxi an edgier vibe. Be sure that you pick a fitted t-shirt or else it will bunch and make the dress look frumpy and unflattering. For those of you who are still doubtful, just look at the brilliant model in the picture and hopefully that will persuade you to try a new take on this classic 90s style. Boots Don’t put away those tallboys yet! There are several reasons I personally believe boots may be the best type of footwear ever created: they keep your legs warm, they look incredible with almost any outfit, and they keep your feet dry in the slushy springtime streets. Like the T-shirt, boots provide a great contrast to your usual graceful dresses, especially if you pair them with bikers. And once the weather gets even warmer, switch out the knee-highs and go for a pair of ankle boots or booties instead. There you have it Ozzie fashionistas: great ways to wear your summer dresses in spring weather. We are always told to plan ahead, read ahead, start our essays ahead (though we never do), but I think dressing ahead is a lot less work and much more fun. I hope you will consider some of these styles while spring-cleaning your closet. the OBITERdicta


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opinions

Are Humans Dogs’ Best Friends?

Citlally Maciel Staff Writer The morning news caught my attention a few days ago. A report was on about the rescue of 50 dogs that were found in a house living in deplorable conditions in Palm Springs, California. The dogs were then taken to a local animal shelter. Their future was uncertain, until an animal group in Halifax, Nova Scotia stepped in and decided to have the canines transported to Halifax to find them homes. Their story will surely have a happy ending thanks to the generosity of our fellow people from the Maritimes. Unfortunately, many other dogs will not have such good luck. It is undeniable that there are certain dogs that live very comfortably under the care of loving owners who cherish them greatly. But even in those situations, domestication of dogs has resulted in bizarre situations. It has been said that the pet business in North America has exploded to amazing magnitudes. From dog spas, to dog apparel, to… uh… dog psychotherapy, and drugs! Indeed, the CBC’s Doc Zone ran a documentary titled “Dog Pharm” uncovering the increasing trend to medicate dogs with behavioral problems, such as aggression and anxiety. Currently, this means that dog owners can medicate their dogs (and cats) to fix something that, perhaps, is not a problem, but just their nature. Certainly, dogs can be trained to behave splendidly. They are capable of learning anything from the basic, such as where to poop and when to stay, to far more elaborate tricks. However, it seems like desperate owners who are unsuccessful at training their dogs, are taking the easy way out by correcting their dogs’ behavior with drugs. A ludicrous and unfair practice, if you ask me. monday - feb 25 - 2013

There is no concrete evidence of when the domestication of dogs began. However, dog burials found in Germany point to the fact that the history of the partnership between humans and dogs dates back at least 135 000 years. Indeed, I say partnership, because once domestication occurred, dogs have been of great assistance to mankind. In an article published by the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, authors Udell and Wynne remind us of the many roles that dogs play in our society. Not only are dogs our loyal companions, but they can also fulfill other roles: police dogs, rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind, to name a few. Some dogs are now trained to aid people with physical and mental conditions by detecting cancer, assisting diabetic patients, and helping people to cope with anxiety. Udell and Wynne’s article focuses on scientific experiments that have been conducted on dogs to determine their intelligence and the malleability of their behavior. According to the authors, these experiments can be traced back to Darwin and many have shown that dogs have the ability to discriminate different stimuli, learn to read human social cues, and even learn the names of objects. Moreover, it has been conceived that the process of domestication removed aggressiveness traits, turning dogs into creatures fearless to humans. The authors compare the behavior of dogs to that of small children; that is, behavior that is characterized by complete dependency on humans for survival. They also prompt for more studies on the behavior of dogs, not only to shed some light on the evolution of “complex behavior” but also to “live more safely and profitably” with dogs. Indeed, the benefits of training one’s dog are manifold. Certainly, for obvious sanitation reasons, dogs must be trained to pee and poop outside; for safety reasons, they must be trained to guard but also to refrain from attacking other

people, and so on. However, I cannot help but wonder whether the domestication of dogs and the resulting dependency on humans has caused them suffering. This is specially so for the innumerable amount of stray dogs that roam urban areas throughout the world. In a documentary titled Companions to None, filmmaker Bill Buchanan explores the heartbreaking story of stray dogs in Mexico. It is the story of countless disease-ridden and starving dogs and the inhumane way in which the local authorities attempt to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to Mexico. Turkey is facing a similar problem and, in 2010, there were rumors that the authorities in Istanbul were planning to collect all stray dogs in the city and dump them in the forest. The CBC’s radio program The Current interviewed a Turkish animal rights activist regarding this alleged plan. According to the activist, this is not the first time Turkish authorities have attempted to deal with this problem. It seems that, in the early 1900s, many stray dogs were collected and taken to an island where they were left to starve to death. Subsequent campaigns to get rid of stray dogs involved poisoning and gassing campaigns. Alas, the tragedy has also stricken domestic dogs. With the economic crisis, many American people have been forced to abandon their pets. Shelters are filled with animals whose owners are no longer able to care for them. Most of these dogs have to be euthanized because it is impossible to find permanent homes for them. Fortunately, there are still some compassionate souls in this indifferent world. A non-profit society in British Columbia has taken on the initiative to establish a rescue center in Guanajuato, Mexico. This center is in charge of vaccinating, spraying, neutering and tending for stray dogs, as well as finding them new homes. In the US, informal organizations have been formed to deal with abandoned pets. Specifically, there is an organization of real estate agents that has come together to care for pets that are left behind inside foreclosed homes without food after their owners move out. If one of these agents finds a pet inside a foreclosed home, they mobilize the community to find the dog a new owner. And, of course, we have the case of the California dogs that have all been spoken for by households in Halifax. I certainly do not call for the obliteration of pet ownership. I have pets of my own and I love them dearly. However, it is undeniable that animal abuse is an increasing problem. And abuse not only means sending dogs to an island to starve to death, it also means forcing dogs to be like humans and resorting to drugs to address behaviors that, in all likelihood, are not problems, but just part of their nature. the OBITERdicta


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news

Industrious Elements: At the Intersection of Law, Business, and Mining JULIA DMITRIJEVA & ANKITA KAPUR Contributors The snowstorm on Friday, February 8 did not hamper law and business enthusiasts from attending the 16th annual conference of the JD/ MBA Students’ Association, Industrious Elements: At the Intersection of Law, Business, and Mining. Co-chairs Douglas Judson and Geoff Malyk brought together an impressive roster of leaders, practitioners, and professionals at the downtown Courtyard Marriott to explore the interplay of business, law, and public policy in relation to the mining sector. Indeed, the conference’s workshops, panels, and speakers provided a valuable opportunity for delegates to

jay hennick welcomes at tendees photo by Slavica Stojimirovic

become acquainted with an increasingly dominant Canadian sector that has a significant global impact. The day commenced with an opening address from Jay Kellerman, Managing Partner of Stikeman Elliott, who stressed the need for lawyers and managers who understand the mining industry, and the importance of the day’s topical sessions for students embarking on careers in law or business. Mr. Kellerman fielded questions from students, providing a wonderful introduction to the day. Welcoming remarks were provided by Hennick Centre co-founder Jay Hennick, and associate deans Poonam Puri (Osgoode) and Markus Biehl (Schulich).

Delegates attended two panel sessions each, which examined the mining industry from a variety of perspectives. First, delegates had a choice between “From the Ground Up: Fundamentals of Mining Finance,” “Heigh-Ho! Off to Work in Mining Law Practice” (sponsored by Fraser Milner Casgrain), and “Regulatory Retooling: Environmental Compliance Post-Budget 2012” (sponsored by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg). These workshops allowed delegates to gain an understanding of key processes, from financing mines to executing transactions and complying with regulatory requirements. We had the opportunity to attend “Off to Work in Mining Law,” which featured a panel of legal experts who discussed the role that lawyers play within mining transactions. Attendees were captivated by this engaging discussion, which provided a candid overview of the unique challenges that lawyers face with increasingly globalized clients. » continued on next page

Dean for a Day » continued from pg 3

Raising a Doubt » continued from pg 3

about the extreme heat and speed of the Gavitts’ fire was taken as evidence of arson. What was not known back then was that in closed spaces, even small accidental fires can lead to explosive consequences. Furniture made of synthetic materials burns fast and releases volatile, flammable gases that build up to a certain point, which in a small, enclosed space will ignite explosively. This new understanding of fire science was the trail that Professor Moran followed, and helped to free Mr. Gavitt after 26 years in prison. Another take-away was that by giving absolute trust to science and scientists, we allow them to choose the outcomes. As the legal system puts monday - feb 25 - 2013

on blinders and trusts that the experts will lead us to the answer by the reins, some chance upon the opportunity to exploit the system. Professor Moran gave examples of certain individuals who gave false testimony as experts in order to sway the case to a popular verdict. The important lesson to take from Professor Moran’s special lecture was that great caution must be exercised when it comes to criminal convictions. Lawyers and judges cannot shift the full burden of evidentiary assessment to scientists and other experts. Much of science today still remains, at best, guesses and theories, which, in so many instances, raises significant doubt in a criminal context.

should arrange a meeting with their professor. This will allow students time to actually process what they did wrong. At the same time, if a student believes an error has been made, it will provide them with an opportunity to go home and formulate a response to their teacher when it comes time to meet. This would also ensure that the students and teachers’ time is well spent by ensuring the meetings have merit. As for feedback, as it relates to exams, assignments, and essays, there have been times in which I received very little, if any, comments when my work was returned. I believe that professors should be required to provide students with detailed feedback wherein students can understand their mark, and, more importantly, they can understand where to improve. As an example, where possible, it would be preferable if essays and assignments were returned with a marking rubric that has comments relating to the specific work. These ideas, although not radical, would greatly improve the academic experience at Osgoode. the OBITERdicta


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news

» continued from previous page Next, delegates attended “Aboriginal Partnership: Models for Success,” “International Issues in Mining” (sponsored by Norton Rose Canada), or “After the Mine: Creating Stable Communities”. These workshops exposed attendees to key social policy issues facing the mining sector. “Creating Stable Communities” was highly insightful, as the panelists explored how mining companies work with stakeholders and communities to ensure sustainable growth. Delegates were reminded that business and law do not operate in a vacuum, and that there are several stakeholders to consider when making decisions. After lunch (provided by Fogler Rubinoff), the Hennick Medal of Excellence was presented to Sherena Hussain, 2012 JD/MBA graduate and current articling student at McCarthy Tétrault. Without further ado, keynote speaker Ian Delaney, Chairman of Sherritt International, took the stage. His take on the mining industry in Canada was invigorating and educational. It was truly an honour to hear Mr. Delaney share his lifetime of experience and wealth of insight into the mining industry, corporate Canada, and legal and economic issues. Conference attendees took advantage of this rare opportunity to monday - feb 25 - 2013

ask Mr. Delaney difficult questions. The venerable keynote did not shy away from the challenge and whole-heartedly gave his perspective, proposed solutions, and posed issues for further reflection. Mr. Delaney proved to be an excellent choice for a keynote speaker, providing an engaging and thought provoking chapeau to the conference programme. Overall, the conference was a great success and a testament to the excellence of JD/MBA students and the support of Osgoode, Schulich, and the legal community for personal development outside of the classroom. Everyone who braved the inclement weather gained much value from this unique learning experience!

the osgoode-schulich jd/mba class photo by Slavica Stojimirovic

Erratum Issue #10, Feb. 11 The photographs accompanying the “MTB rocks the JCR” article last issue should have been credited to Harjot Atwal. Our sincerest apologies.

The Osgoode-Schulich JD/MBA Students’ Association hosts an annual conference on a theme transcending business, law, and public policy, with the support of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law. The leading sponsors of the 2013 conference were Fogler Rubinoff LLP (Platinum), Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Gold), Norton Rose Canada LLP (Gold), Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (Silver), and the National Post (Media Sponsor). A full list of sponsors and speakers is available at www.jdmbaconference.com. the OBITERdicta


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features

The Happiness Project: The Curve, A Culture of Comparison CASS DA RE News Editor Being the “best” in law school is a relative term. Therefore, the commonly cited piece of advice given to students throughout their academic lives, “just do your best,” falls woefully flat. I am sure the givers of such advice are well intentioned; they were likely trying to placate and pacify you before or after exams. Despite their respectable objective, their guidance gives us very little direction. This superlative idea of “best,” the most high and most excellent, seems objective at first glance. It is the apex of achievement. It seems like a simple concept: whoever reaches the top of the mountain is the best. Law school turns this (like most other) logic on its head. Law school’s best is not measured by the peak of our proverbial mountain, but by the relative capacity of the climbers. Best is not a determined altitude, but by how far any individual can climb. The climb is the curve. 100 feet and 100 percent mean nothing if not in relation to the students, our mountaineers. Up until this moment, students have been striving for the top. Enter law school, where students are taught to strive to topple each other. While it may sound cynical, a more useful piece of advice offered to law students ought not to be “do your best,” but “do better than the person in front of you.” The curve indoctrinates a culture of comparison. Students, look to your left and look to your right, these people are your new best. Sounds pretty cutthroat and insufferable, doesn’t it? And it would be, if we subscribed to this measure of achievement to define our selfworth. Your Happiness Guru is here to tell you to stop with the petty comparisons. Comparing oneself to others is a surefire way to be miserable. In doing so, you’ll inevitably fabricate unattainable standards, mythical measures of greatness, and impossible expectations. If you look hard enough, and, in this crowd, if you hardly look – you will find someone “better” in some quantifiable way. This constant game of trying to one-up each other is both unproductive and exhausting. There is nothing to gain, and so much to lose by getting wrapped up in the comparative curve competition. While it is admirable to be motivated, inspired, and uplifted by your stellar peers, it is an entirely different matter to use monday - feb 25 - 2013

those peers as a yardstick of self-judgment and self-doubt. This is not indicative of your actual talents, skills, and aptitudes. It is or should be irrelevant to your sense of self-worth. Lastly, it isn’t all that useful. Knowing where you “stand” lined up side by side with your fellow classmates can only give you one limited piece of information: where you stand in comparison. It does not tell you how to be better, and or why anyone else has improved or worsened. There’s very little use for such information outside the administrative sphere. So, let go of the infamous curve and alleged “truths” it espouses. Stop with the “I’m better or I’m worse than X” narrative. It doesn’t get you or anyone else anywhere. The constant comparisons will only foster resentment for other people’s success, and provide a false sense of superiority drawn from your own success. Neither of which will lead to a genuine and stable state of happiness. Instead, focus on your strengths (not weaknesses) and be grateful for all that you already have. Let go of the notion that there is a perfect student, the one who knows it all and has it all. This person doesn’t exist. It’s time to let go of perfection as a goal in and of itself, and replace it with a much healthier aspiration, such as selfimprovement. The culture of comparison cultivated by the curve can breed unrealistic ideals and an unhealthy practice of harsh self-reflection. Choose to unsubscribe, stop with the comparisons, and direct your efforts to cultivating a sense of worth completely independent of others.

WANT TO TEACH IN CHINA? by PROFESSOR JINYAN LI Interested in combining a challenging job with travel in a fascinating foreign country? Why not follow in the footsteps of other Osgoode graduates who have taught law and legal English at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in the city of Chongqing, located in the province of Sichuan, Peoples Republic of China? For each of the past 12 years, Osgoode has sent between one and three graduates to teach in this programme. Those who are hired leave Canada toward the end of August and return the following year at the end of June, unless they decide to spend some time travelling in Asia before returning. Air travel costs to Chongqing and return are paid by the Southwest University. The monthly wage is the highest standard for foreign experts teaching at the Southwest University, (4000 Yuan approximately $600.00 CDN). This is high by Chinese standards and more than sufficient to cover living costs in China, although it does not, of course, compare to “Bay Street” salaries. In addition, an extra month of salary is paid in January to enable the visiting teacher to travel in China or elsewhere during the month-long Chinese New Year holiday period between the two semesters. An up-scale rent-free apartment is also provided. Meals in a foreign visitor’s dining room are subsidized, but one may always shop in local stores and markets and cook for oneself. Graduates who have taught in China all say that the experience is a rewarding and enriching one. Many take the opportunity to enroll in Mandarin courses while there, although a facility in Mandarin is not necessary for the position, since teaching is conducted in English. An Osgoode graduate is currently in China, teaching graduate seminars on International Business Transactions, Comparative Law, WTO and International Disputes Resolution, as well as Legal English. He is treated as “law faculty” and can participate in the research and teaching activities of Southwest University. He also has opportunities to work at local law firms. We expect to send two graduates this year in August. So if you are looking for a change of scenery or the stimulus of living in a rich and ancient foreign culture, why not consider teaching in China? All you need to do is to submit (a) a current resume (b) xerox copies of your law school and undergraduate transcripts and (c) a covering letter addressed to Professor Jinyan Li. In your covering letter, explain your interest in teaching in China and highlight any experiences or qualifications that are particularly relevant. You can leave your application with Angela Monardo (4th floor – 4050B). The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, March 1, 2013. Applicants will be contacted for interviews by email the week of March 4th. For further information about the SUPSL, please visit their website at www.swupl.edu.cn.

the OBITERdicta


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sports

They Gotta Get Paid DANIEL STYLER Staff Writer

According to the NCAA, college athletic programs in the United States generate $6.1 billion from ticket sales, radio and television receipts, alumni contributions, guarantees, royalties, and NCAA distributions. They also generate an additional $5.3 billion in what is called allocated revenue, which comes from student fees allocated to athletics, as well as institutional and government support. The NCAA’s revenue totaled $871.6 million in 2011-12; they are able to call themselves a non-profit organization, though, because all but 4 percent of that is returned to member conferences and institutions or to support championships and programs that “benefit student-athletes.”

compensation for what they do, you would be wrong. While some receive full scholarships, most don’t; there are only six sports where all of the scholarships handed out are full. Even when it comes to athletes who receive large scholarships, the value of the education that they receive from their scholarship is, at least, debatable. After all, many athletes who receive scholarships are athletes first and students second. A study conducted by the NCAA provides context for this statement: Division 1 male athletes in baseball, basketball, and football spent between 39-43 hours per week devoted to their sport, more time than they spent on their school work.

If you think that NCAA athletes, without whom there would be no revenue at all, receive

To recap, then: student-athletes help to generate massive amounts of revenue for their

college athletic program, (sometimes) receive scholarships, but ultimately spend more time focusing on athletics than making use of the apparent “benefit” (free education) that they’ve received in exchange for the revenue that they have helped generate. Something about that doesn’t seem right; something about that sounds a lot like exploitation. It always surprises me, then, when NCAA athletes are faced with condemnation if they dare to undermine this exploitive system. For instance, football players at Ohio State received a total of $14,000 in cash and tattoos » continued on next page

Public Interest Day 2013

"The Interface between Mental Health and Access to Justice"

11th Annual Public Interest Day Event

Osgoode Hall Law School and The University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, would like to invite you to participate in the eleventh annual Public Interest Day (PID) on Friday March 1st from 9:30a.m. -12:30 p.m. The event will be held in downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is an excellent opportunity to explore your own career path by participating in discussions with lawyers who practice in many different sectors of public interest law (clinics, government, NGO’s, and social justice private practice). The agenda for the day is as follows: 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. 10:30 – 10:45 a.m. 10:45 – 12:30 p.m.

FRIDAY MARCH 1, 2013 Metro Toronto Convention Centre 255 Front Street West, North Building, Room 107 www.publicinterestday.ca

Visit the Public Interest Day website at www.publicinterestday.ca for more information. If you have any questions, please contact Asphine Husainy at (416) 736-5617 or by email at ahusainy@osgoode.yorku.ca .

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15TH

Visit the website for a list of participating offices and organizations attending the fair.

Kim Bonnar Manager, Career Development Office Osgoode Hall Law School 416-736-5802 Email: kbonnar@osgoode.yorku.ca

monday - feb 25 - 2013

Registration Panel Discussion Break Information Networking Fair

SPINLAW CONFERENCE March 16, 2013

Free!

Join Law students, lawyers, and activists across Canada at the annual SPINLAW conference: 30 Years Under the Living Tree: Reflections on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms! Thanks to the Law Foundation of Ontario, a limited number of travel bursaries are available for students travelling from outside Toronto. Visit www.spinlaw.ca for more information.

Leanne Shafir Acting Director, Career Development Office University of Toronto, Faculty of Law 416-946-3033 Email: l.shafir@utoronto.ca

the OBITERdicta


page 16

sports Paid » continued from previous page (yes, tattoos) in exchange for jerseys, rings and other Ohio State memorabilia. Five of these players were suspended for five games at the beginning of the next season and another was suspended for one game. Personally, I can’t be morally outraged by players finding it hard to accept rules that are stacked against them, prohibiting them from making a profit from their participation in NCAA sports because they are “amateurs,” mainly because I can imagine that it’s pretty easy for athletes at schools like Ohio State not to feel like an amateur. Their coach that season, Jim Tressel, made about $3.5 million (he was also suspended for five games, and ultimately resigned from Ohio State, due to his involvement in the scandal). They played in front of 100,000 fans at every home game. That doesn’t feel too amateur to me. In addition to generating revenue for their college, there is another compelling reason for paying athletes: the athletes that have an opportunity to eventually make money as a professional are risking that opportunity by playing collegiate sports (which is almost made unavoidable by rules requiring football players to be three years and basketball players one year out of high school before they can be drafted).

monday - feb 25 - 2013

Nerlens Noel of the Kentucky Wildcats, the top player in college basketball and projected number one pick in next year’s NBA draft, tore his ACL in a recent game. As a Kentucky fan, my first thought when I saw his injury wasn’t “oh my God, our season is over;” it was, “oh my God, his career could be over.” It has put his draft status in question, as it is unclear when he will be able to play again. While the general sentiment is that he will still be drafted (and drafted high), it still forces you to ask what would have happened if it had been worse. If it had significantly impacted his draft status in the NBA and cost him millions of dollars, what recourse would he have? As of now, the insurance policy in the NCAA is one that only protects athletes in cases of career-ending injuries and costs up to $40,000;

because his career isn’t over, this policy wouldn’t have benefitted Noel. Athletes are also able to purchase “loss of value” insurance, which guards against a drop in draft position (which can mean losses in the millions). That type of insurance is expensive, with a policy costing up to six figures. Ever accommodating, the NCAA only allows an athlete to purchase this type of insurance if the athlete’s family can pay for the premium without taking out a loan (as a loan would violate NCAA rules relating to extra benefits). This is a financial burden that is completely unreasonable for most families, and really helps to illustrate how little the NCAA cares about its athletes (unless they’re making them money). It’s time for collegiate athletes to get paid; everyone else involved does.

the OBITERdicta

Issue #11 - February 25  

Obiter Dicta is the official student paper of Osgoode Hal Law School.

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