February 13, 2012
Dean for a Day Submissions
Mock Trial Photos
pgs. 4 -9, 12
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“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” - Maya Angelou Editors-in-Chief: Cassie Burt-Gerrans, Andrew Monkhouse, Jennifer O’Dell Sponsorship Manager: Rory Wasserman Business Manager: Kristina Bliakharsky Osgoode News Editor: Kyle Rees Opinions Editor: Nick Van Duyvenbode Arts & Culture Editor: Nancy Situ News Editor: Hassan Ahmad Sports Editor: Joe Marcus Staff Writers: Dave Shellnutt, RJ Wallia, Michael Szubelak, Ashley Stacey, Tracey Hardie, Cass Da Re, Contributors: Pam Hinman, Andrea Hill, Cameron Bryant, Hannah Askew, Terry Wong, Black Law Students’ Association, Ajay Gajaria & Rahim Jamal, Women’s Caucus
Editorial This week, our issue features diversity-themed articles by different students and organizations at Osgoode as it is Diversity Week. Be sure to check out the schedule featured on page 4 for all the Diversity Week events. And be sure to check out the winning entries to the Diversity Week contest: “Why Does Diversity Matter?” on page 7. Congratulations to Hannah Askew and Terry Wong for their outstanding articles! Congratulations are also in order for Andrea Hill, who won the Dean for a Day contest with her entry on changes to Osgoode Hall for the short, medium and long term. Her submission can be seen on page 3, along with a submission by an anonymous author who received an honourable mention for their Dean for a Day ideas. Andrea will be Dean for a Day on Monday, February 13th, 2012. In this issue, the winning entries, the articles this week on Diversity, and several of the regular features by our staff writers are all about change: changing our world, changing our communities and changing ourselves. Hannah Askew’s essay on “Why Does Diversity Matter?” for example, has us look broadly at diversity in the context of assimilation in relation to Aboriginal Nations. She warns us at the end of her essay that the threat to cultural diversity in Canada and elsewhere should be something that concerns us. She notes that other cultures are just as valuable as our own and we should be grateful to those who have fought to keep cultural diversity alive. Other pieces this week are more focussed on changing our communities. The Dean for a Day contest entries are focussed on changing our
Osgoode community in a positive manner. These esssays reflect practical and pertinent changes that are important to current and future Osgoode students. For example, the anonymous submission focuses on changing Osgoode’s culture by implementing mental health initiatives. Other pieces focus on attempts to change and engage broader communities, like SALSA’s piece on page 9 on building partnerships outside of the Osgoode community. Additionally, other articles look at changes to the legal community as a whole, such as CDO’s piece on the Legal Leaders for Diversity Initiative at page 6. Finally, articles in this issue talk about changing ourselves. Pieces by our two staff writers, RJ Wallia and Cass Da Re look at changing ourselves in the context of our relationships. Both RJ and Cass Da Re discuss how we can change our own behaviours to make sure that the people who are special in our lives know this. Other pieces continue with the diversity theme and discuss how we can change ourselves to learn to embrace and promote diversity. Terry Wong’s piece discusses embracing understanding, our sameness, and everyone because we are interconnected. Dave Shellnut, on page 19, talks about learning and changing his views as he has grown. Change is a long, hard road. It’s not easy to change the world, our communities, or ourselves. But speaking out about important issues to encourage change is the first step to making change a reality. And on this note, we at the Obiter Dicta are proud to present you with this edition. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Harjot Atwal, Nancy Situ
Letter to the Editor
Photography: Harjot Atwal
Dear Editors in Chief,
Website Editor: Nancy Situ, Cassie Burt-Gerrans
I am hoping to continue the discussion related to the issue of the Davies advertisement. I think the progression of the conversation reflects a need in our school community to more actively and respectfully listen to the voices of our peers.
However, instead of really listening to her commentary, some ran to the defence of Davies before the firm could be called “racist”, a taboo label. Besides, as the argument goes, Davies didn’t intend to offend. Is this really an excuse? If Davies had used the ‘N’ word instead, intending to be humorous, would we really have just laughed it off and said they meant well? I would hope not. I think we can agree that sometimes, intention just doesn’t matter.
Articles are due at 2 p.m. on the Wednesday before date of publication. The appropriate maximum length for articles is 1200 words. Please submit articles in Microsoft Word format via e-mail attachment to obiterdicta@osgoode. yorku.ca. Please attach photographs separately; do not include them in your Word document. 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.
monday - february 13 - 2012
One type of reaction to this ad seems to be premised first on the claim that it was just a joke, and second, that even if it was offensive, Davies’ intentions were innocent. In response to the former I would say that the fact is, some people were offended. Shouldn’t that be enough to make us stop and think about why? In her letter to the editor, law student Kisha Munroe certainly gave us a number of explanations to consider regarding why this ad is problematic. For example, the very serious concern that Davies is belittling the gravity of current and historic slavery. But it wasn’t until members of Osgoode faculty wrote to Davies that the ad was
So how do we draw the line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t? Of course there’s no easy answer, but one way to start is by listening. After all, if we’re quick to say we’re not racist, but continually ignore the opinion of those subjected to racism, what does that say? I’m looking forward to more dialogue. - Mika Imai
Dean For A Day Submissions Winning Submission Congratulations to JD Student Andrea Hill, winner of the 2012 Dean for a Day contest. She will trade places with Dean Lorne Sossin on Monday, February 13 and rule Osgoode for the day. Here is her winning submission: My Dean for a Day ideas are focused on improving the Osgoode student and visitor experience, as well as enhancing the school’s broader public image. Osgoode is a wonderful school, but sometimes students are in the best position to notice potential improvements. My plan is comprised of short-, medium-, and longterm solutions to make Osgoode even better for staff, students, and guests . Short Term (1-2 years) 1. Put big plants in the atrium and Gowlings Hall. These are beautiful spaces full of natu ral light, but they are currently sterile. 2. Look into landscaping the gravel fields outside the front doors. 3. Install sound systems in the Bistro and JCR, and play ambient music. 4. Have coffee with the Dean in Gowlings Hall. 5. Put coat hooks in classrooms. 6. Initiate Puppy Day! Puppies can be pro vided by the local adoption centre, and can
be kept in a pen. Students can sign waivers to protect the school. This will be a terrific stress reliever, guaranteed. Medium Term (2-3 years) 1. Add a salad bar to the Bistro. It should be unacceptable to be running out of salads by 11:30 (as often happens), and pre-mixed salads often come with ham or cheese, which many people can’t have. 2. Build a big bus shelter at the south east corner of Sentinel and Pond Road. Most Osgoode students who take the bus catch it t here, and the spot is windy and cold. 3. Install lamps and smooth out the pave ment on the walkway between Osgoode and the intersection of Sentinel and Pond. Whether students drive or take the bus, they typically use this diagonal route and it can be dark, bumpy, and icy. 4. Get a crosswalk or stop sign installed at the point where the walkway to Passy crosses the Pond Road. There is too much traffic here in all directions. 5. Commission student artists to paint art for Osgoode’s walls. 6. Install big, clear signs directing traffic to Osgoode from Keele and Finch. I have
helped to run an experiential learning pro gram for two years, featuring dozens of guest lecturers each term. Virtually everyone gets lost and frustrated, and then is less willing to come up in subsequent years. Osgoode should also try to get parking spots in the Atkinson Parking Lot across the field. 7. Overhaul Osgoode’s branded clothing. The current supplier is awful, and the cloth ing is scratchy and cheap. I would replace the current supplier entirely, and emphasize form and quality with the new one. A boat neck tank top with a legal quote wrapping around the side, for example, is much more likely to be proudly worn outside the school. Long Term (3-5 years) 1. Send student ambassadors to regional high schools around the GTA to discuss law and law school, including their experiential learning highlights. 2. Remove fencing from between Osgoode and HNES and plant flowers, maybe with a firm sponsorship. Implementing such simple changes will help make Osgoode even more welcoming, safe, and exciting!
Honourable Mention Submission (Note: The judges of the 2012 Dean for a Day contest were moved by this anonymous submission from a student who did not want her/his identity to be revealed and thus was precluded from the possibility of serving as Dean for a Day. The judges recommended that this submission be printed in the Obiter Dicta together with the winning submission.) Osgoode is a really great law school. Many of the professors are extremely engaging. A dedicated faculty and administration ensure that bad ones don’t last long! The new renovations are bright and fabulous. I adore the new library. Although I wish mains came with more green vegetables at the cafeteria, I am nevertheless pleased with the change. Amidst all of this progress, and after what I can only call a pleasant and challenging experience so far, if I were Dean for a Day I would focus on an area in which I think the law school could do much better: promoting awareness about mental health issues that law students and lawyers face, and making resources to deal with those issues more available. I would go about pursuing this objective in five ways: the OBITERdicta
1. I would set up dispensers for mental health pamphlets in more areas in the school – maybe in bathrooms and the locker area. 2. I would institute a Mental Health Awareness Week either the week before first term grades are released, or the week they are released, during which time I would invite expert panelists to talk about issues like depression, anxiety, catastrophic thinking and the many great ways one can stop living with an emotional anvil around one’s neck while trying to swim through life. If I were really ambitious, I would cancel classes for one afternoon of that week to facilitate attendance at those lectures. (I would also record the lectures and make them available to all students.) 3. I would provide training to all of the Osgoode faculty and staff, so as to better equip them to help students who come to discuss vague problems of unhappiness or concerns about their futures. 4. I would invite successful alumni and faculty to “out” themselves by sharing “dirty” transcript secrets – like B’s and C’s they got in their fields of expertise, or even D’s. Ideally, this
group would be composed of individuals on a wide variety of career paths. The idea is to work harder to dispel the notion that mediocre grades will ruin your life. These “secrets” could be published in a letter sent to all students, as was done at Columbia Law School, or there could be a presentation on the night of Mock Trial. The best time to do this would probably be when fall grades are released. 5. I would devote a small section of the library to a collection of books like “Mind over Mood” and “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.” Osgoode provides us with a great academic foundation for the practice of law. From that point of view, I could not be happier with my choice. By engaging more with mental health issues in the ways I outlined above, Osgoode could help create a generation of lawyers who are equipped to navigate the challenges and stresses of the profession. After all, what’s the use of being an excellent lawyer if you are totally miserable in the process? - Anonymous monday - february 13 - 2012
Diversity Diversity Week Schedule "Diversity By The Numbers: Standing Up To Be Counted In The Legal Profession" - Monday February 13 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm (Rm 2001) Panelists include: • Professor Faisal Bhabha (Former Vice Chair at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario); • Anna Wong (Landy Marr Katts LLP; Board Member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and Ontario Bar Association Equality Committee); • Firoozeh Rose Bahrami (Partner at Bahrami Law Office; President of the Iranian Canadian Lawyers Association); Jay Chauhan (Solo Practitioner and Deputy Judge in the Richmond Hill Court) Lunch will be served! Organized and Hosted by the Asian Law Students of Osgoode and Iranian Law Students Association
“First Annual Pink Triangle Day* Speaker Series: LGBTQ Issues in Immigration & Refugee Law” - Tuesday February 14 - 2:30pm - 4:30pm (Rm 1004)
"Diversity Day: 'Why Diversity Matters' Panel Discussion, Luncheon, and Mixer" - Wednesday February 15 - 12:30pm - 2:30pm (JCR)
Hosted by Profesor Sean Rehaag
Panel Discussion from 12:30pm - 1:30pm with: • Av Maharaj (Vice President and Chief Counsel, International, Kellogg Company and Chair of Legal Leaders for Diversity); • Jagmeet Singh (MPP for Bramale-Gore-Malton, criminal defence lawyer, activist); • Simona Jellinek (victim rights lawyer at Jellinek Law Office)
Panelists include: • Michael Battista (lawyer, professor and specialist in immigration and refugee law); • Suhail Abualsameed (Coordinator of the Sherbourne Health Centre's Newcomer Community Program); • Karlene Williams-Clarke (Newcomer Community Services Coordinator at the 519 Church Street Community Centre) Snacks/Drinks provided! Organized and Hosted by OUTLaws *Pink Triangle Day is a day to celebrate the LGBTQ community at Osgoode
A final event to close the week!
Lunch and Mixer from 1:30pm - 2:30pm with: • Sonia Mak (Chair of National Diversity Committee at Borden Ladner Gervais); • Linc Rogers (Partner at Blakes in the Restructuring and Insolvency Group); • Cornell Wright (Partner at Torys specializing in M&A and corporate finance) Generously sponsored by Blakes, Borden Ladner Gervais, and Torys Organized and Hosted by the Black Law Students Association, Career Development Office, OUTLaws, and South Asian Law Students Association
A Note from the Osgoode OUTlaws CAMERON BRYANT Co-Chair, Osgoode OUTlaws This week is Diversity Week, and the Osgoode OUTlaws are proud to be joining many other clubs as part of the celebrations and activities. February 14th will be Pink Triangle Day, a day to honour and celebrate the LGBTQ community here at Osgoode. My Co-Chair Frances Mahon, the executive, and I have organized a panel discussion on LGBTQ immigration at 2:30 in Room 1004. The panel will feature Michael Battista, a lawyer, professor and specialist in immigration and refugee law; Suhail Abualsameed, the Coordinator of the Sherbourne Health Centre’s Newcomer Community Engagement Program; Karlene Williams-Clarke, the LGBT Newcomer Community Services Coordinator at the 519 Church Street Community Centre; and finally, Osgoode’s own Sean Rehaag, professor and expert in the field of immigration law. Drinks and food will be provided. It promises to be an excellent discussion, and we hope you will all attend. Pink Triangle Day and Diversity Week in monday - february 13 - 2012
general also give one pause to think about their own experiences with diversity here at school. What is it like to be gay at Osgoode? Having grown up in a small town, where harassment of LGBTQ individuals was the norm, my perspective is somewhat coloured by the fact that I figured anything could have been better than that. But I must still say that my experience here at Osgoode has been overwhelmingly positive. Within a few days of arriving here in the big city, I had already built myself a network of incredible friends, which included several LGBTQ identified people. My first year section in particular seemed to have a large number of LGBTQ students, which ensured that issues pertaining to our community were brought up and discussed with some regularity. I cannot recall our professors having been dismissive, and save for a few small-minded individuals, the comments from our peers were respectful and tolerant. This atmosphere inspired me to become involved in LGBTQ activities here and in the larger community. I’m especially proud to have joined forces with Frances to revive the OUTlaws, Osgoode’s LGBTQ club. We’ve worked hard to provide a number of events and activities for our mem-
bership, and we hope that future members will carry on in our tradition, growing the club and increasing its’ influence in the future. Naturally, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns for everyone here at Osgoode. My experiences have typically been good, but not always, and I know many other students have not experienced the wonderful time I’ve enjoyed. First, there are problems in the legal community at large. Programs for those with HIV are woefully understaffed and underfunded, and having done the OCI process, I now have a dinner party anecdote about the interview during which I had to describe what “being out” means, and what the acronym LGBT stands for. At Osgoode, Frances and I have heard concerns about the lack of LGBTQ issues in the curriculum, not to mention certain insensitive remarks from professors and other students. It ought to go without saying that all members of the Osgoode community should feel comfortable here. As a group, we need to be mindful of the things we say. We should feel free to express our opinions openly, Continued to next page. the OBITERdicta
page 5 but as future lawyers, these opinions ought to be expressed in an intelligent and useful way, not in a crass or ill-thought out manner. I think we can all agree to that. One particularly problematic issue is the lack of openly LGBTQ faculty members. A school’s faculty should reflect the diversity of its student body. From my perspective, Osgoode appears to have attracted some of the best and brightest minds from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. It would appear they have not had the same success with openly gay faculty. The private lives of our professors are simply that- private. How-
ever, the support and guidance of LGBTQ faculty can do quite a bit to encourage gay students. Their unique expertise and perspectives from having worked in academia and often in the law firm environment are vital to many students who require mentorship. The lack of LGBT role models is a real shame.
daily conversation; chiefly the skill of trying to examine things from all angles • Question some of your old stereotypes and assumptions. • Allow yourself to be open to persuasion, rather than being staid and stalwart in your opinions.
And so, as you proceed this week, I ask that you think about the way you can encourage diversity in all its forms at Osgoode.
Such small acts foster an atmosphere of open-mindedness, which achieves tolerance. Tolerance and understanding, in turn, create the community of diversity which we are trying to strive for, not just during Diversity Week, but every week.
It takes but a simple act to achieve this: • Apply the skills you’ve acquired here to
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Committed To Diversity: General Counsel Hope To Lead The Way Last May, a collective of 40 Canadian in-house counsel at banks and large corporations signed a pledge committing to diversity and inclusion within their own departments and in the law firms they hire. Companies and organizations like Kellogg’s, Xerox, Bombardier, Bruce Power, RBC and Ernst & Young are members of Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) and they are promising to practice and advance diversity and inclusion through their hiring and purchasing practices, by encouraging law firms to follow their example and by promoting diversity initiatives at all levels in the legal and business community. This is, no doubt, an important contribution in the movement towards a more representative and diverse legal profession. The LLD is encouraging their members to demonstrate their commitment through the following “Be an Advocate” initiatives: 1. Create a “diversity-friendly” law depart ment through actions as well as words. Know your organization’s diversity plan and talk to your groups about it to make sure they understand how important it is. Be vis ible in your support; attend your organiza tion’s diversity events. 2. Hire from a diverse pool. Establish a diversity intranet website to show role models for career progression. 3. Make diversity and inclusion a standing item on quarterly team meeting agendas. 4. Build diversity and inclusiveness plans into employee reviews. 5. Create a mentoring program within your law department where lawyers mentor
people from diverse backgrounds. Consider two-way and reverse-mentorship programs and also mentoring outside your organiza tion. 6. Make coaching in diversity and inclusive ness part of all leadership training. Edu cate your organization’s leaders to ensure they understand, champion and effectively communicate the business case for diversity and inclusion. 7. Consider establishing an External Diver sity Advisory Committee to guide business leadership. Find ways to measure success and hold leaders accountable for progress in diversity and inclusiveness. 8. In dealing with outside law firms, make sure they know diversity is one of your orga nization’s core values and that you expect to see diversity and inclusiveness on your legal teams. 9. Retain minority- or women-owned law firms whenever possible. 10. Support vendors and suppliers whose ownership or employee base reflects a com mitment to diversity and inclusion. 11. Be an advocate. Speak with other CLO’s about diversity and inclusiveness and share best practices. 12. Join with law schools to support initia tives such as Minority Law Job Fairs. 13. Help develop Diversity Employee Net works and act as an Executive sponsor of one of them.
Dealing with the “Indian” Problem ASHLEY STACEY Staff Writer The Indian residential school system was a government initiative intended to achieve “aggressive assimilation.” Ultimately, the aim of the Indian residential school system was cultural genocide. Dr. Duncan Campbell Scott in 1920 referred to my ancestors as an “Indian problem” that Canada needed to rid itself of. He stated, “… I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada…” Dr. Scott, the Canadian poet and deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, failed to see that instead of promoting assimilation, advocating diversity would have enriched the lives of all Canadians. For generations, Aboriginal children were ripped from their families and placed into residential schools where they were taught to forget their language, their culture, their values, their families, and to leave their identities, the very essence of who they are, at the door. Tragically, children in these schools were subjected to alarming rates of physical, sexual and mental abuse. Children died monday - february 13 - 2012
in residential schools. Some of their families were never notified. There are also an untold number of “missing” children who simply disappeared after being taken away from their families. To this day their whereabouts are unknown. Today, many residential school survivors and their descendants have been robbed of their identity and know very little about their Aboriginal ancestors. Generation after generation, families have been living with the effects of the residential school system. Parents have trouble showing affection to their children and families cannot understand why their loved ones abuse alcohol and drugs. The suicide rates on reserves are even more saddening. It is unimaginable that a young child can feel so unloved that the only way they can see to end their suffering would be to take their own life. However, in the face of the destructive policy of assimilation and cultural genocide, Aboriginal people have shown resilience and perseverance. We are still here. We are still fighting. We are still healing. Aboriginal identity and values represent the strength of our culture. Aboriginal people cannot begin to heal without knowing who they are
14. Participate in or host a meeting of Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion. 15. Find and support an organization that promotes diversity, such as a youth program or TRIAC. 16. Participate in programs such as ITLP where you host internationally trained law yers in your law department. 17. Use your general counsel networks to support diversity and inclusiveness initia tives. There are now upwards of 60 general counsel across Canada that have signed on with LLD, so the initiative does appear to be gaining traction. This is a positive sign for law students getting ready to enter into practice, particularly with those law firms who rely on these corporate clients. It also serves as an encouraging signal to students from diverse backgrounds to network and develop mentee/mentor relationships with LLD in-house counsel. As the LLD Statement of Support for Diversity and Inclusion states, these corporate counsel “value the range of perspectives, ideas and experiences that diversity provides, whether grounded in gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, cultural background, religion or age.” So, take them up on their offer!! To hear more about LLD, be sure to come to the Diversity Day Panel on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:30pm in the JCR. The current Chair of LLD, Av Maharaj, VP and Chief Counsel, International with Kellogg’s, will be a featured speaker. See you there!
as a Raké:ni, Ista,Tiakení:teron, Rakshótha or Akshótha. Part of finding our voice means sharing our experience with our loved ones. Far too often, community members are ashamed to speak about their residential school experience, and children and grandchildren grow up not knowing what happened to their family and ancestors. Canadians play an important role in the healing of residential school victims. It is important that all Canadians recognize and accept what their forefathers and this country failed to accomplish. Most Canadians find it hard to believe that Canada, a nation rich in diverse cultures, once tried to rid an entire race of people. This is a very real and disturbing part of Canadian history. What many Canadians also fail to realize is that by attempting to eradicate “Indians”, Canadians were robbed of sharing in the richness of my people. The opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, teachings, and principles that we live by were denied to them. Diversity matters and only through education can we share what happened so it will never happen again. For more information on residential schools, visit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada website: www.trc.ca Niá:wen
Diversity Contest Winners: “Why Does Diversity Matter?” WINNING ENTRY BY: HANNAH ASKEW Osgoode Student As the anthropologist Wade Davis reminded each of us in his delivery of the 2009 Massey Lectures, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit — other options, other visions of life itself.” Davis’ insight is of crucial importance at a time when cultures and languages around the world are threatened with extinction. It is a strange reality that although there is general societal consensus around the importance of preserving global biological diversity, the more accelerated decline of cultural and linguistic diversity has so far generated much less concern. The continued existence of diverse and robust cultural traditions provides human society not only with stimulation and enrichment, but also with resilience and adaptability to change. Every high school student today is taught that species and ecosystems rich in genetic and biological diversity are better positioned to be able to survive environmental change. A similar proposition exists with regards to cultural diversity but is less emphasized. As a global society we are much better equipped to respond flexibly and constructively to changing social and environmental circumstances when we can draw on the collective wisdom and imagination of a myriad of diverse cultures. Unfortunately, colonialism and mistaken assumptions of Western cultural superiority have had a devastating impact on humanity’s collective store of cultural knowledge. In Canada, the Beothuk nation became extinct WINNING ENTRY BY: TERRY WONG Osgoode Student
Diversity matters, because we all matter. The words ‘dignity’, ‘equality’, ‘rights’, ‘difference’, and ‘justice’ have been plastered all over Osgoode. These words were well chosen; these words have power. ‘Dignity’ instructs us of the respect we should all give and receive; ‘equality’, of the ideal to strive for. ‘Rights’ are what should be guaranteed to each of us; and ‘differences’ are what we correctly recognize exists, but hopefully know to be part of our strength. Finally, ‘justice’, should be fundamental to our conscience. But there are three words, I think, that are just as much a part of diversity, that we haven’t the OBITERdicta
during the colonial period due to violence and disease, and Beothuk culture, including its language, stories, philosophy, music, art, culinary, medicinal and environmental knowledge, was irretrievably lost, with the exception of a single song recorded by an anthropologist. Although most Aboriginal nations survived colonization, the residential school system and other assimilationist policies took a brutal toll. The residential schools with their explicit objective to “kill the Indian in the child” removed children from their families and cultural traditions, placed them in boarding schools, and beat or otherwise punished them for speaking their Indigenous languages or engaging in traditional cultural practices. The adults left behind were typically confined to reserves inadequate to support the communities’ traditional way of life and had many of their ceremonial practices outlawed, such as the potlatch on the Northwest Coast and the Sundance on the Plains. Fortunately, although damaging, these violent assaults on Indigenous cultures did not achieve their ultimate goal of cultural assimilation. Thanks to the bravery of children who risked beatings and confinement in order to continue speaking their languages while in residential school and the courage of adults who risked arrest to continue practicing Potlatches, Sundances, and other ceremonies, as well as countless other acts of defiance and strength, Canada’s Indigenous cultures have survived and continue to be with us today. We should not take the continued endurance for granted however. The celebrated Annishinabek linguist and scholar Basil Johnston has warned that dozens of Indigenous languages within Canada are lit-
given the same treatment. And they are words we shouldn’t forget. The first word is ‘understanding.’ Part of being a community is taking on the challenge of understanding each other, because learning from our unique experiences and backgrounds makes us all better. Diversity isn’t about us all agreeing with each other – it isn’t that at all. And if it was, that wouldn’t be much of a law school! Instead, diversity is about the getting there -- the journey of thinking about each other’s perspective. The second word is ‘sameness.’ When we hear ‘diversity’, too often we focus too much on our differences. It’s far too easy to just think about that which divides us. And while it would be wrong to pretend those differences don’t exist, we’d be no less wrong to forget that those differences are far exceeded by the things
erally just “One Generation from Extinction”. In many communities, only Elders still speak the traditional languages and unless something is done, the languages will be lost when they pass on. These languages are the expression of the philosophy and worldview of the Indigenous cultures, developed over thousands of years, embodying a particular way of being in the world including unique concepts which may be difficult or impossible to translate into languages. Many communities are fighting to revitalize their languages and pass them on to their children, but lack sufficient resources to invest in training teachers and creating learning resources. Johnston has argued persuasively that the Canadian government (which bears primary responsibility for the loss of these languages), has a responsibility to provide the funds to support language revitalization in Indigenous communities before time runs out. The threat to cultural diversity in Canada and elsewhere around the world should be of grave concern to us all. The intellectual and cultural achievements of other peoples are just as valuable as our own. To return to the opening quote of this essay, other cultures are “unique manifestations of the human spirit” and represent “other options, other visions of life itself ”. At a time when we face such serious social and environmental challenges, we desperately need other options, other visions, other stories, other ideas and other ways of being in the world. Just as the loss of biological diversity weakens our ability to adapt to change, so too does the loss of cultural and linguistic diversity. We are supremely fortunate that cultural diversity continues to exist, in spite of the best efforts of some to eradicate it, and owe a debt of gratitude and hope to those who have fought courageously to keep it alive.
we share. The third word is ‘everyone.’ For every one of us, our experience at Osgoode is made more complete by all the rest of us. Diversity is about seeing the interconnectedness of the bigger picture of our school, and the process of thinking about – and sometimes, the process of taking action on -- how that fits into our profession, our nation, and our world. I like to think that in the grand scheme of things, and despite what the law school curve might make us think sometimes, we’re all trying to row in the same direction; the entire night sky is brighter, because of each star. The Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it this way: “a person, is a person, through other persons. I need you to be all you can be, so that I can be all I can be.” monday - february 13 - 2012
Reflections on Davies and Diversity EXECUTIVE TEAM, 2011-2012 Black Law Students’ Association A few weeks ago, a student exercised courage by raising a complaint in regards to a Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Davies) advertisement published by the Obiter Dicta. Davies swiftly pulled the ad and issued a public apology. The incident resulted in a myriad of reactions that highlighted a variety of opinions. The discourse touched on topics such as, but not limited to, racism, corporate culture, and diversity in the legal profession. To facilitate the discussion, Osgoode’s Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) hosted a Town Hall meeting on Monday, February 6, 2012. The Town Hall commenced with comments from Professor Trevor Farrow, who set the stage for a two-part discussion. The first half of the discussion focused on the Davies advertisement and its resulting discourse; the second focused on the broader concept of diversity in the legal profession. While the majority of people who engaged vocally agreed that the advertisement Davies published was offensive and executed in poor taste, most of the discussion focused on latent problems highlighted by the ad and the subsequent apology. The responses to the ad appeared to be two-fold: some were offended about the use of “slavies” in regards to the demanding nature of billable hours in the legal profession, while others were offended about the use of the term as it regards the Trans Atlantic slave trade. While other Bay Street firms advertise promoting a meaningful work-life balance, Davies took a different approach. The dictionary states that a slave is “a person who works very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation.” It is troubling that a corporation would make light of an employer-employee relationship in such a manner. As lawyers and law students, it is discouraging to think that one’s hard work will be either meagerly or under-compensated. Further, by no means is employment in a Bay Street firm like Davies actually slavery. However, the ad works to discourage the increasingly illusive worklife balance necessary for both the mental and physical health of our professionals. According to the Ontario Lawyer’s Assistance Program (OLAP), lawyers and judges are three times more likely than the average person to become clinically depressed and six times as likely to commit suicide. In addition, we are also three times more likely to become addicted to alcohol. In light of these facts, it should not be hard to understand how the advertisement can be seen as troubling. (http://www.olap. ca/VOLUNTEERHANDBOOK2010.pdf) A quick Google search of the term “slave” produces a variety of images of black individuals held in bondage. Historically, many different groups of people were enslaved. In modern times, enslavement still occurs in many parts of the world. However, this should not minimize the fact that in North America, “slave” can evoke particular images, with a particular history – namely that of the North American slave trade. If a student or a group of students took offence to the Davies advertisement as it relates to the Trans Atlantic slave trade, can you honestly blame them? In response to the association between “slavies” and the slave trade, Davies, the offending party, apologized and accepted the criticism; why do others have such an issue with it? If people feel a certain way about something, why is it up for debate?
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Are feelings, by their very nature, not up for debate in regards to whether they are right or wrong? Why can people not simply respect the fact that someone has a certain view and accept it? The term “slavies” began many years ago with law students who used it to describe Davies’ work culture. Although students coined the term, it does not mean that Davies should endorse it. People use offensive language on a daily basis but that does not make it acceptable for a corporation to endorse such language and attempt to defend themselves by attributing the term to others. As law students, we should take heed to the complaint and stop using the term. Even if the term “slavies” did not personally offend you, the complaint draws attention to the potential to offend your colleagues by using it. The apology from Davies stated: “it did not occur to our team (emphasis added) that we would be seen as making light of slavery.” For those who took offence to the ad or thought it to be in poor taste, the apology begs one to question the composition of their team. Many years ago, law firms were described as being an “old boys club.” A brief examination of the class photos around Osgoode symbolizes this time in history. As more women enrolled in law school and joined the legal profession, the “old boys club” had to change their attitude in response to the growing number of women around them. Although the attitudes in response to women in the legal profession are not perfect today, they are better than they once were. As a result, one could successfully argue that advertisements like “slavies” would not have made it to print if a more diverse group of individuals with varying sensitivities previewed it. If an individual on their team was sensitive to the issue of slavery, although they may appreciate Davies’ attempt at selfdepreciating humor, they would likely err on the side of caution and take a stance that such an advertisement not run due to its potentially offensive nature. While it is easy to point fingers at Davies, the fact of the matter is that the issue of a lack of diversity is not unique to Davies when one examines diversity in the legal profession. DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, led by the Diversity Institute of Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management, produces DiverseCity Counts, an annual report on diverse leadership in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The 2011 report states that although visible minorities compromise 14.4% of all lawyers in the GTA, they represent 6.6% of partners in law firms. Visible minorities also make up 8.3% of Judges, 10.5% of leaders on governing bodies and law schools, and 0% of Crown and deputy Crown attorneys in the GTA. The report concludes that visible minorities are under-represented in leadership positions within the legal profession. [http://diversecitytoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/CountsReport3-full.pdf]. The results of the report seem staggering when we consider that in 2006, of the 2.48 million people in Toronto, 47% reported themselves as being part of a visible minority and there are signs that these numbers have since increased [http://www.toronto. ca/toronto_facts/diversity.htm]. Osgoode will be hosting Diversity Week during the week of February 13, 2012. This year’s theme is aptly titled: Why Does Diversity Matter? Interestingly, the theme was chosen prior to the discourse emerging from the Davies advertisement. A notable response to this year’s theme that came out of the Town Hall was that diversity matters because it is inherently valuable. It is well understood that
working within our profession requires a level of impartiality wherein one does not impose their own personal values and beliefs on their clients. However, bringing people together from different races, genders, and backgrounds can bring different perspectives into the dialogue surrounding the transactions that occur in corporate firms. All of this talk about diversity raises the question: How do you promote diversity within law firms? The Town Hall discussed affirmative action within the profession. Some individuals were in support of it and others voiced their concerns. Affirmative action would go a long way to increase diversity in the legal profession. However, would this diversity be meaningful? Would more qualified candidates be overlooked? Some felt that affirmative action overlooks the systemic issues that result in a lack of visible minorities enrolling in law school. Concern was also raised about becoming the “token minority;” a role that no Town Hall participants were interested in filling. Others felt that maybe it was time to move beyond the rigid requirements of quotas through affirmative action and foster a corporate culture of diversity instead. Ideally, firms would value the diversity of a candidate just as much as they would value previous work experience. While there was no agreement on whether a quota system should be adopted within Canada, it was agreed that firms should do more to find a working model that encourages minority recruitment while promoting a culture of inclusivity. To state the obvious, at the heart of a corporate law firm is a business that is concerned about its bottom line. In this regard, why should firms care about diversity when it may not have a clear correlation with their bottom line? In May 2011, forty of Canada’s largest corporations publicly declared support for Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD). The demand for diversity within the legal profession will now come from a place connected to a firm’s bottom line: their clients. LLD represents support for diversity and inclusion by general counsel in Canada. The program promotes diversity within in-house counsel at some of Canada’s top corporations while encouraging law firms to follow their lead. Furthermore, LLD promises to retain minority- or women-owned law firms whenever possible and to support firms whose employee base reflects a commitment to diversity and inclusion [http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/about/ generalcounsel/pdfs/LLDUpdated.pdf]. The implications of the program and the pressure it puts on law firms to diversify could have significant financial impact and ultimately lead to an increase of diversity within the profession. The message that resonated at the end of the Town Hall was that for diversity to matter, it must be meaningful. Diversity cannot merely be a charitable gesture towards inclusivity. Although one may argue that programs like LLD indirectly push diversity on a firm in a manner that may not truly be meaningful, one should also realize and appreciate the value that diversity brings to the legal profession. The 2011-2012 BLSA Executive would like to thank everyone who participated in the Town Hall. It was a great success because of your invaluable input. Participants asked thought provoking questions of each other and shared thoughtful ideas. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Professor Farrow who helped us to frame the conversation and lead what turned out to be an enlightening discussion on diversity in the legal profession.
Osgoode And Specialty Legal Clinics: Challenges To Collaboration And Imagining Creative Partnerships AJAY GAJARIA AND RAHIM JAMAL Members of Osgoode’s SALSA (South Asian Law Students Association) In the article, “Osgoode’s Less Than Strategic Plan”, printed in the Obiter Dicta two weeks ago, Nick Van Duyvenbode identified a lack of collaboration between Osgoode and organizations outside of the GTA. For him, there is a legal world outside Toronto waiting for Osgoode to extend a hand. We think that Nick’s right: there is considerable room for growth between our school and organizations outside the city. At the same time, this should not draw attention away from the fact that Osgoode also faces significant challenges building connections within Toronto, and in particular, with organizations that do not have the resources of a Parkdale, CLASP or Human Rights Legal Support Centre. We want to start a conversation that sheds light on the challenges we face in building effective partnerships between Osgoode, and small community organizations and legal clinics. Osgoode has a large pool of competent and eager law students ready to get legal working skills outside of the law school. There is also a significant demand for legal expertise in the wider community. Osgoode has established institutional relationships with OPIR partners recently, but why doesn’t more collaboration happen? Are people in the school’s administration not reaching out to organizations or ignoring calls for assistance? Are law students lazy, insular and unwilling to get involved in the outside community? As students part of Osgoode’s SALSA (South Asian Law Students Association) leadership, our experience attempting to build a connection with SALCO (South Asian Legal-Aid Clinic of Ontario) demonstrates that neither the administration nor students are to blame for a lack of effort of interest. Even when an organization needs help and law students ready and willing to give it, there are still significant barriers that need overcoming. Over the past few years, SALSA and SALCO have attempted to build a partnership. We have a committed group of students willing to volunteer, and SALCO has an overwhelming demand for its services and is badly in need of resources (in particular people to do case work). SALCO has also expressed a strong interest in getting assistance from law students at Osgoode. And we do have a shared history: two Osgoode alumni who worked at Parkdale founded the clinic. It would seem like a natural fit. All we would need to do is collect a bunch of names the OBITERdicta
of law students interested in helping out and forward them to the organization. The organization would tell us what to do and BAM! Effective community collaboration! Unfortunately, this has not been the case. To date, SALSA has been unsuccessful in building a lasting and mutually beneficial partnership with SALCO. Why? There are a number of reasons. They include: 1. Most small organizations like SALCO don’t have the resources or time to train and supervise the work of law students. Unlike Parkdale or CLASP, SALCO is not a teaching clinic. 2. There is no office space, computers, or library space for students to use at the clinic. 3. Most of the work needed for day-to-day community clinic work is not in the form of writing a memo on a discrete area of law. 4. The demand is so high for services that there is not a huge need to have law students ‘advertise’ in the outside community on behalf of the clinic. 5. Students are temporary -- the time invested in teaching a student means time lost to the organization, particularly because students leave the organization once they’re fully trained. These challenges are not unique to SALCO; they are common among small, effective specialty clinics and social justice organizations. So what can we do to build lasting partnerships with those that could use our help, but have
scarce resources? We are still in the collective brainstorming phase in answering this question. One potential way forward is to focus on research, community legal education, and law reform advocacy projects instead of particular case work files. In a meeting with Dean Sossin we have discussed utilizing Osgoode faculty who have experience and expertise in a given subject area to lend supervision support. This way a partnering organization or clinic can gain the benefit of law students without putting further strain on staff resources. This is only one suggestion. We are meeting with SALCO to find out more about what the organization needs and the role law students can play. If you’re interested in working with us on this initiative, we’d welcome your participation. Email us at: salsa.osgoode@gmail. com. We should add that this project is not only for South Asian law students and the South Asian community. There are a number of collaborations that are waiting to be imagined and worked on. Osgoode is one of the most diverse law schools in Canada with a vibrant club system all able to cater to organizations like the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, Legal Centre for Spanish speaking people, and African Canadian Legal Clinic. Additionally, these challenges also occur in collaboration attempts with non-culturally specific organizations, such as HALCO (HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario). We need to think of creative solutions and figure out how to use Osgoode’s resources to make effective collaboration happen.
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MOCK TRIAL: Itâ€™s Always Sunny in Osgoode Hall Photography By: HARJOT ATWAL
February 8 - 9, 2012 at Osgoode Hall monday - february 13 - 2012
THE LEGAL & LITERARY SOCIETY PRESENTS THE “OSGOODE HALL CLOTHING SALE V. 2.0” WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 THROUGH FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2012. FROM 10:30-2:30PM IN GOWLINGS HALL. FEATURING A LIMITED SUPPLY OF HOODIES, SWEATPANTS, GRAPHIC TEES, CARDIGANS AND GYM BAGS. CASH ONLY.
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Women’s Caucus On Sexual Assault It has been brought to the attention of the Women’s Caucus that this week happens to be Diversity Week. Great! When we think about diversity, we do not only think about difference, but about equity, equality, access to justice, rights and the importance of questioning the status quo. In fact, the Women’s Caucus is celebrating diversity week for these reasons. We see Diversity Week as a way of encouraging dialogue which challenges the status quo, and we are eager to participate in this conversation. We were hoping to take this moment to speak a bit about acknowledging the diversity of the student body in the context of criminal law class, in particular, when discussing sexual assault. Thinking about diversity matters in the context of teaching and learning about sexual assault because sexual assault by its very nature is a highly personal attack, both of physical integrity and emotional and intellectual well-being. To teach and learn about sexual assault as though it is experienced as the same kind of trauma to each individual is to ignore the very individuality of the person assaulted: race, age, gender identity, sexuality, physical and mental ability, and socioeconomic status all contribute to the way in which an individual experiences and deals with such a violation. This speaks to both the assault itself and to the aftermath of reporting (made potentially more difficult by heterosexist, racist, classist and ableist prejudices that exist within the policing and legal system)
and healing. We also thought that diversity week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the fact that our classrooms are full of people from very wide backgrounds who have had a wide variety of experiences, including experiencing sexual assault. According to the Ontario Women’s Directorate: • It is estimated that one in three Canadianwomen will experience sexual assault in adult life. • Fewer than one in ten victims report the crime to the police. • People may not report because they fear they will not be believed, feel ashamed, blame themselves, or fear public scrutiny. • The victim and accused are known to each other in 82% of sexual assault incidents - this can include friends, acquaintances and family members. • It is estimated that 15% of Canadian female university students experience sexual assault. • Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at increased risk of experiencing sexual assault. • Emotional symptoms may occur immediately after the assault, or may be delayed over weeks and months. • Conviction rates for sexual assault are lower than for other violent crimes
• Sexual offences are less likely than other types of violent crime to result in a finding of guilt. For these reasons, and many more, we should stop and think about how our comments might impact someone else coming from a different perspective. If our comments do result in offence, our immediate reaction shouldn’t be to take the defense, but to stop and think why our comments may have been offensive. This is important, not just in the context of sexual assault, but in every single class and event at Osgoode. This article is in fact not exclusively about sexual assault at all, but rather about the way in which we recognize the different identities that constitute Osgoode, the ways in which we show those identities respect, and the ways in which we can learn from one another. In the spirit of Diversity Week we would like to invite all students at Osgoode (yes, ALL of you) to join us in conversation. This year, the Women’s Caucus is hoping to put together some guidelines regarding talking about sexual assault in class and we would love to have a wide range of input. For that reason we will be sending out an open invitation to participate in dialogue along with us. What is working, what isn’t? Keep your calendars open in early March for an email from legal and lit about when this conversation might take place. If you can’t make it, or would like to respond to this article, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Osgoode’s Curriculum Reform (Part 1) NICK VAN DUYVENBODE Opinions Editor Over the next two weeks, I would like to split my article into two parts. This week I will directly address the current changes in Osgoode’s curriculum reform that are taking place, and next week my article will address where we have positioned ourselves at Osgoode amongst one of many law schools seeking reform and our relevance as a law school.
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On February 1, 2010, the Curriculum Reform Working Group (CRWG) released their recommendations outlining that a new curriculum will be applied to the entering class of 2012 that will affect the requirements for 2nd and 3rd year. Amongst other changes, including an overall drive to support further experiential learning, there are two major components of reform that are to occur: 1. the revision (addition) of a 2nd and 3rd year writing requirement; and 2. the establishment of a mandatory ‘praxicum’.
Upper Year Writing Requirements: Students will be required to write a 6,000 word paper in 2nd year (accounting for at least 50% of the seminar grade) and a 8,000 word paper in 3rd year (accounting for at least 60% of the seminar grade).1 There are plenty of seminars offered at Osgoode that will meet the two criteria; and therefore students should generally have sufficient opportunity to satisfy this requirement as they wish. If there is an impact resulting from this additional writing requirement, it will be upon those students who actively choose not to take seminars at Osgoode.
Upper Year Praxicum: The addition of a praxicum requirement will “...ensure that all students have at least one substantial opportunity to out theory to practice and practice to theory”.2 Two important questions remain though: 1. Who will administer this component of the JD program? And 2. What programs/courses/seminars will fall under this praxicum requirement? The Clinical Education Committee is comprised of Osgoode’s various clinical intensive program directors, with three student representatives and is currently chaired by Professor Farrow. There are currently 3 proposed routes to provide students with their praxicum experience: `“1. The modest expansion of the number of spaces, available in our pre-existing (i.e. the ILP, clinics and intensives); 2. Additional spaces in newly created but not yet operational (as of this 2010/2011 Session) clinical programs/intensives; and
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page 13 3. Designated particular existing 3-4 credit “Praxicum type” seminars/courses as Praxicums.”3 What follows now are my initial red flags that have yet to be resolved...... In the 2010-2011 academic year, there were 164 spots in Osgoode clinical programs. In the same year, without any mandatory praxicum requirements, there were 254 applications (a shortfall of 90 spots).4 If you factor in a mandatory requirement, without any added spaces for a class of 300+, there will be a shortfall of roughly 140 spaces (factoring in also when exchanges are taken and when students decide to take their praxicum course). Currently the proposed list of praxicum classes that would fall under category 3 include: Constitutional Litigation; Labour Arbitration, Legal Drafting, Theory and Practice of Mediation; Dispute Settlement, Trial Practice, Project Finance, Lawyer as a Negotiator, Case Studies in Small Business, Real Estate Transactions, International Taxation, Land Development and Real Estate Problems, Criminal Law II, Advocacy and Criminal Trial, and Tax Lawyering.5 For those that have taken some of these courses, one might questioned the degree to which their current form actually realistically embodies the ‘praxicum’ ethos that they are to be representative of. While talking to the Administration I was advised that there is intent to re-jig these courses to make them more praxicumesque; however there are no finalized details as to what this will look like. There is only a deadline of May 2012 for this decision to take place.6 If this decision does take place in the summer, there is also a question as to what degree students will be able to provide input and critique the new program before final decisions are made? Currently, students are left with the concern about whether these courses can be turned into truly representative praxicum experiences, or will
they be the cast-off courses for those that do not make it into a clinical intensive program? What unintended consequences could flow from a mandatory praxicum requirement? Could one effect be affecting who will actually be admitted into clinical intensives? Are we going to reshape admittance to allow students who are more concerned with gunning for a position in our clinical programs, rather than a dedication to servicing the legal community that each clinic is designed to represent? Are students, who would otherwise have realized their law school passion through a clinical intensive program, being forced to accept nonclinical praxicum course or alternative clinical experience to their preferred choice? Ultimately, with more students there will be a more competitive process for entering programs, and there will undoubtedly be consequences for students. Some may say that perhaps the clinical intensive programs are already competitive enough to get into! My last question links into the direction of next week’s article: to what degree are we instituting a praxicum that awkwardly attempts to reform our current curriculum from the fringes without addressing the need for substantive and encompassing curriculum reform? Footnotes 1 Osgoode Hall, Report on the Reform of the Upper Year JD Curriculum (Toronto: Curriculum Reform Working Group) at 32-33. 2
Ibid at 24.
Supra note 1 at 24.
Supra note 1 at 25.
Supra note 1 at 25-26.
Supra note 1 at 27.
For information contact:
Sally Woods Director, Professional Development 416 868 3468 firstname.lastname@example.org
333 Bay Street, Suite 2400 Bay Adelaide Centre, Box 20 Toronto, ON M5H 2T6 TORONTO
Last Wednesday I attended mock trial. As the only co-editor-in-chief not involved in some part of Mock Trial I figured that I would write up a review. This review is of the Wednesday night show, and not the Thursday night. My review is that Mock trial this year was un-freakingly, believably, well put together and funny. Having attended mock trial before in all of my years at Osgoode, I can clearly say that I found this year's to be the best. It was laughyour ass off funny, extremely well-coordinated, and highly original. It was not too long, but it had a lot of content, which bridged the gap between past issues with Mock Trial. Not that it was poor in previous years, but the producers, Dave Babin, Sukhpreet Sangha and Adam Weissman, really put on a magnificent show. One reason it was such a great show was the plethora of musical numbers. Of course musical numbers take a lot more coordination, planning, effects, than skits so hats off to all involved for putting on so many of those numbers which must have been very difficult.
Now, I know that you are saying, what is the purpose of this review if I cannot watch Mock Trial now? Well, first of all, a lot of the hilarious videos from Mock Trial will now be online on youtube. Second, you will be able to buy a Mock Trial DVD if you couldn't make it (or do not have an intact memory of the event for some reason...). You should do that since the money goes to charity and you can watch the show over and over!
The Toronto Student Experience
ANDREW MONKHOUSE Co-Editor-in-Chief
While all of the acts were greats I do want to pick out my favourite, which was 'Dracula Gets a Will'. I found the script hilarious with originality, subtlety, puns, inside jokes as well as irony built in throughout. Eric Marquis performed at his best. The best moment was certainly saved for near the end with this skit! That was my favourite skit, narrowly edging out a great rendition of “Res Judicata”. Disagree? Write in with your own favourite mock trial skit!
Make your mark.
Mock Trial Review
I give this year's edition of Mock Trial 5 out of 5 or socks totally blown off. I hope you went; if not make up for it by getting the DVD and going in all future years. Dave, Sukhpreet and Adam, you have given big shoes to fill for future producers of Mock Trial! Congratulations!
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Arts & Culture
Toronto: A Culture-Rich City For The Not-So-Rich PAMELA HINMAN Contributor My absolute favourite thing about this city is its wealth of culture. All year round, the city is booming with festivals, concerts, theatre productions, dance shows, poetry and literary presentations, photography and art exhibitions, and so much more. And the best part about all of this? Most of these events are accessible for next to nothing! Many city cultural events offered highly discounted rates for students and those 35 and under. But some of the best things in life are free. Below, I have highlighted some of this week’s most notable free arts and cultural events. (Note: all descriptions are reproduced from www.torontoartsonline.org). National Film Board of Canada Mediatheque For more info visit http://www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/ eng/mediatheque/ Feb. 15 at 4 PM FREE FAVOURITES AT FOUR: WOMEN AND MEN UNGLUED At the start of the new millennium, relations between men and women are in turmoil. Traditional marriage is challenged on all fronts. Long-held notions about gender, commitment and courtship have been cast aside. And ‘marriageable’ people are staying single in record numbers. Is this an historical blip or a fundamental change in society? Do men and women even need each other anymore? Women and Men Unglued dares to ask these questions. Katherine Gilday | NFB | 2003 | 71 min Feb. 21 at 7 PM CELEBRATING 60 YEARS OF THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA: CELIA FRANCA: TOUR DE FORCE A penetrating profile of the Founder of the National Ballet of Canada with some wonderful archival vintage film footage shot in the fifties during the early days of the National Ballet of Canada. Director, producer, writer and narrator Veronica Tennant will be present for a Q&A session following the screening. Veronica Tennant | Canada | 2003 | 44 min
Studio member Christopher Enns to celebrate love, life and music. With piano accompaniment from Carolyn Maule and COC Music Director Johannes Debus, this concert features Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer, Schumann’s Spanisches Liederspiel and Canadian composer John Greer’s All Around the Circle. Feb. 21, 2012 12-1pm Young Algerian pianist Mehdi Ghazi showcases the passion and poetry for which he is becoming known in a program of works by Schubert, Brahms and Chopin. 1955: A Group Show Presented by: Stephen Bulger Gallery A photography exhibit containing works by various makers, all photographed in 1955, displaying many different approaches to photography. Fascinated by the optimism of the 1950s, Stephen Bulger has long considered 1955 to be the epitome of this era, so often mythologized and made nostalgic in North American mass media. Ends: Feb 18, 2012 At: Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen Street West, Toronto Playing: Tuesday through Saturday Times: 11am - 6pm Social Media Week Toronto 2012 Be part of the world’s largest simultaneous multi-city conference, in Toronto. Feb.13-17. Social Media Week (SMW) is coming back to Toronto this Feb. 13 to 17th. This is the 3rd annual city-wide event and one of Canada’s largest FREE digital culture festivals. Spanning 13 global cities in 2012, SMW is the largest simultaneous multi-city conference in the world. It features interconnected activities and conversations on emerging trends in social and mobile media across all major industries. Curated, individually organized events are offered free of charge in different locations across the city. From arts and culture, to business communications, SMWTO has a little something for everyone living in this digital age.
In Toronto more than 60 events are being offered. Registration is now open. For more information, please visit http://socialmediaweek.org/toronto/ Flavio Trevisan: Museum of the Represented City, Presented by: Koffler Gallery Retrace paths and discover new ways to explore the city by examining planned and idiosyncratic urban development. Toronto artist Flavio Trevisan stages an immersive environment, an ephemeral “museum of the present”, that reflects on the current state of the city. The resulting installation conveys a fragmented yet revealing cartography of Toronto’s built history, inviting the visitors to explore different ways of engaging with the cityscape. Trevisan’s three-dimensional maps and playful objects expose the city as a collection of places successively shaped by and reshaping public ideals. For more info visit www. kofflerarts.org. Ends: Apr 8, 2012 At: 80 Spadina Ave., 80 Spadina Ave., Toronto Playing: Wednesday-Sunday Réal Calder - Of Fire and Water, Presented by: Thompson Landry Gallery Starts February 17- Ends Mar. 11, 2012 The overwhelming power of nature and the beauty of the untouched Québec wilderness is captured in Réal Calder’s new series “Of Fire and Water”. Calder reveals the relationship between artistic creation and the creative forces of Mother Nature that can be both productive and destructive. With a dynamic style which combines historical Canadian landscape painting and abstract expressionism, Real Calder’s talent is showcased in this breathtaking series. At: Thompson Landry Gallery, Stone Distill ery Space, The Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Bldg 5, #102, Toronto Playing: Tuesday-Sunday
Free Concert Series at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre These concerts are part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The series provides a unique opportunity to experience diverse artistic programming in what has become one of Toronto’s most exciting cultural hubs. Get there early because spots fill up fast! For more info visit www.coc.ca. Feb. 14, 2012 12-1pm Soprano Julie Mankerov and pianist Anne Larlee present a musical exploration of love in its many guises. Feb. 15, 2012 12-1pm Two of Canada’s master jazz pianists, Robi Botos and Hilario Durán, come together for the first time ever to present a magical hour of music-making on 176 keys. Feb. 16, 2012 12-1pm The cast of the COC’s Love from Afar, Russell Braun, Erin Wall and Krisztina Szabó join with Ensemble
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Use your smartphone’s camera and the free ScanLife app to scan the barcode. You can get the free ScanLife app at www.2dscan.com. ToronTo • new York • CaLgarY
Fake It Or Make It: Good Times with Weapons KYLE REES News Editor
propriate all things considered), and I found target shooting an interesting arena to attempt zen-like concentration (not that any Zen Master would approve of recreational discharge of firearms, of course).
RABJEET WALLIA Staff Writer As writers, we are told that the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’. While we both have faith in the truth of this statement, there’s no reason that we can’t have both, right? So in the spirit of this convergence of weapon and words, we took a trip down to the Target Sports Canada shooting range in Gromley to do some range shooting with a wide variety of weapons. This is a range only 30 minutes outside of the downtown core, where $40 gets you in the door, and another $60 gets you a full slate of shotguns, sniper rifles, and pistols for target shooting. You will need (for good reason, I think) two pieces of ID, and to sign a waiver longer and more indepth than Crocker’s dispute with Sundance Resorts. After that, you get a couple of hours worth of range time. Since we have different ideas of why lawyers should know how to shoot, we’ve broken the articles up into two sections. Kyle: I should first state that my political and social ideals tend towards stricter weapons control and I do not intend to glorify the use of such firearms in any capacity. That said, I really enjoyed looking at all of the shiny weapons that I had previously only experienced in video games (on picking up the .357 Magnum I had flashbacks to GoldenEye N64—probably inap-
There are a few legitimate reasons why prospective lawyers should know their way around a pistol. While it is unlikely that senior partners at your law firm will invite you out for a few rounds of clay pigeon shooting (unless your firm represents Suncor, that is), a certain level of familiarity with weapons can come in handy. I will outline these situations here, and then provide a brief guide of what you can expect if you go to a shooting range for the first time and have never fired a gun before (as was the case for me). Lawyers often represent clients accused of crimes. Sometimes, these crimes are committed with the assistance of a weapon. Occasionally, these weapons are firearms. It is difficult to defend (or prosecute, as the case may be) an individual in a case involving a weapon if you haven’t used one yourself. Think about the advantage you would gain if you can understand what a police officer is talking about when she references the recoil of her pistol when she fired upon a suspect, or the defendant who claims his gun discharged accidentally when he dropped it. Not that I’m an expert in criminal advocacy, but I think that an ability to immerse oneself in the minutia of a case can be an extremely effective way of ensuring that no detail escapes the notice of the court.
Second, lawyers are often involved in the sphere of politics, or at least in the zone of public policy creation. I’ve always been a proponent of ‘gun control’, though I never really knew the details of what I was asking the government to regulate. Going to this shooting gallery enlivened me to exactly what kinds of lethal weapons are in circulation among Canadian citizens. Being able to shred a paper target from 25 metres, or spot the silhouette of a human head down the scope of a sniper rifle really brought it home to me the fact that people possess these weapons in towns all across Canada, and we are putting a huge amount of trust in our fellow citizens not to use them incorrectly. I think it’s a testament to the decency of most people that we have has as few shooting deaths as we do. Though this is my personal view, I’m sure anyone can appreciate that it’s important to understand the full scope of an activity before forming opinions on its regulation. So if I’ve convinced you that as law students and future leaders that it’s worthwhile to get a grounding in munitions and firearms, there’s a couple of things you should know before you go to a shooting range for the first time. First, picking up a weapon can be quite intimidating. While we see fictional heroes brandishing their weapons with reckless abandon, there’s a certain gravity that you will feel in picking up a weapon that can be difficult to get over. The staff at any shooting range are legally required to give you a brief training session to make sure Continued to next page.
“The whole reason why I want to be a lawyer is I because I think some of the laws are screwed up.” Wendy Babcock was a true inspiration to all those who knew her. Her tragic passing last August weighs heavily on all of us; both for the loss of a friend and colleague and for the loss of a passionate advocate who could have made the world a better place. Anyone fortunate enough to have met Wendy walked away a better person for it. Because of Wendy, a generation of lawyers will leave law school as more sympathetic, and simply put, better lawyers, with a greater awareness and concern for those in need. It is in that spirit that the Obiter Dicta is proud to announce a contest in Wendy’s honour. In this way, it is our hope that we can continue Wendy’s work.
• To enter submit a short article (under 600 words) about a social justice issue to the Obiter Dicta
• Dinner for two at O.NOIR (www.onoir.com) valued at $120. “But O.NOIR does more than just fire the imagination and stimulate the senses. After an hour or two in complete darkness (that’s right, no flashlights, matches, cell phones, cigarette lighters or luminous watches), customers gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be blind - just like the restaurant’s entire wait staff.”
• Articles will be judged based on style and content • Articles are due by 4pm on Monday, February 17 (deadline has been extended) • The winner will be announced on Monday February 27th • Top articles will be published in the Obiter Dicta the OBITERdicta
• a $250 donation to the Wendy Babcock Fund in the winner’s name.
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page 16 Continued from previous page. you are safe. Also, I recommend not starting off your shooting session with a Reuger .38 special, which as the instructor told me in a thick Eastern European accent: “Has much stopping power. Interesting choice for first shoot”. To me, it felt like shooting a cannon, and was difficult to get used to. Finally, don’t be intimidated by the gun experts that will invariably be crowding the range. The staff are used to the inexperienced coming down for bachelor parties and the like, so they understand the learning curve. But there are more important reasons for knowing how to handle a firearm, as RJ will detail. RJ: There is another concern we had as well. You see, we have long been worried about a problem that may arise in our lifetimes. For years, we have been warned to be vigilant and be prepared for this terrifying and yet inevitable day in which we would have to be prepared to do what is necessary to survive. We speak, of course, about the zombie apocalypse. We decided, therefore, that as a group we should sample a variety of different firearms to not only determine their utility but also to determine what role we would play if we were to ever create a fighting force against the hordes of brain eating monsters. We decided to do 2 types of pistols: a shotgun and a sniper rifle. It should be noted that I have been shooting since I was a young, both with my father and with the Air Cadets. As such, being at a range was not that unfamiliar to me. I must still say, however, that being at a range which is also a gun store is still an interesting experience for me. The culture that exists in a place like that is designed to both encourage people to attend while also catering to a specific type of clientele. For example, you have nice open space and windows and glass to view things, while the staff wears black polos, dark pants and baseball caps.
determine. Andrew was a different story. Andrew “Pistolero” Monkhouse was a dead shot with the 9mm Sig Sauer and the .357 Magnum. We knew then that we had the right guy to defend us in the zombie apocalypse. At this point, we figured we would be foraging for food while Andrew played hero. What kind of dystopian future has a man with an unusual penchant for pocket squares as it’s savior. We then mercifully watched Andrew be not as accurate with a shot gun but, let’s face it, you don’t need to be accurate with a shotgun. It is as close to the point and shoot of duck hunter as is possible in real life. Except unlike in duck hunter, the dog is probably a zombie too (thanks for that I am Legend!) The three of us then moved on to the sniper rifle. It was Winchester .223 rifle with a magnifying scope, composite stock and a blued/black barrel. The target they gave us, we felt, was not necessarily useful to a zombie apocalypse, but, hey, it is a gun place. So, the targets were five groupings of a hostage taker and a hostage. The idea was to shoot the hostage taker and leave the hostage unscathed. We are lucky we are not part of the Toronto Police Force. So is the rest of the city. In a twist of irony, Andrew was the worst, having shot 2 hostages, determining therefore that he would not be the one on the roof top clearing the path for the ground forces against
the zombies. Kyle was then second worst, having only shot one hostage, admittedly not much better. Curiously, both Andrew and Kyle managed to hit the same hostage, in the same place, on different target sheets. I decided to redeem myself, though while I also did shoot a hostage, I managed to take down 3 hostage takers, therefore placing me with the sniper rifle duty on the rooftop. With all this, we have determined a few things that will help us in the future. First, we all have our roles to play during the End of Days, Zombie edition. Second, we all need practice in all of the weapons, with the exception of Mr. Monkhouse. Third, while this is actually very unlikely to every occur, I think that this trip was an eye opener for a lot of people into different aspects about guns. As I said before, I’ve been shooting a lot in my life and I am not as concerned by the amount of guns that are out there in Canada. Statistics have shown that gun use is on the decline. I also believe that there is no problem in collecting information on who has what guns and how many. That’s just being responsible. Gun owners are asking for a large privilege in owning firearms and as such, have a responsibility to use them correctly and wisely. What I do hope however, is that some people may decide that they should just go out and see what they are talking about. They might be surprised that when approached safely and professionally, gun use can be less harmful than they may have appreciated at first. Also, zombies are scary.
Armed as we were (with the staff member carrying everything, required by law, no doubt) we went onto the range, ready to show our prowess with the weaponry, honed with years of practice on the range (for some) and in a firstperson-shooter video game (for us all). We began with the pistol shooting, as we figured we should get that down pat as it would be our last line of defense from the horde. It also coincidentally was the one the staff set up first. The two of us soon realized that we would not be the persons using the pistols - not without a ton of more practice. I was woefully inaccurate with the pistol, unlike in my youth, leading me to determine how much it would cost for me to practice enough to get back to where I was. Kyle on the other hand, while being his first time shooting, as it was also Andrew’s first time, had a habit of always shooting low to the groin area of the target. We’ll leave that to Dr. Freud to monday - february 13 - 2012
What Ails You, Osgoode? Save Yourself with Fluids and Citrus... TRACEY HARDIE Staff Writer Winter means dry. Static ridden handshakes, crazier than normal hair and a skin tightness akin to Botox (or so I’ve heard). One method of combating “dry” is to go with the 8 glasses of water a day, and at Osgoode, that requires a certain amount of attention paid to the Brita filling stations, which I’ve finally mastered. The Brita station located near the first floor washrooms is painfully slow and arbitrarily gives up on filling after a certain amount of time. (Likely because the filter is clogged to the gills and the “red light” is a falsehood, or it’s silently protesting being so close to a washroom.) The 2nd floor station near the cube has a much faster fill rate but lacks the “chilled” essence of its downstairs cousin, which ranks it no higher. For the adventurous, there are in fact two filling stations in the library, and the wristband policy is no longer in effect making access easier. (Even for SNAILS.) So why do I label these stations for the adventurous? First, the main floor filling station has been sadly used to wash out coffee cups and is mottled with brown goo. Now I’ve never been really great with math, but traces of dairy + moist environment = recipe for some new plague bound to ail an Osgoode student or two. (Or SNAIL!) For the REALLY adven-
turous, I suggest the downstairs library filling station – conveniently located in front of the men’s room door. I’m not slamming men and their hygiene (at least in an overt way). No, what is frightening about this particular station is the physics involved in men exiting the washroom and taking out an unsuspecting water bottle filler in the process. If I had any free time, I might sit and watch for awhile for the pure entertainment value (but like all law students, I don’t have any free time). If the risk and inconsistency of the filling stations aren’t your thing, there is always Canadian 67 Lime, which at 3.0% alcohol is pretty close to water. (LCBO 251033). Since hydrating before and after class is essential, especially in dry and cruel winter, this may be an efficient and less risky way of achieving the daily 8 glasses. The lime infused beverages are also useful in warding off illness; particularly for those living on a strict diet of KD and Ramen. Yes, friends, “the scurvy”. Scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet and can lead to all sorts of party tricks such as malaise and lethargy, spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Since no one wants to see that at the Dean’s Formal, I suggest keeping up on your vitamin C. There are lots of ways to achieve the recommended 500mg per day: broccoli is high in vitamin C, as are Brussels sprouts and apparently organ meat. But, if a liver, broccoli, Brussels sprout stew isn’t your thing, try
some of these new recipes as a fine pairing for your KD and Ramen noodles. The Seabreeze: - 2 parts Grey Goose Vodka (LCBO 95935) - 3 parts Cranberry juice (15% RDI) - 3 parts Grapefruit juice (45% RDI) - 1 Lime wedge (2% RDI) - 1 part Ice cubes Just one cocktail gives you 62% of your vitamin C intake. Image the health benefits of having five! The Whiskey Sour: - 1 fluid ounce simple syrup - 2 fluid ounces fresh lemon juice (66% RDI) - 5 fluid ounces Forty Creek Barrel Select Whisky (LCBO 550715) - 3 maraschino cherries for garnish - Ice cubes Apparently this recipe makes 3 servings but I believe by removing two of the three cherries it becomes a healthy single serving high in vitamin C. Given the lack of portability of Seabreezes and Whiskey Sours, one could also supplement a noodle based diet with a simple can of V-8, which offers 100% of your recommended daily dose. Send what ails you Osgoode to traceyhardie@ osgoode.yorku.ca
The Happiness Project: Happiness of the Heart CASS DA RE Staff Writer Humans are relational beings and I posit that law students are humans. Therefore it should come at no surprise that we need personal relationships, not only for functional reasons of cooperative existence tied through a Hobbesian social contract, but also for the emotional and psychological support that can only be expressed through valuable interactive associations. Although this value may seem incommensurable, never underestimate the importance of your support system. Similarly, never underappreciate the people or person that constitutes that system, as they do more for your happiness than you know. Studies continually express the positive benefits of having strong personal relationships such as stress reduction, better health, longer lifespan, higher life satisfaction and improved work productivity. Moreover, people who are BLS (before law school) can give you a sense of reality, sense of home and sense of self outside of this fine institution. This is your first Happiness Challenge of the week: take stock and recognize who the important person in your life is, and realize how undoubtedly you have neglected this relationship at the extent of a midterm or memorandum. German sociologist, Max Weber’s famous definition of social relationship requires that the behaviour of each party, in a meaningful way, take into account and be oriented to the interests or actions of the other party. BLS friends or partners have inevitably scheduled their time around your schedule, made accommodations, and oriented their behaviour to your law laden life. Have you done the same? Have you oriented your behaviour to your other party in a meaningful way? I hear the rebuttals, as I type: I don’t have time
to engage substantially in extracurricular activities such as personal relationships - colloquially recognized as the “I’m too busy” argument. Indulge me in feeding into the stereotypes, but law school students are committed, dedicated and loyal when it comes to school. They are focused, driven and tireless when it comes to studying. These are all fantastic characteristics of a stellar scholar. Unfortunately, these traits do not translate into a fantastic personal relationship. If you haven’t heard (and if you are in a relationship, you have), dating a law student is not easy. In fact, it may seem almost impossible with our overwrought schedules and horse-with-blinders-on visions of academic achievement. On the other proverbial hand, it is easy to get sucked into the matrix of making summaries and in doing so, simultaneously ignore or neglect the so-called “most important people of our lives.” Inevitably, relationships become strained, as they require time and you alas, have none. But what is a law student to do? Must you be a lone wolf of the library, alone and learned, filled with an aching void for human love and affection? The answer is no. Your happiness is important and maintaining a personal relationship through this taxing time is equally so. Most fortuitously, maintaining a healthy relationship is actually much easier than most classes. As your Happiness Guru, I bestow upon you ways to find happiness of the heart through maintaining and fortifying personal relationships. 1) Date Night: Allocate one night every 7-10 days to spend a block of uninterrupted time with your significant other. N.B. This time cannot be used to “study together.” In your search for daily and eternal happiness, I may ask of you, Osgoode student, to do terribly difficult things, but you of course heed my advice in
the hopes of better days and a more enjoyable existence. Making an express effort to carve out a significant portion of time for your significant other is the most decisive way to regain happiness of heart. I can appreciate the difficulty of this challenge, but in turn you will appreciate its benefit. Put it in your calendar. Prioritizing people over paper is paramount. 2) Constant Communication: Be in touch, technologically speaking. If Date Night seems like an unachievable goal because your schedule is set in stone by the original Masons themselves, then you may benefit from micromanaging your relationship. Through the various social mediums and technologies of today, there is absolutely no reason to not stay in touch. Sending an email, text, message, tweet, status update, poke, ping or carrier pigeon takes seconds. You can afford seconds. Studies show that continual contact and the sharing of details is the principal way of evoking feelings of intimacy. 3) OO (Outside Osgoode): Step away from your studies and step into the rest of the real world. In the moments of face-to-face (or face-to-phone) contact, refrain from speaking only of Osgooderelated matters. The intricacies of interpretive tools of techniques employed to understand the question of the division of powers is not as interesting as you think. Likewise, a joke about Lord Denning is not that funny to anyone OO. Make a conscious effort to engage in subject matters that cannot be found in the 1867 Act. 4) Be Nice: They deserve a little extra nice treatment, don’t you think? Late nights studying leads to a lack of sleep. Lack of sleep makes people cranky. This is a simple causal connection. Nonetheless, be nice to your significant
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page 18 Continued from previous page. other. It is not his/her fault that you have 150 pages of readings for tomorrow or are scheduled for back-to-back seminars. Positive, affirmative behaviour and speech will effectively allow others to perceive you as more confident and competent. In addition, it’s just good manners to say please and thank you. 6) Hug for six seconds (H46). If you can commit to nothing else, just hug. Hugging for six seconds induces the release of endorphins and tells your brain that you are bonding. Remember, H46. But don’t count aloud - it totally ruins the sentiment.
Valentine’s Day is Actually a Good Thing RJ WALLIA Staff Writer February 14th is fast approaching. For some, this is a wonderful event in which you involve yourself in an activity where you get to find out precisely how much your significant other cares about you and/or knows how to read a calendar so they can actually plan things. For others, it is a not-so-gentle reminder that romantic comedies are terrible and that you can, in fact, eat an entire tub of ice cream. Okay, I’m sorry. I’m a bit cynical here. I don’t actually hate Valentine’s Day (which I will avoid abbreviating as VD), partly because it always follows my birthday but mainly because I think that Valentine’s Day is an unrealized opportunity. You see, people consistently tell me how much they don’t like the consumerism that Valentine’s Day represents. It seems that an entire industry has developed around relationships and that starts juicing the minute February rolls around. Going into their steroid rage you have florists, restaurants, spas, gift shops, jewelry stores and a whole slew of different merchants ready with discounts and advertising in order to pry you away from your money in order to please someone else. Being the free market enthusiast that I am, I see nothing wrong with this. I just think that people who are lamenting this are not realizing who actually has the power here. It is easy to get swept up into thinking that everyone is just coordinating against you, but the power lies with the individual on how to make this day work in their favour and to ensure that everyone enjoys themselves. There is a way to navigate the commercial-ness of Valentine’s Day so that it doesn’t become the tacky event it is for others. For instance ... monday - february 13 - 2012
You don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant! Find something local that’s known for good food and has a nice quiet corner or make a meal at home for the other person. Taking the time to think about what they like and preparing it makes it more special than simply buying them a lobster dinner or truffle risotto. You don’t need to buy an expensive fancy gift! Sometimes, finding something that you can do together is more important than giving someone a gift certificate to get away from you and get some alone time. You don’t need to do so many things. Quality over quantity. It’s not about what you give all the time. It’s about what’s behind the gift and how it’s given. Tie it back to the relationship and you won’t have to be buying a diamond necklace. Some people may point out that I haven’t really addressed the initial concern. Moreover, some people find that this is more effort than simply spending the cash and keeping your partner happy. Why on Earth would you go through all this? There is a simple answer: the biggest complaint about every relationship is boredom. There is no spark or life in relationships as they go along. People get comfortable with each other and often simply neglect aspects of their relationship and this becomes the status quo. I’m not saying that this puts one party over another but, as it often happens, the work that both parties put in, as it becomes consistent, is ignored. This is simply a fact of life. But this is an opportunity for someone to invigorate their relationship back to where the qualitative facets are highlighted again. The efforts that are done reap rewards that they
wouldn’t normally do at any point in the year. While some point out that this just means that Valentine’s Day is just a set date where we get to validate things again and neglect them for the other days of the year, this is also the time when these actions are more noticeable. While it may seem like a convenient cop out for this to occur, everything begins from somewhere. As such, realizing that you don’t have to necessarily bombard everyone with tokens of affection is one of the best things you can learn. Rather, the more simple and far more rewarding tactic is to actually bombard them with affection! It’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. I’ve done it and so do many others. Cynicism has it’s place in certain things but it’s also harmful. It can blinds us to benefits that come from simply experiencing things. You can always find a reason why things are contrived and baseless. The whole point of Valentine’s Day is that it’s an opportunity to remind you and another person that you actually care about them. That despite all the exams, work, and other pressures that are inflicted upon us, there are some things that not only help us get through that, but are the reason we often go through that struggle in the first place. For those of us, myself included, who don’t necessarily have someone to share this with, it’s always important to remember that this isn’t a typical situation. Sooner or later you’re going to be in a place where you will need to worry about these things. If there is one thing that will assist in that, it is remembering that there is more to keeping a relationship going than simply being present and showering your partner with gifts when necessary. It’s about being attentive and making the other person feel important to you. And no, you don’t need to leave this to simply one day out of the year. Try to make a habit out of it. I promise you’ll be happier. the OBITERdicta
Legal & Literary Society “I’m For Truth, No Matter Who Tells It. I’m For Justice, No Matter Who It’s For Or Against.” - Malcolm X
One of the things most inspiring to me about Malcolm X, or as he preferred to be called towards the end of his life El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was his ability to change and alter his viewpoints in a progressive way. Malcolm started out his life wanting to be a lawyer at a young age. Thwarted by circumstances, life, and the racist notion that he could never be a lawyer, Malcolm reached his 25th birthday and was immersed in a life of crime. After a spiritual awakening behind bars (not a reason to support Bill C-10), he became radical in his black nationalism; I’d say rightfully so. However, just before he died, and I reckon the reason “they” killed him, he realized that to overcome inequality in America, we all had to work together. He was tolerable in the eyes of authorities when he called Dr. King all sorts of names. Yet, the moment they shook hands and Malcolm expanded his ideology to one more inclusive of a majority of Americans, a stance with real power for change, he was dead. The idea of learning and changing ones views is an incredibly difficult and liberating journey. Personally, where I am at today is a product of learning from others and throwing off the shackles of ignorance and prejudice that are so easily ingrained in us all. I see diversity, equality and social justice as paramount to our human development and societal progress. Often we are faced with uncomfortable situations, the righteous anger of those oppressed and views that challenge the fabric of our so-called being.
that early lesson in knowing what I said was wrong that gave me a framework to grow within. I recall many occasions where my mom would always say, “stop being a chauvinist”. I remember reading about the oppression of First Nations people as early as grade 7 and having to reconcile that with my devout Canadian nationalism. During my secondary and post-secondary education, I was forced to challenge the romantic vision of my British heritage. I never felt that I had to recoil from embracing my own cultural backdrop, but I did force myself to recognize its imperfections as manifested in the depths of oppression reached by the colonial enterprise. Truly, I am thankful for my first exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust by the book “Daniel” in middle school and for the outrage that leapt off the pages at such a young age. It made it easy for me to comprehend the impacts of the Atlantic Slave Trade and the 20th century reverberations of that (see FBI COINTERPOL policy of preventing the rise of a “Black Messiah”). While I am grateful and fortunate to have had a background and education that has allowed me to recognize various of forms of oppression and the reality of non-pearly white history, it has not always been a fanciful classroom awakening. Many times, like in that car ride with my
Happy Black History Month.
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Had Malcolm done that he would have never inspired a movement. If you do, what are you missing out on? From my perspective, and I suppose not listening to that may be quite apt, we should always accept challenges to our ideas. When we feel uncomfortable or angry that others are saying we are wrong, we should embrace the criticism because they may be onto something we have yet to contemplate. There are a diversity of views out there and a diversity of people. I’ll agree to accept that if you will.
LEARN TO LEAD
Personally, I came face to face with one of those uncomfortable situations at a tender age. There are memories from our childhood that stand out but we can’t place them in time. Maybe they are the beginnings of our cognitive abilities that stick in our mind. I recall grade three and four very well, but before that, not much. (And no I haven’t obliterated memories with Patron that you can get for $6 in the JCR). One such experience haunts me to this day. I was in the car with my parents and a cousin or two. I remember this watershed moment clearly. I made a racist “joke” and everyone went silent. I paused and repeated it, not understanding why my primary school comedic genius had fallen on deaf ears. This time, I was met with such outrage from my mother and father that I learnt my first lesson in respect for people that appeared different than myself. Was I saved at that moment? No, but it was
parents, I was berated. I will admit that Women’s Caucus and I butted heads last year, and this year surely I have belligerently gone about my way not listening to others. I have been uncomfortably forced to give up beliefs I mistakenly clung to and that can be embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to be wrong. But you know what, never admitting that, never even considering the perspectives of others is far more detrimental. A diversity of views means that you and others have different ideas. It affords you the opportunity to take your deepest held beliefs, or those you tacitly hold onto for political or other purposes and lock them in a box never to be challenged or agitated.
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Villians on the Pitch MICHAEL SZUBELAK Staff Writer Soccer is commonly referred to as the “beautiful game.” At its peak, it is a spectacle of thrilling showmanship and sportsmanship. Soccer can unite towns, cities and nations in moments of glory, and console them in more humbling times. Soccer has brought pause to war and relief to inclement weather. It is a sport that is adored around the world, across a vast range of differences and circumstances. Yet the beauty that the game encompasses is but one end of the spectrum. The other end—the ugly one—is laid bare every so often; most recently in Egypt where an estimated 79 spectators were killed and another 1,000 injured in a soccer riot during a game between rivals, AlAhly and Al-Masry. On February 4, 2012, fans rushed onto the soccer field in Port Said after AlMasry defeated Al-Ahly 3-1. Players were attacked and a brawl broke out between fans of the opposing teams, sparking a two-day clash between rioters and police. While the violence can be attributed to civilian protests and a general state of unrest following the Egyptian revolution that ousted despot Mubarak, the stage on which the events took place was a soccer field. This fact holds some significance. In this recent case, an unprovoked fight started by soccer hooligans morphed into a violent social and political protest—an ongoing occurrence in today's
Egypt. In most cases, hooliganism is less philosophical and more senseless. Notions of pride and honour undergo a perverted game of reasoning to "justify" destructive behaviour like fighting and vandalism. In England, where the practice has withstood the test of time, hooligans form "firms", in support and violent defence, of their home teams. The history of hooliganism is full of tragedy and absurdity, and is an affliction that continues to draw on the perceptions and vulnerabilities of disenchanted youth (as well as the boredom and banality of mindless idiots) in England and across Europe. Soccer's ugly side has, from time to time, been personified by some of its better known players. John Terry, former captain of the English national team and defender for Chelsea FC, is perhaps the embodiment of the prototypical soccer villain. Terry is an alleged womanizer and cheater (he reportedly carried on an affair with his best friend's girlfriend while married with two kids), barroom brawler (he was charged with assaulting a nightclub bouncer) and is currently awaiting trial for a racist comment he uttered to Anton Ferdinand during a league match against Queens Park Rangers back in November. Terry, of course, denies the comments were racist, which might have held some weight if it weren’t for his running list of past transgressions. In addition to being found criminally charged for a racially aggravated offence, the English Football Association (FA), England's soccer governing body, has stripped Terry of the captain's armband, which he was to wear at this summer's European Championship hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine. Despite all this, Terry and others like him still seem to find sympathizers in and around the league. For example, England's coach, Fabio Capello, was
recently seen on Italian television disapproving of the FA's decision to remove Terry as England's captain. In a similar case, Uruguayan international and Liverpool player Luis Suarez repeatedly used a racial slur to refer to Patrice Evra during a match against Manchester United last October. The FA handed Suarez a £40,000 (GBP) fine and an eight game suspension. The team's response? Liverpool FC had the rest of the team wear shirts in support of Suarez during pre-match training. Racism in soccer continues to persist across Europe. FIFA, soccer's international governing body, has made efforts to address the issue through a "Say No To Racism" campaign founded in 2002. While there is some truth to the idea that a small minority can make the rest look bad, players have a responsibility to their fans, especially the young and impressionable ones, to be role models and take the initiative to weed this type of abusive behaviour out of the game. The business of soccer has become so big that players like Terry and Suarez, who make thousands of dollars per match, have forgotten that ultimately the value of their personal stock rises and falls with the amount of t-shirts they can sell. By alienating sub-sections of their team's fan base, they hurt themselves, their teammates and the reputation of the game. Soccer's claim to being the beautiful game has suffered as a result of the ugliness of certain fans, players and management. However, these plights are reflective of those felt in other sports and are part of greater issues facing a modern society. The beauty of soccer—and that of any other activity that unites the masses—may yet be found in its ability to be a forum for healing and incremental positive change.
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monday - february 13 - 2012
Published on Feb 14, 2012
Obiter Dicta is the student-run newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School. We publish news, opinions and upcoming events of interest to all membe...