February 27, 2012
* Photograph courtesy of Lucas Oleniuk-Toronto Star
ILP Advocacy Week 2012: Forced Migration ILP Advocacy Articles
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“The definitive source for Osgoode news”
Guest Editorial: ILP Welcome to ILP’s Forced Migration Week!
Osgoode Hall Law School, 0014G York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Tel. 416.736.2100 x77527 Fax. 416.736.5736 E-mail. ObiterDicta@osgoode.yorku.ca Website. www.obiter-dicta.ca “When I was young, my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.’ I thought about these words during my journey, and they kept me moving even when I didn’t know where I was going. Those words became the vehicle that drove my spirit forward and made it stay alive.” - Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone 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, Tracey Hardie, Cass Da Re, Travis Weagant Contributors: Kathryn Fox, Jacquie Kiggundu, Rebecca Lockwood, Sara Hanson, Joseph Carpio, Samantha Foster, Dean Sossin, Ryan Heighton, Spencer Bailey, Tiffany Landau, Andrew Emery
Each year ILP hosts a week of events on a topic of international concern, and this year we are focusing on Forced Migration. We have taken over this issue of the Obiter, and we are hosting a wide variety of exciting events throughout the week. So check it out, maybe learn a couple of nifty nuggets of knowledge, and perhaps think for a moment about what it means to be forced to leave one’s home behind in search of a safer life. Why should we care? Why focus on this topic now? Well, there are three big reasons: Just about all of us know what it is to flee – or know someone who does. We all have a reason to care about the treatment of those who flee. Whether it is through personal experience, or due to the experience of a relative or friend, most of us know someone who has needed protection that their home country could not provide. To that end, please join us in sharing our reasons to care! On Monday morning (Feb. 27), with co-hosts the Latin American Law Society, we will be taking photos and enjoying a Latin American breakfast in Gowlings Hall. Please also join us for a special musical performance by Mahlikah Aweri, a drum talk poetic rapologist of African-Canadian/Mohawk & Mi'kmaw heritage and with Nova Scotian roots, on Thursday (March 1) at 4:30 in the JCR! Mass displacement is everywhere these days.
Website Editor: Nancy Situ, Cassie Burt-Gerrans
The term forced migration includes more than just those who fit the definition of a refugee in the Refugee Convention. It includes those who flee due to war, hunger, corruption, tyranny and many forms of persecution. Most do not make it further than across the border into a neighbouring country, or live in internal displacement camps within their home country.
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.
According to the UN, 80 per cent of the world’s 43.7 million displaced persons live in developing countries. For example, due to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, Pakistan currently hosts the largest number of refugees (1.9 million!) of any country in the world. That is 710 refugees for every dollar of their per capita GDP.
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.
Until last year, Libya had hosted thousands of refugees from throughout Africa. Due to the civil conflict between Col. Ghadaffi and opposition forces, these people were once again displaced, fleeing across the Mediterranean to what became an increasingly frosty reception along the coast of Greece.
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Likewise, in Somalia the combination of drought and ongoing civil conflict between the
Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Harjot Atwal, Nancy Situ Photography: Harjot Atwal
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official government and Al Shabaab forces has resulted in thousands of Somali people moving into Kenya and surrounding countries in order to survive. Refugee camps such as the Dadaab camp in Kenya are full beyond capacity, and the host countries are also struggling to feed their own populations affected by the drought. For more on refugee experiences around the world, check out our photography exhibit on refugee camp life in various regions, playing on screens in Gowlings Hall all week. Please also join us for a screening of Seoul Train, a documentary film about forced migrants from North Korea. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 12:30-2:30. Pizza and popcorn will be provided! How we treat refugees in Canada is changing. Through three new and pending pieces of legislation, the way we decide whether to grant a refugee claimant protection in Canada is changing dramatically. The process will be very fast, and the Minister of Immigration will be permitted to single out groups of claimants for less-favourable treatment based on their country of origin or method of arrival in Canada. The three Acts/Bills to follow are: • Bill C-11: Balanced Refugee Reform Act Passed by all parties under the previous minority government, this bill received royal assent in 2010 and is scheduled to come into force on June 29 of this year. • Bill C-4: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act. This bill re-introduces Bill C-49, which died on the books after it was rejected by all opposition parties under the previous government. • Bill C-31: Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. This bill resurrects many provisions that were cut from Bill C-11 in order to get opposition support under the previous government. For more information about Canadian refugee law, check out the various articles in this issue of the Obiter and attend our panel discussion on Wednesday (Feb. 31) at 12:30. The panel includes Barbara Jackman and Lorne Waldman, two of Canada’s top refugee lawyers, Sharryn Aiken, a professor from Queens Faculty of Law who specializes in migration law and border security, and Jennifer Hyndman, a social science and geography professor at York specializing in conflict, humanitarian emergencies and related human displacement. We look forward to seeing you throughout the week! Noelle Dykeman Deputy Director of ILP
ILP Advocacy Week: Forced Migration Events Schedule
Each year, ILP engages the Osgoode community in a focused topic of international concern. This year, in the week of February 27 - March 3rd, ILP will be hosting art shows, coffee houses, speaker series, and more on the topic of forced migration. We can't wait to share it with you! The events kick off: Monday, February 27th (8:30-12:30 Gowlings Hall): "This is Why I Care" • Co-hosted by the Latin American Law Society: join us for some Latin American breakfast in Gowlings Hall and take a photo to show us why you care about forced migration! Monday, February 27th (12:30-2:30 room 1003): International Humanitarian Law Workshop • The Red Cross will be holding an exciting workshop on international humanitarian law. Learn about the laws that affect millions of refugees around the world – and earn a certificate at the end! A yummy lunch will be provided. Tuesday, February 28th (12:30-2:30 room 1008): Seoul Train, A Film Screening • Grab some pizza and popcorn for the screening of “Seoul Train”, a documentary on forced migration in North Korea. Wednesday, February 29th (12:30-2:30 room 1003): Speaker Series • Join us for lunch and a panel discussion with top lawyers and academics in the field of immigration and refugee law. Our panelists include: - LORNE WALDMAN, - BARBARA JACKMAN, - JENNIFER HYNDMAN, and - SHARRYN AIKEN Thursday, March 1st (4:30 JCR): Coffee House • Join us for light refreshments and hear some wonderful artists perform including Mahlikah Aweri, a drum talk poetic rapologist of AfricanCanadian/Mohawk & Mi'kmaw heritage, with Nova Scotian roots. All Week: Art Exhibit on Forced Migration (Gowlings Hall) • Award-winning artwork depicting forced migration issues will be displayed on Osgoode TVs throughout Gowlings Hall. Take a minute to look at some eye-opening depictions of refugees around the world.
Speaker Biographies Jennifer Hyndman
Jennifer Hyndman is Professor in the Departments of Social Science and Geography, and is Associate Director, Research in the Centre for Refugee Studies at York. Hyndman’s research traverses political, economic, cultural and feminist dimensions of migration, focusing on people's mobility, displacement, and security. Her scholarship is particularly concerned with the dynamics of conflict and disaster that create refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as international humanitarian responses to such crises. Recent work examines the intersection of conflict with the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, as well as the geopolitics of international aid in these locations. Her work also includes geographies of refugee settlement, exclusion, containment, and the production of 'securitized' space both in the Global South and in North America.
Barbara Jackman, B.A. Hons. (Windsor) 1972; LL.B. (Toronto) 1976 is in private practice. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 1978. Since that time, the primary focus of her practice has been immigration and refugee law and related constitutional litigation. Barbara has been a sessional lecturer at several Ontario law schools (Queen's University 1988-1990; 1991-2001, 2005-2006; Osgoode Hall, York University 1988-1989; University of Toronto 1994- 1998, 2006-2007). She has been very active in contributing to continuing education programs for the Canadian Bar Association, Law Society of Upper Canada,
and at academic and community conferences on topics such as immigration law and practice, Federal Court practice, national security issues, domestic and international human rights, and practice before International Human Rights Tribunals. During her career, Barbara has argued on behalf of parties or interveners in a number of the leading Charter of Rights cases concerning immigration and refugee matters before the Supreme Court of Canada. In recent years, she has been heavily involved in proceedings relating national security matters, including security certificates and the Arar and Iacobucci Commissions of Inquiry.
Lorne Waldman LL.B. (Osgoode), LL.M (Toronto) practices exclusively in the area of immigration, refugee and human rights law, and has done so since 1979. Mr. Waldman appears very frequently at all levels of the courts in Canada where he has argued many of the leading cases in these areas. He has appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada in the successful appeal in Pushpanathan; Burns and Rafay, where he acted as counsel for the Senate of the Republic of Italy when it intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada; the two Charkaoui appeals where he acted for the Canadian Bar Association when it intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada; the second Khadr appeal at the Supreme Court where he represented the Canadian Bar Association in its intervention and the Gavrila case at the Supreme Court dealing with the relationship between extradition and refugee law where he
represented Amnesty International. He recently represented the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in its intervention before the Ontario Court of Appeal in the case of A.M.R.I. v. K.E.R. which raises issues related to the reconciliation of Canada’s obligations under the Hague Convention and the Refugee Convention in relation to the return of a child under the Hague Convention. Mr. Waldman was appointed as a Special Advocate by the Minister of Justice in February 2008. He was elected as the first President of the Canadian Refugee Lawyers Association in September 2011. He was awarded the Louis St Laurent Award of Excellence by the Canadian Bar Association in 2007 for his contributions to the legal community.
Sharry Aiken is an associate professor of law and associate dean (graduate studies & research) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She is a former president of the Canadian Council for Refugees and spent many years as a practicing refugee lawyer. In addition to teaching international refugee law at Queen's, Sharry has delivered refugee law courses at the University of Toronto, Hebrew University and the American University in Cairo; and for decision makers in Uganda, South Africa and the Philippines. Her current research interests include refugee law and its intersection with the national security agenda post 9/11 as well as minority rights. She is currently completing a SSHRC -funded study: "Refugee Diasporas, ‘Homeland’ Conflicts and the Impact of the Post-9/11 Security Paradigm".
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Forced Migration: Terms to Know KATHRYN FOX Project Sub-Committee, ILP The Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford breaks down forced migration into 3 broad categories. 1. Conflict Induced Displacement: This category is made up of people who may have been forced to flee their homes for a variety of reasons including civil war, generalized violence, and persecution on the grounds of nationality, race, religion, political opinion or social group. 2. Development Induced Displacement: This includes people who have been forced to move as a result of policies and projects implemented to further development within their country - such as dams, urban clearance initiatives and mining. 3. Disaster Induced Displacement: This includes people who have been displaced due to natural disasters, human made disasters (such as industrial accidents), or environmental change (such as deforestation and desertification). Additionally, the Refugee Studies Centre identifies several groups affected by forced migration. Often these groups are not mutually exclusive of one another.
Who Decides? LORNE SOSSIN Dean In light of ILP’s work on advocacy week (February 27- March 2, 2012), I have been reflecting on an often overlooked aspect of our refugee system. From the moment a refugee claimant arrives in Canada, her or his future rests in the judgment of others. This vulnerability is a fundamental legal and human reality. Bill C-31 is the latest attempt at reforming Canada’s refugee determination process. Both Bill C-31 and the debate surrounding it, in my view, miss an important point. Laws do not decide who is a refugee. People do. And yet, while we focus on the design of the refugee system (including Bill C-31’s new ministerial powers to determine which countries will be considered “safe” and therefore allow refugee claims from those countries to be fast-tracked and with rights of appeal in those contexts curtailed), we tend to underestimate the importance of the people who implement the system. While legal rules matter, judgment and discretion often matter more. Just rules can be abused to lead to unjust results through the misuse of discretion, just as discretion exercised in intelligent and progressive ways can mitigate and limit the effects of unjust rules. In the refugee context, we have seen both dynamics at work. The 1999 Supreme Court decision in Baker recognized new standards of decision-making
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Refugees According to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who is outside their home country and unwilling or unable to return to their country of nationality because of a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a political social group, or political opinion”. Since a refugee has a clear legal status and protection they are generally ‘better off ’ than a forced migrant. Internally Displaced Persons The most widely accepted definition of IDPs, as set out in 1992 UN Secretary General Report, is “persons who have been forced to flee their homes suddenly or unexpectedly in large numbers, as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who are within the territory of their own country.” The UNHCR states that in 2010 there were approximately 27.5 million IDPs worldwide, with 11.1 million in Africa. Despite the need for protection similar to refugees, there is currently no specifically mandated body for IDPs - although the UNHCR has been increasingly involved in their plight.
Development Displacees As you might guess, these are people affected by development induced displacement. The most serious problem is that the majority of these people are either indigenous, ethnic minorities or the poor. These societal groups are generally underrepresented and the displacement occurs with little recognition or support from outside the affected population. Environmental and Disaster Displacees These are people who are forced to leave home due to environmental or man-made disasters but often stay within their home country. Trafficked People These are people who are forcibly moved for the purpose of exploitation. Profit is made off the sale of their services in the destination country. They may be bound by debt, physically prevented from leaving, or threatened by violence to a family member in their home country. Smuggled People These are people who are moved illegally for profit. They are often compelled to leave their home country to pursue better socio-economic standards. These people are at a high risk of becoming trafficked people.
in the field of humanitarian and compassionate leave applications (where a person, for example, alleged that they would be at risk if returned to their country of origin after a failed refugee claim). Shortly after the decision, I participated in a training and education initiative with humanitarian and compassionate leave decision-makers at several regional offices in Ontario. This was an eye-opening experience. Whereas the law speaks in broad principles (in that case, being alert and alive to the best interests of the child when exercising discretion under the Act), the officers made decisions influenced by a host of factors – some legal, some practical, some intuitive. For example, those regional offices which had less volume conducted interviews with applicants for exemptions from the Act on humanitarian and compassionate grounds while those with more volume did not.
credible? While appointments to the IRB have been the subject of extensive scrutiny (most recently in November of 2011 when the Minister, Jason Kenney, had to defend his record of appointments to the IRB from the criticism of former Chair Peter Showler, who asserted that Conservative appointments are “instinctively less receptive to refugee claims”), we know remarkably little about front-line decision-makers. What few empirical studies there have been typically are not taught in law school. Focusing on decisionmakers beg important questions: Should refugee decision-makers be representative of the diverse make-up of Canadian society? What training and education ought they to have? When a significant Supreme Court decision is released, how do front-line decision-makers learn of its content and implications?
Refugee determinations tend to turn on credibility. This is why an oral hearing is so crucial. Is a person’s story to be believed? The 1985 Supreme Court decision in Singh, one of the first decisions under then newly minted Charter of Rights, established that all refugee claimants are entitled to an oral hearing before the decision-maker. This was also one of the first cases in which a Charter result required the Government to rethink its allocation of resources. Oral hearings before the decision-maker cost more than a written process. In its brief section 1 analysis in Singh, the Supreme Court for the first time affirmed that “administrative convenience” could not justify the infringement of constitutional rights.
While law students excel at parsing the laws and cases which govern the refugee system, we often pay too little attention to the lived reality of those caught up in that system. Rights are never self-executing. If the Charter has been successful, it is because a culture of respecting rights has been internalized by government officials ranging from the police to Ministers to immigration and refugee decision-makers. If law is to lead to justice, it must do so through relationship between decision-makers and those affected by their decisions. So while many in this edition of the Obiter focus on statutes, conventions, treaties and judicial decisions, we should also direct our attention to guidelines and manuals, to budgets and staffing levels, and to the people which shape our refugee determination process.
Who decides whether a refugee applicant is
The Kid of Forced Migrants JACQUIE KIGGUNDU Student Director, ILP With a last name like mine, you will inevitably get the question: “Where is your family from?” I usually don’t mind explaining that my parents came from Uganda before I was born. It’s what often comes after that bothers me. It starts with a blank stare as the Speaker races through their African history. It usually takes about two beats. One. Two. “AH! Idi Amin!” A wave of understanding washes over the Speaker’s face. They have identified a dictator who ruined the lives of many of my people. They are proud of themselves. Sometimes I also get: “Have you seen the Last King of Scotland?” At this point, I’m sighing inwardly. “No.” Rather than explaining why I haven’t paid money to see a Hollywood blockbuster depicting the experiences of a history I know too well, I try to change the subject.
and corruption in Uganda were always fair game but the more personal details of my parent’s settlement in Canada were not really discussed. I wonder what was it like for my parents to be apart for three years. What was it like for them to leave their parents and siblings behind and not see them again for almost a decade? What was it like to say goodbye to every single street corner and building that was familiar? What was it like to be among the first African immigrants in their communities in Canada? As the child of forced migrants, I can’t say that I’ve ever truly learned the answers to these questions. I of course know the basics. I know the circumstances that surrounded my parents’ departure from Uganda. I have heard stories of relatives lost or ruined at the hands of an oppressive state. But do I really know? Do I really understand?
As the child of forced migrants I grew up with a lot of questions. My dad came to Canada as a student in 1971. My mother came three years later. Though I grew up in a household where no conversation was off limits at the dinner table, I can’t say that I fully know or understand all of the details surrounding my parent’s journey to Canada. Democracy, economic development
My desire to more fully understand my family’s experiences in Uganda blossomed when I was in high school. I started doing research projects on Uganda whenever I could. Years later, I did my Masters research on human rights in Uganda. I learned: the country exports coffee and vanilla; Idi Amin ruled from 1971 to 1979; and approximately half a million people were killed during
his regime. But did knowing these facts actually help me to understand the experiences of my family? Uganda, like many African colonies, has been taught as a colonial subject. The complexities are often glossed over and representations of Ugandan people are often simplified or outright misunderstood. Even when Uganda’s history is treated with nuance, there is always a gap—the silence at the dinner table—which separates recorded history and the history of my family. Our Culture Being from such a small community in Ottawa meant that we grew close with other Ugandan families. But our smallness and the context of our arrival in Canada meant we didn’t have access to institutions that preserve culture the way that many other immigrant communities did. As a child, I remember watching jealously as my neighbours went to Greek school and Greek Dancing lessons every Sunday at the big, beautiful Hellenic centre in town. What of my culture? Does it connect me to my parents and their history? My Luganda, the language of my family, is alarmingly bad, and my Baganda dancing—well, we learned in the basement of my parents’ house. My Ugandan Canadian culture is very important to me today but I see the opportunity to grow up immersed in that culture as something I lost when my parents came here. My Privilege
OPIR / PBSC INFORMATION SESSION When: Wed., March 7th, 2012 Where: IKB #1003 Time: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. **PIZZA WILL BE SERVED** OPEN TO ALL OSGOODE STUDENTS! the OBITERdicta
My parents came to Canada because they had to leave Uganda. Indeed, they had a well-founded fear of persecution. But my Dad’s acceptance to a Canadian university and the funding that came with it is an important piece in my family’s immigration story. It’s also an important precursor to why I’m studying at Osgoode Hall Law School. Many families who experience forced migration are not as fortunate as mine and many of the education and employment opportunities that existed when my parents’ generation came have been scaled back. Then and today the opportunities that seem plentiful upon arrival are in fact limited by racism and other forms of discrimination. And of course there is always the memory of those left behind. The guilt, trauma and helplessness experienced by successful asylum seekers can be crippling. A lot has been written on the experiences of second generation Canadians. I grew up in the suburbs of Ottawa going to school with other Canadian kids but I also grew up in a Ugandan home with unique traditions and an important history. Equally important to me is the recognition that I grew up aware of the many personal sacrifices my parents made so that we could live here in Canada. When reflecting on all that we’ve gained, I can’t help but think about all that we lost.
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Bill C-11: No Commitment to Refugees DAVE SHELLNUTT Project Director, ILP Osgoode’s International Legal Partnership is organizing its second annual International Advocacy Week. As you can tell from the other articles, the theme is forced migration. The following is a reflection I wrote in Professor Rehaag’s Refugee Law course on The Balanced Refugee Reform Act (Bill C-11). I have offered a brief assessment of the removal of the Source Country Class (a category that resettles people facing persecution who are still in their own country) from Canada’s refugee policy/practice. I acknowledge that the program was not working at all. There is a simple reason for this: no resources or effort were applied to make it work. By eliminating it though, we cut off potential routes for some of the African continents most vulnerable people to seek refuge in Canada. Minister Kenney, on June 29, 2010, provided a glimpse into the way Bill C-11 would operate. It is heralded as a major advance in Canada’s refugee policy, with claims of significantly more refugees resettled in Canada annually. From the “little guys” from Nepal who may be Prime Minister one day, to gays and lesbians in Iran, Bill C-11 is presented as a great leap forward. In reality, Bill C-11 will put more onus on private partners to carry the load of sponsoring refugees to come to Canada. By doing this, Bill C-11 will create an unequal flow of people into Canada. There are no criteria or rules on which countries private partners draw refugees from. Maybe only refugees of certain countries will be targeted while others remain unassisted. It further fails to address major deficiencies in assisting vulnerable populations throughout the African continent in gaining access to refugee programs by eliminating the Source Country Class. Kenney touts an increase in 2,500 refugees resettled annually. However, 2,000 of these spots are to be filled by privately sponsored refugees. According to M. Jones & S. Baglay in Refugee Law, these private sponsorships are funded exclusively by the private organizations. The sponsor must have enough money and human resources to meet the needs of the sponsored refugees for a year. It appears that despite claims for increased funding, the government has outsourced its responsibility. It has placed the financial burden of meeting Kenny’s lofty claims of bringing in more refugees than ever squarely at the feet of private sponsors. There is no talk of how this program will target high-risk areas across the African continent. Kenney, in promoting Bill C-11, has eliminated the Source Country Class. This class gave special status to several African nations,
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facing immense humanitarian conflicts, access to Canadian refugee resettlement. Kenney states the elimination of the Source Country Class was done with bi-partisan support and wide consultation. However, according to the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) statement, there was no consultation. In discussing the proposed amendments, the government justified this major alteration to current laws by stating that historically none of these African nations has been able to benefit from the Source Country Class. True, but the problem is that according to federal guidelines Canadian officials or partners need to be on the ground to identify refugees in the Source Country. The amendments state these countries are too dangerous and consular/embassy staff are not permitted there; therefore there are no Canadian officials to identify people. However, the United Nations operates, with Canadian staff, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (a Source Country). The amendments also state that partners, who could brave the danger and identify refugee applicants for us, are not available because there is no funding from the Canadian government or that they are all corrupt. It is hard to tell which is the case. Kenney announced $9 million in additional funding with the new program. Could that not have been dedicated to make the Source Country Class work? It would also be insensitive and inaccurate to brand an entire nation’s civil society as corrupt. It is further claimed that by eliminating the Source Country Class, refugees can still go to a third country where it is safe for Canada to operate. In that third country refugees from conflict zones like the DRC can apply like everyone else for refugee status in Canada. Now, apart from the excellent points made by the CCR on how this puts many refugees in increased danger, there is the impracticality of it all. Without Canadian officials in the Source Country, people from the DRC must travel thousands of miles to our embassy in Cote D’Ivoire. The DRC itself is the size of Western Europe and the journey up to Cote D’Ivoire is quite the trek. That problem existed before and was not addressed. Despite claims that there is a wish to better serve those in “Africa”, there is no government plan to do that. The work of private partners is commendable. In fact, they carry a lot of the weight in terms of settling refugees in Canada. However, without real government action and resources turned towards helping vulnerable populations many are left without access to Canada. Bill C-11 improperly addresses the current refugee crisis and eliminates a faulty yet potentially valuable program. Take time this week to check out ILP’s International Advocacy Week on Forced Migration and ask yourself if our government is doing enough to assist and protect refugees.
My Visit to Habitat for Humanity IDP Camp KATHRYN FOX Project Sub-Committee, ILP In the summer of 2010 I went on a Habitat for Humanity build in Kisii, Kenya. On our eighthour long drive to the build site, we stopped at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp run by Habitat Kenya. As a result of the extremely violent 2007 elections, it was estimated that approximately 630,000 people within Kenya were forced to leave their homes. Some ethnic communities were specifically targeted, and as a result, had their houses
burned or destroyed. These IDPs could not afford to return home or were too afraid of further attacks. The camp I visited consisted of the Maai Mahiu community. At the camp, the people were so optimistic despite their dire situation, that it is hard not to describe my experience like a World Vision ad. The camp is situated on the open plains of the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. This means that it is boiling hot during the day and very cold at night. Many of the families were still living in the UNHCR tents provided when the conflict broke out. These tents only exacerbate the temperature fluctuations and provide little protection from the elements. Realizing that this was becoming a permanent situation, Habitat Kenya started to build houses for the families in the camp using privately donated funds. Once a funding target for a house is met, Habitat builds a home. Habitat had also created vegetable patches for each family and communal pit latrines for every couple of families. Without this help, this entire community would still be living in the UNHCR tents. the OBITERdicta
Osgoode’s Resident Expert: An Interview with Professor Sean Rehaag SARA HANSON Marketing Sub-Committee, ILP Sean Rehaag is an Assistant Professor at Osgoode Hall who conducts research in Immigration and Refugee Law Why is forced migration a relevant topic for law students in Canada right now? There have been some major changes proposed to Canada’s refugee determination process. There are all sorts of interesting legal questions that are raised by this new legislation including constitutional questions around automatic, unreviewable detentions for asylum seekers, and issues around compliance with international refugee law. There are interesting conceptual legal questions that are at play, but there are also the more anecdotal interests. You get to meet people who have incredible stories. They left countries where they faced persecution and torture for most of their lives and have managed to escape and come here asking for protection. These stories are quite compelling. What first sparked your interest in refugee law? I got interested in the question in the late 1990s doing a masters degree at the University of British Columbia. It was the year when a boat of asylum seekers from China showed up on the West Coast. The reaction to this boat filled with people who wanted to make refugee claims in Canada was really extreme. There were big headlines from major newspapers saying “go home.” It was a really xenophobic reaction and my response was to look more into the question of asylum seekers to understand what brings such a strong reac-
tion. The more I looked into it, the more I felt that Canada really wasn’t doing enough to respond to the needs of asylum seekers. It’s interesting because the current revisions to the refugee determination process were prompted by the arrival of yet another boat. Has much changed since you were a student at UBC? The biggest difference is that the political climate has changed. The majority conservative government is very interested in being perceived as tough on what they call “bogus refugees.” Although the popular response to the ship in 1990 was similar in some ways to the popular response to the more recent Tamil asylum seekers, the government’s response is much more extreme with regard to the recent arrival. What impact does Canada’s changing refugee laws have on its international obligations? There are some ways in which Canada is not fulfilling its international legal obligations, especially under this legislation. The best example is that the new legislation imposes penalties on asylum seekers who come into the country using human smugglers. Those penalties include detention for one year, restrictions on the ability of claimants to access permanent residence, [and] limits on the ability of claimants to reunite with their family members. The 1951 Refugee Convention requires Canada to refrain from imposing penalties on asylum seekers. These penalties are in my view a direct violation of our current obligations under the convention.
What impact do Canada’s actions have on its international image? I think that Canada doesn’t have a reputation of complying with international law in this area. Canada regularly ignores requests from international human rights bodies such as the Committee Against Torture, which has on several occasions asked Canada to refrain from deporting people while a complaint regarding their deportation was pending. Canada regularly disregards those requests. Canada is a prime leader in preventing asylum seekers from getting to the country. We have all sorts of mechanisms designed to prevent asylum seekers from getting here, most notably our visa requirements. Canada does everything it can to prevent the arrival of asylum seekers and yet when countries in the developing world confronted with massive flows of asylum seekers close down their boarders, Canada is the first one to say that violates international law. The response of countries in the developing world to that kind of argument is that Canada is simply hypocritical on this point. We do everything we can to prevent the arrival of asylum seekers and they are not doing anything differently than what we are doing. What improvements need to be made to Canada’s refugee system? The first step would be to re-think the legislation that is currently before Parliament. In my view, the legislation is unconstitutional. There are provisions that violate international law, so the first step would be to withdraw this legislation. Another thing we could do is enhance the procedural protections for refugees who are here in this country. Right now when you make a refugee claim in Canada, your ability to access the courts for judicial review is much more restricted than in other areas of Canadian law. Finally, on the issue of Canada doing everything it can to prevent asylum seekers from getting here, I think Canada really needs to be involved in leadership on the issue of forced migration on the international stage. We should be pushing for all countries to actually comply with The 1951 Refugee Convention and to stop undermining that convention by imposing travel restrictions on asylum seekers. What can students do who are interested in learning more about forced migration? Students can join the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, which is the leading organization in Canada on this issue from a legal perspective. They allow a student membership for just $10. There is a conference coming up in March where their aim, among other things, is to discuss the legislation that is currently before Parliament. They have all sorts of opportunities for students to get engaged whether they are helping to put together materials that will go to Parliamentary committees discussing the legislation, or getting involved in volunteer work with individual claimants. This interviewed has been edited and condensed.
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“Don’t Forget Us!”: Advocating for the Rights of Smuggled Migrants JOSEPH A. CARPIO President, Latin American Law Society Human smuggling and trafficking became real when I was in Bangalore, India, working for The Concerned for Working Children. Before then I knew that these problems existed, but they were distant enough that I could not do much to combat them even if I wanted to. For me, it took the story of a group of young girls sent from Bangladesh to India in hopes of helping their families, to bring the story home. But the transportation of human beings across (and increasingly within) international borders is no longer a small-scale operation affecting only a handful of countries. Some estimates suggest that 800,000 people are smuggled across borders every year, while trafficking generates around $10 billion annually, with more than half of victims being children. The continued spread of globalization, increased migration, and global transportation networks have made the prospect of a better life abroad more realistic for potential victims. While international agreements have formally made this a Canadian issue, a conscientious and concerned citizenry is key to protecting the rights of these people. I’m of the opinion that change is best accomplished from the ground up, and in the case of the formal covenants guiding the treatment of smuggled and trafficked people, society should speak up about the agreements which have made a harsh distinction between these groups of people. States have responded to the growth of human smuggling and trafficking by negotiating and adopting the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (TNC) and its two protocols, The Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Canada ratified these on May 13, 2002, and they officially entered into force on September 29, 2003. I am certainly in favour of global partnerships created to address a mounting concern. The Protocols, however, are problematic in that they create a false dichotomy between coerced and consenting illegal immigrants, between victims and agents, and between the innocent and the guilty. The Protocols distinguish between those who are smuggled and those who are trafficked. Trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud,
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of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation…” By contrast, smuggling refers to consensual transactions where the smuggler and migrant agree to circumvent immigration control for mutually advantageous reasons. In line with these definitions, the Protocols perceive smuggled illegal immigrants as less deserving of minimum levels of protection, as if they are indiscriminately culpable, complicit actors in criminal activity. These definitions fail to consider how blurred the circumstances of any given case may be – very few migrants are ‘pure’ trafficking victims or ‘pure’ smuggled persons. First, most transported undocumented migrants appear to consent in some way to an initial proposition to travel. States tend to look at consent at the point of departure as an indication of a migrant’s ‘true intentions’, placing less weight on unexpected changes in transit or upon arrival to a destination. Second, using ‘consent’ and ‘coercion’ as the keys to distinguishing between smuggled and trafficked persons assumes that these concepts are mutually exclusive. The Trafficking Protocol defines coercion as including not only simple brute force but also “the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability.” Poverty, hunger, illness, lack of education and displacement could all, in theory, constitute coercive circumstances that induce a position of vulnerability. If these factors were considered instances of coercion, then many cases currently classified as smuggling would instead be seen as trafficking. In many cases smugglers are taking advantage of a smuggled person’s desperation or vulnerability. I understand that this alone is not enough to meet the ‘coercion’ threshold necessary for the protections offered to trafficked persons. Still, if a smuggled migrant is faced with starvation and destitution, I ask myself just how much guilt I am prepared to ascribe to such a person. Policy development is complicated, and it is expected that less-than-perfect distinctions must be made between those who are vulnerable and those who are not. The Protocols afford temporary residency and medical support to trafficking victims; if more than a band-aid solution is sought, these same protections must be provided to smuggled victims so that the underlying factors that continue to feed the problem are targeted.
Bibliography Bhabha, Jacqueline and Monette Zard. “Smuggled or trafficked?” (2006) 25 Forced Migration Review, 6. Wertheimer, Alan. Coercion, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
Brides Wanted: Sexselective abortion and female trafficking SAMANTHA FOSTER Marketing Sub-Committee, ILP Sex-selective abortion in India has reached crisis proportions. The sex-ratio has become so imbalanced it has actually provoked female trafficking - a form of forced migration resulting in internally displaced women. Nowhere is the crisis so apparent as in the Punjab state where in 2006 abandoned wells filled with approximately 160 aborted female fetuses were uncovered. The sex ratio in Punjab sits at a scary 781 girls for every 1000 boys.1 According to the 2011 Census, the India-wide ratio is 914 for every 1000 boys, still a very asymmetrical situation. And the numbers are getting worse rather than improving.2 According to Dr. Prahbat Jha, a University of Toronto professor, twelve million female foetuses have been aborted in last thirty years, half in the last decade.3 This phenomenon was chronicled in the documentary film Daughters of Gardeners which follows Canadian journalist, Karina Marceau as she tries to understand this crisis. The film title is coined after the Indian proverb, “raising a daughter is like watering a neighbour’s garden”; a dominant view of female children in India, where dowries still place an economic burden on families with daughters.4 Marceau makes the connection - millions of missing female children translates into millions of missing adult women, and thus millions of desperate bachelors. The consequence of female foeticide is trafficking of women from other regions of India to fill the wife-void. Approximately 45,000 women a year are kidnapped - destined for forced marriages or prostitution.5 In June 2011, a study produced by Trustlaw ranked India the fourth most dangerous country for women based on the rate of female foeticide, child marriage and high levels of trafficking and domestic servitude.6 This is just one of the gendered cases of forced migration in the world, but one that starts and ends with female victims. Daughters of Gardeners, 2007, DVD: (Cine Fête). Interview of Prahbat Jah by Steve Paikin (22 June 2011) on The Agenda, TVO, online:<http://ww3.tvo.org/ video/162588/prabhat-jha-missing-girls-india>. 3 Ibid. 4 Supra note 1. 5 Ibid. 6 “The world’s most dangerous countries for women” (15 June 2011) online: Trustlaw <http://www.trust.org/ trustlaw/news/factsheet-the-worlds-most-dangerouscountries-for-women>. 1 2
Perdidos: The Forgotten Stories of Mexican Migrants REBECCA LOCKWOOD Vice-President Social, Latin American Law Society
Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights reported that in April to September of 2010, 11 333 migrants were kidnapped on 214 different occasions. Human Rights Watch reports that 18 000 migrants are kidnapped annually in Mexico.
that, according to a report by Human Rights Watch on this military tactic published in November 2011, has actually seen an increase in violence and other illegal activities such as human trafficking. The same report states that from 2007-2010 alone, the homicide rate grew by 260%. The migration route is now prime fighting ground between rival drug cartels, as kidnapping is a very lucrative business. The
Mexico - U.S. Border
Mexico is a unique country in the context of migration. Many of its own citizens migrate: about 10.1 million Mexican nationals are living abroad which makes it among the top nations with the highest emigrant rate according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Yet it also acts as a bridge between the United States and the rest of Latin America, so it sees many other Latin migrants pass through. The migration route typically starts in Chiapas in southern Mexico and travels northward to the US. When discussing forced migration, it is important to talk about human trafficking and kidnapping as well. We usually think about push factors in the home countries that force people out: war, political strife, armed conflict. Yet, when people choose to leave their land for fear of violence and persecution, they often face even more violence and coercion along the way. In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon initiated the now well-known “War on Drugs” the OBITERdicta
UNHCR Report on human trafficking released just last month explains that the cartels kidnap migrants hoping to get a ransom from their family members in the United States. However, it’s not as simple as getting the ransom and sending people along their merry way. In the process of kidnapping and human trafficking, migrants are exposed to horrific forms of violence and exploitation. If families abroad are unable to pay the ransom, migrants have to pay their debt in other ways. Many are killed but some are forced into a modern form of slavery, usually to the gang or cartel running the operation, which includes sexual exploitation and prostitution, domestic service, drug smuggling or gang recruitment according the same UNHCR report. Not surprisingly, the UNHCR report indicates that women and children are the most vulnerable group of migrants because they run the greatest risk of being trafficked, raped, as well as
sexually and physically abused. Rape and sexual abuse is so common for female migrants—6 in 10 female migrants is the victim of some sort of sexual abuse during their journey—that many human smugglers actually inject women with contraceptives before beginning their journey to prevent pregnancy along the way. Some reading this may think, “That’s a shame, but it doesn’t affect me in Canada, so why should I really pay attention?” But Canada does play a role in this. More and more, Latin migrants are choosing our country as their destination of choice. And with them (if they make it here) they are bringing all of these experiences. My fellow members of the Latin American Law Society and I are volunteering at the Legal Aid Clinic for Spanish Speaking People’s around the corner at Jane and Wilson. The lawyers at the clinic talk about the huge impact this journey has on migrants, particularly their mental health. They describe how many of them keep it together for the long ordeal until arriving on safe soil and then fall apart. The Clinic has a Women’s Division that dedicates a great part of their time to this issue alone. That is just the emotional impact. Now imagine having to go through the experience of immigration, applying for refugee status in some cases, finding work, supporting your family— all of those very practical elements of life which do not allow room for emotional struggle or distraction. This isn’t to say that every immigrant to this country has a horrific story to tell or has experienced violence along the way. But when talking about migration, particularly forced migration, we must discuss the dangers and violence that can occur along the way. This does have an impact on our system, and more importantly on our community as well.
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Wendy Babcock Contest
If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin. RYAN HEIGHTON Contest Winner In a recent class discussion regarding public property, one of my professors noted “we can’t just load the homeless into vans and ship them out of Toronto.” However, the tragic reality is that current legislation and police enforcement tends to effectively “ship them out” to prisons and jails. This is often a result of minor summary charges for prohibited forms of panhandling (e.g., doing so on TTC property, and such aggressive behaviour as suggestively shaking a cup after one’s refusal to contribute) and related non-threatening offences pursuant to the Safe Streets Act (SSA) and Provincial Offences Act (POA). These excessively and unnecessarily punitive, low-law policies are reflective of systemic apathy, propagating an extremely damaging cycle that can only be remedied through changes in elitist and discriminatory attitudes, particularly in the legal profession. What is often overlooked in these matters is that the vast majority of homeless individuals suffer from some form of mental illness, which is often undiagnosed or untreated until well after legal issues have compounded. Through my volunteer experience with a legal clinic that specifically assists homeless individuals with SSA and POA offences, I have seen innumerable people
– Charles Darwin
with convictions for panhandling charges that they simply did not remember receiving due to mental illnesses. Consequently, the charges that they bring to our clinic are often ones for which the prosecution is seeking probationary orders with the risk of jail-time. Effectively, homeless people will end up in jail for stigmatized, noncriminal offences due to a combination of mental illness and a lack of legal knowledge. This persecution indicates a weighty access to justice issue that we cannot continue to ignore. It seems that too often in a profession largely driven by money and power, the great opportunity of legal professionals to do social justice work is overlooked. This is a heartbreaking realization that I came to shortly after completing my first term at Osgoode. There have always been the “corporate-bound” students who were honest about their financial motivation from the beginning. More to my dismay, many of my former socially driven cohorts have begun leaning toward Bay Street as a result of pressures from peers, faculty, banks, and the ultimate allure of the Bay Street salaries. Even worse, having a passion for social justice has led to criticisms from colleagues labeling me a “hipster” for wanting to use my position in the legal profession for social good. The nature of these attitudes further implicates the systemic
issues that trap homeless individuals in destructive cycles. If students interested in social justice are marginalized, then what does this say about attitudes toward the impoverished? It is time we realize that as future legal professionals, we do not need to be confined to a bubble of greed, prestige, and self-preservation, much like homeless individuals do not need to be confined to a life of social isolation and persecution. At the risk of sounding like a “hipster”, I implore my colleagues at Osgoode to look beyond social norms, especially those of our profession, and think about how our actions affect society around us. The legal profession is trapped in a needlessly elitist state and in a self-regulating field that is notoriously insecure about public opinion, yet we are only perpetuating the stereotypes. As future legislators, litigators, jurists, and world leaders, the onus is on us to advocate for society and bridge the gap between law and social injustice. * Congratulations to Ryan for his winning entry! Ryan will be receiving $120 gift certificate to O.NOIR and the Obiter will be donating $250 to the Wendy Babcock Fund in his name. We wish to thank everyone who participated in this contest.
Letter from the Wendy Babcock Bursary Committee To the Osgoode Community, The 2011/2012 academic year at Osgoode had a tragic beginning when we found out that our classmate and dear friend, Wendy Babcock, had suddenly passed away. Wendy would have been starting her third year at Osgoode and was intelligent, articulate and passionate. But Wendy was so much more. Wendy was an example of courage and tremendous humanity. Among her many passions, Wendy wanted to fight for changes to our child welfare system, advocating for children who find themselves caught and left behind in our legal system. She wanted to bring attention to the many children sexually abused during their childhood and the incredible violence those children suffered. Osgoode was going to give her the tools she needed to champion her crusade through the justice system and get legal protection for those without a voice. That her life has ended so early is a sorrow that is beyond the grief of losing a friend – it is the loss of hope she would have brought to others and the difference she would have made. While we all remember Wendy in different ways we all agree on one thing: we need a permanent tribute to her. It is for this reason that we have created the Wendy Babcock Bursary. Our goal is to raise enough money to create an endowment in Wendy’s memory - a bursary that will support itself indefinitely. The bursary will be given to a graduating student in financial need, going on to pursue social justice work. To this end, the school has agreed to match every dollar we raise up to $15,000. We have got off to a strong start, but we still have a long way to go and really need your support. To help meet our goal, we strongly encourage you to make a gift by going to www.give.osgoodealumni.ca. You can direct your gift to the Wendy Babcock Bursary through the ‘Other’ designation (gifts will receive a tax receipt). Any support you can provide will go a long way. With your help it is our hope that Wendy’s memory will live on and through this award she will continue to inspire others. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. Thank You, Wendy Babcock Bursary Committee monday - february 27 - 2012
Homophobia and Bullying
RJ WALLIA Staff Writer An article came out in Rolling Stone magazine recently, entitled: One Town’s War on Gay Teens. It can be found online here: http://www. rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-waron-gay-teens-20120202. I’ve always been a fan of Rolling Stone for providing in depth coverage of many different issues which I normally wouldn’t get access to in my normal everyday perusing of the internet. I’ll begin this with a quote directly from the introduction of the article:
“Every morning, Brittany Geldert stepped off the bus and bolted through the double doors of Fred Moore Middle School, her nerves already on high alert, bracing for the inevitable. "Dyke." Pretending not to hear, Brittany would walk briskly to her locker, past the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who loitered in menacing packs. "Whore." Like many 13-year-olds, Brittany knew seventh grade was a living hell. But what she didn't know was that she was caught in the crossfire of a culture war being waged by local evangelicals inspired by their high-profile congressional representative Michele Bachmann, who graduated from Anoka High School and, until recently, was a member of one of the most conservative churches in the area. When Christian activists who considered gays an abomination forced a measure through the school board forbidding the discussion of homosexuality in the district's public schools, kids like Brittany were unknowingly thrust into the heart of a clash that was about to become intertwined with tragedy.” This is not an article about Right versus Left or Republican versus Democrat. This is far more insidious than what we now consider to be political discourse. The article highlights the plight of many teens in this one town who are either homosexual or have been branded as such. The article goes into their own fears and emotions as they struggle to deal with the troubles of being a teenager in North America. We’ve all been there. It hurts and it’s not easy. Most of us make it. In this one town however, there have been a number of students who have taken their own lives, because, quite frankly, their only option left was to no longer be alive, rather than spend another day in this hell that is a community. It’s easy to write off the taunting of children and the indifference of school staff and
adults as simply par for the course - that somehow these things just happen and it is outside of everyone’s control. Read the article. I’m pretty sure you’ll be outraged. And saddened. The language that has been quoted by the kids who are bullying others is beyond profane. It ranges from yelling “dyke” at a girl to taunting and encouraging another to kill themselves. Brittany, who was mentioned earlier, recently found out that her best friend Sam, who was also her support throughout all of this, finally killed herself. This is what greeted her:
"Did you see her blow her brains out?" "Did you pull the trigger for her?" "What did it look like?" "Was there brain all over the wall?" "You should do it too. You should go blow your head off." Kids aren’t born evil and mean. They are raised that way. Somehow they learned all this. They were trained into believing that this was acceptable behaviour. Judging by the rest of this town, I can only blame their parents and their upbringing, for it seems that this entire town is bent on treating everyone who is homosexual like an abomination and deserving of all the misery that can be bestowed upon them. However, this is not what sparked my sadness to the rage that has been carrying on with me for weeks since I read this. In reading the article, I was shocked and stunned by the systemic issues prevalent in this community. The school district had implemented a policy of what they called “neutrality” on what they consider to be a homosexual lifestyle and agenda. Groups like the Minnesota Family Council and the community created Parents Action League are quick to attack homosexuals for their lifestyle and have often blamed them for the teen suicides occurring in this town. The President of the Minnesota Family Council, Tom Prichard, wrote that, “youth who embrace homosexuality are at greater risk [of suicide], because they've embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle," on his blog. Barb Anderson, author of the original “No Homo Promo” doctrine of education blames pro-gay groups for promoting this so called hedonistic lifestyle. I mention these groups for a reason. The school board in this town decided to listen to these groups and create policies which would not promote or discuss homosexuality in their schools. Students would receive no support and no help for any situation that may arise. You couldn’t have a club for anyone who was homosexual, as it would
be branded a sex club and shut down. Teachers who wanted to assist students were afraid of being fired. Some were even openly homophobic in the classroom. Essentially, they facilitated the bullying and teasing done by other kids with their ignorance, ambivalence, and apathy. When faced with the accusations and reports of what was happening, teachers and administrators are quick to point fingers elsewhere. Some continue to blame the pro-gay agenda and the media for feasting on the grief and struggles of this poor town. I don’t do this article justice. I’m sure I’ve missed some salient points that need to be mentioned. My point in writing this was to both bring attention to what is happening in this community and to somehow put my thoughts to paper. I was trying to boil down why I have this compulsion to write about this issue and the answer is unabashedly simple. I hate bullies. I hate the idea of a bully. I hate the notion that we need to make someone feel less because it makes us feel good. I hate the idea that kids are taught that bullying is ok, not necessarily explicitly, but by a lack of discipline and upbringing. What I hate most about this issue, in regards to this town, is that it was institutionalized. Bullying became policy. The people who were put in charge of protecting kids from this were on the one hand, impotent for fear of reprisal from other bullies and on the other, instigators to the point of open encouragement. This is what is so sick and twisted about this entire situation. People who were supposed to help, and wanted to, had their own hands tied by the bullies who had taken over the school board. People finally had an outlet for their hatred and misunderstanding of individuals and had a chance to take it out on innocent kids. Their only way of coping was to band together as much as possible, in secret, or decide to kill themselves. For myself, I began reflecting on my own actions in the past. My own casual usage of homophobic terms, simply because they are used in normal every day parlance needs to stop. I’ve been doing my best to be conscious of it. It’s not like this problem just hit me and I’ve just discovered this issue, but I am now paying closer attention to it. I recommend we all do this. I also had to reflect on my own past. I guess it may not be hard to figure out that, throughout my life, I had my own experiences with bullying. It wasn’t at all pleasant and there were days where it got to be near unbearable. I was fortunate enough to have had a strong support mechanism: my family, my friends, and the support of some very kind teachers when I needed it. Gradually I just developed a way to ignore it or deal with it.
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page 12 Continued from previous page... These kids did have great friends. These kids did have great parents. It wasn’t enough. The pressure became so burdensome for them that they had no choice but to kill themselves. How bad must it be for that to be even considered a choice? What has this town done? When in their quest for some form of stupid ideal living did it become ok for these kids to just die? Some believe that God has told them that this is the way things should be. Others are just down right bigoted and make no attempt to rationalize their hatred. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, the people who were responsible for looking after children failed in their duty. Over and over again.
So, why am I angry? After all, this is some backwater town in the US, right? This isn’t how things are here. It’s tragic and all but realistically, this must be so far from the norm that it’s on the fringes. I wonder if it is. I wonder if there isn’t a kid right now who is going through his own circles of hell trying to deal with adolescence and puberty that we all went through, with the added pressure of having to survive a constant barrage of bullying and ignorance that make the pains all that much more potent. We’re a privileged group at Osgoode. We, for the most part, have had some form of stability in our lives that was able to bring us to this point. This probably means that a lot of us have never experienced the level of anguish
that may be described here. Let this be a wake up call to us all that hatred like this exists. It’s close enough to home that we all should be made aware. Let us be reminded that there are some of us, who despite living in places where opportunity abounds, are unable to achieve their full potential thanks to the bigoted, ignorant hatred of a view, which we allow to continue to exist by our own lack of action. And make no mistake, as this article by Rolling Stone magazine has shown, this is a conflict in which there is a rising body count. This needs to stop. Now.
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How to Beat the 196A Line-Up SPENCER BAILEY Contributer By now, everyone knows how to beat the Bus Loop 196A line-up. However, cracking the Downsview station platform line-up is a bit trickier. When you arrive at Downsview, you probably hustle up the stairs, perhaps two at a time, and then speed-walk out to the 196A platform to be met with a giant, winding, politely Canadian and single-file, but still frustratingly brutal, lineup. “Why must I wait? Why?!” I continually ask myself on transit. There is a solution to that question, and it has to do with the fact that there is not one line up, but two: one for the front door of the bus, and one for the back door. So, with a constant desire to beat this system of frustration and delay, one must make a very reasoned choice as to which line to take. As a broad principle, the front door line is generally your best bet. This is because it is almost always remarkably shorter, thus making it more likely that you will not only get on the bus, but perhaps get a seat. This anomaly is perhaps explained by either the fact that commuters are so overwhelmed by the long rear line that they immediately resign themselves to the back line and fail to see the other line-up, or they are cognizant of some exceptions to this rule listed in the next section. The front door line is also a generally good bet because of the way that buses tend to fill up. The way that commuters behave when getting on to the bus is best understood by first looking at their motivations. As a rule, commuters want seats, and in particular, good seats. Good seats are either single seats, seats with private leg-room and thus less chance of getting an enormous backpack in your face as you sit (as in seat sections 4, 5, and 6), and generally not seats where you can get sandwiched. When we consider this desire for good seats, we see some interesting behaviour emerge:
claimed by rear-liners. • This is important because the front two thirds of the bus has roughly an equal number of seats, but is being filled by a line-up half as long (which you are in), as well as two to three times more standing space for front-liners. This standing space is also very difficult for rear-liners to get access to at the initial loading stages, but becomes easier towards the end when you have the final squeeze-in. The Exceptions The Delay: Of course, it is not that easy, and if it were, the system would be so easy to beat that it would not be the same system. The first exception to this principle is one you cannot plan for: when the front of the line does not race to the prime seats, but instead gets delayed near the front benches, perhaps by talking to the bus driver, or hauling a large bag. This delay gives up the two second advantage of the front door opening, thus allowing the rear line to flood in and take the prime seats, and block off the rear two-thirds of the bus. This all happens within seconds. You then loose the strategic advantage of the front line, and may be left without a seat, or worse, out in the cold. The Ramp: Another exception is when there is a need for the bus driver to activate the wheelchair ramp. Assuming your fellow commuters are courteous and allow the commuter with a wheelchair to get on first, it can take about a minute and a half for the driver to let the ramp down, assist the commuter with getting buckled in, and then bring the ramp back up, before the front line gets in. By that time, the bus has been nearly filled by the rear line, and you may see four or five
front-liners get a standing spot. The rear line is a better bet in such a case. The Windfall: The last exception is when a second or even third 196A bus pulls up behind the first one. In that case, the neatly formed single-file queues that are so representative of Canadian civility falls to pieces, the bus-filling pattern fails, and it becomes a crowded mob all squeezing towards the door. In this case, the front bus will still remain in some sort of a fragmented line-up, and you may be left deciding whether to stick with your bus or go for the new one. I call this the windfall because it enormously benefits the rear line due to the way that the rear line stretches back along the platform. Someone near the end of the rear line may end up getting a prime seat on the windfall bus, but if you are in the front line-up, by the time you get through the crowd to the second bus, you may not even get on. So, in the peak morning hours of about 8:15 to 10:15, if you cannot secure a good front line position, you might be best-off betting on the windfall. Of course, if it does not come at the exact same time as a bus that is already loading, or does not open its doors, then you are just stuck in a really, really long line up. Your call. Bus Boolean While there is a bit more to this science, including the way that front-line bends, or the arrival of a partially filled 196B, these are a few behavioural patterns I’ve seen emerge. So, the next-time you hustle on to that bus platform and a mob of York students is making both lines longer by the second, do a quick bit of Bus Boolean to ensure that you make the best choice, or if you are going to gamble on the line-up, then make a smart bet.
• The front doors of the bus always open about two seconds prior to the back doors, which gives the front line-up a head start on the race to the best seats. This headstart can result in the front-line filing in to the furthest back section 4 seat, at which point they start settling from there, backwards towards the front. • In doing this, the quickly moving frontline crowd effectively blocks off the front two-thirds of the bus while getting settled, which then diverts the seat-hungry back line to the rear leaving perhaps only two or three of the mid-section seats to be
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Osgoode Hall, Leader of them All? A View from Outside the Fence TIFFANY LANDAU Contributor Students of Osgoode - ubiquitous in the bustling afternoon hours - attend lectures, hit the books at the library, or head to the cafeteria or student lounge; all the while with the common expectation that along the way they might see a few of their peers, perhaps exchange a quick hello, and go about their business as usual. Unbeknownst, however, to these up-and-coming legal professionals, is that outsiders walk amongst them. Of course, this doesn’t come as a complete shock – earlier this year, the Osgoode library requested that Osgoode ID cards be shown to prevent outside students from using the library facilities. It may surprise you, however, to learn that I myself am not an Osgoode student. Far from it, I am an undergraduate student at Ryerson University, in the field of Criminology – and yet, I likely spend as much time in the Osgoode library, cafeteria and lounge as does any of its average student population. The reason is this: undergraduate students, or at least those serious about pursuing a career in the legal field, are looking for a window into their post-undergraduate law school options. For me, studying at Osgoode, hanging out in the student spaces and perhaps peering into a lecture or two is but one part of the construction of such a window. So, to me, and perhaps of interest to the rest of you, the question that arises is this: from an outside and arguably objective perspective, what does Osgoode offer that an undergraduate would find appealing? Let’s start with the facilities. With the library recently renovated and re-opened last September, it offers a comfortable and modern study space. While it may lack in size, Osgoode on the whole offers various study areas to its students that are by no means limited to the library. This is the main feature that attracts stray, “outsider” students to the Osgoode building – its modernity, its openness, and its utile design. The subquery then becomes, to an undergraduate awed by it all, does Osgoode’s very core live up to the innovation it presents in its physicality? Let me clarify what I mean by this. In the current review of education in Canada, some schools continually claim the top rankings. In the case of law schools, most undergraduates and prospective students of law look to Maclean’s wellrecognized ranking system, the most recent of which in 2011 ranked University of Toronto Faculty of Law as number one, with Osgoode Hall in second place based on a number of criteria, such as elite firm hiring statistics after graduation, national reach, and faculty journal citations measured globally. However, recognizing that these criteria do hold a degree of relevance, I nonetheless question as to whether or not they
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are very good indicators of the quality of a law school. Not every student with a law degree looks to be hired at an elite firm, something Osgoode ranked poorly in, nor do all graduates adamantly seek out Supreme Court clerkships, something else Osgoode ranked poorly in compared to the University of Toronto. Rather, a law degree is well known to be a mark of analytical skill, logic and competency that can be used to propel a career not just in the “top firms” or Supreme Court, but varied and diverse fields as far reaching as politics or business. In the words of a respondent to the Maclean’s article on their website, “I’m interested in going to the school that will give me the best education, not the one that will get me into the clubhouse”. As a prospective applicant, then, I would instead measure the quality of Osgoode as an institution by the innovation of its curriculum, and what it has to offer that would set it apart from the rest. In the current age of rapid technological change and economic instability, innovation is something constantly sought after; the best schools are those which embrace change and are transformative in their approach to education. As a regular reader of Obiter Dicta, I have become aware, from a recent article on the subject, that Osgoode has begun a process of reforming their curriculum – introducing a 2nd and 3rd year writing requirement, as well as a mandatory praxicum component in a general shift toward more experiential learning strategies. While this is certainly not the be-all and end-all to educational reform at Osgoode – as the author Nick van Duyvenbode notes, such changes may be simply operating on the border of true adjustment, while not “addressing the need for substantive and encompassing curriculum reform” – it is certainly promising. As a prospective applicant, I look to this kind of transformative inclination in a law school as demonstrative of its ability to constantly innovate, and as a key factor in judging its quality as an establishment. Law school applicants look for a school that will give them an edge, allow them to explore their own potential in varied ways, and generally, give them an unforgettable learning experience in return for the near-crippling amount of money they will pay for it. This is what I believe Osgoode needs to emphasize to its prospective students. Not that a law school ever needed to “advertise”, so to speak, as they attract enough applicants simply being one of the few highly ranked in Canada. I simply suggest that in order to break out of its consistent “second place” ranking, Osgoode present their eminence in innovation as a fresh criterion outside of the rigid Maclean’s conceptions, something that will attract undergraduates like myself from the outset. After all, we can’t all be phantom visitors to the Osgoode building.
The ICC - A Step in the Right Direction
HASSAN AHMAD News Editor The Prosecutor v. Lubanga, the style of cause of the first ever case decided by the International Criminal Court (ICC), should be a source of pride for the international community. Indeed, the ICC has demonstrated the ability to prosecute alleged criminals “for the most serious crimes of international concern” as stated in Article 1 of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC. However, with this pride must come a sense of reflection on whether the international community—an ambiguous term by which I mean the United Nations and its constituent countries at large—is actually changing the world for the better or just perpetuating a world of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ It wouldn’t surprise many to know that the only people brought before the ICC thus far are from African nations and less surprising yet is the fact that some of the world’s most powerful nations, such as the United States, haven’t even signed onto the Rome Statute. And even if the US or other powerful nations, such as Russia and China, were to put their names onto the Rome Statute, the ICC’s relationship with the United Nations would make it very easy for any of these powerful nations to use their UN Security Council veto to ensure that none of their citizens would be prosecuted by the ICC. So simply said, it doesn’t seem likely that George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, or Dick Cheaney would ever be prosecuted for their role in the deaths of millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and African Nations, among others. So why would I say that the ICC’s first decided case should be a source of pride for the international community? Isn’t it a reality that the ICC is just another avenue to perpetuate the hegemony of Northern nations over Southern ones, or white people over black people. In International Law, as perhaps in life, concerted long-lasting changes can only be made slowly, one step at a time. Maybe in our lifetime the Bushes and Rumsfelds of the world, no less criminal than the Milosevics and Bembas (two well-known politician’s brought before international courts), will not be prosecuted. But at least an institution is now available that has the potential of prosecuting largescale crimes, no matter where those crimes occurred and by whom. If recent economic and political currents around the world have taught us anything, it’s that the previous hierarchies of power among nations are quickly flattening. No longer can we say that Europe and North America can use and abuse Asia, South America and the Middle East with impunity. Undoubtedly, there continues to be a myriad of injustices perpetrated by governments and private enterprises throughout the world. But the age of a group of powerful nations who are immune from being made accountable for atrocities committed by their citizens upon less powerful nations (or even upon their own nation) is fast ending. The ICC is one institution that can hopefully ensure that in the near future we can live in a more equal and just world governed by the rule of law rather than by political and financial clout.
Fake It Or Make It: A Sobering Reality
From 1930 to 1968, films produced in the United States were required to conform to the ‘Hays Code’, named after the then-chief censor, William Hays. This was a series of regulations that set out the standards for the portrayal of immoral acts and other potentially licentious material in films. One key component of this was ‘compensating moral value’, which was a stipulation that any character that engaged in ‘acts of moral questionability’ (which, as a sign of the cultural, racial and sexual attitudes of the time included ‘vices’ such as mixedrace interaction, sexual relations outside marriage, homosexuality, and disrespect of clergy and politicians) must be shown to suffer as a result of their immoral choices later on in the film. Hence, when the femme fatale runs off with her unmarried male partner in crime, their car collides with an oncoming train, like, 90% of the time (the films sometimes went so far as to show these characters in hell later— I’m not kidding). So I thought maybe it was time that this article offered some compensating moral value of its own. After all, we’ve gone through a whole slew of vices in this column already: smoking cigars, comparing vodkas, shooting deadly weapons, making fun of undergrads, gambling in poker, and eating animals from every continent, just to name a few. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why any of these activities, carried out in moderation, could be bad for you. Next week, RJ’s going to talk about how to be a designated driver for a night on the town— something he does often, and for which we are all grateful. Today, I’m going to talk about the experience of being the sober guy at a party, and why it’s really, really difficult. Maybe if I do this right it will say something about society. But more than likely, it will just say something about me. Here goes.
always asking why you don’t have a drink, and seem to think it means you aren’t having a good time if you don’t have the ubiquitous bottle of beer in hand. I won’t repeat his points, since they are well-articulated in the original article available in the Obiter archives, but suffice it to say that I understand some of his concerns. It was quite difficult to sit at a bar, a social situation and business enterprise designed around the presumption of alcohol, and not drink. I was so accustomed to having that drink in my hand as a crutch to absorb that lull in the conversation, or the bottle that serves as an excuse for any socially awkward or silly behaviour. Without that collectively acknowledged badge of relaxedness, I was forced to accept full authorship and responsibility for my actions. Which can be tough, especially when you are used to being hyper-sensitive to social cues the rest of the time (not that I am so socially-aware, but I’m told most people are). I honestly got bored very quickly, and left in time to take the TTC home. I know that for many people, they won’t drink at all or will drink very little most of the time they go to a club. But for those who have never tried this before, the experience can be eyeopening. It was an oft-repeated mantra during the Second World War that ‘loose lips sink ships’. This slogan would often appear on posters with a grinning nazi submarine captain sinking an Allied convoy. Loose lips (or indiscreet movements of other body parts) can equally torpedo one’s legal career. A look back on some of the more public intra-firm scandals (the MDC one jumps to mind immediately) should serve
So after (or in some of our cases, during) Thursday’s Mock Trial, a number of us were in some state of inebriation. This is by no means extraordinary. Having our own bar to celebrate in afterwards was a definite plus, and for those of us living on campus especially, it was easy to celebrate the show with a little too much enthusiasm.
That said, there are some advantages to not drinking. One of which is that you can remember all the awesomely bizarre things people say while in various states of sloshiness, and remind them of it the next day. So here, presented anonymously and without any context whatsoever, is a list of things that people said that I managed to write down (don’t worry, I got their consent first): • • • • • • •
“And this is why I don’t eat with people” “Jameson makes me awesome” “You couldn’t find me. I’m like a ninja, because I’m brown and blend in with the night” “I’m not a classy anything” “I guess he would make a good small spoon” “I feel kind of sexually assaulted now, I’m not gonna lie” “Did you just call me a short goblin of a man? You know we are the same height, right?”
So, I don’t know if this is indeed ‘redeeming moral value’, or just a musings of someone who regretted not having a few drinks. It is, however, worth taking an evening to assess why you drink. You may want to, as I did, take a night off and determine why exactly it takes being a little tipsy to enjoy your evening. All things considered, I have no plans of putting an end to my social libations in the name of sobriety. What does it mean that I’ve learned something, and refuse to acknowledge that lesson? Wilful blindness? Let me sit down with a pint and think about it…
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Last year, friend of the paper Arsalan Shirazi wrote an article in Obiter about how most social events in Canada, and law school in particular, seem to be organized around drinking. Being a non-drinker is particularly difficult when people are
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Needless to say, for the next couple of days I wasn’t feeling in top shape. So when I realized that RJ’s birthday was the next day I found myself in a difficult spot. For anyone who doesn’t know, RJ’s birthday is usually a day-long affair of drinking, fancy dining, followed by more drinking. So as an experiment necessitated by the fact that even the smell of whiskey brought on rolling waves of nausea, I decided not to drink that evening. Not even wine with dinner.
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The Unreasonable Man Tells You How to Travel TRAVIS WEAGANT Staff Writer With reading week behind us, it has occurred to me that the some of you may have just finished living some travel-related nightmare. Law students are mobile folk. We commute; we visit family and friends; we take vacations; we leave town for work or job interviews. Because travel is such a large part of our lives, I have decided to wield my moral authority on the matter (such as it is) by reviewing all the modes of transportation at our disposal in a completely biased way, and by referring to them using old-timey language. Automobiles Some law students own their own vehicles. The convenience of this option is undeniable. It makes all travel simpler, from grocery shopping to going home for Christmas. You can travel when you want, and, since we don’t have high-speed trains in Canada, it’s always faster than other ground-based transportation. It also makes it easy to travel on a whim. However, the expense of owning a vehicle quickly adds up. The typical law student is in their early 20s. Even if you paid cash for the vehicle, the insurance rates for someone that age (especially males) can rival a lease payment. Add maintenance, fuel, and parking costs (nearly $100/month at York), and suddenly a set of wheels can become an aggressive money pit. If you’re paying rent at the same time, this can shred your line of credit before you can say “bankruptcy”. That said, renting a car can occasionally be an affordable option for many students. There are basically two types of rental vehicles available: the traditional type from a rental agency, and the fancy new Zipcar/Vrtucar option. For multi-day trips or moving projects, a traditional rental gives you the freedom and kilometres you need. However, these can prove expensive. In my experience, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has the best rates for drivers under 25 (usually about $45/day for a compact car). Enterprise also has a rewards program. However, it is important to remember that any of the big agencies require you to have liability insurance. And you have to pay for fuel.
leaves you exhausted. Friends don’t let friends take the Greyhound. There are banks out there willing to lend you more than $20 000 per year so that you don’t have to do such things. Have some respect for yourself. Also, only some coaches have Wi-Fi, and it sucks. Aeroplanes For those that live in the North, or far away from Osgoode, this may be an unavoidable option. However, for the rest of us, Canadian air travel is laughable. Those used to travelling in Europe will know that it’s not difficult to go from London to Paris for €30. On the other hand, travelling from Toronto to Ottawa by air will usually cost about $150. I’ll let you consider how outrageous that is for a moment. I don’t mean to accuse airlines of gouging. WestJet and Porter both offer very reasonable fares to and from Canadian destinations. It’s the departure fees. Both Pearson and Billy Bishop airports charge about $50 in departure fees, which doubles Porter’s seat-sale fare to Ottawa. On top of that, airports are almost never centrally located, so you have to factor in a taxi journey. It adds up. I accepted long ago that this is simply the reality in Canada, and isn’t likely to change (incidentally, those of you planning overseas travel this summer may want to think about departing from Buffalo or Detroit, both of which can save you up to $300 on transatlantic flights). Air travel simply isn’t for students; it’s for people in a hurry whose time is worth a lot of money. In other words, wait until you graduate, and then expense it. Also, no Wi-Fi at all. Locomotive This is the part of the article where I shamelessly indicate my preference for trains. For intercity
travel, you can’t beat VIA Rail for price and comfort, at least not while you’re still a student. If you know your travel dates well in advance, you can get very affordable (and heavily subsidized) fares. If you don’t know your travel dates, you can roll the dice and wait until 2 weeks before departure, when VIA sells off the remaining seats on some trains at “Express” fares. This allows you to travel roundtrip to Ottawa for $120, or to London or Kingston for $60. The VIA Preference rewards program also merits a mention here. You get 1 point for every dollar you spend on train tickets, and then a bunch of bonus points for doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. For example, this week I bought a round trip express ticket to London for about $60, buying each leg of the trip separately. Then I got 25 points for each ticket for buying them online, and 25 points for each ticket for picking them up at an automated kiosk in Union Station. That’s 160 points, and a free one-way ticket to London for a student under 25 only costs 450 points. What’s more, VIA partners with plenty of online retailers like the Apple Store, allowing you to earn points on unrelated purchases. I earned a free ticket to Ottawa last August by buying a computer that I was going to buy anyway. It should go without saying that this is way better than your mom’s Optimum card. VIA also has 50% off sales several times per year, usually just in time for students to book Thanksgiving and Christmas tickets. This is a perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a business class ticket, which is usually about double the price of economy. VIA business class includes big, comfy seats, a meal, and – here’s the kicker – an open bar. Book your travel for the afternoon, and you’ll arrive at your destination suitably bombed. Also, free Wi-Fi.
The Zipcar option is much less expensive for short trips. The recent addition of several Zipcars in the parking lot across from Osgoode also makes it convenient. It requires a subscription, but there is a student membership available for no monthly fee. The hourly rates are usually less than $10. Of course, for that price, you might as well have your groceries delivered (www.grocerygateway.com). Overall, the convenience and freedom offered by a motor vehicle, whether you rent or own, is awfully expensive. Also, no Wi-Fi, so you can’t work, read, or screw around looking at memes while you travel. Motor Coaches It’s cramped. It smells. Everyone’s an asshole. It’s a bit cheaper than the train, but takes longer and
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What Ails You, Osgoode? Cabin Fever Cures TRACEY HARDIE Staff Writer Lately, I find that every other sentence I utter contains the word “sucks” and that I am not alone in the overuse of “sucks” as an adjective. Some refer to this phenomenon as cabin fever: the sensation one derives from being cooped up inside the walls of Osgoode for extended periods of time. There is a general cantankerous vibe, a peevish student body ready to disparage just about anything and anyone. Like rodents for example. That timid little groundhog promised an early end to Winter, and as usual, got it completely wrong. He sucks. Maybe it's the lack of sunshine and the subsequent mood enhancing effects of Vitamin D, but I currently have a hate on for groundhogs and their wholly unscientific means for predicting when the sun will return. While spring brings with it sunshine and colour outside the spectrum of grey, this ambiguous season just plain sucks. I have tried to make the best of it to no avail. I spent the early portion of reading week in Ottawa, hoping to skate the canal, but it was closed due to poor conditions, which sucked after five hours of driving. I have a day trip to Blue Mountain planned and am hoping the forecast of warm temperatures and rain won't suck, creating “spring-like” (read: lame) conditions. I suppose the
obvious remedy is likely not to harm the aforementioned rodent or go to the Blue Mountain trip with a sucky attitude, but to increase my Vitamin D levels instead. If waiting for the sun to return seems like a remote possibility for those with acute cabin fever symptoms, there is always artificial sun. For a few dollars you can purchase 10 minutes in a tanning bed if you're not afraid of being largely naked and locked in a box with blinders on. This would be an occasional remedy however! Alternatively, book a getaway to Jamaica that departs immediately after exams. It becomes something to look forward to during exam lockdown and it's a relatively inexpensive time for travel to the Caribbean. Of course if you're the immediate gratification type or a fellow OSAP recipient, below are some remedies that are a little more accessible utilizing good, old Vitamin D fortified beverages. The Arctic Snow: In a glass over ice add: 1 oz vodka 1/2 oz Kahlua, (LCBO 207621) 1/2 oz white rum 3 oz milk
The Arctic snow is probably best paired with a can of sockeye salmon to get all of the Vitamin D you need, but hey – the beverage is a good place to start and canned salmon is inexpensive. (Canned salmon is also less likely to cause you mercury poisoning than canned tuna if you need another reason!) Alternatively, the Chateau Cocktail (for the aprés ski crowd): To a blender, add 1/2 cup ice 1 oz. Amarula 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream and 1/2 cup milk Blend until slushy and pour into a margarita glass. Garnish with fresh raspberries. By adding a straw and an eco-friendly, reusable cup to this recipe, it will likely pass as a smoothie. Sometimes those 3 hour lectures could use a little more animated conversation and this is a potential solution. If after trying the above everything still sucks, take a look out the window. Have you noticed that it is, in fact, still light out at 5:00 PM? Take a moment to notice the sunshine when it does happen, if only to look away from the computer once in awhile.
The Happiness Project: How Osgoode got it’s Groove Back CASS DA RE Staff Writer
There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them – V. Baum Have you ever overheard a conversation about someone’s overloaded schedule, responsibilities, obligations and to-do list of which they have a virtual and print version? Or accidentally eavesdropped on a discussion (which probably sounded more like a monologue) about “being a law student” that made you cringe at the pretence of actually being a law student? Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into the stereotypes. The budding excitement that surrounded the Mock Trial show, infamous for its lawyer and law protégé jokes, only further supports the argument. What is most alluring and entertaining about Mock Trial is the exaggeration of the truth. The truth being: we take ourselves too seriously.
In order to counteract the stodginess students may suffer from, your Happiness Guru suggests this simple challenge: dance. Studies continuously show that dancing improves memory, boosts one’s mood, relieves stress, releases happy hormones, and expands attention span. Studies have also shown that people who get jiggy with it can expect longer and healthier lives. In addition, the physical exercise alone hosts a bundle of benefits expected of any cardiovascular activity. However, unlike the basic cardio routine of treadmills and cross-country skiing, dancing is fun (not that a good hike through snow covered hills isn’t, but I’d choose Madonna over mountains any day). Furthermore, dance therapy has been added to various senior centres’ activity lists as well as early children development classes, demonstrating that you are never too old or too young to dance.
tively, use any other iconic dance sequences such as: The lift from “Dirty Dancing,” Any Shakira music video or The Macarena. 2) Go to the local arcade and play Dance Dance Revolution. The young kids these days also call it “DDR”; be forewarned.
For most, the best thing about dance is that it is free: it can be done anywhere, at anytime, and with anyone. You may challenge me on this, but as far as I know, no one has been kicked out of the library for busting a move between the books. Nevertheless, if you don’t know where to get started, here are some tips to get you moving:
3) Take a beginner’s class at a studio or community centre. Beginner classes are for beginners, so don’t worry, everyone is as bad as you.
1) Attempt to learn the dance from Michael Jackson’s Thriller by next Halloween. Alterna-
5) Every time the Activia Yogurt commer-
4) Skip the Irish pub this weekend and trade the venue for a dance club. There’s so many people that no one will care if you don’t know how to dougie.
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cial comes on TV, get up and try and belly dance. Apparently it’s good for digestion, or maybe that’s the yogurt… 6) Join Dance Osgoode, Osgoode’s first student club dedicated to dance. Join their Facebook group and meet the step savvy on Tuesdays at 12:30pm in the ADR room beside the JCR. 7) Plug in Wii Fitness and try the Hula Hoop game. Better yet, go retro and find a real hulahoop. 8) Zumba! Classes are offered at most gyms and community centres. Everyone needs to learn the Zumba shuffle, trust me.
9) Join the Latin American Law Society of Osgoode (LALSO) for our annual Salsa Night. Get in touch with your friendly Latin American Law Student for details. 10) Close the blinds, turn up the classic 80s tunes, and just freestyle in the comfort of your own home. Dance is an expression of one’s imagination set to music. It requires nothing more than a beat, and produces nothing less than a good time. No matter where, how, to what music or with whom, dancing will increase your happiness level. It’s an easy step – or two-step – to a better life in law school. Lastly, before this song is over, I turn to the words of a wise Lady Gaga, “Just dance, it’s gonna be okay… just dance.”
Girls vs. Women and Boys vs. Men: Immaturity in Relationships RJ WALLIA Staff Writer Everyone at one point or another has commented on the fact that we find the other gender completely and utterly immature in relationships. Regardless of whether or not we are guilty of it ourselves, the fact of the matter is it concerns all of us and we’ve all felt this way. Boys are stupid and are only after one thing from a girl. The minute they have it, they are gone. Girls only care about things you give them and once they are done with you, they are gone. Two things are inherently clear from this. First, we really hate being used for material things. Second, there seems to be a selfish, narcissistic and child-like behaviour to those who have burned us. We, in return, inevitably cry to ourselves the old axiom “once burned, twice shy” and try to move on. The sad part is, we repeat our mistakes and somehow expect something different.
ment it gets. We like to be liked and if you help this type of boy, typically, you are liked. Armed with this confidence and reinforced behaviour, boys go forward and continue on their path, leaving in their wake a proverbial body count of broken hearts as they continue to find what they seek and move on. Girls are very similar but go about it in different ways. Girls have the ability to ensnare someone. They captivate and ultimately find their way into people’s hearts by finding the one weak point that a person may have and exploiting it. Whether it be looks, status, or anything in their arsenal, girls will find a way to have you doing exactly what they want, and leave you in the dust. This doesn’t necessarily confine itself to relationships either. Almost every guy reading this article will undoubtedly have a story of being friend-zoned by someone who they were interested in. There is something about fulfilling the desires of the people we are interested in that rings true with the rest of us.
So what is it about the genders that make people behave this way? Do we somehow deserve this treatment? Is this simply the natural order of things, in which the weak are overtaken by the strong? Perhaps we just let people walk all over us? Are people just cruel bastards?
I may be a little stereotypical (ok, a lot) with my comments. If they seem akin to how you would describe predators, you aren’t off the mark. However, be that as it may, it seems that these characterizations are at least similar to the experience most of us have shared. People I have spoken to and who have complained to me lament how they seem to be falling into this trap again and again. They want to move on and find someone better but keep invariably falling into this same circle of hell.
The problem here is that, until we know better, we prefer to date boys and girls over men and women. Allow me to explain.
This is where maturity comes into picture. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to be finding ourselves Men and Women versus Boys and Girls.
Boys are needy. Boys are selfish. Boys fight. A boy says what he wants and does what he can do get what he’s looking for. This can result in anything from the best toy to the perfect part of the sandbox. The boy could manipulate you and make you eat out of the palm of their hand. Sound familiar? This behaviour, if uncorrected, remains throughout adolescence and into adulthood. What usually encourages this behaviour is the positive reinforce-
Men and Women are confident but not arrogant. They take but they also know how to be giving. Essentially, they are the people who are the ones who have accomplished something but don’t necessarily have to prove it. Rather, they have the comfort of knowing who they are and what they are looking for and are willing to have a partner. Essentially, rather than the boy and girl who are individuals that simply think about getting whatever they want by any means necessary, a man and
According to Einstein, this is the definition of insanity. I’ve probably mentioned it before. It’s kind of a theme.
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a woman are not shortsighted and they think about the entire relationship. They look at a relationship as something that could potentially be long-term. In essence, regardless of age, men and women are people who have matured, whether by design or through experience, to a point where they stop acting like douchebags. If you find yourself continuously finding douchebags, why not look somewhere else? My basic advice to everyone is to stop looking for people in the same place. A club will not find you a lasting partner for a relationship. Neither will the random, off-chance meetings you have. They might, but you need to be ready to face the fact that they might not. These things take time and require a bit of investment. You may need to go on a few dates, but don’t be in such a rush to find someone so that you are willing to overlook glaring faults just because they fulfill some need that you may have. Dealing with these people is simple to say, but harder to do. You either need to realize what is happening and change your dynamic or leave them behind. If you’re in this situation, I feel for you. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is as immature as I’ve described, move on. You can try to convince them to change their ways; it’s quite difficult and requires a lot of time, but it may be worth it. For the ladies and gentlemen who are being friend-zoned...your choice is trickier. You have to decide if the friendship is worth sticking around for or not. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Either way, you may need to change your own thinking on this one. You can still be friends with them, but you have to decide if you want to actively pursue them or simply move on. It’s the toughest thing to do sometimes, but it’s better for everyone involved. But I think I’ll tackle the friend-zone issue in an another article. P.S. In true dating column form: if anyone has any dating related topics they wish me to write about, email firstname.lastname@example.org and they can fire it off to me.
Just For Fun Where to Poop at Osgoode ANDREW EMERY Contributor
Pooping at Osgoode stinks. For the tuition we pay, you’d expect there to be golden toilets, with cushions for seats. And the chief justice is there to wipe our bums when we’re done. But we get your regular commercial toilet. The commercial toilets with the flusher that flushes mid crap and the water sprays your bum. Then when you finally stand up and wipe, it won’t flush. So you can either leave floating toilet paper (hopefully you throw the paper in brown side down) or you have to sit again and trick the toilet into thinking you’re a new pooper. I live in Milton, Ontario (never heard of it? It’s expanding faster than your student debt) so I have to spend entire days at Osgoode. If I had the choice between pooping in a York university toilet or pooping in a bush...well, let’s just say you would be surprised how many times I walk out of Boyton woods with my head down. Sometimes I do it near the pioneer village; then at least if I’m caught, I can argue that I’m a reenactor of the 1400s. “It’s how they used to do it, kid! Leave me alone!” But I do use Osgoode toilets. The basement john is the best. It’s hidden amongst the lockers and the MDI monsters. “No returns!”, they belch at onlookers. It’s also near that windowless box where they chain up the D students as punishment...oh wait, that’s the prayer room. The basement bathroom is pretty much only used by construction workers so you usually get to poop in peace. And if you go to the handicapped toilet, talk about luxury. You can really kick out your feet in there. But fair warning that it is also where the teachers poop. They know all about it. I was in there the other day and I looked underneath the toilet to see if there were any feet (if you’ve seen Scream, you know it is a good idea), and I saw dress pants with dress shoes. Must have been a prof. And even their shits are argumentative...plop plop PLLOPPP! When he was finished he said “case closed”. I went to the bathroom, was finishing up, and I heard from his toilet , “B”. What the hell, they even grade my shit! I’m gonna appeal! I wasn’t prepared, I would have eaten more beans. It wasn’t even anonymous pooping! the OBITERdicta
Avoid the upstairs bathroom, it is extremely small and overcrowded. Unless you enjoy having to time your pushing with the flushing of the toilet and the running of the handdryer. Finally, I went into the girl’s bathroom yesterday at Schulich. I wasn’t looking properly, I had my head down and I just walked in. It was early in the morning so no one saw me do it which also means that I didn’t realize it was a girl’s bathroom. And I said “Wow! Look at all the stalls!”. I went into a stall and noticed the personal hygiene disposal bin. We don’t have those in boy’s bathrooms, I’d never seen one before, I thought it was a place to hold my books so they don’t get dirty on the ground. People came in and left. I was about to leave when I realized that no one was using urinals...everyone went straight to the stalls. Lots of stalls, no urinals, boxes near the toilet...this is a girl’s bathroom! And I was trapped! There were girls in the bathroom now, I couldn’t just get up and leave! I couldn’t just walk by the girl washing her hands and say “I
would avoid stall 2 for about ten minutes”. I sat in the toilet afraid of being called a pervert, I could picture girls pointing at me and screaming and running like I was Radio from the movie...Radio. So I sat and waited...and waited... and realized that girls make the same pooping sounds as boys. They just shuffle their feet and ruffle the toilet paper to cover up the sounds. Guys are more likely to let it all loose; I once heard a guy yell “fire in the hole!”. Once all the girls seemed to have left or were at least pooping politely in their stall, I took off out of my stall like a freaking rocket and ran right out the door, no hand washing either, I was too afraid. A boy saw me run out and just stopped and stared. I told him “you got to try it in there” and walked on. Then I realized I had forgotten my books on the hygiene disposal box. That was the cost of luxury, I guess. Somewhere in Schulich, there is a girl on her period learning about the civil litigation process.
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