ISSUE 9 - January 28, 2013 obiter-dicta.ca
Submissions are due at 5 p.m. on February 5, 2013. Please send your articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel’s long rocky hills are not what one might expect when they picture the Middle East, but many histories seem to come alive here.
‘The Definitive Source for Osgoode News’
An argument for listening to the other side SHARIFA KHAN Contributor
A new precedent of “praxicum”: experiential learning is now mandatory MAXIMILIAN PATERSON Arts & Culture Editor As hopefully all the 1Ls are aware, at the beginning of this scholastic year, new graduation requirements were put into place by the top brass at Osgoode. These requirements called for every prospective graduate [beginning with the class of ‘15] to fulfill two 8,000-word research papers and participate in “at least one experiential learning class, clinical program or intensive,” now deemed a ‘praxicum.’ What is a ‘Praxicum’? First of all, it’s important to point out that praxicum is actually a made up word. After doing a mini etymology investigation, it was found that the word praxicum finds its roots in the word “praxis” [definition: a practice, as distinguished from theory], and the word “cum” [definition: to describe things with a dual nature or function]. In the context of our legal education the word praxicum is used to describe experiential learning classes and clinics that integrate legal theory with practice, thus allowing students to participate in a cycle of reflective learning [see diagram above].
In an internal memo, school administration outlined that their decision to use such an original word was to distinguish the opportunities available at Osgoode from other ‘practicum’ opportunities available elsewhere. The difference is that a practicum is a placement “following (or preceding) the completion of a stand-alone program of study (but not necessarily directly connected to or integrated into that program of study),” whereas a praxicum incorporates “the need to apply learned theory, [and] requires that students actively engage with and reflect on their experiences…allowing students to integrate theory and practice in an active, ongoing and reflective way.” How did this change come about? Lets start with some numbers. Currently, over 60% of Osgoode graduates take advantage of praxicums [intensive programs, clinics, etc.]. Yet, the numbers show that due to enrolment constraints there are much more students applying to these programs than there are placed within them. Thus, the conclusion by Osgoode » continued on pg 3
The opinion piece that ran in the November 26, 2012 issue of the Obiter Dicta titled “Hamas is the chief obstacle to peace” was filled with inaccurate statements and was severely oversimplified to support the idea that peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains elusive primarily due to Hamas. Anyone familiar with the conflict knows that this one-sided blame is wrong. While Israeli society is described repeatedly in the piece as democratic, diverse, individualistic and forming a “healthy” society (much like “our” own), we are told that Gazans differ from Israel due to their lack of critical internal debate, a sign, of course, of an unhealthy society. Although we are told that Palestinians also deserve their own state, it is Israel and Israelis that are humanized and we are reminded how similar Israelis are to “us” Canadians. As for Palestinians, well, their society is not quite “healthy.” These false dichotomies reinforce a number of stereotypes, including: peaceful Israelis vs. aggressive Arabs, humanitarian Israelis vs. destructive Arabs and democratic Israelis vs. undemocratic Arabs. It follows a dominant tendency in mainstream English-speaking Canadian media to vilify Palestinians and praise Israel with no or very little qualification. It is in this context that I’d like to commend Rory McGovern (November 26, 2012 “The Social Media War”) on his timely reminder about our common humanity, and the importance of humanizing conflicts (and indeed, the perpetual “other”), regardless of the parties involved. What better way to remember our common humanity than by learning about the » continued on pg 13
The Definitive Source for Osgoode News Osgoode Hall Law School, 0014G York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 E-mail. ObiterDicta@osgoode.yorku.ca Website. www.obiter-dicta.ca Twitter. @obiterdictaoz
The “praxicum” requirement and Osgoode’s roots in experiential learning
News Editor: Nadia Guo
It is easy to forget, seeing as our students today probably worry considerably about grades and academic fortitude, that for nearly a century, Canada’s first official law school at Osgoode Hall didn’t even grant degrees. Up until 1957, anyone who studied law in Canada had to also attend Osgoode Hall for practical training before being called to the Ontario Bar. Along with articling, Osgoode represented the necessary practical component of legal training. This was consistent with the Law Society’s support of apprenticeship over academia and in some sense (much to the horror of many) a conception of law as a trade rather than a profession.
Opinions Editor: Karolina Wisniewski
We have obviously come a long way.
Arts & Culture Editor: Maximilian Paterson
But, although we have now been attached to a university for some 45 years, Osgoode still has that hands-on spark. We are known for our breadth of experiential education. This includes 13 clinical and intensive programs spanning across many different areas of the law from criminal to business to immigration. We have our own chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada, which partners with over 30 organizations in the community. We also have mooting competitions, Law in Action within Schools, the International Legal Partnership, the Ian Scott Fellowship, and countless other opportunities.
“I don’t have advice for people on how to dress. People should dress based on what they find beautiful. My best advice: Keep your clothes clean. “ - Mos Def, rapper Senior Editor-in-Chief: Nancy Situ Editors-in-Chief: Thomas Mastoras, Travis Weagant Business Manager: Adam Cepler Features Editor: Cass Da Re
Sports Editor: Andrew Cyr Staff Writers: Citlally Maciel, Cass De Re, Rory McGovern Crossword: Emily Gray Contributors: Melanie Banka Goela, Kim Bonnar, Sharifa Khan, Tanya D. Bowes, Justine Linder, Spencer Bailey, Shawn Knights, Jon O`Kane, Rahim Jamal Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Devin Santos, Patricia Wood, Wendy Sun, Maximilian Paterson Website Editor: Ricardo Golec Articles are due at 5 p.m. on Feb. 3 2013. The maximum length is 1200 words. Please submit articles in Microsoft Word format to obiterdicta@osgoode. yorku.ca. Please attach photographs separately; do not include them in your Word document.
for matriculation. The OPIR program, which started in 2006, requires all students to perform 40 hours of legal work in the public interest to graduate. The benefits of participating for students are clear: to contribute to access to justice, identify areas of interest, meet mentors and potential employers, appreciate the practice of law as a profession that has the privilege and responsibility of self-regulation, and of course, gain practical skills. The majority of our students participate in these experiential learning programs. For the class of 2015, Osgoode has made practical experience mandatory with the unveiling of the new “praxicum” requirement (see cover story). It is our hope that students embrace this. Like the OPIR program, the praxicum requirement is meant to encourage students to explore outside the classroom. Books can only teach so much. One common criticism of law schools is that they don’t prepare students for legal practice. Indeed, many of the characteristics successful lawyers possess come from engaging in the community, networking, and working with many different kinds of people. The praxicum requirement will help ameliorate these concerns – and get us in touch with our roots.
Osgoode is also the only Canadian law school that requires public interest service
The Obiter Dicta is the official student newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School. The opinions expressed in the articles contained herein are not necessarily those of the Obiter staff. The Obiter reserves the right to refuse any submission that is judged to be libelous or defamatory, contains personal attacks, or is discriminatory on the basis of sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Submissions may be edited for length and/or content. The Obiter Dicta is published biweekly during the school year, and is printed by Weller Publishing Co. Ltd.
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A culture of wellness continues MELANIE BANKA GOELA Contributor Osgoode’s first ever Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW): Creating a Culture of Wellness (November 19 to 21, 2012), was in my view, a significant step toward wellness for the Osgoode community. While this was only the beginning, the feedback I have received has been consistent: the environment at Osgoode those few days felt more open, less stressful, and more connected. Most importantly, it brought attention to the value of wellness in our student body and increased dialogue on mental health concerns in the study and profession of law. Your peers are continuing this conversation in important forums such as the Diversity Workshop on January 21st and in the Equity Open Forum on January 28th. Through MHAW, I also received helpful feedback and support from many Osgoode students for specific programming ideas and initiatives. With the view to providing services and resources reflective of the student body’s diverse values and concerns, I will be facilitating a small discussion/support group a few Mondays this term (dates to be determined). The primary goal of this group is to increase connectedness and support amongst students and provide a confidential forum to discuss mental health and wellness issues with your peers in a positive environment. Please email me if you are interested in more information or in participating. I am also very happy to be offering a winter semester wellness series of four mindfulness meditation classes led by Jeannine Woodall, an Osgoode alumna, yoga and meditation instructor
A new precedent of praxicum » continued from cover
and Osgoode’s Manager of Admissions and Financial Services. Mindfulness is a practice that encourages us to pay attention to our life and experiences in the present moment. It is research demonstrated to be an effective practice to minimize stress and increase overall mental and physical wellbeing. There is an increased awareness of mindfulness across many sectors, including health care, education, human resources, and the practice of law. See for example http://www.themindfullawyer.com/ Home.html. Jeannine also teaches mindfulness meditation at the Law Society of Upper Canada and does an amazing job of bringing the practice of mindfulness to law students and lawyers. I strongly encourage you to attend our first session on Monday, January 28th from 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm in IKB 1014 (ADR room). Three more Monday sessions will follow this term. Finally, and what I am most excited about, is the launch of Osgoode’s Peer Support Centre. This initiative, entirely driven and developed by Osgoode students, is demonstrative of the fact that your peers care and want to support you in your success and wellness. My hope is that this effort will move the Osgoode community to increased openness and inclusivity. Thank you to all students who are undergoing antioppression training, support skills training, and a making a weekly time commitment to bringing these values into reality. I encourage each of you to consider accessing this invaluable resource and help resist the stigma and isolation that surrounds the valid concerns and struggles each of us face in our lives. For more information on individual and group wellness services available at Osgoode, please visit the Student Success and Wellness pages on our website or feel free to contact me directly. Best to all you this term and beyond! Melanie Banka Goela is the Student Success & Wellness Counsellor at Osgoode.
faculty members was to increase the focus on “clinical-type teaching…[and] expand the size and scope of [the] existing clinical/intensive offerings.” By creating mandatory enrolment in at least one of these praxicums [this is how ‘praxicum’ is pluralized in the memo, however it would be cooler if it were ‘praxica’ or ‘praxici’] this is another way to separate Osgoode from other Canadian JD programs. After taking a brief look at other schools’ curriculums it is pretty safe to conclude that no other Canadian law school has such a broad and specialized set of experiential learning courses as we do. If anything, the traditional model of incorporating this type of learning to legal education was to rely on extra curricular clubs and clinics to make available these types of opportunities. However, by bringing experiential learning out of the ‘optional’ category and into the ‘mandatory’ category, opportunities that were not possible through studentrun organization are now blossoming with the might of faculty resources behind them. Why is this important? Probably the most important question to ask when considering the necessity of this new graduation requirement is, ‘will this praxicum increase my chances of finding a job?’ Without putting much thought to it, this author is going to answer that question by saying, “the addition of the mandatory praxicum definitely isn’t going to hurt you.” In other words, with the competitive job/articling market that currently exists in Ontario having some sort of ‘real world’ practical experience is possibly the necessary leg up needed to secure a position. Any experience that goes beyond the books and gets students to apply knowledge and theories practically [so long as it isn’t photocopying or midafternoon Starbucks runs] is a step towards becoming a more qualified and competent employee for the jobs/ articles that don’t exist [see the LSUC 2011 Placement Report]. What praxicums are available? Following this article are a series of opinion pieces outlining various students’ experiences in these practical programs, intensives and clinics. As well, there is also a list of approved praxicum classes that are available for students who have not yet fulfilled their requirement. This list however is not exhaustive, so talk to Student Services as further classes may be approved in the future.
LORD DENNING LOOKING WELL
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Criminal Law Watch: Aaron Swartz, martyr for open access NADIA GUO News Editor We’re back with the second instalment of Obiter’s Criminal Law Watch Column. Since our last publication, the world of criminal law has been rife with events and hypocrisies to keep you on your toes. This week I’ve chosen to focus on the death of Aaron Swartz. By now, most of you may be familiar with Swartz’s unfortunate suicide, which took place on January 11th. Swartz, known as a kid prodigy, was the co-author of RSS, and co-founder of Reddit. He was also known for his activism working towards making information more accessible to the public. Much has been said about the correlation of the timing of his death with the ongoing prosecution Swartz faced for downloading about 4 million JSTOR articles at MIT. Swartz had openly criticized JSTOR’s policy of compensating publishers over authors out of its subscription fees, as well as the difference in accessibility to knowledge between consumers in the developed world versus the developing world. Swartz had been facing 13 charges, including wire fraud, computer fraud, and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, charges which critics say were unlikely to succeed seeing as Swartz never did distribute the articles nor did he ever intend to profit off of them. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had already previously dismissed the theory chief prosecutor Carmen Oritz was basing her prosecution on in United States v Nosal. Kozinski rejected the efforts to criminalize behaviour under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the statute under which Swartz was charged. Kozinski found that that certain parts of the Act were overbroad: “These courts looked only at the culpable behaviour of the defendants before them, and failed to consider the effect on millions of ordinary citizens caused by the statute’s unitary definition of “exceeds authorized access.” They therefore failed to apply the long-standing principle that we must construe ambiguous criminal statutes narrowly so as to avoid “making criminal law in Congress’s stead.” Here’s the biggest kicker, which has been bothering everyone from Swartz’s long-time mentor and friend Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law, to scores of media commentators: The Department of Justice sought 35 years and a fine monday - jan 28 - 2013
up to $1 million for this so-called “felon.” So what about Canada, you ask? Our equivalent to the CFAA is in ss. 342.1 and 430(3) of the Criminal Code. Under our laws, Swartz would have been facing a maximum of ten years, if that. Furthermore, it appears that not many of those charged under these provisions even go to trial, with one Keith Harwood receiving a conditional discharge and 100 hours of community service. The presiding judge told the accused, "I doubt we'll see each other again, Mr. Horwood. Unless I see you on the cover of Macleans or Time magazine." Our IP expert, and editor-inchief Nancy Situ tells me, “I think Canada takes the ‘those darn kids!’ approach.” It’s comforting to know that Canadian prosecutors seem to be holding onto their sanities when it comes to citizens operating within the growing ease of information accessibility due to software developments and the Internet. However, the ongoing Teksavvy file sharing case is something to keep an eye on. An adjournment was granted January 14th on the motion made by California-based studio Voltage to access Teksavvy’s confidential client information. The adjournment was to allow the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) to enter as interveners. While Teksavvy said it would not be opposing the motion, CIPPIC confirmed its intentions to challenge Voltage’s evidence. If Voltage succeeds, however, the implications for the numerous users accustomed to indiscriminately torrenting movies, albums, and software are huge, as they can no longer expect their Internet providers to keep their usage private. Though for the present it seems the majority of Canadians are offered some protection from lawsuits and criminal charges, this feeling of security may very well be short-lived. US attorney Carmen Ortiz in the Swartz case has been lambasted by commentators for her role in the aggressive legal assault against Swartz. Seeing as JSTOR refused to press charges for a civil suit, while MIT remained ambiguous about their position, the government’s stalwart continuation of the pursuit against Swartz seems unfounded. Ortiz has kept an unapologetic stance about her department’s actions, stating that her office’s conduct was “appropriate.” But the question remains: Why did Ortiz feel that to seek the maximum legal penalty was “appropriate” for a young man with no previous criminal record, committing an act that brought absolutely no harm to anyone, especially when the only possible victim, JSTOR, refused to press charges? Under federal laws, the crimes of man-
slaughter, robbery, selling child pornography, knowingly spreading AIDS, genocidal eugenics, and helping a terrorist develop a nuclear weapon all carry lower sentences than the one Ortiz sought. The DOJ’s flimsy treatment of HSBC in its money laundering scandal, along with the 2008 financial bailout, also shed light on the state’s prioritization of triviality over justice. The truth is that America is less afraid of terrorism and economic collapse than it is of its citizens accessing the truth. The case of whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has spent over 900 days in detention (a year in solitary confinement) awaiting trial for bringing to public light some of the most horrific atrocities committed by the US army during the Iraq War, illustrates the ongoing bureaucratic panic surrounding efforts to keep information in the hands of the privileged. Here in Canada, it was recently revealed by what little information was left in heavily redacted government documents offered to the Ashley Smith inquest that the Department of Justice has spent at least $3.6 million thus far in defence of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). CSC’s alleged gross misconduct in relation to the teenaged girl’s treatment while in detention leading up to her suicide has been the focus of two coroner’s inquests now, with a lengthy battle late last year over the release of disturbing video footage documenting her oftentimes violent handling by prison guards. The fact that the government is spending $3.6 million in legal efforts keep Smith’s story, a revealing look into the harsh reality of Canada’s incarceration system, from the scrutiny of the public eye is inexcusable, and further illustrates how tantamount it is to even the governments of democratic states to keep a tight lid on issues that may cause discerning citizens to question their actions. While the causes for the suicide of Aaron Swartz, who battled with depression, cannot be wholly attributed to the prosecutorial bullying he underwent throughout his ordeal, the challenges he sought to confront are tangible » continued on page 14
An argument for listening to the other side » continued from cover “other” side? While the opinion piece effectively simplified and “othered” Palestinians and simultaneously reinforced the idea that “we” Canadians are more like Israel, I hope that we can resist this kind of stereotyping and oversimplification and take some time to also consider Palestinian perspectives. So let’s not be so quick to commend this government’s strong, one-sided support of Israel (as we are told we must do). In fact, the Harper government’s uncritical support of Israel in the context of this conflict is an embarrassment, marks a significant departure from a more balanced foreign policy with regards to the region, and has considerably undermined Canada’s credibility on the international stage. While the piece mentions that Israel, like other democracies, is imperfect, it nevertheless states that Hamas is to shoulder the majority of the blame for the ongoing conflict. A cursory analysis of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians demonstrates that far from the humanitarian attitude the opinion piece both states and implies that Israel takes toward Palestinians, Israel has committed numerous acts of aggression and violence against Palestinians, and shoulders substantial blame for the ongoing conflict. The conflict is a lot bigger than Hamas and there is much more going on than the opinion piece mentions. As for Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, here are a small number of facts (that only being to skim the surface) for perspective: • In November 1947 (in the aftermath of the Holocaust) members of the United Nations voted to divide Palestine into two states, one Arab (receiving 43% of the land) and the other Jewish (56% of the land) with Jerusalem as an internationally-governed region; at the time, the Jewish population in Israel comprised about 1/3 of the population. • Although the Israeli government dismantled and removed by force Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005, Israel still occupies and maintains tight control over Gaza’s land borders (minus its border with Egypt), airspace, and maritime border. • Israel effectively restricts passage into Gaza of consumer and commercial goods, fuel, medical supplies and construction materials (despite the desperate need for these essential infrastructure materials following Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9); under international law this amounts to collective punishment of the people of Gaza. the OBITERdicta
• Israel’s refusal to allow critical goods into Gaza has resulted in the population becoming increasingly dependent on Hamas, which plays an important role in distributing goods. • This blockade also cripples the work of international aid agencies working in Gaza, as approximately 80% of the population relies on the UNRWA for their basic food requirements. • While Israel has the right to defend itself, the claim that the blockade is in place to protect Israel from terrorist attacks is dubious at best; civilian imports and exports are tightly controlled, stunting Palestinian indigenous industry and independence. • Infrastructure in Gaza is also in disarray; water and sewage systems do not function properly and compromise civilian health and hygiene as well as the environment (violating various international humanitarian law norms). • Medical supplies and access to medical care is severely restricted for the people of Gaza as the blockade also restricts medical supplies and personnel from entering and leaving Gaza (the right of civilians to access medical care is also protected under international humanitarian law). • While Israel eased the blockade slightly in June 2010, the major and essential elements of its Gaza blockade remain in place. • Israeli aggression against the civilian population of Gaza has had a significant impact on the psychological health of a majority of children in Gaza who exhibit high levels
of post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression; approximately 92% of children in Gaza suffer from PTSD. • After Operation Cast Lead (2007-8), one study found that 99% of children in Gaza felt unsafe, even in their own homes, 96% felt they could not protect themselves or their family members and 94% felt that others outside their family would also be unable to protect them. • Left untreated, PTSD can lead to drug and alcohol addiction, self-injury, and personality changes. In the context of proclaiming a desire for peace, there are obvious practical problems with traumatized children, particularly those who are left untreated. Children living in Gaza who are exposed to war may also be more likely to join militant groups as young adults. Violence against civilians can only perpetuate the cycle of violence and will not help to normalize relations between Israel and Palestinians. • While violence affects both Israelis and Palestinians, the disproportionate effect of violence and occupation on Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, is obvious. On November 29, 2012 a majority of the United Nations General Assembly (138-9 with 41 abstentions) voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-nation observer status. Among the 9 nations that rejected the Palestinians’ bid were Canada, the United States, and Israel. This was far from a “unilateral” declaration, as » continued on page 11 monday - jan 28 - 2013
An introduction to the office of experiential education KIM BONNAR Contributor At Osgoode we believe that a great legal education should combine the theory of law with the practice of law. The new Office of Experiential Education was born out of Osgoode’s mission to provide students with the best academic and professional education in Canada! The Office of Experiential Education is the first of its kind at a Canadian Law School; continuing Osgoode’s long tradition of being an innovator in legal education in Canada. The function of the Office of Experiential Education is to provide high quality and diverse experiential opportunities for students throughout their time at Osgoode. Ensuring that Osgoode graduates have a solid foundation of professional skills required to practice law and a keen appreciation of how the theory of law applies in practice. The Office of Experiential Education will provide a home base for all for practical legal experiences available to Osgoode students. Osgoode currently offers the most extensive experiential education opportunities of any law school in Canada and amongst the most innovative in the world. Some of the experiential opportunities that fall under the umbrella of the Office of Experiential Education include:
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• Clinical Programs • Intensive Programs • Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) • Lawyering Simulations • Mooting Programs • Osgoode Public Interest Requirement (OPIR) • ProBono Students Canada (PBSC) • Summer Internships and Fellowships The Office of Experiential Education’s objective is to continually improve and expand on the programs and opportunities offered at Osgoode. We will work with students, faculty and community partners to broaden and deepen the experiential education opportunities available. The Office is here to initiate and support the development of new and innovative experiential education initiatives. One of these new and exciting initiatives is the Experiential Education Fund. Through this fund students, faculty, staff and community partners are able to apply for one time funding of up to $10,000 for projects which aim to expand the experiential education opportunities available to Osgoode students. Through the
fund, Osgoode will distribute up to $150,000 in funding over the next two academic years. For each round of consideration, proposals must be submitted to the Office of Experiential Education through Natia Tucci at ntucci@osgoode. yorku.ca by January 31st and July 31st of each year. The Class of 2015 is the first class required to complete a praxicum component as part of their degree. This requires each student to complete at least one academic program which combines the elements of legal theory, legal practice, and reflection. This requirement is meant to ensure that all graduates of Osgoode Hall Law School have benefited from a significant experiential education opportunity as part of their degree. The Office of Experiential Education is also here to provide support and guidance to students in fulfilling this new praxicum requirement. The Office of Experiential Education is housed in Student Services (Room 1012 - off Gowlings Hall). For more information about the Office or experiential education opportunities available for current students stop by or contact Kim Bonnar at email@example.com. Kim Bonnar is the Manager of Experiential Education and Career Development for Osgoode.
Clinical education and intensive offerings for 2013-2014 The clinical education and intensive offerings at Osgoode Hall Law School are the most extensive in Canada and among the most innovative in the world. Each program has its own “character” and criteria for admission. Applications for the next academic year (2013 – 2014) are open from January 23 to 31, 2013 for the following Clinical and Intensive programs: Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Govern ments • 15 credit Winter Term • open to up to 12 students • 7 week placements Advanced Business Law Workshops I - Cor porate Finance & Governance • 5 credit Fall Term • open to 16 students • classes held at DWPV offices Advanced Business Law Workshops II Mergers and Acquisitions • 5 credit Winter Term • open to 16 students • classes held at DWPV offices Anti-Discrimination Intensive Program • 15 credit full year • Choice of Fall or Winter placement at Human Rights Legal Support Centre Business Law (new look at the 2000-03 pro gram!) • 15 credit Winter Term • Open to up to 16 students • Placements will be at in-house counsel at major Canadian businesses Criminal Law • 15 credit Winter Term • Open to up to 21 students • Placements choices with defence, crown or judiciary Disability Law (approved full year 15 credit program!) • 15 credit full year • Open to 12 students • Full year part-time placement at ARCH The Disability Law Centre Innocence Project • 9 credit full year program • Clinic work includes investigations of alleged wrongful convictions Intellectual Property and Technology Law • 15 credit Fall Term the OBITERdicta
• Open to 3rd year students only • 11 week placement at IP firms and orga nizations Osgoode Business Clinic • 4 credit full year program • Open to 21 2nd & 3rd year students • Clinical work is supervised by practitio ners at Stikeman Elliott LLP Community Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) • 15 credit full year program • Open to 15 2nd & 3rd year students • Academic enrolment includes summer employment Mediation Clinic Intensive • 9 credit full year program • Clinic work includes community out reach programs Poverty Law at Parkdale Community Legal Services • 15 credit Fall OR Winter • Open to 20 students in each term • Full term placement at Parkdale Com munity Legal services Other programs of interest: - Mooting & Lawyering Competitions - Osgoode Law Journal - International Legal Partnership (ILP) - Osgoode Public Interest Requirement (OPIR) - ProBono Students Canada - Summer Clinical Education Opportunities (SPIAP & Ian Scott Internship) Each program has its own selection criteria and procedures. Students may apply for as many programs as they wish, although a limit of 4 is recommended, you may only participate in one program. Summer employment may be available with Parkdale Community Legal Services, CLASP, Anti-Discrimination and the Innocence Project for the summer of 2013. Please be aware that accepting a summer job commits you to participating in the program in the following academic year. Applications for the 2013/2014 Academic year will be open from January 23, 2013 to January 31, 2013.
- Applications Open uary 23, 2013
- Application Deadline ary 31, 2013 (4:00 pm)
- Program assessment of applications: Friday, February 1 to Friday, February 22, 2013 - Offers sent by direct email February 25, 2013 (by 3:00 pm)
- Family Day (University Closed) Monday, February 18, 2013 - Reading Week Monday, February 18 Friday, February 22, 2013 - Accept/Decline Deadline Friday, March 1, 2013 (3:00 pm) - Waitlisted Student Notification Friday, March 1, 2013 (3:01 pm) How to Apply: • Open MyOsgoode • Click on Clinical & Intensive Applica tions - login will be required • Complete all personal information on the first page of the application • This information will be used for all pro grams • You can make changes to this informa tion until the application deadline • Continue to individual program appli cations. • Students may apply for as many pro grams as they wish, although a limit of 4 is recommended • Students may only participate in one program, in most cases. • Each program has specific application requirements. •
A resume is required by all programs
• Programs requesting reference letters will accept those letters by mail, fax or email sent to the director or to Natia Tucci YOUR APPLICATION CAN BE CHANGED ON LINE UNTIL THE APPLICATION DEADLINE. Please visit http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/clinics-experiential/clinical-education for program information. For more information please contact Natia Tucci: firstname.lastname@example.org , 416 736 5973.
Applications will only be accepted on line through MyOsgoode. Please see the table below for the Application Timeline: monday - jan 28 - 2013
The McCarthy Tétrault Business Law Internships
Osgoode Business Clinic
TANYA D. BOWES Contributor
JUSTINE LINDNER Contributor
On January 23, the Hennick Centre for Business and Law was pleased to participate in the launch of The McCarthy Tétrault Business Law Internship program alongside Dean Lorne Sossin and representatives from McCarthy Tétrault LLP. This exciting new program in experiential learning was made possible by a generous gift to the law school by McCarthy Tétrault. Commencing in the summer of 2013, students with a demonstrated interest in business and law will have the opportunity to work on business and commercial law-related assignments and tasks in a for-profit or non-profit organization. The participating organizations for 2013 are: FirstService Corporation, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, and the Ontario Securities Commission. The program is open to JD and JD/MBA students who will have completed the first year of the JD program in advance of the start of the internship. The internships run for a minimum of ten weeks during the May to August summer break. Interns will receive a stipend
of $10,000 for their participation in the program. The Hennick Centre is committed to promoting business and legal education and creating opportunities to enhance students' educational experience in business and law. The aim of the business law internship program is to expose participants to the client side of legal practice and provide practical hands-on training in real world problem-solving. The internships are a fantastic opportunity for students to develop the skills needed to be an effective legal advisor in service to business clients. It also allows students to build valuable business experience, which is of increasing importance in today's legal market. Further information on the application criteria and process can be found on the Hennick Centre's website at www.hennickcentre.ca. The application deadline is February 15. Don’t miss this opportunity! Tanya D. Bowes is the Associate Director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law.
I participated in the Osgoode Business Clinic (“OBC”) as a first year volunteer, and then as an upper year student in the clinic in my second year. I really enjoyed volunteering with the Osgoode Business Clinic. It gave me an opportunity to try drafting contract provisions and memos, practical experience that law school doesn’t really provide otherwise. Since the work is divided between you and your partner or group, and supervised by lawyers from Stikeman Elliott LLP, there is a lot of support and assistance available. My group decided to draft most deliverables together so that we could all benefit from the opportunity and so that the workload was divided fairly. The best aspect of OBC was working with the same client over the course of the entire school year. Since it is necessary to meet with the client multiple times, I found that it allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of her priorities and perspective as an entrepreneur. It was a good practice in developing communication and client service skills. At the end of the year, my group provided her with legal documents that assisted her business and that she will be able to use in the future. It’s satisfying to see that her business is successful and growing, knowing that we were a part of that. The OBC requires less of a time commitment relative to the other clinical programs, because it is only 4 credits [2 credits per term]. My group chose to meet the client downtown rather than on-campus and we completed a lot of the work for the clinic from home. Since the deadlines for the various deliverables are negotiated among the group, the client, and the supervising lawyers, I found that the workload was very manageable. The deadlines could be made so that they did not conflict with a moot or an assignment for a different class. I’d recommend the OBC to students interested in having some exposure to corporate law. I thought the experience was great and it fit into my schedule such that it didn’t take away from my other courses and volunteer/club activities. As a second year student at the time, I also didn’t feel that the material was over my head, and I felt comfortable because there were a lot of resources available to me when I did have questions.
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CLASP: Winning your first case; losing your first case SPENCER BAILEY Contributor When I was in first year, I lined up, along with probably a hundred of my classmates, on the 8th floor of the Ross building. We were all excitedly chatting, meeting all the other fresh new faces, and I think one of Osgoode’s well known Administrators came out of her office and asked us all to quiet down, because she was trying to work. We were all there vying for precious spots as CLASP Duty Counsel (now called “Intake Volunteers”). We were only two weeks into law school, and the word going around was that you have to do more, more, more! Get involved or get left behind! Join all the clubs! I luckily secured myself a Thursday morning Duty Counsel position, which ended up being more like an hour-long weekly mentoring session with my upper-year shift supervisor. I remember those Thursday mornings more for his therapeutic advice than any particularly social justice-y experience. But it was very valuable because, when asked about what he thought of working there, he said that you get a lot of great experience from CLASP, and that can help
connect you to jobs. So I decided to put my name in for an interview, and after completely bombing my Parkdale interview, I changed my strategy, completed a pretty good interview, and was eventually offered a position as an Administrative Law Division Leader. I’ve only ever said positive things about CLASP. Yes, it can be difficult to balance your caseload with extra-curriculars and other courses. Yes, what is expected of the students year-to-year probably evolves constantly, along with the individual personalities at the clinic and the clinic’s overall mandate. But being placed in front of a living person with a history, a future, and some events that have brought them to your office, is really the most complex and fascinating fact pattern you will ever encounter in law school. And that does not change. As well, I did ultimately get the chance to have my social justice-y experience. When you see the look on someone’s face when they win an Ontario Disability Support Program appeal, which effectively doubles their meagre government income, it feels pretty good. Challenging clients? Sometimes. Grateful clients? Absolutely. CLASP has an enormous alumni network, some
of whom I have met already in personal and professional contexts, and many more of whom I am sure I will meet in the future. What has been consistent across all of my conversations with these people are tales of great cases they handled, personal breakthroughs, and overall fond memories. I was lucky enough to put together some video testimonials of other Division Leaders‘ experiences during my time at CLASP, and I would suggest going on CLASP’s YouTube channel to take a look. CLASP is your chance in law school to find your way around a courtroom; address a judge or Board member for the first time, or apply things you’ve learned in a textbook. Win your first case. Lose your first case. Get creative. In the mania of first year, it was hard to tell what advice to take and what to ditch. I won’t say anything about creating your own summary, organizing study groups, or highlighter colour coding, but whoever was pushing the “get involved” mantra was bang-on. CLASP was one of the ways I did that. I’d say that, while it may seem challenging while you are doing it, in the long run, anything worth doing is really challenging, because if it was easy, everybody would be doing it, all the time.
The best semester you will ever have – the criminal intensive SHAWN KNIGHTS Contributor I came to law school as an idealist. I watched every episode of Law and Order and I was convinced that I would become the next Jack McCoy. Or, better yet, I hoped to be like Atticus Finch, and single-handedly stop the state machine from convicting my innocent client with an inspirational closing argument. Finally, I wanted to fuse these characters together with the sharptongued brilliance of Johnny Cochrane, whose famous line “If the glove doesn’t fit, then you must acquit…” solidified my interest in Criminal Law. However, first-year law school was not helpful in nurturing my interest in Criminal Law. By the end of first year, I believed the law was boring, frustrating and couldn’t really help anyone. And worst of all, it appeared as though I was doomed to a career of paper pushing. And then I did the smartest thing I have ever done in Law School: I applied for the Criminal Intensive. I’ll never forget my interview with the course co-ordinators Joseph Di Luca and the OBITERdicta
Enzo Rondinelli. I left my interview convinced that I had bombed the interview and considered giving up on Criminal Law. However, I was accepted into the program and it was by far the best experience I have had at law school. For the first two weeks of the semester, you will spend your days getting a crash course in being a criminal lawyer. All the things that you hoped to learn in 1st year Criminal Law and didn’t – you will get all of that and more. You will discuss topics such as the business of criminal law, how to handle ethical issues and how to conduct yourself during a trial. These subjects are taught by guest speakers from the Crown, Defence bar, and other experts. You will also examine various issues, such as the intersection between Criminal Law and mental health. And you will participate in various field trips to places like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, detention centres, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and, if you’re lucky, the morgue! Oh… and how could I have forgotten about the trip to the phallometrics lab? If you don’t know what that is… well – let’s just say it’s a good time.
The most interesting part about the Criminal Intensive is that you will actually work in a Criminal Law office for either a defence firm, the Crown, or for a judge. I worked at one of the largest criminal defence firms in Ontario and did everything I could possibly do as a student. This included meeting clients, appearances, watching murder trials, shadowing articling students, and writing memos. Your semester will be evaluated through two major research papers and a presentation on a criminal law topic of your choice. Whether you are an idealist like me, or if you are not sure if criminal law is for you but are interested, I would highly recommend that you apply. Through this intensive program, I reclaimed the passion I had before I came to law school. Joe and Enzo are some of the most sincere and transparent legal professionals that you will ever meet. And there will likely never be an opportunity for two lawyers of their calibre to pour their knowledge and experience into you for an entire semester. The Criminal Intensive is something you don’t want to miss. monday - jan 28 - 2013
Happiness Project: what’s your EQ? CASS DA RE Staff Writer
are not playing a game of emotion flashcards: smile, happy; tears, sad, or big eyes, surprised.
this way, and then, where necessary, walking away.
The concept of Emotional Quotient (EQ) has garnered increased popularity since the 1990s. It refers to the ability to perceive, express, control, reason and evaluate one’s emotions and the emotions of others. The crux of emotional intelligence is the facility to recognize emotion and respond or react in an appropriate, and usually advantageous manner.
Emotional intelligence requires a much more nuanced understanding. Draw cues from the individual him or herself, as well as how others are reacting. More often than not, people will not tell you directly how they feel. As lawyersto-be, it is your job to discreetly discover how your client is truly feeling, leaving the interrogation tactics for prime time legal dramas.
As neophytes in the legal industry, we are constantly reminded that we are being evaluated by the breadth of our academic achievements and standing. The curve, a systematic method of ranking, gives us and our employers a hard line indicator of our aptitude. Whether this is actually indicative or accurate is another matter completely. Grades and numbers matter in law school. They always have, and likely always will.
Connecting Verbal to Non-Verbal
Emotional intelligence requires internal reflection and communication. If you are feeling stressed, angry, upset, or frustrated, go for a walk; go outside; count to ten; get away from the source of negativity, or just take a brief moment to breathe. By removing or detaching yourself from the problem, you will give yourself the opportunity to reason with your emotions, and develop an effective solution.
All law students are intelligent, they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t. A select few get the As, a majority get the Bs, and whoever is left gets the Cs. This is a matter of fact; this is a matter of measuring intelligence. Intelligence in this context means “book smarts.” It refers to the ability to produce publishable papers or eloquently articulated exam answers. Law school measures IQ. Life measures EQ. Lay people and lawyers alike would benefit greatly from exercising their emotional intelligence. There is some debate as to whether EQ is a personal characteristic one is born with, or whether it is a skill that can be developed and improved. I fall in the latter camp. Emotional intelligence, like other systems of knowledge and practice, can be learned. I will not deny that there is a level of instinct and intuition bound up in the expression of EQ, but if Sheldon Cooper has taught us anything, it is that even the most emotionally inept can learn to recognize sarcasm or sadness and respond in a socially acceptable manner. Authors of the landmark article “Emotional Intelligence” (1990) identify a four-part model of EQ: Perceiving Emotion, Reasoning with Emotion, Understanding Emotion, and Managing Emotion. Perceiving Emotion Pay Attention to Social Cues The most basic level of EQ is the ability to identify the gradients in a broad spectrum of emotional expression. It is trite to say that a furrowed brow indicates concentration or frustration. We monday - jan 28 - 2013
People say one thing and then act in a contradictory manner. You are absolutely gobsmacked, I know; it’s a shocking revelation. With this piece of knowledge in our pocket, we can work on hearing verbal representations while being constantly aware of the non-verbal messages that are simultaneously being sent. Likewise, be mindful of the non-verbal communication you are sending out, which may or may not actually align with your emotions. Seek Clarification and Ask Questions Another lesson from Dr. Sheldon Cooper: When in doubt, ask for clarification. It is far savvier to engage in a sincere conversation about how a person is feeling, than to make the assumptions for yourself. People and their emotions are complicated, and are often in conflict. Ask open-ended questions that allow the other person to provide as little or as much insight as possible. To clarify, badgering people about personal matters so that you understand how they feel is not an emotionally intelligent way to proceed. Reasoning with Emotion Act Appropriately Whether dealing with sensitive issues or not, be sensitive to people’s feelings. Things that seem trivial to you may be emotionally charged for another. It is important to first assess the emotional position of each party before reacting or responding.
Understanding Emotion Avoid Misunderstandings The danger of the aforementioned emotional flashcards is that of misunderstanding. For example, while tears are often demonstrative of sadness, it may also be a sign of joy or frustration. It is too simplistic a practice to walk around sticking imaginary labels above people’s heads signifying the emotion you have identified. Emotions are dynamic and interwoven with situations, circumstances, and internal affairs. When someone seems angry, and that anger seems to be directed at you, before responding in an equally hostile and defensive manner, attempt to understand the other person’s display. Ask yourself why this person is angry, what are the different possibilities and factors at play here, and how you can ascertain the root of the problem. By taking into account the various and plausible reasons for another’s emotional expression, you will decrease your chances of sticking your foot into your mouth – which is painful for all. Avoid Projecting In the example above, said person may have just received a parking ticket because his/her meter » continued on next page
last issue`s crossword
Keep Calm and Carry On Stressful situations continually arise in school and in the workplace. Chaos is de rigueur these days, and that can be okay if you can effectively handle these moments of tension. Emotional intelligence is both a social and introspective practice. In times of turbulence, always keep calm and carry on by first identifying how you are feeling, asking yourself why you are feeling the OBITERdicta
features » continued from previous page ran out a mere minute before he/she arrived. That would be really annoying. Instead of handling that emotion in an effective manner, this person projects his/her frustration on to you. This happens all the time. For further explanation, please see Barney Stinson’s Chain/Circle/ Pyramid of Screaming from How I Met Your Mother. By being aware of one’s personal emotional state, one can avoid projecting that onto others. Unchecked emotions can cloud one’s judgment and perception. Managing Emotion Managing Your Own Emotions
Listen to the other side » continued from page 5 our government has described it, and not an impediment to peace. Indeed, after decades of “negotiation” with Israel the Palestinians are no closer to realizing their state. Rather, Israel continues to occupy more Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (land that belongs to the future Palestinian state), effectively creating “facts on the ground” that will complicate (to put it lightly) the realization of a viable Palestinian state. The resulting Israeli colonies are funded by the state and protected by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Notably, a number of IDF soldiers have spoken out about illegal and immoral Israeli action in the Occupied Territories. Israel’s decision to approve 3 000 additional colonies in the West Bank following the UN General Assembly decision in November was actually not surprising. Indeed, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ statements following Israel’s declaration of these new settlements demonstrate the frustration with the constant expansion onto Palestinian land and the ways in which such actions prevent effective governance. Even the US criticized Israel’s move as “a pattern of provocative action” which runs counter to its stated goals of peace with the Palestinians. The impact of Israeli control and occupation of Palestinian land and resources (including Israel’s unlimited access to and use of water sources resulting from its occupation of the West Bank with the simultaneous severe restriction of water to Palestinians even during the hottest the OBITERdicta
Getting a handle on our own emotions is a difficult task. Certain things or people have an indescribable way of getting under our skin, or pushing our buttons. However, managing these responses, particularly to difficult situations, is the highest form of emotional intelligence.
garners respect from one’s peers, nor effectively communicates whatever is at the heart of a particular situation. Managing emotions requires a constant conversation with oneself. It is a negotiation and a balancing act of internal dialogue and external expression.
I am not telling you not to feel, automaton-style. There is a difference between feeling something, and getting caught up in a feeling that spurs unproductive or negative actions that may be harmful to yourself and others. The difference is self-awareness and emotional management.
The concepts of being professional and emotional management are tied. Engaging and interacting in the workplace requires careful and constant cognizance of one’s space, words, actions, and emotions. By procuring the skills of EQ early in your career, you will be better prepared for difficult situations and people in the near future, where screaming matches and food fights are often frowned upon.
Being passionate can be an excellent personal attribute; however, getting caught up in an emotion can often lead to juvenile, irrational, and unfounded behaviour. Such behaviour neither
months) on the conflict between Israel and Palestine cannot be underestimated. The continued oppression of a people – who, like any other group of people, are inherently interested in building better lives for themselves, families and communities – only hinders peace.
children. Extremism on either side should be condemned. So please, let’s avoid quick and easy stereotypes and drop the us vs. them rhetoric which seeks to create outsiders of the Palestinians while remaining uncritical of Israel because it is supposedly more like “us.”
Polls have showed that both Palestinians and Israelis want peace. Most people on both sides would like to go about their lives in security with the prospect of building better worlds for their
Sources: breakingthesilence.org.il, B’Tselem, Canadiens pour la justice et la paix au Moyen-Orient (CJPMO), CBC, The Guardian, Haaretz.
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Technology stars in silicon valley: an intensely IP semester at Stanford
NANCY SITU Senior Editor-in-Chief
If you’re ever in southern California, Starline Tours offers a special “celebrity homes” tour where they take you on a bus to see where movie stars live. But, despite being an ardent film fanatic, I’ve never been particularly interested in celebrity watching or Hollywood mansions. What would be far more interesting is exploring northern California and the technological equivalent of Jennifer Aniston’s driveway – and this is precisely where the Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program took me for eleven weeks. Although we called it the “Stanford” or the “CodeX” placement, it could have just as easily been called the Silicon Valley placement. Truthfully, as some have pointed out, there is little divide between university and industry. Stanford-affiliated entrepreneurs generate revenues of $2.7 trillion annually and have created 39,900 companies and 5.4 million jobs since the 1930s. Many of our favourite companies came out of Stanford – Google, Instagram, Netflix, and Paypal, to name just a few. Stanford even has what I would call a Mickey Mouse Club for entrepreneurs, a startup accelerator called StartX, where young inventors form a community for sharing, learning, and support. From its conception two years ago, over 650 companies have applied for a spot at StartX with about 60 accepted. These companies have collectively fundraised over $88 million. Among my favourite experiences during my placement were taking a tour of StartX to see inventors hard at
work, and attending the demo day where startups showcased their products. One of the StartX companies, Law Gives, was also a project of the centre I was placed at, CodeX. CodeX is a multidisciplinary laboratory between the Law and Computer Science departments at Stanford and focuses on legal technology and informatics. You may be unfamiliar with legal technology despite, perhaps, being well-versed in the law and legal industry generally. Like other kinds of technological innovation, legal technology is beginning to grab a foothold in Silicon Valley but is virtually unheard of elsewhere in the world. I will explain what legal technology is with an example. Imagine that there was some way of compiling litigation data so that you could predict with some confidence what the outcome of a trial will be based on who the parties are, which law firms are representing them, what the issue is, and which judge is trying the case. Imagine that this information could help you decide whether to settle and, if so, how much to settle for. This is exactly what a company founded by Professor Mark Lemley in 2006 is in the business of doing for intellectual property litigation. Lex Machina uses crawlers to extract documents from publicly available court records and performs analytics on its collected data to help lawyers and companies to make decisions. Lex Machina also recently released a very interesting paper on the litigation patterns of patent trolls. The study analyzed 500 cases over five years and compared the behaviour of trolls (called “monetizers” in the paper) and operating companies.
Ian Scott Fellowship JON O’KANE Contributor Third-year Osgoode JD student Jon O’Kane received an Ian Scott Public Interest Fellowship, which allowed him to work as a legal research intern for the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) in Kampala, Uganda during the summer of 2011. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) was a way for me to get out of my comfort zone. There were a lot of other options, but I wanted to do something that let me get on the ground and work with people first-hand with a local NGO. It was a great way for me to really immerse myself in a culture and try out something new. Kampala, Uganda is a hustling, bustling city. It's monday - jan 28 - 2013
got a giant population (over 1.5 million) and the idea of moving to Africa is not the rural experience one might expect. Thanks to a connection through the FHRI and other Osgoode students, I actually spent my time there staying in the Pakistani consular residence, believe it or not. About half way through my trip, it was announced that there was going to be the first International Criminal Court trial of a member of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The trial was to happen in Gulu, in northern Uganda, and I, being ready to travel and FHRI's available go-to person in the area, was sent up to be their official observer. I was excited; I was thinking “history is happening; they're going to get the bad guy.” When I got there, though, it was a bit of a circus; a marching band was playing out front, news cameras were everywhere, and there
were serious procedural errors in the trial. I was conflicted, to say the least. I spent a lot of my time in Uganda traveling in the northern part of the country, meeting with the victims of the LRA and seeing the things they'd suffered. On the other hand, I was there as a monitor for a right to a fair trial. After I came back, I wrote a paper as a part of the International Legal Partnership program, which helped me reconcile some of those feelings, between the longing for peace and the longing for justice. Overall, the summer of 2011 opened my eyes to the practical challenges and excitement of lawyering abroad. Jon was interviewed by student intern Benjamin Jenkins, a recent graduate of Seneca@York’s broadcast journalism program. the OBITERdicta
SALSA hosts Osgoode solidarity event for Damini RAHIM JAMAL Contributor On December 16, Jyoti Singh Pandey and a friend boarded a bus in Delhi. They were told it would take them in the direction they needed to get home. Instead, Jyoti was brutally raped multiple times by 6 men. The attack left her with major organ damage, injuries that would later claim her life. Jyoti was 23 years old. The event has sparked large protests in India and attracted considerable media attention. On January 16th, one month since the rape, the South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA) organized a solidartity event in Osgoode’s foyer to honour Jyoti (also known as “Damini,” “Amanat,” and “Nirbhaya” before her family agreed release her name), to remember other victims and survivors of gender based violence, and to remind the Osgoode community of the resol¬¬¬ve and determination required to confront violence against women both here and abroad. At the event, the Osgoode community
was asked to think about attitudes and systems that lead to gender-based violence and rape culture, and to resist – in whatever ways each of us can – indifference and inaction towards them. Sukhpreet Sangha performed a monologue on the short skirt, a rallying point for many Indian women during the protests that followed the attack, and Professor Mosher spoke of connections between gender-based violence in Canada and India. The event concluded with a walk to the bus stop at Pond and Sentinel, where a moment of silence was observed. A bus stop is where Jyoti’s ordeal in Delhi began and, more broadly, is a space where many incidents of gender based violence occur, including in Canada, Toronto, and even here at York.
Criminal Law Watch and relevant. Before the JSTOR charges, in 2008, Swartz downloaded and released for free documents from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), records which, perversely, cost the public 8 cents a page to read. Seeing as government-produced documents do not have copyright protection, and should rightfully be in the hands of the public domain, why weren’t these records available for free? In a society that boasts the merits of the free flow of ideas and free speech every chance it gets, it becomes easy to believe in the infalthe OBITERdicta
libility of “democracy.” This isn’t the USSR, we remind ourselves, nor is it China, where state propaganda is accepted as a given. Yet perhaps even more dangerous than a state which is overt about its censorship of information is a state that offers the illusion of government transparency. As long as we believe we know the truth about things, we are unlikely to ask questions. The Internet and technological tools provide both a forum and instruments to chip away at this image of the infallible democratic state. The empowerment and expression it lends to the disempowered and voiceless has the potential
to lay the bricks for societal transformation in the interests of the public good in a way that has never been done before. But before empowerment and expression come knowledge, and the ability to attain knowledge. JSTOR has responded to the Swartz tragedy by making more than 4.5 million of its articles free to the public. Which begs the question: Will our governments follow its lead in working towards the goals of transparency and increased information accessibility? Aaron Swartz didn’t die in vain. At least we can make it so he didn’t. Let’s keep the conversation going. monday - jan 28 - 2013
The real issue with Lance Armstrong’s deceit CITLALLY MACIEL Staff Writer What is it about Oprah that always makes people spill the beans to her? Indeed, this week we saw Lance Armstrong admit to Oprah that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s admission will of course unleash many aftereffects. One of them relates to Armstrong’s defamation lawsuits against all those who have maintained for years that he was using drugs. In addition, it is expected that Armstrong will be stripped of his medals, and his participation in his own Livestrong Foundation may very well be over. The question of the week has been what Armstrong’s confession means for the future of cycling in particular, and for competitive sports in general. Although some people are hopeful that Armstrong’s confession will bring positive changes, my position is rather pessimistic about the potential outcomes. Indeed, as long as competitive sports exist and as long as the stakes are high, competitive athletes will look for ways to boost their performance, even if that means breaking the law or putting their own health at risk. Recently, it has been discovered that professional football players have been using Adderall, a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in order to improve their performance in the game. In an article in the New York Times, it was reported that at least seven players have been suspended for using the drug. According to the article, “athletes are often taking it to fight fatigue and exhaustion. It’s almost like taking 100 cups of coffee. They can take it during training camp when their bodies are especially fatigued, and the other is right before a game, to boost them.” Although the full repercussions of the drug are not well understood, it must be taken for granted that there are some side effects. There is always one side effect or another when it comes to drugs, especially when the drugs are taken without a
proper prescription and a thorough medical assessment. Human growth hormone (HGH) is another example of an enhancing but forbidden drug used by competitive athletes. Human growth hormone is a hormone, naturally produced by the body, which stimulates production of cartilage cells, resulting in bone growth. It also plays an important role in muscle and organ growth. According to the World Anti-doping Agency’s Anti-doping Administration, “HGH has an ergogenic and anabolic impact, and… it enhances the anabolic power of steroids.” Although it seems like there have been only a few instances of athletes being caught using HGH, its use has also been detected among college athletes. Last year, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) revealed that a football player of the University of Waterloo tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH). In her book, Women and Sports in the US: A Documentary Reader, Jean O’Reilly states that although eating disorders are common in many sports; eating disorders, especially anorexia, are more common among those sports where thinness is essential for better performance. These sports include gymnastics, running, diving, and figure skating. Evidently, developing an eating
disorder is a serious issue. Eating disorders go beyond being mere tricks to win a medal; they are complex mental disorders that can lead to death. Nonetheless, they are clear examples of the extent to which an athlete will go to remain competitive, and represent a serious problem to vulnerable teenage girls. The prototype of performance-boosting techniques is certainly the use of steroids. However, as discussed above, there are other drugs and practices that athletes use to get ahead. Although some are more controversial than others and may carry a bigger stigma than others, in the end, they are all dangerous and dishonourable forms of getting ahead. While the issue may seem extraneous to us at first sight, in reality, it is not. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is also becoming common among amateur athletes, including teens. Thus, the influence that the lives of professional athletes have on young people can no longer be discounted. The issue has to be taken more seriously. Beyond having more aggressive anti-doping campaigns by sports officials, there is need for more organic change. Cheating athletes are not always acting alone. From physicians to trainers, sometimes (as in the case of Armstrong) a whole team is behind the charade. Society cannot dismiss the problem anymore when those teenagers in our lives may fall prey to this scheme. Instances of teens committing suicide – depression is a side effect of steroid use – should fade. When Oprah asked him if he felt bad about what he did, Armstrong replied: “the definition of cheating is to gain an advantage on a rival or a foe; I didn’t view it that way. I view it as a level playing field.” It is funny how people can twist reality to their benefit and deflect their blame onto others. Essentially, Armstrong has liberated himself from any responsibility because there were others doing it too. Perhaps, if Armstrong had questions regarding ethical issues, he should have opened the regulations manual of the Tour de France instead of referring to a dictionary.
monday - jan 28 - 2013
Idle No More: Moving “aboriginal” identity forward RORY MCGOVERN Staff Writer The idle no more protests have reminded us of the struggles which aboriginal people in Canada have and continue to endure. It has also provided us with a reminder about how important identity politics are for social cohesion. To start, I always question the usefulness of the term “aboriginal” or “first nations” as it relates to the collective identity of all of the different “aboriginal” groups in Canada. There are myriad aboriginal groups which are as different from each other as a German person is different from a Chinese person. The various “aboriginal” groups have unique languages, stories and practices customs and traditions which were integral to each of their unique individual cultures. The term “aboriginal” was created by occupying peoples who, due to their ignorance of the uniqueness of each aboriginal group, created a catch-all term to avoid genuine engagement with each group on unique terms. They then created legislation (the Indian Act) to govern relations based on a wilful misunderstanding of the people they encountered when they arrived on the shores of the new world. It is thus curious why all of the different “aboriginal” groups in Canada unite under this overbroad and imprecise term which was tattooed on them by their historical oppressors. Perhaps it is a political concession by the “aboriginals” in order to increase leverage at the political bargaining table. However, a calculated political concession in no elevates the term to a level of preciseness and intelligibility which many groups are deserving of. It groups all aboriginals together in a way which has allowed for increasingly dismissive political rhetoric and public condemnation. The Innu are not the Mohawk. The aboriginal living on the Hobema reserve in Alberta are not very similar to the Haida or the Squamish in BC. The effect of this lexical self identification is that a true identity for each individual group has become limited by several deplorable historical experiences which have been shared by all “aboriginals” and which arose from the same kind of ignorance which gave rise to the creation of the term at first instance. The residential schools system was a disgrace for both the Canadian government and the Church. the OBITERdicta
This dark period now occupies the background of many negotiations, legislative reforms and judicial decisions. The result of this system was the instilling of a large amount of distrust of the Canadian government, the Church and the rest of Canadian society. This mistrust has been passed down inter-generationally which prejudices the minds of young “aboriginals” and discourages engagement with a wider and potentially enriching Canadian society. This received prejudice is then reinforced in the minds of young “aboriginals” when any foray into the wider Canadian society is met with racism and intolerance, rooted in expose’s of the more dilapidated reserves their significant socio-economic problems. This is a vicious circle of reinforcement which must be changed at a fundamental level, with significant efforts to build a bridge between the two row wampum belt by both aboriginals and Canadian society generally. The reserve system might be blamed for the inability for many young aboriginal people to engage with the rest of Canadian society. The reserve system was set up in a series of horrible deals and one sided treaties where the misguided Canadian government frequently isolated “aboriginals” from the rest of society by giving them fruitless and non-idyllic plots of land. The isolation from the rest of Canadian society was a disservice both to aboriginals and Canadian people. “Aboriginals” were geographically precluded from allowing their culture to evolve in light of knowledge which could have been gained from Canadian people. Instead, “aboriginal” culture on many reserves has degenerated significantly. Canadian society was largely deprived of aboriginal understandings of the world which could have been important in the development of social policy and public education, especially now in the era of increased awareness of what our relationship with nature ought to be. A right to consciously self determine by both groups was thus taken away. In isolation, “aboriginals” have clung to the scraps of their former culture which the government left them with, jealously guarding these scraps in order to avoid a complete cultural extermination. The effect of this, coupled with the mistrust and prejudice engendered by bad treaties and the residential school system has resulted in a stag-
nation of culture and a lack of evolution which might have seen the richness of an “aboriginal” point of view incorporated into Canadian society more generally. Cultures evolve constantly throughout history. It is a tragedy that oppression and isolation creates a cultural stagnation in the oppressed group due to a jealous guarding of what they have been left with and a fear of extermination. It is therefore also curious why many “aboriginals” cling to their reserves as something fundamentally connected to their identity. Their reserves represent bad deals and bad faith negotiations which sought to halt their cultural development and isolate them from the rest of Canada. If anything, staying on reserves should remind each aboriginal of the historical oppression they have been subjected to. However, because of years of isolation and a mistrust of the rest of Canada, in the minds of many “aboriginals” there may be nowhere else to go. The real identity of each aboriginal group should exist separately from these shared historical travesties and the geographic locales which they currently occupy. Identity should be a positive affirmation of the self in relation to the world, not a binding together because of shared hardship. I recognize that shared hardship has been fundamental to ethno and religious bonding throughout history, but this does not necessarily make it the most useful way forward for many groups. Emotional trauma should never be the driving force behind a positive affirmation of the self. I hope the younger generations of aboriginals affirm their identity based on their spiritual and cultural traditions, not on a shared animus toward the rest of society and dark periods in Canadian history. The prejudice of past generations of aboriginals should not limit current generations from tackling the myriad issues which plague their existence. The follies of the current chiefs should not limit the drive to responsible and legitimate self determination in the future. The way forward is cultural integration, the sharing of knowledge and perspective and an embracing of the uniqueness of each group both by “aboriginals” and Canadian society.
monday - jan 28 - 2013
arts & culture
The Unreasonable Man’s wisdom tooth film festival TRAVIS WEAGANT Editor-In-Chief On January 11, some of my wisdom was lost, which I can only assume will make me more unreasonable. It was taken directly out of my jaw. Being subsequently barred from physical exertion for a few days, I took to the couch, where painkillers and movies awaited. There were complications following the procedure, the most significant of which was the cab driver bringing me to the corner of York and University instead of to York University. This earned him a string of expletives that he did not understand because I could only control half of my mouth. When I finally returned home, I climbed into bed and began a three-day odyssey in film. What follows is the drug-addled account of that
a position; it merely puts it on display. Nineteen Eighty-Four never, as a work of art, advocated against totalitarianism. Characters within the work attempted to subvert it, certainly, but the work itself was not an opinion. The perspective
approval, Huggins accepts a nomination to run for Congress in a small southern town against incumbent Cam Brady (Will Ferrell). Ferrell plays an arrogant, womanizing blowhard, who just wasn’t that funny because I already saw him in Anchorman. I sincerely regret spending even one intoxicated minute watching this. Film #3: Zero Dark Thirty
journey. Film #1: This is 40 Even T3s couldn’t make this funny. No Apatow comedy should have a running time over 120 minutes. This one ran 133. The only time I wasn’t bored was during Melissa McCarthy’s hysterical tirade in a principal’s office. That was funny. An unhappy couple worrying about money, their
children, and getting old isn’t. It’s boring. Film #2: The Campaign This is where I gave up on comedy for the weekend. Maybe it’s because the freezing was wearing off, making chuckles painful, but I didn’t laugh out loud once during The Campaign. Most of the humour from Zach Galafianakis’ character, Marty Huggins, stems from the fact that he is a few credits short of a courseload, which just wasn’t that funny because I already saw him in The Hangover. Longing for his father’s monday - jan 28 - 2013
Maybe it’s because the first two films were so bad, but Zero Dark Thirty may have stolen the weekend. Director Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker underwhelmed me a couple of years ago. I found it long and boring. Zero Dark Thirty, however, is exactly what I expected: a topical spy thriller from a brilliant director that engrosses the viewer from start to finish. Bigelow would not have been able to justify the almost-three hour runtime for an entirely fictional spy story, but the story of the biggest manhunt in history evokes an insatiable curiosity in the viewer that glues them to the screen. I’ve read several criticisms of the film as an apology for torture, including one by The Guardian’s Naomi Wolf, who worryingly suggests that such a sin is somehow made worse because Bigelow is a woman. I do agree that the film should not hold itself out as even a partially factual account of the events portrayed therein (perhaps “inspired by a true story” is an appropriate tagline). There is simply no way for the average viewer to evaluate the film’s accuracy. However, the film focuses on characters who torture people as a means to obtain information. Like any bureaucrat, an intelligence officer always believes in his or her own self-importance. For them to believe otherwise would undermine their performance. Does it not make sense for such a character, as an artistic creation, to extol the virtues of torture and bemoan its prohibition? It seems to me that for the character do otherwise would undermine the film’s realism. Let us not forget that good art does not advocate
of the reader is what truly determines whether Winston’s life is perceived as destructive or heroic. It does not occur to those of us who perceive Winston as a hero that there may be those who perceive him as an anti-hero, and when it does, such a realization makes us uncomfortable. Likewise, Zero Dark Thirty reminds Naomi Wolf that, at one time, powerful American officials, both elected and appointed, found torture to be an acceptable means of interrogation. Confronted by the spectre of those who disagree with her on a contentious moral issue, Wolf gets all upset and shoots the messenger. Oh dear. Film #4: Rain Man One year before I was born, this film won the Oscar for Best Picture. Dustin Hoffman also won Best Actor for his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt, an autistic man who helps his brother Charlie (Tom Cruise) become a better person. I enjoyed Rain Man so much, I even paused it while I took my painkiller-mandated nap. I have had the pleasure to know people with varying degrees of autism throughout my life, and Hoffman’s performance demonstrates the total mastery of his craft. He was fascinating to watch.
I now turn to the soundtrack. While the pop music song selections were outstanding, Hans Zimmer’s original score seems to have been » continued on next page the OBITERdicta
arts & culture » continued from last page composed for another film. The haunting principal theme, which recurs every time Cruise and Hoffman take to the road in their father’s Buick, interrupts the flow of the film and seems at odds with what is happening onscreen. Full disclosure: I really don’t like Hans Zimmer. I haven’t liked him since high school, so this particular encounter with his work is probably confirmation bias, especially since he won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Rain Man. Film #5: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Coen Brothers + prescription drugs = big mistake. The Coens’ films are hit and miss for me. Call me blasphemous, but I didn’t like The Big Lebowski. On the other hand, The Ladykillers was fantastic. One thing all these films have in common is surrealism. O Brother, Where Art
Thou? is an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey set during the Great Depression in Mississippi. Unfortunately, I am completely unfamiliar with the Greek epic, so the film appeared even more surreal. Apparently John Goodman’s character is the Cyclops. I was so befuddled that I took a voluntary nap and returned to the film later. Confusion aside, the photography is stunning and the music well deserving of its 2001 Grammy. Of particular note is the scene where the three protagonists stumble upon a Ku Klux
Klan gathering and dress up as the “colour guard” to save their guitar-playing friend from lynching. Also, the gubernatorial campaign in this film is much funnier than The Campaign. Film #6: Flight Alcoholism has been addressed repeatedly on television and in film, but usually only incidentally to the main plot. Flight is a film about addiction. Within the first 20 minutes, Denzel the OBITERdicta
Washington has already saved the plane from crashing. The remaining two hours are dedicated to his acceptance of responsibility for saving the plane while drunk and high. Or maybe he was just drunk, and I was high. This one’s fuzzy. Film #7: Lincoln It’s true what they’re saying about Daniel DayLewis. I have no idea what Abraham Lincoln was like as a person, but, after this film, Day-Lewis’ interpretation will be the dominant perception of the 16th President in the popular imagination. However, the most interesting character
is not the eponymous President, but the radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones). While Lincoln’s moderate Republicans argued for the abolition of slavery as a means to end the Civil War, Stevens’ radicals advocated true race equality, a concept unpalatable to the majority of Congress at the time. The defining moment of the film is when Stevens stands before Congress and publicly compromises his ideal of total race equality for the practical objective of achieving equality before
the law. It begs the question: how often do our own elected representatives say things they do not believe and sacrifice their own integrity for a piecemeal step toward their ultimate goal? Film #8: Hitchcock Anthony Hopkins is always a pleasure to watch, even if you sleep through most of his performance. This film is about the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous work: Psycho. I have never seen Psycho, so I approached this film with no knowledge of its characters or plot. Nonetheless, Hopkins and Helen Mirren (as Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville) create fascinating characters and director Sacha Gervasi tells a compelling story. Though I have read online that the overarching love story between Hitchcock and Reville is somewhat revisionist (Hitchcock’s penchant for the actresses he worked with is apparently wellknown), the script is dry and amusing. At 105 minutes, this is a bite-sized film worth seeing. Well, there you have it. I’ve done my best to remember details, but there are moments from the last three days that I will never regain. Please take the above reviews with a grain of salt (or perhaps a salt-water rinse), as their accuracy is not guaranteed unless the viewer is under the influence.
monday - jan 28 - 2013
arts & culture
“Girls” like us KAROLINA WISNIEWSKI Opinions Editor There is no shortage of articles berating HBO’s Girls for being racist, elitist, whiney, smug and generally exemplifying all that is wrong with Generation Y. Unsurprisingly enough, many critiques of the series are interwoven with personal attacks on Lena Dunham. As the show’s creator, writer, director and also one of the actors, its difficult to argue with the idea that Girls is thoroughly permeated with all things Lena. In fact, she’s said many times that the series is largely autobiographical. On one hand, this is a remarkable feat for someone so young and generally speaking, inexperienced in the industry. On the other hand, it renders most attempts to watch the show (for me at least) mildly infuriating. Why should we be subjected to all the mundane trivialities of Dunham’s life as she navigates her way through quasi-adulthood in as egotistical, self-centered and immature a way as she can manage? Why is the world her soapbox? For all the show’s strengths (and I do think, contrary to appearances, that there are some), much of its focus is on the irrelevant and selfindulgent lives of distinctly unlikeable twentysomething year olds. Though the protagonist, Hannah (played by Dunham herself) is portrayed as the most irrational, erratic and insufferably self-centered of all the characters, she is also the most complex. The mastery with which
Dunham plays her, and the accuracy with which she conveys every nuance of Hannah’s disposition makes me wonder how much of her role as Hannah is acting and how much of it is an unbridled exposition of Dunham’s id. The very fact that Dunham has congratulated herself by taking on the role of the main character brings to mind all of the cringe-worthy “writing themselves in” that directors tend to do, pushing into their films in a gratuitous and completely unnecessary way a la Quentin Tarantino (which is, all things considered, ultimately excusable because, well, he’s Quentin Tarantino. When you direct the next Pulp Fiction, Dunham, I’ll cut you some slack too). But as I see it, many of the attacks on the show tend to miss the point. Fundamentally, Girls isn’t problematic because it focuses on the lives of privileged or because it fails to include characters who aren’t Caucasian. Many shows currently on television are guilty of the same charges, except for maybe Glee. But while Glee fulfills an important void on television, Girls sets out on an equally important, yet drastically different project. Perhaps the reason we aren’t quite as incensed by other series who commit the same mistakes as Girls because those other shows are presented as highly stylized, unrealistic and anecdotal projects. Dunham’s vision for Girls is much more lofty: to present not only a
realistic account of everyday life that is meant to speak to our generation, but to communicate something inherently poignant and perhaps even profound about the seemingly unremarkable lives of people like Hannah – or as Dunham would have it, people like us. If Dunham didn’t succeed at this to some degree, we probably wouldn’t be so bothered by all of Girls’ missteps (and just to be clear, I do indeed consider the racist and elitist criticisms raised against it to be valid). At least, not anymore than we are when we consider the general depravity to be found on the television screen. But it is because Dunham’s efforts are, at least in part, successful, that the show’s missteps become all the more glaring. Dunham’s aesthetic and her on-point writing render Girls to bear such similarity (albeit, I think, in very brief snapshots) to our everyday life, that it ceases to be a merely descriptive account of her life, and takes on rather a prescriptive nature, that is, a quasi-aspirational quality. The relatability of Girls renders it all the more effective as an account of how the life of a hip, artsy and liberal young woman should look. This plays into our societal obsession with sincerity and authenticity, which in turn, is mir» continued on pg 20
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monday - jan 28 - 2013
arts & culture
“Girls” » continued from pg 18 rored in the most interesting subcultural figure: the hipster. Hipster culture has the odd quality of ephemerality: those who aspire to it find that just as they approach it, their self-awareness and calculated attempts as mimicking various aspects of the alternative lifestyle nullify their efforts. In a very natural way, Girls builds on this framework. It is precisely the series’ efforts to combat artifice and to portray the “real” lives of “real” people that one-ups the hipster in the most important sense: it succeeds at building its own culture of cool that rejects the status quo, and in doing so, carries more authenticity and integrity than hipster culture, which is itself grounded in a decisive rejection of all things artificial and “commercialized”. This brings me to the difficulty I fundamentally have with Girls, a difficulty which is skimmed over by many of its critics. The problem is that, for all its efforts, the series undermines its own sincerity and earnestness in a plethora of ways. For example, the series strives to portray deglamourized attempts to survive in New York without a clear career path or the dedication to create one. But frustratingly enough, all the actresses come from varying degrees of privilege which, if they have not allowed them to
monday - jan 28 - 2013
live entirely off of their family fortune, have allowed them to operate in elite and esoteric circles that most of us will never have access to. Consequently, much of the time, they’re only playing the part of poor, struggling writers or actors without ever having experienced such a lifestyle. This isn’t problematic in itself, but considering that it is Dunham’s goal to show how “down with it” she is, and how much she can relate to the everywoman, I question the degree to which she is able to do that. Furthermore, Dunham’s dedication to representing “reality”, though perhaps successful in fleeting moments, often gives way to unrealistic and highly contrived plot turns and dialogue. As before, this becomes problematic when a series is marketed as an earnest reflection of everyday life.
for all the women who felt they never had one” (to paraphrase Dunham’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes), and thereby playing on the latent insecurities of is audience. Fundamentally, though I find Girls entertaining, I don’t see Dunham as “part of the solution” (which she has been quoted as saying), but rather as creating a slightly different and more eccentric but nonetheless carefully marketed and highly contrived alternate reality.
Since comparisons between our everyday experiences and those depicted on Girls seem to come so easily and so readily, the show is, in effect, a slightly funnier, more interesting and more exciting version of the lives most twenty-something women are actually leading. In this sense, Girls takes on the problematic role that it originally set out to combat. I don’t fault Dunham for taking artistic license and departing from reality, nor do I take issue with the series’ failure to replicate genuine, everyday life (let’s be honest: who would want to watch that?). But what I do take issue with is the series being marketed as a “finding a place