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ISSUE 12 - March 25, 2013

Submissions for the final issue are due at 5 p.m. on March 30, 2013. Please send your articles to:

I’m not an environmentalist in the common sense of the word. I’ve never chained myself to a tree. But, you know, I recycle. I have a conscience.

The Definitive Source for Osgoode News

” ELS Sustainability Progress Report: A new era of sustainability at Osgoode


Heureux to meet you: Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé visits Osgoode CITLALLY MACIEL Staff Writer As a law student, is there a case that you passionately like or dislike? Is there a case that stuck on you because you found it interesting, compelling, unjust or just plain boring? Is there a particular legal figure that you have come to admire or that you absolutely detest? Lord Denning anyone (hate/love)? Personally, R. v Ewanchuk is a case that, for a number of reasons, made a huge impression on me. Indeed, I can talk about this case until I make your ears bleed. For the purposes of this article, I will spare readers. I will nonetheless express one important thing: it was R. v Ewanchuk that prompted my respect and admiration for Madame Justice L’HeureuxDubé. Accordingly, I was thrilled to find out about her visit to Osgoode. Apparently, I was not the only one. Dean Sossin mentioned to her that when he announced her visit “there was an audible gasp in the room.” If you were unable to attend, you definitely missed out on one of the best speakers of the year. But not to worry, here is a recap.

Escorted by Dean Sossin, a lively Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé arrived to the Moot Court. Although I had seen pictures of her before, her appearance looked softer and kinder in real life. As both sat down, Dean Sossin proceeded to introduce her to the crowd. He had not concluded this formality, when she was already making the audience laugh. Indeed, the remainder of the talk was characterized by jokes, laughter, and cheerfulness. Her sense of humor was indeed refreshing. But aside from her cheerful attitude, there was also an element of modesty in her demeanor. When talking about her work, her accounts were completely unpretentious and nonchalant. It almost seemed like she felt that she had not accomplished much, but had only met expectations. Anyone who takes a look at her credentials and is familiar with her work would think that either her standards are too high or that she is just too modest. She could be both except that, in reality, her outlook is very likely to reflect a solid sense of duty. During the » continued on pg 7

JESSE-ROSS COHEN & CLAIRE YICK Contributors At this year’s ELS Career Panel, one participant was asked if he considered himself an “environmentalist,” and whether his work in private practice ever forced him to go against his beliefs. His answer was telling of the types of perceptions that environmental activists must often rally against: “Well, I’m not an environmentalist in the common sense of the word. I’ve never chained myself to a tree. But, you know, I recycle. I have a conscience.” This year, the ELS brought the green part of Osgoode’s conscience into focus via the Sustainability Committee. We kept our chains (and whips) at home, working with the administration to achieve major success. Osgoode and its leadership want to be environmentally friendly actors, and we were happy to usher them in that direction. A sample of our achievements: • The now-infamous Lug-A-Mug Week, in which we gave out over 100 free coffees and 30 reusable mugs to those who stopped by the table and reminded » continued on pg 4

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The Definitive Source for Osgoode News Osgoode Hall Law School, 0014G York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 E-mail. Website. Twitter. @obiterdictaoz “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” - Thomas Mann Senior Editor-in-Chief: Nancy Situ Editors-in-Chief: Thomas Mastoras, Travis Weagant Business Manager: Adam Cepler Features Editor: Cass Da Re News Editor: Nadia Guo Opinions Editor: Karolina Wisniewski Arts & Culture Editor: Maximilian Paterson Sports Editor: Andrew Cyr Staff Writers: Citlally Maciel, Jihee (Marie) Park, Daniel Styler, Angie Sheep, Harjot Atwal, Michael Capitano, Rory McGovern Crossword: Emily Gray Contributors: Bianca Bell, Jesse-Ross Cohen, Olivia Holzapfel, Alexandra Kochega, Michael Long, Katie Wei, Claire Yick Layout Editors: Julia Vizzaccaro, Devin Santos, Patricia Wood, Wendy Sun Staff Photographer: Ronald Montes Website Editor: Ricardo Golec Articles are due at 5 p.m. on March 30, 2013. The maximum length is 1200 words. Please submit articles in Microsoft Word format to obiterdicta@ Please attach photographs separately; do not include them in your Word document. The Obiter Dicta is the official student newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School. The opinions expressed in the articles contained herein are not necessarily those of the Obiter staff. The Obiter reserves the right to refuse any submission that is judged to be libelous or defamatory, contains personal attacks, or is discriminatory on the basis of sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Submissions may be edited for length and/or content. The Obiter Dicta is published biweekly during the school year, and is printed by Weller Publishing Co. Ltd.


Don’t be hasty Almost two weeks ago, following Pope Francis’ election, many of our friends and acquaintances sounded off, outraged, regarding his views on sexuality. In this respect, the Obiter Dicta is decidedly on a different page than His Holiness. What amazes us, though, is some folk’s ability to remain surprised, even after spending so much time on planet Earth, that a Catholic cleric is more socially conservative than the average bear. Maybe those opposed to Trinity Western University’s (TWU) bid to open a law school are not similarly surprised at the University’s policy that prohibits any “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” but they are similarly outraged. Perhaps rightly so. After all, the policy clearly prohibits activity central to the deeply-held identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. We at the Obiter Dicta don’t take kindly to being told whom we may sexually intimize, nor, apparently, do the more than one thousand students who signed a petition calling for the Federation of Canadian Law Societies to reject TWU’s bid for accreditation. And, while it’s worth noting that even sexual intimacy between a man and a woman is prohibited under this code if the couple is not married, it’s also worth noting that there is no similar ceremony that a same-sex couple could perform to comply with TWU’s “Community Covenant Agreement,” since the evangelical Protestant churches that founded TWU do not recognize same-sex marriages. TWU already has a Teachers’ College and Nursing School. So why are these okay, but not a law school? In a media release issued on March 18, esteemed Ozzie Douglas Judson answers that very question: “The [signatories to the petition] question whether TWU is an appropriate venue for legal education because these discriminatory policies do not propagate Canadian legal values, including those reflected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or provincial human rights legislation. The signatories express that as future lawyers and officers of the court, they are committed to equality and promoting the values of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms within their own practices. They believe that their colleagues should be exposed to a learning environment that fosters the same.”

The Obiter Dicta is a member of Canadian University Press.

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In fact, it is upon this argument that this saga will turn. In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada, in an 8-1 judgment, quashed the British Columbia College of Teachers’ (BCCT) refusal to accredit the very same Trinity Western University’s Teachers’ College. The Court distinguished belief and conduct, holding that a teacher’s suitability is not based on what they believe, but on how they conduct themselves in their professional environment. Thus, there was no conflict between equality rights and freedom of religion unless the BCCT could prove that TWU graduates were more likely to behave contrary to the rules governing teachers’ conduct than graduates of other British Columbian universities. It couldn’t. What happens with TWU’s proposed law school, then, will turn on whether the Supreme Court’s reasoning in this case is also applicable to lawyers. Pope Francis is, by all accounts, an endearingly humble and admirable human being. The day following his election, uncomfortable with the opulence of the Popemobile, he rode to his hotel in a sedan, ascended to his room, and, before returning to the car with his pre-Papal luggage, stopped at the front desk to pay his bill. He also has objectionable views on sexuality. Those who find that such views outweigh the value of his Petrine nature and kindness are not required to worship at the church he leads, but it’s time we stopped pretending that the Pope’s character is so black or white that it can be appropriately and thoroughly judged in the five minutes it took us to read about his opinions on the Internet. Likewise, we mustn’t pretend that the question of TWU’s law school is a simple one. Is a lawyer’s social role different from that of a teacher in such a way as to impose obligations including not just conduct, but also belief? Perhaps that is a loaded question. Maybe the appropriate questions are whether the Supreme Court got it wrong altogether in 2001, and whether professional bodies should be entitled to weigh equality and freedom of religion when accrediting private institutions. Or maybe there is concrete evidence suggesting that TWU law graduates would be less likely to behave as fine and conscientious officers of the court than the signatories of the petition. Whatever the answer, let us see beyond the obvious equality arguments, because they are only one part of the picture. Indeed, though some of you may find it disappointing, your beloved Obiter isn’t coming down on one side or the other of this debate. That would be irresponsible given the word count available to us. What we can urge with conviction is that you, dear readers, do not succumb to your knees, jerk as they may. Never say anything unless it is worth taking a very long time to say. the OBITERdicta

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Professor Craig Scott: building Canada with fairness and intelligence RORY MCGOVERN Staff Writer Professor Craig Scott (MP for Toronto-Danforth) is a living example of the potential power of a good education. Mr. Scott is the New Democratic Party’s Democratic and Parliamentary Reform Critic and was kind enough to speak with the Obiter Dicta before an engaging presentation on Bill C-470. His portfolio inevitably engages his mind in questions about political theory, law, and the state of Canadian democracy. His insights into these topics are inspiring and reveal a forward-looking and rational approach to making political engagement more attractive to the Canadian electorate.

have been institutionalized by the Tories, who employ “information distortion” specialists in the PMO. Disturbingly, the existence of this political subterfuge has been openly admitted (albeit after a few too many drinks) by staffers at the PMO. The resulting quality of the rheto-

When asked about the effects of this kind of activity on the Canadian electorate, Mr. Scott observed several things. Firstly, “it signifies a period of democratic decay for Canadian democracy – a period we have been in for 6 years since the Conservatives took power. Secondly, it engenders a disengagement and alienation of the electorate. This alienation is deepening among young Canadians who feel less and less of a connection to institutional politics. The response of the government and the media is to turn to ‘celebrity’ in order to make politics more attractive and meaningful. Instead of making politics more meaningful, celebrity just makes politics more superficial.” Scott’s vision of the future of political engagement sees various Canadian political actors playing a more meaningful role. Firstly, the » continued on page 10

Mr. Scott values reasoned argument and a fair presentation of political opinions PROFESSOR CRAIG SCOT T ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL (PHOTO FROM and relevant social inforTORONTOIST.COM) mation and facts. Some would argue that this is an ric coming out of the PMO is poor and, as Mr. approach to politics which is in stark contrast to Scott observes, it is obstinately filtered through the political ethos demonstrated by the Conserits instrumental effects in an “ends justify the vative Party. means” approach to informing the Canadian Intentional irrationality and disinformation public.

erratum The article entitled “Osgoode’s inaugural MHAW: re-shaping the law school’s approach to promoting health and wellness among the student body” from our March 11 issue didn’t just have a really long title; it also had an error in it: the article was authored not just by Elena and Camille, but also by Maria Kaikova. Sorry Maria!

Osgoode cleans up at Willms & Shier environmental law moot BIANCA BELL Contributor

Osgoode Hall was well represented at this year’s Willms and Shier Environmental Law Moot held at the Ontario Court of Appeal on March 9th. The Willms and Shier Moot is Canada’s first nationwide moot court competition devoted to environmental law. The two Osgoode teams were comprised of Luke Johnston & Jesse-Ross Cohen, and Preston MacNeil & Matt Giovinazzo, with Areta Lloyd providing expert and invaluable research to both. In typical Osgoode style, success was had: the teams came in 2nd and 4th place respectively, and took 3 of the 4 distinguished oralist awards handed out during the evening’s banquet ceremony (Preston, Luke, and Jesse). Luke also won the award for top speaker in the final round. Judges throughout the day included former counsel for Inco, environmental lawyers, and government officials. The highlight, however, the OBITERdicta

was the final panel, which included the Honourable Justices Marshall Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada, David W. Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal, Kathryn N. Feldman of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and Katherine M. van Rensberg of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Participants mooted an appeal of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision on Smith v. Inco Ltd. at the fictitious Supreme Environmental Moot Court of Canada. The Court granted leave to appeal on the following questions: 1. Did the Court of Appeal err in holding that the Appellants did not make out a claim under the existing causes of action pleaded? 2. Should the Supreme Environmental Moot Court of Canada recognize a new cause of action for environmental claims or are existing causes of action adequate?

The first ground of appeal raised questions specific to this class action, as well as broader issues applicable to contaminated land disputes across Canada. The case law on these broader issues is unsettled and, in certain respects, contradictory. The crux of the case rested on whether the nickel oxide particles left by Inco on the claimants’ land, which were not injurious to human health, could truly be said to be “damage” – as required by the physical damage branch of the tort of private nuisance and the doctrine of Rylands v Fletcher. The second ground of appeal asked the contestants to stretch their imaginations, leading to some very thoughtful and innovative submissions. After watching so many of their Osgoode mooting compatriots enjoy significant success in the preceding weeks, the environmental moot team was anxious to succeed. They are glad to have done their school proud. monday - march 25 - 2013

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CAELS’ Environmental Law Conference 2013 CLAIRE YICK Contributor The newly formed the Canadian Association of Environmental Law Societies (CAELS) hosted its inaugural Canadian Environmental Law Conference on February 22-23, 2013. The conference, themed “Think Big & Small,” was held in Ottawa and drew in approximately 120 participants, though I was the only delegate from Osgoode in attendance. Lindsay Chan, Mark James, and Jessica McClay, the co-organizers, were all law students from the University of Ottawa. Their goal for the conference was to facilitate discussion between lawyers, academics, and practitioners on environmental issues. Delegates from across Canada hailing from law schools in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and, of course, Ontario, gathered to hear panels consisting of some of the leaders in environmental law. Importantly, delegates from non-legal disciplines were also present and their contributions were welcomed into this idea-sharing forum.

Keynote speaker David Estrin, who is sometimes referred to as the “grandfather of environmental law in Canada,” provided insight on how meaningful changes could be made to the Environmental Bill of Rights. Notably, these reforms included less discretionary governmental action, meaningful environmental assessments, increasing the autonomy of scientists, and establishment of an Environmental Supreme Court.

issues and angles for future litigation post-Bill C-38. Various “lunch and learn” workshops were then held with speakers lecturing on a range of topics, such as the role of science in decision making, environmental litigation, carbon tax policy, and campus sustainability. The final panels focused on climate change law (federal, provincial and local perspectives) and the advantages/disadvantages of corporate social responsibility.

The second day of the conference opened with an Aboriginal Welcome Ceremony performed by Josée Whiteduck, which set the tone for the respectful and thought-provoking panel discussions to follow.

Next year, organizers are planning to expand the conference and encourage more delegates from across Canada to attend. Not only did this event provide an initial meeting place for environmental law students, but it also led to new (and hopefully enduring) friendships being cemented over a few beers at a local pub following the close of the conference.

Discussion on Arctic perspectives covered broad issues of sovereignty and drilling of exploratory wells in this region. Following this, the “Liquid Assets” panel dealt with environmental and legal issues in Canadian waters with a focus on fisheries issues and the current effects on killer whale habitat. Environmental assessment panellists then dealt with mining

For more information, please contact info@; visit or CAELSorg; and follow @CAELSorg on Twitter.

ELS Sustainability Progress Report: A new era of sustainability at Osgoode » continued from cover

themselves of the importance of diverting paper cup waste. A big thank you goes out to Lisa Xie and Aramark for supplying us with these freebies! Look forward to Lug-A-Mug returning next Fall. And, in the meantime, don’t forget that over one million (non-recyclable) cups are sent to Toronto landfills each day. Keeping on the trend of reusability, we were responsible for the installation of the soap dispenser (filled with Green Works naturally derived dishwashing soap) above the sink beside the Bistro. Now, Osgoode students need not waste an extra cup just to avoid their evening tea tasting like the Peruvian Blend coffee they bought that morning! A thank you goes out to Peter Lee for making this happen, as well as for generally being a prince. A big change for next year: a composting bin will be placed outside the Bistro, so that food scraps can become

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fertilizer instead of fodder for landfills. Again, a thank you must go out to the Lisa Xie and Aramark for agreeing to look after this bin. Of course, challenges and obstacles remain. Our efforts to secure double-sided printers for the library led us into a bureaucratic quagmire, and we still can’t figure out why the lights in student services and throughout the rest of the Osgoode building need to stay on all night. Members of the Sustainability Committee met with Dean Sossin in February to discuss these issues. He was very receptive to ideas we had to green Osgoode and readily accepted the faculty and administration’s role in helping with the cause. The Dean has even checked out the “Broken Osgoode” tumblr, but wishes that students would post the exact location of these incidents (so that Peter Lee doesn’t have to sleuth through the halls of the Ignat Kaneff Building to find the broken items in question).

Overall, we are thrilled with our first year’s success, and look forward to making even more progress next year. If you’d like to join our fabulous (and successful) green team or if you want to add your input on how to make Osgoode more sustainable, please email We’ll need your support in the upcoming year! Finally, Claire and Jesse would like to individually thank the Sustainability Committee’s members, whose hard work and dedication was truly the driver of our success: Robyn Blumberg, Bianca Bell, Erica Stahl, Sarah Virani, Jessica Rosenberg, Angela Yang, Kevin Thompson, and Natalie MacDonnell. Jesse and Claire are the ELS’ Sustainability Committee’s Co-chairs.

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Animal law: an expanding field OLIVIA HOLZAPFEL & CLAIRE YICK Contributors After much lobbying, the Animal Law Society (ALS) is proud to report that, for the very first time in our school’s history, there is an animal law class available to students on the Osgoode curriculum. “Animals, Law & Society” is taught by Professor Ziyaad Mia and offers students an excellent opportunity to begin or further their study of some of the issues at play when animals interact with the justice system. The dearth of protection afforded to animals through our legal system is shocking. While it is true that there are a few Criminal Code provisions designed to protect the welfare of some animals, these provisions are rarely enforced, contain various loopholes, and offer negligible punishments. In order to effect meaningful systemic change, we need to embark on a conceptual shift – one in which the goal of animal welfare is prioritized and advanced. The addition of an animal law course to Osgoode represents a giant leap forward in this direction. The course both promotes the recognition of animal law as a serious subject worthy of scholarly attention, and introduces law students to some of the theoretical and practical challenges associated with this field. Throughout this semester, the course has covered a number of interesting and diverse topics, including:

• whether animals should be granted stand i n g and methods through which this could be achieved • the use of animals as a resource (e.g., as food, experimental research subjects, companion animals) in an anthropocentric society • the re-definition of animals as something other than property • The development of animal rights in relation to issues faced in debates regarding race and gender equality


These substantive issues were interspersed with discussion of more topical issues, such as Darwin the Ikea monkey, the consequences of talking animals, as well as the seminal case of Palsgraf Cat v Long Island Railroad. The importance of the diversity of issues related to animal welfare and the law demonstrates that this is an expanding field that can present myriad career opportunities, both now and in the future. Indeed, the long-awaited Animal Law Section was ratified just last year in 2012 at the Ontario Bar Association. Panel discussions held by the Section have included overviews on the emerging field of animal law in Canada,

prosecution cases, animal law reform, and adjudication. Additionally, last semester, ALS was able to create an OPIR opportunity with lawyers at Animal Justice Canada for students interested in working on animal welfare issues. Olivia and Claire are the Co-chairs of the Animal Law Society. For more information, please visit Please email to join our mailing list or if you are interested in joining the ALS Executive in 2013-2014.

Responsible capitalism ALEXANDRA KOCHERGA Contributor On February 14, 2013, the Ritz Carlton Hotel hosted the Thomas J. Bata Lecture. The event was organized by the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode’s very own Edward Waitzer was a discussion panellist. The guest of honour, however, was Paul Polman, the CEO of AngloDutch consumer giant Unilever, whose brands include Dove, Axe, Lipton Tea, Breyers, and more. Polman delivered an inspiring speech advising the need for, and the possibility of, “responsible capitalism.” For those skeptics who see capitalism and sustainability as polar opposites, you have a few things to learn from Polman’s optimistic view of the future of business. Polman is believed to be the most influential advocate for challenging the status quo of busithe OBITERdicta

ness and showing that business as usual is no longer a possibility. Polman believes that in the modern world, capitalism needs to be reframed for the common good. He is often accused of being a socialist, although he considers himself a “capitalist at heart.” At the heart of his thinking is not simply the desire to do good for the world, but to also do good business. Under his vision, companies in the past have thrived at the expense of the environment and society and it is time that business models are revised to contribute to society and support ecosystems and biodiversity while still being successful. Of course, Polman doesn’t believe that Unilever alone can accomplish this intrinsically difficult task. The involvement of politicians, businesses, and citizens is necessary in order to effectively address the challenges of social injustice, climate change, resource scarcity, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss.

Polman believes that governments should encourage longer term investments in the financial sector. Shareholders that are encouraged to invest in companies for longer terms will care more about the prosperity of the company rather than focusing on making a quick return. He believes that greater prosperity of a business can be achieved if the company is on board with this notion of responsible capitalism. One of his suggestions is by implementing this motivation for longer term investments into the tax system. Regardless of the method, he believes there are possibilities for government to be involved. He also thinks that consumers should be directly integrated into the process: firstly, by being encouraged to modify their personal habits, such as taking shorter showers and washing clothes in lower temperatures, and sec» continued on next page monday - march 25 - 2013

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ELS Film Fest explores law and activism around food MICHAEL LONG Contributor In the second running of the Focus on Sustainability Film Festival, an event co-created by the Osgoode Environmental Law Society (ELS) and co-produced by the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival (PIF), the YorkU screenings welcomed not only the campus crowd, but attendees from the wider community. The theme of the festival (food), as well as the afternoon discussion panel attracted foodies interested in both the impressive film selection and even more inspiring panel. The panel, moderated by YorkU MES Candidate Jessica Reeve, included three notable figures in the Toronto food scene: lawyer Carly Dunster, Harmony Organic’s Lawrence Andres, and food activist and Chef Michael Stadtlander. In the 90 minute panel, the audience was mesmerized to hear about the niche field of food law, PANEL: JESSICA REEVE, CARLY DUNSTER, LAWRENCE ANDRES, MICHAEL STADTLANDER

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the growth and success of the local organic milk industry, and the anti-GMO activism of a local hero Chef. However, the panellists were not the only honored guests; following the screening of Sushi: The Global Catch, Director Mark Hall participated in a Q&A period via Skype. The festival was further honored by the attendance of PIF Artistic Director Kathleen Mullen, who opened the festival and later raffled passes to PIF which returns this November. An endless array of prizes were also raffled between the screening of the films, as well as before and after the panel, and at the beginning and close of the festival. The gifts were donated by local markets and restaurants, which included a $100 gift basket from Front Door Organics, a $100 gift card to the Big Carrot, a $60 gift pack from Fresh Restaurant, a $120 gift card to Mama Earth Organics, and brunches for two at the Farmhouse Tavern and Free Times Café. Of course, we cannot forget to mention the five monday - march 25 - 2013

films screened throughout the day, which covered a range of food/system issues. Among the five was a short directed by award-winning Min Sook Lee, titled Teodoro in Toronto, which follows one of the featured workers from her film El Contrato as he speaks to locals in Toronto about poverty, food security, and labour rights. The full length films were: Bitter Seeds, which explores the plight of farmers in India who are forcefully tied to genetically modified seeds; Love Meat Ender, which examines global meat consumption and the (in)ability to keep up with the demand; Urban Roots, which examines reclamation gardening projects in the inner city of Detroit, and Sushi: The Global Catch, which questions whether the growth rate of this popular food can be maintained ethically. The festival, which will return in winter 2014, was organized by the Osgoode Environmental Law Society (ELS), the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), and with help from the Centre for Human Rights (CHR).

ondly, by being encouraged to switch to more sustainable products. According to Polman, Unilever has already learned that consumers will not buy products (even if they are “green”) if they do not taste good and if they have to pay a premium. However, he is optimistic about consumers’ willingness to stop buying from companies that are not behaving responsibly. If consumers begin to move toward sustainable products, other businesses will hopefully follow suit in the move toward responsible capitalism. As part of Unilever’s personal move toward responsible capitalism, on top of consulting with Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund on a weekly basis, Unilever has embarked on its ambitious Sustainable Living Plan which, among other things, has a goal to source 100% of its agricultural products from sustainable sources, and a plan to double their revenue whilst reducing their absolute environmental footprint by 2020. This is an incredibly ambitious goal, but, according to Polman, when you set your goals extremely high, it motivates you to work extremely hard to attain them. Of course Unilever is nowhere close to being a truly sustainable company. However, Polman’s drive and vision to making capitalism not just about making money but also about contributing to the common good is one of a kind amongst CEOs of global corporations. the OBITERdicta

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What are we getting ourselves into? The dark side of GMOs KATIE WEI Contributor

icity remain uncertain.

Have you ever wondered how food and technology impact the environment? Specifically, how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineering (GE) foods that we eat impact our world?

For instance, a six-month study by AgriSearch, an on-campus research arm of Dalhousie University, has shown that genetically modified cucumbers had serious side effects – total groin hair loss. This led to the immediate ban on the sale of GM cucumbers and subsequent dill pickles.

GMOs or GE foods are terms used to describe plants that have recombinant DNA technology. Some examples of GMOs include canola, lentils, rice, corn, soybeans, and squash. Proponents of GMOs often argue that it is a technologically advanced method of providing high-yield crops that may be designed to be drought resistant or last longer during transportation. These crops can then feed our growing population on less land, especially in the face of global warming and rapid land degradation. Unfortunately, this seemingly technologically advanced solution has significant downsides. For starters, it can potentially interact with nonGMO crops that result in cross-contamination and damage to our global biodiversity. What’s more, GMOs’ effects on human health and tox-

In the European Union, a number of member states have invoked the “safeguard clause.” Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Germany, and Luxembourg have all expressed justifiable reasons to consider that the GMO in question poses risks to human health and/or the environment. Although Canada is one of the largest producers of GMOs, Canada does not require that labels reflect such products on consumer packaging. The inherent risks associated with GMOs are consequently never put to consumer scrutiny or choice. What’s more interesting is that although more than 50 nations have signed on to the NagoyaKuala Lumpur Protocol, neither Canada nor the U.S. is among them.

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Protocol consists of international rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from transboundary movements of “living modified organisms.” These organisms are defined as those possessing novel combinations of genetic material “obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.” The Protocol calls for each member state to designate a competent authority responsible for evaluating damage to biodiversity resulting from GMOs and implementing measures that “(i) prevent, minimize, contain, mitigate or otherwise avoid damage as appropriate; and (ii) restore biological diversity.” What can you do? Although the Canadian government does not require labelling, there are still choices that can be made to avoid GM foods. Eating certified organic food is one way to avoid GMOs, because GMOs are prohibited in organic farming. You can also support farmers who fight GMOs by buying directly from those who do not plant GMOs or use them as animal feed. If those suggestions seem insufficient, you can always lobby for labels!

Heureux to meet you » continued from cover talk, she stated that her inspiration in life was her mother, who she described as a very bright, intelligent and talented woman. Indeed, it was her mother, a housewife, who pushed the young woman to become a lawyer and work towards bringing gender inequality to an end. Conceivably, witnessing her mother’s inability to exploit her talents and intelligence drove Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé to become the woman she is today. Dean Sossin asked her to speak about her experience after graduating from law school at the University of Laval in 1951. She said that she never paid attention to gender-based discrimination. When the registrar of the law school told her that “women do not go there,” the aspiring law student (as she then was) responded: “Is there a rule or something? No? Well, I go there!” However, she said that the reality of the times was that the only law firms that would hire female lawyers were the small firms run by minorities. Evidently, she was never inhibited by this situation. Not only did she overcome these barriers, but her work has helped other women overcome their own barriers. In effect, when asked to speak of the decisions she was most proud the OBITERdicta

of, Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé said that the case Moge v Moge was one of them because it sent the message that the work of women at home was an important contribution. Interestingly, in her opinion, the reason why a decision like this one had not been made before was not a simple matter of gender discrimination. The reason why judges had been unable to rule in this manner was because “to render justice, you have to walk in the shoes of the people.” To this effect, she also said that this is the reason why she has incorporated the social sciences in her work: to be able to understand society and its needs. In fact, the decisions of Justice L’Heureux-Dubé were characteristically long because, aside from her meticulous analysis of the law and the facts, she would use social science studies in order to determine what the best outcome was for the particular case and for society. Her decisions are also famous because many of them were dissents. Dean Sossin asked whether writing dissents had given her the freedom to write more honestly. She responded that “dissents are the voice of the future.” Although unanimous decisions made the legal system stable, societies never remain stable, “they are always evolving.”

In R v Ewanchuk, although she agreed with the majority, Justice L’Heureux-Dubé elected to supplement her decision with some of her own thoughts. In the end, what she created was a manifesto. True to form, she substantiated her opinion by incorporating robust evidence generated by the social sciences. In addition, she took it upon herself to denounce the preconceptions of her peers, especially Alberta Court of Appeal Justice John McClung, stating that: “[c] omplainants should be able to rely on a system free from myths and stereotypes, and on a judiciary whose impartiality is not compromised by these biased assumptions.” Despite the common sense of her opinion, her remarks created a commotion within the legal community and the public in general. She was accused of using her position to push her own feminist agenda and of bullying Justice McClung. I doubt this incident had any inhibiting effect on Justice L’Hereux-Dubé. Her work continued to show an admirable level of integrity and a clear determination to be just. She is truly inspirational. To conclude, I will leave you with one piece of advice she gave the audience. “Don’t work for money; work for justice. You’ll get money anyways.” monday - march 25 - 2013

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What I learned this year at the Wendy Babcock Drag Show HARJOT ATWAL Staff Writer "Mental health is like the poor foster kid when it comes to tolerance in our society, for too long mental illness (such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc) has been seen as a deviation from what is considered normal, even some people who work in the field of mental health [have] been known to look at people suffering from mental health issues with scorn and condemnation...Many people with mental illnesses are highly successful and make significant contributions to society. Here are the names of a few: Mike Douglas, Walter Cronkite, Ted Turner, Robin Williams and me." – Wendy Babcock At the Wendy Babcock Drag Show recently in Osgoode’s JCR, I decided to add my name to that list also, just like Wendy. I performed a spoken word piece, recited some rhymes, and told everyone that: “To honour Wendy…for my part, I’ll spit it straight from my heart, out of my mouth and past my molars…that I’m Bi-Polar!” Amazingly, I was met with a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of my performance. Even as I write this, I feel my eyes getting a little moist about all of the support I was shown and the compliments I later received. It was truly one of the best nights of my life!

Now, it should also be mentioned that I, along with the rest of the attendees, have the other members of the Drag Show Planning Committee to thank for the wonderful night. Everyone worked tirelessly to sell tickets, gather costumes, put up decorations, and arrange different kinds of musical and poetic performances. It turned out to be a great success. First, the show started off with an awesome and somewhat profane (amusingly so) introduction to the Show by Jenn Aubrey and Louise LaFleur – the organizers. Then, the audience was treated to a beauty pageant, which included former students and current faculty dressed up in drag, including Professors Berger, Hutchinson, and Bhabha. Moving on, six of Osgoode’s lovely ladies donned some neckties and suspenders before performing a chipper, choreographed routine to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” Next came a musical performance, and some more enthused and energetic ladies spontaneously decided to add to the act by going on stage and grooving to the song. After that, a strip dance routine was performed on Jon Ungaro by the devilish duo of Tom Wilson and Phil Goldbach. A choreographed, instructional dance routine then followed afterwards, which involved the audience in learning some basic Salsa dance steps. Lastly, the show was ended off by three spoken word performances from Jean Keating, Sukhpreet Sangha, and me.

At the end of the night, not only did everyone have a ton of fun playing with gender norms and dressing in drag, but we also raised money for a great cause. The Wendy Babcock Bursary was established in honour of our former wonderful peer, as well as her infectious spirit and enthusiasm. It is awarded annually to a young woman, aged 16-24, who is pursuing a post-secondary education and is engaged in improving her community through education, activism, or advocacy. As Jenn Aubrey, one of the Drag Show’s organizers who helped establish the Bursary recently stated in a video published on the website of Canadian Lawyer Magazine: “[The Wendy Babcock Bursary helps] people who have done their law training to get the funding that they need to do the work they want to do, the work that Wendy wanted to do…that work is work that lawyers essentially don’t want to do. It’s work for people who use substances…sex workers…Children’s Aid kids…for people that are [considered] distasteful [and] that nobody wants to recognize…we like to think most people in law school don’t have experience with those things, but I think that’s actually so inaccurate…[things like this] are a point of isolation for many students, so let’s do something that changes the space.”


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Looking ahead to Osheaga KAROLINA WISNIEWSKI Opinions Editor If you listened really carefully, you could probably hear the collective exasperated sigh let out by Canadian music enthusiasts at 8 pm on March 11th when the lineup for Osheaga 2013 was announced. It would be a stretch to call it a disappointment, but this year’s lineup (or what’s been announced of it so far) pales in comparison to last year’s stacked festival. The 2012 festival scheduled so many blockbuster artists that attendees were forced to decide between Sigur Ros and MGMT, or M83 and The Black Keys, or Santigold and Austra; there simply weren’t enough timeslots to go around. Last year’s edition masterfully blended established acts, indie niche bands and relatively unknown up-andcomers. The logic behind the scheduling was clear: include something to please the mainstreamers and the hipsters alike, plus offer burgeoning talent some much needed exposure. Sadly, the same can’t be said for this year. Unlike the 2012 edition, there seems to have been little to no thought put into this year’s Osheaga lineup. This seems especially odd given that last year was the most successful installment of the festival yet; if event organizers are ever going have the means (financial or otherwise) to attract some knockout performers, you’d think now would be the time. Admittedly, it’s obvious that the festival is trying to reshape its image away from indie, emo, and obscure, and is instead stretching its reach into previously neglected musical genres. This might account

for the awkwardly abrupt changes that seem to have taken place. The inclusion of The Cure (who are headlining) and New Order shows a keen interest to tap into a slightly more mature audience than the festival has previously hosted, which could be a welcome change. It also signals an urge to get us yuppie Generation Y-ers to listen to the grandfathers of the electronic, post-punk alternative music that is currently

experiencing a renaissance. Another noticeable change is a more serious effort to engage with developments in the rap and hip-hop genre. Including Azealia Banks, Angel Haze, and Kendrick Lamar shows that event organizers have their finger on the pulse of what’s relevant in this field, if critical acclaim is any indication. It’s interesting (though not exciting) to see The

Cure heading the event. Their co-headliners, Mumford and Sons, are a much less inspired addition. Protesting the weakness of Osheaga’s headliners, though, is as unproductive as it is unoriginal – previous festivals boasted no stronger headers: The Black Keys, Eminem, Weezer, Coldplay, etc. So although this year’s leading bands are a disappointment, they have been for many years; the strength of Osheaga doesn’t stand or fall on this basis. Rather, it’s the rest of the bands that are a problem. While I take no issue with Tegan and Sara, Ellie Goulding, or Icona Pop, they seem like the most profoundly boring, vanilla bands organizers could have possibly dug up. Likewise for The Lumineers, Phoenix, and Imagine Dragons. Silversun Pickups are a nice surprise, and will offer a welcome throwback to the early 2000s. Vampire Weekend, though divisive, are known to put on great live shows. Despite their critics, they’ve managed to secure a strong following, so this inclusion will carry broad appeal. Beach House, the darlings of the dreamy lo-fi scene, are sure to be a highlight, though their style of music seems antithetical to the spirit of a live festival; ditto for Wild Nothing. Frightened Rabbit are another highlight, but this element of optimism is counterbalanced by Jimmy Eat World and Hollerado also appearing on the lineup. What’s next, Simple Plan? Jessie Ware, DIIV and The Knocks are all lesser known artists doing great work in their respective genres. But the worst, most disappointing addition of them all, the one that might lead to the downfall of Osheaga itself – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Unforgivable.

Craig Scott: fairness and intelligence » continued from page 3 media must do a more effective job of reporting on the real substance of political happenings in Ottawa. The focus on Question Period by the media is insufficient to properly inform the Canadian electorate as “question period is little more than political theatre.” In addition, Canadian politicians need to find better ways to utilize the advances in social media which the rest of the world has been using to engage electorates in the democratic process. For the legal community, it is important to be critical of politicians and legislative proposals and find a strong enough voice to speak reason to power. The endgame of this more meaningful engagement may lead to several different forms of participatory democracy in Canada. As Professor Scott notes, “Canada is far behind other democracies in experimenting and trying out different monday - march 25 - 2013

forms of participatory democracy”. One example of an experiment in a different form of participatory democracy has recently occurred in New Zealand. When drafting their Policing Act in 2007, the New Zealand government opened the legislation up to electors in a “wiki” form, where the electorate could make suggestions and edit the draft law. Perhaps more intuitive for Kiwis due to the anagrammatic relationship with “wikis,” Canada might consider utilizing this method of legislative drafting on an experimental basis as well. As Scott notes, “one significant challenge to utilizing this kind of method for enhancing participatory democracy is that our current government does not really believe in making critical information available to the public.” Rather, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives intentionally obfuscate facts and relevant social information. When facts become thorns in the side of bad

policy choices, the government feels as though it is more prudent to de-fund the organizations which gather those facts. As a result, it seems that a necessary first step in engaging in meaningful experiments in participatory democracy would be to encourage our government to be more transparent and intellectually honest with both the Canadian electorate and other members of the House. Perhaps encouraging this of our government is the role that future lawyers should play when Osgoode releases us into a profession where we are ethically obliged to serve the public interest and do good wherever we can. Craig Scott is a Professor at Osgoode, currently on leave while he holds his office as MP. He was the Director of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime, and Security from 2006-11. the OBITERdicta

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The Happiness Project: Let go, give in, and move on CASS DA RE Features Editor You have been on that dinner date, with that person. This person reads the delectable deep fried toppings on the house burger, and then he/she orders a salad. You helpfully offer sound advice such as “It’s just one cheeseburger,” “Take half to-go,” and “Just get a small serving of fries.” The other person shakes his/her head wistfully, heart heavy with restraint and puritanical resolve. He/she murmurs something about watching what he/she eats, being on a paleo, clean, raw food, gluten-free, Atkins, juice cleanse, insert other dietary regime here, kick. You, being the supportive friend or date, nod understandably and respect his/her choice. It’s commendable that your dinner companion is committed to stick with this new health plan, especially since you ordered a particularly gluttonous meal. The burger and fries and chef ’s salad with dressing on the side comes. Your meal is not that satisfying, because the other person has taken three very large bites of your not-made-for-two sandwich and has eaten half your fries under the guise of taking “just one.” You leave the restaurant bewildered, confused, hungry, and possibly hangry. What was the point of the other person’s big pre-dinner speech, if he/she really just wanted to indulge? He/she spent the rest of the meal rationalizing and justifying the burger bites, there was something about a treadmill and the power of protein in there. This results in a stream of consciousness guilt trip for him/ her, forcing you to politely listen to an uncomfortable and boring monologue. Shouldn’t he/ she have just bitten the bullet and bought the burger? Your happiness guru resoundingly says yes.

and unlikely to be accomplished by even the most diligent of worker bees. This law student steadfastly goes home with unwavering loyalty to begin and finish task X. Inevitably, after a long week – and, in March, they are all long weeks – this student is tired and overworked. Despite the most honest ambitions in the Western world, this student gives up for the night. He/she retires to a couch, bed, chaise, loveseat,

futon, oversized armchair, mattress on the floor, or yoga mat feeling unaccomplished, guilty, deflated, disappointed and crestfallen. This welldeserved down time cannot be enjoyed while he/she sits/lays under a dark cloud of broken dreams and dashed expectations.

What’s the point of rehashing a bitter experience that every law student goes through (usually much more often than any of us care to admit)? From the perspective of your Happiness Guru, the point is that this behaviour isn’t healthy, isn’t helping, and isn’t making anyone any happier. As an alternative, I suggest just giving in. Have the cookie; if not, your whole life becomes about the cookie and the notions of refusal, denial, and resistance that it elicits. These are unproductive and negative feelings that induce sentiments of guilt, blameworthiness, weakness, and regret. Instead, give in, indulge, enjoy, and give yourself permission to be human and happy. Know that you have listened to your body, satisfied your soul, and are in better headspace for it. Then, when all is said and done, move on. Come back to ground zero, and revisit those original plans of studying. As famously expressed in The Shining: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Ignore the gender-specific reference, and focus on the underlying proverbial message. To avoid a descent into madness in a creepy hotel, or, more realistically, to avoid the potentially crushing pressures of the month before exams, have fun. More importantly, let go of the guilt, give in to the moment, and then move on to something more work related in a healthier and happier state of mind.

The burger here is obviously a clever metaphor worthy of some literary prize. Sometimes the object of one’s desire really is something deepfried or sugary. You may also insert: drinking, sleeping, a night out, a night in, a night with someone, a night alone, or a night off. As responsible law students, we eat our vegetables, save drinking for post-exam bashes, and stay at home, the coffee shop, or library to study, read, write, or format. At least, that’s always our wellintentioned plan. Much like the dinner date that waxes on about the benefits of clean eating (which there are, and this is, in no way, a knock against one’s individual lifestyle choices), the law student will explain why he/she needs to dedicate time to doing X on Friday night. X is always something productive, likely work or law school related, laudable, the OBITERdicta

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arts & culture

Gallon Smashing: one day we will hate ourselves for our Internet fads MAXIMILIAN PATERSON Arts & Culture Editor For those of you who are looking for a new stupid internet video fix now that those “Harlem Shake” videos have moved from the amusing category to the annoying category, there is a new trend you should take a look at: it’s called Gallon Smashing. The concept is very simple. Walk into any grocery store, grab a gallon container of any liquid in each hand, stand in an unsupervised location, smash the gallon jugs on the floor and pretend to fall. Get your friend to videotape the whole thing and you’ve got the recipe for millions of Youtube views. Reckless, yes. Immature, yes. Messy, yes. Funny, kind of… but the “prank” gets pretty old really quickly. After a few smashes the focal point of the video shifts from people’s reaction to the liquid massacre to focus on the destruction done via the smashing. Overall, it’s the sort of thing you see once, chuckle to yourself, and hope that no one starts a trend of it. However, that’s wishful thinking at best. The concept of Gallon Smashing was started by three teens from the United States who are part of a prank collective they call TheChaizyChannel. After releasing the video a few weeks ago, many copycat gallon smashers have popped up all over the world. This has prompted grocery stores and law enforcement officials to respond with a series of retail theft and disorderly conduct charges. The concept of taking a mildly amusing Internet phenomenon and running with it is not novel by a long stretch. We at the Obiter will now outline the Internet video fads of the past while we wait for our lame parents to forward us an email chain asking if we’ve heard about this “Grumpy Cat” thing.

You Need Somebody, which included the hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Sometime in 2007, people on the Internet started posting messages in forums with tantalizing titles such as “Grand Theft Auto 4 Trailer!!!” or “Britney Spears Nude Pics!!!” and once a user clicked the links they would be sent to the music video on Youtube, and thus be Rickrolled. This fad got old quick, pretty soon you couldn’t trust any link that anyone sent you, and even worse, people started to listen to the song even when they weren’t being tricked. People are the worst! Milking Milking is something that people thought was funny but was really a personal admission of stupidity. Here’s the gag, buy a jug of milk, stand in a public place, dump the jug of milk on your head. Genius, right? It was started by a group of guys in Newcastle, England and spread from there. I don’t know want else to say about it other than it wasted a lot of milk. Who wants to smell like milk? Captain Crunch? Mentos in Diet Coke When carbon dioxide (found in most sodas) mixes with liquid sugar (found in the coating of Mentos), it creates bubbles around the porous surface of the liquid sugar (called nucleation). If those bubbles are contained within a two litre Diet Coke container, then the bubbles create a great deal of pressure in the container usually resulting in a foamy brown geyser. The Mentos in Diet Coke phenomenon originated in 2006 and has been embraced heavily by cool science teachers that wear cargo pants and like to sit on chairs backwards. Science

Rulezzz! The Mythbusters even dedicated a segment to whether eating Mentos and drinking Diet Coke would result in an exploding stomach… it didn’t. Swatting Swatting is a more dubious trend amongst hackers and online gamers and is the Internet equivalent prank calling, except with a devious twist. The prank is that you get ahold of someone’s personal information, such as their phone number and address, and then place a fake 911 call and describe a very graphic crime that is taking place at their house, usually a threatening hostage situation involving guns. The police react by sending heavily armed tactical officers (usually a SWAT team, thus the name) to the pranked person’s house. Funny, right? Not really. At the risk of sounding like a responsible adult, this prank wastes valuable public resources and is absolutely terrifying for any unsuspecting person. It’s surprising that no one has gotten accidentally shot yet. 2 Girls 1 Cup Reactions Watch a gross scatological video and make a disgusting face, get the whole thing on camera and that’s about it. The 2 girls 1 cup video is so gross that if you even play the piano song used as a backing track I won’t be able to sleep for a week. Despite the graphic nature of the original, these reaction videos are pretty amusing, especially the one where “Jackie” tapes his Grandma Marlene’s reaction to watching the entire thing. Sorry Grandma Marlene, it’s funny for us, but terribly haunting for you. Uhhhhh… I just shuddered thinking about it.

Cone-ing Essentially you order a soft-serve ice cream cone at a drive-through, and grab it by the top, thus squishing the ice cream in your hand and startling the drive-through attendant. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, then this isn’t a fad for you. Basically you have to weigh the possible reaction from the drive-through attendant against your willingness to get totally sticky and spill ice cream on your clothes and in your car. As a steadfast policy, when using the Obiter’s branded Hummer2 (we ran a big surplus this year), there is a strict no cone-ing rule. Planking/Tebowing/Owling I don’t even want to talk about this one. It’s too stupid. Also, people have actually died because of this. Great going, Australia. Rickrolling


This is a classic bait and switch prank. In 1987 Rick Astley released an album entitled Whenever

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A Little Sheep Told Me: Eco-fashion ANGIE SHEEP Staff Writer This week’s issue of the Obiter Dicta is all about “being green,” and that is also the trend for this fashion article. By way of background: eco-fashion, also known as sustainable fashion, is about promoting environmental and social responsibility. It seeks to reduce the fashion industry’s carbon footprint by using materials and methods that are the least harmful to both the planet and our friends in it. Although there is no 100% eco-friendly piece or procedure, we can do our part by making environmentally-friendly choices whenever possible. In this article, I will outline some of the ways in which you can opt for eco-fashion and hopefully inspire you to make more green choices next time you’re at the mall. Recycle In the fashion industry, constant change is a promise you can certainly bank on. But the truth is that trends are almost always recycled (as you might have realized over the decades you’ve been alive). There are only so many ideas to go around. The denim jackets from the 90s came back as the hottest item last spring, and this year, the 60s cat-eye sunglasses have returned. Another piece that probably will never go out of style is a reliable camel trench coat in a classic cut. Therefore, one of the greatest ways you can incorporate a little green in your style (without actually wearing the colour) is to use what you already have. If the whole industry can do it, so can you! In previous issues, I have touched on ways of giving your usual wardrobe a fresh look and there are countless magazines that also do the same. Buying a Vogue or InStyle for inspiration is a lot cheaper than a new outfit. Staple & Flexible Pieces Instead of buying everything that the indus-

try has dictated as “in” or “hot” this season, purchase classic items that you can wear yearround. Fashion is not only about sporting what’s new; anyone can mimic the mannequin to look fashionable. A true fashionista knows how to shop smartly, wear what he or she has flexibly, and be completely comfortable with what works while simultaneously pushing the style boundaries. I am by no means a minimalist, but I definitely believe there are essentials that every young adult should have in their closet: a plain white T-shirt or button-down, dark-wash jeans, a blazer, and a little black dress or slacks, to name a few. Shop responsibly I know that the majority of eco-fashion is quite expensive, usually with simple dresses that start at $250.00. But there are companies out there offering cheaper alternatives. American Apparel, for example, heavily denounces sweatshops; all their products are manufactured locally. They also have great pieces for men, particularly durable and chic V-neck T’s (see picture). Panda Sunglasses uses eco-conscious bamboo frames, which look incredibly chic (see photo). A portion of the proceeds from each sale also goes toward helping someone regain their vision. If you’re looking for a directory of eco-conscious fashion, check out, a website that collects a vast stock of green clothing and accessories.

a banner or sales rep tells you about a social or environmental initiative the company has taken on, pay attention, and try to spread the word. Your entire wardrobe does not have to be strictly eco, but you can make environmentally friendly choices by recycling and investing in key pieces. When faced with the choice of a green shirt versus a non-green shirt of comparable price, an extra $5 seems a small sacrifice in exchange for great earth karma. There you have it Ozzies: a little goes a long way when it comes to sustainable fashion. Help the planet; it’s where we keep our clothes. LEAF DRESS = ECO-CHIC

Try It’s difficult to drastically change your fashion choices in an instant. That’s completely understandable as looking for eco-friendly brands require time and most of us simply do not have much of that to spare. I am completely guilty of this as well. I often pick out the first thing I like and I’m also a sucker for sales (not the best combination for being green). But next time when



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Fighting in hockey: a high-risk sideshow with no purpose or place ANDREW CYR Sports Editor As a result of advancing medical research on the subject and a slew of high profile injuries (most notably Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby), the issue of concussions in sports has received considerable attention in recent years. Studies focusing on the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have shed light on just how serious the long-term consequences of repetitive head injuries can be. There have been a variety of responses to this new understanding of the seriousness of brain injuries. Thousands of former NFL players are filing hundreds of class-action lawsuits against the league alleging that the NFL failed to adequately inform them of the long-term dangers of head injuries they suffered while playing. There have been calls for new equipment in both football and hockey that offer greater protection to the head, while removing the hardshell coatings on shoulder and elbow pads that are often used as projectiles by defenders. Some critics have gone so far as to suggest that body contact be removed from minor hockey altogether. At the professional level, many leagues have responded with rule changes in the name of player safety. The NFL has cracked down on illegal hits to the head and neck over the past three years, levying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and the occasional suspension for particularly vicious hits. International and Australian rugby league federations have decided to ban the dangerous “shoulder charge” tackle (a tackle in which the defender does not wrap up the attacker using their arms – which has been banned in rugby union for decades). In the NHL, Rule 48 was changed before the 2011-12 season to prohibit “hits resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact” with a particular emphasis on so-called “blindside” hits. However, despite the NHL and other professional leagues’ growing knowledge of the dangers presented by repeated blows to the head, dropping one’s gloves and repeatedly and intentionally striking the opponent with forceful blows to the head is met with a simple 5-minute major penalty in the NHL and other North American professional hockey leagues. Rule 56 of the NHL rulebook, entitled “Fisticuffs,” governs fighting in hockey and holds that, “A minor (roughing), major or a major and a game misconduct, at the discretion of the Referee, shall be imposed on any player involved in fisticuffs.” In practice, players engaging in fights in an NHL hockey game are awarded with major penalties that allow them to skate back onto the ice 5 minutes later. As you may have determined at this point, this article decries fighting in hockey, particularly the staged variety engaged in by “goons” or “enforcers.” Before I get into the reasons I don’t think fighting belongs

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in the game, I should make some disclosures. I have played hockey for 20 years, as well as playing football and rugby when I was in high school. I have engaged in hockey fights myself, and was once suspended by my own team for committing too many hitting from behind penalties in a single season. I understand that hockey is a violent game and I am not suggesting that the game needs to be revised into some kind of derivative of synchronized skating. Nor am I suggesting that punches should never be thrown in a hockey arena. In any aggressive sport, be it hockey, football, rugby, or baseball, occasionally emotions boil over and players come to blows. However, I do believe that the game has outgrown the brand of staged and scripted fighting in which NHL enforcers engage, and I consider it is a dangerous sideshow that detracts from the integrity and

hockey fight. In most (though not all) instances the two participants agree to drop their gloves and go at it. However, it is certain that there is a significant degree of pressure on hockey players to be willing combatants and stand up for teammates, particularly when they are fulfilling the enforcer role on the hockey team. When one or both of the combatants feels obligated to participate in the fight in order to satisfy their teammates and coaches, does this truly constitute consent? Those who argue for fighting in hockey suggest that it is a necessary element of the game and as much a part of the sport as skating, passing, and shooting. Presumably, those individuals have never seen college, European league, or international hockey where fighting is subject to significant sanctions and


entertainment value of the game. Beyond this, it is hypocritical of the NHL and other hockey leagues to suggest they are serious about player safety and make rule and equipment changes to address the concussion epidemic while failing to address the 230-pound gorilla in the room that is the staged fight and the role of the enforcer. As law students, we can appreciate how this kind of combat blurs the line between valuable elements of the sport and criminal assault. In recent years, Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorley have each faced both criminal and civil action for their on-ice actions. As we all learned in first year criminal law, consent is a valid defense to assault where the harm was trivial or where it is part of a socially valuable activity such as sports. As long as fighting is considered a legitimate aspect of hockey, it will likely be insulated from criminal prosecution. However, one can certainly question the consent offered by participants in a

correspondingly rare. The best hockey game I have ever seen was the Canada-USA gold medal game during the 2010 Winter Olympics. At the end of the game, when Crosby scored the golden goal, how many Canadians were disappointed that there had not been a fight in the tournament? I know that it didn’t bother me. Those same proponents may argue that, at least in the NHL context, fighting contributes to team success, and enforcers are fulfilling a valuable role by intimidating the other team and “pumping up” teammates. This myth is easily debunked simply by noting the fact that in the NHL playoffs, when the stakes are highest and the will to win intensifies, fighting has traditionally dropped precipitously and enforcers are often relegated to the press box. If

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sports » continued from previous page this is not convincing, then consider the fact that, according to the New York Times, “on average, teams that won the regular-season title since 1980 finished the equivalent of 21st in fighting majors in a 30-team NHL. Teams that won the Stanley Cup in that period finished the equivalent of 20th in fighting majors.” Finally, fighting advocates tend to believe that enforcers deter dirty or unsportsmanlike play by “policing” the aggressors on the other team. Beyond the fact that the kind of dirty play and stick-work that those who hold this belief fear has yet to manifest itself in the levels of hockey that ban fighting, one cannot help but question what two enforcers beating each other up has to do with the conduct of the other 36 players in the lineup. The argument that enforcers “protect” star players falls apart when one notes that enforcers almost never play alongside star players, as it would be a waste of the star players’ skill to offer them a linemate whose primary talent is fighting. In addition, in today’s NHL, many teams’ best players are also among their strongest and toughest. As a Winnipeg Jets fan, please forgive me for wondering from whom exactly Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien need protection? In reality, the reason for fighting’s continued existence in hockey is historical. Fighting in hockey is an artifact, borrowed from its roots in the cold barns of impoverished rural Canada in the early 19th century. In those days, it was not uncommon for stick swinging and bench-clearing brawls to break out at hockey games, and deaths were not uncommon as a result of this chaotic style of play. This legacy has continued into today’s game in the form of enforcers and staged fighting. It is unlikely that fighting is going to be removed from the game anytime soon, as it is overwhelmingly condoned and often celebrated by players, fans, and league administrators alike. In fact, fighting is more common this year compared to previous seasons (perhaps as a result of pent-up frustration over missing half the season due to the lockout). Some say that it may take a tragedy for the NHL to seriously look at the way it handles fighting. However, this has already occurred. In the summer of 2011, three NHL enforcers died – Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, and Derek Boogaard. Rypien and Belak died of apparent suicides, while Boogard was killed by an accidental mixture of painkillers and alcohol. It is well known at this point that CTE, caused by repeated blows to the head, can lead to depression and substance abuse, and CTE was found on the brain of Boogaard and almost certainly a factor in the deaths of Rypien and Belak as well. However, these players’ deaths have done little to stem the tide of fighting in the NHL. At this point, the NHL has blood on its hands and has elected to keep throwing them. Timothy Danson of Danson Becht LLP will be lecturing on Wednesday, March 27 at 12:30 in Room 2003 on recent developments in hockey violence and the law.

the OBITERdicta

The pride of the Yankees DANIEL STYLER Staff Writer


I love a lot of sports, but none of them have ever been able to surpass my love for baseball. I love the memories I have of playing catch in my front yard as I grew up, the overwhelming tension I feel before every pitch, and the cold chill of October air that seemingly sets in just in time for the beginning of the playoffs. I cheer for the New York Yankees, which is a source of pride for me. More than any other franchise in professional sports, they attract hatred from outsiders that is as passionate as the adoration their fans feel for them. Having won 27 World Series titles, sixteen more than the St. Louis Cardinals (they have the second most all-time with 11), they are revered, disdained, but never irrelevant. From the beginning of their history, they have always had the biggest stars: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jackson, and now Jeter. Up until his recent death, they also had the loudest owner, George M. Steinbrenner, who in the early years was known more for firing and hiring Billy Martin than he was for winning. They have retired a total of fifteen numbers for sixteen players, and after Jeter and former manager Joe Torre’s numbers are retired, there won’t be any single digit numbers left. As a Yankees fan, your expectations are out of line with virtually every other fan base. You expect not just to make the playoffs every year, but to win. Derek Jeter is always quick to point out that in the Bronx, it’s not about winning divisions; it’s about winning championships. There is something arrogant about that type of attitude that makes the team and its fans such an easy target for criticism; it’s sincere, though. Since 1995, the Yankees have missed the playoffs exactly once.

(Rivera, Jeter, and Andy Pettitte). That is why their World Series win in 2009 was so special. It was like, for lack of a better comparison, your old dog getting up and running around like a puppy for the last time. The gang was still together, and they were still damn good. I told my girlfriend, a newly-minted Yankees fan, not to get used to it: even for the Yankees, championships don’t happen every year. Now, though? We’re driving that old dog to the vet’s office, and he has a needle ready. Of course, no one will sympathize with any Yankees fan or the team itself. Their roster is still talented, and they have one of the best pitchers (CC Sabathia) and players (Robinson Cano) in the entire game. Their payroll, the source of so much angst from opposing crybaby fanbases (who should complain about their cheap owners who refuse to spend the money doled out through revenue sharing by the Yankees), still hovers around $200 million. Their stadium will still be close to full on most nights, with games often attended by Hollywood star fans like Jack Nicholson. But for fans of the team, this year might be the equivalent of a Rolling Stones reunion tour. You’re watching Mick Jagger sing “Gimme Shelter,” but it’s not really the same.

This year, though, feels different. People are predicting fourth and fifth place finishes for them in their own division. Even worse, I can’t argue with them. Oh well, at least they’re not the Red Sox. The superstars they have relied on in the past are getting old. Jeter, still an excellent hitter but a defensive liability, is 38. Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all-time (a point that few would debate), is retiring after this year. Alex Rodriguez, he of I GUESS YOU REALLY CAN WIN ‘EM ALL the 647 homeruns, steroid abuse, shirtless photoshoots in front of mirrors, and getting a girl’s phone number during the middle of an extra inning playoff game, may miss most if not all of the season due to injury. The players at the heart of the Yankees’ current and extended run of success, which has seen them win five World Series championships (1996, 1998-2000, and 2009), are getting old and it is depressing. They’ve retired (Jorge Posada) or are in the process of retiring

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Arts Night 2013 a success TRAVIS WEAGANT Editor-in-Chief Last Wednesday evening, the JCR bustled with the sounds and sight of many Ozzies sharing their artistic talents. In previous years, Arts Night has been little else but an opportunity for those of us with six strings and a working voice box to show off their repertoire. L&L President Elena Iosef made it a stated goal to diversify the slate of acts available for this year’s attendees to enjoy. The endeavour was a success. The evening kicked off with the first round of Osgoode’s own art battle: a 20 minute painting frenzy, in which competitors attempt to use their canvas to win over members of the audience, who vote for a winner from among, in this case, four contestants.

and knocked out a few acoustic covers. Before the final round of the art battle, Kate Cash and

emotional and sincere spoken word piece. Following the exciting art battle finale, which featured round robin winners Annie Chu and Marie Park, improv comedy team Sujoy Chatterjee and Justin D’Aloisio, with the help of moderator Claire Yick (aka Drew Clairey), elicited many laughs. Zain Atcha followed this act well with two topical rap tracks. Tom Wilson ended the night with an acoustic set, and was still playing when I left. What I’m glad I didn’t miss, however, was Iosef joining Wilson on tambourine in a joint L&L-Student Caucus performance of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home.” It was also a big night for us here at the Obiter Dicta, with Staff Writer Marie Park emerging victorious from Osgoode’s inaugural art battle, and Layout Editor Wendy Sun winning the photography contest with a photo taken at The Ex, pictured here. We didn’t judge the contest ourselves; we swear.

Between rounds of painting, attendees were treated to an eclectic musical selection. Osgoode 2L and skilled violinist Pam Hinman and her cel“CABLE CARS” BY WENDY SUN, WINNER OF THE ARTS NIGHT Overall, Arts Night 2013 was a great and list partner Garrett Knecht (both PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST clear reminder that, despite our common of whom have performed with the interest in the law, people who go to Canadian Opera Company) virtuJon Ungaro performed acoustic solos. Harjot Osgoode are good at other stuff. Like, really ously performed four classical selections. Later, Atwal capped the set with a fluid and funny but good. Zorn Pink and Jason Hayward took the stage

monday - march 25 - 2013

the OBITERdicta

Issue #13 - March 25, 2013  

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