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McGill University Faculty of Law Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill
Vol 41 No 3 2019 Fall/Hiver
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RÉDACTEUR EN CHEF Stewart Wiseman SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER RESPONSABLE DES MÉDIAS SOCIAUX Juliette Regoli LAYOUT EDITOR ÉDITRICE DE MISE EN PAGE Hanna Rioseco COPY EDITORS SECRÉTAIRES DE RÉDACTION Ayelet Ami Erica Trenson COLOUMNISTS CHRONIQUEURES ET CHRONIQUEUSES Me Katarina Daniels Andrea Salguero-Florian Lily Maya Wang CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE COLLABORATEURS ET COLLABORATRICES Gabriela Lopes, Gabrielle Landry, Kerrin-lee Whyte, Juliette Regoli Special thanks to Prairie Koo for designing the layout. ~ The Quid Novi is published weekly by the students of the Faculty of Law at McGill University. Production is made possible through the direct support of students. All contents copyright ©2019 Quid Novi. Les opinions exprimées sont propres aux auteurs et ne réflètent pas nécessairement celles de l’équipe du Quid Novi. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the McGill Law Students’ Association or of McGill University. Envoyez vos commentaires ou articles avant jeudi 17h00 à email@example.com. Toute contribution doit indiquer le nom de l’auteur, son année d’étude ainsi qu’un titre pour l’article. L’article ne sera publié qu’à la discrétion du comité de rédaction, qui basera sa décision sur la politique de rédaction disponible sur notre Facebook.
3 QUID NOVI
Vol 41 No 3 2019 Fall/Hiver
4 | FROM THE GELBER
2 | EDITOR’S NOTE
5 | MCGILL LAW LIBRARY
3 | MEET THE TEAM
11 | INNOCENCE MCGILL
A brief lesson on call numbers
5 | LIBRE OPINION
Trudeau : marcher de son propre chef, contre son propre chef
Un journal étudiant qui met en valeur la diversité des voix à la faculté
Juliette Regoli, Social Media Manager
Lexis Advance Quicklaw CAIJ
David Milgaard to discuss the causes of wrongful convicitions
6 | LOI 21: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE 7 | MEME OF THE WEEK ROLE OF RELIGION IN SOCIETY This change won’t help women.
8 | HEY HEY, HO,HO: LENGTHY
LECTURE GOTTA GO! Three Hours or just One Point Five? Even with breaks, I’m Not Staying Alive
14 | FACEBOOK POLL
Are you going out of town for the long weekend?
9 | A LETTER FROM TWO LITTLE FORTUNE COOKIES… Your own path is the best.
11 | THE CRY FOR REFORM IS
HUMAN Understanding the human experience in the face of injustices
12 | THE GREY ZONE
Where does the Runnymede Society Stand?
Vol 41 ● No 3
EDITOR’S NOTE “I Marched for the Climate, Now What?” Stewart Wiseman | 1L
At the time, that demonstration felt just as impactful as the one that took place last month. But what happened next? • Stephen Harper continued his legacy of muzzling scien tists, reducing the scope of environmental impact assessments, promoting tar sands development, and overall disinterest in enacting any meaningful national climate change policy. • In 2016, Americans elected Donald “climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese” Trump to the White House. Trump went on to enlist notorious climate change deniers Scott Pruitt and Myron Ebell to oversee the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency. • Although he has been successful in implementing an overdue nation-wide price on carbon, Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipeline expansions over the last three years.
PHOTOS BY STEWART WISEMAN “Protesters are demanding bold climate action and an end to extractive industries, as world leaders meet to discuss climate change.”
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“We have to put pressure on our leaders to let them know we see climate change as an incredible emergency. The conclusions of scientists are really alarming. We are people who think we need to treat this issue as a very, very big priority.” “The climate crisis, it’s really critical right now. To sit around and do nothing is not really an option.” “We can’t allow half-measures anymore… we have to let politicians know that this issue of climate change is something people will be thinking about in the ballot box.” On September 27th, 500,000 Montrealers marched demanding stronger climate change policies in what was the largest demonstration of any kind to ever take place in Quebec. The magnitude of the crowd was truly inspiring. Enthusiasm was contagious. People spoke of how powerful the moment felt. However, the quotes above are not from coverage of last month’s climate demonstration. They are all five years older, stemming from coverage of the 2014 People’s Climate March in Montreal, one of hundreds of climate marches that happened around the world on September 21, 2014 in what was declared “the largest climate change march in history”.
• In 2018, a Special Report from the IPCC stated that global emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 to avoid severe risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth. Despite a dire need for meaningful international response to this threat, the last few years have seen leaders like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Scott Morrison in Australia elected who continue to be climate obstructionists on the global stage. Demonstrations like the September 27th Climate Strike tend to grab headlines and create positive momentum in the short term, but these movements have yet to lead to any meaningful action or response from politicians. If governments were serious about listening to the deafening voices of the electorate demanding environmental action it would have happened long ago. If we’re serious about wanting to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it seems like we must take control into our own hands. The list below is by no means meant to be comprehensive, but I’ve chosen to highlight five relatively simple actions that you can take in order to reduce your personal and community carbon footprint: 1. Avoid all products containing palm oil Palm oil is an ingredient found in everything from processed foods, cosmetics, hygiene products, biofuels, and candles. Palm oil may not cost much to produce, but it exacts a high price on the environment through the clearing of tropical rainforests and peatlands for monoplantations of oil palm trees. This deforestation contributes to climate change, as the conversion of rainforests to palm oil monoplantations releases carbon dioxide that had been absorbed by old-growth forests. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated in 2013 that 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from tropical deforestation.
2. Reduce your meat intake (or better yet, become a vegetarian/vegan!) By moving towards a mainly vegetarian diet, you can have a major impact on your personal carbon footprint. Land clearing, growing animal feed, farming livestock, food processing and transporting meat and dairy products are all high carbon-intensive activities. According to The Guardian, red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases. 3. Offset your next flight on www.less.ca Carbon offsets have been criticized as a way for companies to buy their way out of their environmental obligations. Buying carbon offsets will certainly not solve climate change, but other than taking less flights, it remains one of the only available tools for those interested in reducing the impacts of their air travel. When purchasing carbon offsets it is important to check that your carbon offsets are certified by a recognized standard (Gold Standard, CDM, VCS, Climate Action Reserve) in order to not fall into the many scams online. With it only costing $6.28 to offset the carbon emissions of a round-trip flight from Montreal to Toronto, why not pay a little extra for your next trip? 4. Join local environmental groups on campus! There are several energetic environmental groups at McGill that are actively working to make the University and our community more sustainable. Try to attend the next events put on by Divest McGill,
Greenpeace McGill, and Extinction Rebellion Quebec. Within the faculty, the recently formed McGill Law Climate Justice Club is gearing up for a full year of environmental workshops and activities. Feel free to join the McGill Climate Justice Facebook group and come to our next meeting! 5. Vote for the environment With a federal election only a few weeks away, make sure to do your research on what promises the different political parties are making on climate change policy. On October 21 make your voice count by voting for the most pressing issue of our time. Only one political party wants to scrap the carbon tax and we cannot let them win. The stakes are too high. Once the election is over, write to your MP to hold them accountable to their party’s climate promises. The message of the Climate Strike was clear: the time to act is now. Let’s get started.
OVERHEARD Prof. Jutras in Class Actions: “Certification is not just a formality in the rest of Canada [...] As a court said in B.C.,it’s not ‘file, smile and certify’. That’s a very B.C. thing to say, very West Coast.”
MEETJuliette THE TEAM Regoli | 1L Social media manager
Que faites-vous lorsque vous n’étudiez pas ? J’adore faire du sport, jouer de la musique, voyager, passer du temps à mon chalet, puis sortir avec mes amis. Je m’intéresse à énormément de choses, donc un de mes plus grands défis c’est de balancer tout ça avec mes études. What did you do before McGill Law? Before McGill Law, I was a CEGEP student at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf where I studied commerce. Let’s just say life was a little easier.
Where are you from? / Where have you lived? I am from Montreal, born and raised!
Quel est votre talent caché ? J’apprends facilement les langues! I’m fluent in English, French and Italian. I can also get by in Spanish, German and Croatian.
Where is your favorite spot to hang out on campus? I would definitely say Thomson house is my favourite spot to hang out on campus. I feel like it’s always so joyful! Que souhaitez-vous améliorer à la faculté ? Avezvous des objectifs pour les prochaines années ? I’m only in 1L so I am still discovering everything that the faculty has to offer. However, my goal this year on the Quid would be to facilitate the communication between the editorial/ executive team and the faculty’s student body. I would love for every student to feel like their voice is heard here at the Quid.
Vol 41 ● No 3
FROM THE GELBER New library hours, a brief lesson on call numbers, and tips about course reserves Me Katarina Daniels |Liaison Librarian
Just a little housekeeping for this week’s From the Gelber with a bonus tip on keeping reserves overnight (or over the weekend), so read through! New schedule
2. Searching our course reserves catalogue From the McGill library homepage, select “Course reserves” from the “Find” column in the centre of the page. This brings you to the course reserves page. Click to access the course reserves catalogue.
You may have noticed that we’re open 24 hours during the week (just in time for mid-term studying)! After 6pm, a security guard will be stationed in the lobby of the library. To enter, you will need your McGill ID. Your ID card will let you in, and no one else. No ID card = no access. Stay up-to-date with our schedule by checking out our library branch page, here: https:/www.mcgill.ca/library/branches/law (Note special hours for Thanksgiving.) Course reserves and a brief lesson on call numbers
Search by course or instructor. Click on the title of your course.
Checking out a course reserve? Be sure to come to the circulation desk with a call number on hand. What is a call number, you ask? It’s the alphanumeric code generally found on the spine of a book, that tells our library assistants where your book lives, allowing them to find it with ease! McGill Libraries arranges most items using the Library of Congress Classification system, which happily keeps all law books together by jurisdiction. When you’re browsing the shelves, you may notice that:
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K = general law KD = English law
KE = Canadian law KEO = Ontario Law KEQ = Quebec law
KF = American Law KJV = French Law
Then, within each jurisdiction, areas of law/ legal topics are grouped together, making it easy to discover somethingv useful to your research by browsing the shelves! There are two ways to find a book’s call number if the book is on course reserve: 1. The way you would for any other book, i.e. searching the catalogue at mcgill.ca/library –– Add as much specific information as you think is necesary. –– If you know the exact title, put it in quotations marks. –– Combine bibliographic information with the operator “AND”. –– Before clicking “Go,” narrow by books, since the catalogue searches quite a bit more than that! –– Scroll through the search results to find the exact item you are looking for. The call number will appear next to the book’s availability.
The list of reserve materials for that course is listed. Scroll through the search results to find the exact item you are looking for. The call number will appear next to the book’s availability.
TIP: As you know, most reserve items can be borrowed for 3 hours at a time. As of 2:50pm, however, if you come to check out a book on reserve, you will actually be able to borrow that book until 10am the next service day (i.e. since we are closed on the weekend, if you come to the desk at 2:50pm on a Friday, you can keep the book until Monday morning; if Monday is a holiday, you can keep the book until Tuesday morning at 10am). WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO COME WITH A CALL NUMBER: We currently have around 250 books on reserve, and finding the book that you need by title, author, or course number just isn’t practical. So please, when you come up to the desk, have the call number handy! TIP #2: Our catalogue is mobile-friendly, so you can always search for a call number on your phone!
Library workshops Lexis Advance Quicklaw: October 28 CAIJ: TBD Register for our workshops at www.mcgill. ca/library > Workshops > View by branch > Nahum Gelber Law Library. And that’s all from the Gelber! Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the Reference Desk!
TRUDEAU : MARCHER DE SON PROPRE CHEF, CONTRE SON PROPRE CHEF Gabrielle Landry | 2L
pour le climat de Montréal, regroupant plus d’un demi-million de manifestants, est une démonstration historique d’insatisfaction envers les élus au pouvoir. Si on marche contre nos chefs au pouvoir, comment se fait-il qu’ils marchent avec nous? Lorsque le gouvernement se joint au peuple qui le dénonce, on se pose bien des questions. Toutefois, si j’étais Justin Trudeau, j’aurais eu envie d’aller prendre l’air de la Chambre des Communes pour aller me promener, moi aussi. La chambre est en feu, tout comme la maison. Quand des élus majoritaires ne sont pas capables d’instaurer leurs propres mesures, je comprends que cette insatisfaction soit partagée entre citoyens et gouvernement.
PHOTO BY MARKUS SPISKE, UNSPLASH La présence de Justin Trudeau à la marche pour le climat le 27 septembre dernier n’a laissé personne indifférent. Comment se fait-il qu’une marche, réclamant l’action du provincial et du fédéral, inclue les élus eux-même? Cela apparait à prime abord comme un non-sens, ce qui a semé controverse sur les réseaux sociaux, alors que certains jeunes se sentaient appuyés et d’autres, moqués. La règle générale est qu’une manifestation appartient au peuple. C’est aux citoyens de parler au gouvernement, pas au gouvernement d’utiliser un mouvement populaire pour propulser une campagne électorale ou une apparition de relations publiques. La marche
Le gouvernement Libéral s’est battu pour instaurer graduellement plusieurs mesures afin de pallier au réchauffement climatique, pour se retrouver contre un mur de fervents opposants à la taxe carbone. Scheer, Pallister et Moe s’y opposent tous, sans oublier Ford qui tient le contrôle judicaire de la question au-dessus de la tête des Libéraux. La remontée du conservatisme dans les provinces, avec un gouvernement majoritaire caquiste au Québec, par exemple, dépeint une triste réalité. Bien qu’un nombre grandissant des canadien.e.s militent pour l’environnement, il faut se rendre à l’évidence que d’autres sont toujours réticents à agir contre une crise climatique imminente. Et ça transparait dans leurs votes. Le système est-il brisé si un gouvernement majoritaire marche contre l’inaction des élus avec ses propres citoyens ? Est-ce là une dénonciation du statu quo ou était-ce surtout un coup de publicité ? Une chose est sûre, c’est que cela prendra bien plus qu’une simple élection pour sauver notre planète.
Vol 41 ● No 3
LOI 21: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN SOCIETY
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Andrea Salguero | 3L
On June 16, 2019 the polarizing “Loi 21”, on how best to approach the accommodation also known as An Act respecting the laic- of religious minorities within the ity of the State,1 was adopted by the Quebec province.2 While one of the recommendations legislature. As one of its central features, advised that those in public positions that Loi 21 prohibits persons from wearing “strikingly exemplify state neutrality” and who religious symbols in the exercise of certain “exercise a power of cohersion” such as judges public functions. According to the Act, this and law enforcement should refrain from prohibition is meant to reflect a commit- wearing religious symbols in carrying ment to principles of State laicity and the out their functions, Charles Taylor later importance of the equality of men and disavowed this recommendation after women in Quebec. While the term noting it was largely misunderstood by the ‘religious symbol’ is loosely defined, the public and was being used as a vehicle for law has most deeply affected Quebeckers prejudice against certain communities.3 whose religious practice is associated with a visible manner of dress. Namely, individ- I n 2 0 1 3 , s i m i l a r p u b l i c d e b a t e s uals who wear a hijab, turban or kippa as an were sparked by a proposed Quebec expression of faith. While a grandfather clause Charter of Values that sought to remove prevents those already employed from losing the presence of religious symbols in public their jobs, the overall message of Loi 21 to spaces, including a prohibition on wearing Quebeckers is clear: work and career religious symbols by individuals working in development opportunities within public certain public functions.4 This ban was thought bodies such as schools, courts and other to reinforce laicity as a central Quebec value. listed public bodies in Quebec will While that bill ultimately was not passed due to now be contingent on conforming to an unpopular public opinion, recent events appropriately ‘secular’ dress code. around Law 21 suggest the discussion did not end there. Déjà vu? What is religion anyway? If the public debates around secularism and religious symbols sound famil- Since the passing of Loi 21, the legal community iar, it is because they are not new to has organized to examine the constitutionality Quebec. In 2008, a commission led by of this law, and what its implementation will renowned philosopher Charles Taylor and mean for the rights of affected individuals. In sociologist Gérard Bouchard travelled less formal spaces, rights-based language also around the province interviewing people dominates public discussion. Critics about the matter of religious accommo- of Loi 21, for example, will emphasize dations. The Bouchard-Taylor Report how individuals ought to have the right to summarized their findings and presented the wear, and believe, what they choose in the Quebec government with recommendations workplace without fear of discrimination.
While these legal explorations are important, they must be accompanied by broader discussions on the role of religion in society and on the value of diversity in the public sphere if they are to effect prevalent attitudes towards religious practice in the province. Loi 21 is the latest manifestation of at least 10 years of general malaise about the role of religion in some segments of Quebec society. In this context, discussions with a narrow focus on rights alone will do little to address the underlying sentiments behind the law. It would seem that a different type of conversation is needed to foster greater compassion and understanding for those most affected by Loi 21. What real or imagined concerns about religion influence cultural attitudes in the province? What do we risk losing when our public sphere becomes less diverse, or less welcoming to certain perspectives and groups in society? In the spirit of starting this conversation at the faculty, I hope to write about religion this year in a way that explores some of these broad themes. My own knowledge is limited to my own experiences so I will do my best to make the column responsive to students who may wish to share something specific on this subject. Please feel free to write to me if you have any reflections at andrea.salgueroflorian@ mail.mcgill.ca. Ultimately, the aim of starting this dialogue on campus is to foster a culture where individuals not only have protected rights, but also an overwhelming sense that they are welcome and appreciated in this province.
An Act respecting the laicity of the State, SQ 2019, c 12
Charles Taylor & Gérard Bouchard, “Building the Future a Time for Reconciliation Report” (2008), online (pdf): Ministère du Conseil Executif <www.mce.gouv.qc.ca/publications/CCPARDC/rapport-final-in-
See supra note 2 at 151; Jonathan Montpetit, “Religious garb OK for cops, judges, says Bouchard-Taylor report’s co-author” (2017), online: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation <www.cbc.ca/news/canada/
Bill 60, Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men and providing a framework for accommodation requests, 1st Sess, 40th Leg, Quebec,
MCGILL LAW MEME OF THE WEEK
COURTESY KASSANDRA NERANJAN
Vol 41 ● No 3
HEY HEY, HO,HO: LENGTHY LECTURE GOTTA GO! Three Hours or just One Point Five? Even with breaks, I’m Not Staying Alive Anonymous | 3L
If one struggles to enjoy school, it does not make one anti-intellectual. In my spare time, I, for instance, enjoy practicing languages, writing film criticism, listening to politics podcasts and reading up on evolutionary biology. The difference between all of these activities and school is quite simple: with all of them, I can enjoy taking in information, without worrying about having “missed” “the essential details.”
PHOTO BY CHUTTERSNAP, UNSPLASH At times I find myself frustrated with the experience of being in school. This frustration, in turn, leads to anxiety. “If you don’t love law school,” the imaginary critic asks, “why are you even here?” Putting aside the specifics of law and the legal profession, I would say I’m in school because I am an inquisitive person. I like to learn. I like the idea of learning in a community of people who are more or less my peers. And, imperfect as I may be at it, I like the idea of honoring professors for their craft.
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All of the above is true, but that does not mean I am a flawless student. Too often, I find myself zoning out in class: going online when I take notes on a computer, or obsessively doodling and/or dreaming when I restrict myself to pen and paper.
Alas, the same is not true with school. Many of our classes grade based on exams. When I zone-out in class, and subsequently tune-in again, it is not with a neutral mind. Instead its with a mind wrought with anxiety. “What if I missed something important?” “how could I zone- out?” “If I zoned-out at the twenty minute mark, how could I possibly last two-and-a-half more hours?” The good thing about law school exams, is that many of them are not-detail oriented. Often, if one learns and familiarizes oneself with the ratios in one’s syllabus, that will be more than enough to make it through an exam. Unfortunately, while this style of evaluation is common, it has not been standardized. In my second year, for instance, I struggled through a detail-ridden three hour class, naively believing I would end up with an ok grade since I had been diligently summarizing case ratios each week. If it weren’t for the guidance of a more context-savvy friend, who pointed out to me that this particular instructor (a practitioner, not a professor, for what it’s worth) was teaching atypically, and that I would in fact have to catch up on the non-ratio based details of that class, I might have bombed that exam.
Clearly, something about the current construction of our education system doesn’t work for me. When struggling with personal problems, there are two routes one can take: critiquing oneself and critiquing the system. I undoubtedly feel a responsibility to do the former, but when I sit in classes and watch Facebook light up on the screens beside me, I also realize I am not alone in my struggles.
Standardizing law exams so they are all heavily-ratio based would be beneficial to students and instructors alike. Students would experience less stress, and instructors, could benefit from having more attentive classrooms, as students not weighed-down by stress, would have more mental-resources to focus on concentration. True, ratios, may not be the be all and end all of legal education, but who says something has to be Over the past semester I’ve tried to be mindful of why I come up short “on the exam” for it to be an important part of our degrees? It’s as a student. I’ve come to blame two factors: stress about uncertainty, not like we’re going to remember the details we learned in a 2L and being disinterested in the material before me. And I am convinced class when it comes time to write the bar. our education tradition can be reformed to address these issues, to the benefit of all. Interesting Classes Stress About Uncertainty
Have you ever zoned out in a class for a few minutes, tuned back in, realize you’re not following the lecture, and thus given up on concentrating altogether? That’s a path I often find myself on.
Some might object at this point that I’m being naive: that students who are not stressed will not focus more in class, but will simply transform from being anxiety-driven-escapists, to carefree-escapists. There are several pedagogical approaches that can be taken to address this issue. Firstly, professors can create a lecture structure where concen-
tration is most tangibly rewarded. In 1.5 -3 hour lectures, details central to evaluation are often hidden within dense rhetorical forests. I often find myself wondering why lectures have to be this long when, when writing my end of year summaries, getting out the key points of a class generally takes between two and thirty minutes. I thus propose a reformed, more structured lecture. In the first twenty minutes, the professor can succinctly summarize the factual material. Students would thus be able to know with certainty, that if they can concentrate in these moments, they will learn what they need to for their exams.
A LETTER FROM TWO LITTLE FORTUNE COOKIES… Lily Maya Wang | 3L
While I imagine licensing requirements would prevent McGill from adopting a system where classes are only twenty-thirty minutes long, McGill’s instructors could nonetheless reform their lectures so that the remaining bulks of their classes are used to cultivate learning and community, rather than stress and burn-out. While I’m yet to find a three-hour class that does not exhaust me, the easiest by far for me to make it through was Aaron Mills’ Indigenous Constitutionalism. That class took a format where each student, in turn, would share what lessons they personally gleaned from the texts, taking as much time as they needed to express themselves. While thorough academic engagement was expected, there was no coercive pressure in place to stop students, on any given day, in engaging with the material in more tangential or personal lights. While Mills’ pedagogy may not be the perfect fit for all or most McGill classes (both because it was structured with a small class size in mind, and because it was partially envisioned to teach Anishinaabe-specific legal practices), it showed how a class can be conducted in a way where students are encouraged to, and socially-rewarded for engaging with class content. This is in contrast to most classes where the default is for student to sit silently and anxiously weed for potentially relevant details in lectures. While it is true that some professors try to encourage participation, often these efforts ring hollow in class’ where self-expression is not as normalized as in Mills’. When a professor asks for a student-volunteer to provide an, often-obvious, one word response, rather than invigorating student passion, they are simply asking students to awkwardly navigate whether they want to raise their hand in a social environment where students who raise their hands too often are socially ostracized as egotistical keeners. TL; DR In short, McGill’s classes are too damn long and, as a result, passionate learners, like myself, can be left feeling we are inadequate as students. If our lectures are reimagined not as part of the stressful journey towards the exam, but as a symposium for like-minded peers to share ideas, thanmore of us can come to see law school as an exciting destination and not painful path. That can be done by: 1) limiting exam-oriented lecture content, to twenty-minutes a class, 2)making exam content predictable (ie ratio based) and 3) conducting the remainder of classes as an open discussion where participation is celebrated. Learners of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our distractions!
Dear You, Yes, YOU! As you start to read this letter, you may wonder who we are… We are two different fortune cookies, who came to you, out of different circumstances, on the same day. And we are here to tell you the same message: “You own path is the best.” Pretty straight forward, n’est-ce pas? But you won’t believe us. You may think that there aren’t too many varieties of messages from us fortune cookies, or you don’t want to be superstitious, or it is simply a matter of luck… Nonetheless, we are here to tell you – Your own path is the best. So, what is this path??? How are we supposed to know?! You are the only one who has walked on this path. Whatever choices you have made up until now, and whoever you have encountered thus far, no one else but YOU truly know this path. Now, you may think that we, useless fortune cookies, are just stating the obvious. Indeed, that’s what we do all the time! But we are still here to serve as a reminder – a reminder to reassure you that no matter which one (out of the infinitely many possible paths ∞ in this life, universe (or parallel universes) and everything) you will take, it will be best path for you. And here we leave you with what the famous Spanish poet Antonio Machado once wrote: Caminante, no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar. (Traveler, there is no path, you make your own path as you go.) So, my friend, where is YOUR path leading you to? With love, Two little fortune cookies
Vol 41 ● No 3
Women General Counsel Canada: Scholarship Overview Name: Type: Year: Amount: Program Load: General Information:
Applying for the Scholarship:
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Deadline: Email Address for Submission: Award Announcement Date: Scholarship Paid Out: About the Donor
Women General Counsel Canada (WGCC) Scholarship
Students enrolled in an LLB or JD program at a Canadian university In 2nd year $2,000 Full-Time
1 award of $2,000 Applicants must: 1. Be enrolled and in good standing in an LLB or JD program at a Canadian university; 2. Demonstrate a commitment to the advancement of women in the legal profession; and 3. Consent to the use of their name, educational institution, likeness and submission in WGCC communications relating to the scholarship An applicant can apply for a scholarship by: 1. Preparing a letter of request of no more than 500 words describing how the applicant has demonstrated commitment to the mission of WGCC and advancement of women in the legal profession (see sample topics below); 2. Attaching one letter of reference from a faculty member in the law school; and attaching an optional additional letter of reference from a community member, if applicable and helpful to demonstrate commitment to women in the legal profession, as described above; and 3. Attaching a copy of a transcript demonstrating successful completion of the first year of law school and evidence of current registration. October 15 at 5 p.m. EST email@example.com attention: President of WGCC Annually at WGCC AGM
January 31 Women General Counsel Canada (WGCC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting women lawyers in general counsel and executive legal leadership positions. WGCC’s mission is threefold: we seek to connect women in-house counsels through social events, to help facilitate networking and building support systems; we organize professional development workshops and panels, to promote skill development and create a space for in-house counsels to confidentially ask questions and share experiences; and we provide support to female-oriented organizations in the community through our philanthropic efforts. WGCC currently has over 350 members across Canada, with active chapters in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and British Columbia.
Women General Counsel Scholarship Sample Essay Topics • Explain how your community service or life experience has shaped your perspective on women’s issues and how these experiences will influence you in the profession of law. • How do you plan to support women in law throughout your legal studies and career? • “The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.” - Wilma Mankiller. What is a time that you failed, how did you respond, and what lessons did you learn that will shape the lawyer you become? You can use the quote of another influential woman if preferred, e.g. “We know from worldwide experience that very often when you go beyond the numbers you uncover patterns of sometimes indirect discrimination” retired Justice Louise Arbour; “We need a legal profession that worries about what the world looks and feels like to those who are vulnerable”, Justice Rosalie Abella; or “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. • What are your hopes for the future of women in the legal profession? • Write about a woman who has had a big impact on your life and how you will draw upon this in your practice as a lawyer.
THE CRY FOR REFORM IS HUMAN Kerrin-lee Whyte | 3L
You open your eyes and the first thing you see is grey concrete above you. Rolling over on a rigid mattress you see more of that same monotonous grey as the concrete walls at your sides stare back at you. Only one wall is different: a cold, immovable set of bars separating you from the rest of the world. This is a narrow glimpse into the experiences some prisoners live as they pay the sentences the criminal justice system has imposed on them. When your surroundings are so uninspired and grey, there’s lots of time and space for your mind to wander. With the case of David Milgaard, a man who spent decades of his life imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, one can only imagine what was going through his mind. May 1969, a man named Larry Fisher raped and murdered a girl named Gail Miller. However, the testimony of those Milgaard once called friends led to Milgaard’s arrest and charge for the violent crime. Rather than Fisher, Milgaard was the one who had to pay for the pain and irreparable loss Fisher had caused. In 1970, Milgaard was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of Miller. Milgaard’s mother Joyce never wavered in her affirmations that he was innocent. She invested immeasurable amounts of resources trying to reveal the truth. In time, that truth was revealed. Persevering in her own investigations into the matter when the police would not, she eventually uncovered the crucial piece of information: Fisher’s location during the murder. This was the evidence that identified Fisher as the true perpe-
trator and would set Milgaard free. But this was only after Milgaard had spent 23 years behind bars. A lot can happen in 23 years: people start families, earn diplomas, and travel to foreign countries. Fashion trends peak and fall, previously essential technologies become irrelevant and over 8000 sunsets dazzle the sky. Although Milgaard went on to travel the world and fall in love, he still suffered an immeasurable injustice that one simply does not forget. There is more to prison than grey walls and bars. There are opportunities lost. Threats to physical and mental health. The fading of relationships. Even once you escape those walls a stigma looms over your shoulder, whispering rumors and causing discomfort in those you meet. This injustice is just one instance of many indicating the need for judicial reform. October 3rd, 2019 marked Wrongful Conviction Day here in Canada. As the next generation to enter into the legal profession, it is important not to forget that the need for system reform in the justice system is more than a list of issues to address. Rather, it entails human experiences of suffering, feeling small and unmet needs desperately reaching for recognition. On October 17th, 2019, please join us for a conference with David Milgaard in the Moot Court at 6:30pm to not only learn more about the causes of wrongful convictions and the flaws in our justice system, but to gain a better understanding of the human experience in the face of injustices.
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THE GREY ZONE Where does the Runnymede Society Stand? Gabriela Lopes | 2L
A modern political proverb that I have seen frequently shared online says that the Right wing and the Left wing hold up the same bird. There is a sentiment in the phrase, a hopeful imagery of unity, that has deeply resonated with me as of late. Because despite having come across it on social media, I have increasingly felt the need to disconnect from a public sphere whose voice is divisive and polemic.
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It feels like a betrayal to an important cause, to step away. I know that being aware of a problem is the first step toward a solution, and I recognize that there are so many problems in the world. I feel a strong sense of urgency to address them, to change the structures of our society so we stop perpetuating unequal and exploitative dynamics. But somehow, as we all shout soundbites of this tragedy or that affront, I feel that we may be looking in the wrong direction. We should not be aiming our frustrations outward, at least not entirely. I have come to believe that the greatest obstacle we face as a global human species is the way we think of, and consequently talk to, each other as individuals. Fundamentally, we have a near-irresistible tendency toward a categorical mindset. This means that we organize our understanding of our lived experience by grouping them into categories, around which we form schemas of significance. Things that we find in the wild can be grouped into “food” or “danger” or “shelter” categories. Things we create can be collected into “vehicle” or “furniture” or “weapon” groups. Each of these can be continuously subdivided into concepts, and these concepts become meaningful when they are attached to an emotional valuation. “Danger” provokes a strong aversive feeling; “Food” triggers our dopamine channels that cause rewarding emotions. This way of understanding the world extends to our fellow people, of course. We divide each other into important distinctive groups — “young” or “old”, “family” or “strangers” — and each of these groups arouse a unique emotional cocktail. There is nothing inherently wrong with this process; it is our operating system, in the same way a computer “thinks” in codes of 1s and 0s. There is a problem that arises, however, when the most meaningful distinction that divides people in our minds is the “like me” and “not like me” categories, and when the outgroup is automatically associated with an influx of aversive reactions. This is because behaviour is also organized into groupings, and an “aversive reaction” carries with it a collection of outcomes: we perceive the outgroup as possessing more negative traits than have been observed1 ; we even perceive their positive qualities less favourably.2 All of this means, quite simply, that we already think we will not like someone very much before we have gotten
to know them, because in our minds they have been organized into a “not like me” category that has been negatively emotionally evaluated. There are many groups that we have created into which we compartmentalize our fellows. The relevant ones I wish to speak of today are political categories. “Left wing” progressives and “Right wing” conservatives have been elevated in the current public rhetoric of the Euro-American world as the most basic distinction to be made between ideas and those who think them. When we pick what side we are on, we adopt a collection of negative impressions of the other side — their philosophies are wrong, their methods of interacting with the world are wrong, and they are probably unintelligent or morally corrupt if they cannot see the virtue of our perspective. This categorical current is so strong in the mainstream culture that to refuse to join a side is seen as a dishonestly apolitical move, and people subconsciously observe your actions to find proof that you actually stand on either side of the divide. I believe this is what has happened to the Runnymede Society. I am a member of this club of law students operating in faculties across Canada, and have held the position of VP Stakeholder Relations for the McGill chapter since the summer. I became interested in joining this group when it was presented to me as an effort in dialogue: the purpose of the Runnymede Society is to foster debates on the ideas that we value in the Canadian judicial landscape. I am a strong believer in the power of communication, and so easily identified with the mission of the club. There is no topic that should not be addressed. This has proven to be a problematic position, and I understand the reticence many have in regards to giving a platform to some ideas. There are those that are dangerous for the wellbeing of disadvantaged individuals, and it may feel like an unquestioning promotion of intolerance to allow some speakers to share their positions in the Faculty, for to give a platform to a dangerous ideal may be akin to legitimizing it, to give an institutional seal of approval. However, I have deep reservations with delegitimizing an idea without first listening to it. Every perspective, no matter how flawed it may initially seem, is based on a valid experience which will not be made irrelevant with silence. The aggravations people have with the world around them don’t disappear in silence, they only fester and germinate until they eventually find a safe place to escape. And if the public sphere is not allowed to be their safe place, then they will find underground channels to echo in, rejected individuals to enchant and coerce. This is, ultimately, just another symptom of an ingroup/outgroup dichotomy.
Fathali M. Moghaddam, Donald M. Taylor & Richard N. Lalonde, “Individualistic and collective integration strategies among Iranians in Canada” (1987) 22:3 Intl J of Psyc 301-313 (PsycNET)
Bertram Gawronski, Galen V. Bodenhausen & Rainer Banse, “We are, therefore they aren’t: Ingroup construal as a standard of comparison for outgroup judgements” (2005) 41:5 J of Exp SoPsyc 515-526(Psyc-
NET); Beaupré & Hess, “In my mind, we all smile: A case of in-group favouritism” (2003) 39 J of Exp SoPsyc 371-377 (CiteSeeRX); Michael Inzlicht,Cheryl R. Kaiser & Brenda Major, “The face of chauvinism: How prejudice expectations shape perceptions of facial affect” (2008) 44:3 J of Exp SoPsyc 758-766 (ResearchGate)
If we automatically assume that there is nothing we can learn from the other, because “those on the other side of the Right/Left divide are wrong, unintelligent and amoral”, then we are limiting our ability to question our own narrow perspectives and possible misunderstandings. This is not to say that contradictory opinions should not themselves be questioned — it is only to say that they cannot be questioned if we cannot hear them. Therefore, the mission of the Runnymede Society is to promote the hearing of positions that have contemporarily been obfuscated from the mainstream rhetorical culture of Canadian law schools. We invite speakers who stand on opposing ends of the intellectual and political spectrum to present their ideas on topics in law and open themselves up to critique or reflection by the public. We promote the interaction of those disparate ideas in debates and dialogues. We try to foster a self-analysis in the audience that is not usually enabled in a filter-bubble of perpetual agreement. All of this because we are adamant about the importance of free disagreement in a democratic society, and a fortiori in a Faculty of law which aims to nurture critical and balanced legal minds. Free disagreement requires that we do not dehumanize each other at the offset of a conflict. We cannot outright reject a person’s valid opinions because they do not reflect our own. If after having been exposed to it and having given it an honest chance to convince me I am still not convinced, then I can rest assured in the strength of my own perspective. And more importantly, I may have, through my open acknowledgment of the other’s validity, had an effect on their opinion. This has been my experience in life and among my different politically-leaning colleagues at the Runnymede Society. When I’ve respectfully listened to another’s built concepts and pointed out discrepancies with my own conception of the world with a genuine interest in consolidating the differences, the outcome has always been very fulfilling for all parties involved. Free disagreement first requires understanding the other’s position, and this understanding requires genuine listening, the giving of an intellectual benefit of the doubt.
society, or a democracy? What qualifies as a good judgement by a court? How should fundamental principles of our Constitution be understood? There are no definitive answers, and we all have authority to speak on our own conceptions of these topics. We can all stand to better listen. The way we think about and talk to the other is the force that is tearing the wings off the body of the bird, and which risks sending that poor body crashing down into the ground. We can begin to sew up the chasm between us by first looking inward and seeing how we dismiss each other, how we shut down our ability to learn from those we disagree with. Because at the end of the day, while the categories of the “Right wing” and “Left wing” might have generalizable distinctions, when you try to define the line that separates them categorically, you find you get lost in the feathers that join everything together. The same way alcohol can be both food and danger, or the way a distant cousin can be both family and stranger. Our inability to see this lack of true separation between in- and out-groups is the biggest problem I can see in the world today. There is no fixed and distinct line between categories, only a muddle of increasing similarities between this and that, Right and Left, us and them. This grey zone is where the Runnymede Society and myself have decided to stand. I hope to see you at our next events, the first of which will be taking place on October 16th and will feature a debate on the topic and controversies of administrative law. Gabriela Lopes, VP Stakeholder Relations, and the 2019-2020 McGill Runnymede Society
While the division between outgroups and ingroups may never be completely erased by virtue of the means through which our brains operate, the automatic negative evaluation that is associated with belonging to an outgroup may be dissolved. Ingroup associations may be evolutionary developments,3 but outgroup denigration is culturally learnt.4 If we manage to perceive the other neutrally, we give them a chance to say something we agree with. And if that happens, we might find that we agree on a lot more than we disagree. We all agree that living in a society is better than living alone and completely self-sufficiently in the woods. We all agree that people should behave in ways that are “good”. And we probably all agree, as democratic citizens, that the values of freedom and security are fundamental. None of these concepts are simple. None of them have been blessed with a unanimous and objective consensus. It is imperative that we continuously tease out the complex threads that have built these collective realities if they are to be useful to us. What is “good”, or “freedom”, or “security”? What is an ideal 3
Naomi Masuda & Feng Fu,”Evolutionary models of in-group favouritism” (2015) 7:27 F1000Prime Rep (doi: 10.12703/P7-27)
Laurie A. Rudma, “Sources of Implicit Attitudes” (2004) 13:2 Curr Dir in Psyc Sc 79-82 (SagePub); Naha Mahajan & Karen Wynn,”Origins of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them”:Prelinguistic infants prefer similar others”
(2012) 124:2 Cognition 227-233 (ScienceDirect); Jessica A. Cameron et al, “Children’s Lay Theories About Ingroups and Outgroups: Reconceptualizing Research on Prejudice” (2001) 5:2 Pers & SoPsyc Rev 118-128 (SagePub)
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FACEBOOK POLL @quidnovi.mcgill
QUID NOVI • 8 OCT 2019
Juliette Regoli| 1L
STARTING NEXT WEEK, TUESDAY OCTOBER 8TH, THE QUID NOVI WILL BE PUBLISHING A POLL EVERY THREE WEEKS. WE WILL POST THE POLLS ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE @QUIDNOVI.MCGILL AND ON THE MCGILL LAW - GENERAL GROUP FOR THE WEEK PRIOR TO PUBLICATION. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO GO VOTE AND SHARE THE POLL WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
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QUID NOVI • 8 OCT 2019 Vol 41 ● No 3