THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO FACULTY OF LAW
VOLUME 11, ISSUE 2
January 27, 2010
Soccer team emerges victorious at Law Games
For more Law Games coverage, see page 23.
UV INDEX • SCHOOL SAFETY REPORT...P.3 • EXAMINING THE MOOTING
• A COP15 REPORT...P.7
• KEIR VS. KANG SUMMARY
• 1L SUMMER JOBS...P.10
• PROROGATION DEBATE...P.15
The results are in...
2009-10 is the third academic year in which the Students’ Law Society has issued a 1L satisfaction survey to gather student feedback on the first-year experience. These student surveys have provided important insights into the workings of the law school, which, in turn, have helped to direct the SLS’s advocacy efforts to areas of genuine student concern. This fall, the SLS received 133 completed responses to its first-year survey (a 68 per cent response rate). The numbers have been crunched, the patterns have been scrutinized, and the results are, so far, encouraging.
BY AZIM REMANI (1L) & KARIM AMLANI (2L)
Note: For statistical purposes below, the percentage of “satisfied” students was calculated by dividing the total number of students who agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the part of their law school experience being considered, by the total number of responses received. Figures are rounded to the nearest whole percentage.
Students ranked their overall academic experience highly, with 89 per cent of students reporting that they were satisfied. Satisfaction with the structure, and content, of the first-year curriculum was
also considerable, though slightly lower, with satisfaction rates of 80 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively. In October 2007, 66 per cent and 85 per cent of students were satisfied with the structure and content of the first-year curriculum, respectively; in October 2008, these figures were 70 per cent and 83 per cent. The increases between 2007 and 2009 are encouraging signs given the recent overhaul of the first-year curriculum. Among the academic aspects of the program considered in the survey, satisfaction levels were highest for the... CONTINUED at page 6
Ultra Vires staff weigh in on this issue’s pressing matters
UV to faculty: still waiting for the beef
In the March 2008 edition of Ultra Vires, we published an editorial by Mathew Goldstein and Rob Wakulat (then co-Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper) entitled “Students to faculty: where’s the beef ?” Their argument was that faculty at this law school (with a few key exceptions) are fundamentally disengaged with student learning outside the classroom, and that U of T Law’s “obsessive focus upon marks, examinations, and gradient ranking of students has created an ends-oriented culture that fails to foster an environment of collegiality”. Their words were true then, and, we believe, remain true now. In the nearly two years since that piece was published, we feel that little has changed. The level of engagement between students and faculty, between students and administration, and even within the student body, is disappointingly low for an institution of this size. Relationships between current students and alumni are essentially non-existent. There have certainly been certain efforts from all parties to rectify the situation. The Dean’s open office hours have been reassuringly regular, and students have been steadily taking advantage of them to air concerns and grievances. The Mooting and Advocacy Committee’s just-released interim report (discussed in detail on page five) directly seeks to address years of student frustration with low faculty involvement in both the competitive and compulsory mooting programs. And yet, despite this encouraging progress, much more can – and needs – to be done. The overall concerns about faculty involvement in student activities which were highlighted in Goldstein and Wakulat’s article continue to prevail. To continue with the example of the Mooting and Advocacy Committee’s interim report, it is impossible not to notice that, while the report candidly acknowledges an undesirable lack of faculty involvement in student moots, it seeks to rectify the problem in indirect ways. Introducing legal practitioners as mentors may go some way to address the lack of expert guidance for student mooters, but it does not actually improve levels of faculty involvement. There is no replacement for the specialized knowledge and perspective that a legal academic can apply to these complicated problems of law, whether or not he or she has a background in advocacy. This is merely one example of a form of incomplete problem-solving which is itself, again, symptomatic of a greater problem. There is, in fact, no replacement for a faculty member’s specialized knowledge and perspective across a wide variety of contexts; yet, too many faculty members at this institution limit their interaction with students to the bare minimum during lecture hours. It is true that there is no way to compel people to participate in activities in which they have no interest. The futility of simply pressuring professors to interact with students outside of the classroom is obvious even to us – we champions of lost causes. Neither is it particularly useful just to corral faculty
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and students into the same place at the same time and expect them to bond. Any number of awkward student-professor mixers come to mind, including that “special” Muffin Madness which left all parties dissatisfied. The gulf between faculty and students isn’t one which can be bridged easily. Students are busy, professors are busy, and neither group has homogenous needs and concerns. Some U of T Law students have come to this school to get their degree and then get out – to collect their grades in order to enter their chosen profession, steering clear of any further involvement with the school itself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for the rest of the 600some J.D. students here, a critical component of their legal education is incomplete – one which has tremendous potential benefits. Maybe this is cynical and overly reductive of us, but how do you change somebody’s behaviour? Readjust the cost/benefit analysis. Change the incentive structure. Make it worth someone’s while, in other words. Make coaching a moot, coaching an intra-mural team, or advising a journal worth something for a faculty member. Transform these roles into a potential benefit for them, rather than a burden. Many of us have encountered those emails from the Dean’s Office, asking us to assess a faculty member for tenure – why not make it more explicit that students can, and should, comment on a professor’s engagement with students outside of class as well? Ask whether a professor has ever encouraged students to attend workshops, talks, or presentations on related subjects. Ask if the professor responded positively to a discussion of legal ideas outside of class time. Ask about the professor’s engagement with students outside of class, and then factor any positive responses into the overall decision-making with regards to job performance. This creates a positive feedback loop, where faculty feel as if they reap rewards for their involvement in student activities, and students who have more interaction with faculty outside the classroom may become more engaged within class as well. This, in turn, will lead faculty to feel more inclined to be involved with student activities once more. Faculty who choose not to enter the loop, and not to be more involved, are free to do so without consequence, while those who do enter, gain from it. We aren’t suggesting that quality classroom instruction should ever lose its primacy in assessing the strength of our student-faculty relationship. In order for this law school to be truly world-class, however, it is necessary that it embrace the idea that being a top-notch instructor involves more than teaching the ideas well in class and requires more than modes of formal evaluation. Tackling this problem isn’t simply tilting at windmills – it’s too important of an issue for it to remain largely ignored and marginalized in the discourse of this law school, or to wait another two years to move forward.
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Karim Amlani, Allyson Amster, Arden Beddoes, Kate Bjerring, Joshua Chan, Aaron Christoff, Dana Doidge, Christina Doris, Karen Ensslen, Kyle Ferguson, Cassandra Florio, David Forsayeth, Michael Hamata, Joseph Heller, Abrar Huq, Stephen Hutchison, Aria Kashefi, Christie Kneteman, Jessica Lithwick, Ryan MacIsaac, Kate McDonald, Ashley McKenzie, Jun Chao Meng, Jennifer Murdoch, Dan Moore, Brendan Morrison, Tamara O’Connell, Annie Pyke, Steven Slavens, Isaac Tang, Cara Valiquette, Jennifer Whincup, Lucas Wilson, Samantha Wu, Tina Yang, Christopher Yung
A hairy November, bike-friendly streets, and a mooting program in turmoil...
Safety at the law school:
Sorting out fact from fiction, and what you can do to keep you and your belongings safe BY TAMARA O’CONNELL (1L)
In recent months, increased student dis- or, if this is a repeat event, a notice of cards), even after regular working hours, -In the library, remember that opening cussion and scrutiny have caused the trespass. would go against the principle of foster- an emergency exit will trip the alarms issue of safety and security at the law Although campus police do not patrol ing Bora Laskin as an open place of and alert Campus Police in times of school, particularly in Bora Laskin law li- Flavelle regularly, library staff workers learning. trouble. There are brary, to be brought to the forefront. are in the stacks at all times during the Both the Stualso intercoms con“THE PRIMARY ISSUE THAT This reday shelv- dents’ Law Society nected to campus seARISES ...IS THE TASK OF port is an ing, help- and the library adcurity in the locker RECONCILING THE NEED attempt to ing people, ministration take area of Flavelle. evaluate and work- the issue of secu-WalkSafe is a FOR SECURITY WITH THE the current ing on rity seriously. Over service provided by DESIRE TO KEEP THE LIlevels of other proj- the past four Campus Police, ofBRARY A PUBLIC SPACE FOR security at e c t s . months, the SLS fering escorts beLEARNING.” the school, T h e s e has solicited feedtween campus and to destaff are back from students buildings, parking termine e n c o u r - on their security lots, and neighbourwhether aged to be concerns. From this informal survey, ing TTC stops. Available weekdays, the there are alert to any most of the complaints were about number to call is 416.978.7233. steps that potentially stolen property, and the presence of -The University of Toronto Students’ should be problem- purportedly homeless people in Flavelle. Union advocates the use of a product taken to atic situaThe library remains open to sugges- called the Security Tracking of Office increase tions. In tions, and is in discussion with the SLS Property (“STOP”) security plate. This security to make this law school a safer the evenings, there is usually only one and Assistant Dean Alexis Archbold security plate contains a unique bar place. person at circulation, but, during the last about what steps can be taken to keep coded identifier and bonds to your comDespite the rampant anecdotal ru- two hours before closing, there is also a the library safe. Isaac Tang, President of puter. The plate acts as a deterrent to mours, there have been very few re- second person in the stacks shelving ma- the SLS, is investigating the feasibility of thieves, and can also assist in the recovported thefts within Bora Laskin. Chief terials. These methods may not be en- installing a single camera directed at the ery of stolen property. More informaLibrarian John Papadopoulos states that, tirely effective, however, as there are library entrance to act as a deterrent to tion on this product can be found online over the last twelve months, there has unverified student reports of a person any potential trouble. This proposal is at: http://utsu.ca/section/1091. been only one laptop theft reported, and from outside the law school community under preliminary discussion by the lithat this number is in line with historical found sleeping in the stacks. brary administration, although security averages. Thefts of other personal items The primary issue that arises when cameras can be costly, as well as raise pri,such as wallets or bags, have not been dealing with security concerns at the li- vacy concerns. reported at all in brary is the task of Other ideas brought forward by sturecent history, alreconciling the need dents and administration may be more “...LIBRARY STAFF WORKERS ARE for security with the difficult to implement. One such prothough such thefts would have desire to keep the li- posal is to establish a laptop “drop IN THE STACKS AT ALL TIMES been immediately brary a public space zone”, where students leave their lapDURING THE DAY...STAFF ARE relayed to the for learning. Bora tops at a “safe space” when taking ENCOURAGED TO BE ALERT TO University of Laskin is the only law breaks. This presents logistical difficulANY POTENTIALLY PROBLEMToronto Campus library in downtown ties, such as identification, staffing, and ATIC SITUATIONS.” Police. While all Toronto that is open liability problems. Other discussions theft numbers to the general public. have centred on increased staffing measwould be zero, ideally, thefts do not ap- Students and faculty from other law ures, and how better to deal with afterProbably a better option than carrying it into pear to be a systemic problem in the li- schools and practitioners routinely use hours concerns, although no concrete the bathroom with you. brary. If there is any pattern to be Bora Laskin, which is, after all, a publicly plans for change have been made yet. discerned from the dates of past thefts, funded institution. In addition, the li-In the event of a theft, or the presthey appear to peak during exam periods brary is an important resource for peoIn the meantime, there are a number ence of someone who is making you un(perhaps coinciding simply with in- ple who choose to represent themselves of things to be done to protect yourself comfortable, the first step is to report it creased crowds studying at the library). or have an interest in exand your belongings: to the circulation desk. All library staff Similarly, in the six and a half years ploring the law further. -This is basic, but know the protocols for contacting Camthat Papadopoulos has been at the li- Since Flavelle House and worth repeating: don’t pus Police, and are happy to help. brary, only two people have been banned Bora Laskin are public leave valuables in lockers Although the law buildings are generfrom the library. It is important to note spaces, there is little reor unattended. ally safe places to work and study, it is that, if students have concerns about in- course if people are loiter-Most laptops come still important to take precautions and dividuals in the library who might appear ing around the building with a Kensington Secu- review what preventative measures can threatening, they should make a report without causing mischief rity Slot to allow for be taken to keep it that way. As always, to the circulation desk. The standard or damage, or engaging in cable locks to secure to the SLS and library administration are procedure after a report is received is for any other illegal activity. It the laptop. The study open to your suggestions for improving the Campus Police to be consulted for a has been argued that procarrels are set up with safety and security at the law school. recommendation. The resulting recom- posals for student-only acholes to facilitate this mendation can range from a polite re- cess to the library (e.g. (the cable locks can Ask yourself: What would Bora quest for the person in question to leave, swipe access with student loop through the desk). do?
Environmental Law Club takes back the streets BY ALLYSON AMSTER (2L)
Last term, members of the EnvironAs part of its research, the ELC promental Law Club – Jacqui Wilson, duced findings that Toronto’s streets are Meaghan McDermid, Allyson Amster, unsafe for cyclists, including: evidence and Patrick Dyke – provided research as- of dangerous street designs and air polsistance for a case before the Ontario lution, corresponding statistics on colliLabour Relations Board involving the sions, and studies and policy rights of cyclists recommendations on (those who ride safe road design. The “THIS CASE INVOLVES NOT bikes as part of their ELC also provided reONLY ELEMENTS OF WORKjobs) to a safe worksearch assistance on ERS’ RIGHTS, BUT ALSO PUBLIC place. case law under the HEALTH, COMMUNITY SAFETY, The case pits cyOHSA. AND ENVIRONMENTAL INcling advocate With ten Toronto TEGRITY.” Wayne Scott against pedestrians killed by the City of Toronto. motorists in the very As part of a program housed within the recent past, designing and building City’s Transportation Services Depart- streets for users other than motorists is ment, Mr. Scott’s job as a Cycling Am- becoming a front-page issue. Albert bassador required him to bike Koehl, the lawyer representing Mr. throughout the City to promote cycling. Scott, points out that, “enlightened soMr. Scott claimed that the City of cieties take action before tragedies hapToronto, as his employer, failed to take pen – this is a key objective of public every precaution reasonable in the cir- welfare laws like the OHSA.” cumstances to protect its workers, as reThis week also saw the release of a quired by the Occupational Health and City publication entitled, “City of Safety Act. Mr. Scott is now appealing Toronto Cycling Study: Tracking Report the decision of an inspector who de- (1999 and 2009)”, which found that the clined to issue an order compelling the number one concern among cyclists (up City to address unsafe conditions, in- six per cent from 1999) is safety, and that cluding the lack of bike lanes and the only one-third of cyclists feel comfortpoor design of existing bike lanes. able cycling on main streets that do not
have bike lanes. It also concluded that “improvements in safety-related infrastructure” are the best means by which to shift recreational cyclists to utilitarian cyclists – essential for reducing Toronto’s environmental impact. Clearly, if Mr. Scott is successful, almost all of Toronto’s cyclists will benefit. Many people have questioned how this case fits into the ELC’s objectives. At first, this case may seem more appropriate for Advocates for Injured Workers or the Health Law Club – after all, Mr. Scott’s claim is with regards to workplace safety. Narrowly examined, one could label this as purely a labour rights case, since the legal instrument engaged is the OHSA. Failing to see the environmental benefits resulting from this case, however, would mean a missed opportunity. This case involves not only elements of
workers’ rights, but also public health, community safety, and environmental integrity. The members of the ELC assisted on this case because they recognized an opportunity to affect transportation behaviour and policy positively, and thereby protecting the environment by encouraging less polluting means of transportation. Mr. Koehl likens this strategy to the case of Al Capone: “When people look back at the creative tax law approach U.S. law enforcement authorities used to put the notorious Al Capone behind bars, no one criticizes them because they didn’t rely on the criminal law. Indeed, their creativity is lauded to this day. So when people look back, likely with less fanfare, on the U of T Environmental Law Club of 20092010, they will hopefully praise their initiatives for similar creativity, instead of asking why more traditional approaches weren’t used.”
JANUARY 27, 2010
Making mooting matter BY JOSEPH HELLER (3L)
This past spring, I was one of two students who agreed to act as “Co-Chief Justice” for the student-run Moot Court Committee. When I took on the role, I assumed that my Co-Chief and I would be, as has been the case in the past, working with a group of 5-8 committed students who would enjoy the full support of the faculty and administration. The reality was quite different: come September, we had no MCC to speak of – just two “Co-Chiefs” and a new Assistant Dean struggling to keep the program afloat. Were it not for the dedication of our student coaches and Assistant Dean Faherty, we would have no competitive mooting program to speak of. This year’s Interim Report from the Mooting and Advocacy Committee highlights some of the changes that the MCC has implemented in the recruitment of MCC members. For example, rather than throwing 3Ls into roles for which they are not sufficiently prepared, the MCC will now include 2Ls who will be responsible for the first-year advocacy competitions, as they prepare to assume the roles of Co-Chiefs the following year. Although this change will allow for a level of training and continuity which I never got to experience, it will not address the greater problem plaguing our school: the complete disconnect between our expectations of what a mooting program should be, and our present-day perceptions that the faculty and administration, with some notable exceptions, could not care less about advocacy. If there is to be any hope of creating a strong, viable mooting program at U of T Law, that hope will come from the debate sparked by this issue of Ultra Vires. Our school constantly reminds its alumni and supporters that it offers “the best legal education in the country”. It’s time for all of us – faculty and administration included – to put our mooting where our mouths are.
Fixing what’s broken
Competitive mooting is probably the best thing I’ve done in my time at law school. I mooted in the Cassels Brock (“baby Gale”) in first year, in the Wilson in second year, in the Grand Moot this October, and am now coaching this year’s Wilson team. My mooting experiences have made me passionate about becoming an advocate and litigator, at a time when many of my friends have become disenchanted with the law. But, as my teammate Dan Stern said last year, U of T Law has an excellent mooting program, not because of, but in spite of, faculty support. Although the faculty committed to providing more support to competitive moot teams at last year’s SLS Town Hall, my experience this year has emphasized how dependent the program is on the hard work and commitment of the volunteer student Moot Court Committee and student coaches. The main administrative burden continues to lie on members of the MCC, who this year organized try-outs without the assistance of any members of the faculty, organized the logistics of the Grand Moot, and have been responsible for keeping all the competitive mooting teams in check. Although improvements have been made to the faculty coaching structure, faculty coaches still determine their roles on an individual basis. This puts our moot teams in the position of sup-
BY KAREN ENSSLEN (3L)
plicans sfor the faculty coach’s time, and ensures that the ultimate burden of organizing the team, setting deadlines, scheduling run-throughs, and reviewing drafts still rests on the shoulders of volunteer student coaches. Student coaches dedicate at least five times, likely ten times more hours to coaching than faculty coaches, yet few, if any, members of the faculty administration can tell you who those student coaches are. This year in particular, the mooting program has experienced problems with the most basic and yet fundamental task: registration. Two of this year’s competitive moot teams were almost unable to register, and were only registered because team members assumed other people’s responsibilities to prevent disqualification. Even the most basic assessment of faculty responsibility for the for-credit competitive mooting program would include ensuring that students are duly registered for their moots. This year’s aboriginal moot team serves as an example of the kind of debacle that can result when students don’t pick up the administration’s slack. Until the second week of class in January, U of T did not have an aboriginal moot team. Although students tried to register for the aboriginal moot in the fall, it appears that, by simple neglect, no students were able to register. Many students who had wished to participate in the aboriginal
moot in the fall were shocked to receive the call for participants in January, and were understandably frustrated that they were unable to switch out of the compulsory mooting program to join the team. The law school has made a commitment to improving support for competitive mooting, and it is time for them to step up to that task. Key oversight structures (including simple ones like a checklist of deadlines for registration) are missing. Faculty support may be improving, but it continues to depend overly on the goodwill of faculty members who participate in the program. Without the dedication of student coaches and committee members (who, let us remember, are volunteers, and receive no credit or official recognition for their work), our mooters would be sent out on their own to face teams that are coached exclusively by faculty. The roles of faculty coaches and administrators must be clear. If the faculty cannot be held accountable to some standard of care, the success, and even the existence, of the competitive mooting program will continue to rise or fall on the dedication and initiative of third-year volunteers.
Mooting Committee delivers interim report
Faculty Council’s Mooting and Advocacy Committee was established earlier this fall on the recommendation of last year’s Pedagogy Working Group (spurred on in part by the mob of U of T Law mooters which descended upon an SLS Town Hall, practically brandishing torches and pitchforks while airing their complaints) and was tasked with reviewing existing mooting and advocacy programs, as well as advising on ways to enhance them. Many of the student grievances concerning mooting and advocacy at the Faculty were related to a perceived lack of support for the competitive mooting program, especially in comparison to other law schools. Specific concerns flowing from the SLS Town Halls and surveys included: being able unable to meet with faculty advisers, insufficient professor involvement, and participating in a smaller number of moots than other law schools. In response, the Committee has now put together a preliminary report which proposes to address these deficiencies, and which considers other The moot court room at Osgoode Hall. Just ways of enhancing the program more imagine it full of smiling mooters and an overgenerally. abundance of supportive faculty.
BY JUN CHAO MENG (2L)
In its report, the Committee recognizes that having full-time faculty members serve as coaches to competitive moots is ideal, but where this is not possible, one proposal is to recruit qualified practitioners who have litigation experience to act as coaches. These practitioner coaches would be given the status of Adjunct Professors, and would undertake moot coaching responsibilities alongside faculty members. On the consultative side, one idea which the Committee proposed for consideration is the creation of an Advocacy Advisory Group. This new group would bring together interested faculty members, alumni, and practitioners. The hope is to capitalize on U of T’s strong network of alumni, many of whom have expressed interest in mooting, or demonstrated their support of the mooting program in the past. The Advisory Group would create a forum for discussing new initiatives and programs related to oral advocacy, forge strategic partnerships that could enhance the U of T mooting program, and provide insight on the value of the moots in which the Faculty currently
participates, or could potentially join in the future. The Committee also plans to look at proposals for new opportunities for oral advocacy. Students and faculty have requested participation in a number of new moots, such as the Fox IP Moot. Currently, there is no consistent method by which U of T evaluates the moots in which it participates. The Committee plans to address this gap by developing a set of flexible criteria for deciding whether the Faculty should participate in a particular moot. In the future, it is expected that such decisions will be based on criteria such as student interest, cost, supervisor expertise and availability, pedagogical value, reputation, and the prospective moot’s fit within the overall diversity of mooting opportunities at the school. The Committee’s proposals are still at a preliminary stage, and a final report with recommendations on these, and other, points will be released later in the spring. Students with any comments, concerns, or suggestions are encouraged to share their opinions by contacting their SLS representatives.
1L SURVEY – from page 1
...quality of lecture teaching (92 per cent, roughly equal to the 93 per cent in 2008), the level of engagement in small group classes (86 per cent, up from 83 per cent in 2008), and the quality of small group teaching (85 per cent, up from 80 per cent in 2008). Satisfaction was lowest with respect to the methods of evaluation in lecture classes (42 per cent, down from 52 per cent in 2008). Among the Introduction to Law sessions, “Common Law Reasoning “ was the best received with a satisfaction rating of 72 per cent, while “Law School Survival Strategies” and “Finding the Ratio Decidendi” were given the lowest satisfaction ratings with respective scores of 41 per cent and 48 per cent.
Academic opportunities outside of the classroom had mostly high scores, with an average satisfaction rating of 80 per cent (down from 83 per cent in 2008). Breadth and availability of international
opportunities garnered satisfaction rat- with 36 per cent of students reporting ings of 34 per cent and 23 per cent that they were satisfied (compared to 44 (down from 38 per cent and 29 per cent per cent in 2008). Some frustration rein 2008), respectively, while breadth and garding the policies of the Financial Aid availability of clinic opportunities were Office was also expressed qualitatively. graded at 72 per cent As a result of conand 61 per cent (down cerns raised by stu“...94 PER CENT OF STUDENTS from 76 per cent and dents, the Faculty’s INDICATED THAT THEY WERE 67 per cent in 2008), aid policies financial HAPPY WITH THEIR DECISION respectively. Qualitaare currently under TO ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY tively, students exreview by the FinanOF TORONTO FACULTY OF pressed concerns cial Aid Committee. LAW.” regarding the availIn particular, the ability of the instudents, faculty tensely-marketed and competitive DLS members, and school administrators who positions, and the financial eligibility cri- sit on the Financial Aid Committee are teria attached to international opportu- considering changes that can be made in nity scholarships. order to avoid the discrepancies that arose this year between some students’ provisional and final assessments. Admissions and Financial Aid Satisfaction with admissions support provided post-acceptance dropped from Overall Experience 79 per cent in 2008 to 66 per cent this Students expressed satisfaction with their year. A similar drop was seen in student overall non-academic law school experisatisfaction concerning support from the ence (82 per cent, compared to 76 per Financial Aid Office post-acceptance, cent in 2008) and quality of student life
U of T Law student or Magnum, P.I.? BY RYAN MACISAAC (1L)
Proudly hirsute (L-R): Steven Holinski, David Colman, Andrew Robertson (team leader)
Last November, things got positively hairy at U of T Law, with 33 students participating in the “Movember” campaign to raise funds toward men’s health awareness. Movember participants started the month off fresh-faced, then grew moustaches for the mensual period while soliciting donations. Results ranged from a few wispy strands to full-bodied Fu Manchus. Throughout the month, participants could regularly be seen stroking their moustaches in class, at the library, and while socializing around the law school. “We started out with the goal of raising ten thousand dollars,” said team leader Andrew Robertson (1L), “and we wound up raising quite a bit more than that, to finish with a total of $12,848.82.” That amount was far higher than any other Canadian law school, and was comparable to several medium-sized law firms.
The month of disgusted romantic partners and foiled job interviews was for a meritorious cause. Movember started five years ago in Australia and has expanded around the globe. Funds go towards awareness of men’s health, particularly prostate cancer – which will affect one in every six males during his life. Early detection and awareness of the risk is crucial to reduce fatalities. After its phenomenal success in 2009, the Movember 2010 team will set its sights quite a bit higher. “Next November, we’ll be setting up our own personalized website and aiming to raise $25,000,” said Robertson. The accompanying slogan: “Drive for Twenty-Five”. We think there’s a faint resemblance...
ULTRA VIRES at the Faculty (75 per cent, compared to 76 per cent in 2008). Many students, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the Faculty’s facilities (36 per cent satisfied). Several qualitative complaints were made as well, particularly regarding washrooms and classroom spaces. Later in the survey, facilities were also noted as the area of the law school most in need of improvement. These results are similar to 2008’s, where 30 per cent of students reported that they were satisfied with the Faculty’s facilities. Finally, 94 per cent of students indicated that they were happy with their decision to attend the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. A second iteration of the survey will be distributed during the winter term. Full survey results are available from the SLS by request.
2010: Another year, another update from the SLS BY ISAAC TANG (3L)
The SLS is beginning the new year energized and ready to tackle the issues and challenges brought to our attention last term. We are also celebrating the accomplishments of Affairs and Caucus, and highlighting some of the great events and projects we are working on this term. Chelsea Miller and her Affairs team ended the semester with a bang, throwing a wild party at Roosevelt Room which will not soon be forgotten. This semester, Affairs will be focused on planning the Black and Blue Charity Tip-Off game between U of T and Osgoode, Law Ball, and many other fun-filled events such as tobogganing, coffee houses, and pub nights. Suggestions for future events are always welcome. On Caucus, Bruce Rose-Innes and his team of advocates are working hard to resolve the student concerns that you have brought to our attention. Some of the more pressing issues include: 1. Review of Financial Aid policies: With contributions from student representatives Cassandra Florio, Daniel Bertrand, and Shane O’Brien, the Faculty is planning a full review of the provisional financial aid system, and contemplating other changes to current policies. The Financial Aid Committee has scheduled bi-weekly meetings and is working hard to ensure that the students adversely affected by financial aid distribution this year will be considered in the drafting of the new policies. The SLS will circulate a summary of the proposed changes via e-mail within the next few weeks. 2. Grading and evaluation methods: As a result of the advocacy efforts of
Grading and Evaluation Working Group members Shane O’Brien, Troy Dore, Jun Chao Meng, and Samantha Green, the Faculty ensured that December 1L grades were curved to a 72-74 per cent mean. In addition, the Faculty has committed to an extensive review of the upper-year grading system. The future Committee will be headed by Professor Sujit Choudhry, who spearheaded the 1L curriculum review implemented this year. Finally, I feel that it is imperative to take the time to remind all students that the SLS Elections will be taking place in early March. The SLS is looking for students interested in affecting the future direction of the law school. There are a wide variety of roles available, including positions on Affairs, which works toward improving our student community, and Caucus, which works toward advocating for student-friendly policies. No SLS or student government experience is necessary. Having served on the SLS for almost three years, I can honestly say that the best student representatives are those who have proven themselves through their work ethic and commitment to their student body, which is not always related to how long someone has served on a student government, if at all. I encourage all interested students to apply. If you have any questions regarding the responsibilities of a student representative, please feel free to contact any current SLS members for information. Want to speak with the SLS personally? President office hours are held 11:30-12:30 on Mondays, and our Caucus and Affairs meetings (Mondays and Tuesdays, respectively, from 12:30-2:00) are open to the public.
An outsider takes on the law school, a law student takes on COP15, and even more jobs...
U of T Law from the outside in BY OUTSIDER X
With the dawn of a New Year comes the fun hanging out with the underclassmen preparation for the events, both formal of the world. University was a great and casual, that make some law students time. Law school events, however, I susoverjoyed and others cringe. For a law pected would be a different breed altoschool outsider like me, it’s a healthy mix gether. My perception was that these of both. students would most likely be an older, Let me make one thing clear: I do not more mature, level-headed, driven, and attend U of T or any other law school success-hungry group of go-getters. (and would Assuming the crowd never admit to couldn’t be much worse “THINKING BACK TO OUR FORAYS attending Osthan that at a few upINTO VARIOUS DANCE FLOORS goode). I’m fatight work functions I AROUND THE CITY, I CAN’T SAY miliar with the had recently attended, I LAW STUDENTS ARE THE MOST goings on of decided to roll the dice RHYTHMICALLY-INCLINED the typical law and see how much fun BUNCH.” student, as I’ve I could have. Turns out been observing it was like I had the hot from the fringe of the inner circle for the hand at a craps table in Vegas. The past few years. Okay, that sounds a bit crowd was a nice mix of a few undercreepy, but in all fairness, I was invited to classmen party fiends, and a few reall of the events I’ve attended. And no, served, studious types – the remainder I didn’t hack into the U of T Law Face- being a healthy blend of both types. book mailing list. I’m a young profes- That bell curve I hear all law students are sional in my mid-to-late 20’s, and I was so fond of was already apparent. asked to give an outsider’s description of Over the course of the last two years I everything law school. have made sure to hit pub nights semiWhen first invited to attend a law frequently, go to Law Ball, check out Law school event (last year’s Orientation Follies, and attend some O-Week festiviWeek “Old Hollywood”-themed bash), I ties. Thinking back to our forays onto immediately pondered a few questions. the various dance floors around the city, What was the crowd going to be like? I can’t say law students are the most How would I relate to this group? What rhythmically-inclined bunch. They do, would we talk about? Would they be re- however, make up for their lack of beat ally argumentative and want to debate recognition with trademarked dance everything? Needless to say, there were a moves that I think migrated from Utah, lot of questions running through my made a stop on the shores of Jersey, and mind and not many answers. then arrived in Toronto. It should be no Looking back to my time spent in surprise that I’ve had a few rough Fridays post-secondary education, I had a lot of at the office, trekking in around 10:00
What do you say to someone whose homeland is sinking? Especially when your country is one of the highest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases in the world? As a third-year law student, I went to Copenhagen to help achieve a strong agreement on climate change. The Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change occurred from December 7th to 18th, and was supposed to determine what would happen after the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
a.m., and still feeling the effects from a messy but memorable night. Being out on the town and enjoying being a student falls on the enjoyable end of the law school spectrum. The other aspect of law school, however, the area that I’m not disappointed to say I don’t have a first-hand account of, is the classroom life. Sure, Mayo’s Muffin Madness brightens everyone’s day, but when that happens only once a month, you’d better have something else to get you through the sometimes cumbersome schedule (and no, I don’t think hard drugs is a vi-
Pictured: actual speed date. Doesn’t look too different from your average OCI, does it?
able option…yet). Course selection seems to be a strategic exercise where balancing potential professors, workloads, and time commitments plays a crucial role. Even if you’re able to maneuver your way into a weekly calendar you
“Our islands are drowning” BY CHRISTIE KNETEMAN (3L)
I volunteered with the organization Islands First, which was assisting Pacific small island developing states (PSIDS) in
the climate negotiations. The PSIDS are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but have limited resources to advocate their positions. One of my
deem satisfactory, I hope you took into account the extra-curriculars. If you haven’t budgeted time for DLS, SLS, LAWS, IHRP, or any other acronyms, well, you better have a good excuse come interview time. Off-Campus Interviews, or “OCI”s, as a law student would say, resemble speed dating on steroids. The stakes are higher and the face time longer. Replace the back of one of Toronto’s trendy King West bars with a huge Convention Centre room filled with nervous wannabe lawyers in power suits who are looking to
first tasks was to interview Mr. Noah Idechong, a prominent environmentalist and politician from Palau. From our conversation, it was clear that Mr. Idechong is doing everything possible to protect Palau’s people and environment from the ravages of climate change. He came to Copenhagen to remind leaders that the survival of small island developing states is at stake. A strong climate agreement is necessary, he says, because Palauans “don’t want to get to the stage where we have to prepare for our own extinction”. Mr. Idechong has dedicated his life to marine conservation in Palau. As former Chief of the Division of Marine Resources, Mr. Idechong reinvigorated Palau’s strong conservation traditions, known as bul, and enhanced them with
make a connection with each hiring firm’s two- or three-person wrecking crew of lawyers, accountants, and financial analysts in power suits – and you’ve got a day from hell for all involved. CONTINUED at page 9
new scientific knowledge. His work is considered to have spawned some of the most important conservation measures in the Pacific in recent history. In 1994, Mr. Idechong resigned from government to co-found and direct the Palau Conservation Society – the nation’s only environmental NGO. Currently, he serves as Speaker of the House of Representatives of Palau’s Olbiil Era Kelulau, and is a Member of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism. Also, in recognition of his conservation efforts, Mr. Idechong has received the Goldman Environmental Prize and a Pew Centre Fellowship. Palau is one of the most biologically rich marine areas on earth. It consists... CONTINUED at page 17
Keir vs. Kang:
a battle for ultimate summary supremacy BY CASSANDRA FLORIO (3L)
One is already the stuff of law school legend (and former Editor-In-Chief of this very publication!), the other a mere 3L. Keir Wilmut’s famed summaries have now been passed from 1L class to 1L class for years, consistently prompting instant outpourings of enormous gratitude. (Actual sample response: “Oh my goodness me. This is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me. I’ve just flipped through the constitutional intro and I’m so very, very happy. So happy. Thank you. And to think, I was just getting down on myself for being a horrible student…. But now it turns out I can just procrastinate and amazing things will happen for me. Holy shit. This is so awesome. And there are so many of them. I’m never reading again. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m normally this effusive, right? Thank you. You’re like one of those evangelical Irish angels sent by God. Or maybe you’re one of those saucy-but-wise, Maya-Angelou-esque angels. It doesn’t matter. Thank you!” – anonymous 1L student). But it would appear that there’s a new kid in the encyclopaedic summaries game. In recent years, Jeff Kang has become a frequent contributor to the universe of both first- and upper-year law summaries. His contributions litter the Google group, and more than one current 1L has been heard to proclaim, “Kang is the new Keir.” In light of this emerging clash of titans, UV has decided to see how the two stack up against one another. To provide a sane, balanced assessment of who is truly the King of Summaries – Keir or Kang – we turned to Professor Ben Alarie. Both summaries, with Professor Alarie’s comments, are reproduced below:
What court? What jurisdiction? What judge?
Not the issue – the issue is whether there is an enforceable obligation.
Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (1893) (prevention of flu) Facts: there was an ad saying if you purchased and consumed a carbolic smoke ball 3x daily you wouldn’t get influenza, and if you did get sick, you could recover 100 pounds; the ad said that 1000 pounds had been deposited in the bank to show good faith. P bought the ball, followed instructions, got influenza, and sues. Issue: is there a contract? Held: Objectively speaking, a reasonable person would conclude that the offer was sincere, particularly due to the deposit made. The offer was “buy and use ball, get sick, then collect,” the acceptance was buying and using the ball and getting sick. In this case, offerer wasn’t asking for notification, they were asking for action. Rule: Generally, acceptance must be communicated, but not, as in this case, where there is a continuing offer. This is a unilateral contract: offer is “do this for me and I’ll give you X,” and doing the act counts as acceptance – notification is not necessarily required (depends on the nature of the offer). It was implied through the nature of the advertisement that acceptance need not precede performance; purchase of the ball constituted acceptance. Must consider whether it was intended to be a contract or was it just “mere puff.” Would a reasonable person take this to be a serious contract? Are contractual terms being exchanged?
Assuming there was an “offeror”...
The question should be, is this a “quid pro quo?”
Isn’t it the flu?
Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (1893; C.A.) Facts: The D manufactures a “Carbolic Smoke Ball” which is advertised to prevent catching cold. A newspaper ad by the D indicates that anyone who uses the ball as directed thrice daily for two weeks and who catches cold will What court? What jube given £100. The add further indicates “£1000 is deposited with the Alliance Bank, Regent street, shewing our risdiction? What sincerity in the matter.” P does as directed but gets sick nevertheless and sues for the money. judge? Develops influenza? Issue: Unilateral contract. Is separate notification required? Held: Judgment for the P, the Smoke Ball Company must pay the £100 Reasons: Lindley LJ: Was the offer made “in jest”? The words indicate that this is a sincere promise, and not merely a “puff ” [Goes to intention to create contractual relations]. Indeed, “for what was that money deposited or the stateIs there an enforce- ment made except to negative the suggestion that this was a mere puff and meant nothing at all?” able right to collect Two suggested problems: first, that the offer was made to no one in particular. “Now that point is common to on the apparently the words of this advertisement and to the words of all other advertisements offering rewards. They are offers to sincere gurantee? anybody who performs the conditions named in the advertisement, and anybody who does perform the conditions accepts the offer.” Second, that there was no “acceptance” of this offer. “If notice of acceptance is required…the person who makes the offer gets the notice of acceptance contemporaneously with his notice of the performance of the condition.” The ad shows from its language that there is no expectation of prior acceptance apart from performance. Bowen LJ: Generally, acceptance must be made to an offer to constitute a contract. However, the offeror is master of the offer and hence “as notification of acceptance is required for the benefit of the person who makes the offer, the person who makes the offer may dispense with notice to himself if he thinks it desirable to do so…. If the person making the offer, expressly or impliedly intimates in his offer that it will be sufficient to act on the proposal without communicating acceptance of it to himself, performance of the condition is a sufficient acceptance without notification.” Whether this is “implied” in the offer will have to be assessed with a common sense understanding. Rule: (1) An offer is a legitimate offer and not a “puff ” if it so reasonably appears to the offeree. (2) An offer Not really – must be may be made to more than one person. There is nothing inherently problematic about an offer to the public. (3) to a reasonable obOn the reasonable interpretation of the offer, an offer may be accepted by the action which it requires, and no sep- server... arate acceptance might be necessary. The offeror can (even implicitly) waive the notification requirement for acceptance.
CONTINUED at page 9
JANUARY 27, 2010
KEIR VS. KANG – from page 8
The expert weighs in…
“First I should make clear that I have no horse in this race, and that the assessment of the summaries is based solely on what was presented to me. The assessment is anonymous. I don’t know which is the work of Keir and which is the work of Kang. I suspect that both, of course, stand on the shoulders of giants past. The second summary is preferable in almost every respect, though it should be said that both fall short of the ideal. Why is the second better? The second is stronger in that it offers more detail surrounding the legal reasoning of each of the justices, indicates the court (though it could be more specific in this regard), and provides a better approximation of the legal principles established by the judgment (though it does not nail this precisely, either). The first is preferable in perhaps only one regard – it properly identifies the ailment the smoke ball is supposed to forestall. Hands down the second summary prevails.” -Ben Alarie
It would seem as though there is a new shining star in the summaries game – Kang’s summary not only managed to cram in three times as many “puffs” as Keir’s, but also earned a ringing endorsement from Professor Alarie. Is regime change all but inevitable? Only time will tell…
By the numbers...
Number of Sections Total Word Count Number of times the word “puff ” appears Number of times the word “offerer” appears Number of times the word “offeror” appears Number of times Microsoft Word spell-check recognized either “offerer” or “offeror” as a real word… Did Professor Alarie use this author’s version of the word “offerer”/”offeror” in his critique?
Keir 4 233 1 1 0 0 No
Kang 5 466 3 0 1 0 Yes
OUTSIDER – from page 7
Instead of going from one mini-table and two-minute date to the next, you go from one firm’s tent and 15-minute interview to the next. If this doesn’t sound bad enough already, I’ve heard they even have a bell. Speed dating doesn’t seem desirable. OCIs look to be 100 times worse. Honestly, from all the talk about firms wining and dining their prospects almost as well as a Division-I U.S. school wines and dines its football recruits, it’s surprising that they don’t sponsor an open bar pub night event at the end of these excruciating few days. Wouldn’t this be great? Everyone could attend and share horror stories (and yes, everyone will share horror stories – even if you don’t have one. No one likes a show-off, so even if things went flawlessly, pretend like you got punched in the stomach). When making the pitch for such an evening next year, I give the SLS members permission to use my suggestion as a third party’s audit of the process. If it flies, I expect to see an honorary invitation in my inbox. From my well-placed distance, law school isn’t as miserable as I originally thought. It offers its students an experience unlike many others. For those who are able to withstand the never-ending, psyche-draining study nights, wrist- and finger-deteriorating lectures, pressure-packed interview processes and exams, and much-needed pub nights and Reading Week escapes, there are life-long friendships to be had, highly rewarding career paths to be pursued, and a sense of accomplishment that not many get to feel. For me to have gleaned all of this from just outside of the inner circle is probably best. I’m not sure if I would have been up to the A-Team’s lofty standards. Yours truly, Outsider X
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We don’t know what the problem is – that contraption looks completely effective.
Wanna know what FEATURES
Last issue, UV published an extensive analysis of the Toronto OCI recruitment process for second-years. As the first-year class now begins to look towards making summer plans, UV is here to help once again. Over the next four pages, we have collected write-ups from fourteen second-year students, reflecting on their first-year summer experiences.
BY BRENDAN MORRISON (2L) I spent the summer working from my outdoor desk in the back garden of the house that the men, women, and children of Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) make their office (and many of whom also make their home). Our chef, Auntie Aye, would cook the usual lunch feast behind me, while my boss, U Myo Win, smoked cigars, rifled through the Burmese Penal Code, and sweetly sang that Beatles classic, “Hey Jude, dohn layt me dow”. During my time at the BLC, I worked primarily with the Legal Analysis Department. Our main role was to report on the various legal issues in Burma and document any violations of domestic or international law taking place. I wrote reports on violations of the Bar Council Act, the Myanmar Penal Code provisions against slander and defamation, and the applicability of Burma’s former constitutions in current criminal trials. In addition to this, I wrote speeches for the Chairman of the BLC, U Thein Oo; communicated to foreign embassies on behalf of the Legal Aid Department regarding the validity of marriage certificates for refugee resettlement applications; and helped out on occasion by teaching English and comparative constitutional law in the evenings at the law school outside of town. Working for a small NGO in Southeast Asia is a slower pace of life than the one I have lived thus far, and the one that I foresee for myself in the future. Time is taken during the day for conversation over cigarettes, watching the rain, and helping to cook and clean. I arrived here with an inexperienced interest in international criminal law, and after working side-by-side with lawyers who had their practices shut down in Rangoon, elected parliamentarians who were thrown in jail without trial, and refugee law students who cannot leave their safe-house, my passions for this practice have been ignited.
Universal Music Legal Affairs Department BY DANA DOIDGE (2L)
Last summer, I worked at Universal Music Canada in their Business and Legal Affairs department. I was one of two summer student legal interns. At Universal, I was given the job of reading over recording agreements, and I also did mini research projects for Universal’s in-house counsel. Many entertainment lawyers have big firm backgrounds, and, over the summer, I had a chance to learn about what working at a firm would be like, even though I was working closely with a small group of lawyers. Coming in with no connections to the entertainment law community, many people have asked me how I got the job. Last year, I was lucky enough to have been paired up with an entertainment lawyer as a part of the CDO’s mentorship program. My mentor worked for Universal Music, and after a series of conversations with her and an interview, I was hired. The best part of my summer, however, was seeing Lady Gaga at the Much Music Video Awards after-party. That was amazing!!!!
National Hockey League Players’ Association BY ABRAR HUQ (2L)
Working at the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) this past summer truly was a sports fan’s dream come true. I mean, who wouldn’t love a law-related job where spending an inordinate amount of time on TSN.ca and ESPN.com is not only tolerated, but usually encouraged? As a summer student at the NHLPA, I primarily worked on salary arbitration cases and assisted in contract negotiations for restricted free agents. I became well-versed in salary arbitration jurisprudenc,e and was the primary author of the written briefs for up to twelve potential arbitration cases at one time. I participated in conference calls with agents, providing them with any support they needed in helping their clients to get the best contract possible. As the summer progressed, I got to meet some of the players whose cases I worked on. It all culminated in the arbitration hearings at the end of the summer, an intense twelve-day period where we submitted our written briefs while simultaneously preparing for hearings, helping our in-house and outside counsel prepare rebuttal exhibits, and systematically demolishing the written briefs submitted by the NHL teams. Overall, I became an expert at citing obscure statistics (I’m probably the only person in the world who knows that the 2008-09 St. Louis Blues were an .800 team with B.J. Crombeen playing top 6 minutes and below .500 with him in the bottom 6), and intimately familiar with the contracts of seemingly irrelevant players (Frans Nielsen is a steal at $550,000 a season). Nonetheless, I gained some real skills, like honing my written advocacy while learning how to prepare for a hearing in a short period of time. Plus, nobody yelled at me for spending valuable time in the office reading sports blogs. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association BY JOSHUA CHAN (2L)
I volunteered full time at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) as a summer student. I really enjoyed my time there. Coming to the organization, I had no idea what to expect. From what I could gather on the website, and from my interview, I understood one thing for sure about my summer position: I would be discussing the Charter at least once. Looking back, I can safely say that I did the following: (1) discussed the Charter, as well as parliamentary bills, constitutional case law, legislation, and everything in between; and (2) learned not only about human rights, civil liberties, and the law, but I also developed practical legal skills and research skills. On my first day, my supervising lawyer asked me to read a case and examine the possible constitutional issues, specifically regarding Section 7. Glancing at the title of the document, Khadr v. Canada, it took me a second to think about why that name was so familiar. As the months went by I went on to learn about defamation, police records, the Canada Evidence Act, death penalty assurances, and CSIS. Amongst other things, I realized that CCLA taught me a lot about Canadian legal issues. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, but the relaxed atmosphere did not compromise the integrity and quality of the work the CCLA does. From a student’s perspective, my project directors and mentors were supportive of my work and were always available if I wanted some feedback about my work or if I had any questions about the law, law school, or even just life. I felt that the environment compels you to work your hardest, not just for the legal issues, but also for everyone on the team, who you know and can relate to inside and outside of the office.
I did last summer? FEATURES
JANUARY 27, 2010
IP boutique BY KYLE FERGUSON (2L)
One of the best parts of summering at an IP firm was the exciting work that I was given, even as a first-year summer student. While working on pharmaceutical patent litigation, I saw, first hand, that this is indeed an industry deserving of its reputation for being litigious. I navigated the complex legislative scheme for obtaining (or preventing) approval of pharmaceutical products, and worked on a sub-committee providing comments on legal issues surrounding proposed legislative changes. I also drafted responses to the Patent Office regarding new inventions, and learned about the trademark issues that surround the launch of products as unassuming as a new deodorant. While I didn’t use any substantive law from first year, what I did use was the ability to teach myself areas of law that I never knew existed. The particular IP firm that I summered at was “off Bay Street”. That is not only a reference to its address. Suits were not worn on a regular basis, dinners were not eaten at the office, and I never had to watch the sun set (or rise, for that matter) from my office window. Multiple times, I received assignments with the specific instruction “not to stay late working on it”. The feasibility of a true work-life balance is an attractive feature of an IP boutique. Another great part of summering at a firm after first year is that, if you enjoy it and are offered a position for the next summer, you will not have to go through the stress of the OCI process. For those interested in IP, an IP boutique is a terrific choice. With exciting projects, friendly offices, great training, and lots of mentorship, I can’t wait to go back.
Advocates for Injured Workers BY STEPHEN HUTCHISON (2L)
Last summer, I worked full-time for U of T’s “other” legal aid clinic, Advocates for Injured Workers (AIW). AIW represents injured workers in workers’ compensation actions and related areas of law, including employment, human rights, and civil litigation. For many, their mental image of workers’ comp probably evokes scenes from The Simpsons. In one episode, Homer attempts to game the system by gaining sixty pounds, and Bart dreams of following in his father’s footsteps. “When I grow up,” he tells Lisa, “I want to be a lardo on workmen’s comp, just like dad.” Lenny sums it up: “it’s like a lottery that rewards stupidity.” The reality, I found, is quite different. Most of our clients work in labour-intensive jobs. Our clients include construction workers, factory workers, and other forms of “general labourers”. Many are recent immigrants with limited English skills. Few have any knowledge of their rights or the resources to enforce them. Their injuries throw them into a system much more akin to a Kafka novel than a Simpsons episode. The lucky ones overcome their injuries to return to their old jobs. Most of our clients, however, have long since been fired.
Litigation boutique BY CHRISTOPHER YUNG (2L)
With dozens of practice areas out there, many 1Ls haven’t a clue as to what kind of law they’ll practice. I was no different. In my first year, I had taken every chance I had to try oral advocacy, but what did I know about being a litigator? My summer at a litigation boutique gave me an incredible insight, and looking back, it’s amazing how much I learned. The main focus of the firm where I summered is high-stakes class action lawsuits. The files were massive, and I started my summer by reading up on complex cases that had been in the works for years, with both sides fighting hard at every step, and with millions of dollars at stake. The cases were also at the forefront of the law, and I helped to research several novel issues. This included whether First Nations people should be compensated for a “loss of community” if an environmental tort forces them to leave their reserve, and whether the Occupiers’ Liability Act applies to the Crown and First Nations reserves. The cases were handled by the firm’s die-hard litigators, who were sharpened to razor points. Just watching them was an experience all its own, and I was constantly impressed by their commitment to, and pride in, their work. At the same time, the firm’s boutique culture had us spending many summer nights hanging out with beers on a patio. During my “crash course” in litigation, I was able to hone my research and writing in ways that I feel really paid off this year. The best insights, though, came from accompanying the lawyers to court, which is something that all summer students should ask to do. There’s still a lot I have to learn about what it takes be a litigator but the main lesson I learned this past summer is that a true litigator knows that, in the courtroom, the lawyers do make a difference.
The Worker’s Compensation Board shunts individuals into a program called labour market re-entry. The Board selects the worker’s future career – usually in a menial position, such as parking lot attendant. The Board then sends them to small, private colleges that no one has ever heard of to “learn” to do that job while consultants monitor their process. When the “course” is over – usually after a few weeks – the Board assigns the worker a “deemed” wage, which is what the Board estimates that the worker ought to be able to earn. The worker’s benefits will be based on this wage, and then it’s out the door. The colleges and consultants typically pocket tens of thousands of dollars per worker. As for the workers, nearly half remain unemployable. Some lottery. Our jobs as summer students consisted primarily of dealing with the Board and trying to secure some fairness on our clients’ behalf. Some Board decisions were so asinine that that we all felt like pulling out our hair. We had one claim rejected because, as the Board pointed out, “the bone scan revealed no muscle damage.” Winning a point, however, could be very rewarding, as even small victories could make a large difference in our clients’ lives. We also had the opportunity to argue our cases orally, either at the Board or at the Appeals Tribunal. The Tribunal is quasi-judicial body, staffed by actual lawyers, which oversees the Board’s work and injects some sanity into the system. A highlight of my summer was arguing two cases before the Tribunal. The best part of my summer, however, was working alongside seven other U of T law students. I had a wonderful time and developed what I’m sure will be lasting friendships.
BY KATE BJERRING (2L)
I first heard of the Family Legal Health Program, run by Pro Bono Law Ontario at the Hospital for Sick Children, in November of my first year when one of our Bridge Week panellists made a passing reference to “that great new pro bono project at Sick Kids”. It sounded intriguing, so I followed up with the panellist. It turned out that the program was a relatively new initiative that had placed a “triage lawyer” at Sick Kids to dispense free legal information, advice, and referrals to patients and their families when it became clear that a “legal issue” – that is, an issue with a possible legal remedy – was negatively affecting a child’s health. I loved the whole concept of the program and was determined to find a way to get involved. I started volunteering right away, for an hour or two a week, doing little bits of research and tagging along to meetings as a note-taker. When January came around, and the law school started buzzing about PBSC’s Donner Fellowships, it occurred to me that this might be a perfect way to facilitate a summer at the program. The program director and I discussed tasks that I could propose in my fellowship application. These included keeping records of intakes, referrals, and resolutions, writing case summaries for program evaluation, and dealing with any research issues that arose. I was fortunate enough to receive a Donner Fellowship, and worked hard to stay on top of all of the tasks that I had outlined in my application. It was a great exercise in multi-tasking! I am still volunteering with the program, and I have no doubt that my contributions have been, and continue to be, appreciated. More importantly, I have been able to see first-hand what a major difference a dedicated legal advocate can make to families in desperate circumstances. I really cannot imagine a more meaningful way to have spent my first year summer.
BY KATE MACDONALD (2L)
Working with the LAWS Youth Summer Program (YSP) is sort of like being a camp counsellor and a U of T Law professor (in training) at the same time. The YSP is designed to give keen high school students a taste of law school. Participants from all over the world arrived in Toronto to take part in the program. They lived in residence, attended lectures, and learned about the law. As educators, our job was to design an engaging curriculum that taught the basics of criminal law, public international law and addressed other “controversial issues” facing the legal community (such as corporate scandals and patent law). To keep things fun, each week involved one major activity. For example, participants learned about criminal law by preparing for a mock trial and contemplated controversial issues through a parliamentary-style debate tournament. During international law week, our students developed advocacy campaigns and visited War Child Canada’s head office for inspiration. Other highlights included guest lectures by several U of T professors, visits to a different Bay Street firm each week, and a Skype videoconference with lawyers in The Hague. Overall, getting to spend the summer engaging with such interesting and enthusiastic youth, combined with lots of pizza, improvisation, and silly games and riddles, made for a wonderful change of pace from the business of 1L year.
Full-service firm (1)
BY ARDEN BEDDOES (2L)
Overall, I had a good experience last summer at a Bay Street firm. I found the atmosphere of the firm at which I worked very pleasant, and most of the senior lawyers were not the stereotypical over-worked and unhappy corporate lawyers. I also found the work interesting. Firms vary, but I was treated exactly the same as a second-year summer or articling student – the partners usually did not know which I was. This meant that I got a fair amount of real work, and real responsibility, which, in turn, meant that I got a good feel for what working at a firm is really like. This has given me a lot of perspective regarding what kind of career I’d like to have relatively early in law school. In fact, a rotation in the litigation group made me realize that I want to be a litigator. Another positive that comes from working at a firm in first year is that you are often given a lot of flexibility in terms of what you’d like to do in your second summer. Many firms will pay you to do an internship in your second summer if you worked there in your first summer. On the downside, while my hours were actually not that bad (I only stayed past 6:00pm a few times), that is not necessarily typical for all firms and all individuals. Some summer students definitely do work long hours at times. As well, while I found the work very interesting, I could definitely understand if others did not. Corporate law is not for everyone, especially people who don’t have an inherent interest in corporate finance/business. Working at a firm in your first summer, however, is a good opportunity to find out if you’re one of those people at a very early stage.
Research assistant ARIA KASHEFI (2L)
Working as a Research Assistant is a great way of getting exposure to cutting-edge developments in a field of law that you are interested in, building good working relationships with faculty members, and learning research skills which are sure to be useful to you throughout law school and beyond. I spent my summer working for Jacob S. Ziegel, a reknowned professor emeritus, in the fields of commercial law, consumer law, and bankruptcy law (among others). My day-to-day work included assisting Professor Ziegel in writing scholarly articles, papers, and books, as well as working on the many research projects that he had going on involving various aspects of the legal world. At the end of the summer, although I hadn’t learned the gritty details of the areas of the law in which I was working, I had a considerable understanding of the structures of commercial, consumer, and bankruptcy law. Perhaps the two most valuable aspects of being a Research Assistant, however, are the well-polished research skills that you are sure to walk away with, and the opportunity to work one-on-one with some of the best legal minds in the country. No matter which professor you end up working for, you can bet that observing their work from the ground level will teach you a thing or two about law school. Needless to say, law firms will also look favorably upon your experience as a Research assistant.
JANUARY 27, 2010
Pro Bono Students Canada BY CHRISTINA DORIS (2L)
There were a few things I knew that I wanted out of a summer job after my first year of law school. I wanted a job in the public interest sector, I wanted to be working with other people rather than on my own, and I wanted it to be less strenuous than my first year at school. I interviewed with PBSC, and had a really good feeling about the organization. I liked the students and lawyers who I met who had worked for PBSC previously, and the job seemed to have a good balance between independence over my work and collaborating with others. Working at PBSC over the summer was a lot of fun. It was a small office environment but I also got to be out in the city, meeting with lawyers and setting up public interest placements for the upcoming year. Working at PBSC was a great experience because I was able to learn about the legal public interest sector, and because the work was varied. I was able to refine different skills which will be useful wherever I work in the legal profession. It was a fun summer and a great way to learn about public interest law.
5 years ago in UV...
U of T Provost backs Dean Daniels’ plan to relocate law school
The law school is considering relocating to a new site on the St. George campus – just south of Bloor and west of Varsity Stadium, on Devonshire Street. When speaking to Ultra Vires, Dean Daniels explained that the need for change to the Faculty’s location was as a result of significant growth in the number of faculty, student programs, and student services requiring augmented physical space. In addition, Dean Daniels expressed concerns over the fact that the school’s current facilities remain inaccessible for physically challenged students. Reaction amongst staff and students to the announcement was positive. Some student leaders hailed the possibilities for increased office and student work spaces. Others commented that the current buildings contain sufficient space, but the space is not designed for optimal use, citing the washrooms as needing improvement, as well as criticising classroom design. The U of T Students’ Administrative Council, however, was less pleased. It had been lobbying to have the land set aside for a student union building, and had believed that that goal was within reach. The SAC Executive was “shocked” when UV informed them of the Provost’s decision to support the law school’s bid for the land.
Law student investigated in bookstore theft
A University of Toronto law student was recently under investigation by campus police in relation to the November theft of nearly $14,000 worth of books from the U of T Law Bookstore. 162 of the 261 missing books were discovered by UV staff in an alcove next to the UV office in the basement of Falconer Hall, meticulously stacked in boxes and covered with a blanket. Following the discovery of the books, police composed a note addressing the student suspect by name, urging him to report to the authorities, and claiming that a fictional hidden camera had captured the student's image on police cctv. Campus police later learned that the student suspect was advertising those particular books for sale in a note posted around the law school, and had been observed by UV staff lurking in the alcove area around the time of the disappearance. This student suspect has been known to administration for some time in connection to other incidents around the law school, including incidents at the book store. He is the same individual who has been spotted by law school caretakers leaving unattended classrooms on several occasions late at night, while the school has been experiencing a spate of thefts of chalk, erasers, lightbulbs, electrical cords, and swivel chair wheels from classrooms.
Full-service firm (2)
BY DAVID FORSAYETH (2L) & JESSICA LITHWICK (2L)
After first year, we spent our summers at a big, Bay Street law firm. In our view, there are several benefits to pursuing a first year summer law student position with a firm. At the very least, preparing your application package and/or participating in the interview process is an asset for second-year OCIs. If you do get a position, the most obvious benefit is the opportunity to learn more, earlier, about the realities and practical elements of the practice of law at a firm. For those like us, who haven’t decided what areas of law we’re interested in practicing, another advantage is that first-year summer students have the opportunity to work in more practice areas before they become associates. Practically speaking, it is also very convenient to be able to circumvent the OCI process. Although we can’t speak for other firms, in our view, a first-year summer position is a very rewarding experience. At our firm, we each went through three rotations. While not all of the work is glamorous, we felt that we had the chance to make meaningful contributions and work on really interesting files during the summer. Examples include acting as duty counsel at small claims court, and being involved in large corporate transactions. We also assisted in writing facta, and attended court. There was a healthy balance between real responsibility and student support; the mentor program and student seminars ensured that we had access to the skills and information that were needed to have a successful summer. While we students took their work seriously, the firm also organized a variety of fun student events throughout the summer, that allowed us to develop relationships with our peers outside of the office. There is a wide-variety of exciting first-year summer opportunities, including first-year firm jobs. We feel that we gained a lot from the experience and are excited to return to our firm this summer.
Downtown Legal Services BY MICHAEL HAMATA (2L)
Working this past summer at Downtown Legal Services was cooler than the other side of the pillow. I got to go to court regularly, and was able to help my own clients find their way through the trials (zing!) and tribulations of family law in Ontario. When people come to DLS, they are often extremely upset, confused, and distressed as a result of their legal problems. They have been denied legal aid, and cannot afford a lawyer. Many people don’t fully understand the nature of their legal issue, and may be running out of hope. To be able to reassure clients, and to eventually help the legally disenfranchised, is a truly great experience. There were also free snacks provided at several meetings. Other highlights included a spirited impromptu public legal education seminar for the kind members of Royal Canadian Yacht Club, concerning the nuances in maritime piracy law, which may or may not have resulted in a dishonorable discharge. However, my real key takeaway? Don’t let Padraic Ryan try to fix your computers; despite his claims to the contrary, he doesn’t really know how.
OPINIONS & EDITORIALS Canada’s role in Haiti: lessons from the 2004 tsunami
As many readers already know, the world witnessed a horrible tragedy in the island nation of Haiti on January 12, 2010. A n earthquake of catastrophic magnitude occurred at 4:53 p.m. local time. The Red Cross estimated that 45,000 to 50,000 people died as a result of the quake, but Lieutenant-General Ken Keen, an American in charge of relief efforts, said that the death toll could be as high as 200,000 people. At least 25,000 bodies have already been buried, and international search-andrescue missions are slowing as the world refocuses on the task of helping Haiti to rebuild. The Canadian government is organizing an international summit on Haitian relief for the week of January 25, in an effort to assert leadership over the emergency relief and rebuilding projects. I suggest that the Canadian government should look to the lessons it learned in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami for guidance in providing emergency relief, and raising funds for rebuilding Haiti. Prime Minister Harper issued a statement on the day of the earthquake: “While officials are currently assessing the damage and the possibility of Canadians injured, Canada stands ready to provide any necessary assistance to the people of Haiti during this time of need.” The next day, Minister of International Cooperation Beverly Oda announced that an initial $5 million would be made available for immediate humanitarian assistance. Over the next week, Canada’s aid to Haiti increased drastically. The federal government has committed to give an additional $80 million in humanitarian assistance, to be divided between the United Nations, the Red Cross, Canadian NGOs, the World Health Organization, and other groups. The federal government is also matching donations given by individual Canadians to eligible registered charities (as of January 23, an amount in excess of $67 million). This means that the federal government has already committed $152 million to aid in Haiti, and is prepared to go even further. Interestingly, the government has not adopted a strategy that was used by the federal Liberal government in response to the 2004 tsunami. As part of that previous relief effort, the government allowed individuals to deduct charitable donations which were made from Janu-
BY ASHLEY MCKENZIE (1L)
ary 1 to 11, 2005 on their 2004 tax returns. If donations were made to eligible, registered charities, this scheme allowed individuals to receive tax relief one year sooner. The effectiveness of this incentive was surprising. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the amount of donations claimed for the 2004 tax year increased to over $6.9 billion. In a winter 2006 report, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) stated that
That said, the immigration department has given priority status to adoptive children and unsupervised dependents of Canadians. The department has not, as of yet, provided a timeline for anxious Canadian parents in the adoption process. WestJet offered to send a plane to the destroyed nation for immediate retrieval of the adopted children, but they had to wait until Canada asked Haitian President René Préval to approve the
As of January 24, the confirmed death toll in Port-au-Prince was raised to 150,000.
this was the highest amount ever donated in a single tax year. Such a program has been adopted as part of the U.S. relief response to the Haitian earthquake, and also ought to be employed in Canada. The United Nations has pleaded to the world community for $560 million to assist quake victims, but rebuilding Haiti will certainly be more costly than that. While one may argue that a tax relief program could cause undue fiscal strain, Harper’s government is unlikely to feel the pinch if it adopts requirements similar to those used in early 2005. The tsunami taxation credit incentive likely encouraged nearly 200,000 Canadians to donate funds over a ten day period, and could, therefore, be used to generate additional monetary support for the earthquake victims.
Adoptees and Dependents
Monetary aid is only one aspect of the Canadian government’s response to the situation. The government has, and must continue to, apply the insights gained in the 2004 tsunami. Canadians who have offered to adopt a child will have to wait until the situation has become more stable. This is a lesson learned from the 2004 tsunami. In the aftermath of that disaster, some devastated countries allowed expedited adoptions. The governments of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, however, soon forbade anyone from taking children under the age of 16 out of the danger zones. This was not a callous decision. Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has recently highlighted confirmed reports that the chaos following the tsunami allowed child traffickers and kidnappers to falsely adopt children.
pending adoptions. Préval’s approval was finally obtained on January 22, but only 86 of the 154 orphans in the Canadian adoption process were given permission to enter Canada. The remaining 68 were at an earlier stage in the process and had to remain in Haiti. Adoptive Canadian parents are terrified that their children will be injured or killed as the orphanages may be overrun by looters desperate for food and water. This implementation is a poor contrast to the Dutch response. The Netherlands sought and obtained René Préval’s approval of pending Dutch adoptions as early as January 18. While Dutchadopted children were in the arms of their new family members, Haitian orphans in the Canadian adoption process were still waiting. The government has not given adequate reasons for the delay. Although the possibility of child trafficking is very real, the Canadian government could guarantee the safety of the orphans from both looters and traffickers. They could bring the orphans to Canada while the provincial governments certify their would-be parents. This may be an expensive and uncertain undertaking, but I think that would be preferable to leaving them in Haiti. Prime Minister Harper has said that “Canadians have asked [the government] to do everything in [its] power to help.” The current state of Haitian adoptions is not the best that the government can do. Canada would do well to emulate the Dutch response. Other lessons have been learned from the 2004 tsunami. The aid response to that disaster, although substantial, was extremely disorganized. If Canada plans on leading the relief and rebuilding ef-
forts in Haiti, we should adopt a program that ensures greater efficiency. In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, the UN created a program called “the Cluster system” to coordinate relief efforts for future disasters. This program has helped to get water and sanitization experts to Haiti within days of the earthquake. While a quick relief response is essential, Canada should also have an eye to the future rebuilding of Haiti. A British disaster response committee released a report on the rebuilding of the Aceh region after the 2004 tsunami. It found that a significant number of the 14,000 homes built by British charities in that region had to be refitted or demolished and rebuilt, since they were not capable of withstanding the seismic shocks which plague the Aceh region. The rush to give relief superseded the need to think long-term. Similarly, Canadian relief efforts should be geared to longerterm solutions. The Caribbean is prone to floods and hurricanes. Poorly thought-out relief efforts spurred by a desire to get things back to normal will leave the island nation particularly vulnerable during the next hurricane season. Haiti has suffered immensely. The Canadian government’s response to this crisis has been substantial, but it is far from perfect. If we accept the silver lining to this tragedy suggested by Brian Stewart, this earthquake could be an opportunity for Haiti to recreate itself. If Canada is serious about leading the relief and rebuilding efforts, we must do more than our best. We must apply our knowledge from the tsunami disaster to achieve long-term improvement in Haiti. If, like me, you plan on emerging from your cave in the carrels of Bora Laskin to offer aid, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) suggests that the most effective help you can give is money. Do not send relief goods. Monetary donations allow relief staff to purchase goods locally and save on both time and transportation costs. But make sure that you donate to a registered charity. The CRA warns that there are many groups poised to take advantage of your generosity. To ensure that your money is given to a registered charity; and therefore helps the millions of people who are displaced, starving, and sick due to the earthquake, visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca and follow the link “Earthquake in Haiti”.
OPINIONS & EDITORIALS
JANUARY 27, 2010
Parliament, interrupted: the case against prorogation BY STEPHEN HUTCHISON (2L)
Politics can make unexpected superstars. In the past year, prorogation has jumped from dusty constitutional textbooks and onto the front pages. For those unfamiliar with the manoeuvre, a little explanation might be useful. Parliament sits in periods called “sessions.” At the beginning of each session, the government lays out its legislative agenda in the Speech from the Throne. The government then introduces this agenda into Parliament. Generally, once the agenda becomes law, the government ends the session. The government will then summon a new session, have a new Speech from the Throne, and begin the process again. Prorogation is the name for the act of ending a session of Parliament. It wipes out all bills that have not yet become law. It also has the effect of ending parliamentary debate until the government chooses to summon a new session of Parliament. For the past century and a half, Prime Ministers have used prorogation in accordance with the convention described above: only when the government’s legislative agenda was complete, and never to avoid parliamentary censure. Sir John A. Macdonald, for example, accepted kickbacks from railway companies during the Pacific scandal. When called to account in the House of Commons, he did not try to escape through prorogation. He stood in Parliament, faced his critics, and defended his actions. When it became clear that a non-confidence vote would pass, he resigned. In 2005, Justice Gomery found that Liberal Party staffers had accepted advertising kickbacks. The Opposition brought forward a motion of non-confidence. Prime Minister Paul Martin did not hide behind prorogation. He faced the motion and lost. He then called an election and lost that too. This is how our system is supposed to work. Parliamentary scrutiny allows us to censure and to replace our leaders when they abuse the public trust. This threat also helps to ensure that our leaders do not abuse our trust in the first place. The system does not work, however, if the government weasels out of accountability using prorogation. Yet, this is precisely what our governments have started doing. In 2002, Prime Minister Chrétien prorogued Parliament to delay the release of the auditor-general’s report into the sponsorship scandal. In October 2008, Prime Minister Harper prorogued Parliament to escape a motion of non-confidence. Now, he has prorogued Parliament again to avoid a parliamentary inquiry into Canada’s role in torturing Afghan detainees. Conservatives have offered three arguments in support of prorogation. First, they argue that prorogation is “routine.”
In defence of perogie Parliament BY AARON CHRISTOFF (2L)
This is disingenuous. Prorogation has In recent weeks, “prorogation” has become something of a buzzword: on the lips of only ever been used when the govern- Canadians, in the press, on the Internet, on campuses, and in the heart of every ment’s agenda is complete, and never to human being concerned about Canadian democracy. Prorogation hasn’t been this escape parliamentary accountability. exciting since … well, since last year, when it had to share the limelight with “the Second, they contend that prorogation Coalition.” But now it’s back with a vengeance. helps the stock market. The threat of a Most notably, discussion about prorogation has really taken off among students. non-confidence vote, they posit, creates Posters blanket U of T: Rally to Reclaim Democracy, Prorogue This!, etc. On Facemarket instability. Removing this threat book, most of my friends have joined the group “Canadians Against Proroguing Parprovides stability. Commentators have liament”, which has a total membership of 218,304 as of January 26. The Liberal justifiably heaped ridicule on this argu- Party has launched a series of online ads to capitalize on the movement, featuring Parment. A little instability is a small price to liament locked up behind a chain-link fence. Academics and pundits are weighing in pay for a functioning democracy. More- wherever people will listen. Prorogation has become a big deal, and rightly so. As over, there is no evidence that the stock engaged citizens of a democratic country, we are correct to scrutinize the actions of market actually performs better when our government and to hold it accountable. Parliament is not in session. The governAgainst my better judgment, I have undertaken the task of defending the recent ment was under constant threat of a prorogation of Parliament, in the face of eloquent arguments by my learnèd opponon-confidence vote throughout 2009, nent. As I see it, the basic, principled concern among many Canadians is that the yet the Canadian overuse and misuse of prorogation shields the government from stock market appreciaccountability, to the detriment of democracy. The specific arguated 20 per cent all ment is that the Harper Government has shut down Parliament to the same. Furtherevade public scrutiny on its performance, particularly the Afghan more, parliamentary detainee controversy. These arguments are not without appeal, but oversight helps enthey tend to dissolve when they are placed in the larger political sure that the governcontext. ment pursues a Except in a very narrow and fleeting way, prorogation does not competent economic shield the government from accountability. First of all, prorogation Photo by Miles Storey/Torontoist policy. In the long is temporary. In our present case, Parliament will resume sitting in run, that can only help the stock market. March. Legislative accountability will continue: opposition and other MPs were and Third, Conservatives argue that the will be free to ask whatever questions they like, introduce bills, and, in the case of a Liberal-dominated Senate has been de- minority government, even bring it down. Second, Parliament is only one of many laying the government’s legislative modes of accountability. The government is supervised and constrained by the courts agenda. By March, the Prime Minister and bureaucracy (including independent agencies), and is always under scrutiny by will have made enough Senate appoint- the press (and by extension, the public). These institutions ensure that the governments to gain de facto control over the ment acts according to law and within the scope of its mandate. Obviously, there are Upper House. Senate control will allow limits to the use of prorogation – Parliament could not be closed indefinitely – but the government to avoid any further de- that is not what is being argued. As with any prerogative power, these limits are delays. This is a feeble argument. By killing fined by political context. over forty bills, the prorogation delays Despite its recent hype and stardom, prorogation is simply one out of many parthe government’s agenda much longer liamentary and political mechanisms, all of which may be used and abused. At the than the Senate ever could. risk of sounding cynical, parliamentary strategy has always been part of politics; parThis prorogation has killed forty pieces liamentary procedure has always been a sword and shield for partisans. of legislation, concealed the truth about There are many ways to game the political system. Opposition days may be delayed Afghan detainees, and allowed the gov- and rescheduled, as they were by the Martin government to stave off defeat over the ernment to operate for three months sponsorship scandal, embarrassing public inquiries may be called for frivolous reasons without any parliamentary oversight. by the opposition, and serious inquiries may be shut down when their revelations beMore importantly, however, it sets a dan- come damaging to the government (e.g., Somalia). Parliament can be dissolved and gerous precedent. Unless Canadians ex- an election called at any time, which governments have often done so to dodge scanpress their disapproval, then now, every dals or to take advantage of favourable political conditions. The “King-Byng crisis” time a government is facing political heat, is probably the most famous example, but only because it was refused. Successful hisit will prorogue Parliament and dodge ac- torical examples include Diefenbaker in 1958, who called an election in response to countability. The motions of non-confi- Pearson’s rash call for the government to resign in favour of the Liberals (The Chief dence that once brought our won by a landslide); Chrétien called a snap election in 2000 to take advantage of governments to heel will become a thing Stockwell Day’s inexperience; and Harper called an election in 2008 to head off the of the past. In short, Canada will be- global economic crisis and ensure he would get a chance to face the hapless Dion. come an even less democratic country I do not endorse the “abuse” of parliamentary procedure but merely point out that than it already is. it can be done in many ways, it is not always clear-cut, and ultimately its correctness Ultimately, Prime Minister Harper can will be judged by the people. That is the reality of politics and democracy, which, only pervert our system of government notwithstanding recent hysterics, function in Canada as they always have. if Canadians allow him to. Let us not scapegoat prorogation on account of the vagaries of pol“Democracy”, George itics. Historically, prorogation has not been used as frequently as today Bernard Shaw observed, but today’s government is governing in the context of a systematic mi“is a device that ensures nority (due largely to the BQ) and global economic uncertainty. Pracwe shall be governed no tices may change, as they have in response to the current climate of better than we deserve.” political instability. What has not changed is Canada’s strong democratic Canadians must decide tradition, which is upheld by a variety of institutions, and the law written whether they deserve an in the hearts of its citizens. Accountability remains and democracy lives accountable government. on.
OPINIONS & EDITORIALS
Why photo radar is like a colonoscopy: unpleasant but a good idea Which would you rather?
Photo radar is controversial and unloved. It should not be. While there is scope for rational debate on what a reasonable speed limit should be in any given context, it seems absurd that policymakers would undermine efforts to enforce their laws efficiently, economically, and fairly. In rejecting photo radar, most North American jurisdictions undermine enforcement, and are pandering to popular opinion at the expense of good public policy. Governments today have access to a wide variety of automated technologies to enforce speed limits and other traffic bylaws on public roads. Photo radar, the most widely used automated technology, involves setting up a radar detector that photographs the licence plates of all vehicles traveling significantly over the speed limit. The owners of vehicles identified from the photographs are usually sent tickets by mail within a couple of weeks. Existing enforcement of traffic by-laws is capricious, inefficient. and relatively ineffective. On divided highways, in particular, traditional traffic enforcement is often so difficult and dangerous as to be almost impracticable. In these contexts, photo radar is the only truly viable method for actually enforcing compliance. It is a proven technology: flexible, reliable, and efficient. Yet it has also proven to be incredibly unpopular. Mike Harris and Glen Campbell both crusaded against photo radar and were rewarded at the ballot box. Individuals have gone to extraordinary lengths to express their opposition to it. One British Columbia man claimed to have spent over $120,000 challenging the constitutionality of a $100 fine. His constitutional challenge of the technology went all the way to the British Columbia Court of Appeal but ultimately failed, as did another high-profile challenge of the law in Alberta. Other individuals have reacted violently, vandalizing the photo radar systems or threatening its operators. A 24year-old man allegedly threatened to kill the operator of a photo radar vehicle in Winnipeg two weeks ago. In April 2009, a photo radar van driver in Scottsdale, Arizona was shot and killed by a 68-year-old man in a passing vehicle.
BY LUCAS WILSON (2L)
No one likes getting a traffic ticket in any context. However, the attacks against photo radar, in addition to being disproportionate, are completely misplaced. Reasonable people can disagree about what the speed limits on public roads should be. On both environmental and public safety grounds, there are very compelling reasons to set reasonably low speed limits. Yet, allowing individuals to drive faster has recognizable benefits as well, from shaving travel time to just avoiding the intangible, but all too real, frustrations of travelling at a modest speed. Balancing these considerations is complex and difficult. How fines should be structured is also worthy of debate. Here, too, reasonable people reach very different conclusions. There is a strong case, for example, that the pervasiveness and effectiveness of photo radar should be accompanied by a more lenient fining structure. In short, objections to the existing Ontario traffic laws are not without merit. To object to photo radar itself, however, is simply to object to the effective and efficient regulation of public roads. At risk of offending a group apparently predisposed to both litigation and violence, I would go as far as to suggest that this is an utterly indefensible position. Three main arguments are advanced by opponents of photo radar. I’ll address these in turn.
The privacy argument
Detractors often argue that photo radar intrudes on the privacy of motorists. This claim does not hold up to scrutiny. Traditional methods of enforcing speed limits can provide a pretext for police officers to interrogate drivers and to search vehicles. Photo radar does not. Moreover, the human element means that traditional speed limit enforcement will, at best, be inconsistent in its administration of justice. At worst, it can encourage systematic bias, corruption and abuse. In contrast, photo radar is a model of good law enforcement: it is unobtrusive, effective and fair. Photo radar in combination with rational speed limits would increase, not decrease, the privacy of motorists.
The ineffectiveness argument
Photo radar does involve a fairly long delay between the time of an infraction and its enforcement. Informing drivers that they are breaking the law is unquestionably an important part of encouraging them to reform their driving habits. Yet the claim, often made, that photo radar does not act as a deterrent to speeding is completely disingenuous. Photo radar has consistently proven to very effective at dramatically reducing the number of vehicles travelling above the speed limit. Similarly, studies of photo radar implantation have also generally found a substantial reduction in the number of accidents and deaths. The “up to eleven” line of “reasoning” There is a famous scene in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, where a character brags about the fact that his guitar amplifiers “go up to eleven” (unlike standard amplifiers which go from zero to ten). The character insists that this numbering actually increases the volume of the amp as “it’s one louder.” When asked why the traditional dial is not simply set to be louder, this character is clearly befuddled. He reiterates his argument that his dial goes up to eleven. Many opponents of photo radar are similar. When asked why they oppose photo radar rather than the speed limits it enforces, their eyes seem to glaze over. They want to go “up to eleven” – to keep existing traffic laws but to enforce them inefficiently. This could arguably be the “least bad” option in certain areas of law where reform would be politically or legally difficult, but enforcement would lead to a greater injustice – marijuana possession laws might fall under this category. There is absolutely no justification for this in traffic enforcement, however, where the provinces have both the power, and the ability, to set and enforce the rules. The rejection of photo radar wastes money and costs lives. But perhaps even more importantly, it is a symbol of our collective failure as a society to think through the enforcement of our laws rationally. Photo radar is a litmus test for rationality in public policy, and we are failing the test.
JANUARY 27, 2010
ISLANDS – from page 7
OPINIONS & EDITORIALS
...of 340 islands in the Pacific Ocean, which are located 1,000 km east of the Philippines. Its territory contains approximately 700 species of coral and more than 1,400 species of fish. Palau has also recently declared itself a shark sanctuary. It has banned all commercial shark fishing in its territory and called for a global moratorium on catching sharks exclusively for their fins. Palau’s waters have been ranked #1 among the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World. However, Palau is suffering from the effects of climate change. Warming ocean temperatures have caused widespread coral bleaching. Mr. Idechong remembers how, during El Nino/La Nina in 1997 and 1998, 30 to 90 per cent of coral species died in some areas surrounding the islands. This level of coral bleaching was unprecedented. As a result, important fish and jellyfish populations were severely diminished and local livelihoods were compromised. In addition, rising sea levels have caused coastal erosion and salt-water inundations of low-lying agricultural land. Palauans have become increasingly dependent on food imports and are frightened for their future. Some have been tempted to “give up” because they cannot win against climate change alone. Mr. Idechong has worked to persuade Palauans to protect their local environment as best they can while their representatives appeal to the international community to take strong action on climate change. Mr. Idechong has worked tirelessly to “get our voice out to the global community – what is happening to our islands, our coral reefs, and our way of life.” Since “we can’t go to war,” he jokes with me, “Palau and other small island states must persuade the major countries to take strong action on climate change.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment Report projects that climate change will raise sea levels by 0.19 to 0.58 m by the end of the 21st Century. The Report notes that “sea-level rise will exacerbate inundation, erosion and other coastal hazards, threaten vital infrastructure, settlements and facilities, and thus compromise the socio-economic well-being of island communities and states.” The resulting inundations will adversely impact coastal settlements, agriculture, and water resources in islands like Palau. In the Pacific and Caribbean islands, more than 50 per cent of the population lives within 1.5 km of the shore, and nearly all major roads, airports, and capital cities reside along the coast. Island settlements can be displaced and vital infrastructure destroyed by the effects of climate change on sea-level
rise, high-energy waves, and storm surge. Some islanders believe that it will be impossible to adapt to these changes if climate change continues unchecked. For small islands, one young person remarked, “adaptation means buying a boat.” Climate change also threatens food and water security on islands like Palau. Soil salinization is particularly worrisome for Pacific islands that are heavily dependent on local subsistence food production. In Palau, for example, there have been large crop failures of taro, a local staple, following inundations. Dependence on food imports is becoming increasingly common in the region. In addition, the IPCC predicts that reduced rainfall and saline intrusion into freshwater lenses could lead to water shortages for some Pacific islands. The IPCC Report highlights the risks of climate change to the long-term viability of small island states like Palau. It concludes: “the potential abandonment of sovereign atoll countries can be used as the benchmark of the ‘dangerous’ change that the UNFCCC seeks to avoid.” Because climate change is an existential threat for these islands, the Pacific Islands have tabled a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly to acknowledge that climate change is a security issue. In Copenhagen, Mr. Idechong has worked to spread awareness that the fates of island nations like Palau are at stake in the negotiations. He has been impressed by the energy and activism of groups with similar goals. “NGOs, women, youth, are all putting the message across,” he tells me. “Now it is up to the leaders.” Palau’s fate rests “at the mercy of strong countries, whose decisions can make everything better or worse.” He hopes that an agreement in Copenhagen will significantly advance the fight against climate change. It is extremely costly for Palau to send delegates to the COP and it would take these experts away from their responsibilities at home. Mr. Idechong emphasizes that Palau “can’t continue to lobby” for another 20 years of climate negotiations – “we don’t have the stamina for this.” He remains optimistic, however, that change is happening. He remembers that “10 years ago no one was even listening.” Now, conversations like ours are getting the message out. While some leaders today remain constrained by domestic legislation, he believes that many are more sensitive to small islands’ plight. Mr. Idechong has come to Copenhagen because Palau is running out of time. A strong international agreement is essential to the fight against climate change. He wants to remind world leaders that “our islands are drowning.”
Sports tweets, UV eats, and a law games diary...
D I V ER S I ON S
Legal eagle pose? I know, I know. Yoga is for flaky, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, counter-culturally inclined hippies. Hailing from the West Coast, I am well acquainted with their philosophies and kind. While I have, for the moment, chosen to embrace my inner conformist, corporate law square, I am also keenly aware of the fact that early childhood exposure to the “hippy-dippy” has likely infiltrated my consciousness and planted the seeds of a potential future Gulf Island artisanal sheep-cheesemaking retiree. I once assumed that this was why I feel the attraction of yoga. Part of me presumed that I would likely always be the lone A-type, OCD girl in a class of sutra-studying, karmically-enhanced yogis. Yet, as the years have gone by and I have practiced in studios across Canada, I have come to realize that I am not the only person who seems to straddle this inner-reflection/outer-ambition divide. I began to practice yoga in my third year of undergrad. The class was held in a small, cold underground dance studio filled with harsh fluorescent lighting and large mirrors which, as any self-respecting yogi would tell you, is hardly the ideal setting in which to practice. Despite the sub-optimal beginnings, though, I started taking more classes through university. Though crowded, they were cheap and cheerful and allowed me to practice more regularly. When I moved back from Montral to Vancouver and started making money (for a change!), I finally joined a local studio. Throughout all of this, I discovered new poses. I got better at the ones I already knew. I began focusing less on what other people in the class were doing and how they looked, and more on how I was doing and how I felt. I learned to push myself when I felt I could go farther and to forgive myself when I fell or couldn’t do something just right. And then I came to law school. Coming to Toronto was full-system shock. The enormity of my tuition bill made me feel like spending money on yoga classes was an unnecessary luxury. I
BY CASSANDRA FLORIO (3L)
stopped practicing regularly and instead tried to make the most of my tuition-included AC membership. It didn’t work. While I certainly survived first year, I didn’t feel like myself. Then, last year, I noticed signs above Futures Bakery announcing the impending arrival of a new studio,
Kula. I checked out their website and noticed that they offered a program called Energy Exchange for people who couldn’t afford a normal membership. I immediately volunteered to help clean the studio one night a week, in exchange for which I would be able to go to as many classes as I wanted. Yoga was back with a vengeance! All of a sudden, I found it easier to focus on my work and to make time to get things done. I soon realized that I wasn’t the only legal stress-case in my classes. On one particularly
memorable occasion, about a third of the people in my class were familiar faces. From 1Ls to recently graduated articling students, U of T Law made quite the impressive showing! Nor are we lowly law students alone in our love for yoga – even the judiciary is getting into it. Following the Grand Moot this year, I surprisingly ended up having an enthusiastic conversation with Madam Justice Charron about the how much she and some of the other Justices enjoyed the once-weekly class the Supremes host in the basement at the SCC. So what’s the “appeal”? (Sorry – obligatory legal reference). The simple fact of the matter is that yoga has a myriad of benefits, many of which seem to be particularly attractive to high-performing, high-stress individuals. Yoga requires a great deal of physical effort and focus. When your body is trying to reach and stay in Ardha Chandrasana or Pincha Mayurasana, there’s simply no way for your mind to remain preoccupied with legal doctrines or your over-packed schedule. The physical overrides the mental. Even when your body is quiet, you learn how to cultivate your thoughts to your best advantage, letting go of things that are unimportant and recognizing how transitory most of your “pressing” concerns really are. I also find that making the time to focus in yoga also paradoxically makes it easier to take full advantage of all the other hours in the day, helping me to be more focused and productive. Add to all of this the wide range of physical advantages to be gained through practice – flexibility, strength, stamina, as well as a reawakening of your respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems (among others) – and it’s easy to see why over-accomplishing alpha-types have a tendency to gravitate to yoga. It’s terribly efficient! CONTINUED at page 19
JANUARY 27, 2010
Top 10 Sports Tweets of 2009:
a.k.a. Reaffirming the Dumb Jock Stereotype, 140 characters at a time For those of you who felt that UV has been lacking in sports content, the only Editor who knows anything about sports presents his favourite sports tweets of last year:
10) Kevin Love (@kevin_love) – “What are we doing????? We better trade. I don’t even know.” NBA player Kevin Love’s tweeted critique of his team’s draft selections during the 2009 NBA Draft showed that NBA players are not corporate drones. Love’s puzzlement was swiftly met by a new policy enacted by team management banning its players from having Twitter accounts.
9) Michael Beasley (@GorillaBeas) – “Feelin like it’s not worth livin!!!!!!! I’m done” NBA player Michael Beasley posted the above statement on his Twitter account shortly after coming under fire after he posted a photo of himself on Twitter with what appeared to be a bag of marijuana in the background. Concerned about the Twitter post above, Beasley was checked into rehab by his team to address “substance abuse and psychological issues”. 8) Bernard Berrian (@B_Twice) – “1-2-3 SAAAAKKKKIIII!!” This seemingly innocuous Twitter post by NFL wide receiver Bernard Berrian became a lightning rod of unintentional hilarity due to the attached photo of a naked woman in a shower. Berrian later clarified via tweet, “Sorry guys have no idea how that got up there. I didn’t send that. A pic of me and friends @ dinner was what I sent.” Lesson to be learned here: Keep photos of your groupies separate from photos of your homies. Perhaps most helpful to Berrian was the reply tweet by his teammate, Adrian Peterson (@TheRealAP) who remarked “yikes! make sure she members to wash behind the ears”.
7) Robert Henson (@redskinslb51) – “All you fake half hearted Skins fan can . . . I won’t go there, but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!” Little-used Washington Redskins linebacker Robert Henson created a firestorm of controversy by tweeting the above statement in response to the boos rained down on the team by their own fans in a September game. In subsequent tweets, Henson went on to state that he’d “still made more than you in a year and you’d [gladly] switch spots with me in a second”, and that Redskins fans “work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds”. The rambling diatribe led Henson to apologize publicly for his remarks, and he has since deactivated his account.
BY ABRAR HUQ (2L)
6) Larry Johnson (@Toonicon) – “think bout a clever diss then that wit ur f*g pic. Christopher street boy. Is what us east coast cats call u.” NFL player Larry Johnson’s twitter outburst directed at a fan whose tweets poked fun at Johnson’s previous criminal indiscretions included several homophobic slurs, and eventually earned him his walking papers. Johnson’s abject stupidity earned him a lengthy suspension by the team, at the conclusion of which the team released him, tearing up the remainder of his six-year, $45 million contract.
5) Ron Artest (@96truwarierqb) – “I like to dress bummy and sloppy wit my pants below my ass. That’s why I get no endorsements. But I don’t care” Certifiably batshit crazy NBA goon Ron Artest’s Twitter account is a haven for bizarre, nonsensical ramblings, making it difficult to single out a single tweet as more (in)significant than the other. Artest’s irrational behaviour has led columnist Bill Simmons to suggest that. prior to every game, Artest should be “wheeled out to midcourt like Hannibal Lecter – you know, tied to one of those white stretchers and wearing a strait jacket and the metal facemask.” Such an assessment makes Artest’s Twitter account a must-follow. 4) Charlie Villanueva (@CV31) – “In da locker room, snuck to post with my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.” NBA player Charlie Villanueva made headlines last spring after he made the above post in the locker room during the halftime of a game that he was playing in, becoming the first athlete ever to tweet during a game. Incidentally, Villanueva ended up leading his team in scoring and helping the sorry Milwaukee Bucks defeat the powerful Boston Celtics. Nonetheless, his in-game tweet led to the NBA enacting a new Twitter policy banning tweeting from 45 minutes before a game until 45 minutes after a game.
3) Nate Robinson (@nate_robinson) – “Cops pulled me over cuz my windows were 2 dark (but my windows were down) lol how funny is that,”; “I am still pulled over and its been 35 min they have me sit in my truck like i dnt have s#*+2 do lol” After being pulled over for a routine traffic violation, Nate Robinson, the diminutive New York Knick, decided it would be a good idea to document the incident by providing a play-by-play on Twitter. Eventually, Robinson was not able to get to the “s#*+” he had “2 do” as he was arrested and detained for driving with a suspended license.
2) Shaquille O’Neal (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) – “I’m at the fashion sq mall, any1 touches me gets 2 tickets, tag me and say yur twit u hv 20 min” The larger than life Shaq was an early adopter of Twitter, and one of the first to break down the wall between himself and his fans. Posts such as the above were commonly tweeted by Shaq, as he openly interacted with his fans. After Shaq overheard a fan discussing his Twitter account at a restaurant, he basically called them a bunch of pansies. To wit: “To all twitterers , if u c me n public come say hi, we r not the same we r from twitteronia, we connect.” 1) Gilbert Arenas (@gilbertarenas) – “i wake up this morning and seen i was the new JOHN WAYNE. lmao media is too funny”; “i guess nobody thought that last text was funny.well i hav 2 change subjects.umM what about that TIGER WOODS. I heard he dated 2 midgets jk” After an investigation found that NBA star Gilbert Arenas brought guns into the locker room and allegedly drew one at a teammate after a gambling debt gone bad, Arenas took to Twitter to demonstrate his complete disregard for the consequences of his actions and his complete detachment from the gravity of the situation. After a bizarre Twitter outburst spanning 20 tweets over the course of two hours, the NBA suspended him indefinitely, with the commissioner stating that “[Arenas’] ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game.” Fortunately, Arenas has since deleted his account, heeding the advice of his father who reportedly told him “don’t even Tweeter right now.”
Gilbert Arenas: role model!
YOGA – from page 18
There are plenty of studios around the law school, many of which offer great deals to students (Kula, for example, has a 30-day unlimited yoga for $30 offer for first-timers and $100/month unlimited membership for students after that). As a new term begins, maybe now’s the time to explore a fresh form of exercise and add a new tool to your study arsenal! Namaste. Students interested in trying yoga are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be holding a draw amongst respondents for one of three guest passes to Kula Annex.
Just Watch Me:The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Whenever I have time off from law school, I like to try to read something that isn’t law-related. In that spirit, this Christmas, I decided to crack open the much-hyped, recently released second volume of Trudeau’s biography, authored by the esteemed John English. I wasn’t disappointed, nor did I expect to be, having already read the first volume (Citizen of the World) over the summer. The 789-page volume is finely-written, well-organized, and well-paced. It illuminates the extraordinary career of a great man, with detailed accounts of familiar political and personal sagas, and with many less familiar and often-amusing anecdotes and perspectives. It may well be the definitive biography of Pierre Trudeau, written not only by a veteran Canadian biographer and historian, but also with exclusive access to Trudeau’s own private papers and letters. The cover of Just Watch Me features a macho, steelyeyed Trudeau, apparently staring down some unseen challenger. Between the bold expression and the hip floral shirt, the photograph captures the essence of Trudeau’s image: manly cool. Trudeau is a man who has frequently been described in supernatural terms. An early biography refers to him as “The Northern Magus” – a later one begins with the words, “He haunts us still.” I do not think of Trudeau as a wizard or a ghost, but the metaphors are not unwarranted. Before there was Obamamania, there was Trudeaumania. The man was swept into office on an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm, and went on to become the most successful Canadian Prime Minister in modern times. There is a mythical quality to him. I won’t waste any more ink heaping praise on a man who has already been praised in superfluous terms, or rehashing the tremendous impact he had on our country. What I will note is the tremendous impact Trudeau has had on our own beloved law school. Besides having reformed our Criminal Code and Constitution, empowering our judges to write long philosophical judgments on
REVIEWED BY AARON CHRISTOFF (2L)
weighty issues which we now study, Trudeau watches us come and go from Bora Laskin Law Library (looking dapper in his waistcoat) from a strategically placed painting. Trudeau was the one who appointed Bora
Laskin to the Supreme Court, and later named him Chief Justice (the now patron saint of our law school who also watches us come and go from the library named in his honour). For those reasons, I think Trudeau’s legacy is especially relevant to us. Many things about Trudeau have attained mythological status among Canadians: his cosmopolitan intellect
and charm, his stand against Québec separatism, his patriation of the Canadian constitution, his tumultuous marriage with Margaret, among others. Just Watch Me covers all that, but English’s warts-and-all portrayal of the Prime Minister also holds some interesting surprises. There are funny stories: witness Trudeau and Jennifer Rae (Bob’s sister), then dating, arguing over the freedom to put lemon on one’s own oysters (“You have taken that right away,” Pierre fumed); or Trudeau getting rescued from the arms of a “huge blonde” by his PR man at a dance. Trudeau was also often surprisingly offensive: he mocked “bleeding hearts” when invoking the War Measures Act, punched an NDP protester who came too close at a rally, and once told striking truck drivers to “eat shit.” Despite Trudeau’s legacy of progressive law and policy, and his often flamboyantly progressive lifestyle, he was oddly conservative in many personal matters – the result of being both liberal and Catholic. His young wife complained that he held a very traditional view of a wife’s role in marriage. He privately opposed abortion and was infuriated by suggestions he was homosexual, but, as Justice Minister, he legalized both. When it came to the patriation of the new constitution, Trudeau was angered by legal interventions in what he considered to be a political matter and was frustrated by the Supreme Court’s pragmatic yes-no decision in the Patriation Reference. He later (in denouncing Charlottetown) attacked the justices for weakening the federation, provoking an angry confrontation with Brian Dickson. Just Watch Me is replete with many other fascinating anecdotes and insights which I shall not spoil. It offers a window into the life of a great and uniquely Canadian figure, as well as Canadian history itself. It comes with my high recommendations.
Pressing and substantial objective: a Huck Jennings adventure BY DAN MOORE (3L)
Huck was then captured by an organization called “the Association”. A mysterious man tortured Huck, pulling out his fingernails with pliers, seeking information that Huck didn’t have. For unclear reasons, Huck was eventually released. Huck swore that after he completed his Bridge Week paper, he would have his vengance for Tatiana’s death. For the full text of Part 1, see the November 2009 issue of Ultra Vires.
Previously, on Huck Jennings: Huck Jennings is your average first-year student at U of T Law in every way but one: he is also an undercover agent for CSIS, the Canadian spy agency. In November, Huck was summoned to Mongolia to assassinate a rogue agent. After a moonlit battle, Huck was triumphant. But then he learned that his victim was Tatiana – a colleague who was not only his mentor, but the woman he loved.
And now, Part 2 of 4: The hang-glider drifted across the cloudless Mongolian sky, swift as a bat but five times as deadly. Huck Jennings scanned the city below. The full moon illuminated Sukhbaatar Square, casting crisp shadows behind a man and a woman who were locked in a battle to the death. The bat swooped in for its kill. Huck landed without a sound, and crept up behind the two enemy combatants. He drew his crossbow, stood perfectly still, and shot the man through the neck. The woman turned around, and it
was Tatiana – poisoned dart at the ready, her eyes filled with both violent rage and a touching vulnerability. Huck remembered why he dreamed only of her. “Huck! I knew you would save me! Now let’s leave this game behind us, and grow old together.” He looked into her eyes and knew that she meant it this time. But first, he had to remove the identifying features from the rogue agent’s corpse. Huck took out his buck knife as he moved toward the body. Crouching down, he removed the agent’s balaclava, and found himself staring into his own dead eyes. Somewhere in the distance, a yak roared. -Huck Jennings awoke with a start, and wiped the drool from his face. He’d been having that dream ever since he got back from Mongolia, and it wasn’t going away. Huck turned his attention back to the lecture. “...So the first requirement of the Oakes test is that the objective of the impugned legislation ‘relates to concerns which are pressing and substantial in a
free and democratic society.’” Huck raised his hand. The professor looked up irritatedly and chose to continue. “This requirement is evaluated – ” “Ma’am, I have a question.” Huck’s classmates cringed, each one wishing that it was possible to check Facebook in the Moot Court Room. “Where do these judges get off, thinking they can assess what is pressing and substantial for our country? They haven’t seen the intelligence reports. They don’t have a safety deposit box with eight fake passports. They’ve never sat alone at midnight in a dinghy in Peggy’s Cove, armed only with a flamethrower.” Huck stopped himself: he had revealed too much. The professor appeared puzzled. “But surely, our constitutional structure requires an independent, dispassionate adjudicator – ” “But it’s passion that Canada needs. We need people who care about our country – enough to die for it.” Choking back tears, Huck cleared his throat. CONTINUED at page 21
JANUARY 27, 2010
HUCK – from page 20
“Take the passion out of the state’s relentless pursuit of its goals, and we’re all sitting ducks. I’ll tell you about a pressing and substantial objective that the Supreme Court could never understand: love for one’s country.” Tatiana’s laugh flashed through Huck’s mind. “Love for someone who should have been able to trust you.” “Huck I deeply disagree with you. The kind of careful analysis and sober reflection provided by the judiciary is necessary to control the executive!” “If you think that I haven’t spent weeks of sober reflection – weeks of torturous agony – reliving every little thing that I should have done differently that day, then – ” Huck snapped, “then maybe you’re the one who needs to learn about the multipurpose nature of a pair of pliers!” The professor closed her eyes and summoned all of her patience. “I think that’s a good time to end class. See you all next week.” *** Walking out of class, Huck sensed three people behind him. His hand moved instinctively toward his concealed ninja star. “Huck, we need to talk.” Huck turned around: it was Jacqui, Karen, and Brendan, and they were in a typically unpleasant mood. Huck tried to pretend that he was happy to see them. Jacqui and Brendan avoided Huck’s eyes. Karen sighed, and turned to Huck. “We need to talk about our study group. It seems as if our goals have diverged from your goals, you know?” “If you have something to say, Karen, then just pull the trigger. There’s nothing worse than a soldier who spends so much time aiming that she forgets to use her ammo.” Karen spoke up again. “We can’t have you in our study group anymore. You haven’t opened your textbooks; you didn’t even study for December exams. Once, we asked you for good law supporting one of your arguments, and you said you spoke from precedent made binding through the spillage of innocent blood.” “Sure, I did poorly on my exams, and I almost missed the criminal exam. But aren’t you supposed to help me? Our country hangs by a thread, and you won’t extend your hand?” “Huck, you argued in your constitutional exam that CSIS should be able to
unilaterally define the scope of federal jurisdiction, since ‘[p]eace, order and good government is the only thing standing between Canada and annihilation, and the only people who have an inkling what that means are the brave folks who holster up with a ninja star every day.’ If you won’t even engage with legal reasoning, then why should you be in our study group?” Huck could tell that they had already made up their minds. “Et tu, Brendan?” F i n a l l y, Brendan made eye contact. “You’re cut, Huck.” *** As they walked away, Huck wondered how ever ything had gotten so out of hand. He’d tried to keep up with his schoolwork after the disaster in Mongolia, but it all just seemed so pointless. How could he pretend that case summaries and study groups mattered when he had vengeance on his mind? If Huck had half a brain, he would have just kept his head down. You don’t advance in the civil service by asking the tough questions – even if you can ask them in both English and French. But that plan only lasted a few weeks. With her last words, Tatiana had warned Huck that their supervisor – known to them only as Duplessis – couldn’t be trusted. So, the day before his criminal exam, he flew to Ottawa. Huck was going rogue. If Duplessis was responsible for Tatiana’s death, then Huck would teach him the full meaning of prorogation. Huck parachuted on to the roof of CSIS headquarters, plugged into the mainframe, found Duplessis in the directory, and activated the sprinklers. As bureaucrats streamed out of the building – at a rapid pace typically unheard of in the public sector – Huck deployed his umbrella and made his way down to Duplessis’ cubicle. But the cubicle had been emptied out. Nothing was left, except for a stray piece of paper on the ground. As the muddy water from the long-dormant sprinklers fell around him, Huck picked up the paper. It was a receipt – for a Westjet ticket to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Huck had spent the last month trying to figure out his next step. *** As he walked out of the law school, Huck saw what looked like a familiar face out of the corner of his eye. Huck hadn’t seen C.J. Gonzalez since training, when they were lab partners in advanced
poisons. It didn’t make any sense for him to be here. “I’ve been waiting out in the cold for you, Huck.” “And why would you do a stupid thing like that?” “To give you a friendly warning. Your latest temper tantrum is the talk of Ottawa. That show you gave at HQ – impressive, but stupid. Why can’t you be a team player, Jennings? Why do you always have to be the lonesome hero? Take it from Plaxico Burress: sometimes when you shoot from the hip the only thing that bleeds is your own thigh.” Huck said nothing. This was getting suspicious. “And now that you don’t have Tatiana around to defend your swashbuckling to the higher-ups, word is that your career is over. If that happens, you’ll wish that you were back in Mongolia, wondering where those electrodes will be attached.” Huck whipped out his ninja star and knocked C.J. to the ground. Kneeling over him, Huck put the sharp blade of the ninja star to C.J.’s neck. “Now, that intel is above your pay grade. I never told anyone about the electrodes.” C.J. remained calm. “It was just a figure of speech. Get a grip.” A crowd of law students was gathering around the two. “You’re a terrible liar.” Huck pressed the blade into C.J.’s neck, drawing blood. “Tell me everything you know about the Association.”
C.J.’s face went pale. He stammered, “Ch-ch-ch check the Constitution Act.” Huck was confused. “1867 or 1982?” C.J. smiled faintly. “1930. The Natural Resource Transfer Agreements.” Huck loosened his grip in confusion. A Constitution Act of 1930? Who’d ever heard of that? C.J. scrambled to his feet. Eyes wide and wild as a stampeding alpaca, he screamed at Huck, “Watch out for those people! They’ll drag you into the tar sands with them!” C.J. turned around, ran onto Queen’s Park Crescent, and threw himself under a car. Huck stood coldly over C.J.’s mangled body. Someone in the gathering crowd asked, “Your friend, is he dead?” Huck turned condescendingly to his naïve classmate. “He’s been dead for a long time.”
Will Huck put together the clues about the Association’s nefarious plot? Can he track down Duplessis, now that he’s escaped to the wilds of Canada’s frontier? Will Huck be able to understand firstyear Administrative Law without the help of his study group? All this – and more! – in the next Huck Jennings Adventure: “Executive Discretionary Power”. Based on the character “Huck Jennings”, created by Derek Bryant, Dan Moore, and Ben Nolan.
WORST PRODUCTS OF 2009 BY CARA VALIQUETTE (3L)
UV Eats: Burrito bliss BY SAMANTHA WU (3L)
Few foods can satiate my large appetite. The hearty burrito, though, can always satisfy my hunger. The perfect burrito achieves a balance of a variety of textures and flavours. I visited four burrito joints close to campus. Burrito Fresh, which is renovating, is absent from this review.
Big Fat Burrito (529 Bloor St. W.)
The spicy steak burrito ($7.50) was delicious and fiery. The burrito, to my delight, was stuffed with lots of The steak. steak was not tough, but was firm enough to complement the creaminess of the sauces, the mushiness of the beans, and the softness of the rice and cheese. I also had the yam burrito ($7), a unique alternative to the usual soy gluten vegetarian option. The bright orange of the yam made the inside of the burrito colourful and appealing to the eye. The yam was very mushy, and the sauces overwhelmed its mild taste. Nevertheless, I’d eat the yam burrito over any soy gluten burrito on any given day. The burrito sauce, made of garlic mayo and plantains, and the sweet and spicy hot sauce, wa tasty. The guacamole had a lovely creamy texture, but other sauces overwhelmed its flavour. The tortillas were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The owners of Big Fat Burrito run a bare bones operation. There were only two men taking orders and frantically cooking, meaning that the wait was long. No seats were available as it was take-out option only. Regardless, I was very satisfied.
Burrito Loco (47 Charles St. W.)
Fellow burrito lover Stuart Rothman believes that not pressing a burrito is criminal. Consequently, an egregious crime was committed at Burrito Loco – burritos were not pressed, but were instead placed in a conveyor belt oven, which failed to toast the tortilla properly and provide enough heat to coax the flavours from the fillings. Staff were friendly, but they could not compensate for the very unpleasant experience of actually eating the burritos. Everything inside the vegetarian burrito ($5.49), and the chicken burrito ($5.59) – save for the dry chicken itself – was cold. My taste buds were not seduced, but rather assaulted, by the flavourless and cold fillings. The burrito sauce was basically salsa, and the hot sauce was not hot at all. The vegetarian burrito was especially disappointing, as it was stuffed with just the usual toppings; there was no meat substitute – not even more vegetables. Finally, the black bean soup ($2.99) tasted like microwaved canned beans. The owners have attempted to make the place appear authentic by decorating the walls with zarape blankets, sombreros, and photos of Mexico. The restaurant also sold churros, coconut flan, and Jumex juice, adding to
the authenticity. The environment was nice, but the owners should have paid more attention to the actual burritos.
Quesada (200 Bloor St. W.)
The chili-lime shrimp burrito ($5.95) did not meet my expectations. The place was stingy with their meat – at least with the shrimp. The burrito was lined with about five measly shrimp, and since they were smothered with fillings and sauces, neither the chili nor the lime could be tasted. The grilled veggie burrito ($4.95) consisted of zucchini, onions, and red, yellow, and green peppers. The pre-grilled vegetables sat in a pile, and unfortunately, I got the dregs. Even though I asked for spicy burritos, the hot sauce and habañero sauce were only mildly spicy. The guacamole ($0.75 extra), however, though given in small portions, was delicious and buttery. I could definitely taste the avocado. The tortillas were toasted, and the cilantro rice was wellseasoned. What made this joint unique was the different types of salsa and beans it offered. It also provided cilantro, which gave a refreshing taste to the burrito. The restaurant is bright and colourful with neon green chairs, white tables, and red walls. The owners also tried to make the place look authentic by selling Jarritos sodas, playing Spanish-language music, and adorning the walls with pictures of Mexico. The burrito toppings and sauces were a medley of great flavours. The sauces that were supposed to be spicy, though, lacked spiciness and the main fillings were unimpressive.
Burritos Bandidos (362 Bloor St. W.)
The halibut burrito ($8.50) was excellent. Tender, moist, flavourful – the large fillet of halibut blended well with the other toppings. I tasted my friends’ steak and mixed steak and chicken burritos, and the meat consistently came in sizeable portions. The beef was especially well-cooked and well-seasoned. The flavour of the soya meat in the vegetarian burrito ($5.93) was prominent and gave a meaty texture, but tasted mismatched with the other toppings and sauces. The creamy lumps of avocado in the guacamole were tasty. The mashed refried beans were also smooth and added another distinct flavour. The Mexican rice was beautiful, with corn, peppers, onions, and tomatoes nestled in the rice, but it could have used more seasoning. The tortillas were crisp on the outside. Unfortunately, the salsa appeared store-bought, and the hot sauce was very mild. The burrito sauce was supposed to be a limecream concoction, but the lime taste was elusive. The space was austere, seating only three (more if you were willing to sit cheek-to-cheek next to a friend).
UV Eats: Fish & chips BY STEVEN SLAVENS (3L)
Fish and chips, the old stand-by. It seems as though any self-respecting pub or diner serves up some sort of plate with battered fish and French fries, but few places do it really well. I set out to sample the fish and chips at three different joints close to campus and was, by and large, impressed with what I was served. What follows is a breakdown of my fishy findings.
Harbord Fish and Chips (147 Harbord St.)
You may have noticed Harbord Fish and Chips before, but it has a funny way of blending into the background on the modest stretch of Harbord St. just west of its emerging restaurant district. I had never eaten at this ancient-looking white shack of a building, and I was looking forward to the experience. The first things a diner might notice are the seating and decor. Both are minimal and sort of dingy. Aside from the chalkboard menu, there are no decorations to speak of – and not in a modern minimalist sort of way. If you go to Harbord Fish and Chips in the winter, don’t bring your friends. There are only four seats in the restaurant (not counting the picnic tables outside), and the chairs don’t match. The important thing, though, is the food. I opted for the halibut combo ($12.61) and received one massive piece of halibut, a huge serving of fries, a tiny cup of coleslaw, and a soda (note: this place is not licensed to sell alcohol). The coleslaw was unremarkable – mayonnaise-heavy, limp, and oddly sweet. The fish was very good, and thankfully, there was malt vinegar available. The batter was beautifully golden brown, light, and really crispy. The fish itself was cut nice and thick and cooked to perfection – firm, moist, and flavourful. The hand-cut fries were nice and crispy, too. The problem with both the fish and chips, however, was the unpleasant greasiness. The newsprint paper that it was served on did not do enough to sop up the excess oil, and the grease had a heavy taste, as if the oil needed a change. A meal at Harbord Fish sits in your belly like a brick, but it was probably the best-cooked piece of fish I ate from the restaurants reviewed. Even with its flaws, this is a great little spot for fish.
Chippy’s (490 Bloor St. W.)
Chippy’s is easily the most stylish fish and chips place I’ve ever been to. Its tile floor, open kitchen, and exposed wood counters are appealing, providing a feel that is old-fashioned, but modern at the same time. Unfortunately, however, they aren’t licensed to sell beer. I ordered the halibut fish and chips with sides of coleslaw and mushy peas ($13.49, plus tax). The fish and chips come served in an attractive container, with a plate provided for orders “to-stay”. I doused the works in malt vinegar and got down to business. My container had three smallish pieces of light golden brown fish which tasted really fresh and clean, but were not as moist as Harbord’s. Unfortunately, most of the crispness of the Guinness batter was confined to the edges of the filets. It lacked the shattering lightness of the ideal batter, but was still good and not greasy at all. The fries are cut nice and thick, and although they really tasted like potatoes, they were unfortunately not crispy enough. The mushy peas were admittedly a little frightening at first, but I found myself thinking of them fondly long after the meal. They are an unappealing dark shade of green and the texture is thick and pasty. CONTINUED at page 23
JANUARY 27, 2010 Day 1
A very special Law Games diary
Dear Diary, Today is the first day of Law Games. I’m so excited to meet lots of new people and see what Montreal has in store! I just checked into my hotel room and even though we had to wait in line forever, it was okay because in Montreal you can drink anywhere! Crazy French! I think Law Games is going to be the best time ever! As the organizers said “Be Spirit!” I think there seem to be some things lost in translation. We’re sharing a floor with Sherbrooke and they seem awesome and mild-mannered. They even let us join them in a hallway game of flip-cup. Tonight we head out to a super safe club to meet all of the other schools. I think people are really going to like me because I’m from U of T!
Dear Diary, Wow, last night was crazy! Our sunglasses were a big hit, but I kept bumping into people because I couldn’t see anything. At first, everyone was really nice about it, but when they found out I was from U of T they were less forgiving…maybe it’s just tough love? At least our team captains are super nice and taking their job seriously – one of them even waited up in a chair by the elevator all night just to make sure everyone got back from the bar! I didn’t feel amazing when I got up for floor hockey this morning, but it was tons of fun and we learned a new cheer…I just wish I knew who Rory was…hopefully I will meet him on the Pub Crawl tonight. I can’t wait to wear my new scarf!
Dear Diary, Since we didn’t do very well at sports yesterday (what the hell is Kinball anyway?), everyone really gave it their all on the Pub Crawl. Poor Gillian. She didn’t stand a chance at beer pong against that guy from U of S, but I finally figured out who Rory is!! We were paired up with Dal for some of the games and their tambourines were so loud. Luckily, somebody managed to “trade” for one of them! The Pub Crawl was really fun but I hope it’s true that what happens at Law Games stays at Law FISH & CHIPS – from page 22
The taste, however, was great – like split pea soup with a serious hit of black pepper. The coleslaw was fantastic. It’s vinegar-based and refreshing, with a hint of black pepper and subtle mustardy taste. Long after my ‘slaw was gone, I found myself dipping my fries in the vinaigrette left in the bottom of the container. All in all, the fish and chips at Chippy’s were good, but not perfect. For me, the sides helped make up for these minor shortcomings, and the friendly service and attention to detail make dining at Chippy’s a worthwhile experience.
The Duke of York (39 Prince Arthur Ave.)
Chances are you’ve been to the Duke. It’s a regular pub night location, and one of the most conveniently located bars for the law school crowd. I was really looking forward to fish and chips at this spot. Not only do they serve beer (a classic accompaniment), but a couple of years ago, I had a great big piece of perfectly battered fish served wrapped in a London Times newspaper atop a bed of crispy fries here. I ordered a beer immediately. The guest tap is an India Pale Ale from Scotland called Deuchars, and it’s great – crisp, bright, and slightly bitter. As I looked down at the menu, however, I was disappointed. The fish and chips here is haddock ($12.99, plus tax), a common but less than ideal choice. When the fish arrived, the waiter removed the piece of (inkless) newsprint from beneath the large piece fish with a flourish. The batter was dark brown, and the fries a pale gold, and they appeared to be hand-cut. The coleslaw was a pretty standard mayonnaise-based version. It benefited from a squeeze of lemon and a shake or two of pepper, but was pedestrian at best. The fries were better, and so was my next pint.
Games…I managed to get home with my scarf still on. Everyone was trying to trade for it, but you know what they say: the only way to get a U of T scarf is to get in!
It was even harder getting up this morning for volleyball…and that U of A guy wearing our sunglasses looked so familiar, but I can’t figure out why! We made the playoffs for soccer – our last chance at redemption! Just between you and me, I don’t think we have a very good chance. I heard UBC has a total ringer…
Time to go put on my toga! I’m sure glad I remembered to bring my own sheet so I don’t have to use one from the hotel.
Dear Diary, Wearing a toga last night was so liberating! Note to self: invest in a larger sheet. After the bar, there was a crazy party in the hotel hallway, but a few of us decided to leave and hit the party room. Unfortunately we had to take the stairs because the elevators were broken. I sure hope no one got stuck in them! The party room was lots of fun and we even won “The Wall” competition! Who knew U of T students were so athletic (and flexible!)? It’s the last night, and maybe that’s a blessing - I don’t think my body can take much more of this. It’s a good thing there’s an open bar tonight. I don’t need to worry about hitting on people from other schools to get free drinks anymore. The food better be good. They promised “pleasures for everyone” and I’m not leaving until I get it. Well, I’m off to watch soccer playoffs. I think attendance is mandatory based on the signs made by our annoyingly perky co-captains…seriously, crayons? CONTINUED at page 24
The Fuller’s London Pride – a bitter ale from the UK – matched perfectly with the fried fare. I put my fork into the fish, and noted that the batter was crispy, but oddly thick. Not as thick as the batter on a corndog, but getting there. The fish itself lacked the firm texThe best thing about the Duke’s fish & chips. ture of the halibut available elsewhere, and it gets a little lost in all that batter. Like so much about the Duke, the fish is pretty good, but unremarkable. It may satisfy, but it will never electrify.
24 Day 5
LAW GAMES – from page 23
Dear Diary, Last night was fun – but I can’t believe they wouldn’t give me more than one bottle of wine and four beer bottles at one time. What kind of open bar is that?! It was super exciting to see U of T up on stage for the soccer banner – we actually won something! Back at the hotel everybody was ready for a good time – I just didn’t realize it would include fruit and household appliances! Dancing, singalongs, and bouncing on the bed will be some of my fondest memories of Law Games. Granted, they are also some of my only memories.
We’re on the bus and just getting into Toronto. All in all, I think I have some new friends, some new cheers, and lots of great stories. I’m sure everyone back at school will be so excited to hear all about them…repeatedly.
4 Days Post-Law Games
Dear Diary, My voice sounds like a 13 year old boy and I’m pretty sure I have pneumonia. Still worth it. If only my ankle wasn’t the size of a watermelon.
Our glorious leader in all his...glory.