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Labchuck: How to Live Better in 2012

The State of SLS Caucus

Camille Labcuck suggests some resolutions in her new column, “How to Be Perfect”

Aaron Rankin and Justin Nasseri try to convince you that they are doing their jobs

ULTRA VIRES

Features, Page 6

Diversions, Page 19

First Edition

January 25, 2012 Vol. XIII, no. III

ultravires.ca

The Independent Student Newspaper Of The University Of Toronto Faculty Of Law

SCC Vetoes National Securities Regulator Securities reg does not rise to the level of national concern By Liam Churchill (2L)

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n a previous issue, under the tantalizing headline “Federalism Case Tantalizes Nerds,” UV primed you for the Supreme Court’s opinion in a reference on the federal government’s proposed Securities Act, which would have implemented a national securities regulator. In its opinion, released just days before Christmas, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that a national scheme of securities regulation would be ultra vires the federal government, arriving at the same conclusion that the Courts of Appeal for Quebec and Alberta had reached when the legislation was referred to them by their respective provincial governments. The federal government argued that its general power over “trade and commerce” under s 91(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867 entitled it to enact the national scheme of securities regulation; opponents, including most notably the governments of Alberta and Quebec, argued that securities regulation properly fell under provincial jurisdiction under s 92(13) (property and civil rights) or 92(16) (matters of a merely local or private nature). The federal government’s argument was rooted in the contention that securities regulation had evolved from a matter of provincial concern to one of national scope that affects the entire country. The court, rejecting the federal government’s proposal, determined that the purpose and effects of the proposed legislation meant that its “main thrust” (or pith and substance) was the exclusive regulation of “all aspects of securities trading in Canada.”

See “Sec Reg” on Page 4

U of T Law, in a rare display of athleticism, took home the gold in soccer at Law Games in Vancouver.

ANDREW ROBERTSON PHOTO

Opinion:

Are Women Ultra Vires? Is Atrisha Lewis right in sounding the alarm about female particiapation in UV?

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By Lauren Heuser (3L)

s a close follower of the Ultra Vires, I have come to observe two things about our student newspaper. First, that a not insignificant number of its articles evince the sophistication of thought that one might expect from an adolescent boy. The variety of articles to which I’m referring are ones with titles such as: “Which is Better: OCIs or Sex?”, “On the Dancing of Law School Males”, or “Hey Everyone, Look At Me” (the latter being accompanied by a photo of UV editorin-chief simultaneously flipping the bird and relieving himself on the law school gardens). Additionally, these articles typically display a rather shallow (although not narrow-minded) interest in sex, drinking, and...well, that’s about it.

Naturally, I would avoid naming names were it not an invariability that Matt Brown, Andrew Robertson and Drew Valentine just popped into your minds as the persons we have most readily to “thank” for making contributions in this vein, month after month after month. I must reluctantly admit, however, that I do enjoy reading this type of article, even if the ideas expressed in them are decidedly immature. And while one might be inclined to dismiss my appreciation for this lowbrow content as nothing more than an oddity, the fact of the matter is, appreciation for UV extends beyond just my own. The rate at which UV flies off the shelves each month (after discounting for the distortive effect of the doughnut bonus) is a telling indication that I am not alone in appreciating our paper for what it offers—which is, mainly, opinion pieces that simply could not (and probably should not) be obtained elsewhere. The second thing that I’ve observed

about UV is that a disproportionate number of its articles are authored by the male student cohort. What I mean when I say “observed” is that I read Atrisha Lewis’ article in last month’s issue, titled “Ensure Ultra Vires is Reflective of the School Community it Serves”, which raised the alarm about female authors being underrepresented in UV. I reacted to Atrisha’s charge of latent injustice as all Bay Street minions are trained to do—by doing due diligence. I rolled up my sleeves and spent a blustery Thursday afternoon scoring over old UV issues in the bowels of Falconer (also known as the UV Head Office), with the aim of ascertaining whether women really are underrepresented on the UV. While past UV publications have unfortunately not been archived as thoroughly as one might like (where is our tuition going around here?!), I can verify that, on the basis of the past three years

See “Women” on Page 3


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NOVEMBER 23, 2011 ultravires.ca

ULTRA VIRES

LETTERS

This isn’t as fun as it looks By Matt Brown, Editor-In-Chief (2L)

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his may be the most self referential issue of the paper yet. From our front page story, to “Point,”to MPG’s latest Top 10 list, this has become a paper about itself. If I were a real editor of a real paper

maybe I would make some comment about how social media has made us even more introspective and self-obsessed. And maybe if you were real readers of the real paper you would object to me making broad empirical statements about a phenomenon whose net effect cannot be distilled down to a sound bite. Maybe we would write angry blog posts back and forth. Maybe we would fall in love. But we’re not real. This isn’t the Grid which means we can’t get by solely on stories about Rob Ford and antiquing. (Though, as an aside, I would encourage you read the Grid to give your yuppie jokes greater realism and punch.) Around

here you’re going to have to settle for a donut and some dick jokes. Which is one better than Law Review because they don’t give out donuts. Do you know what this space used to be for? Letters to the editor! Do you know how many letters to the editor we’ve received this year? Well, some, but they were either not very good or hurt my feelings. So in the absence of good/complimentary letters to the editor I’ve had to fill the space myself the only way I know how. For next issue, send me some letters

ULTRA VIRES Editor-in-Chief News Editor Features Editor Opinion Editor Diversions Editor 1L Content Editor Production Editors Business Manager Web & Photo Editor Copyeditors

Matt Brown Jessica Lam Patrick Hartford Andrew Robertson Drew Valenine Josh Mandryk Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan Todd Brayer Giselle Chin Jonathan Bega Cary Ferguson Annie Tayyab Andrea Wong

to the editor! I probably don’t have to remind you that our next issue is “The Love Issue,” so keeping your letters topical and relevant should be easy. Don’t worry: this isn’t Gr.3: just because you send me a letter doesn’t mean you have to send one to the entire masthead. I would ask you to send one to Josh Mandryk though. He seems sad. It’s some union thing. Better yet send some “missed connections” style letters. If you have a missed connection with a self impressed law student with a puerile sense of humour I think we may be able to help you out.

Ultra Vires is an editorially independent publication. We are open to contributions which reflect diverse points of view, and our contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Faculty of Law, the Students’ Law Society, or the editorial board.

Errors If you find any errors in Ultra Vires, please email ultravires@uto-

Advertising Advertising inquiries should be sent to Business Manager Jonathan Bega at ultravires@utoronto.ca

Submissions If you have an article submission or a tip for us, please contact us at ultravires@utoronto.ca. The deadline for submissions is October 12, 2011. Ultra Vires reserves the right to edit submissions for brevity and clarity.


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

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NEWS

Snoops Beware: OCA Recognizes New Tort “Intrusion upon Seclusion”

BMO employee who spied on bank records liable for $10,000 in civil damages

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By Liam Churchill(2L)

mphasizing the importance of privacy as “an important underlying and animating value of various traditional causes of action,” the status of privacy as a fundamental Charter value, and rapid technological change that allows the “collection and aggregation of highly personal information in electronic form,” the Ontario Court of Appeal this month recognized a new tort of “intrusion upon seclusion.” Justice Sharpe, writing for a unanimous three-member panel, suggested that a “right to informational privacy” is closely related to the new tort. The claim had been dismissed on summary judgment, but the Court of Appeal set aside the motion judge’s summary judgment in favour of defendant and instead granted summary judgment in favour of the plaintiff and awarded $10,000

in damages. As defined by the Court of Appeal, the new tort has three elements. First, the conduct of the defendant must be intentional or reckless. Second, the defendant must have invaded the plaintiff’s “private affairs or concerns” without lawful justification. Finally, the invasion must be such that a reasonable person would consider it “highly offensive causing distress, humiliation or anguish.” Importantly, the Court of Appeal explicitly held that no proof of harm to an economic interest is required in order to make out the tort. Justice Sharpe also suggested that the

tort would be limited to “highly offensive” intrusions into such matters as “one’s financial health or record, sexual practices and orientation, employment, diary or private correspondence.” Finally, he noted that the right to privacy is not absolute and predicted that the new cause of action was likely to come into conflict with freedom of expression and the press. The court held that damages where the plaintiff has suffered no pecuniary loss should be capped at $20,000, and enumerated five factors to help courts in assessing damages. The case, Jones v Tsige (2012 ONCA 32), involved two employees

of the Bank of Montreal who were unknown to one another. Tsige, the defendant, used her work computer to access Jones’s banking records, accessing them more than 170 times. When confronted by the bank, Tsige admitted to accesing Jones’s records without a legitimate reason and claimed that she accessed them in order to confirm whether her partner, Jones’s ex-husband, had been paying child support to Jones. On a motion for summary judgment, the claim was dismissed, the motion judge relying on a statement of the Court of Appeal in a 2005 decision, Euteneier v Lee, that “there is no ‘free standing’ right to…privacy…at common law.” Justice Sharpe, writing for the court, concluded that the trial judge in the case had given too much force to this statement, since the plaintiff in Euteneier had advanced no independent claim based on violation of privacy.

Women May Do “More Socially Constructive” Things From “Women” on Page 1 of UV issues, Atrisha’s claim is correct: female students consistently contribute fewer articles to UV than men. From issue to issue, women’s contributions account for between one-third and one-fifth of the paper’s total content, but never one-half. These observations led me to reflect on several questions. First, whether we should be concerned that female students are authoring fewer articles than men for our student newspaper; second, whether it is likely that there is a correlation between the paper’s ribaldrous content and the gender of the persons who contribute to the paper; and third, whether steps should be taken to change the status quo if a correlation between content and contributors seems likely. Whether we should be concerned about gender imparity in UV authorship is a question which should be seriously considered. While the “parity fetish” that prevails in the modern milieu of gender hypersensitivity makes it tempting to leap right to the conclusion that there must be a problem if the male-to-female participation in a given activity is not 5050, we would do well as law students to avoid making this logical elision. [Opinion Editor’s note: I have literally never seen this word before in my life.] Gender imparity may be a signal of the existence of barriers to participation by one sex in a given trade, but such data is not, in and of itself, proof of anything. Prior to assuming the existence of any such barriers, we should begin by asking whether there is a rational explanation for why one gender is out-participating its counterpart in a given activity.

There comes to my mind a rather cepting that there may be certain innate straightforward explanation for why differences between the sexes. In fact, women may be contributing less to UV on more than one happy occasion, I have than men, although I’m not anticipating found a great deal of comfort in knowing that it will be a particularly popular one: that I am not lumped in with the male women may, in general, respond differ- species. What’s more, I think that most ently than men do, in general, to the in- people are actually quite okay with accentives and disincentives that attach to cepting the existence of gender differarticle authorship. ences in certain circumstances—providThe reasoning behind this claim is as ed that those circumstances are not ones follows: students who choose where sex differences might to write articles for publicabe used to justify or rationaltion in an intimate environize gender underrepresentament assume the implicit tion in a given activity. costs of doing so (effort; time; For instance, did anyone It [is] temptand the risk of being embarblink when I associated ing to leap rassed if one’s views are abbawdiness with adolescent surd, discordant with popuboys at the outset of this to the conlar opinion, or just plainly article? I didn’t think so. clusion that unfunny), in exchange for In my view, if we do recogobtaining possible rewards there must be nize innate differences as (bolstering one’s résumé; a problem if accounting for differing beexpressing views which the male-tohavior in a particular situaone has a vested interest in tion, we should not be resispromulgating; or garnering female partictant to the conclusion that social acclaim, however marsuch a situation may be one ipation in a ginal, from airing funny or given activity where a disparity in participopular opinions). pation is not a problem, and is not 50-50. Conversely, students who thus not in need of being choose not to contribute to remedied. In the discussion the paper must, either conat hand, this would mean sciously or by default, have found the accepting the conclusion that disparities costs of doing so to have outweighed between how many male and female stuthe possible benefits. This analysis says dents contribute to our student newspanothing about gender; rather, it assumes per is not a problem which calls out for that every individual is making a ratio- rectification. nal decision about whether to engage in Of course, the foregoing analysis asthe authorship trade. sumes that students perceive roughly comHowever, if data then reveals that parable costs and benefits in contributing males consistently outnumber females to UV. If this assumption were incorrect, in contributing articles to UV, this would we would want to revisit the conclusion tend to suggest that the average man and that a gender imbalance in UV authorthe average woman respond differently ship is unproblematic. While I have nothwhen faced with these very specific kinds ing to go on besides speculation, I think it of risks and opportunities. is worth contemplating for a minute the Obviously, this analysis exposes my possibility that male and female students stripes: I personally have no problem ac- might perceive different social costs and

benefits in contributing to UV—precisely on account of the paper’s content. Atrisha’s article impliedly makes this point: her suggestion seems to be that women are underrepresented in UV because the paper gives the impression of being “the personal PR machine of the male students in our faculty.” If many female UV readers are indeed coming away with this impression, or at least the impression that I’ve had of UV—which is that the paper is funny, but also lewd and outrageous—they may be engaging in a different cost-benefit calculus about whether to contribute to the UV than men. They may perceive social risk in publically voicing their opinions on topics such as sex or partying, or alternatively, they may have little interest in the paper’s content and thus perceive little benefit in investing the time and effort to write an article. If Atrisha’s showcasing of some of the uber-talented females in this faculty is any indication, there is likely no shortage of female students who find themselves in this latter category, and who have made the rational determination that there are more socially constructive activities for them to be engaging in than writing for the UV. This leads me to my final point: even if we suppose that there is a correlation between UV content and the gender of the contributors, it is not obvious to me that the UV Board should be held responsible for responding to this situation. Any response should come from women themselves. Women who feel deterred from contributing to the paper on account of its content should join the UV board next year to influence its thematic direction. And the other women who don’t see sufficient benefit in contributing to UV should not come under pressure to do so, for the mere sake of achieving authorship equity.


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JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

ultravires.ca

NEWS

UofT Law WASP of the Year Nomination:

Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan Although she does not play golf, her favourite sport is debate, which she participates in regularly as a member of the Canadian University Society for IntercolofT Law’s WASP of the Year is, legiate Debate. without a doubt, Bhuvana SankaDebate is a much more WASPy ‘sport’ ranarayanan. Now I know what than golf, because while both involve you are thinking: Bhuvana isn’t white, overdressed pretentious white people Anglo-Saxon or Protestant. one-upping each other in a field nobody Her 23-letter ethnic name alone should else cares about, those who debate are automatically disqualify her from this even more unbearably smug when they contest. But I assure you, Bhuvana is win. 100% WASP; she is simply discreet about ‘Bhuvana’ also spends a considerable it. Her real name is not Bhuvana Sanka- amount of time mocking the Occupy ranarayanan. Wall Street movement and the notion That name is an anaof wearing sweatpants to gram to disguise her real school, and suggests that identity: Anna R. Ava UofT’s high tuition may Hanna Ray au Banks. be justified (to increase That’s right; ‘Bhuvana’ is financial aid, she says in a member of the famous a - WASPy - condescendBanks Family of Bel Air. ing way, but we know that She just keeps it a secret it’s really just to keep the to fit in with us plebeians common folk out). here at UofT law. So, UofT Law, the choice Not only is ‘Bhuvana’ of is quite obvious. Our biga WASP background, but gest WASP is none other she also enjoys a variety of than a brown, Tamil, nonBhuvana WASPy activities. Sankaranarayanan Protestant girl. By Katherine Georgious (1L)

U “Wholesale Takeover” From “SCC” on Page 1 Having classified the legislation’s main thrust, the Court then considered the factors set out in General Motors and asked whether it properly fit within the general trade and commerce power. The court concluded that although the provinces at least partly lacked the capacity to effectively institute a national scheme of securities regulation and although the absence of a single province would prevent the effective operation of a national scheme, the changes in the operation of the securities market were not sufficient to make it a matter of national

concern so as to justifiy the scope of the federal proposal, including regulation of the day-to-day activity of securities trading. The court indicated that its objection to the federal proposal was at least partly based on the scope of the legislation, which the court suggested would amount to “a wholesale takeover of the regulation of the securities industry.” The court carefully indicated, however, that “the economic importance and pervasive character of the securities market may, in principle, support federal intervention that is qualitatively different from what the provinces can do.”

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ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

5

FEATURES

Faculty Scores “LP” in Consultation In September, the Faculty announced modifications to the grading system. In response, the SLS organized a Town Hall where the Faculty explained the new system. The SLS has now surveyed the 1L population for their views with three discreet questions. These are the results of that consultation, with some thoughts and analysis of our own 1. Do you prefer the Existing System or the New System? Answer Options Response Response Percent Count Existing System 13.9% 20 New System 62.5% 90 Neutral 23.6% 34 Answered question 144 Skipped question 0 2. Do you support having your 2011-2012 grades retroactively converted from Existing System to the New System as soon as possible? Answer Options Response Response Percent Count Existing System 59.7% 86 New System 20.8% 30 Neutral 19.4% 28 Answered question 144 Skipped question 0 3. Do your support adoption of the New System starting in your 2L year, which would result in a mixed transcipt? Answer Options Response Response Percent Count Existing System 41.7% 60 New System 44.4% 64 Neutral 13.9% 20 Answered question 144 Skipped question 0 By Aaron Rankin (3L) & Justin Nasseri (3L

Analysis

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ne hundred, fourty-four out of two hundred six 1L students replied to our survey, for a turnout rate of approximately 70%. As we interpret them, the results demonstrate strong support for the new grading system (63% in favor versus only 14% explicitly opposed). 60% of 1Ls would support having their 1L transcript retroactively converted, with just 21% being explicitly opposed, once again signaling a strong preference for the new system amongst the 2014 class. On the issue of having a mixed transcript, where the current 1Ls would have the new system applied to their 2L/3L grades, but retain the old system for their 1L grades, over 44% of the students were opposed.

Procedural Critique

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n spite of the fair degree of support for the substance of the new system revealed by our survey, the SLS had and has a serious procedural critique of the way this reform was released.

Our procedural concerns are analogous to those that surfaced during the National Hockey League’s attempt to implement a realignment of its conferences. (Here at the SLS, we only choose serious analogies connected to Canadian national interests.) The NHL Board of Governors approved this realignment system, which had many potential benefits including ensuring that every single team in the league plays every other team at least twice a year. But then the NHL Players’ Association used its veto power to block the realignment from being implemented. The PA decision vetoed the alignment in spite of its comment that realignment may be beneficial. The PA’s concern was procedural: the realignment system is complicated, with consequences for how the playoffs will occur and teams’ amount of travel time. These are issues regarding which the PA, as the representative of key stakeholders, wanted to be consulted. Furthermore, there were numerous unresolved uncertainties about the realignment system that the PA wanted clarified before putting its stamp of approval on anything. The PA’s concerns are analogous to how the SLS feels about the new grading system. We acknowledge that this may be an excellent grading system. But we have concerns over the lack of student consultation that went into designing and implementing it.

How much consultation took place?

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e begin by clarifying the record. The Faculty has indicated that the SLS was consulted on grading reforms during the 2009/2010 school year. It is true that an SLS Working Group met with the Administration regarding grading. However, the Working Group’s task was to look into student opinion about the existing grading system; it concluded that a substantial portion of the student body was unsatisfied with the system. What reforms to the system might involve was never discussed in this setting, to the best of our information. It is also true that former Associate Dean Choudhry met with two groups of 1L students in May 2010. These meetings concerned various issues relevant to 1Ls. Again, the issue of student satisfaction with the grading system was broached. Again, no reforms or changes to the grading system were suggested to the students. Instead, the students themselves suggested that it may be desirable to move to a straight H/P/F system to cut back on student stress, or alternatively, to move to a clearer, more meritocratic system that introduces grade partitions like “A+”, “A-” and “B-” to give students clearer feedback on their class standing. The above summary means that the first time the SLS was notified about this new grading system was a year and a half later, in August of 2010. Subsequently, the Faculty invited the SLS to a meeting and explained the system in full just one week before the Administration announced the system publicly at a Town Hall on October 3rd.

The importance of consultation

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e think it is fair to question why such an important institutional change did not involve more

SLS and student consultation. We understand that the Faculty is institutionally competent to make recommendation to the University’s Governing Council on reforming grades without any student consultation. We also realize that the professors and administrators who had a role in designing this system have special expertise that exceeds that of law students, and did their work with dedication and good faith. Nonetheless, our argument is simply that just because the Administration could do this without consulting students and the SLS does not mean that they should have done so. Students are the school’s most vital stakeholder group, and they are the group that thinks the most about, and is most affected by, grades. We will spare you a lengthy argument about the value of student input, because the fact that there are student representatives on all of the Dean’s Faculty Committees is a testament to the recognized value of student input. Three consequences of the lack of consultation and transparency

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he first problem caused by the lack of consultation is a wasted opportunity. Simply imagine the goodwill and excitement that would have built up if the process of designing the grading system had been public and participatory. Now, contrast that with the feeling of surprise, and even concern, that you may have felt (if you are anything like the students we have spoken to, and if you care about these issues) in the Fall when you heard the Administration was announcing changes. We see this, regretfully, as a missed opportunity. The second problem with the lack of transparency is that it makes it very difficult to understand why other alternatives were not preferred by the Faculty. Instead of a public process in which policy alternatives are raised, debated, and dismissed on course to the ultimate outcome, students will continue, quite legitimately, to wonder about what really happened. For instance, many students have pointed out that certain American schools, and certain U of T classes, use an H-P-F system. These students have asked why we have not adopted such a system. The Faculty’s explanation that this option was considered and found wanting is, frankly, unhelpful. Students are being asked to take on faith that of which they should be persuaded by argument. Our third and final critique of the Faculty’s process is that the attempt to reveal a ‘complete’ package of reform, without even a residual planned role for student input, produced significant and unnecessary uncertainty. There are two main examples of this. The first is that the Faculty argued, as mentioned above, that we should accept the merits of the new system despite the lack of information about what alternatives were considered and why they were rejected. The logical response for students was to scrutinize this claim. Yet we lacked (and still lack) information that is important to this evaluation. For example, (i) it is unclear what the distribution cut-offs for the new grading system will be; (ii) it is also unclear whether how the Faculty will determine who wins subject awards and medals if they are no longer using raw scores to measure exam performance. This lack of information would be far easier to understand if we had input into the ultimate decision. Instead, we are asked to make up our minds — favourably — and hope for the best, instead of being

See Grading, Page 7


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JANUARY 25, 2012 ultravires.ca

ULTRA VIRES

FEATURES

What is Happening on SLS? A look back at what the SLS has accomplished so far. Yes, it takes up an entire page!

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ellow students,

The SLS has two faces, Affairs and Caucus. Of the two, Affairs is by far the more visible. They spend your money supporting student clubs, host Call to the Bar, and organize special events like the annual Halloween Bash and Law Ball. On Caucus, our mandate is to advocating on your behalf to the Faculty’s administration, act as a link to law-related developments that do not solely affect U of T (like the ongoing Articling Consultation), and provide other services outside the social sphere of Affairs. We want to update you on what we have been working on. It has been a busy and fruitful school year for SLS Caucus so far. Here’s a look at some of our ongoing and upcoming activities!

Grading Reform

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ast Fall, the Faculty announced its plans to adopt a new grading system with a defined distribution as well as a defined (notional) mean. The new system renames grade as High Honors, Honors, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail. This news sparked plenty of interest among current law students and culminated in an SLS Town Hall on the issue. Meanwhile, we tried to be as responsive as possible to rapidly changing information about when the system would take effect. Apart from the Town Hall, the SLS also summarized in a previous UV issue what we know and don’t know about the new system. Since then we have surveyed 1Ls on the new system and, in this issue, we provide (i) the survey results and (ii) our official procedural critique of how the Faculty has handled this policy reform.

CDO Partnership

A

Back-End Debt Relief

B

DRP has been called Financial Aid’s forgotten child. We’re shining a spotlight on it this term. Whereas Front-End Financial Aid is designed to reduce stick-

Dean’s Committees

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aucus reps sit ex officio on Faculty Council, the law school’s governing body on matters academic. Apart from the usually uneventful plenary meetings, Caucus members sit on a plethora of Faculty committees with much narrower mandates. For example, last year’s Curriculum Committee used student input to design the Legal Research & Writing program in which 1Ls currently participate. Here is a list of this year’s Dean’s Committees (two or three students sit on each Committee). To conserve space, we’ll simply list them, but we encourage you to contact us if you want more information on what they’re doing this year. • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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n the early 2000’s, the Faculty decided on a program of yearly increases to the $12,000 per year tuition. It was claimed at the time that several benefits would flow from the increased revenues: recruitment and retention of top faculty, a 1:9 faculty-to-student ratio, a core role for intimate seminar classes, and a robust financial aid system ensuring help for qualifying students on the front-end and the freedom to make career choices uninhibited by the pressures of student debt on the back-end. The Faculty Vision Group, chaired by Charlie Hatt, is evaluating whether these benefits have manifested for students. The Group will also try to discern whether a student-driven vision for the law school accords with the vision set upon by the Faculty. The Group hopes to engage the student body in discussion on this admittedly sprawling topic at various points throughout the term.

4. UTSU

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he UTSU Group, chaired by Dan Bertrand, is examining what law students get out of their relationship with the University of Toronto Students’

Student Affairs; Admissions; Standing Curriculum; Financial Aid; Library and Technology; Short-term Curriculum; Academic Appeals; Accessibility and Diversity; International Advisory; Status of Women; Clinical Education; Mooting and Advocacy; Environmental Sustainability.

Union (UTSU). This Group is considering the benefits law students receive from their UTSU membership and whether the relationship can be improved; the Group will issue a recommendation on whether we should continue our relationship with this organization. 5. Good Governance

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he Good Governance Group, cochaired by Jennifer Wall and Lane Krainyk, is updating the SLS Constitution and By-Laws. These documents are out of date; for example, our election rules do not currently account for social media. They are also looking at whether the division of responsibilities between Caucus and Affairs (and even the names of the groups) is efficient and corresponds to how SLS operates today.

Other Activities & Initiatives

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ome of the SLS’s other key initiatives this year include:

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GO OFF-LEASH

Working Groups

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orking Groups are the SLS’s backbone – they pursue mandates set by the entire SLS Caucus over the course of the year. There are four this year: 1. Curriculum: The Curriculum Working Group, chaired by Luke Gill, is engaged in four key projects: a) Performing an audit of 1L workload by looking at: the amount of work assigned; time spent doing readings/ preparing for classes; and the time commitments students are making to extra-curriculars, Curriculum is also comparing the workload across small groups and between the two 1L large group sections; b) Evaluating how the new 1L Legal Research and Writing program is serving 1Ls, and how they feel this program could be improved; c) Evaluating how the new Advanced Civil Procedure course was received by Upper Year students; and d) Following up on last year’s inquiry into how students feel about the Upper Year course requirements (international and perspectives).

YOUR PHONE, OR GO TO OUR STUDENT WEBSITE.

lot of people believe that, no matter how good a job the CDO does at its current size, it should be expanded. That objective does not seem realizable in the short term, so the SLS has focused on partnership with the CDO. We have created a 2L Career Assistance Directory, with the names, numbers, emails, and employers of 3Ls open to being contacted by 2Ls about Fall recruitment. On January 16, the SLS released a Summer Experience Guide for 1Ls, the name of which reflects its spirit. We tried hard to emphasize that legal employment is by no means required or expected in first year. Some of the upperyears profiled worked, some didn’t, but all of them are open to chatting to 1Ls about their summer experience.

er shock and encourage people actually coming to U of T, BDRP is supposed to play a role in our career decisions. At a minimum, we hope to make it easier to understand how it may affect you after law school. Charlie Hatt’s piece in this issue of UV outlines the role we want you to play in deciding whether the SLS advocates for deeper reform/expansion of this often overlooked program.

SCAN TO SEE MORE ON

By Aaron Rankin (3L) & Justin Nasseri (3L)

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2. Faculty Vision Ultra Vires student ad Go off-leash (“husky”) Quarter page, b&w

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Cassels Brock - 2011/2012 season

Designer: Heather Murray hmurray@casselsbrock.com 416 869 5782 -

Please PRINT a hard copy of 1/5/2012 1:45:24 PM the file and either FAX it or SCAN and EMAIL it back to


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FEATURES From Previous Page Revamping our website: The new site will make it easier to find all SLSrelated information. We are also looking to incorporate discussion boards to host online discussion and information-sharing amongst students. If you have website planning/design experience and any interest in this project, contact us! Exam Tips Sessions: Last semester, the SLS hosted an Exam Tips Session. Four 2Ls (Kate Robertson, Andrew Clarke, Jon Bega, and Jessica Lam) shared tips and strategies that contributed to their success with first year exams. Study Groups: Following an original idea by the SLS’s 1L reps (Peter Flynn, Laura McGee, Sierra Robart and Brendan Stevens), the SLS designed a matching service for student study groups. Over 90 1Ls were matched into various groups based on stheir tudy habits and personal preferences. Quick Wins: As always, Caucus has a Quick Wins team that looks to make speedy progress on practical issues (including keeping our SLS kitchen clean and replacing those burnt out microwaves)! Direct your concerns to sls.law@ utoronto.ca. Ongoing advocacy: Caucus’s bottom line is student advocacy. Causes that don’t fall within the mandate of Dean’s Committees or Working Groups still require a voice. We are always open to being notified about such causes and making the student body’s voice heard. Some examples of this advocacy include urging the Faculty to release grades before the Add/Drop deadline and advocacy efforts with the Career Development Office to improve the CDO’s value to students looking for public interest work. Aaron Rankin is the SLS President. He can be reached with questions and inquiries at at aaron.rankin@utoronto.ca

What’s the Purpose of the BDRP? Students told “I hope you all get good jobs so you don’t have to use this program”

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By Josh Mandryk (1L)

n November, the SLS hosted a lunchtime presentation on the much-touted but poorly understood Back-End Debt Relief Program. It kick-started a muchneeded discussion. The presentation attracted 30 or so students. For their part, the Financial Aid Officers were open and eager to engage students on this issue. In a nutshell, the BRDP is a ten-year program of forgivable loans to those who take up low-income work after graduation. If we stayed in the BRDP for the full ten years, their entire eligible debtload would be forgiven. The mechanics of the BRDP are complicated. Statistically, in 2011, 46 applied and 34 qualified. Of those, the class of 2010 made up 17 of the applicants and 13 of those approved. The eligible applicant pool includes anybody who hasgraduated within the past decade. This year the program gave out $118,000 in benefits, approximately 5% of the financial aid budget. Some statistics revealed during the presentation suggest a troubling disconnect between how the BRDP is designed and how benefits are granted. Since both the amount of BRDP loans provided as well as the percentage of total outstanding loans forgiven increase each year, the program is structured so that those who stay in for the longest benefit the most.

Grading, From Page 5 asked for our opinions. The second example of the needless uncertainty is the Faculty’s immediate reversal on whether the grading reform could be implemented this year. At the October 3 SLS Town Hall, the Faculty suggested that 1Ls could opt into

But staying in the program is difficult. The average BRDP recipient spends only two years in the program. Since its inception in 1999 no student has spent the full ten years in the program. The current record is seven years. If we want graduates to realize the benefits of the program,we ought to consider lifting the financial eligibility thresholds or reducing the timeline so that more benefits are granted during the earlier years. As a student body, we need to discuss what purpose the BRDP should serve. Should this be a program that provides a meaningful level of assistance, or should it just be a flashy selling point on our admissions brochure? Should it function as a social assistance program for the unemployed and underemployed, or should it actively encourage graduates to pursue public interest careers? During the Q&A, one of the speakers made a remark along the lines of “I hope you all get good jobs and don’t have to stay in the program very long.” This drew some confused glances from the crowd, but was illustrative of how the program functions in practice. The BRDP has no job-specific requirements and is based entirely on financial

eligibility. This means the program can be accessed by unemployed graduates, someone who decides to put their JD to use at Starbucks, or someone practicing corporate and real estate law in suburbia. Is that what the Faculty of Law has in mind when they say that they want to “ensure that all of the Faculty’s graduates will be able to make career choices based on interest rather than debt-induced financial pressures”? Regarding public interest work, the speakers noted that it’s difficult to define what exactly constitutes “public interest.” Which is true, but the Career Development Office seems to have already tackled the issue by including clinics, non-profits, all levels of government, private practice firms which have a large portion of their client base as “public interest” or social justice causes as well as boards, agencies and commissions. There is no reason the BDRP couldn’t adopt a similar public-interest requirement using this broad definition. Whatever the final outcome, a serious review of the BRDP is needed. The program was created in 1999. Since then, tuition has more than doubled. Front-end financial aid has not kept pace. Because all front- and back-end financial aid come from the same pot, any increase to the BRDP will be redirected from front-end bursaries. For that reason, changes to the BRDP must be open.

the system this year if they desired. Then the merits of this system were argued. But almost immediately afterward, this offer was rescinded. The reason for retracting it was legitimate – the Governing Council cannot deal with the recommendation this year due to other planned activities. But much of the resentment, and the feeling of “bait-and-switch,” that

students discussed with us were not caused by the change of plans. They were a byproduct of the opacity and restricted flow of information that was built into the process by design. True stakeholders, who feel empowered and a part of an important decision, are much readier to accept bumps along the road, as compared to people who are simply being driven somewhere.


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3L Survey on “Why U of T law” A

By Atrisha Lewis (3L)

s my law school career is coming to a close, I decided to take the time to reflect on my decision to come to U of T law. Why did I come to law school? Why did I ultimately choose U of T? Was the hefty tuition worth it given where I see myself in the next 10-15 years? The decision to come law school was very difficult for me from a cost-benefit point of view. The cost was steep as I stalled my entry into the job market for three years and added a hefty tuition expense. This was an especially difficult decision when considering that most of my undergraduate friends went on to begin exciting professional careers soon after graduating and I was being left behind. However, it was my dream to become a lawyer ever since I was 7 years old and the “benefit” associated with fulfilling my childhood dream was worth the cost. Essentially, I came to law school because I wanted to be a lawyer. I chose U of T because of its excellent reputation and its proximity to my desired future job market, Bay Street. Being completely unsure of where I see myself in the next 10-15 years, I can’t articulate how this degree fits in with my future career aspirations. Therefore, I decided to seek out the insights of my peers in order to validate my expensive decision. In order to seek out insights from my peers, I conducted a statistically insignificant, scientifically flawed survey of the graduating class. I emailed many students in 3L the following questions: 1) Where do you see yourself in 1015 years 2) Why did you choose to come to law school generally? 3) Why did you choose to come to U of T, the most expensive law school in the country? The responses I got were both surprising and predictable. Unsurprisingly, many 3Ls are unsure what their future will bring. Equally unsurprising is that many other students see themselves practicing law, either on Bay Street, in government, or in other places. Therefore it made sense that the majority of respondents initially chose to come to law school because they wanted to be lawyers. For instance, Andrew Robertson decided to come to U of T based on whimsical pragmatism: “I had a useless undergraduate degree and the idea of being a lawyer sounded cool to me.” While some students weighed the possibility of other postgraduate education, the decision to come to law school was driven by concerns over future employability. As Lauren Heuser noted, “I chose law school because, unlike some of the grad school options I was interested in pursuing, I knew I would have pretty high odds of being employed at the end of my studies.” Overwhelmingly, students chose U of T and its accompanying high tuition for either reputational considerations: “U of T is the best school in the coun-

try”, or convenience considerations: “I wanted to live in Toronto and I didn’t want to commute to Osgoode.” The clear theme underlying many responses was that since coming to law school was a three-year commitment, “it must be done right.” Thus students chose U of T because they thought it would “open the most doors.” Most respondents felt that the steep cost was worth it given the strength of U of T’s faculty and students. As noted by Josh Whitford, “we’ve got moot and counselling competition winners, club founders, international advocates and published authors. In my entering year alone we have undergrad gold medallists, Rhodes scholars and some big personalities.” Another big reason students chose this law school, despite its price tag, was its corporate focus. For example, Amina Ibrahim chose this school because “U of T offered what I wanted from a law school....a strong law and economics program, corporate focus and access to the job market.” Aside from career aspiration, two female respondents indicated that they see themselves having a family. One respondent even indicated that she was willing to sacrifice parts of her career aspirations in order to have a family. However, many students didn’t fit the traditional mould. The following chart outlines some of the more unique responses: Jeremy Ablaza wants to be a house husband in 10 to 15 years and has perfected his culinary skills and other house-keeping skills in anticipation. For him, the decision to come to U of T was obvious; he came to this school to meet his future wife. Camille Labchuk wants to use her law degree to protect animals and the environment. She may not be working as a lawyer, but, she sees herself using her legal knowledge in 10 to 15 years. For her, the high tuition was worth it because “I knew I had a fringe interest and a law degree from the best law school in the country makes me credible.” Melissa Royle sees herself either practicing law or entering Newfoundland politics in 10-15 years. She came to U of T because the school provided her with a differentiating factor in the Newfoundland job market. She also came to U of T because she wanted a big city experience before settling down in Newfoundland. Jay Potter sees himself as a junior executive in the federal government (way to be precise, Jay!) Ultimately, he felt that law was the missing piece in order to reach his long-term career goals, which involved both legal and policy work. He chose U of T because the school was strongly recommended by both friends and colleagues. An anonymous student said he came to U of T because it provided him with the most opportunities to move away from Toronto (Hmm, this seems counter-intuitive)

Michael Porter Gartke. He’s a swell guy. He likes to raw garlic by the handful.

Top 10 Rules for Writing for UV By Miachael Porter Gartke (2L)

[Editor’s note: no subheadings for ingrate contributors] When you write for UV, you’re limited to talking about things that might be of interest to law students. So, to the extent that you don’t want to produce any serious discussion or commentary beyond the 2-3 issues that law students actually care about (law school, OCIs, maybe the legal industry), you’re limited to jokes. And because you’re like me and probably not actually funny, your article will probably suck. UV is not a newspaper. UV is not a magazine. UV is not a forum for serious discussion, or for humour. Above all else, UV is a vehicle for its writers’ self-promotion. Really, do you think that we “contributors” write this stuff out of the goodness of our hearts or out of a sincere desire to entertain people for the 25 seconds they spend skimming our column? Please. Atrisha Lewis pointed this out last issue, but her article that did so was itself the proverbial self-promotional article. She IS the upstanding, involved, and self-aware female writer that this paper lacks. How do I know this? I skimmed her article. You can write about whatever you want. Really. The editors have essentially no discretion to exclude anything because so little is submitted every month. This rule pretty much explains the existence of my columns. Something’s got to be buried on page 15 of 28. You can’t just have blank space there. Notwithstanding Rule 8, in-jokes are not funny. Sure, law-schoolwide in-jokes are funny, but not as many jokes actually qualify under that banner as one might think. Making fun of Andrew Robertson? Nope. Not law-school-wide. Some people, mostly 1Ls, are blessed not to know him. The U of T Law Conservative Club? No, because unless you’ve been solicited individually by one of two people to join it, it has undoubtedly had a truly minimal impact on your life. Even Bora jokes and OCI jokes are only relevant to the specific subsets of the law school population that has experienced those things. I’m pretty sure that only about 25 people in the law school actually work in Bora. Matt Brown is the editor and Patrick Hartford is the features editor. This gives them unlimited power to mock you in the clever subheadings that

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they write under the headings of the articles that you write. Even when you write your own subheadings and are very proud of them. And even when doing so pushes your subheadings into the body of the article, where they make you look like an incompetent writer. (See above 2-sentence introduction.) Sometimes the editors’ interferences aren’t actually clever though. Like, how was that top 10 funny OCI moments article called “10 most “reasonable” OCI Moments?” Like everybody else, Matt and Patrick can be guilty of pigeonholing people into neatly-definable categories. In that case, the author’s decision to write that column under his own name was decidedly “unreasonable,” given the circumstances. Editor-imposed deadlines are meaningless. Do you have any idea how much praise I get just for meeting them? “MPG, you’re like our top contributor for getting in your pieces on time.” (Note: that is not the same thing as being a top contributor – that would require moving beyond gimmicky top 10 lists.) UV is very self-aware. As a regular contributor, you are expected and encouraged to demean it at every possible opportunity. Self-deprecating columns are encouraged because they support the illusion that we writers (if you can call us that) don’t take ourselves too seriously. The reality, unfortunately, is that we take ourselves incredibly seriously. Every single columnist for this issue will expect at least 20 of his acquaintances (that’s not sexist – there really are no women willing to write for us) to comment positively on his work within 24 hours of publication. You know how there are various law firm ads scattered throughout the paper? That means that they pay the paper some amount of money, which keeps us afloat and allows us to distribute it at no charge. (Because UV might not be as widely read if it cost $5.) It also means that lawyers at law firms read it, which is something that all would-be writers should keep in mind. Specifically, current 1Ls who are interested in making light of the OCI process next fall should strongly consider writing under pseudonyms. Nobody will do this of course, as that would conflict with Rule 9. UV is online. Yes, that was a shameless plug. But it is also a warning.

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Winter Break in Shanghai: How I Got Lost in My Hometown T

By Liting Cong (1L)

his winter break, I visited Shanghai, my hometown. I had not returned to Shanghai for two years. Shanghai always calls itself as a city of constant change. During the break, I could not even instruct the cab driver the right direction of my home because new roads were built and old landmarks were demolished over the past two years. However, that is not necessarily what I meant by “get lost” in one’s home city. Lost in Translation of Languages that I am Fluent in I joined my families for New Year dinner in a relatively famous restaurant, which was a part of the old Shanghai airport that survived fire of wars. I am impressed by the grand entrance of the restaurant and its marvellous selection of fresh ingredients, with which our delicious dinner derived. After all, it was formally a command centre of a military airport. However, unexpectedly, the most memorable part about this restaurant was a small sign on the wall of dinning area. The sign had a small figure of smiling police officer and a line of friendly suggestion in Chinese and English. And here is a small quiz for those who do not read Chinese: can you guess the meaning of this sign? (It says: 用餐时,请保管好您的 物品!Meal, please keep a good belongings!) If this is Shanghai in 1980s, I might not be surprised because the frenzy of learning English had not permeated. However, this is 2012. And this is one of the frontier cities of China after 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. If the restaurant can invest so much in decorations and quality of services, why don’t the restaurant to make sure the translation was correct? And if so many people of various age groups are learning English, how difficult could it be to get the appropriate English translation? Students in the public school of Shanghai are required to study English as the

A sign in a fancy restaurant in Shanghai

LITING CONG PHOTOS

Largest shopping mall in East Asia was to be erected here. Only part of the foundation was left standing due lack of funding. three major subjects in addition to Chinese and Mathematics since grade three. Some eager parents might even send their children to bilingual (English/Chinese) schools as early as kindergarten. The Ministry of Education in Shanghai is not too happy about this almost fanatic pursuit of the study of English language. The Ministry has long banned public schools forcing students to join after school and weekend classes because of the unhealthy pressure on students. However, the policy was rarely enforced because the perpetrators and the “victims” are both willing. However, such enthusiasm seems rather superficial. Perhaps, those who can really speak English are only very small segment of the society. Perhaps, those who study English are not really learning how to use the language but merely to pass exams. Lost in Waves of Successful Commercial Campaigns More and more people are converting to Christianity in China. The government claims that there are 25 million including 18 million Protestants and six million Catholics. Independent bodies estimate that there are at least 60 million. And BBC says that “there are already more Chinese at church on a Sunday than in the whole of Europe”. However, the enthusiasm that I observed during Christmas weekend probably had little to do with the spread of Christianity but rather another successful commercial campaigns. There are probably people in China who celebrate Christmas as the birthday of the Christ. However, to most people, it is a holiday for romance or shopping. Couples go out for date and everyone else shop like mad. Interestingly, although Chinese media is under heavy government regulation, the Chinese Communist Party does not seem to be too concerned with media helping the Capitalists to promote excessive consumer consumption. Several local

television channels repeatedly reported on the big sale and large customer flow in one particular department store in their evening news programs. After they talked about conflicts across the world, minimum wage in Shanghai, murders, they talked about how people were buying like crazy in one department store during Christmas and New Year holidays. Frankly, news of this kind does not deserve such consecutive attention. However, it happened and Lost Survival Skills I realized that I had lost the jaywalking skills necessary to survive on the city street. I never recalled such everyday fear of getting run over by buses, cars, and bicycles when I lived in the same city for 18 years before coming to this side of the Pacific. It seems that few people appreciate traffic laws if law enforcement personals are not in sight. The bus and truck drivers like to intimidate you with their great size. The cab drivers enjoy driving in the opposite lane and speed

Department store on Nanjing Road

through traffic lights when there is no police and surveillance as if they are in a Hollywood car chase. How would you like to be in the back seat of one of those cabs? Though the bikers and pedestrians do not have the metal armour of motor vehicles, they are the most horrifying. They terrify you with their vulnerable human flesh, dare you to scratch them and ignore traffic lights as if they only apply to cars. And inevitably, there is a legal side of the story. The traffic regulations in Shanghai favour pedestrians and motor vehicles are often held liable although they were at no fault. The rationale behind such scheme is the presumption that drivers have more money than pedestrians. Such a deep-pocket theory has little basis because having a car does not suggest fault and walking on your feet does not mean that you are poor. Shanghai traffic law is still under construction and such underdevelopment, perhaps, largely contributes to the chaos today on Shanghai streets. Indeed, traffic in downtown Shanghai is fairly slow and thus fatal car accidents are relatively rare. In other parts of China, the situation might be slightly better or even worse. In 2010, Shanghai Volkswagen GM and three others died in a car accident outside of the city. If you want to visit Shanghai in the near future, you might want to practice jaywalking as a new skill to learn in the new year of 2012. That is of course a joke. Obeying the traffic law is of the great importance wherever you are. Though I was Lost, I Did Found My Way Back Perhaps, I was too critical of the city. In order to make the 2000 CAD airfare worthwhile, I confess that I had high expectation. Despite its defects, Shanghai is still a fantastic city with rosy future as long as the economy does not fail too miserably in China. If you want to see a place with enormous excitement and perhaps with bit madness, Shanghai should be on your list. Happy 2012, the year of dragon.


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Fear and Loathing at Law Games

Impressionable 1L goes to Law Games... and returns a forever changed man. By Depraved Law Student (1L)

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January 2, 2012 AY: Somewhere flying over the breath-taking natural beauty of the Manitoban prairies, I’ve decided to start a journal chronicling the upcoming Vancouver Law Games. Like many of my fellow 1Ls, I was eager to immerse myself in all of the opportunities that the school bombarded us with in September. One such opportunity presented itself to me by way of a number of persuasive 3Ls at an early pub night. Brandishing their skills of persuasion and negotiation, they ably convinced me as to the merits of Law Games. Alternatively, it could have been that after many Jagerbombs bought on “Scotia money” I was forced into a headlock, which would not be released until I signed up. Upon my arrival at the hotel lobby, I felt an immediate sense of being a persona non grata. Everyone here hates U of T! The jaded upper years tell me that it’s because all of the other schools are mad jealous of us. Something was said about how we roll deep in skills, thrills, and dolla bills, while most of the others will be lucky to stay above the poverty line while practicing family law part-time in Kenora. Those upper years are harsh Dbags. I’m going to make it my personal mission to show all of my fellow lawyersto-be that, at core, we’re all the same, and

that we’re all equal! NIGHT: Tonight we went to “Venue”. It was a pretty bumping clurb (I’m going to talk like those 3Ls to try and fit in), with beats that were off the hook. The D-floor really took off when Rihanna’s “Hopeless Place” (“We Found Love” – for the musical purist) came on. Apparently, U of T students have great difficulty falling in love in places with any measure of hope. Any tarps that were on at this point in the night quickly came off. There was a lot of bravado on display from all of the different schools. In fact, I heard that someone from Western was “crushing guts” with someone from the civil law school of Laval. I didn’t want to look like some aloof U of T student that wasn’t down with the lingo, and assumed, without seeking clarification, that gut-crushing must be some violent, humiliating activity. This gut-crushing apparently took place behind the DJ booth, in a very conspicuous location. After the clurb, we retired to the “Hangover Room” at the hotel. Essentially, the ballroom is converted into a daycare for drunk law students. I haven’t seen McGuinty’s latest daycare reform plans, but my suggestion is that there should be a lot of Jay-Z and rye. They may want to edit the Jay-Z for the toddlers. The Hangover Room had a jumbo-sized Jenga game where schools faced-off. After much careful deliberation, my fellow 1L decided to kick the whole game over

rather than lose fairly. After much gloating, I tried unsuccessfully to convince the other schools that we’re just like all the rest. January 3, 2012 DAY: True to our strong reputation in athletics, we have entered into two sports this year – dodgeball and soccer. We’ve taken the gold in soccer for the last two years, so we’re going to put all of our eggs in that basket. Dodgeball seemed like an easy enough sport to play, and who doesn’t like Ben Stiller movies? Much to my surprise, we killed it the first day of dodgeball! Considering that most of us were sweating out liquor and late night McDonalds, we did a fantastic job. We took three matches in a row against competing schools, and advanced to the semifinals. I must admit that the constant chirping about U of T was starting to wear on me. Maybe we weren’t just like them. So, I decided a little bit of trash-talking would put them in their place. Mustering all of the smacktalk that I could, I threatened to crush the guts of the entire Saskatchewan team right there on the dodge ball court, for all to see! They looked at me with perplexed expressions. Whatever, those farmers just must not be down with the slang NIGHT: Tonight, the schools faced off in a talent-contest. Most of the other schools had complex song-and-dance numbers. I guess you have a lot more free

time when you go to “Uncle Bob’s School for Lawyers”, or wherever the fuck they go. True to form, we decided that dressing up in business attire and getting drunk on the d-floor was our biggest talent. Our outfits were chiefly provided by Value Village – t-shirts, ties, suit coats with their arms removed, and black shorts. The ACDC schoolboy look is going to be huge in 2012 – you read about it here first. In general, the talent show was pretty entertaining. If you had enough to drink, and squinted your eyes enough, it was kind of like a compilation of low-budget music video from the mid-nineties. Things got a little off the rails when the UBC host compared University of Victoria’s rabbit cull to the Holocaust. Damn, doesn’t this guy know that polite company only makes Holocaust jokes after midnight? I guess that’s what a 152 on the LSAT gets you. Anyways, we were quick to not let this spoil the night. Instead, we decided to showcase our knowledge of rhymes and current hip-hop hits, and our disapproval of blatant racism. Jay-Z and Kanye may know when “shit be cray!” in Paris, but we know when “shit be ray!” in Vancouver. Any incidents for the remainder of Law Games that engaged issues of race in even the slightest manner were met with chants of “That shit ray!” Similarly, any degenerate activity observed or discussed

See “Games” Next Page

Yippe Ki-Yay... Rule of Law

How action hero/jurist Bruce Willis would have decided Roncarelli v Duplessis By Patrick Hartford (2L)

Attention 1Ls. This reading week, when upper years are enjoying themselves, you will be writing an admin law essay. Last year, Prof. Dubber’s section had to write about how Willis (presumably John Willis, the famous scholar) would have decided Roncarelli v Duplessis.

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merican action hero and movie star Bruce Willis would bring an interesting perspective to Roncarelli v Duplessis. Despite what leading legal scholars would describe as a critical lack of legal training, Bruce Willis’s vast acting experience would lead him to fight the bad guys, save the world, and make the right legal decision. He would then star in three more sequels to that decision, each one less entertaining and memorable than the one before it – but profitable nevertheless. If Die Hard taught us anything, it’s that Bruce Willis doesn’t mind standing up for what’s right – even in the face of terrible odds. Hans Gruber and his gang of terrorists thought they had the entire situation under control. But they didn’t account for the grit and determination of one cop who just wanted

to reconnect with his estranged wife on Christmas Eve. Analogously, Maurice Duplessis had a stranglehold on political power in Quebec and did not count on the... hmm, okay, this metaphor really doesn’t work unless you think Quebec is kind of like an office tower. Which it kind of is if you think about it. In Armageddon, not as good as Die Hard, but still good precedent, Bruce Willis proved that he and a team of lovable drilling experts can save the world from total destruction. So presumably, saving some Jehovah’s Witnesses from losing their liquor licenses should be easy work. Plus he’s also appeared in some more artsy films like Pulp Fiction, so this proves that he has the emotional depth necessary to handle judicial decisionmaking. Roncarelli v Duplessis is all about making the right call versus making the judicially defensible one. Action heroes like Bruce Willis don’t have time for your fancy formalism or legally-binding precedent. They go with their instincts, and that’s if they even bother to read the facts at all. And Willis’s instincts would tell him to save those victimized religious groups in Quebec, even if he has to die trying although his characters have a knack for surviving even the most deadly & im-

probable accidents, I mean, did you see Die Hard 4?? He was on top of a moving fighter jet! And can you believe they’re making Die Hard 5? That franchise needs to end. But the point is, he’d side with Roncarelli because villains never win in the movies. Seriously though, they’re making Die Hard 5, I didn’t make that up. This guy is 56 years old, these movies

just aren’t believable anymore. In conclusion, my reasoning is faulty at best and I may or may not have made most of this up. But seeing as this is admin law, those aren’t really major obstacles in an analysis. Since my essay is only 500 words, here are two pictures of Bruce Willis that will hopefully make up the difference:


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Making it Rain Scotia Money See “Games” Previous Page was met with “That shit depray!” We are currently in contracts talks with Kanye. After the bar, I retired to the hotel room of some Queen’s students. They had a freezer bag of Vancouver’s ickiest. I figured indulging with them would possibly help me rebuild bridges with the other schools. We each took turns saying how high this BC bud got us. When it was my turn, I told them that I was as high as my LSAT score – they kicked me out. That shit cray. January 4, 2012 DAY: Today our dodgeball team put in a valiant effort and took silver! We were bested by Western in a hard-fought final match. I’m sure that the victory makes spending three years of the prime of your life in London worth it. We stormed past the competition in soccer today, and secured a position in the playoffs. Definitely gonna crush some guts on the field tomorrow. NIGHT: We further displayed our good sportsmanship at tonight’s pub-crawl. It’s amazing how easy it is to make knocking over the other team’s beer in flip-cup look like an accident. What’s that, McGill student? You didn’t want a giant wet stain on your crotch for the rest of the night? Je suis désolé. The club at the end of the pub crawl was gigging. As per usual, we got amped for Rihanna’s “Hopeless Place.” But, we weren’t quite as amped as a few Laval students that were getting their serious bump and grind on to it. The male Laval student informed me in broken

English that they were going to crush guts tonight. It immediately dawned on me that crushing guts didn’t at all mean what I thought it did. It was a lot more lewd than I ever imagined – that shit depray! One 3L familiar with Vancouver disappeared from the clurb for a short while to a place he referred to as “The Nino”, where he made a cool hundred bucks over 20 minutes playing blackjack with Scotia Money. He would have stayed longer if he hadn’t insisted that the dealer had busted with a 19. That shit just stupid. After a quick sojourn to the Hangover Room, I went to hang with some U of T upper years in their hotel room. They were insistent on offering me time-worn wisdom on what it meant to truly be a law student. Who knew that the magic formula was late-night whiskey and looping Adele’s “Someone Like You.” The upper years demanded complete silence whenever the chorus played. Somewhere between the eighth and ninth time the song played, an upper year was heard remarking “If this song don’t bring a tear to your eye, you better check your pulse.” Soon thereafter, he fell asleep big-spooning the whiskey bottle. January 5, 2012 DAY: Those upper years may seem like softies based upon their musical tastes, but don’t let the Adele fool you. When it comes to soccer, they play a mean game! The whole U of T delegation rallied behind our team as we took gold for the third straight year! The semi-final was a close game that saw us squeak past Dalhousie. We maintained a healthier

lead against the University of Alberta in the finals, and sailed to victory. Alberta played dirty, with one girl repeatedly taking dives. I was fed up with her tactics, and shouted across the field that she was faking, to which a U of A student shouted back “U of T guys should be used to girls faking it!” Thankfully, the Vancouver rain washed away my tears before anyone noticed. NIGHT: Tonight we wrapped up Law Games with a semi-formal banquet followed by a night at the clurb. By this point, we were all exhausted and had enough of the Quebec students, fresh out of CEGEP, running around in suits and pretending to be adults. Our table’s discussion was primarily focused on the high price paid for low-quality red wine, and the quaintness of Western students trying to conduct themselves in a formal setting. The final clurb night was a blast. We decided to go out in style, and ordered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne. We weren’t taking the bottle to the booth, but to the D-Floor! That’s pure class. The upper year that financed the venture tried to pay with a Big Firm business card that had “IOU $150” sloppily handwritten on the back. He was shocked to find out that Vancouver bars won’t accept it as legal tender. That shit cray. On the walk back from the bar, we passed an undercover police officer making a street-side arrest. A half-hour debate among my fellow students ensued about whether one could identify undercover officers based on the cars they drove. I learned that being from the mean streets of a given neighbourhood made you far

more likely to spot undercover officers. I also learned that every neighbourhood that law students grew up in has mean streets, and that invariably every law student is from those mean streets. Mean streets of Rosedale, woot woot! The delegation spent our last few hours together in one of our hotel rooms reminiscing about the time we had and making sure that room-service didn’t have to deal with any non-empty alcohol containers. A fellow 1L made short work of the rest of the whiskey by pouring it into the coffee pot, and then drinking it straight. He somehow wedged himself between the bed and wall, and couldn’t escape. He had to repeatedly beg for assistance before someone helped remove him from his ironclad bed-wall trap. One of the team captains showed us the true meaning of partying by hanging out in the room right until she had to catch her 7 a.m. flight. I don’t need to tell you what that shit is. January 6, 2012 DAY: After just a few hours of sleep, I packed up and head to the airport to catch my flight home. I grabbed an 11 a.m. van-cab with my buddy. The cab driver offered that we put our luggage on the seats and chill in the trunk area and get high on the way to the airport. Even for Vancouver standards, that struck us as a little depray. As my plane took off, I closed my eyes and drifted into the first solid sleep I had had in days. My last waking thoughts wondered about who was crushing Rihanna’s guts these days. Is that shit cray, ray, or depray?

Use your smartphone’s camera and the free ScanLife app to scan the barcode. You can get the free ScanLife app at www.2dscan.com. TORONTO • NEW YORK • CALGARY


12

JANUARY 25, 2012 ultravires.ca

ULTRA VIRES

FEATURES

Body-Slam Those 1L Exams!

Those exams think they are SO tough! Well now it’s their turn to PAY! We’re gonna get ‘em in the ring tonight and bash ‘em! And smash ‘em! Live on WWE RAW!!! By Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan (1L)

Case Summaries from Others

Study Groups • • • •

A diversity of opinions can be useful. Don’t make the groups too big. There are two strategies from which you can approach this: Wait until you are prepared and have looked at an exam with a map completed; you can then discuss practice exam answers. Make a map together and do practice exams together.

• Don’t rely on someone else blindly because they can be riddled with errors. • Some strategies: • Use others’ case summaries for limited purposes like to copy facts, but holding and reasoning were important to do yourself. • Do case summaries yourselves. • A week before exams you should have all your case summaries done, then be working on your maps. • Use other peoples summaries to fact check your own/see if there is anything you missed and use it to make maps. • Doing the case summary helps to understand and memorize the case.

Practice Exams • • •

Practice exams can be really useful to do with other people because you can see the diversity of opinions. Another option is to study with just one other person, which can be helpful. Some professors will actually look over your exams – Roach will when asked for instance. At the worst they will say no.

Available

PHOTO COURTESY of the KIM JONG UN It is said that the best Admin and Tort Law summaries were written by the genius Kim Jong-Il on a short break from writing 15 operas and entire seasons of Star Trek.

Readings • • • •

• •

Is it necessary to do all of them? Some people did all of them, some people did not and did well. It’s about what makes you comfortable. You can start to take less time per case as the semester goes along, and apportion limited time between reading/review. One of the things you can get out of doing the readings is that you can see how you can frame the arguments, using the structures from the readings. And additionally having the context of cases. You may need to evaluate what is happening in the class. Some classes it is necessary to read to help understand the professor, some it is not. For some classes where there are a few cases that are evaluated in depth, it becomes key to do all the readings.

Making Maps • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

PHOTO COURTESY of 2L Student Get plenty of sleep if you want to get top marks. Loss of one hour of sleep off your optimal sleep is a loss of 10 IQ points.The library is an excellent place to get some extra Z’s.

Maps tie together the course, the case law, and are your tool PHOTO COURTESY of the KIM JONG UN in open book exams A good map will tell you EXACTLY what you want to know Making your own maps: quickly and easily. Lets you make it the way you function, and include the materials you want to include. The process of making it means you learn it enough not to need it. You can use other people’s maps as a guideline though; this is another way to do it. Time Management Slightly more important than making your own case summaries. • Keep up to date. Try to make your map interactive with doing practice exams. • Treat law school like a full time job. Take note of where you wish your map was different while doing a practice exam, so continue to • Shift your perspective from modify it. just trying to keep up Exams are formulaic – you will retype the core sentence over and over again, so you can use the with the day to day core foundation with pre set sentences that are great and you can use to get you a B+. assignments, and It is so personal, you often use key words that will jog your memory and you cannot rely on other try to get ahead in people to do this. strategic aspects Map making really depends on the course. For instance, in torts and crim there are elements to of exam prep look for in the fact patterns. Looking at practice exams will help you craft this which will help You can use a treatise to help her analyze how to structure the map for the exam. you in the latter Preparing pre-written answers based on old exams: part of NovemSometimes there are known essays or known essay topics so you have to do this. It depends on ber and Decemthe course. ber. But for other courses, there are some courses that this is useless for. You need to focus on the • Make sure that you analysis not on the rule. do something that is In some classes, there are areas where the law is not clear so it is guaranteed that it will be on fun the exam so make sentences about this. • Stay on top of your Make your map shorter, so that you can actually have it be useful. 20-40pages for April, so under readings so you don’t 20 for December. get too stressed out during Don’t leave out the thinking aspects. exam time. There will be general principles that apply across the board – pick up on these. • If you manage your time you can definitely But be careful because there will be different facts in each exam, so to rise above the curve they manage to go out on the weekend. are going to look for people who can pinpoint the particular facts that are unique and that will change the outcome in that case.


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

13

OPINION

High Tuition Fees Do Harm to School and Students By Daniel Bertrand (3L) And Robert Szollosy (2L)

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n response to a recent UV article, ‘In Defence of Higher Tuition’ and views circulating around the Law School, the co-chairs of last year’s Financial Aid Committee would like to provide an alternate voice, clarify some information and debunk some myths.

UofT has Become much Less Affordable in the Last Decade

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hen developing or critiquing educational financial policy, it’s important to know the facts. We all know that tuition fees have increased substantially in the past decade, but this is only one half of the puzzle, so: “What about financial aid... How much has it increased by?” For the answer to this, it is useful to look at last year’s SLS Financial Aid Working Group’s Final Report: “While tuition has been increased to $23,508 [last year’s price of tuition] funding for the financial aid program has only increased to $2.4 million -- increases of 68% and 26% respectively [since the 2002/2003 academic year]. Quite simply, funding for the financial aid program has not kept up with the rise in tuition.” Instead of focussing our attention on hypotheticals purporting to show why high or low tuition fees and financial aid might be good in principle, we should focus on what is actually happening in our school. UofT law has become substantially less affordable in the last decade, and current policy choices regarding tuition fees and financial aid indicate that this will worsen; if so, we will continue to see significant negative consequences to the diversity of our student body, the careers we can pursue, and even to the legal profession of Canada at large.

Negative Effects on the Student Body

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o, what has the effect of this been on accessibility at the school? This is a difficult question to ask given that neither our school, nor the Law Society of Upper Canada, has taken a serious look at this problem. Currently, the faculty doesn’t have a systematic approach for inquiring into why people refuse offers of admission at our school. Nor do we know the socioeconomic status of those students who don’t apply to the financial aid program, or, those who choose not to apply to UofT at all. While this may be understandable, our school also doesn’t keep numbers on the effects of increased tuition on minority groups other than through the catch-all terms of “aboriginal” and “visible minority”. Visible minority representation at our school has increased only slightly

since the dramatic rise in tuition starting in 2002/2003, but how many self-identified black students do we have now as compared to then? How many Status or Treaty Indians do we have as compared to Metis? How do we compare to Osgoode Hall and other law schools in the province in regards to our class composition? We encourage you to go take a look for yourselves. Although the “WASP Search” advertised in the last edition of Ultra Vires is ridiculous, it is indicative of a truth that some of us still only feel comfortable addressing through a joke: our student body bears a closer resemblance to a private golf club than to Canada, let alone to Toronto. These are sensitive questions, but it’s important to ask them, as we have heard anecdotes about why people, and why certain historically disadvantaged classes of people, are not coming to UofT Law.

Negative Effects on Career Choice

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nfortunately, a decrease in front-end accessibility is complemented by a decrease in back-end career choices. We have all heard some of our peers complain about the need to pursue high-paying jobs in fields they would rather not pursue to pay off their student debts. The irony here is that we came to law school to access career opportunities, and as fast as doors appear to be opening, others are closing behind us. The back-end debt relief program as it exists is an insufficient remedy for this. While the front-end program last year expended $2,520,877, the back-end program expended only $133,255. In other words, the back-end program only accounts for 5% of the financial aid program. For the 2010 tax year, there were only 28 participants in the program from the classes of 2003 to 2009, receiving an average benefit of $4,759. These are not comforting numbers for someone considering work in public interest. The best law school in Canada should enable us to pursue jobs in the careers that we want, rather than put us into debt bondage. For all the publicity the back-end debt relief receives in the schools promotional materials, it does very little.

Negative Effects on the Legal Profession

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side from having a negative individual effect on us, high tuition fees and inadequate financial aid also have negative systemic consequences on Canadian Society. With decreasing accessibility for those from socioeconomic backgrounds to law school we see a change in the composition of the bar of Ontario. Certain class interests will be personally represented and financed in the legal profession, while others that have faced historical

disadvantage will not. Likely, the law itself will follow the lead of its interpreters, and advocates, and will support the further reification of existing class privileges and exclusions.

Myth: We require high tuition to attract and retain top faculty

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e are told that “[h]igh tuition is the price that we pay to have bright lawyers in academia... where they can enrich our understanding of law in this country.” While it is certainly a worthy goal to have top legal minds teaching future generations, the equation of higher tuition with staff retention and subsequently with a better education is overly simplistic and narrow in scope. In December 2001, Faculty of Law Professors (and former Associate Deans), Denise Rheaume and Jim Phillips, wrote an article for the National Post on this very issue. In the article, the authors draw our attention to the fact that, at the time Dean Daniels’ plan was implemented, there was little evidence that we were losing faculty to schools south of the border, and even less evidence that those who did leave were moving solely for higher salaries. Further, the ‘brain drain’ argument ignores a multitude of factors that may influence any particular individual’s professional choices – issues including professional mobility/alternatives, family or cultural considerations. The fact is, we simply were not losing faculty to US schools – as noted by Professors Phillips and Rheaume, only three professors had left for US schools in the decade 1991-2001. With respect to the ability to attract top academics, a look at the current faculty indicates that Dean Moran, Professors Waddams, Stewart, Brudner, Benson, Phillips, Rheaume and ‘the Weinribs’ were all brought into the faculty prior to implementation of Dean Daniels’ plan. For the full list, take a look at the Faculty list on the Graduation Photo for the late 1990s/early 2000s and compare it to 2011. Of course we have added excellent faculty since, but, the point simply is that we were already attracting many of the best, without the exorbitant rise in tuition fees.

Myth: Price = Quality

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e are told that ‘[p]eople instinctively associate price with quality.’ This may hold, to some extent, in some segments of the population. But that doesn’t make it true (does Louis Vuitton necessarily make the best suitcases?). People who haven’t had to consider other factors such as their own limited resources and how to achieve maximum utility with those resources are not among those who instinctively associate price with quality. Are we saying these people are less deserving of a top-rate legal educa-

tion? That they can be contented with an education from the presumed ‘lesser’ law schools, regardless of their ability? It is also true that the ‘sticker shock’ of a $25,000(+) tuition will deter some people, regardless of the financial aid available. Take, for example, a prospective student whose parents’ have never made more than $30,000 (it’s not a stretch) – would they consider spending nearly all of that on one year’s tuition? This is not faulty reasoning but simply a different way of looking at the costs associated. To some people, very few things are worth that much money – and in maintaining these fees, immediately the top legal education appears unavailable. The consideration of value for investment/debt load can become an over-riding concern, further barring access for large segments of the population, again regardless of ability.

Are We Actually the Top Law School in the Country?

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e realise that even asking this question can raise a few eyebrows and possibly make us a few enemies along the way. But this is a question everyone associated with the UofT Law should consistently be asking – and if there is any doubt, we should work to make it better. There is no doubt that we have an incredible faculty, a great history, distinguished alumni and access to an incredible range of resources within a few city blocks of our school. But what role should UofT play in the future? Who should be able to access it? We submit that it should be accessible to the brightest students irrespective of financial hardship, and that it should empower graduates to follow their innate sense of justice. We submit that the University of Toronto Faculty of Law should be an elite institution, but not elitist.

NOTICE

As the sole progressive content editor, I must take this opportunity to denounce the deplorable censorship of UV’s right-wing media barons Matt “Conrad” Brown and Andrew “Rupert Murdock” Robertson. This article was scheduled to be published in our November issue but was mysteriously missing when it came to print. When cornered, our editor-inchief claimed he “forgot” to include it. This is but one example of the rightwing editorial bias of the corporate law school media. As a result of consistent pressure, I am delighted to see this article come to print. As the editorial board’s voice of dissent,I will continue to hold these right-wing media monopolists’ feet to the fire and protect the expression of progressive voices. Josh Mandryk 1L Content Editor


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JANUARY 25, 2012 ultravires.ca

ULTRA VIRES

OPINION

The Wright Man | Louis Tsilivis Partisan Politics over “Gay Divorce” Poisons Discourse Are Marriages Created Equal? I

n a Globe and Mail article published on January 12, the governing Tories were lambasted for their “policy reversal on same-sex marriage”. In response to a divorce case involving two non-residents who married in Canada, Department of Justice lawyers were arguing that samesex marriages performed in the country would only be recognized if that couple’s home country also recognized same-sex marriage. Since their marriage was not legally valid, the lawyers reasoned, they could not obtain a divorce. (There is also the stipulation in the Divorce Act that you need have resided in Canada for at least a year before being allowed to divorce here, but this is not very relevant to what followed.) The piece further implied that the government’s policy change – perhaps motivated by a hidden social conservative agenda – cast the marriages of all same-sex couples in Canada into doubt. In the words of a Virginia woman quoted by the Globe, “I’m angry but more than anything I’m sad because what I see is another craven politician going after a minority.” The outcry from the public, selected media, and opposition politicians was enormous. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, LLB ’77, and former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, LLB ’64, both joined in the fray to condemn the Conservative government. “We validated those marriages and you cannot retroactively invalidate marriages that you validated,” cried Mr. Martin.

Opportunism Takes the Stage T

he problem with Mr. Martin’s remarks is that, first, those marriages were never valid under Canadian law to begin with, and second, that this did not represent a change in government policy at all – it represented Department of Justice lawyers clarifying the laws as they stood. In Canadian law, the rules governing the formal validity of a marriage (e.g., what constitutes a legal marriage ceremony) depend on where the marriage was performed, whereas the rules governing a marriage’s essential validity (e.g., whether the couple has the capacity to marry) is determined by the partners’ prenuptial domiciles – their places of residency before the marriage. This means that a marriage performed

PHOTO COURTESY of the URBANBROTHA.COM Gay marriage is a contentious issue, especially in the United States. Proponents of it argue that marriage is a fundamental human right.

in Canada for a couple who resided in North Carolina would have its formal validity determined by Canadian law (the lex loci celebrationis), while its essential validity would be determined by the law of North Carolina (the lex loci domicilii). Justice lawyers were simply stating Canadian law as it stood – which is exactly what lawyers in our civil service are required to do and ought to do. The Supreme Court de facto legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, with legislation later passed in the House of Commons– that included support from New Democrats and progressive Tories – formalizing and affirming the ruling. If certain pundits and opposition politicians have a problem with the “gaps” in the law as they stand, then blame should be properly put on Paul Martin’s Liberal government, which actually drafted the bill. Furthermore, if we believe the issue is that the law should be changed – that we should recognize all marriages performed in Canada, regardless of the laws of the couple’s home country – then we should focus on advocating for those changes, instead of pointing to the laws as they stand and falsely calling them a Conservative “reversal of policy”. What we ended up with in the national media and in our political sphere were almost as embarrassing as the legislative

gaps on same-sex marriage themselves: opposition parties dishonestly claiming that the government had a social conservative agenda and was trying to chip away at marriage equality through a legal loophole. What happened at the end of the day did not garner as much media attention as the initial hyperbole did: Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said that the legislative gaps had only just been discovered by government lawyers, and that the Tories would change the current legislation to ensure that all marriages were valid. The government’s affirmation of marriage equality in Canada exposed the opposition attacks for the crass partisan opportunism that they really were, designed to scare moderates away from voting Tory. For an opposition that decries negative attack ads and the “politics of fear” (to quote former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff), the episode was all too rich in its hypocrisy.

A Sad Day for Canada? A friend of mine on his way to the Liberal convention in Ottawa posted the misleading Globe article with the caption

“A sad day for Canada”. I agree that it was a sad day for Canada, but probably for different reasons than my partisan friend thought at the time. It is a sad day when we realize that a piece of progressive legislation drafted and passed several years ago has serious gaps in it. It is a sad day when opposition parties and the media unfairly attack the government and wrongly accuse it of reversing policy on same-sex marriage. The government has taken an historic step to affirm its support for same-sex marriage, moving from mere acquiescence of an existing policy to actively closing legislative gaps and ensuring that all marriages in Canada – regardless of the sexual orientation and domicile of the couple – are valid. The fact that we have unanimity among Canada’s main parties on marriage equality is something that should be celebrated from people across the political spectrum. Instead, the reaction we get is grudging silence from opposition parties, still bitter after realizing that they unfairly and foolishly castigated the Prime Minister. It is a sad day when – because of crass opportunism and vitriol on the part of the opposition parties – such is the state of our national politics.


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

15

OPINION

Thirsty For Law Choose Your Own In September the UTSU brazenly stole the water bottles from campus vendors. This is an outrage of the highest order.

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By Andrew Robertson (3L)

ast semester, I noticed that overnight, something near and dear to many of us had been drastically - and without warning - snatched away. No, I am not referring to Matt’s hair. No one misses that bouffant monstrosity. Instead, I talk about that which is the building block of life: water. For those of you not in the know, water is a chemical substance with the formula H2O. According to Wikipedia “safe drinking water is essential to humans and other lifeforms.” Water is also essential when you’ve got a 830 am Thursday class and have been on a Hey Lucy’s Wednesday Night Half Price Martinis bender the night before downing 11 Classic Vodka Martinis and ending the night at New Sky eating delicious lemon chicken while Jimmy the Waiter brings you 4 dollar Molson Canadian bottles, and the next morning oh-my-godyour-head-hurts and you need something to wash back some advil, pepto bismol and a banana-chocolate chip banana purchased from the coffee shop under Grad House on your way to school. I’ve heard. So it was to my great disgust that I discovered that the school no longer allows water to be purchased – and not just because as an avowed libertarian, I basically want to be able to buy or sell anything. (This is where one of you says, “C’mon Robertson, there’s a fountain – is it that hard to bring a water bottle to school?” Actually yes, it is, because I don’t own one. Kaboom – you’ve been lawyered.) No, the real unfairness – the thing that really gets me - is that you can still buy all manner of pop, juice, tea, coffee and (this is the real kicker) flavoured water. Which is essentially water with sugar added. If we were to block the sale of all fluids, that might be stupid, but it would be consistent. Instead, we’ve blocked the sale of the only beverage that was actually healthy for you. Being an intrepid reporter, I decided to get to the bottom of this: by which I mean, I assumed environmentalists had something to do with it and am now going to call them out, without checking as to why this state of affairs exists. Basically, I think this can be blamed on one person. Yes, I’m looking at you Camille Labchuck. I can only assume you, or one of your ilk, has petitioned the school to stop selling water in order to promote people using nondisposable means to drink the lifegiving fluid.

Unfortunately, comrade, your quest to make the world a better place has resulted in ridiculously unintended externalities. I recently witnessed a student (and no, this is not a joke) buy a bottle of flavoured water from the dispenser in the bowels of Flavelle, only to pour out the water and fill the bottle back up with normal drinking water. What a ridiculous state of affairs we have when we start wasting perfectly good sugar water just to have a container in which to have actual water. So now we’re still using disposable containers, but we’re also wasting other substances as well. The UV Board is thus calling on the SLS to petition the school to once again to allow the sale and purchase of water in our hallowed halls. Help us Aaron R a n k i n : you’re our only hope.

Ethical Adventure LPPE’s Ethics Week in November fails to drill into the minds of young lawyers the importance of ethics and is thereby committing a great disservice to the profession.

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By Esthir Lexchin (1L)

rofessionalism and ethics training in first year this year consisted of four hours in mid-September and three days in November; all-told, 20.5 hours. Additionally, the school adds some of the hours spent in Legal Process towards the total. While Assistant Dean Sara Faherty told me that the school is confident it is meeting and exceeding the Law Society’s requirements, my experience so far has left me unconvinced. During ethics week I had a particularly enlightening conversation with one of my classmates, during the course of which they expressed their dissatisfaction with the overall tone of the speakers. This person felt that the speakers were mostly emphasizing a lawyer’s ethical duty to the public and the profession, and their response was, “If a certain behaviour isn’t prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct, then isn’t that all we need to know?” Which made me think that of all the problems with the program, what it really needs is to get back to basics; maybe start off with a philosophy professor, to explain to all these future lawyers exactly what is the difference between ethics and a set of rules – I thought it would be obvious, but evidently not. Without making any drastic changes, the program could be improved by making it more relevant and engaging for students. This year, seven of nine sessions were lectures; a better mix of smaller sessions and big lectures would definitely be an improvement, because realistically, anyone’s ability to concentrate and absorb information (and possibly their will to live) would be seriously diminished by the seventh hour in BLH. As well, the session in September is the only part of the program that deals specifically with student issues, and if my foggy, post-exam memory serves me correctly, it focused largely on how to write an e-mail, and why gossiping about DLS clients at Starbucks is a no-no – useful stuff, but not exactly thought-provoking. There are lots of ethical issues that are relevant to us right now, and mixing those in would also make the program more appealing. PHOTO COURTESY of the Estate of Esthir Lexchin We sent a team of explorers to find effective ethics training at U of T Law. Nobody came back alive.

On the subject of a more engaging program, let’s talk about attendance. The administration seems to think that first-years can’t read between the lines when they tell us something is “mandatory but ungraded.” Whatever negative things it says about law students, for many, this phrase translates as “optional.” Although some of the November sessions were very well attended, there were also many that were about half-empty. The law society doesn’t think ethics is optional, and I would guess that the public thinks future lawyers need more, not less ethics training. The quick-fix would be to have some kind of paper or assignment attached to the program, however any first-year that wants an assignment due shortly before exams needs a stiff drink. Assistant Dean Faherty expressed that her preference is to deliver a high-quality program, although she also admitted that it doesn’t do much good to have people hear about how great the sessions were after they’ve already missed them. The extreme-makeover option would be to consolidate all this training into a course, either in first year or later – many other Canadian law schools do this, and students inevitably gain a more in-depth, thorough education in professional and ethics. When I asked Assistant Dean Faherty about this, she explained that the school feels the firstyear program is already quite full (full disclosure: I agree), and doesn’t want to add requirements to the upper years program. While I understand that program flexibility is attractive to students, I’m not sure that ethics training is the appropriate trade-off. The “goldilocks” option would be to move the week-long program to a different time during first year, and make it a graded part of the curriculum. There are a lot of things that could be done to improve professionalism and ethics training at U of T; however, at the end of the day, is it possible to inculcate a bunch of type-A, highly driven 20-somethings with a profound sense of ethics? I’m not sure, certainly not the way the program is currently delivered. Maybe the school needs to look at creative ways to gain a better understanding of its applicants; medical schools consider it important enough to interview potential students, why not law?


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JANUARY 25, 2012 ultravires.ca

ULTRA VIRES

FEATURES

Point /Nope Just Point

UV Is Perfect the Way It Is That’s right, there’s no counterpoint. Opinions Editor Andrew Robertson fires back at UV critics and makes a forceful case for keeping the student paper exactly how it is.

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By Andrew Robertson (3L)

his fine paper has been taking a few knocks lately, with complaints centring on the fact that it is too male-dominated, too gossipy, and has a puerile sense of humour. Elsewhere in this paper, Lauren Heuser, while admitting she enjoys reading the paper [Editor’s note: anytime someone intelligent admits to reading the paper, we count that as a win!] refers to us as having “ribaldrous” content. Seeing as my vocabulary is about par for an 8th grader, I can only assume that word is insulting. As usual, it falls to the little guy from Burnaby, B.C., however unqualified I may be, to defend this institution. To do so, I’ve given Pete a reprieve from his usual shellacking this month. There’s no counterpoint to this because I’m an editor and I say so.

We Don’t Do THAT kind of News One usual complaint is that there isn’t enough “news” news – the situation in the Middle East, the North Korean succession crisis, etc. – in our paper. The fact is, we would love to report from far off destinations on the geopolitical crises of our day. One problem: we can’t really compete with the CNNs of the world as far as getting boots on the ground. I’ve been petitioning my Editor-inChief for months now to have me stationed as our Ibiza correspondent, but we just don’t have the money for it. Nor would we be any real good at it. You’ve read the paper; we can barely string together an intelligible sentence, let alone report on an important primary election in South Carolina. The masthead of the first issue couldn’t even spell my name right! If it’s between Christiane Amanpour or Pete Smiley telling me their opinion on what the Arab Spring means for America, I’ll take Christiane every time. Mostly because I can actually understand her accent. So you want to read about THAT kind of news? Pick up the New York Times.

We

do

Law

Student

News

The complaint that we’ve become too fratty is only true if you read the sections of the newspaper edited by myself and the Diversions Editor. Note – diversions is named diversions for a reason. Now, I know most of you turn straight to the Opinion section to read what I have to say – and trust me, I’m flattered that you do – but preceding this section is a whole lot of content that is actually news for law students. And guess what – it’s

edited by someone with a journalism degree, is well contributed to, and has interesting articles on issues important to law students. So instead of flipping straight to the fart jokes and then complaining of too many fart jokes, read the “real” part of the newspaper. Or, if you are going to flip to the Opinion section, read monthly columns by Louis Tsilivis and Camille Labchuk their columns are always erudite and thought-provoking. If you’re just going to read Smiley and I making sex jokes, then you know what you’re getting. And trust me, it ain’t journalism.

Let us do what we do best What most of you whiners don’t get is the stuff we’re very good at it – “ribaldrous” content (the word just rolls of the tongue, whatever it means) – is actually news for a lot of students. When we report on the dance moves of certain individuals, or do a late-night Chinese restaurant review, or even compare OCIs to sex, what we’re really doing is reporting funny news. Gossip is news too, hence why every “real” newspaper usually has an “about town” section. We can’t compete with the leading Toronto dailies on real news, but we are definitely way more plugged into who is dating who (word is Brown and Valentine both have gfs!) around this little community. My dictatorial editor actually has me spend entire Thursdays just sitting in the men’s bathroom stall listening to washroom gossip. Let’s see if the Globe and Mail is that committed. Finally, let me quote my 2nd favourite President when I say, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” As I write this at 11 pm on a Friday night, drinking cheap scotch and typing away furiously in a desperate attempt to meet the arbitrary deadline set by my Editor whose pants are so tight I don’t know how his feet receive blood, I wonder to myself: what you are doing tonight? At the bar with some friends perhaps? Snuggled up on the couch with that special someone watching a romcom? How nice for you. In other words, if you don’t like how things are with the paper, step up and volunteer to be an editor next year. You probably have a good shot. If Matt Brown will hire me, he’ll hire anybody. If you have any comments/suggestions, or know what “ribaldrous” means, please contact Andrew at andrew.robertson@ utoronto.ca


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

17

NEWS

ExamSoft Fails Students Again Everything from failing to run in an entire computer lab to refusing to initialize, ExamSoft’s failed yet again this December. Why does this school not trust its students?

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By Todd Brayer (2L)

ecember exams, that most pernicious period, has now safely passed, thought not without casualties. As with last year, the Faculty’s misguided decision to continue to use ExamSoft has caused undue stress. In Anand’s Securities exam, ExamSoft simply refused to work. After a sizable delay, and only after signing a promise not to cheat, the students were allowed to write their exams in Word. All appearances point to the students having kept their promise. “It’s kind of a joke that we have to pay 50 bucks for this kind of software,” said Owen Goddard (3L), who was in the exam. “It really messes a lot of people’s exams up.” As with last year, the usual handful of students had the software simply refuse to work. The most common issue was it freezing during set-up. Ironically, a common place for it to crash was the screen where students must agree not to hold ExamSoft responsible for loss of grades. Most large classes had at least one student scramble to find a replacement laptop or hand-write. A new bug that hit Mac users, myself included, was that ExamSoft often simply would not run at all. Luckily, a reinstall would fix the issue, but only for a day or so. Then another reinstall would be necessary. And then another. And another. Some incidents border on tragedy. “Last year in tax [Examsoft] crashed halfway through an exam and started blinking like a strobe light. The student was almost in tears,” said Goddard. Considering how common and catastrophic the issues with ExamSoft

PHOTO COURTESY of the TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT

Your Law School exam grades just before ExamGodSoftZilla breathes nuclear fire on them. are, there is no way they are unaware of these issues. Why else would they make us agree to a waiver saying that they aren’t responsible for lost grades in the case of software failure? The real reason nothing gets fixed year in, year out, is that we keep paying them for the privilege to do so. Money speaks, and our money should tell them to take their poorly coded software and go from

A Cheaper Alternative? As an example of a viable alternative to Examsoft, I present the Apple IIe. The latest and most-advanced of the Apple II series of computer, it was released in 1983, it runs the ultra-powerful MOS Technology 6502 processor, the same processor that powers the original Nintendo. Made through the genius of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. A powerhouse from top to bottom, it features up to a 2 megahertz clock speed and 48 kilobytes of RAM. The display can show up to six colours, and you can attach up to two 5¼-inch floppy drives to it. You need two such drives to hold the enormous 5,000-word monstrosities that students are oft to produce in the 3-hour law school exam. In it’s time, it was a rock-solid word processing machine that was used for exam-writing. And it virtually never crashed. Indeed, the fail rate was orders of

magnitude lower than the current fail rate for ExamSoft. It is also a more economical choice. The machine itself is available on eBay “Buy-it-now” sales for as low as $60, including shipping. The high-tech composite monitors go for about $30. Since law students must pay a minimum of $150, more for combined degree students, buying an Apple II system and using that for exams is a safer and more economical choice.

whence they came. It is not as if the choice truly is using ExamSoft or writing by hand. The University of Virginia Law School, the largest law school in North America, jettisoned ExamSoft some years ago, instead opting to have students sign an Honor Code where they promised not to cheat. The result was a decrease in the amount of cheating.

Considering that we are entering a trust profession where our careers depend on whether others can trust our word, having students swear to a similar honour code and coming down hard on offenders would be an excellent lesson in ethics and the consequences of breaching them. Sadly, it does not appear that the faculty is seriously implementing such a code.


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JANUARY 23, 2012 2011

ULTRA VIRES

ultravires.ca

DIVERSIONS

Bhuvana Reviews: 1L Courses By Bhuvana Sankaranara (1L)

F

lavelle House Media (FHM) is offering 6 new shows on their new channel, 1LCourses. The channel has gotten mixed reviews from viewers so far. Here’s how the individual shows measure up (to date).

Criminal Cast: Hamish Stewart/Kent Roach Genre: Action Running time: 50 minutes Synopsis: A girl walks into a bar. The man is arrested. Review: This fast paced action show tries very hard to be the next great crime investigation/detective show, but disappoints. CSI already does the same sort of stuff in a more plausible way, whereas this show tries to push aside the mundane for extreme cases (we have seen examples of cannibalism, extreme spousal/child abuse, etc.) that are ultimately not convincing. With a little less fiction and more grounding in reality, this has the potential to be an ultimately successful criminal show (also, the detectives aren’t as goodlooking as CSI. We’re not saying that’s a requirement, but hot actors do tend to sell crime shows. Get George Clooney and Angelina Jolie -- just a suggestion).

Torts Cast: Mayo Moran, Bruce Chapman. Genre: Action/Adventure Running time: 50 minutes Synopsis: A man walks into a bar. He sues. Review: So far, this has been slightly slow for an action show, but there have certainly been exciting moments such as the discovery of a snail in a bottle, or the falling of a drunk man off the roof. What really stands out is the excellence of screen writing. For example, the phrase  “in summertime village cricket is the delight of all,” was a great way to introduce LPPE JANUARY 23,Simon 2012 2011Stern/Ed ultravires.ca an otherwise boring sports-related sec- Cast: Morgan tion. This show is on the right track to Genre: Documentary keeping viewers engaged with the excel- Running time: 50 minutes lent writing (Lord Denning really stands Synopsis: A man stumbles into a bar. He out as an exceptional screenwriter). gets thrown out due to a lack of standing. Review: This documentary regarding the  many uses of coffee gets significantly more interesting when you have homework Contracts to avoid, but otherwise Cast: Stephen Waddams, proves to be somewhat Peter Benson lacklustre. Contradictions in Genre: Drama facts, underpaid workers who Running time: 50 minutes bring forward civil suits to Synopsis: A man walks into claim unpaid wages (which a bar. Is this a contract? is fine, in theory, but Review: The dramatic kind of out of the scope conflicts between insurof a documentary about ance companies and coffee), and overroastsubscribers could not be ing all contribute to the better captured. With lacklustre nature of this millions of dollars at documentary. The one play, every scene of this redeeming feature was movie is breathtaking, the guest performance by particularly with the high Eddy Grinch (Span, Jr.) of stakes involved, which inhis hit number, “How to Win clude specific performance. Adversaries and Confront People.” The constant potential for unlimited liability for insurance companies  keeps viewers glued. Property  Cast: Jim Phillips/Lisa Austin Genre: Philosophy/Postmodern Constitutional Running time: 50 minutes Cast: Carol Rogerson/Patrick Macklem Synopsis: A man walks into a bar. If he Genre: Romantic Comedy stays there for 10 years, does he get (a) adRunning time: 50 minutes Synopsis: A man walks into a bar. The verse possession; (b) free counselling for his provincial and federal governments fight drinking problem; or (c) both (a) and (b)*? * both (a) and (b), meaning not either about who gets the revenue. Review: This tale of a post-divorce fam- (a) or (b) individually, but rather, both ily is bold but ultimately fails to engage. together and in conjunction, and not exPro Vance and Fed Raul constantly battle cluding external factors such as (c) but about who gets custody of the children (Al excluding some external factors that are Cohol, and Tray Den Commers) without not (c). And furthermore, blah blah blah. any real movement of plot. The courts Review: This surrealist show involves constantly change their mind about cus- overthrowing conventional understandtodial arrangements (initially awarding ing of the world in favour of philosophical full custody to the more-monied Fed, and discussions of alternative to modern ecothen chipping away slowly at her rights). nomic systems in the context of postmodUltimately, this dysfunctional family ernism. Or at least, that’s what we think proves to be a poor plotline. Perhaps the it does. We’re not entirely sure, but there addition of the long-awaited new char- are moving, shiny objects on the screen, acter, cousin Charter, will prove to spice and they’re fun to watch when Teletubbies isn’t on. things up for this show. “lemon” 

Who the Fuck is Tim Tebow? By Drew Valentine (2L)

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here has a been a great deal of ink spilled in the last two months about Tim Tebow. If you aren’t a fan of the NFL, you may not be aware of the spectacle that has surrounded this Denver Broncos quarterback. The Tebow infatuation has included a pose known as “tebowing” stemming from Tebow’s regular praying on one knee with his head resting on his fist during critical moments of the game. His openness about his evangelical beliefs have led to a large Christian fan-base that will continue to plague the Denver Broncos organization – but I’m getting ahead of myself… Let’s start at the beginning. Tim Tebow by all accounts was an amazing NCAA (university level) college player. He won the Heisman trophy in 2007, which is given to the best player in college football regardless of the position. He was the quarterback for two national championship winning University of Florida Gators teams - a remarkable feat. He left the NCAA holding a number of all-time records. His religion became an issue at the NCAA level as he would write bible verses (3:16) on the black strips players wear below their eyes. This prompted the NCAA to create the “Tebow rule” which banned messages on a players eye-paint. He was also the mouth-piece for a pro-life commercial that was to air during the 2009-2010 Super Bowl. There was a great deal of controversy surrounding where Tebow would be picked in the 2010 NFL draft. For those not familiar, every year the NFL has a draft where one-by-one the teams select players; the teams with bad records the season prior selecting before teams with good records. Tebow, notwithstanding his excellent college career was expected to be selected after the first round of 32 picks. It was felt that his style of play, and bad throwing motion wouldn’t be effective in the NFL. In a surprise move, new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels selected Tebow with the 25th pick of the draft. Tebow would only play in three games in 2010 and McDaniels would be fired later that season. At the start of the 2011 season, the Broncos starting quarterback was Kyle Orton. Tebow, according to sources within the Broncos organization was the third best quarterback on the team, however there was a steady stream of criticism from Tebow fans that he should be the starting quarterback. Many of these fans claimed that Tebow’s religious beliefs were the reason that he wasn’t getting

playing time, disregarding his wildly inaccurate passing and terrible throwing motion. After starting the season 1-4, the Broncos finally caved and put in Tebow as their starter. This is when things started getting crazy-the Broncos started winning. In Tebow’s first game, he came in to replace Orton and nearly made up a 16 point deficit against the San Diego Chargers – a clearly superior team. Following a loss the next week he went on a 5 game winning streak, where he would play terribly for three quarters, then show up in the last quarter playing lights out, winning the game. This earned him the moniker “the Mile-High Messiah” – as the Broncos home stadium is Mile-High Stadium. This winning streak eventually came to a close when the New England Patriots beat them in Week 15, but with Tebow’s best game of the season to that point. Tebow’s regular season success put the Broncos in the playoffs but also in an interesting predicament. Tebow was still a terrible quarterback on paper – his 46 percent completion percentage is horrible and would get any other quarterback benched. His thirteen fumbles led the league. His 1,700 yards passed over eleven games is just trash. But he wins games – or at least plays on a team that wins games. What do the Broncos do with a terrible quarterback that keeps winning, with luck, with inspirations, with who knows what, but winning nonetheless? The last part of the Tebow legend comes from the Wild Card playoff round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. There were a number of people expecting him to get benched during the game, but Tebow instead won the game matching his favorite bible verse John 3:16 (that he used to put on his eye paint) and threw for 316 yards and 31.6 yards per completion – an NFL playoff record. The Neilson Ratings for the game? You guessed it 31.6. Naturally people are starting to believe that this terrible quarterback is winning games through divine intervention. Some say fools, some say believers. Tebow’s 2011 run was ended by Tom Brady, a guy god clearly loves more (great looking, 100+ million dollar quarterback, 3 time Super Bowl winner, married to Giselle Bundchen), but his career marches on. Look for him in seasons to come on the field, in the press box, in your friends “tebowing” after exams, or in small miracles in your everyday life.


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

19

DIVERSIONS

Za Fazon Polizia

The Hipsterization of Gord Houseman

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hile many law students have undergone the radical transformation from the ordinarily unfashionable man (sufferers of ‘Luke Gill’ syndrome) to the fashionable hipster (sufferers of ‘Matt Brown’ syndrome), one student’s path shines bright before us… that man is Gord Houseman. FP: Gord, you seem to be a relatively smart young man. Explain how you dressed as if your parents were the ones doing the dressing? G: Am I not allowed to say that my parents dress me? Well then, to be honest, I didn’t realize it. I thought green polos brought out the flare in my unruly haircut. FP: You were wrong. You looked like a douche. Next question – Gord, in your stalkerbook profile pic, you’ve got ‘board game club vice president’ written all over you. What happened? G: My transformation began slowly one day in 1L. I was like a non-believer who found Jesus (he nailed the cross between hipster and homeless guy pretty well ed. Note). As I was strutting through the school, wearing a crew t-shirt and baggy-ish jeans and my old Leo Elias-style

PHOTO COURTESY Of GORD HOUSEMAN Houseman is on of the few peopke who have become hipsters AFTER selling out.

glasses, I came across another student, Matt Brown. He looked unlike anything I had ever seen at Queen’s (a minority? Ed. Note). His hair was asymmetrical and his pants were way too tight (also notably asymmetrical). People were talking about his 1950’s Prison Warden glasses. I

was instantly turned on. FP: So, you decided to become a hipster so that you had a better chance of turning your affectionate fantasies with Matt Brown into a reality? G: Well sort of. It didn’t quite pan out that way. I approached Matt, and asked

him where he learned how to dress like that. He said, in a drunken cryptic slur: “Hahabrooklymadmenslutsdrunk”. I interpreted this to mean “go for a walk down Queen St West and play a game of monkey see, monkey do”. FP: So you got turned down by an extremely intoxicated Matt Brown and immediately thought “monkey play” ? G: Yes. That is what gave me the inspiration to fully commit myself to hipsterization. If I had any chance with those too-slim jeans, I had to look the part. FP: So what did the hipsterization entail? G: I bought a whole new wardrobe. I threw out every polo and non-cuffed pair of jeans I had. Now I exclusively wear flannel or plaid button-ups, with the occasional deep vee in the warmer months. I usually buy my jeans in the women’s section now – it’s the only way to get the right slimness and snugness – like being cupped by a soft set of hands. I also wear my hair to the side now; with product just to make sure it never gets too symmetrical. FP: You may look like Matt Brown’s clone, he’s still not into you because masturbation is a sin.

How to be Perfect | Camille Labchuck

Make 2012 About Your Health W

hat are your 2012 New Year’s resolutions? If you’re anything like most people, there’s a good chance you spent the holidays feasting on some combination of turkey, gravy, latkes, candy canes, and a broad array of sweet, delicious baked goods. After three weeks of couch-bound gluttony, you decided that 2012 will be the year. You resolved to exercise more/get into shape/eat better/generally start looking after your health. (Unless, of course, your name is Andrew Robertson. In that case, you probably avoid making any resolutions. This, obviously, helps maximize the time you can spend whining about being unable to buy bottled water on campus. Even though we all know that you prefer to wash down your vending machine chips and cookies with pop and juice, not water. Water is too “healthy”. P.S. Just go buy a damn water bottle.) Unfortunately, there’s also a pretty good chance you’ll fail at your new healthrelated resolutions. Maybe you did pretty well for the first couple of weeks. You ate better. You worked out more. But I’ve already noticed that the inevitable early January rush of new comers at my gym has begun to subside. It’s easy to slip back into old habits, and it’s hard to make new ones. What does this have to do with law

school, you wonder? Lots. Think about it. You’re probably never going to have this much free time on your hands ever again. (Not quite for you, 1Ls, the oodles of spare time don’t come until next year.) Depending on your year of study, you’ve got anywhere from six months to a couple of years before you become a desk slave. Good luck finding time change your lifestyle once you start articling. That said, protecting your health doesn’t have to be a time-consuming endeavour. Here are my top three tips for a few simple switches that will help you live a long, healthy, and happy life. Instead of waiting for “some day,” take advantage of the freedom you have today to form some new healthy habits. 1. Cut back on your consumption of meat, fish dairy, and eggs. I know you’re all thinking that it’s rather predictable of me (the vegan) to offer this advice. But it’s not without a sound scientific basis. Consuming animal products is directly linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and a whole host of other diseases. People who follow a plant-based diet experience less disease and better health outcomes. With increasing media attention being paid to the benefits of going vegan (check out last summer hit film Forks Over Knives), is it any wonder that folks like Bill Clinton Mike Tyson, Ellen De Generes, Alec

Baldwin and even a bunch of professional athletes have kicked the animal food habit to the curb? Bonus: your mental health will also benefit from knowing that you’re causing less suffering to other beings, and reducing your environmental footprint. (Did you know that animal agriculture is the leading contributor to climate change? And that eating vegan one day a week does more to stop climate change than eating local every single day?) 2. Stop avoiding the weight room. This one is especially for you, ladies. I can’t count the times I’ve been in a gym where the weight room is completely devoid of women, because they’re all on the elliptical machines and treadmills. There’s a popular misconception out there that the best way to get into shape is to endless hours of boring, repetitive cardio. But the reality is that weight training is far more beneficial for both health and appearance purposes than busting your ass on a cardio machine. You can reap greater benefits with less time in the gym, so it’s time to get over that fear of pumping iron. Unless you’re taking steroids, lifting weight won’t make you bulky. What it will do is burn more calories over the course of the day than cardio will. It will make you stronger. And it will help you lose fat while growing lean, shapely muscle. More importantly, adding weights to

your work out routine will reduce your risk of osteoperosis, improve your mood, help you sleep better at night, and reduce the risk of back pain and other injuries. With most of us heading toward long office hours in the near future, now is a great time to start mitigating some fitness harm we will do to ourselves while sitting in front of a desk all day. 3. Think about your environmental health – cut out the chemicals. We all know by now that it’s best to eat less-processed foods – ones that don’t contain unpronounceable chemical concoctions and other such garbage. But most of us pay little attention to the personal care products we slather on our skin and hair each day, or the cleaners we use in our homes. Did you know that your standard drug store brand of shampoo, lotion, or laundry detergent contains chemicals that may mimic sex hormones, contribute to cancer, or otherwise cause poor health outcomes? Much of our daily chemical exposure comes from care and cleaning products. You can lessen your personal toxic load by learning to read the labels and choosing to buy products made with more natural ingredients. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database to help you find safer personal care products: http:// www.ewg.org/skindeep/


ultravires.ca JANUARY 25, 2012

ULTRA VIRES

20

FEATURES

UV Eats out: Tacos All Over Your Face Grand Electric

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By Cary Ferguson (2L)

rand Electric is known for three things – soft-shell tacos, bourbon, and the long wait to get a table. Since I was still too hungover from the Call to the Bar the night before, I only tried two of the three. The restaurant/bar is small, with only about 10 tables. It’s dark inside, with old wooden tables that give the place a great vibe. Hip-hop plays loudly, but not so loudly that you couldn’t have a conversation. Even though they open at 6:00, by 6:30 the place was packed and we were told to expect a two hour wait. Although Grand Electric doesn’t do reservations, they’ll put you on a waiting list and call you when a table’s available. We didn’t get in until 10:00. Grand Electric has five standard tacos: pork belly, beef cheek, fried cheese, spicy chicken, and fish. We ordered one of each. Given how busy it was, the service was surprisingly fast, with waves of tacos on communal plates coming one after another - just as we finished one set, another arrived. The tacos seem small – unrolled, they fit

into the palm of your hand - but they’re deceptively filling. Our server brought us the pork belly tacos to start. They were a good place to start – not at all spicy, and the pork was done just right. This ain’t no Taco Bell. I’d steer clear if you’re not a fan of cilantro. Next came the beef cheek tacos. They were the hottest of the bunch, with a healthy helping of jalapeno peppers topping each one. Some found the jalapenos overpowering, but I like my tacos to have a little kick. The fried cheese and chicken tacos came next. The spicy chicken tacos weren’t all that spicy, but I quite enjoyed the fried cheese – something a little different. Also, I love cheese and I love fried things, so what’s not to like? Last were the fish tacos. We’d heard that they were the best, and they didn’t disappoint. Breaded and deep-fried fish topped with slaw, they were absolutely delicious and the perfect way to end our meal. If I hadn’t been so stuffed from the four preceding tacos, I would have ordered more in a heartbeat. A word of warning to vegans and vegetarians: don’t come hungry – there’s not a lot here for you (except the bourbon). The general consensus was that the pork and fish tacos were the best, although the group split on which reigned supreme – I liked the pork the most,

PHOTO COURTESY of ROGER WIGGLESWORTH Grand Electric’s Tacos, above. There are five options to choose from and they are all delicious.

while everyone else preferred the fish. One minor quibble: we were seated near the door, and although Grand Electric has a large curtain in place to keep cold air out, the door kept sticking open, which let in quite a draught. As oddly patriotic as it made me feel sitting there bundled up in my winter jacket, it wasn’t an experience I was keen to repeat. No split bills, and don’t go there armed

with just your VISA – they only accept cash or credit. Overall, Grand Electric has a great atmosphere, excellent tunes, and some delicious food. A great place to start, or end, an evening. 1330 Queen St W (Queen and Dufferin), www.grandelectricbar.com. Tacos - $3.50 each. 4/5 tacos.

Ultra Vires January 2012  

The January 2012 issue of Ultra Vires.