The immigration machine is complicatedThe immigration machine is a complicated one. There are many competing priorities including the need to help refugees, reunite families, bring in permanent residents, and support the international mobility of workers.
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 16 May 2016 09:00

Creativity, budgets, and Wi-Fi

Creativity, budgets, and Wi-Fi“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of the creative effort.”
–    Franklin D. Roosevelt –   
Published in Web exclusive content
Who counts? Transparency and inclusion in the 2016 censusWhat if the Canadian census form required participants to choose either English or French in answer to the question, “Which language do you speak most often at home?” Many Canadians — one in five, according to the 2011 census — would be perplexed about how to answer this question, since neither is correct.
Published in Web exclusive content
Monday, 07 March 2016 09:00

New horizons

New horizonsIt’s where the criminal law drafted in government offices meets the gritty reality of the streets. Homeless men lie passed out near the door of Vancouver’s Main Street courthouse. Drug syringes litter the ground.
Indigenous women, like those who have been murdered or gone missing, dot the court docket. That courthouse is also where new federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould got her trial by fire as a lawyer — an experience that influences her to this day. “I certainly look to my years as a prosecutor on the Downtown Eastside that opened my eyes wider to a lot of the inequalities that exist, that continue to exist in our society,” she says.
Monday, 07 March 2016 09:00

Welcoming the new

I was out of the country when the Liberals won the federal election last October. I was keeping up with the news but trying to take a mental break from too much news — instead filling my head with intensive study of Spanish — so I almost missed it when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named his new cabinet — cabinet that included Jody Wilson-Raybould, the country’s first aboriginal justice minister. At the time, I was in Oaxaca, Mexico — a city whose main square is filled daily with indigenous people marching and protesting against a variety of political, social, and human rights issues. It seemed somehow perfectly appropriate being in that milieu to be looking back at my own country and the possibilities for dramatic change that a new government and this new minister could bring about.
Published in Commentary
Monday, 29 February 2016 09:01

The big sell-off

The big sell-offThe successful bidder for 11 acres of prized waterfront real estate, near the foot of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, is expected to be announced later this month. The site is the former location of the head office of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and what used to be one of its flagship retail outlets.
Published in Issue Archive
Monday, 29 February 2016 09:00

Ontario’s big gaming gamble

Ontario’s big gaming gambleRevitalizing Ontario’s aging gambling operations is supposed to create jobs, modernize facilities, and pump billions of dollars into the provincial economy, based on a 2012 plan that creates a new ownership model and invites the private sector to share the risk.
Published in Issue Archive
Monday, 29 February 2016 09:00

Public sector legal warrior

Public sector legal warriorIn 2013, when heroin addicts participating in a clinical trial at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver were denied access to prescription heroin by Health Canada once they left the trial, the hospital’s operator, Providence Health Care Society, joined five patients in deciding to bring a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge, claiming the addicts’ rights to life, liberty, and security of the person were infringed upon.
Published in Issue Archive
Electoral ‘reform’ and the legal profession in CanadaThe federal Liberal government’s stated intention to bring about electoral “reform” without a referendum brings to mind Lord Acton’s famous dictum: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Sadly, notwithstanding the legal profession’s historical role in protecting the rights we enjoy in modern Canada, a very large percentage of lawyers are unaware of this intention. They should be.
Published in Web exclusive content
The perfect time for a law commission revivalParliament is currently wrestling with the issue of physician-assisted dying. This is an issue that is often religious, perhaps cultural, but always legal. Now is the time that Parliament could benefit from the wisdom and experience of a revived law reform commission.
Published in Web exclusive content
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