Monthly Archives: September 2011

Will Canada protect Trans Rights?

Trans rights: coming to a Jurisdiction near you

A newly proposed law, Bill-276 (read text here), aims to protect trans rights. It died in the house this past Spring (2011) after being introduced by Bill Siksay but has found a new advocate in Hedy Fry. The Bill is formally titled: “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression)”. LegalEase will follow its progress as it makes its way up to the Senate. Much moral support offered.

Law students unite in Chasing Ambulance

Hello LegalEase fans and sporadic viewers – thought you might enjoy this poorly filmed youtube video which features a few law students embracing their inner-lawyer. Meaning: Ambulance chaser.

“The Wayne State University Law School Student Board of Governors (SBG) will host the 26th annual Ambulance Chase Charity Run/Walk at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011.

Consisting of a 2.2 mile race (shorter for those who prefer to walk) in which participants run/walk behind an ambulance, the event pokes fun at the stereotype of the “ambulance-chasing lawyer.” Typically about 250 people run the race, with another 100-150 attending the event as spectators.” For more, check here.

The Representation in Representative Democracy

Electoral Ridings in Montreal

Some hullaballoo about new seats for Ontario, BC and Alberta. The NDP and Quebec oppose the change and root their opposition in this decision: Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] 2 SCR 158 Read below for a backgrounder.

“The Commons has 308 seats at present. Our Constitution guarantees 75 of those to Quebec. That’s 24.4% of the seats for a province with 23.2% of the national population. (Ontario, by comparison has just 34.4% of the seats despite being home to 38.8% of Canadians.) Even if the federal Tories move ahead with plans to add 30 seats to the Commons – 18 in Ontario, seven in British Columbia and five in Alberta – Quebec will still have 22.2%.

After adding the planned new seats, Quebec would still come as close as any province but B.C. to having the proper number of seats for its population. If more seats are added, Quebec’s representation will be one percentage point below its share of the national population, Alberta’s will be 1.2 percentage points under and Ontario’s will be 2.1 points under. Only B.C., which would then be 0.6 percentage points under-represented, would be more equitably treated than Quebec. (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and all the Atlantic provinces already are over-represented, and would remain so under the new plan.)

But in 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that electoral districts in Canada do not have to honour the one-person, one-vote standard. (Well, actually, the Supreme Court said the oneperson, one-vote rule was sacred in a democracy, but then listed so many allowable exemptions as to make the rule meaningless.)

The majority on the court explained that “relative parity of voting power is a prime condition of effective representation.” The judges then added that “deviations from absolute voter parity, however, may be justified on the grounds of practical impossibility or the provision of more effective representation. Factors such as geography, community history, community interests and minority representation may need to be taken into account to ensure that our legislative assemblies effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic.” Other than all those exceptions, though, “dilution of one citizen’s vote, as compared with another’s, should not be countenanced.”” – Thomas Mulcair’s numbers game, Lorne Gunter, National Post

Episode 24: Racial Discrimination and Profiling in Quebec

Listen to the Episode Here: http://goo.gl/lmKl3

Do you find this image problematic?

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month the program is entitled, “Racial Discrimination and Profiling in Quebec.” Listen to it here.

Jesse Gutman sits down with Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR). The discussion focuses on the Quebec Human Rights Commission’s 2011 Report: RACIAL PROFILING AND SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION OF RACIALIZED YOUTH: REPORT OF THE CONSULTATION ON RACIAL PROFILING AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com

Thunder Bay rule of law in Question: Racism in the Jury Roll

Something Rotten in Thunder Bay

March 2011 decision finding jury rolls in Thunder Bay unrepresentative, i.e., systematically excluding the participation of First Nations people. Pierre v. McRae, 2011 ONCA 187 (CanLII) http://canlii.ca/s/6jsqb

“[The] ruling confirms what we have suspected for years – that First Nations have been systematically excluded from the justice system. Even if an inquest into the death of Reggie Bushie could be convened, two more of our youth have died since 2007 and there is no inquest that is designed to address all seven deaths.” – NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose

Here is a recent press release calling for a commission of inquiry:
http://www.nan.on.ca/article/nan-calls-for-commission-of-inquiry-into-the-deaths-of-seven-nan-youth-in-thunder-bay-730.asp

Episode 25 (Sept 2011) – On Strike!

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month the program is entitled, “On Strike!” Listen to it by clicking here.

Munaca on Strike at McGill - Fall 2011

First off, we head to the picket lines. Host Preeti Dhaliwal investigates the Fall 2011 MUNACA strike at McGill University. She canvasses opinions and gets a perspective on the strike based on the context of labour relations in Quebec.

In our second segment, Jesse Gutman presents a piece on Unions in North America. This documentary focuses on narratives of unions presented by labour and big business, especially surrounding labour strife in Wisconsin and Michigan in Spring 2011. Naomi Klein offers an application of her “Shock Doctrine” theory to unions, arguing that the powers-that-be are using the global economic crisis to crack down on organized labour.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com

Rabble-Rouser’s Guide to Surviving Law School – A Disorientation Handbook

RadLaw, a student group at McGill’s Law school, put together a disorientation guide for law school in 2006. If you have comments, please leave a comment. The new stewards of the organization are updating the handbook and including more entries en francais.

Check it out here: