Tag Archives: ontario

Episode 38 – The Status of Status

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise.This month the program is entitled, “The Status of Status.”

http://archive.org/details/LegaleaseOnCkut90.3Fm-Episode38october2012-TheStatusOfStatus

Listen to the Episode Here

Give your temples a massage and let your mind be a sponge, because this week LegalEase delves deep into the dynamics of legal discourse and case analysis. This month, LegalEase assesses new develops in Canadian laws concerning HIV status and Aboriginal status.

The Supremes

In our first segment, Jean-Philippe MacKay and Rosel Kim break down the recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions on the subject of HIV status non-disclosure. R. v. D.C., 2012 SCC 48 (CanLII) and R. v. Mabior, 2012 SCC 47 (CanLII).

The second segment looks at the Canadian State’s most recent ruminations on Aboriginal Status. Eden Alexander presents the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, United States v. Leonard, 2012 ONCA 622 (CanLII). You may find, as did the learned Sharpe J.A., that this piece “shocks the conscience.”

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive of law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at]ckut.ca or check our podcast library for past programming.

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Funny Writing Styles – Bruni v Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568 (CanLII)

Family TIme

Who says Canadian Courts are boring?

[1]     Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.

[2]     This is yet another case that reveals the ineffectiveness of Family Court in a bitter custody/access dispute, where the parties require therapeutic intervention rather than legal attention. Here, a husband and wife have been marinating in a mutual hatred so intense as to surely amount to a personality disorder requiring treatment.

So begins the decision, Bruni v Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568 (CanLII), penned by Justice Quinn of the Ontario Superior Court. It is worth going through this piece of juridical writing – despite the lurid details of a messy family dispute, the Justice makes the decision readable and, well, entertaining.

[18]    Larry gave evidence that, less than one month later, Catherine, “Tried to run me over with her van.”[6]

Footnote: [6]  This is always a telltale sign that a husband and wife are drifting apart.

[90]    On another occasion in July of 2009, L said to T: “You put shit in this hand and shit in this hand, smack it together, what do you get? T.”[30]

Footnote [30]   I gather that this is L’s version of the Big Bang Theory.

 [91]    L explained in his evidence that his comments to T were anaemic attempts at humour. They were not intended to be hurtful. I accept his evidence. Mr. L correctly characterized L as a passive man who was not adept at responding to situations involving his post-separation daughter. It is to be remembered that, following separation, L was confronted with an angry, hurt, confused and rebellious daughter who had been receiving advanced animosity-tutoring from C. This would be a difficult situation for even the most talented and perceptive of fathers to overcome. Given L’s near-empty parenting toolbox, it is not surprising that he handled the matter awkwardly. Had C fulfilled her dual parental duty to foster and encourage access between Land T and not to speak disparagingly of him in the presence of T, I am confident that this case would have unfolded differently.

[…]

9.       Spousal support

[158]  I come now to the issue of spousal support, historically the roulette of family law (blindfolds, darts and Ouija boards being optional).

Footnotes

[2]               At one point in the trial, I asked C: “If you could push a button and make L disappear from the face of the earth, would you push it?” Her I-just-won-a-lottery smile implied the answer that I expected.

[3]               I am prepared to certify a class action for the return of all wedding gifts.

[26]             The New Shorter Oxford EnglishDictionary defines “dickhead” as “a stupid person.” That would not have been my first guess.

Canada’s Most Astonishing Courthouses

Old Supreme Court of Canada

At work today, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Old City Hall. So I decided to write a quick bit on Courthouses in Canada. There are at least 261 buildings in Canada designated heritage sites, so we have some ground to cover! We welcome additions, so please, if I overlook a magnificent / thoughtful building, please let me know.

Note: this post will double up as a link directly to the Court information of the particular Courthouse in question. That way, in case you randomly found this page in search of ‘useful’ information, all birds will have been killed.

1. Old City Hall, Ontario Court of Justice, Toronto, Ontario

Old City Hall, Toronto Archives, 1914

Even before being one of Canada’s most beautiful courthouses, Old City Hall makes the list as one of Canada’s most astonishing buildings. This court does mostly criminal – provincial and federal. Inside, you will find murals, stone work, stained glass, and remnants of its former self, the seat of municipal government for the City of Toronto. Absolutely beautiful, it is worth a stroll. This, coupled with the increasingly absurd treatment of criminals provides a fascinating vista into Canadian society. If ever in Toronto and so inclined, consult this online tour of the building to add nuance to a visit.

In the 2000s, CBC produced a show featuring a new criminal defence lawyer situated within Old City Hall. This is Wonderland ran for four seasons and, even though it is a comedy, gives a pretty accurate depiction of the every-day happenings at OCH.

2. Battleford Courthouse, Battleford, Saskatchewan

Welcome to Battleford

Unveiled 1785 – Like an fully-grown, old tree. This building is over 200 years and is still still simmering. Described as ” Romanesque Revival-style exterior.” The wikipedia article gives me lots of useful information. This building was formerly a trading post for Hudson’s Bay, post for the RCMP, and perhaps was even the seat of government, when the bustling metropolis of Battlefield was made capital of the North West Territories from 1877 to 1883. Indeed, the site is linked with the ignominious Red River Rebellions and several comrades of Louis Riel were probably executed at this site. For Canada approved history, look here; for critical history, look here.

Aside from standing as one of Canada’s oldest Courthouses, this building represents a relationship between First Nations peoples in Canada and White settler society. Thus, we find this building within the registry of buildings of Heritage Canada.

Talking Shop at Battleford

3. More to come…

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