Legal Feeds Blog
|Tech lawyer George Takach has launched a Geeks for George campaign to reach younger voters.|
Takach, who has practised law for 30 years and headed McCarthy’s tech group, has focused his campaign on what innovation can do for the economy and political engagement, earning him a title as the “e-Candidate.”
For Vancouver Crown prosecutor Alex Burton, the race, and possibly a Liberal Party leadership, is about creating jobs.
“I think everything else flows into that,” he says. “If you want to build a just society where people are included and welcome and prosperous and safe, that starts with making sure that they have a future. That means having jobs that can put food on the table, roof over their heads and hope for the future.”
Adding value to raw materials before shipping them abroad is one way to create jobs at home, he says.
A former assistant district attorney in New York, Burton sees many overlaps on the job descriptions of a prosecutor and politician.
“As a Crown prosecutor, you have to be able to take complex cases and make them simple to juries and judges,” he says. “You have to be able to advocate, you have to develop the skill of listening to other people. . . . I think that’s important for politicians and we don’t do it often enough.”
A career in law also connects you to the right people you’ll need in politics, says Takach.
“I know all the players, I know how to get collaborative projects done and I bring that directly into politics,” he says.
For starters, Takach wants “superfast Internet” throughout the country. He says Canada’s is simply not up to speed on the web.
“It’s starting to hold us back,” he says. “I’ve got clients who can’t do the things they want to do in terms of collaboration and working with partners around the world because our Internet is just not where it needs to be.”
On his agenda is also what he calls a digital bill of rights. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has to be updated to speak to the online world, he says.
Takach adds encouraging innovation will mean clean oil sand technology, more new start-ups every year and greater connection to the rest of the word. But tech also flows into engaging youth in politics, he says, and that’s why he’s launched the Geeks for George campaign.
“We estimated there are about 1.5 million computer gamers in this country, [who are] 18 to 35, and most of them currently don’t vote. They’re not interested,” he says. “So we’re going to reach out to them, we’re going to talk to them about a superfast Internet, we’re going to talk to them about a digital bill of rights,” he says.
Candidates with law background also include David Merner, Deborah Coyne, David Bertschi, and former MP Martha Hall Findlay.
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Photos: Heather Gardiner
McCague Borlack LLP associate Sandra Monardo (left) and Ellyn Law LLP senior associate Evelyn Perez Youssoufian.
Heenan Blaikie LLP associate Jackie VanDerMeulen (left) and Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP lawyer Shannon Beddoe.
Guests placed bids on items in the silent auction, with proceeds going to The Writers' Trust of Canada.
Amanda Lang, co-host of The Lang & O’Leary Exchange on CBC Television and senior business correspondent for CBC News, was the keynote speaker. She discussed her new book, The Power of Why.
Glorie Alfred, associate counsel at the Toronto District School Board, (left) and Maud Murray, legal counsel at the Procurement Law Office Professional Corp.
Representing Moodie Mair Walker LLP (l to r): articling student Jeanette O’Sullivan, associate Bronwyn Martin, and associate Taylor Casement.
It was not only women who came to show their support. McCarthy Tétrault LLP associate Daniel Wolski (left) and Robert Deckelbaum, vice president of Eat It Up Media, were a couple of the men who attended.
Urmi Chowdhury, a lawyer at Xtreme Labs Inc., (left) and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Esther Nwator.
Mike Malloy (left) and James Vause represented TransPerfect Translations International Inc., a sponsor of the event.
Young Women in Law board of directors (l to r): Danielle Traub, Jessica Catton, Stephanie King, Kellie Gray, Erica Young, Adrian Walrath, and Heela Donsky.
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|New legislation will allow electronic documents to be created and filed in Manitoba’s Provincial Court. (Photo: AJ Batac)|
Swan said the move would increase the speed of court processes compared with the predominantly paper-based current system.
“Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. We want to ensure that we use all the tools available to us to make the justice system more effective,” Swan said in a statement. ”We want our police to spend less time on paperwork and more time keeping our communities safe.”
Kathy Bueti, a senior partner at criminal defence firm Bueti-Wasyliw and Associates, is the designated defence counsel for a pilot project that plans to take advantage of the amendments, and says she can’t wait to get going.
“We’re hoping it’s going to expedite things, and save a lot of time in the filing of documents. Instead of sending someone out to the courthouse, to stand in line and file the documents with the staff, you’re going to be able to do it electronically from your desk,” says Bueti. “This is a project that’s been in the works for 10 to 20 years, with the aim of getting a paperless courtroom. We’re finally entering the endgame, where some of the ideas are getting implemented, so it’s exciting times.”
The pilot project is in association with Legal Data Resources (Manitoba) Corporation (http://www.ldrc.org/), a non-profit established by the Law Society of Manitoba, which previously led an effort to install Wi-Fi systems in courts for lawyers.
“The documents go to the court’s central registry, just as they would if you went there in person,” says Bueti. “It’s exactly the same document, except it’s getting there in a different way. The first filing was done in the last couple of months as a test.”
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|A Ministry of Labour prosecution hasn’t resulted in the imprisonment of a corporate director for several years. (photo: Shutterstock)|
In fact, a Ministry of Labour prosecution hasn’t resulted in the imprisonment of a corporate director for several years.
The six companies owned and operated by Steve Blondin include Steven’s Inc. of Orangeville, Ont., Axcea International Inc. of Toronto, Automotive Containment Solutions Inc. of Concord, Ont., Automotive CSI Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ont., Automotive CSI — Alliston Inc., and Automotive CSI — Newmarket Inc.
Between March 2007 and October 2009, 61 employees from the six companies operated by Blondin filed claims with the Ministry of Labour for unpaid wages. An investigation by the ministry found wages were owed to all 61 employees.
Between February 2008 and April 2010, an employment standards officer issued 113 orders to the six companies and Blondin to pay over $125,000. None of the orders were paid.
However the penalties levied shouldn’t get company directors in Ontario concerned that the ministry necessarily has its sights set on them.
“This doesn’t mean it is open season on directors,” says Jason Beeho, a partner at Rubin Thomlinson. “There have always been provisions in the act for director liability and penalty. I think the sheer number of employees involved and the number of orders suggest the ministry was taking this very seriously.”
Nikfarjam says a director can be guilty of an offence if he or she fails to comply with an order to pay is issued by the Ministry of Labour. If guilty, a director can face monetary fines of up to $50,000 per offence, as well as imprisonment for up to 12 months.
Blondin and each company pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the ministry’s orders.
In addition to the jail term and fines totaling $280,000, the Ontario Court of Justice ordered Blondin and his companies earlier this month to pay the wages owing to the employees along with a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act.
The sentences were imposed by Justice of the Peace Vladimir Bubrin in Toronto.
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“I very much regret the events of that day,” said Chisvin, who added the events of that day have had a profound effect on his personal and professional life.
Chisvin admitted misconduct before the Ontario Judicial Council this morning at a hearing chaired by Justice Robert Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal and heard by fellow panel members Derry Millar, Ontario Court Justice Deborah Livingstone, and community member Anish Chopra. He has been in the hot seat for dismissing “for want of prosecution at least 33 criminal charges, involving 10 accused persons that were before” him on July 21, 2011. Chisvin became impatient after a Crown prosecutor was late in returning to court for the day’s proceedings.
His actions prompted a number of complaints, including from the Ministry of the Attorney General. But his defence lawyer, Brian Greenspan, noted Chisvin was under significant stress that day, the details of which were provided to counsel in a “confidential way” in order to protect his and his family’s privacy.
Greenspan noted Chisvin has since sought counseling and noted his client’s excellent reputation within the profession. “This was not simply a good judge who had a bad day,” said Greenspan, who added his client is “an exceptional judge” who “had a very bad day.”
As for the disposition, presenting counsel Marie Henein noted the panel’s options include a reprimand all the way to removal from office. But she called on the panel to consider a combination of options ranging from a reprimand to suspension with or without pay. For his part, Greenspan urged the panel to consider a reprimand and a warning about future conduct. The panel has now recessed to consider the submissions.
Update, 5 p.m.: This afternoon, the hearing reconvened for the panel's disposition. In a ruling delivered by Sharpe, the panel issued Chisvin a reprimand and a warning against future misconduct.
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Gail J. Cohen