politics

  • The carbon tax - Waiting for peace, order and good government

    May 20, 2019

    The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal found the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act constitutional. The court also proclaimed that climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is one of the great existential issues of our time.

  • A step forward or new concerns? Examining the proposed Trade-marks Act

    May 20, 2019

    The proposed Trademarks Act is a significant departure from the current Trade-marks Act. Trademark lawyers in Ontario should realize how it will impact their practice and subsequently how they advise their clients.

  • Rough start for remediation agreements

    Rough start for remediation agreements

    Apr 30, 2019

    The proper use of newly minted remediation agreements was always going to be a judgment call. Now it appears judgment may have been seriously lacking in what would have been the very first application of a new Criminal Code amendment allowing corporations to avoid prosecution.

  • Ontario's legal aid cuts leave David unarmed against Goliath

    Apr 22, 2019

    Last week, the Ontario budget slashed funding to Legal Aid Ontario by over 30 per cent. Adding to the cruelty, the $133 million cut takes effect immediately – there was no advanced notice. And to make matters even worse the province has directed LAO that no provincial money can be used to cover immigration and refugee law, leaving that program with a staggering and unexpected $45 million shortfall.

  • The ban on surreptitiously recording conversations must apply to all lawyers

    Apr 8, 2019

    Under Section 7.2(3) of the B.C. Code of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is prohibited from using any device to record a conversation between the lawyer and a client or another lawyer even if lawful, without first informing the other person of the intention to do so. The language is virtually identical for lawyers in Ontario and other provinces and a breach of this rule is a breach of a lawyer’s ethical duties and could conceivably lead to a fine, or in very extreme cases, suspension or disbarment.

  • The legality and morality of covert phone-call-recording

    Apr 8, 2019

    Just because there is not a law prohibiting an act does not make that act right or moral. Criminality should not and cannot represent the line of propriety in politics. A defence that no law was broken is usually the last line of defence for the morally bankrupt. So the real question is if Wilson-Raybould’s actions were moral? Was taping the conversation the right thing to do?

  • The politics of shaping clouds

    Mar 25, 2019

    Clouds offer us an opportunity to see things differently, sometimes only what we want to see and too often what others want us to see. This is happening in our world, especially in politics, in social media and in our day-to-day interactions. Clouds of incivility, mistrust and misinformation are shaping opinions, perspectives, driving us apart and far away from a clear picture.

  • SNC-Lavalin affair raises the issue of the role of former judges

    Mar 25, 2019

    The SNC-Lavalin scandal has proven to be an insatiable beast with tentacles reaching deep into the political and legal worlds — perhaps even as far as the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Gerald Butts' quarrel with Jody Wilson-Raybould's evidence falls short

    Mar 11, 2019

    Gerald Butts came to the justice committee not to bury Canada’s former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould but to praise her. He told the committee that he was not going to “quarrel” with Wilson-Raybould’s evidence and pledged not to say a “single negative word about her.” And then he did just that.

  • Scandal and matriarchy: How Jody Wilson-Raybould makes me want to be a better lawyer

    Mar 4, 2019

    There were so many standout moments from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony before the House of Commons Justice Committee on Feb. 27. But, for me, one line stood out the most: “I come from a long line of matriarchs and I am a truth teller in accordance with the laws and traditions of our Big House — this is who I am and who I will always be.”

  • SNC-Lavalin, Wilson-Raybould and a sad state of affairs

    Feb 25, 2019

    We don’t know what actually happened to create such a tsunami of uninformed accusations, but it is time to stop, take a breath and end the careless accusations that are damaging institutions and individuals.

  • The real scandal in the SNC-Lavalin affair

    Feb 25, 2019

    Last week, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick delivered some jaw-dropping evidence at the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing into allegations that inappropriate political pressure was directed at former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to cut SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart deal.

  • SNC-Lavalin controversy could contain key to Wilson-Raybould's shortcomings

    Feb 11, 2019

    Maybe I was wrong all along. Maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, was honestly trying to follow through on the government’s progressive pre-election justice promises.

  • Goodale owes hero, not public-safety threat, an apology

    Dec 17, 2018

    Through his bureaucrats, and by signing the decision directly, Ralph tried to do Than Soe harm for an act of profound heroism 29 years ago.

  • Truth and nothing but the truth

    Nov 26, 2018

    I suspect there is no more often misused word in the English language than “truth.”

  • After the destructive fool's errand of pot prohibition, expungement now!

    Oct 22, 2018

    Last week, the Liberal government, in a rare move, almost followed through on a key election promise. Marijuana is now legal in Canada — sort of.

  • Giving thanks (sort of) - Canadian politics, from a west-coast vantage point

    Oct 22, 2018

    The weather has given me cause for thanks during the six-week interregnum between Canadian and American Thanksgivings.

  • Out of Africa and the interdependent circle of life

    Oct 15, 2018

    My journey to South Africa has ended, but the memories invite further dispatches, this time from home.

  • Among Premier's influencers and the AG's true role, Mulroney is absent

    Sep 24, 2018

    In the end, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney may have prevailed in the Court of Appeal, but she certainly has nothing to celebrate.

  • Place of Good Hope - dispatches from South Africa

    Sep 24, 2018

    More than 500 years later, as I write from Cape Town, South Africa, a positive attitude, perhaps vision, seems very much a part of the fabric of this beautiful land some refer to as paradise.