Two stories caught my attention recently and got me thinking about the effectiveness of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the body in charge of regulating lawyers. As will be clear from other posts, I have a fairly low regard for the LSUC, but I think these two stories give a good illustration as to why.
Jeffrey Goldberg has a great piece in the Atlantic today about the coverage of, and the response to, the Gaza war. Why is it, he asks, that the war in Gaza is covered in exquisite detail by news agencies around the world while a far bloodier war, right next door to Israel in Syria, rages on.
“I was struck, over the weekend, by the lack of coverage of the Syrian civil war, in which the death count recently passed 170,000. By Sunday night, it had become clear that the weekend in toll in Syria would stand at roughly 700 dead—a larger number, obviously, than the weekend toll in Gaza (and more than the total number of deaths in this latest iteration of the Gaza war to date.) I tweeted the following in response to this news out of Syria: “I sincerely hope the @nytimes covers the slaughter in Syria – 700 dead in 48 hours – in tomorrow’s paper. Very important story as well.”
This was my sincere hope, and it was to my sincere surprise that Monday’s newspaper contained no information whatsoever about the weekend slaughter in Syria.”
Ouch, the Gray Lady had that coming.
So the Israelis and the Palestinians are at it again. Here it is, a nice sunny summer, and they’ve got nothing better to do than try (none too successfully, in the case of the Palestinians) to kill one another. Somethings never change. Another thing that never changes is the chorus of critics of Israel lamenting it “disproportionate” attacks on Palestinians. Anytime Israel goes to war with its neighbours, it’s accused of inflicting “disproportionate” casualties on their civilian populations or, and it amounts to the same thing, of a “disproportionate” response, most notably by the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Continue reading “A Question for Israel’s Critics – What Number of Dead Palestinians is Proportionate?”
The Globe and Mail has a story about noted serial killer, rapist, and general piece-o-shit, Paul Bernardo and his apparent bride-to-be. Wait, bride? WTF?
According to the Globe, this young woman has fallen in love with Paul Bernardo and plans to marry him. According to the story:
The parents said their university-educated daughter “had a number of bad relationships that undermined her self-esteem despite her brilliance. She is looking for someone who will love her unconditionally.”
According to her parents, the woman is convinced of his innocence and asked her pastor about forgiveness.
Sweetheart, if you want unconditional love, you buy a puppy. At worst, he’ll piddle on you carpets. Heck, if you want to live dangerously, buy a pit bull puppy. You don’t marry a convicted serial killer.
The sick thing is, this isn’t uncommon. Apparently, Bernardo has received letters for years from various smitten young woman, and the phenomenon of inmates attracting the affections of (persumably) desperate woman is well know. I swear to god, I’ll never understand woman.
Finally, what does it say about the straight men in the London area that this (evidently disturbed) young woman would rather take her chances with a murderous psychopath than with them. Time to up your game, boys.
I read this piece in the Globe by Semra Sevi this morning making the case for why Canadian citizens who reside outside of Canada for more than 5-years should be entitled to vote in Federal elections. This is response to the federal government’s appeal of a recent Ontario Superior Court decision in Frank et al. v. AG Canada striking down provisions of the Elections Act which precluded Canadian citizens living outside of Canada for more than 5-years from voting in federal elections. Both the policy and legal arguments for allowing such citizens to vote are misplaced and ignore the local nature of Canadian democracy. Continue reading “No, damnit, Non-Residents Canadians shouldn’t get to vote in Canadian Elections”
Sheema Khan had an interesting article in the Globe today, on the need for Islam to reform to reflect the 21st century in light of the recent incident in Sudan where a young pregnant woman, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, was sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy, allegedly for abandoning her Islamic faith to become a Christian. Ms. Ibrahim has since been released, no doubt due to the massive international backlash her sentence triggered. In her piece, Ms. Khan tries to make the case that sentencing Mr. Ibrahim to death for apostacy is not in accordance with “true” Islam, and only by returning to the true roots of Islam can Muslims advance into the 21st century. In doing so, however, she (unintentionally, no doubt) makes a damning critique both of modern Islam and modern Muslims. Continue reading “The Trouble with Islam? Or the Trouble with Muslims?”
This morning we learned that an Egyptian court – a kangaroo court, if ever there was one – after what can only be characterized as a farce of a trial, had convicted Mohammed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian Al-Jazeera reporter, on “terrorism-related” charges and sentenced him to 7 years in prison. That the conviction was preordained is undeniable. This can probably be taken for granted anywhere in the Arab world, but even by the low standards of the region, this trial was a joke. Apparently, Egypt defines “terrorism” as saying unflattering, if accurate, things about its shit-hole government (that the current shit-hole government isn’t much worse (or better) than its predecessor shit-hole government, is really neither here nor there). Still, Mr. Fahmy’s conviction in itself, isn’t all that interesting – after all, did anyone really expect a fair trial?
What’s more interesting has been the response of some of Mr. Fahmy’s family and supporters, who have been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Fahmy’s brother’s, Sherif, tweeted Stephen Harper:
I hold you responsible for leaving my brother to rotten in Egyptian prison. Was a call or a public statement that difficult?
Or Tony Burman, columnist for the Toronto Star who said:
The absence of the highest level of intervention, on behalf of the Canadian government has been lamentable. But, there is a chance for reversal…It’s now time for Canada’s prime minister to indicate to Egypt that enough is enough.
More in this vein can be seen here.
I’m not sure why I actually care about the Trinity Western University (“TWU“) law school (which I’ve written about ad nauseum, here, here and, most recently, here) or whether or not it gets accredited by the provincial law societies. I went to a proper law school (UofT) and frankly would rather spend my weekend at the local gay pride parade than at bible study with the TWU grads. Yet, here I am, defending TWU. In part, though, I think its the fact that, as a lawyer, I’m offended by the by shabby, misleading, and plain stupid legal arguments being made against TWU.
I guess being the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC“) means you aren’t compelled to comply with silly little rules… like the law. How else can one explain the appalling decision of the LSUC to refuse to accredit the proposed new law school at Trinity Western University (“TWU“)?
Before I start, I’m going to stake out my bias here. I hate the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the organization responsible for regulating lawyers in Ontario. Not because I’ve had any problems with them, but because, in my experience, there are
few no public organizations as inept, incompetent and clueless as the LSUC. Everything they do, they do badly. They are the living embodiment of the old maxim that: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t do, regulate”. When I went through the bar admissions program, they handed around material that was outdated and wrong (badly, badly wrong). The bar admissions exam was a fiasco – the exam itself was filled with typos and spelling errors, and the organization was so poor it ran twice as long as it was scheduled to run and almost resulted in a riot. Every year I have to fill out to two separate annual reports at two different times, rather than filing a single report at the same time (ok, this is a petty complaint, but you know, even the tax man doesn’t make me file two tax returns). Even in their principal role of protecting the public from unscrupulous lawyers, it’s not clear that it is particularly competent (witness the recent Heydary fiasco, where the LSUC stepped in only after a lawyer allegedly disappeared with $3 million of his client’s money).
So, against that background, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that the LSUC would do something to completely fuck this year’s class of law school graduates. And yet… even as jaded I am, I was shocked by the announcement that the LSUC was DOUBLING licensing fees for students to become lawyers in the province of Ontario to almost $5000.