Canadians might have been forgiven for thinking, when the election was called way back in August, that an 11-week campaign would give the parties plenty of time to discuss all the issues. But at about the halfway mark, it seems a lot of things are being left unsaid: some ask, where’s the discussion on healthcare? On Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis? On access to justice? On plans to fill the legislative gap following the Supreme Court’s Carter decision?
At the August Council meeting that preceded the CBA Legal Conference in Calgary, members passed a resolution calling on the CBA to urge the government to amend the Criminal Code to align with Carter and to urge provincial and territorial governments to pass harmonizing legislation to establish “clear pathways for timely access to physician-assisted dying” along with clear procedural safeguards and a system of oversight.
The high court gave the government a year to rewrite the law to make it legal for doctors to help terminally ill and mentally competent people end their lives.
On August 14 Darren Greer, an award-winning author from Nova Scotia, sent a call out to his Facebook friends looking for those willing to donate time or money to an identification clinic.
“I'm looking to start an ID clinic here in Halifax, helping the homeless get ID so they can vote in October (and vote according to the dictates of their own conscience),” wrote Greer. “We'll need about 500 dollars to get a birth certificate and provincial photo ID for ten people to start. If you're interested in helping out, either financially or with some of the leg work, let me know. If this 10 goes well we'll keep doing it.”
Part of the impetus for the ID clinic was the passage of the Fair Elections Act, which critics have said will make it more difficult for people in marginalized communities, those without money for or easy access to the government identification that will now need to be shown at the polling station, to vote.
About 20 years ago, when Provincial Court of Alberta Family and Youth Court judge Todd Larochelle was in practice, a client who was seeking divorce discussed with him the possibility of getting a restraining order against her spouse – she was afraid he might become violent. She decided not to get a restraining order and Larochelle went off on vacation to Hawaii. Two weeks later when he came back, he found out that the husband had indeed become violent; he had come to Larochelle’s office first looking for him, then went to his wife’s office and killed her, then camped outside the family home, waiting for the children with the intention of killing them. Police surrounded and killed him first.
Larochelle still has trouble going on vacation, he told a panel discussion on compassion fatigue at the CBA Legal Conference in Calgary.
Much of litigation is acting, actor, comedian, former McInnis Cooper lawyer and all-round interesting Haligonian Bob Mann, told a standing-room only crowd at the CBA Legal Conference in Calgary on Saturday.
In his presentation, titled Think on Your Feet – Present Like a Pro, Mann said litigating is in a way like theatre, where litigators are the actors putting on a planned performance, a show. It’s not lying, it’s trying to present something in the best way you can present it.
Len Brody is no futurist. He made that point clear during his keynote presentation to the CBA Legal Conference in Calgary on Saturday.
If someone calls himself a futurist, stop listening to him, said Brody, the founder of five startups and counting. It’s only really possible to see 720 days into the future, he said.
But that being said, he was pretty clear on what needs to be the future of the legal profession: planned self-destruction.
Kim Covert is a writer and editor at the CBA. / Kim Covert est rédactrice et éditorialiste à l’ABC.