The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Omar Ha-Redeye

Closing argument

Lawyers will pay our fair share of tax – if others do too

By Omar Ha-Redeye December 7, 2017 7 December 2017

Lawyers will pay our fair share of tax – if others do too

 

Selling more taxes is rarely a popular political move, especially in difficult financial times. But even if we don’t like them, taxes remain necessary.

An effective justice system could be described as a hallmark of a civilized society. Without legal institutions, individuals and businesses lack effective conflict resolution systems. Not only does this create uncertainty for capital investment and commercial activities, but, at worst, these disputes can devolve into violence.

Maintaining a legal system that works effectively, however, does not happen without significant support from government in the form of administrative services and other funding. For this reason, there is a deep and necessary relationship between the legal profession and the payment of taxes.

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Closing argument

Cleaning the cobwebs – and some outdated presumptions – from the Criminal Code

By Omar Ha-Redeye September 15, 2017 15 September 2017

Cleaning the cobwebs – and some outdated presumptions – from the Criminal Code

 

The federal government is finally doing some housekeeping of the Criminal Code with Bill C-51. It may find some hidden cobwebs – and according to some, there may even be monsters under the bed.

The Criminal Code is a place where old, obsolete, or even unconstitutional laws languish in purgatory. Most governments have been content to simply ignore these outdated provisions, knowing that most would never actually be used. The result is a long, rambling and sometimes unnecessarily confusing statute.

Sometimes, the Code is sufficiently complicated to confuse even the judges. 

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Closing argument

Standing up for vulnerable litigants

By Omar Ha-Redeye June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

Standing up for vulnerable litigants

 

It is very easy to turn a blind eye to areas of law that fall outside of our professional expertise. This is especially true of family law – but it would be a mistake to do so because we have a shared interest in ensuring the system functions properly.

By all accounts, family law is in crisis right across Canada; some courts report that between 60 and 70 per cent of litigants represent themselves. As the CBA’s Equal Justice Report notes, self-represented parties typically experience poorer outcomes. The cost of family law trials, however, means litigation is inaccessible for everyone except the very rich or the very poor.

That’s not to say family law hasn’t changed for the better in some ways. It has adapted to reflect changing social norms, including reforms geared to the realities of same-sex couples, surrogacy laws and changing family dynamics. 

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Closing argument

Privacy and prejudice in the genetic age

By Omar Ha-Redeye March 15, 2017 15 March 2017

Privacy and prejudice in the genetic age

 

Imagine a dystopian future where genetically engineered babies give rise to a superior strain of humans who eventually dominate the world. Naturally conceived children are perceived as substandard and pushed to the fringes of civilized society.

It’s what we imagine when we watch science fiction films. But with the mapping of the human genome, and greater identification of specific genes that give rise to a medical predisposition, it’s a reality that some are taking very seriously.

In 2008, the U.S. introduced the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), legislation intended to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on a genetic profile and prohibit the use of such information in making hiring, promotion or firing decisions.

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Closing argument

Let 'em in!

By Omar Ha-Redeye December 6, 2016 6 December 2016

Let 'em in!

 

Give me your tired, your poor.

These words have served to welcome generations of immigrants to the U.S. Increasingly though, Canada is becoming the destination of choice. But the numbers it has welcomed in the past will pale in contrast to those we can expect to hear knocking on our door in years to come.

Natural disasters, food and water shortages, and desertification linked to climate change – to which the wealthiest countries are the greatest contributors – often manifest as civil instability. Widespread domestic conflict will push people out of their homes just to live. This shift can best be described as “survival migration.”

Together these factors will ensure that Canada, a nation built by immigrants, will be asked to receive an unprecedented number of immigrants and refugees in the next 100 years. Unfortunately many of our immigration laws, settlement policies – not to mention public opinion – are just not prepared for these changes.

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Omar Ha-Redeye practices out of Fleet Street Law in Toronto. He is a Professor at Ryerson University and Centennial College. He sits on the board of directors of the OBA and co-chairs its Young Lawyers Division.

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