The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy


The changing face of cyber-security

By Yves Faguy May 6, 2013 6 May 2013

I recently caught up with Ronald Deibert, head of Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, at the Spring Conference of the CCCA in Toronto last month. He was part of a fascinating panel discussion on how both public and private organizations must cope with increasing attacks on their cyber infrastructure. We’ll be showing a few clips of our interview with him over the coming days. Here he gives us a sense of how dramatically the cyber-security environment has changed over the last few years:


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So, what was jury duty like?

By Yves Faguy May 1, 2013 1 May 2013

Jamie O’Meara, a Montreal journalist, never thought he’d be selected for jury duty. But he loved it. The best part:

Within a remarkably short frame of time, I felt that I’d made 11 new and very unlikely friends. The jury was drawn from every corner of Montreal, and many diverse walks of life. People you’d never normally have any occasion to speak with or learn about. It was wonderful. We were on a journey, 12 total strangers, working in very close quarters, and our relationships with one another — the level of mutual trust and respect — would play a key role in the execution of our duty.

You’d be excused for thinking that 12 people with not a lot in common might find conversation awkward. Not so. Within just a few short days of getting to know one another, a veritable hot stove of regular go-to topics emerged, including the Habs, favourite celebrity chefs, Game of Thrones, party recipes, zombies vs. not zombies, amateur wrestling and child-rearing tactics (not so different from amateur wrestling it turns out). Debating the relative physical merits of the uncommonly hot male and female crown attorneys was also a popular pastime.

And in case the lawyers think they’re fooling anyone:

The lawyers on either side are constantly trying to read you. You always know when they’ve revealed a key plank of their prosecution or defence because they’ll look over to see if you’re paying attention and to gauge your reaction. At trial’s end, you will have lost your jury cherry, but gained a professional-level poker face.

Do yourself a favour and read the whole thing.

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Mulcair, the Supreme Court and the Patriation allegations

By Yves Faguy April 29, 2013 29 April 2013

Catherine McKenna and Adam Goldberg are most unpleased with Thomas Mulcair for declaring last week that the Supreme Court of Canada “had no intention all along of ever dealing” seriously with the allegations surrounding the Patriation Reference:

It is one thing for a political leader to disagree with a court’s judicial opinion. It is quite another to question its good faith.

Last week, the Leader of the Opposition did the latter. Mulcair did not merely suggest that the Supreme Court had left too many stones unturned — he also implied that it did so intentionally. That the internal investigation was itself a remarkable step — the court typically ignores political posturing from people like Mulcair — seems to have been lost on the NDP.

True, this was not a full judicial inquiry, but nor should it have been. Mulcair is a lawyer. He knows — or should know — that the high court is not a detective agency. It does not launch inquiries. It reviews questions of law, not insinuations of fact. Nor does it answer to politicians, and rightly so.

(More after the jump)

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Our justice system falling short

By Yves Faguy April 26, 2013 26 April 2013

One of the goals of the CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice initiative is to include community voices and perspectives in identifying the shortfalls of our legal system. It’s part of the attempt to define what “equal justice” is and what our justice system should look like. Through a series of consultations and interviews with people on the street, the Access to Justice Committee reached out to representatives of marginalized communities to learn more about their experience of justice and how they would define equal justice. Here is a sample of their comments:

"Justice is to protect us, not to abuse us. It has been used to overpower or manipulate us." (Aboriginal woman, Saskatoon)

"I feel intimidated and bullied by the legal system." (domestic violence survivor)

"To me, legal rights are an unfulfilled promise." (person with disability, Toronto)

"The information that we need should be provided. You are made dependent on the system, because you don’t know what to do." (Aboriginal woman, Saskatoon)

"I was referred to a website, but good luck dissecting that! How do people do it? The website wasn’t user friendly at all." (single mother, Moncton)

"My experience overall is that I had to spend entirely too much time trying to figure out the steps, the process, and the players. I often felt like I was given a jigsaw puzzle but all the pieces were the same size and there was no colour or picture and I couldn’t figure out how to put them together." (BC resident)

"There should be a place that everyone should know about. If you have a legal issue, you can go explain your situation, and they would tell you where to go, YWCA, website, etc. A sort of triage service to get you on the right track. Right now, it’s all disjointed, and hit or miss." (single mother, Moncton)

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Envisioning equal justice

By Yves Faguy April 25, 2013 25 April 2013

Today begins the Envisioning Equal Justice Summit in Vancouver, which we'll be covering. You'll find the agenda here. The event, organized by the CBA’s Access to Justice Committee, is bringing together stakeholders in our justice system from across Canada. They’ll be looking carefully at problems among low- and middle-income Canadians and marginalized communities in gaining access to legal services and advice. Melina Buckley, the chair of the committee, is heading that initiative. Here she is explaining how this initiative marks a departure from past efforts at solving an issue that can at times seem insoluble:

Over the course of the next couple of days and in the months to come, you will hear plenty more about the initiative. Hopefully the event will help us better understand the needs of our justice system's stakeholders and guide the CBA in its future advocacy initiatives on the access to justice front.

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