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Voting Card Woes

My husband and I received our voting cards for the upcoming Federal Election. Much to our surprise we were in different constituencies. It seemed a bit incongruous that we would potentially have different MPs and yet live in the same house.

I decided to check out the Elections Canada website for a remedy. I am happy to report that there is a great deal of information on the site, with the ability to lookup voter information through the voter information service. Unfortunatley, I now live on the ambiguously described line between two electoral districts. A down side to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Environmental Investigation Agency

Thanks to a video on the New Yorker website, I’ve learned about the London- and Washington D.C.-based Environmental Investigation Agency. Not a governmental bureau in any sense, the EIA tackles environmental crime through a variety of means, often clandestine or with the efforts of a network of — one hesitates to say spies or moles — people who have day jobs inside government and industry. Currently the EIA has three campaigns, Species in Peril, Global Climate, and Forests for the World.

It’s in connection with this last campaign that Raffi Khatchadourian wrote “The Stolen Forests, The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Wigging Out

Today’s the day that most British judges go bare-headed into court. All save the criminal court judges will appear sans wigs, as the style changes introduced some months ago go into effect.

Part of the change includes new, modernized judicial robes designed by British fashion designer Betty Jackson. Her take on the traditional involves scrapping the wing collars, bands and voluminous robes for more streamlined robes — with pockets, no less — a Nehru collar, and coloured strips of cloth on the breast reminiscent of bands, the colour — gold, red or lilac — indicating place in the hierarchy.

There . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Goudge Commission Report on Rogue Pathologist Who Sent Innocents to Jail

The Goudge Commission into the activities of renegade Ontario pathologist Dr. Charles Smith published its much anticipated report today.

In late April 2007, the chief coroner of Ontario published a report that concluded Smith, a former leading Ontario child pathologist, had botched at least 20 autopsies involving the deaths of children.

That announcement cast doubt on 13 criminal convictions based on Smith’s testimony. Courts have since then reviewed a number of those wrongful convictions.

In the report, Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge:

  • found that Dr. Smith “actively misled” his superiors, “lacked basic knowledge about forensic pathology” and “made false and misleading
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Morality of Plagiarism

Language Log has a good post on the recent Harper-plagiarism brouhaha, which you can read about on Canadian Press or BBC News. The BBC piece republishes the Liberal Party ad that graphically shows the parallels between Harper’s speech and that of the Australian Prime Minister at the time. But Language Log takes the audio feeds and overlaps them so that you can hear the similarity more or less simultaneously. More important, Mark Liberman explores the issue of copying in the political arena and compares it to that in the academic world, finding useful differences. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Cloud Computing Controversy

We see the term “cloud computing” a lot these days. Its a term that’s hard to define – like Web 2.0. It essentially means having your software work “out there” somewhere, and/or your data reside “out there” somewhere – rather than on a computer in your own home or office. Think of it as commoditized outsourcing. The term is sometimes used to include SAAS and other concepts, and sometimes in a much more limited way. From a legal point of view, the issues and risks for using any flavour of cloud computing are the same – although the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Global Legal Monitor Revamped Again

The Global Legal Monitor, a publication of the Law Library of Congress, has been posted about on Slaw here and here and other posts as well. Today, the Law Librarian Blog reports that this useful service is no longer a monthly pdf, but rather a continually updated website with an RSS feed. Thanks Law Library of Congress! Hat tip to Ron Jones. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Beer Law

We talk occasionally on Slaw of wine law — and that’s as it should be. But beer is also a tipple close to my heart, and so I was pleased to learn that a brew I like will be available for sale in Ontario’s Liquor Control Board stores, and not just on draught at pubs that are hard to find. The beer in question comes from the remarkable Scotch Irish Brewing Company of eastern Ontario, makers of the wonderfully bitter Sgt. Major IPA (here I forbear from going into a digression on the history India pale ales and their need . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

CBA on Securing Laptops to Cross U.S. Border

The Canadian Bar Assocation’s Practice Link has a substantial and practical article by Luigi Benetton, “How to Secure Your Laptop Before Crossing the Border.” Benetton sets out ten steps you can and should take if you’re planning to travel to the U.S. with a laptop used in your practice:

  1. Be Anonymous [… which is not a sure thing, hence… ]
  2. Travel with a “Bare” Computer
  3. Turn Off Your Computer, Early
  4. Back Up Your Data
  5. Use a Different User Account to Hold Sensitive Information
  6. Partition and Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive
  7. Protect FireWire Ports
  8. Store Data on Small Devices
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Shirky on Filters Over Information Overload

Joe Hodnicki over at the Law Librarian Blog shared this Clay Shirky presentation last week. The title of the talk was “It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure“.

I’m with Joe here. This kind of thinking works on so many different levels. And perhaps someone, someday, will use a Guinness with Shirky as their contest prize. Would hook me in, anyway. :)


. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Internet and Proof of Foreign Law

Has the Internet changed our practices on the proof of foreign law?

Canadian lawyers and judges are, almost by definition, comparativists. We take for granted from the start of our careers that we may have to look to English law, or American or Australian. Civilistes look at French doctrine, to Planiol, Tunc or the Encyclopedie Galloz.

One doesn’t need to spend much time in Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s wonderful collection at the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize the importance of comparative law to that court. Homage to Claire L’Heureux-Dube.

Our judges would regard as odd the debate between Justices Tony Kennedy . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Canada’s Do-Not-Call System Starts

As the Ottawa Citizen reminds us, the new national do-not-call system goes into effect this Tuesday:

Canadians fed up with unsolicited telemarketers will be able to register Tuesday on a national do-not-call list established by Canada’s telecommunications regulator and operated by Bell Canada… Residents can register their home and cellphone numbers to block unwanted telemarketers…

The number to call is 1-866-580-3625. The CRTC sign-up page for the do-not-call list is here. It will take up to a month for the telemarketers to comply.

Note that, as the CRTC acknowledges, this will only “reduce the number” of calls, because the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology