A free speech ruling that celebrates (of all things) free speech

Maxime Bernier launched a defamation lawsuit against former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella

A free speech ruling that celebrates (of all things) free speechCanada respects the principle of free speech. Unfortunately, our governments often have a love-hate relationship with this important personal freedom. They’ve created several restrictions and barriers that have, at times, made speech appear to be far less free. Yet, a recent – and important – free speech ruling may be one of those rare birds…

The making of the West

Rome’s influence continues to cast a light over Western life and culture

The making of the WestWestern civilization is constantly under fire these days, accused of causing many of the ills that affect modern society. Many blame aggressive Western capitalism for generating a culture of greed and destroying the environment. Certainly, the most hurtful criticism of the West relates to imperialism. Admittedly, the West has been expansive over the past few…

Murray Sinclair to receive honorary degree from U of A

Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair will give a virtual address during fall convocation

Murray Sinclair to receive honorary degree from U of AThe Honourable Murray Sinclair, the first Indigenous judge in Manitoba and the driving force behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, will deliver the commencement address virtually to graduands as part of the University of Alberta’s fall convocation ceremony to be held Nov. 19. Sinclair is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. “On…

Defence lawyer pulls no punches in new memoir

Marie Henein is unapologetic and controversial, largely due to her defence of Jian Ghomeshi

Defence lawyer pulls no punches in new memoirIf you buy criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein’s new memoir hoping for the inside scoop on her high profile cases, you’ll be disappointed. Ethically, she considers those details off limits, confined there by the parameters of the lawyer-client relationship. However interesting the stories might be, Henein believes they aren’t hers to tell. They belong to…

Alberta judge’s anti-free speech ruling must be challenged

Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain's ruling hostile to a free and democratic society

Alberta judge’s anti-free speech ruling must be challengedPolitically determined public health guidelines during the covid-19 pandemic have come with a cost. Governments have defined essential and non-essential services, ostensibly to ensure Canadians have access to food. Not all can afford essential services food – that’s a story for another day – so food banks have remained open alongside grocery sellers. Several non-essential…

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?

Ten ways you might be cheated and what you can do to reduce your risk

Is your company being ripped off by your employees?James and John came into my office one day and were noticeably shaken. James had just come from the accountant and learned that his business had lost $400,000 in the previous year. In obvious disbelief, he asked if I could help him figure out what the problem was. In our discussion it came out that…

Systemic racism is embedded in our economy

We pass laws for unjust taxes, reward unscrupulous businesses and hold money back from our children

Systemic racism is embedded in our economyIn a 2016 interview, CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge confronted children’s advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock with this statement regarding public funding for Indigenous programs: “Billions of dollars have been spent in trying to come to grips with the situation that so many Indigenous Canadians face. And of those billions, it’s on the record that some of…

Defiant preachers defending our constitutional rights

A new generation of preachers is following in William Penn's footsteps by defending our constitutional freedoms

Defiant preachers defending our constitutional rightsFor the defiant act of holding church services despite public health orders, Alberta pastors James Coates, Tim Stephens and Art Pawlowski were arrested and jailed. Some, including those within the faith, think the pastors should acquiesce to the government edicts. These people forget that it was similar defiance by devout Quaker William Penn that established…

Vandalizing Emily Murphy for no good reason

Was the icon of feminism really a racist?

Vandalizing Emily Murphy for no good reasonOh, dear, the statue-defacing vigilantes are at it again! One of the latest targets is erstwhile Canadian feminist icon Emily Murphy (no relation). Her Edmonton statue got the red paint treatment in mid-July. Predictably, the ‘racist’ epithet was deployed. Indeed, the National Post’s news story went beyond merely noting the racist allegation. It accepted it…

No Senate reform without public engagement

Allowing politicians alone to change the Senate creates a system that suits their interests ahead of the common good

No Senate reform without public engagementCanada needs to finally have a broad conversation about Senate reform before politicians and interest groups transform the institution without the participation of average citizens. The federal government has introduced a bill in the Senate that would formally recognize the Senate changes the Liberal government has been introducing since its first election in 2015. These…

We need to control big tech. But how?

Big tech knows there will be a gradual convergence of major technology companies until no small brand can compete in any meaningful way

We need to control big tech. But how?Walking through a Manhattan subway station recently, I saw sign after sign advertising Google’s latest features on its Pay app. Huge walls of advertisements displayed photographs of happy users seeing how their monthly spending broke down, seemingly reaping the benefits of Google’s total control of their financial affairs. It feels like some dystopian future, with…

Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from government

Supreme Court: “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right”

Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from governmentThe Supreme Court of Canada has begun to repair the hundreds of years of friction between Indigenous people and European settlers. The court recently ruled that “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right.” Many people are thinking long and hard about the implications. Imagine…

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycats

It’s time for the media to deny the deranged the notoriety and fame they so perversely seek

Media complicit in creating mass killer copycatsJustice Anne Molloy recently found the man who drove a van down Toronto’s sidewalks, trying to kill as many people as he could, guilty of murdering 10 and attempting to kill 16 others. The judge also took the extraordinary decision to refer to him as “John Doe,” denying him any notoriety he might have expected…

When will Canada start to stand up to China?

Follow Australia's example and take a stand against China’s bullying and human rights violations

When will Canada start to stand up to China?By Andrew Pickford and Jeffrey Collins Macdonald-Laurier Institute Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden joined his Japanese, Indian, and Australian counterparts at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or Quad) summit. This informal grouping remains the most powerful collection of countries focused on confronting the security, economic, and geostrategic challenges posed by China. Canada may not have…

Trump’s impeachment trial was a perversion of justice

These absurdities don't fit any legitimate expectation of a legal proceeding, let alone a trial of the most powerful person on the planet

Trump’s impeachment trial was a perversion of justiceSince judges exist for the essential goal of delivering justice to fellow citizens, a vigorous ethical commitment should be a key part of their professional code. Spanish moral philosopher Adela Cortina notes that corruption is encouraged by the weakening of the internal good. The world had front-row seats to the judicial proceedings in the second…

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the world

Portuguese court finds that the test, in itself, is unable to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person is infected

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the worldEvery day, the news tells us about new COVID-19 positive test results. But are they reliable? Kary Mullis, the late inventor of the diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, explained how his test could be misused. So did a Portuguese court that ruled a positive test is an insufficient basis to isolate or…

Lockdowns are unlawful, and are not justified

No one has a moral obligation to obey COVID-19 lockdown orders. Therefore civilly disobeying them is justified

Lockdowns are unlawful, and are not justifiedLockdown orders are not justified. There is, consequently, no moral obligation to obey them. Let me explain. In the wake of SARS and H1N1, Public Health Canada drafted the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness guideline (CPIP). Although we failed to meaningfully operationalize this guideline it nevertheless maintains that, “when considering restrictive measures, it is important to balance…

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries dispute

Non-Indigenous fishers in Atlantic region need not be worried that Indigenous rights will come at the expense of conservation

History shows a path to resolve lobster fisheries disputeA dispute in Ontario may help us understand ongoing tensions over the lobster fisheries on the East Coast and offer a solution. The war over Indigenous fishing rights has played out before in Canada. As we reflect on recent violence in Nova Scotia over the lobster fisheries, it’s important to know if there are any…

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to court

Governments have more resources and delays can drag on for years. Indigenous peoples pay heavily for the delays in resolving their claims

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to courtAt any given time, the government of Canada is dealing with hundreds of legal matters with Indigenous Canadians. This is inevitable given the complexity of Indigenous rights, the history of Canadian policy and patterns of government ‘lawlessness’ that left the country liable for the administrative misdeeds of the past 150-plus years. The number, diversity and…

Caught in the crosshairs of cancel culture trolls

Cancel culture slaughters reputations, leaving its victims to endure financial uncertainty, isolation, bewilderment and pain

Caught in the crosshairs of cancel culture trollsThe riot that produced the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump has its analogue in the cancel culture rampaging through North American institutions. Neither cancels the other, of course. Both are horrid, each in its especially hideous way. The Jan. 6 attack on America’s federal Capitol destroyed institutional property, mobbed and halted the democratic…

New scholarship encourages law students to champion racial justice

Scotiabank launches nationwide scholarship supporting future lawyers tackling systemic discrimination and creating change

New scholarship encourages law students to champion racial justiceStudents in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law who are invested in combatting racism and promoting inclusivity will have more opportunities to put their passion into practice thanks to a new Scotiabank scholarship program. The Scotiabank Program for Law Students launched nationwide recently with the goal of increasing the number of future lawyers who are tackling…

Canada’s divorce system discriminates against men

Federal Child Support Guidelines biased against men and need to be overhauled

Canada’s divorce system discriminates against menIf Christopher Sarlo is right, Canada’s Federal Child Support Guidelines are wrong. The economics professor at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont., made an in-depth analysis of the guidelines and found them wanting. A 100-page examination leads him to one conclusion: the guidelines are biased against men and deserve an overhaul. Fights over money are…

Family-friendly podcast decodes basics of criminal law for children

Each episode explores basic elements of criminal law in ways children can easily grasp

Family-friendly podcast decodes basics of criminal law for childrenWith a charming sidekick and a fun format, University of Alberta Faculty of Law professor Peter Sankoff has created a new podcast to simplify concepts of criminal law for Canadians aged 10 to 100. Translating Criminal Law: Rated G debuted Jan. 11, co-hosted by Sankoff, a professor of criminal law with a part-time appellate practice, and his daughter Penny, a…

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?

Corporations have created a structure that’s unsustainable on political, economic, environmental and even spiritual levels

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?In recent decades across the globe, the super rich have been getting richer while the middle class shrinks. This is a danger not only to our economy but to democracy itself. Unfortunately, while millions of people have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the richest of the super rich have seen their assets balloon.…

Google’s leverage raises serious antitrust allegations

As the world’s favoured search engine, dominant email service and most popular video provider, Google has immense power over public opinion

Google’s leverage raises serious antitrust allegations“The Google of today is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet,” reads the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the tech giant. The document filed on Oct. 20 alleges the company has used exclusionary agreements to block out competitors. Google accounts for 80 per cent of U.S. internet searches and 30 per cent of U.S.…

“Medical assistance in dying” worries many Canadians

“Medical assistance in dying” worries many CanadiansJust because politicians and activists are gung-ho about expanding medical assistance in dying (MAID) doesn’t mean all Canadians are so enthusiastic. If anything, Canadians would tell the politicians it’s time to slow down and broaden the discussion on Parliament Hill. A parliamentary committee recently rushed through witness testimony on Bill C-7. The bill would expand…

COVID-19 vaccine opponents will be heard

Politicians are avoiding talking about what to do if some people turn a thumbs down to being forced to vaccinate

COVID-19 vaccine opponents will be heardWill there be a vaccine for COVID-19? Pharmaceutical companies have been working around the clock to find either a cure or a preventive measure. The medical community has been hopeful in some instances and cautious in others when discussing this possibility. Many people around the world have waited with anticipation for even the smallest glimmer…

Who’s responsible when a driverless car has an accident?

Who’s responsible for an accident needs to be considered now rather than when we’re scrambling to implement laws

Who’s responsible when a driverless car has an accident?We haven’t reached the point where driverless vehicles ply our roadways. However, as a recent incident on an Alberta highway demonstrates, we might be edging closer. How close are automakers to producing such a vehicle and, more importantly, how close are lawmakers to allowing an artificial-intelligence-driven vehicle on city streets? The industry has a six-tier…

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policing

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policingTwo contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective – espoused by some activists on the political left – holds that policing is fatally broken, can’t be fixed through any reforms and ought to be cancelled outright through financial asphyxiation. The second perspective argues that policing takes an outsized…
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