TWU- A Response to the National Post Editorial Board

Saturday, December 21, 2013


TWU - A response to the National Post Editorial Board

Dr. Angela Cameron, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Mark L. Berlin, Professor of Practice, Institute for the Study of International Development,
McGill University
Amy Sakalauskas, Practicing Member, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
Robert Peterson, Counsel at Dominion GovLaw.ca
Mathieu Bouchard, Partner, Irving Mitchell Kalichman LLP

 In an editorial published on December 20, 2013 on the heel of the approval of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the B.C. Government, the National Post editorial board argues that “Canada can handle a Christian law school” (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/12/20/national-post-editorial-board-canada-can-handle-a-christian-law-school/). The National Post invokes two arguments: 1) because all other law schools across Canada are open to LGBTTQ individuals, allowing one school that effectively excludes them doesn’t lead to exclusion since other options exist; 2) whereas “mere racist bigotry” can never be tolerated, “the proscription of gay sex contained in the Bible and the traditional Christian teachings that derive therefrom” is guaranteed by the Charter protection of freedom of religion and conscience.

Both arguments, besides being deeply offensive to LGBTTQ individuals and their friends and allies, are fundamentally flawed.

Looking at the first argument, one instance of discrimination is one too many. Indeed, our courts have never accepted that an individual, organization or corporation be allowed to discriminate against a specific group on the basis that they were the only one doing so. The National Post’s approach would lead to a race to the bottom, protecting the last bigot standing in every field of human activity! This is clearly not what the Charter stands for. Most importantly, arguments that are reminiscent of those invoked to justify minority quotas in certain Canadian and U.S. universities until the 1960s, not to say the “separate but equal” mantra of the segregation era, have no place in today’s Canada.

On the second argument, the National Post appears to forget that until very recently, in addition to the prohibition of gay sex, the Bible was used to justify “mere racist bigotry”. South Africa’s Apartheid, U.S. southern states’ prohibition of interracial marriages, discriminatory laws and policies against Jews in Christian-dominated countries, to name a few, all supposedly found their source in the Bible. Did it make them any more acceptable? Of course not! Bigotry in the delivery of public services, whatever its origins, is a scourge that cannot be “excused” by religion, whoever the targets of the bigotry are.

 The Canadian Charter and provincial human rights codes protect all minorities from discrimination, without distinction. The same way we wouldn’t accept a law school that excludes women, Asians or people with a disability, the same way we shouldn’t accept one that excludes individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. Period.  

Press release: UN Women launches first-ever database mapping gender provisions in constitutions worldwide

Friday, December 20, 2013



Via @UN_Women:
 
Global mapping covers 195 constitutions across five regions, in English and original languages 

For immediate release

Date: 13 December 2013

New York —

UN Women today launched a Constitutional Database (http://constitutions.unwomen.org) which for the first time examines constitutions through a gender lens, mapping the principles and rules which guarantee, deny, or protect the rights of women and girls around the world.

Constitutions have a tremendous impact on women. They are well-recognized markers for countries and their citizens, serving as the bill of rights and providing a framework for the rights and responsibilities of people and a mirror to the way people are governed. The United Nation’s CEDAW Committee has often commented on the contents of national constitutions, as has UN Women’s flagship report Progress of the World’s Women.

Expected to be of great use to gender equality and human rights activists and experts, the innovative searchable database, to be updated annually, provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of provisions relevant to women’s rights and gender equality across the world, including comparison of the data across various countries. The resource covers 195 countries, including all UN Member States and Observers, and is organized regionally into Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

The database makes the constitutions available in officially approved English translations as well as in their original language, with a total of 62 languages.

Allowing users to search by keyword, legal provisions are grouped into 16 categories which were carefully defined by reviewing the constitutions from a human rights perspective. Among others, the categories include: rights of women; public authorities, institutions and services; political participation and freedom of association; citizenship and nationality; education; employment; marriage and family life; status of religious/customary law; status of international law (including human rights law); right to property/inheritance; and reproductive rights.

The Constitutional Database was conceived by UN Women, as part of the entity’s work supporting Member States to adopt sound governance strategies that strengthen women’s rights and gender equality, and supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Media Contacts: 

Oisika Chakrabarti, +1 646.781-4522; oisika.chakrabarti@unwomen.org
Sharon Grobeisen, +1 646.781-4753; sharon.grobeisen@unwomen.org

See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/12/un-women-launches-firstever-database-mapping-gender-provisions-in-constitutions-worldwide#sthash.nfPq2OO0.dpuf

National Post Op-Ed: Trinity Western University — Discrimination on campus

The National Post has published this op-ed, jointly written by Angela Cameron, Clayton Ruby, Angela Chaisson, Mark L. Berlin, Amy Sakalauskas, Jena McGill, Robert Peterson and Mathieu Bouchard, decrying TWU's discriminatory "community covenant" and the decision to grant preliminary accreditation to TWU to operate a law school despite it.

Prosecutions under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dalhousie's Impact Ethics posted this blog explaining the first and only prosecution under Canada's federal laws governing reproductive technologies.

Professor Elizabeth Sheehy discusses her new book on CBC's The Current

battered-women-book180.jpg

Professor Elizabeth Sheehy appeared on CBC's The Current this morning to discuss her new book, Defending Battered Women on Trial. The interview is available here.

Anti- gay and lesbian law school gets the preliminary go-ahead

On Monday, Dec. 16th, 2013 the Federation of Law Societies of Canada released a decision recommending approval of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, which requires students, staff and faculty to sign a covenant agreeing to abstain from intimacy the violates marriage between a man and a woman.  Here you can find the Special Advisory Group's report, and the Federation's final decision.

Professor Elaine Craig of Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie yesterday penned this op-ed, decrying the inequality of a law school that excludes gays and lesbians and calling on provincial law societies (which retain the ultimate power to decide whether or not to admit graduates of TWU to the bar) to answer the question: "
Is it in the public interest for the profession of law to approve an educational institution with policies that discriminate against gays and lesbians?"

An amazing group of law students released this insightful and pithy commentary on the Federation decision.


On Wednesday Dec. 18th the news got worse. The next step in the accreditation process required approval by the Minister of Education in British Columbia, where Trinity Western is located. Minister Virk approved the TWU proposal.


Again, law students rallied to release another compelling commentary.


Here is where you can donate to support the legal action against the decision of the BC Government to approve TWU's law school proposal.

Feminist Professor Elizabeth Sheehy's National Post op-ed

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Professor Elizabeth Sheehy brilliantly defends her upcoming book "Defending Battered Women" in a National Post op-ed, against anti-feminist backlash.

Federation Approves Proposed TWU Law School

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's a sad day for equality in Canada, with the Federation of Law Societies issuing its formal approval of the proposed Christian law school at Trinity Western University, where students must sign a 'community covenant' that includes a provision against engaging in same-sex sexual intimacy.

So many members of the Canadian legal community have spoken out against the creation of a law school that formally discriminates against GLBTTQ and two-spirited law students: Canadian Law Deans, academics, law students and prominent members of the profession all publicly voiced significant concerns about the discriminatory impact of approving the TWU proposal on would-be law students who are GLBTTQ and two-spirited.

Some of us from B4E contributed to this op-ed opposing the accreditation of TWU, published in the National Post last January.   

Here's the final report of the Special Advisory Committee established by the Federation with a mandate to address "additional considerations" that the Federation should take into account in determining whether graduates of TWU should be eligible for membership in provincial law societies in light of the 'community covenant'.  The Federation sought an opinion from Torys lawyer John B. Laskin, who concluded that the Supreme Court of Canada's 2001 decision in BC Colleges of Teachers v TWU, 2001 SCC 31 is dispositive of any constitutional challenge to the creation of the law school, and in doing so takes up Professor Elaine Craig's compelling arguments to the contrary, here.

The lengthy final report of the Federation is here.
 
Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby has pledged to oppose the accreditation of TWU , and fundraising efforts are already underway to support the legal challenge: http://www.gofundme.com/TWULegalChallenge.
 

La doyenne Nathalie Des Rosiers – Cérémonie de l’Ordre du Canada aujourd’hui | Dean Nathalie Des Rosiers – Order of Canada Ceremony Today

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today at 10:30 a.m., our Dean, Nathalie Des Rosiers, will be formally inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada.  The ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall. 

The ceremony schedule and list of honourees is available here:

A webcast of the ceremony will also be available here (beginning at 10:30 a.m.):

Please join us in congratulating Dean Des Rosiers on this wonderful and well-deserved honour.

Professor Elizabeth Sheehy's new book featured in Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Ottawa Citizen has published a profile of Professor Elizabeth Sheehy's new book, Defending Battered Women on Trial. The book, which is being published by UBC Press, is available for purchase here. The Citizen article is available here. Watch this space for more information about the book!

Support Shannen's Dream

Via @Caringsociety:

Children explain the urgency of fulfilling Shannen's Dream of bringing quality education to all First Nations children in Canada. When will the federal government start to listen?

A Dignified Warrior for Peace: Nelson Mandela

Sunday, December 8, 2013





 My heart is heavy. The braided life of pain, joy, courage, strength and love – indeed, all that was the brilliant complex persona of Nelson Mandela is no more. Mandela is the most significant public intellectual of my lifetime. He spoke to the many threads of my identity – my Caribbean/African intellectual roots, the historical realities of all Africa’s children labouring to make visible the continuing realities of a formal colonialism largely seen as past, my aspirations for a deeply meaningful life in the law and all my hope for the full realization of Black/African empowerment in my lifetime.


 Mandela demonstrated that spiritual politics is not mere rhetoric. It can transform the world. He demonstrated without equivocation that civility, dignity and leadership were indigenous to Africa. He ushered in a model for transitional governance rooted in the South African philosophical ethic of Ubuntu of his forefathers/mothers. In this effort, he joined in solidarity with fellow activists including Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The South African Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) is the aspirational model for non-violent change echoed and desired by many around the world.


 One need only read Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa, to realize the complexity of the model. Most importantly, the TRC made the history of South African Black peoples one that could be internalized and claimed by White South Africans estranged, deformed and sometimes yearning through the corruption that was apartheid. As she said in her closing poem, speaking to and about the TRC participants:

Because of you

This country no longer lies

Between us but within


The TRC was a public act of acknowledgement and contrition divorced from any South African state desire to be absolved of legal liability. This came later under other leadership. It was a shining beacon of governance by example. We were witness to forgiveness, as political method, raw and true. South Africans from diverse communities, came together in the fullness of their imperfect humanity.  This moment required trust. Trust in their hearts’ yearning for peace. Trust in their spiritual imagination. Trust in their leader, Mandela. Mandela’s generosity of spirit upon his release was rooted within Ubuntu. He had already shown them the path through his own grace upon his release from captivity. Through their participation in the TRC, South Africans embraced their leader and sought to succor him while seeking to alleviate their own pain.


 There is absolutely no doubt that Nelson Mandela was extraordinary. In a world where the cult of personality often reduces the actions of individuals to content-less fodder for the infotainment industry – he stood alone. The joy and admiration in his presence and words transcended race, class, age, gender and nation state boundaries. All the boundaries that divide us became ephemera. He was not simply charismatic. He was loved. Loved by his country(wo)men and embraced by the world.  His words and actions transformed international governance, as the leaders of the world saw a reflection of themselves as whole souled. For those moments, they were willing to see themselves through the eyes of this unique man, a Black man – a man they wished to emulate. 


Mandela’s entire public life was a political call for action. As the elder statesman of the African continent, he sought to harness the collaborative potential of its disparate nations. He sought to empower and galvanize the African Union as a platform for Africa’s control of its continental politics. Today, the same world leaders who rise to applaud Mandela, the icon, remain reluctant to take political direction from Mandela, the African statesman. There was no risk to Western nations in condemning apartheid but there is risk and a conflict of interest in redressing the economic power imbalance between the African continent and the West. There has been an almost total failure by Western nations to critically evaluate and account for the practices of their institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO that consciously maintain the economic subordination of Africa and other nations from the South. There is continued resistance to acknowledge the entitlement of Africa’s multiplicity of nations to equality in the community of nations. The missionary ethic of “rescue” remains, albeit with a shrinking of the alms provided. Mandela’s continental and international leadership in this area is far less comfortable a topic at this moment of mourning.


There is a dangerous seduction in the emphasis of Western leaders on the legacy of Mandela post-release. The man of ideas formed through a crucible of pain is seen in an almost ahistorical manner. His admirable endpoint can easily become a blunt instrument to disempower Black struggle just as easily as he can be a marker of Black contribution to global public life. For how would a young Mandela fare if born today? Would the purpose underlying his militancy have been sufficient to transcend the label of terrorist? Would he still serve a lengthy incarceration on Robben Island now comforted by the companionship of Guantanamo? Would neoliberal trade interests in economic relations with the South African state have cloaked apartheid in the name of amoral capitalism?  What of the funding of anti-apartheid activities by those of us abroad – terrorist financing or solidarity? Perhaps in grief, I become fanciful. Yet, I fear that we are best at recognizing the fully formed and verified activist and have very little capacity to recognize them in political utero.


Similarly, we crave peace and appropriately celebrate our unique warrior peacemakers. Mandela was such a man. There is a caution. There is a state interest in raising on high our peacemakers while incarcerating or stigmatizing those who engage in direct struggle. We have seen how functional amnesia about the political history of Black liberation has resulted in the blunting of Martin Luther King Jr.’s politics, Frantz Fanon reduced to a few aphorisms and no recollection of the contribution of giants such as CLR James to the liberation struggles in Africa, America and the Caribbean. The personal history of Mandela, the warrior, that inspires many, can become a toothless Hallmark card sentiment, in the hands of states driven to contain and derail the equality struggles of those they oppress. Mandela’s extraordinary transcendence as a man of peace must not be manipulated to become a weapon of judgement used against Black/African peoples, particularly our youth, who today continue to labour after him. “Lest we forget” is a sentiment that applies to many communities. It should be a call to arms for those of us mourning Mandela’s passing today.


Mandela embodied our dignity as Black peoples. Through every action, he made our history of racism present and our possibility to transcend the stigmata of race/racism, real.  It is so very true that Mandela is responsible for catalyzing tremendous change within and outside South Africa. Yet in 2013, Black peoples are vulnerable in every part of the world in which they live. From a Pan-Africanist perspective we are Black/African peoples in grave danger. My pain has been compounded as I watch world leaders genuinely mourning him while failing to see the Black/African peoples within their own body politic. They speak of his legacy of change while failing to account for the destruction of the mechanisms such as untied aid and robust human rights instruments that would ensure the dignity and equality of the Black and other racialized peoples in their midst.  Borders become more impenetrable. Black flesh consumed during slavery is no longer as appealing as Africa’s rich resources. The rapacious hunger of over-development fueling Europe and America continues unabated. Wilfully blind they speak. I wait for them to act.


Hearts don’t break but they can be bruised and battered. Mandela wove us together as a global community. A unique and powerful thread has snapped. Our intimacy transmuted into a collective wail … who, how, when? Who will replace the irreplaceable and lead us to a place where we transcend our differences? How will we sustain and advance his legacy of spiritual politics? When will we truly be free?  In this place of pain and unknowing, we risk the narrowing of Mandela’s vision. Ultimately, we can all choose to be a living legacy – to break cycles, to sacrifice individual retribution for the greater community and to always live in hope.


Cindy Blackstock speaks out as part of 16 Days of Activism

Friday, December 6, 2013


Via @Caringsociety:

A very powerful interview with Cindy Blackstock by the Nobel Women's Initiative on the plight of First Nations children in Canada and her tireless work for change:

Upcoming event


Niigaan: In Conversation is honoured and excited to partner with Red Man Laughing for its upcoming Winter Gala and Fundraiser at the National Arts Centre on December 10, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario. The theme is Biiskaabiiyang (returning to ourselves) particularly regarding how to move forward in the collective work across the land. Please join us for music, laughter, discussion, dancing and delicious food.
 
Our host for the evening is Ryan McMahon, comedian, actor, thinker and Anishinaabe living in Winnipeg. He will be joined by:
 
-Grand Chief Derek Nepinak (Pine Creek First Nation, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs)
-
Chief Isadore Day (Serpent River FN)
-
Leanne Simpson (author of a number of critically acclaimed winning literary works)
-
Geraldine King (Academic extraordinaire and community mover and shaker)
-
Celina Matasawagon ( astounding inspiration)
 
Music from:
-
Gerri Trimble (Jazz singer beyond compare)
-
Mosha Folger (a.k.a. M.O. hip hop, spoken word master)
 
Silent Auction:
-Christi Belcourt
-Sonny Assu
-Mo McGreavy
-Shady Hafez
-Kelly-Ann Kruger
and more!
 
Eventbrite - Niigaan Winter Gala: A Live Red Man Laughing Podcast

The Governance gap in assisted human reproduction

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Professors Angela Cameron and Vanessa Gruben participated in a feminist round table earlier this year dealing with the governance gap in assisted human reproduction.This group of activists and scholars have recently released this report, outlining critical legal and social issues that require the immediate attention of provincial governments.

Announcing the Nicole LaViolette Friends of Lambda Prize

Monday, December 2, 2013

From the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law's communications team:


 Announcing the Nicole LaViolette Friends of Lambda Prize

The Lambda Foundation is proud to announce that it has renamed its award at the University of Ottawa the Nicole LaViolette Friends of Lambda Prize. The Foundation has chosen to honour Professor LaViolette in this way because she exemplifies leadership and achievement both in terms of her scholarly work on LGBT legal issues and her personal commitment to human rights. 

Portrait, Nicole LaVioletteThe new name for the award also acknowledges, with deep appreciation, the generous Friends of Lambda who established this Lambda prize in 1995 and have financially maintained it over the years.  

Professor LaViolette was one of the earliest recipients of the Lambda Prize at uOttawa (1999), one of ten of our awards across Canada. “Lambda Awards are unique in their recognition of LGBT scholarship. The support I received for my work on sexual minority refugees was tremendously important,” she says.  Professor LaViolette has since been recognized nationally and internationally as a leading scholar and expert in refugee and immigration issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.  She has also remained active in the community, spearheading an Ottawa group committed to resettling in Canada LGBT refugees who are in facing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  


The Nicole LaViolette Friends of Lambda Prize awards excellence in research on issues affecting gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and intersex (LGBTI) people, specifically laws, and public and private policies affecting their human rights, as well as those matters pertaining more generally to their communities, values, achievements, arts and sports. All applicants, whether graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or early career professors, must also demonstrate that they have contributed to the LGBTI community.

 

Contact: Dr. Barbara Freeman, President
 

Lambda Foundation info@lambdafoundation.com www.lambdafoundation.com

Speaking of Bullying

Thursday, November 28, 2013


by Professor Jane Bailey

The federal government’s approach to “cyberbullying” in Bill C-13, seems more likely to empower Big Brother than to meaningfully protect or empower little sister, or any children, for that matter.  At a press conference Justice Minister Peter MacKay claimed that the government’s priority is to “keep Canadians safe”, “particularly our children”.  If so, this government has a funny way of showing it.  Not only does the bill fall well short of meaningfully addressing “cyberbullying”, it makes even this limited response conditional on accepting increased state surveillance writ large.

“Cyberbullying” has become an umbrella term for a range of behaviours – everything from repeated insults motivated by personal disputes between individuals to invasive and hateful attacks motivated by sexist, homophobic, racist and other prejudices against entire groups.  It is clear that a unidimensional response such as that found in the bill is highly unlikely to meaningfully resolve the issues at stake.  As a result, many have called for a comprehensive national strategy that identifies what kinds of behaviours, practices and forms of harm need to be addressed.  Only then can we assess the potential of current legal and policy mechanisms, the gaps that remain and the responses needed. 

 We know, for example, that those who are seen as “different” are more likely to be targeted by “bullying”.  The kinds of things that make someone “different” include race, disability, sexual orientation and sexual identity.  Getting at the root of that kind of “cyberbullying” will require strategies that address systemic racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as educational initiatives that teach attackers other ways of behaving.  Long-term change requires a strategy that includes policies aimed at inclusion and respect for diversity, human rights education, behavioural approaches, restorative practices and, in some cases, criminal law responses.

 The “cyberbullying” bill addresses only certain kinds of behaviour and offers only one kind of response. It targets non-consensual distribution of intimate images, hate speech based on sex, age, national origin and mental or physical ability, and false, indecent and harassing communications using a telecommunications system. These provisions could be very important for women and girls.  Studies suggest that they are more likely to be targeted by online threats of sexual violence and attacks alleging sexual promiscuity than are heterosexual men and boys.  

 Criminal sanctions for these behaviours could make a meaningful statement not only about protecting youth, but also about our commitment to gender equality and to minimizing barriers to girls’ and young women’s full participation in our emerging digital society.  But with no proactive initiatives to change prejudices that leave women and girls open to these kinds of attacks, we are offered only reactive criminal sanctions that in the past have done little on their own to reduce women and children’s vulnerability to sexual violence.

 We should not dismiss outright the potential for criminal prohibitions on non-consensual distribution of intimate images as a community condemnation of one egregious form of “cyberbullying”.  But unless incorporated into a more comprehensive strategy, its impact is likely to be more symbolic than real.  We must directly address why displays of women’s sexuality or recordings of sexual violence against young women are understood as a way of shaming them.  This is particularly perplexing given the media culture that tells girls and women they should be “sexy” in a predefined way that is really just designed to sell them everything from diet pills to cosmetics to plastic surgery and more.  Perhaps we need to intervene here too, to target online business models that use our personal information to profile us and then market to us according to that profile, perpetuating harmful myths and stereotypes about women and girls, as well as other social groups.

Finally, whatever one thinks of the potential of the new criminal prohibition in terms of meaningfully addressing “cyberbullying”, it is exceptionally objectionable to see the government advancing once again the state surveillance agenda on the backs of our children.  If the bill were seriously intended to protect our children, then at a minimum the new surveillance powers would be tied specifically and exclusively to the “cyberbullying” provisions.  Can we expect that, as it did previously with the lawful access bill, this government will again try to bully us by accusing those who oppose expanding state surveillance of being unconcerned about the vulnerable in our midst?

 A government that aims to provide meaningful long-term protection for those disproportionately targeted by “cyberbullying” would bring us a stand-alone bill that addressed gendered hate speech, non-consensual distribution of intimate images and criminal harassment via telecommunications systems. That government would not have repealed a human rights based remedy for hateful online attacks on vulnerable social groups and their members, as this government did earlier this year.  That government would commit to a broader strategy for “cyberbullying” in all of its forms.  That strategy would do more than just react to certain instances of “cyberbullying” with punitive measures.  It would also include proactive approaches for addressing the social structures and behavioural factors that contribute to the multitude of situations encompassed by the broad term “cyberbullying”.  The victims of “cyberbullying” and Canadians as a whole deserve no less. 
For more on Professor Bailey's recent work in this area see: www.egirlsproject.ca 

NEW FEMINIST LAW REFORM COURSE BEING OFFERED AT THE FACULTY


NEW FEMINIST LAW REFORM COURSE BEING OFFERED AT THE FACULTY

In the Winter 2014 term, Professor Martha Jackman will be introducing a new upper-year bilingual seminar course – Feminist Law Reform CML4104/Réforme fémiste du droit CML4504. This innovative skills-focussed 3-credit course, offered on Wednesdays from 6 – 9 p.m.,  will enable students to develop the necessary knowledge to pursue systemic law reform at the federal level.  Drawing on the expertise of feminist lawyers and others actively engaged in the federal law reform process, areas of discussion and training will include: access to information and research; submissions and appearances before parliamentary committees; lobbying; media and public relations campaigns; public legal education; grassroots outreach and other key tools and avenues of feminist law reform advocacy.  The course also offers students an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the rich bilingual learning environment at U of O : Professor Jackman will switch between languages each week and presentations by guest speakers will be in English or in French. Students may use the language of their choice in class, and English program students may submit their written work in English.  The course syllabus can be found on Professor Jackman’s faculty website (http://www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/martha-jackman.html) or you can reach her at: mjackman@uottawa.ca.

Correctional Investigator confirms Over-representation of Racialized Populations in Canadian Prisons


Howard Sapers, Canada's Correctional Investigator, has released his Annual Report with a special focus on diversity in corrections.  

Sapers concludes that over the past decade, the number of Aboriginal inmates has increased by 46.4%, and the number of other visible minority inmates has grown by 75%, while the Caucasion inmate population has declined by 3%.  The Report calls on Corrections Canada to increase diversity among prison staff, and develop a diversity training program for prison staff and officials.  

Sapers' full report is available here.

Great Population Action International infographic on "the economics of birth control"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


See a larger version of the graphic here.

Making mifepristone available in Canada

Dr. Sheila Dunn and Dr. Rebecca Cook have published an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal arguing that Health Canada should approve mifepristone in Canada. See an article on the subject in the Ottawa Citizen. An extract of the paper is available here. A short excerpt:

An estimated 1 in 3 Canadian women will have an abortion during her lifetime, most commonly performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, Canadian women lack access to a safe, effective and often preferred method of early abortion that is available in many other countries. The internationally recognized "gold standard" for medical (i.e., nonsurgical) abortion, mifepristone (followed by misoprostol), is not available in Canada.

SCC grants leave to appeal in Kokopenace

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal in Kokopenace. This decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal held that an accused is constitutionally entitled to a representative jury pool. In Kokopenace, a First Nations accused argued successfully that First Nations people were inadequately represented in the jury pool.  Kokopenace was among the cases that led to a review of jury selection processes in Ontario in 2011. In February 2013 retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Iacobucci released a report entitled First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries, in which he raised serious concerns about the lack of First Nations representation of Ontario juries. He made several recommendations for reform.

This cases raises important issues for Indigenous accused. Stay tuned for further analysis! 

PhD fellowship in gender equality at Carleton University

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Via FemProf listserv:


PhD Fellowship in Gender Equality Measurement
 Carleton University – commencing 2014
Call for Applications 

We welcome applications from prospective PhD candidates interested in researching gender equality, measurement, and feminist theory. The Fellowship is not tied to a specific program at Carleton University, but interested applicants should have a background and proven research interest in gender equality. The Fellow will participate in, and act as a Research Assistant for, the Gender Equality Measurement (GEM) group, a multi-disciplinary cluster at Carleton University, comprised of faculty members from Canadian Studies, Law and Legal Studies, Political Science, and Public Policy and Administration, who explore the epistemological, governance, and political effects of the ‘measurement turn’ in policy, activism, and feminist thought. This one-year, funded fellowship may be renewed for a second year, financing permitting.  

We welcome applications from candidates from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply for the fellowship, please send a copy of your c.v., transcripts, a one-page statement about your research background and interests in gender equality, and indicating the PhD program at Carleton to which you are applying, by January 15, 2014 to:

            Lisa Mills
            Associate Professor and Graduate Supervisor,
            School of Public Policy and Administration
            Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
            K1S 5B6
            Lisa.Mills@carleton.ca
Designed by Rachel Gold.