Law dean denies Harper’s suggestion of court bias

Conservative leader Stephen Harper has suggested the courts ruled in favour of same-sex marriage because Liberal-appointed judges imposed their own social agenda on the country. It’s a contention that finds little favour with legal scholars, especially when it comes to the ultimate legal arbiter, the Supreme Court of Canada, reported Canadian Press in a story published Jan. 19 in the Edmonton Journal and Toronto Star. Past prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, have long made merit the overriding criterion for selecting the country’s top judges, says Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “The independence and non-partisan nature of the Supreme Court is beyond question.”

Students seek election

York students are seeking federal seats:

  • Adam King is confident that the Brant Greens will enjoy another surge in support in Monday’s federal election, just as they did in the 2004 contest, reported The Expositor in Brantford Jan. 19.
  • In Simcoe-Grey, taking on a federal election campaign requires the same sort of nerve as surfing for Liberal candidate Elizabeth Kirley, a fan of adventure sports. The assistant Crown attorney is working on her master’s thesis in international law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Stayner Sun Jan. 18.

Panic sweeps latte land

In latte land, the panic has reached a fever pitch over the prospect of a Tory win, suggested Margaret Wente in her Globe and Mail column Jan. 19. “Mr. Harper’s policies are not just a threat to Canada, but to the world,” said environmentalist Elizabeth May the other day, with tears in her eyes. Barbara Cameron, a political science professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, warned [at a Think Twice press conference earlier in the week] that a Tory government would be able to “hobble permanently the capacity of the federal government to act for the social welfare of Canadians.”

Arthurs coined ‘hollowing out’

The term “hollowing out” was invented in 1998 by Harry Arthurs, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and former York University president, to describe the alarming eradication of Canada’s head offices and the careers and spinoff jobs that went with them, from lawyers to limo drivers, wrote Eric Reguly in his Globe and Mail column Jan. 19 about the effect of 2005 mergers and acquisitions.

Child poverty is high cost of low pay

Canada’s record on poverty continues to tarnish our global reputation and people like Dennis Raphael are baffled by the government’s failure to act, reported the Sudbury Star Jan. 19 in a story about Canada’s high child-poverty rate. Raphael, a health policy professor at York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, was keynote speaker and workshop leader at a conference held in Sudbury in November. The High Costs of Low Pay examined how poverty negatively effects a person’s health and studied the social policies that, if introduced, could improve the lives of the poor. Raphael dropped a bombshell at that time, pointing out that Canada has one of the highest poverty rates in any developed country.