Refugee lawyer goes the extra mile

Raoul Boulakia (LLB ’88) almost always has answers for his clients. But for questions about himself, good luck getting answers, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 6.

Years ago, a classmate at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School asked why he was studying refugee law. She pointed out, in a well-meaning way, that he had very good grades.

Boulakia didn’t have an answer then; he doesn’t have one now. “I just felt more fortunate than others to get a legal education and wanted to do something which had a moral purpose,” says Boulakia. “I always felt that.”

Montreal-born Boulakia, 43, studied political science at the University of Toronto before going to law school at York and launching a solo practice in 1990. He handles a lot of legal-aid cases and says he was never attracted to the big bucks. “I think there are enough lawyers for that, and too few who do the rest of the cases.”

Reading about Suaad Hagi Mohamud – who had left a son behind in Toronto and, because of the disputed authenticity of her Canadian passport, didn’t know when she’d be allowed to return from Kenya – Boulakia was shocked to hear she had no representation in Canada.

Hours of preparation for court paid off when the federal government agreed to do a DNA test and asked that criminal proceedings against her be postponed. Now, Boulakia’s waiting for the DNA results. He wants a happy end to her story. And if there isn’t one, he’s ready to go back to court.

Time to end Canada’s pirate haven

Earlier this month, the federal government launched a copyright consultation asking Canadians for input on copyright reform, wrote Barry Sookman (MES ’80, LLB ’80), adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and Stephen Stohn in the National Post Aug. 6. Chief among its questions were what sorts of changes would best foster “innovation and creativity”, “competition and investment” and best “position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy.”

These questions reveal fundamental insights about the objectives of copyright reform.

Reforming copyright law will stimulate investment in the creation and dissemination of movies, TV programs, books, music and software; help Canada to be a leader in the global digital market for cultural products; and enable Canadian actors, artists, performers, producers and publishers to be paid for their creative efforts and investments.

Schulich dean joins Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year advisory board

The Caldwell Partners, Deloitte and National Post are pleased to announce the appointment of Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business at York University, to Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year advisory board for 2009, wrote the Post Aug. 6.

Dean Horváth is a director of Inscape Corp., Samuel, Son & Co. Ltd., UBS Bank (Canada), Westport Innovations Inc. and The Toronto International Leadership Centre for Financial Sector Supervision, and a member of the International Advisory Councils of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University and the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. A former recipient of the B’nai Brith Canada Award of Merit, Horváth was named Dean of the Year in 2004 by the Academy of International Business and a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2008.

This year’s recipient will be announced in Financial Post Magazine on Nov. 3.

Greenest City welcomes new executive director

Carolyn Scotchmer (MES ’00) likes watermelon, beets and butterfly weed – in her new role with Greenest City she’ll not only get a chance to see her favourite plants grow, but also the community that surrounds the HOPE Garden in Parkdale, wrote The Villager Aug. 5.

Scotchmer is replacing Shannon Thompson as executive director of Greenest City, an award-winning charitable organization that grows local organic food, develops youth leaders and healthy, sustainable communities with a focus on Toronto’s Parkdale-High Park neighbourhood.

Originally from Chatham, in southwestern Ontario, Scotchmer graduated with a bachelor of science from Queen’s University, followed by a master in environmental studies from York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.

On air

  • Paul Baxter, sessional professor in criminology in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about lobbying efforts for legislation on legal competency on CBC Radio Thunder Bay’s “Great Northwest” Aug. 5.