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Susan on the Soapbox: The Calgary Police Service: Allegations of Harassment and Intimidation

If you’ve ever wondered why women are reluctant to bring forward allegations of sexual harassment, look no further than the furor unleashed when 15 female police officers contacted city councillor and police commissioner Diane Colley-Urquhart to discuss sexual harassment and the culture of intimidation and retaliation they’d experienced at the Calgary Police Service.

Ms Colley-Urquhart . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The Calgary Police Service: Allegations of Harassment and Intimidation

Susan on the Soapbox: Brian Jean Makes a Joke

Two things happened this week that reflect very poorly on the judgment of Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and his supporters. The first was The Joke.  The second was his apology for The Joke. Let’s take them in turn. The … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Brian Jean Makes a Joke

Susan on the Soapbox: The NDP’s Power Play: Myths and Facts

Alberta’s NDP government wants to save Albertans $2 billion and the Wildrose, the Progressive Conservatives and the media are churning up a dust storm of misinformation trying to stop them. Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Klein deregulates … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The NDP’s Power Play: Myths and Facts

Things Are Good: The Future Is Now Relevant In American Courts

There’s a new tactic for environmentalists using the court system to change the world: argue that the government has a responsibility to protect people. The argument environmentalists can use is broadly known as “public trust” and how it relates to certain institutions and what they do. It is basically the notion that we a citizens […]

The post The Future Is Now Relevant In American Courts appeared first on Things Are Good.

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Susan on the Soapbox: Physician Assisted Dying: How the SCC got there

It’s a paradox. Your right to die is an affirmation of your right to live. In a unanimous decision of astonishing clarity the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decided that the Criminal Code prohibition on physician-assisted dying violates your Charter … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Physician Assisted Dying: How the SCC got there

Susan on the Soapbox: The Wildrose and PCs Weigh In On Medically Assisted Dying

We’ve seen a lot of fireworks in the Alberta Legislature but nothing can match the rhetoric and misinformation that characterized the response of the Wildrose (and to a lesser extent the Progressive Conservatives) to the government’s motion to regulate medical … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The Wildrose and PCs Weigh In On Medically Assisted Dying

Susan on the Soapbox: Ghomeshi’s Apology

It’s over. Yesterday Jian Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and apologized to Kathryn Borel. The Crown dropped the sexual assault charge. Here’s Mr Ghomeshi’s apology and Ms Borel’s reply. Ghomeshi’s apology I want to apologize to Ms. Borel for my … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Ghomeshi’s Apology

Scripturient: O tempora, o mores!

Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum. Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote those words in the short book about a Roman court case, Pro Lucio Murena (For Lucius Murena). They mean, in English, Not… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: O tempora, o mores!

Susan on the Soapbox: Justice Abella a.k.a. Rock Star

Rosalie Silberman never wanted to be a judge. But the phone kept ringing. Would she like to be a Family Court judge? She was 29 and pregnant but sure, why not. How about heading up the Royal Commission on Women’s … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Justice Abella a.k.a. Rock Star

Susan on the Soapbox: Ezra Levant: Once a lawyer always a lawyer?

Ms Soapbox is grateful to Ezra Levant (and that’s not an easy thing to say). Thanks to Ezra she’s discovered that journalism is not a profession (actually she suspected it all along); she’s also learned that “once a lawyer always … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Ezra Levant: Once a lawyer always a lawyer?

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

So, the Catholic Church thinks it has something relevant to say about physician assisted death?

After reading through the Bishops’ letter to Alberta’s Premier Notley, it’s an amazing piece of hypocritical nonsense.

The Catholic Church is committed to protecting and caring for the most vulnerable people in our society; this includes, of course, those who suffer and dying Albertans. Catholic healthcare in Canada, and in our province, has given witness to this from our earliest history.

Except for those Albertans who happen to be LGBT, apparently.  

We want to be clear that, from a Catholic perspective, the intentional, willful act of killing oneself or another human being is morally wrong. Therefore, no Catholic – including elected officials and healthcare professionals – may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Once again, we see the Church attempting to dictate the actions of its membership through coercion.  I saw Bishop Henry use exactly this tactic during the gay marriage arguments in the 2000s, where he threatened to excommunicate any Catholic politician who voted for gay marriage.  It wasn’t persuasive or relevant then, it isn’t now.  

First, if laws and regulations governing the legalized acceptance of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia are to be adopted, then we must accept that they will, in principle and practice, affect all Albertans. Therefore, we ask that your government undertake a consultation process open to any and all who wish to speak to the issue.

Well, since the laws involved are predominantly Federal jurisdiction, I don’t see where Alberta’s government has much to say about the matter.  Outside of Quebec, no province seems to have significant plans on this matter, and are waiting for June when the Federal Government has to have passed new legislation.

Second, we are gravely concerned that the legalization of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia will place certain members of our common home at serious risk. In jurisdictions that have already adopted laws permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, what are purported to be “safeguards” against abuse of the law have proven in practice to be no safeguards at all. The measure of a just and ethical society is the extent to which it cares for – and protects – its most vulnerable members.

Really?  What examples would you cite?  Oh, I know, you’d probably dredge up the idiotic crap that LieSite has been spouting ever since a couple of countries in Europe changed their laws.  Besides being largely hysterical reporting, LieSite has an extreme agenda to start with.

However, then the Bishops delve into the bag of “pro-life” lies on the subject:

These are our mothers and our fathers; they built our homes and our province. They are not a burden, and they must not be led to feel that way through our individual and collective indifference.

Yeah.  Sure.  People are not going to ask the doctor to kill their parents off.  However, these Bishops might want to spend some time in a palliative care ward filled with people dying slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of disease before they pull such emotional arguments out of their cassocks.  (I’ll come back to this in a moment)

Even today, many of these people often experience unjust discrimination and the sting of stigma from their family, friends, colleagues and society. In other jurisdictions, this group has in particular been disproportionately represented in cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Coming from a Church which denies the validity of transgender identities, and calls homosexuality “a sin”, this position is almost laughable.  I wonder if it has occurred to them just how much their teachings contribute to an attempted suicide rate among transgender people that runs upwards of 40%?

They save the money shot for the very end, and delve into the messy pot of issues called “Conscience Rights”:

Third, other provincial jurisdictions in Canada have proposed regulations that undermine the conscience rights of physicians and other healthcare workers. This must not be allowed to happen here. Physicians, other medical professionals, and our institutions have to be allowed the freedom that is theirs by right to exercise their conscience, not only to accord with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but also as a matter of good medical practice.

Conscience rights is nothing more than the latest pro-life gambit to create a hierarchy of rights that places an individual’s religious conscience at the top of the heap.  

Let me be clear.  Assisted death is a very prickly, emotional subject.  Yes, there are religious and conscience issues involved.  Lots of religions teach a particular ethic about life, and even without that stricture in someone’s life, many would be rightly uncomfortable with such decisions.

However, it is far too simplistic to simply say “it’s a sin, therefore it should be banned”.  One only has to spend time in and around palliative care wards watching people in their last days and weeks to know that exiting this world is not always a peaceful, quiet experience.  Terminal illness can be painful and brutal, robbing people of autonomy, dignity and peace.  It’s a terrifying, painful experience for some, and one that is not always remediated well by painkillers.

This is a matter of patient rights to self-determination and caregiver ethics coming into some degree of conflict.  Most ethics codes reflect the right of the patient to informed consent, and to refuse treatment.  We have to remember that the person at the center of this discussion is the patient, not the caregiver and definitely not the caregiver’s church.  Even the CMA’s statement on this subject is fairly clear – a doctor does not have to participate in the actual act, but they are not allowed to be an obstacle to it either.

Where the religious notion of “conscience rights” becomes problematic is that they have begun to extend it to include being “complicit in the deed”, usually as a means to try and sidestep the duty to refer to a caregiver who is willing and capable.  We’ve seen this played with the abortion game, and I have no doubt that’s what the Bishops would advocate here as well.  This is where we tip the scales and pass from supporting the individual’s conscience rights and it becomes a matter of imposing one’s conscience objections on the patient.  Considering the patient’s state and vulnerability, this is not only problematic, it is arguably exploitative as it places the patient in a jeopardy situation where they then would have to find the means to access a willing caregiver.  (Which, if you are hospitalized or bedridden, can be damned difficult)

Alberta’s Bishops would do us all a favour if they took a more nuanced approach to matters rather than simply trying to railroad the rest of the province with centuries old dogma.  

. . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

So, the Catholic Church thinks it has something relevant to say about physician assisted death? After reading through the Bishops’ letter to Alberta’s Premier Notley, it’s an amazing piece of hypocritical nonsense. The Catholic Church is comm… . . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Speaking Of Hypocrisy

Things Are Good: Ontario Slaps SLAPPs

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that has the goal of shutting down opponents. They tend to be used as a strategy to shut down poor NGOs or poor people who can’t afford to defend themselves in a lengthy legal battle. SLAPPs tie up the courts while shutting down debate – . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Ontario Slaps SLAPPs

Writings of J. Todd Ring: On Civil Obedience

“Laws control the lesser man… Right conduct controls the greater one.” – Mark Twain Never be obedient. Obedience is for dogs. No offence to dogs – I love dogs, and dogs are very admirable, as well as lovable, and there is much that we can learn from dogs. But we are not dogs, and we . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: On Civil Obedience

Cowichan Conversations: French Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestinian State

France’s Socialist-led parliament has passed a symbolic vote to recognize Palestinian statehood, despite staunch objections from Israel. MPs in Britain and Spain have already passed similar motions.

The proposal was passed with 339 votes in favor and 151 against, meaning that it was supported by more than two-thirds of French lawmakers.

Israel immediately responded, . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: French Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestinian State

Blevkog: The Ford Follies

As most people in the free world are by now aware, the Mayor of our beloved T’ranna, Rob (Are You Gonna Finish That?) Ford has been bullying his way through scandal after potential scandal on pure bluster and the careful construction of a facade of fiscal responsibility. While I will admit he has had some . . . → Read More: Blevkog: The Ford Follies

Bill Longstaff: Inequality of Canadian justice bothers Bar

I recently read the Canadian Bar Association report Reaching Equal Justice (I ran out of mysteries) and was surprised at the strength of the language. A sampling of the phrases describing justice in Canada today includes, “abysmal state of access to justice” and “huge discrepancies between the promise of justice and the lived reality.”

Some . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Inequality of Canadian justice bothers Bar

The Canadian Progressive: Iraqi Single Mom And Tech Lawyer Suing George W. Bush for War Crimes

An Iraqi single mom and a tech lawyer are suing ex-president George W. Bush for war crimes, believe they can prove the Iraq War was a “crime of aggression” under U.S. law.

The post Iraqi Single Mom And Tech Lawyer Suing George W. Bush for War Crimes appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

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The Canadian Progressive: Civil disobedience as law enforcement

Historian and author Jeremy Brecher argues that activists who engage in acts of civil disobedience and risk arrest are upholding the law, not violating it.

The post Civil disobedience as law enforcement appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

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The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

By: Andrew Stevens | First published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on May 3, 2013: Sweeping changes to Saskatchewan’s labour relations and employment standards legislation are on the verge of being passed. Bill 85, the Saskatchewan Employment Act, will dramatically transform the laws governing trade unions and industrial relations in the province. The . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

By: Andrew Stevens | First published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on May 3, 2013: Sweeping changes to Saskatchewan’s labour relations and employment standards legislation are on the verge of being passed. Bill 85, the Saskatchewan Employment Act, will dramatically transform the laws governing trade unions and industrial relations in the province. The . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Saskatchewan: A beachhead of labour law reform?

The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous rights are the best defence against Canada’s resource rush

First Nations people – and the decision of Canadians to stand alongside them – will determine the fate of the planet By: Martin Lukacs | The Guardian (UK), Published on Fri Apr 26, 2013: In a boardroom in a soaring high-rise on Wall Street, Indigenous activist Arthur Manuel is sitting across from one […]

The . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Indigenous rights are the best defence against Canada’s resource rush

Law is Cool: Chess Master, You May Approach the Bench

Ever want to take on an opponent in court from the comfort of your living room? This legal themed chess set might provide an outlet.

“Approach the Bench” was designed by a lawyer’s son as a gift to his dad. After realizing there aren’t many legal-themed chess sets out there, the man behind the idea . . . → Read More: Law is Cool: Chess Master, You May Approach the Bench

The Scott Ross: Canada’s Supreme Court Wants To Restrict Abortions

One sign that a country is in trouble is when the top court’s opinion is deemed controversial.

Canada doesn’t have to worry about that, not because its Supreme Court is so respected, but because of how little Canadians know about its rulings, in particular that our highest court believes abortion should be restricted. 

It was . . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: Canada’s Supreme Court Wants To Restrict Abortions

THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Teachers Dilemma

Nobody wants to give in to a bully. Indeed teachers teach students not to give in to bullies and teachers are expected to be role models and teach by example. So the teachers, when the bully took away their collective bargaining rights with draconian … . . . → Read More: THE FIFTH COLUMN: The Teachers Dilemma