Kent Roach’s recent post over at Just Security is required reading for anyone interested in how our government goes about strengthening anti-terror laws in the wake of the past week’s events in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec (the hit and run incident invoving Martin Couture-Rouleau). Read the whole post, but here’s one of the key points (h/t Michel-Adrien Sheppard)
Couture-Rouleau was one of 90 people in Canada reported to have been radicalized, and Canadian security officials were monitoring him. The suspension of his passport re-affirms the need for western democracies to think creatively about how to control those like Couture-Rouleau who are apparently sympathetic to the aims of the Islamic State. There is a need to balance due process with the need for security.
In these debates, it should not be forgotten that Canada has legal provisions that allow preventive arrests and peace bonds to be imposed on suspected terrorists. These provisions are infrequently used, and in many cases, a terrorist prosecution where the accused face reverse-onuses to be released on bail would be preferable. Bail in Canada can be denied on both public safety and public confidence grounds.
Simply put, the issue appears to be the enforcement of the criminal law rather than the need for more criminal law.
Transparency International’s latest Exporting Corruption report isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Canada’s efforts to enforce anticorruption rules against its multinationals operating abroad. The report recognizes that there have been major changes to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act and that there has been “a notable increase in enforcement activity in recent years.” But there’s plenty of room for improvement. Its main recommendations is to further amend the Act “to provide a non-criminal enforcement option and thereby greater flexibility and enhanced enforcement.” It would also like to see a more proactive effort on the part of law enforcement to work with groups like Transparency International Canada and the Canadian Bar Association to improve the voluntary disclosure process for those seeking immunity and who might want to come forward.
As far as the U.S. is concerned, the report identifies certain inadequacies in the legal framework, but overall it gets fairly high marks for having “the most developed and active foreign bribery legal and enforcement regime in the OECD (and the world). Germany and the U.K. also are credited for their active enforcement. That said, Canada, along with Australia, Italy and Finland, fares better than France, Sweden and Norway.
A lawyer’s “eruption of irritation” at a letter from a paralegal working for opposing counsel who cited case law was not a matter for the Law Society of British Columbia, a hearing panel decided, but it is a shining example of an issue the legal profession will have to work through if it wants to flourish in the future.
As one participant in a CBA Futures Initiative Twitterchat last summer said, lawyers have to stop thinking they’re the smartest people in the room – they have to accept that other people have worthwhile skills and capabilities that can help them serve their clients’ interests.
In the first of our recent series of Omar Ha Redeye interviews, the man from Fleet Street Law talks to us about the CBA's recommendation that law societies allow for alternative business structures for lawyers.
Starting in January, companies failing to exhibit gender equality on their boards and in their C-suites are going to have to start explaining their actions – or inaction – if they want to trade publicly on the TSX.
It should be interesting to watch: to date the spokespeople for most companies challenged on the topic simply say “there are no qualified female candidates” and leave it there – and the general public can mutter and point all it wants, it has no recourse, no power to compel diversity.
The Ontario Securities Commission, on the other hand, does have a certain measure of power, and it is this body which is requiring companies not just to explain away their lack of diversity, but the steps they’re taking to ameliorate the situation in the appointment of new board members and executives.