O’Leary taking Elections

Canada to Court

Do election and party laws and rule do more than irritate?

Dorothy Dobbie

debts personally, even if they have the money to do this. In the leadership election for the Conservative party,


O’Leary spent $2.5 million, but even though he has the means to do so, he is limited as to how much of his own money he can contribute to the cause. Consequently, many small vendors have not been paid because he still has a debt of around 400 thousand dollars, which he has been unable to raise the conventional way. This is not surprising considering he is a multi-millionaire and few are inclined to see him as a charity case. Currently, each leadership candidate has a budget limited to $5 million, but can only accept donations from any individual amounting to $1,500 annually, a pittance considering that, even in Manitoba, the do- nation limit for leadership candidates is $3,000 per individual and for a provincial candidate it is $5,000. Moreover, federal party leadership candidates have only three years in which to pay off their debts, while there is no time limit in Manitoba. This leaves a long list of small vendors out in the cold. Mr. O’Leary wants to pay them personally, but Elections Canada has told him that both he and the vendor will be liable to penalty if they attempt to do so. The three year time limit is fast approaching. Ironically, federal leadership candidates are limited to a one-time personal donation of $25,000, but they must put up a non-refundable $50,000 payable to the Party, plus another $50,000 to ensure “compliance” with Par- ty internal rules, money that is basically refundable at the whim of the party. I say this because one leadership candidate, Brad Trost, was accused of leaking the Party list to the National Firearms Association, an accusation he and his committee have vehemently denied, and so the Conservative Party has refused to refund his money. Mr. Trost failed in his bid to take the party to court over the case, even though there was no proof that he or his campaign did indeed leak the Party list. While we pride ourselves in Canada on having an unassailable democratic system there are still plenty of inconsistencies and, sometimes, downright stupidity in the rules we come up with to ensure “fairness”. In all honesty, though, this “fairness” usually has more to do with limiting the ability of the opposition to pursue a successful course of action than it does in guaranteeing a level playing field. Sometimes, the rules are just absurd, as in the case of placing an arbitrary time limit on repaying election debt or allowing those with the means to do so to retire the debt of a failed candidate. Ironically, again, there is no guarantee that spending the most money will elect anyone. You can only buy so many ads or take the candidate to so many locations, hire so many makeup artists, speech writers, comport- ment trainers, expensive wardrobes and so on. At the end of the day, as long as the candidate can be seen and heard by the voters and has something compelling to say and knows how to say it with sincerity and convic- tion, the rest will follow. It is time to reset the clock on election spending and

rules. The voters, contrary to backroom party hack advice,

are not stupid and will make up their own minds no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig.

Rail service to Churchill has been restored. Senator Pat Bovey

riches of the North, its unique, fragile ecology and centuries of Inuit, Dene, and northern First Nations traditions? The North is Canada’s future. The


Senate Special Committee on the Arctic mandated to assess and address com- plex, interrelated northern issues: sov- ereignty, security, climate change, so- cial realities, housing and health, digital infrastructure, education, mining, oil, language, culture, and more, recently toured the North, including Churchill. The Arctic Committee is addressing

the government’s Arctic Policy Frame- work’s six interlocked topics: compre- hensive

Arctic infrastructure; strong

Arctic people and communities; strong, sustainable, and diversified Arctic econ- omies; Arctic science and Indigenous knowledge; protecting the environment and conserving Arctic biodiversity; and the Arctic in a global context. Climate change, mining, oil and gas exploration,

and environmental concerns are especially complex. Stewardship of northern resources is imperative, bal- ancing extraction and sales with the environment. Fi-

lmost 40 percent of Canada is north of the 60th parallel. Do Canadians in the South un- derstand northern issues, or the

evin O’Leary is taking Elections Canada to Court over the election rules that don’t allow leadership or other candidates to pay election

From the Senate

nancial gains should be reinvested in the North, not solely profit international and southern corporations. Short- and long-term effects of rapid climate change, melting sea ice, and changes to sea life are overarching. Marine species are being recorded further north than ever before. Mercury levels are ris- ing with melting permafrost. The food chain is changing. What will result from rising sea levels and the projected demise of 40 coastal communities? The opening of the Northwest Pas- sage will increase international marine commercial traffic and tourism. Yet only a tiny fraction of Canada’s Arctic Ocean coast is charted. Russia and China have better knowl- edge of our seabeds than we do. Increasing numbers of cruise ships give rise to opportunity and challenge. Icebreakers took several days to reach a grounded cruise ship this summer, rendering them unavailable to assist the once-a-year deliveries to remote com-

munities like Cambridge Bay. Compounding issues in the North include the lack

of adequate housing; access to health care; mental health crises; substance abuse and suicide; employ- ment; and inequitable access to education and train- ing. Education and training are prerequisites in solv- ing all these issues.

Emojis in the courtroom? A

s we use mobile phones increasingly to com- municate, the symbols known as “emojis” have found their way into evidence in several

courtrooms. Emojis are computer renderings

of characters and emotions that were created in the late 1990s by a Japa- nese company. Emojis evolved from emoticons, which use keyboard sym- bols in combinations (often colons, semi-colons and brackets, such as :-), meaning smiley face, to commu- nicate an emotion). There are 1,851 recognised Uni-

code emojis, including emojis with a diversity of skin tones, as well as new emojis such as “Nerdface” and “Zipperface”. In the case of Eniain v. Schlissel,

Raymond Oakes

the threatening text messages containing an emoticon were cited as cause for a search warrant, which was

upheld by the court. Law schools in England and the United States have commenced courses on emojis as an option in their curriculum. New lawyers will need to be tech-savvy, given that already there are two billion smart phone users worldwide and over six billion emojis are sent each day on mobile messaging apps. Lawyers will have to learn how to work with this new kind of visual communication. Is that waving hand emoji waving, or is it slapping someone? How do lawyers upload the “GIF” into the court's exhibits? Context is always essential but often sub-

jective. Technology continues to challenge the legal profession, giving an advantage to lawyers who are well versed in technology. Raymond Oakes practises real estate, wills and estates, corporate commercial law and

succession planning (including businesses and cottages in Manitoba and Ontario).

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