Why the Toronto Maple Leafs have not been able to win the Stanley Cup for nearly half a century

Kenneth - photo

The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1967 – almost half a century ago.

With the recently commenced 2014-2015 National Hockey League (NHL) season, Leafs Nation can’t help but think about the question that seems to keep resurfacing since 1967: Why can’t their beloved Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup even though the team is the most valued franchise in the NHL (at $1.15 billion) according to the most recent Forbes list of “The World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams”?

The fact that the Leafs have not won the cup for the past forty-seven years is an especially curious case since management over the past twenty-plus years have spent generously. To understand the reasons, let us travel back in time to the 1980s with Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean time machine and move forward from there…

Yes, those of us who are old enough remember the dark days of the Leafs in the 1980s (the Harold Ballard era) when the sole objective of the owner was to make as much profit as possible.  At the time, management would frequently “sell off” promising young star players to rival teams so long as the latter (other teams) were willing to pay a premium (large sum of cash) for the asset (the rising player) to the former (the Leafs). In order to abide by league regulations, these transactions were usually consummated in the form of lopsided trades. Case in point: the Leafs traded right winger Russ Courtnall (who turned out to be a solid two-way second-line player with respectable scoring punch) to the Montreal Canadiens for one-dimensional enforcer John Kordic and Montreal’s sixth round selection in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft (Mike Doers) on November 7, 1988.

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EASY RESTAURANT (1645 Queen St. West / 713 College St. West)

After my disappointing experience at Aunties and Uncles, I was hoping that this week’s brunch adventure would boost my confidence in the Toronto brunch scene. I chose Easy Restaurant, as it is another spot with a great reputation and has a location on College Street, a stone’s throw from my apartment. Unfortunately, this may have been my first mistake, as I have since heard that the original location on Queen West is much better than the new one. Nonetheless, I found that, generally, Easy Restaurant had the opposite problem of Aunties and Uncles: the service was good, but the food was lacking.

Easy Restaurant - 1645 Queen St. West/713 College St. West

Easy Restaurant – 1645 Queen St. West/713 College St. West

Brunch Hours

Easy Restaurant is open 9:00-5:00 seven days a week, with a single menu that serves both breakfast and lunch.

Wait Time/Service

Despite its reputation, when my brunch companion (BC) and I arrived at Easy there were only two tables filled in the entire restaurant. Perhaps this should have tipped us off about the food, but we chose to attribute it to the time of day that we arrived at the restaurant (a Wednesday afternoon), especially considering the disclaimer on the menu regarding wait times on weekends. While this could be solely because the restaurant was dead, our server was very friendly and attentive, and our food came within a reasonable time frame.


The atmosphere at Easy is relatively laid back: the restaurant’s walls are covered in posters from old movies, including Easy Rider (which I have to assume has something to do with the name of the restaurant – can anyone confirm/refute this?) While we were eating, Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke was playing silently on a big screen, while classic Motown and rock music from the 1960s poured out of the speakers. Though I was into this scene, my BC felt that the atmosphere was forced and noted that it was strange that the posters weren’t the actual posters from the movies, just stills with the movie’s title.

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Say Hello to Your Student Caucus

Fall elections fill vacancies as Student Caucus ramps up for the new academic year

Elections for 1L Student Caucus Representatives took place on September 15, 2014. The results saw Quinlin “Quin” Gilbert-Walters (1L Section A Rep), Lauren Katz (1L Section B Rep), Camille Walker (1L Section C Rep), and Chelsea Caldwell (1L Section D Rep) chosen to be their section representatives. They add to the ten already chosen upper year Student Caucus representatives and the three Legal & Literary Society cross-appointees to fill out the seventeen member body.

“I’m really excited to be involved in the governance of Osgoode,” said Chelsea Caldwell, one of the newly chosen Student Caucus members. “We are a good group. We have a diversity of experiences, good energy, and a lot of enthusiasm. I expect to be very productive this year,” said Jeffrey Hernaez, Student Caucus Chair and 3L Rep, speaking about the 2014-2015 cohort of Student Caucus representatives.

Student Caucus is responsible for advocating for the student viewpoint on academic policy and programing. Members of Student Caucus are voting members of Faculty Council, the Osgoode governance body that determines academic policy. In addition, Student Caucus members fill out the majority of student seats on Faculty Council Committees. These committees span a variety of subject matters including Priority & Finances, Faculty Recruitment, Teaching & Learning, Library, and Admissions.

This year, one of the initiatives being undertaken by Student Caucus is fostering better engagement with the student body. The first stage has already been rolled out with the introduction of the redesigned Student Caucus website (studentcaucus.legalandlit.ca). The goal is to “have an up-to-date place where students can see what’s being worked on by [Student Caucus],” said Hannah de Jong, a 2L Rep. Student Caucus has also created a sub-committee to explore more ways of engaging with student feedback. “It’s really important that Student Caucus representatives are approachable. We can only do our job if we know what students are thinking”, said Henry Limheng, a 2L Rep.

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A New Middle Ground?

Conflicts of Laws Under First Nations Self-Government Agreements

Photo credit: Miguelb.

Photo credit: Miguelb.

The era of First Nations self-government agreements began in 1975 with the signing of the James Bay and Northern Quebec agreement. The next agreement was not signed until 1993. Since then, close to two dozen more have been signed and several more are under negotiation. These agreements recognize a broad range of regulatory, administrative, and legislative powers in areas ranging from taxation, to resource management, to education.

Given the broad range of legislative powers recognized under the agreements, there is a need to determine what would happen in the event that First Nations laws conflict with federal and/or provincial laws.

The agreements themselves, many of which run five hundred pages or more, identify quite exhaustively which laws will prevail in the event of conflict. For example, the Sioux Valley Dakota agreement recognizes Sioux Valley jurisdiction to legislate in respect of the surveying of lands in their territory. Further, it states that if a Sioux Valley Nation law regarding surveys “is inconsistent with any applicable federal or provincial law, then the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Law prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.” The primacy of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Law extends to a number of other areas, including citizenship, health, and family law. In respect of legislation pertaining to the establishment and functioning of an indigenous court, Sioux Valley laws take precedence in determining the qualifications of advocates, rules, and procedures of the court, and the application of Sioux Valley Dakota law.

First Nations law prevails over federal and provincial law in quite a remarkable number of instances. The Nisga’a annual fishing plan prevails over federal and provincial laws of general application, while Nisga’a laws concerning the functioning of the Nisga’a Lisms Government hold an advantaged position. The Champagne and Aishihik agreement provides that all provincial laws of general application are inoperative if the First Nation has already legislated on the same matter.

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You survived OCIs! Now what?

5 Follow-Up Tips After the First Date

Heather - Al Fernandez

When complimenting the firm, refrain from mentioning space pants, fallen angels, or measurements of any kind.

For those of you who recently participated in the legal dog and pony show that we like to call “OCIs,” I extend a tip of the hat to you all for such a dedicated effort toward your future careers – however masochistic it might be. One can only hope now that the summer months spent personalizing those cover letters with a level of detail that would make a stalker proud, and reordering the hobbies on your resume to really highlight your talent for beer pong finally pay off in the weeks to come. The date is over, you can change back into your favourite sweats with the hole in the crotch and sit back with a bag of Doritos while you wait for your betrothed to call. But no, wait. It’s not over yet. Despite bringing your perfect A-game and wooing the interviewers off their feet, you need to put the chips down, get off that couch, and get your ass back to work! There is no rest for the weary in the game of love, and there is certainly none to be had here in law school. So with that said, allow me the pleasure of potentially wasting the next five minutes of your day with some salient advice that has never led me astray where it concerns matters of the heart. I’m sure it applies equally to law firms.

1. Text or call the very next day.

Let’s not take this one too literal since anything beyond a quick email could likely confirm you as a potential candidate for a restraining order in the eyes of your interviewer. Unless you were able to bond over martinis and glasses of wine after the interview, it might seem suspect to be calling them at their weekend cabin to express your gratitude for having “taken the time to meet with you.” The general rule: always send a quick email thanking the interviewers as soon as possible after the interview. Be sure to personalize the message so that multiple notes to different lawyers within the same firm do not sound the same. You were taking notes during the interview, right?

2. Once you’ve secured the second date, do a little research.

Did someone say research? Yes, seize your moment my lovely gunners, load up Google, and fly my pretties, fly, fly! Find out who you will be meeting with and learn about them as much as possible. What area of law do they practice? What is their favourite hobby? What blood type is their second-born son? Now is not the time to hold back your super-sleuthing skills. You want them to know that when shit really hits the fan, you are their Kalinda Sharma. Not only will you spot that rogue comma that saves them millions of dollars, but you’ll be able to tell them exactly which area of the world the trees were harvested from to make the paper it was printed on. Relevant? Probably not. Impressive? Absolutely. Knowledge is power and the more you have, the better equipped you are to shape your second date into an experience that will leave them wanting you more.

3. Take things slow and enjoy getting to know each other.

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ILP: Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone

When Osgoode Meets Salone

Osgoode students Esther and Elise take in the view of their new home for the summer.

Osgoode students Esther and Elise take in the view of their new home for the summer.

We worked for Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone (DCI) in Freetown, Sierra Leone through Osgoode’s student-run International Legal Partnership (ILP) for ten weeks. We drafted and submitted a constitutional review of the Constitution of Sierra Leone that was submitted to the Constitutional Review Commission of Sierra Leone (CRC). Our report consisted of amendments and their justifications based on comparisons to the constitutions of other African countries, the African Charter, and the UN Convention on Rights of the Child. We also had other assignments that included drafting and amending the constitutions of DCI and the Child Rights Coalition of Sierra Leone, creating memorandums of understanding, completing reports on other DCI initiatives (like the Girl Power Programme), preparing training manuals for social workers, and providing information packets on the justice system that were distributed to juvenile offenders, their families, witnesses, and victims.


ELISE: I held an educational seminar on Sex Education that included a section on consent. The audience consisted of several education facilitators of DCI and other staff that were not involved in the Girl Power Project, which the educational seminar was created for. At first, it was clear that a lot of the staff members did not want to attend. But, after half way through the presentation, everyone was really engaged and asking lots of questions. I felt that I had actually supplied fundamental knowledge on the elements of consent, as well as other important sexual health facts. After my presentation was complete, some of the initially reluctant staff members even came up to me and told me how happy they were that they had stayed and how much they had learned.

ESTHER: One of the many highlights of my internship was my meeting with an internationally-acclaimed human rights lawyer who was the previous director of DCI. He had drafted recommendations for the Sierra Leonean constitution and thus had a lot of insight on our report. The goal for the review was to create a constitutional report that contained realistic recommendations, which were catered to the social dynamic unique to Sierra Leone. As a foreign intern, I talked to my colleagues and local friends about social issues, so I had a general idea of people’s sentiments, but through my meeting I gained a better understanding of the efficacy of our recommendations and the social reality of Sierra Leone. We talked about the history, present, and future of Sierra Leone and what could be done to achieve societal and judicial goals and overcome obstacles through the law. This meeting was an eye-opening encounter that made me more aware of the realities of the political, legal, and social spheres of Sierra Leone and more hopeful for its future growth.

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ILP: Foundation for Human Rights Initiative

International Legal Experience in Your 1L Summer

Mary’s international legal experience has not only left her with new skills to take into her future career, but also new friends and connections.

Mary’s international legal experience has not only left her with new skills to take into her future career, but also new friends and connections.

While some 1Ls spent their summers working in law firms or taking courses abroad, I spent this past summer as an International Legal Partnership (ILP) fellow in Kampala, Uganda working at the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI). Doing everything from preparing memos to monitoring death row proceedings, I not only gained amazing legal research experience as an intern within the Research and Advocacy division, but I also fell completely in love with Kampala.

Working Abroad: Contrary to some of the stereotypes associated with student programs that involve going abroad, my time at FHRI was not a vacation. I was not sitting on a beach doing fluff work; I was in an office from 8:30am to 5pm doing actual research and legal work. Within my first week on the job, I was given a two-day deadline to prepare an in-depth memo on life imprisonment procedures and definitions within several countries around the world. This research would be used in recommendations the FHRI would be making regarding a recent movement by the Uganda Law Reform Commission for a revision to the Prison Act.

Another major project that I got to work on was the Research division’s annual thematic report. For 2014, the theme of the report was eradicating poverty in Uganda from a human rights-based approach. Work for this report involved weeks of desktop research which was followed by interviews with government officials, NGOs, and people living in poverty, as well as field visits to local slums and various towns in northern Uganda.

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I Baked a Humble Pie, May I Offer You a Slice?

A Call for Humility in the Legal Profession

Photo credit: Dan Klimke

Photo credit: Dan Klimke

We are the next generation of lawyers, and along with our responsibilities to our clients and to the courts, we have a responsibility to shape the legal profession. Many things are changing in the practice of law. We research statutes and find cases online. We write in a far more clear and succinct fashion. We are approaching client service in a much more collaborative manner. Alternatives to litigation are becoming the norm instead of the exception. We should also endeavour to create a new kind of lawyer: one who advocates with zeal but does not trample on others in so doing. The type of lawyer who knows her or his worth, but does not undervalue others; the type of lawyer who is confident, but not arrogant.

There are already directives and safeguards in place aimed at encouraging civility and collegiality. The Law Society has emphasized the need for civility and professionalism. The Professional Code of Conduct makes it incumbent on all lawyers to act in a way befitting officers of the court. Opposing counsel refer to one another as “my friend” and to judges as “the learned judge,” often when criticizing a judicial decision.

One need not wait to arrive in court, however. In fact, if you do, you might be too late because it all starts right here. There are unspoken rules of classroom etiquette that are often breached by those who love the sound of their own voices and think the rest of us do too. Those who refuse to share their notes because they consider themselves the arbiters of who is deserving of help and who is not and, of course, because they want to reap every advantage, even at others’ expense. Those who mock others’ efforts to understand the material in class. Those who believe attending law school is simply a formality, because they already know all they need to know. Those who speak often, but seldom listen. I humbly suggest that there is no room for those people in our generation of lawyers—though I would gladly offer them my notes and summaries regardless.

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Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: Would a National Inquiry Help?

Would a National Inquiry Help?

erin garbett - photo

There are more furious cries for an inquiry than ever, but could those resources be better used?

On August 17, the body of fifteen-year-old Anishinaabe girl Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg after she had been missing for over a week. Her disappearance and subsequent murder incurred public outrage and further called for a national inquiry of murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada. Following Fontaine’s murder, a motion was passed by the Winnipeg city council to endorse an inquiry or roundtable discussion. The city council’s voice is not the only one pushing the Prime Minister and his government. Provincial premiers discussed their options in pressing for an inquiry at their Charlottetown meeting at the end of August. Likewise, the Native Women’s Association, the Assembly of First Nations, First Nations chiefs in Alberta, and many other organizations have vocalized their  support for an inquiry.

And yet, the Harper government continues to resist an inquiry. While offering his condolences to the Fontaine family, the Prime Minister added, “It’s very clear that there has been very fulsome study of this particular…of these particular things.” However, in early September, the door was opened to the possibility of participating in roundtable discussions. In a phone interview with the CBC, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt stated that under the right circumstances, he would recommend that the federal government participate in an inquiry.

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Legal wrangling and the imminent threat of the perpetual enemy

ISIS Edition


The difficult question when it comes to taking on ISIS in Iraq and Syria: Who’s side is the US on?

Last month, President Obama laid out his plan to combat the Islamic State (referred to as both ISIS and ISIL) with air strikes in Iraq and Syria. Canada and the United Kingdom have both decided to join the US-led campaign targeting ISIS in Iraq. However, legal scholars have been mixed on whether this bombing campaign is considered legal under international and US domestic laws. How important is the law in seeking to regulate international actors?

Under international law, Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. There are two notable exceptions to this foundational rule. First, a UN Security Council resolution can authorize the use of armed force under a Chapter VII mandate. Second, Article 51 of the UN Charter, as well as customary international law, have recognized that states have the right to resort to collective or individual self-defence in response to an armed attack.

It is clear that the US-led coalition does not have a Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq or Syria, and it is doubtful that the coalition will try and obtain one given the likelihood of a Russian veto. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, has supported the Assad regime for the past three years, and is unambiguously against the use of force by the West in Syria.

In the absence of Security Council approval, can the US justify the strikes against ISIS inside Iraq and Syria within the confines of self-defence? Continue reading