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Game of Thrones Meets Canadian Politicians

GotI recently found an article portraying election party leaders as The Game of Thrones characters. Needless to say, the comparison was brilliant! I decided to expand on the article by supporting some of the statements with corresponding legislation and my own thoughts. If you aren’t up to date with the show, there are some spoilers.

Harper; Joffrey Baratheon

Harpers government has been known to swiftly remove individuals who oppose their regime and ideals. One may argue Bill C-51: The Anti-terrorist Act, Bill C-24: The Citizenship Act and the niqab debate have resulted in an “us vs. them” mentality. The article states that Harper is largely disliked by many. Some women argue that Harper’s government lacks respect for women. For instance, many Aboriginals argue that not enough has been done to protect and find missing Aboriginal women. Finally, opposing politicians have argued that Harper (much like Joffrey) has disgraced the global perception of Canadians due to his choices. Nevertheless, unlike Joffrey, Harper still has a strong following.

Jon_Snow_and_Ghost Trudeau; Jon Snow

Trudeau has a famous father and aims to bring a new approach to politics. Like Snow, Trudeau was underestimated by his seniors but has become a leader to many of his followers. Trudeau portrays himself as a teacher, advocate and leader – all of these qualities are possessed by Snow. Trudeau claims to be concerned about climate change, like Snow, he too acknowledges “winter is coming”. Trudeau argues that supporting the Anti-terrorism Act was a means of survival; he felt forced to support the legislation to protect Canadians against ISIS but claims he will amend the bill once in power. Similarly, Snow had worked with the opposing group (the Wildings) for survival as he took up arms against the white walkers to protect others.

khaleesi

May; Khaleesi

Khaleesi: a powerful woman with great plans for empowering the vulnerable members of society. She advocates for the homeless, displaced and marginalized individuals in society. She wants to provide homes, a safe environment and protection for Canadians by improving the National Housing Strategy and implementing her Guaranteed Liveable Income. She is creating a strong and loyal following based on her social policies. However, much like Khaleesi, she is overlooked by her male counterparts.

TyrionMulcair; Tyrion Lannister

Mulcair has considerably more political experience than his opponents. He has demonstrated opposition to the throne (Harpers government) by opposing bills such as the Anti-Terrorism Act. He has compassion for marginalized individuals within the community and is often close to but never on the throne – however, that can change in this election. He claims to be willing to work with the green party to create the change he believes Canada needs. Similarly, Tyrion is willing to work with Khaleesi to create as well. Finally, if Mulcair doesn’t win the election, much like Tyrion, this probably won’t be the last you hear of him.

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Points of Discussion:

  1. Are these characters a good fit?
  2. What else would you add to each of these characters?

The original article link: http://www.joeydevilla.com/2015/10/12/game-of-thrones-canadian-elections-edition/

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How Did THAT Become Law?

Many individuals complain about the law but few of us understand the complexities of how laws come to be. Just take a minute and force yourself to think back to grade five when you learnt how a bill was passed, how much do you really remember? One would assume that we would know at least the basics about how our laws are passed. Just in case you’re not sure, here’s a quick recap.

Bills are often introduced by the government. Opposition members and individuals parliamentarians can also introduce bills; these bills are often referred to as Private Member’s Bills.

  1. A bill is usually drafted to make changes to an existing law or create a new law all together.  What’s a bill? A bill is a drafted proposal or idea to change the law.  Legislation proposals can take place in both the Senate and the House of Commons.  Bills introduced in the Senate have a S in the title for example Bill S-7 while a bill introduced in the House of Commons have a C, for example Bill C-24. When the bill is read in the House that it was drafted in (either the Senate or House of Commons) it is referred to as the First Reading. Think of this as pitching an idea for the first time in an organization.
  2. Following the First Reading is the Second Reading. This step allows parliamentarians to ask questions and debate over the bill. This is where the bill is analyzed to assess its effectiveness if it were to be implemented (i.e. who will be impacted by the bill?). Does the bill achieve the goal that it is set to achieve?  The parliamentarian members then vote on the bill and if the majority agrees, then the bill passes. If the bill passes this stage it then continues to the committee stage.

  3. The Committee Stage is often the stage most people forget because it seems minor. However, this stage allows committee members to hold hearings where government and non-government individuals ask questions and committee members can have questions answered by witnesses and experts.  The committee then puts together a report of any amendments (changes) they think should be implemented by the House that introduced the bill.
  4. Report Stage. This stage allows committee members to provide the House with any changes they believe to be necessary.  All parliamentarians are welcome to debate the bill.  Non- committee members are also allowed to suggest changes to the bill at this stage in the process.
  5. Third Reading. Third time is the charm! The bill is then opened up for a third round of debate.  Sometimes parliamentarians are not content with the changes made to the bill after the Second Reading and can vote against the bill in the Third Reading.  If the bill does successfully pass at this point, then the bill is sent to the House that did not propose the bill to undergo the same process again of three readings.
  6. Royal Assent. This final stage only takes place after both Houses have passed the bill with the exact same wording. Differentiation in wording can lead to the bill not receiving royal assent as it can be interpreted differently.  The Governor General then approves and signs the bill, making it a law. This is referred to as Royal Assent. The bill then becomes a law.

Stay tuned for Thursday’s post that will outline how this process can be impacted by the party in power.

Points of Discussion:

1. What part of the process did you know the least about?

2. Do you think this is an effective system?

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It’s Election Time!

Now some of you may be wondering why TSP is writing about political matters in a legal forum, but the reality is that the two realms are closely linked; many legal developments take place for political reasons especially during election periods.

TSP is not aiming to sway your vote for one party over another but rather to highlight the legislation that has helped shape the competing political parties. The candidacy for Prime Minister is compelling but the support/lack thereof for certain legislation has impacted how voters view the candidates. The competition currently seems to be strong between three parties: The Conservatives, Liberals and the NDP. Here are some legal decisions which may impact your vote. Since most individuals are familiar with the Conservative party, this post will focus more on the Liberal party.

The Conservatives

The Conservatives have received considerable backlash due to their recent legal proposals including Bill C-24 Citizenship Act and Bill C-51 Anti-Terrorism Act. Each of these legislations is discussed more at length on the TSP as individual pieces. Many Canadians feel betrayed by these decisions and find the acts to be unconstitutional and unnecessary.

The Liberals

Justin Trudeau chose to support Bill C-51 but since then has suggested amendments to the act. Trudeau claims that while preventing terrorism is essential, he believes Canadians’ rights should not be compromised. However, many Canadians are weary of his words due to his choice to support the legislation in the first place.

Trudeau has also put forth the Transparency Act in Parliament which proposes keeping the public informed about how their money is spent. How? By providing the public access to the dealings of the Board of Internal Economy in the House of Commons; this board decides how money is spent. Trudeau also suggests he’d like to amend the Access to Information Act to require government information to be open to the public by default. This legislation would also allow the Information Commissioner to order the release of information to the public. Furthermore it would limit the cost of an access to information request; if the information is not provided within the specified time, then the government should provide a refund. Trudeau wants the Access to Information Act to be reviewed by all parties and consistently reviewed every five years to ensure it is up to date.

Trudeau has also suggested that he would support abortion until point of birth. Many Canadians are discontent with this proposal as they believe it is a violation of the Charter to prevent a fetus from coming into this world.

Canada Post was asked to distribute flyers of a graphic picture of an aborted fetus accompanied with a picture of Trudeau stating a vote for Trudeau was a vote for abortion. Some Canada Post employees have since refused delivering the flyers and are now suspended. You might be surprised to learn that Canada Post does not have a right to determine what materials are distributed.

These developments are merely the tip of the iceberg but provide a little more insight into what the legal implications of voting for a party may look like. Did you like this article? If you want more information about the elections going forward, make sure you like, comment and share! Based on the response, I will write additional pieces on the rest of the parties.

Points of Discussion:

1. Has this post provided some additional insight to the legal implications of voting for a particular candidate?

2. Would you like to read more about the legal implications of voting for each candidate?

Disputes In Condos – Condominium Act

Condo’s account for half of the home sales in Ontario; there are currently approximately 1.3 million individuals living in condominiums. However, the average buyer will not understand the complex implications of signing legal documents, which can lead to numerous mistakes. Thus, you can imagine the need for a less expensive method to resolve disputes.

The provincial government aims to create a Condominium Authority to allow for a range of services including dispute resolution. This new tribunal will allow condo owners to avoid going to court to address disagreements with their neighbour(s) or condo board.

Objective:

It means there will be less money spent on resolving simple condo issues and no time will be spent in court. This legislation is meant to help protect the consumer rights of condo buyers by helping them understand what is involved in the complex legal documents they sign when choosing to purchase a home.

Furthermore, the act will now promote clear language in contracts to ensure that the average person can understand what they are signing.  To help accomplish this, the Condo Authority will provide the buyer with a guide to ensure that the buyers understand and know their rights and can ask appropriate questions.

Additions to the Condominium Act will put in place stricter rules to avoid surprise increases in condo fees. For instance, some developers choose to put in place clauses that allow them to own common areas including the lobby and then choose to lease these areas back to the board a year later, which results in a large increase in monthly fees for owners.

Finally, a new licensing system will be put in place for management firms as there are currently no credentials in place to become a condo manager. Directors will also be required to undertake basic training as new qualifications for the position will be put in place.

What does this mean for condo owners?

This new administrative body will provide: advice to condo owners, mediation services to address disputes including noise complaints, information regarding bylaw infractions and how to proceed if you cannot obtain financial documents from the condo board of directors.

There will also be new rules outlining how condo boards are to operate, to help make boards more transparent and accountable. Consequently, owners will be allowed to ask for a vote of the condo board regarding an issue.  Moreover, the board will now be required to provide reports to owners concerning insurance and legal proceedings on a regular basis. Owners will now be informed condominium issues and changes.
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