Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Background to the Google Censorship Issue in China

Search engine giant Google has come in for a lot of criticism since it was revealed recently that its new Google China site is heavily censored.

Google rivals Yahoo and Microsoft already use censorship in China. Chinese Internet surfers using the search engines of these companies will be unlikely to find material on the Tien An Men massacre of 1989, Tibet, human rights or Falun Gong.

Google China surfers will not be allowed to visit sites such as BBC News or Human Rights Watch. Alcohol, lingerie, and dating sites, however, will be kosher.

Freedom of speech? Forget it! Booze and babes? No problem.

For some context, University of Toronto Munk Centre for International Studies professor Nart Villeneuve has just published an article in the January 2006 edition of First Monday, a peer-reviewed journal about Internet issue.

The article is entitled The filtering matrix: Integrated mechanisms of information control and the demarcation of borders in cyberspace. It explores how the implementation of filtering technologies by governments, in particular authoritarian and repressive ones, is increasingly used to control political dissent and suppress civil liberties.

More information on the Google China issue:

  • China: Internet companies assist censorship (Amnesty International): "Whether succumbing to demands from Chinese officials or anticipating government concerns, companies that impose restrictions that infringe on human rights are being extremely short-sighted. The agreements the industry enters into with the Chinese government, whether tacit or written, go against the IT industry’s claim that it promotes the right to freedom of information of all people, at all times, everywhere."
  • Google Now Censoring In China (SearchEngineWatch): "Less than a week after we hear that Google is ready to fight the US government in part to defend its users, now comes news that Google will cave into the Chinese government's demands for its new Google China web site. However, the issues aren't directly comparable. Moreover, while I'm no fan of Chinese censorship, I like some of the way Google is reacting to the demands. Come along, and we'll explore the entire censorship situation in China, the US and some other places you rarely hear discussed, like France and Germany."
  • Do Internet companies need to be regulated to ensure they respect free expression? (Reporters Without Borders): "The recent case of Microsoft closing down a journalist’s blog under pressure from the Chinese authorities once again shows that some Internet sector companies do not respect freedom of expression when operating in repressive countries. Reporters Without Borders proposes six concrete ways to make these companies behave ethically. These recommendations are addressed to the US government and US legislators because all the companies named in this document are based in the United States. "
  • Google launches censored version of its search-engine (Reporters Without Borders): "By offering a version without 'subversive' content, Google is making it easier for Chinese officials to filter the Internet themselves. A website not listed by search-engines has little chance of being found by users. The new Google version means that even if a human rights publication is not blocked by local firewalls, it has no chance of being read in China."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:38 pm 1 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pay Equity Resources

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a landmark pay equity decision that pilots, flight attendants and mechanics of Air Canada and Canadian Airlines are in the same "establishment" for the purposes of pay equity wage comparisons under s. 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and s. 10 of the Equal Wage Guidelines, 1986, SOR/86-1082.

The 7-0 ruling could speed up the resolution of other pay equity disputes at federally regulated organizations. Cases often take more than a decade to be concluded.

In 1991 and 1992, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International Ltd. The union alleged wage discrimination against the predominately female flight attendants as compared to two predominately male employee groups – pilots and ground crews.

Under s. 11 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is a discriminatory for an employer to pay different wages to male and female employees employed in the same "establishment" who are performing work of equal value. The Equal Wages Guidelines, 1986, adopted under the Act, state that employees of an establishment include all employees subject to a "common personnel and wage policy."

The employer had been arguing that each group is covered under a different collective agreement, so the wage comparison should not be made.

The Court criticized Air Canada for having dragged the case out for 15 years in front of human rights panels and federal courts. The Court said narrow technical interpretations of legislation could "sterilize human rights laws and defeat their very purpose."

The Supreme Court ordered that the matter be sent back to the Canadian Human Rights Commission to continue its investigation into whether there is gender-based wage discrimination.

Resources on the topic:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 27, 2006

Report on Offences against the Administration of Justice

Earlier this month, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, part of the Crown agency Statistics Canada, published a new Juristat report entitled Offences against the Administration of Justice, 1994/95 to 2003/04 (summary of the report). The full report is available in most depository libraries.

Juristat reports are irregular publications that provide detailed statistics and analysis on a variety of topics and issues related to Canada's justice system. There are also annual Juristats on topics such as crime, homicide, youth and adult courts, and corrections.

Offences against the administration of justice primarily include sections of the Criminal Code on corruption, misleading justice, falsely claiming to be a peace officer, trying to influence a municipal official, disobeying and escapes. Other Criminal Code offences concerning failure to comply with a probation order or a breach of order of long-term supervision are also included.

Offences against the administration of justice encumber the Canadian justice system by causing individuals to reappear before the courts for reasons unrelated to new criminal activities. They represent an additional cost in dollars and also in terms of the efficiency of the justice system.

According to the report:
  • The proportion of adults charged by police services with at least one offence against the administration of justice increased from 17% of all accused persons charged in 1998 to 22% in 2004
  • The proportion of cases before adult criminal courts including an offence against the administration of justice increased from 22% in 1994/95 to 31% in 2003/04 and from 30% to 40% for youth courts
  • During the last 10 years, the proportion of multiple-charge cases involving at least one offence against the administration of justice increased from 27% in 1994/95 to 36% in 2003/04 for adult criminal courts, and from 42% in 1994/95 to 54% in 2003/04 for youth courts
  • The incarceration rate for offences against the administration of justice was much higher than that for offences overall but prison sentences for offences against the administration of justice tend to be shorter

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Chat Reference Service for Ontario Lawyers

This is a follow-up to the May 9, 2005 post New Real Time Virtual Reference Service for Ontario Lawyers.

LibraryCo and the Law Society of Upper Canada's Great Library have finally launched AdvoCHAT, a new interactive Web-based reference inquiry service for lawyers in Ontario. LibraryCo brings together the 48 County and District Law Libraries of Ontario into a cooperatively operating province-wide law library system.

The new service, tested by a pilot group in the fall of 2005, allows for live chat, co-browsing by a librarian and the offsite inquirer through electronic databases, and the e-mailing of selected documents to the patron at the end of a session.

AdvoCHAT currently operates in 6 participating law libraries (Carleton, Essex, Middlesex, Toronto, Hamilton, and the Great Library) from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The January 9, 2006 Law Times article New online service provides realtime chats - Librarians’ expertise just a few mouse clicks away describes the new service in more detail.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Harvard Law School, Oxford and Google Launch Anti-"Badware" Coalition

A coalition that includes Google, Harvard, Oxford and a number of other players has launched a campaign against cybercriminals who create malicious computer programs that steal personal information and spy on people's Web surfing.

The group intends to shame the firms that produce the "badware" and will gather data that could lay the groundwork for class-action lawsuits against them.

Coverage of the Stop Badware coalition launch:

  • Anti-spyware project helps users (BBC News): "'We do have companies in mind but we are not going to name names off the bat,' said John Palfrey, co-director of the Stop Badware Coalition and director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. 'The key message here is that we are putting every company on notice,' he said."
  • Google, Sun, Others Out To Shame Spyware (Information Week): "Whether the light of day, or shame, has an effect on the multi-million dollar spyware and adware business has yet to be seen, of course. Previously, the only tactic that worked was taking purveyors to court, as the Center for Democracy and Technology urged the [American] Federal Trade Commission to do Tuesday with 180solutions, the world's second-largest adware maker."
  • Google, Sun, others band to fight spyware, adware (CNET News): "'I believe the potential growth of the Internet will be limited if we allow invasive badware and spyware to continue to fester without strong action,' he [Internet pioneer Vincent Cerf] said in a statement. 'All consumers must be in control of their experiences when they browse the Internet, and the mass proliferation of badware threatens this control. We cannot allow that to continue'."
  • New Program Takes Aim at Purveyors of Malicious Software (New York Times): "The spread of noxious code and the ease with which it can be deposited on unsuspecting users' machines has generally outpaced the ability of legislative and regulatory measures to grapple with the problem. A handful of bills are pending in Congress, and several states have passed tough laws intended to curb the deceptive practices that many companies use to get their software on consumers' machines and then use them to perform tasks that a user never agreed to. Some 59 million American adults reported having adware or spyware infecting their computers last year, according to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a research group in Washington."

Earlier Library Boy posts on "badware":

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:21 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

U.S. Launches New FirstGov Search Engine

There is a new FirstGov search engine for the content from U.S. federal, state, local tribal and territorial sources.

Based on the Vivisimo dynamic clustering technology, the new FirstGov search appears to be a few lightyears ahead of the search technology used on the Government of Canada website.

Here is the search for hurricane relief. Some of the features of the new FirstGov:
  • Results are organized dynamically along the left side of the browser window into "clusters" (with tabs for presenting results by topic, by type of material or by agency). The hundreds or thousands of results people tend to get in search engines are organized and classified into categories to help locate government information
  • A "preview" feature included in each result snippet in the middle of the page allows the user to see what the full version of the corresponding page looks like
  • Next to the search totals in the top middle is a link called "Details" that provides information on which government databases were searched and how many results came from each one
  • Next to the URL for many of the results is a link reading "more from [name of the agency]" for running a site-specific search

There is also an advanced search page with added functionality (limits).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Top 10 Intranets of 2006

We are in the process of redesigning the Intranet here at the Supreme Court.

Jakob Nielsen, one of the world's most well-known usability experts, has just published a summary of a major study on the characteristics of the world's best Intranets.

Among the trends described by Nielsen:
  • Enforcing a consistent look and feel through active programs to train content creators in the use of templates and design standards
  • Using task-based information architectures to bust up departmental silos
  • Creating good global and local navigation, typically with general navigation in the left column, and the use of breadcrumbs
  • Implementing trends from the web to the Intranet realm such as the use of internal blogs
  • Expanding the scope of training areas
  • Spending more time on user research and usability studies

According to the study, the top 10 Intranet sites belong to Allianz Australia Insurance (Australia), ALTANA Pharma (Germany), Bank of Ireland Group, Capital One (USA), IBM, Merrill Lynch, METRO Group (Germany), O2 (UK), Staples (USA), and Vodafone (UK).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

Continuing Education Resources for Library and Information Professionals

I was just made aware of the continuing education offerings of the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston.

Other sources for professional development include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 23, 2006

New Foreign Law Research Materials

I found this information on ServiceDoc Info, the "juriblog" of Stéphane Cottin who works at France's Constitutional Court in Paris.

GlobaLex, the foreign and international legal research portal based at the New York University School of Law, has just released a number of new publications, including:
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Foreign Law Collection Development Blog

Since the summer of 2005, a number of American law librarians from Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern and the University of Chicago have been running a collaborative blog on collection development issues relating to foreign legal collections.

The Foreign Collection Development Blog has two main focuses: information on newly published journals and suggestions for purchases in foreign legal collections.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 22, 2006

More Federal Election Scorecards

This is a last minute follow-up to the January 19 post Federal Elections 2006 Scorecard - Where the Parties Stand.

There a number of additional organizations that produced evaluations of the platforms of the major parties in tomorrow's federal elections. So, if you are suffering from election information overload, here is another instalment to make you even more confused.
  • Ranking the Parties’ Tax-Cut Promises (C.D. Howe Institute): "If anything, this election proves that tax cuts can be popular. However, from a long-term perspective, a key issue is whether the tax relief will substantially improve Canada’s competitiveness by encouraging work and investment. None of the tax proposals in this election are brave policies that would lead to fundamental tax reform. The analysis below suggests that the broad-based income and sales tax cuts being discussed will offer minor improvements to Canada’s competitive advantage in the next five years."
  • Parties Respond to ACTRA's Election Questionnaire (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) : "Every major political party except the Conservatives have come forward with their responses to ACTRA's three questions on culture. ACTRA is disappointed that the Conservatives failed to respond and that the Liberals don't appear to grasp the severity of the crisis in Canadian TV drama. "
  • CARP members want to know your party's stand on... (Canada's Association for the 50plus): the association sent out a questionnaire on issues such as the creation of a stand-alone Seniors' Minister, healthcare for seniors, pensions, grandparents' access to grandchildren in custody cases, mandatory retirement and elder abuse
  • CBA Tackles Access to Justice on Behalf of Canada's Lawyers (Canadian Bar Association): "Access to justice is in crisis in this country — a fact that Canadian leaders must recognize and act upon. Many people do not qualify for publicly funded legal assistance, even when interests fundamental to their life, liberty, personal security and equality are at stake." CBA President Brian Tabor wrote to the leaders of the five major political parties to ask how they intended to improve legal aid eligibility
  • Election 2006 - Get involved, stay involved (Canadian Medical Association): "As in past elections, we have produced a CMA’s Voters’ Guide, which we hope will help you make an informed decision when you enter the polling station to vote. This Voters’ Guide provides details on where the parties stand on key health care issues along with other useful election-related information. " The CMA questioned the main parties on access, wait time reduction, health sector human resources, public health and the GST on physician practices
  • Election 2006 survey of party leaders on food & health policy (Centre for Science in the Public Interest): the Centre is a consumer health advocacy organization focussing on nutrition and food safety. The survey asked parties where they stood on changing federal laws to ban advertising to children, expanding mandatory nutrition labelling, amending the Excise Tax Act to shift consumption taxes from healthful foods to nutrient-poor foods, including publicly funded nutrition counselling services under Medicare, banning trans-fat vegetable oils, etc.
  • Invite sent to the parties - 11 questions regarding environmental issues (Greenpeace): "Greenpeace is concerned that, while Canada may appear to be a global environmental leader as the host country of this meeting, the environment will fail to be a priority during the upcoming election campaign. The timing of this campaign provides an excellent opportunity for Canada to demonstrate a high level of leadership on environmental issues." The questions sent to the parties were related to federal nuclear and fossil fuel subsidies, radioactive waste management, offshore oil exploration, protecting forests, mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods, and deepsea trawling
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Election Survey: parties were asked for their stance on an anti-obesity strategy, tax incentives to encourage physical activity and healthy eating, and the use of the gas tax transfer deal with the provinces to invest in recreation centres and "active" modes of transportation infrastructure (bike lanes, biking trails, walking trails and public transit)
  • Election 2006 - The Federal Party Platforms (Make Poverty History Campaign): "Compare and contrast how the federal political parties promise to achieve Make Poverty History's campaign goals: More and Better Aid, Debt Cancellation, Trade Justice, End Child Poverty in Canada."
  • Where do the federal parties stand on cleaning up our air? (Ontario Clean Air Alliance): the parties were asked about the phase-out of dirty coal-fired power plants in Ontario, the expansion of Canada’s east-west electricity transmission grid, and subsidies for the construction or retrofit of nuclear power plants
  • Political Parties Respond To OCASI Survey (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants): the survey asked leaders of major political parties questions on issues that are important to immigrant and refugee groups, such as implementation of a Refugee Appeal Division under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the backlog in family class applications, the situation of non-status foreigners in Canada, the funding of settlement services, labour market integration of newcomers, the legal rights of migrant workers, and the increasing racialization of poverty

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:20 pm 2 comments links to this post

Failed Legal Reference Project Discussed at Virtual Reference 2005 Conference

The presentations for the November 2005 Virtual Reference Desk conference held in San Francisco are now online on the WebJunction website. One of the presentations deals with a failed experiment in chat reference by a Northeastern U.S. regional law consortium.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library Disaster Planning

We are working on the 2006-2007 business plan for the Supreme Court Library and someone (not me) has been assigned the job of coming with a disaster plan, just in case the water pipes burst because of freezing weather, a fire burns down the stacks or a plane crashes into the building.

There are many disaster planning resources available out there:
  • From Ice Storms to Blackouts, from Floods to Fire Bombings: Disaster Planning and Recovery for Libraries (Canadian Library Association Conference 2005): "The last few years have seen numerous climatic events, power failures and acts of violence that have touched libraries and challenged library operations and recoveries. Listen to colleagues and experts in the field, share their stories and learn how they have met and surpassed some extraordinary situations." There are links to the PowerPoint presentations at the session, to references and to a list of Canadian emergency preparedness organizations
  • Library Disaster Planning and Recovery Handbook (Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2000): "Both conceptual and practical elements of disaster planning and recovery are covered, including: risk management analysis; human resources implications; collection restoration, gifts, and fundraising; evaluating temporary sites and setting up temporary services; and managing damaged materials restoration and processing."
  • WebJunction's Focus on Disaster Planning and Recovery for Libraries (OCLC, 2005): "In the wake of Hurricane Katrina WebJunction has assembled a collection of resources to help your library prepare for and respond to disasters."
  • Disaster Planning for Computers and Networks (American Library Association, 2002): "Disaster planning for computers and networks is important because these technologies are essential to patron service and staff productivity. Not only is the patron access catalog the only way for patrons to identify holdings and current availability of titles in their library, but also titles in other libraries and electronic resources to which their library subscribes... Library staff are dependent on these technologies for ordering, claiming and receiving library materials, charging and discharging of library materials to patrons; and the provision of reference service. Every hour of downtime is extremely serious, therefore, a library must give disaster planning a high priority."
  • Selected Resources on Disaster Management (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2005): an international bibliography of major sources on the topic
  • Disaster preparedness and response (Conservation Online, 2005): produced by Stanford University, this website lists resources from major organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and UNESCO
  • Preservation of Library and Archive Materials (Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1999): this full text of a manual produced by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Massachusetts deals with preservation activities, with conversion to other formats, and with disaster planning and recovery measures. Downloadable in .pdf format
  • Bibliography of Standards and Selected References Related to Preservation in Libraries (Library and Archives Canada, 1996): contains a section on Emergency Planning and Response

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Plain Language Legal Writing

The Canadian Bar Association's PracticeLink has just published its third in a series of articles on plain language in legal writing: Mastering Modern Legal Correspondence.

The article provides a checklist for clear writing:
  • Clarify your purpose
  • Consider your reader
  • Write complete and accurate business letters
  • Organize the letter for highest impact
  • Choose your words thoughtfully
  • Use modern formats
  • Present good news and bad news keeping the psychology of readers in mind

Earlier posts about plain language:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Federal Elections 2006 Scorecard - Where the Parties Stand

This is a follow-up to the post Federal Party Responses to Election Questionnaire on Info Issues from 2 days ago.

The parties running in next Monday's federal elections have been answering questionnaires from a myriad of organizations concerned with issues ranging from A to Z. So, go ahead, pick your issue and compare.

Before you start, you might want to check out the next resource first.

Canada Votes 2006 - Reality Check (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation): "The assumption behind Reality Check is that what you are hearing from the campaign trail may not always conform with reality. Our purpose is to help you make an informed choice on Jan. 23 by separating what is 'real' from what is campaign hyperbole". Reality Check scrutinizes party stands on gun control, taxes, childcare, military spending, crime and a host of other issues. Look at it as the CBC's b.s. detector.

Here are the scorecards:
  • Analysis of Environmental Platforms of the Federal Parties (Sierra Club of Canada): "The five political parties reviewed for this analysis are the Liberal, Conservative, Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic and Green Parties. The scoring is based both on the published platforms and the responses to a Sierra Club of Canada questionnaire sent to all parties in early December, 2005". Questions touched upon toxic chemicals management, pesticide reduction, toxic site remediation, standards for clean water, renewable energy, commitment to Kyoto Protocol targets, ending subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuels, a commitment to ecological tax reform, support for mass transit infrastructure, stricter energy efficiency regulations, commitment to complete the national parks system, etc.
  • Report Card on the 2006 Government Accountability Election Platforms of the Federal Political Parties (Democracy Watch): "The Report Card grades the five main parties' platform pledges based upon 16 sets of changes Democracy Watch believes are the changes that will most effectively require everyone in the federal government to act honestly, ethically, openly, efficiently, representatively and, if they don't act in these democratic ways, easily and thoroughly held accountable... The 16 sets of changes, divided into five areas, all reflect the following five key elements... : 1. strong laws with no loopholes; 2. requirement to disclose details of operations and violations; 3. fully independent, fully empowered watchdog agencies to enforce laws; 4. penalties that are high enough to encourage compliance; and 5. empowerment of citizens to hold governments and watchdog agencies accountable."
  • Political Platform Analysis (Coalition for Women's Equality): "Perhaps not surprisingly, the matter of women’s equality rights has not been a major point of contention during this federal election. All the major parties have been completely silent on women’s issues – is it because they believe that in 2006, women’s equality has been achieved?The Coalition for Women’s Equality believes the battle is far from won. As the platforms of the major political parties are released, we must work to keep women’s equality issues front and centre throughout the campaign and afterwards. If we don’t push for a place for women’s equality on the agenda, who will? We look at each of the major party platforms and ask, what’s in it for women?"
  • Working people want to make a better choice on January 23rd (Canadian Labour Congress): "Our researchers have gone through the various party platforms, now that all of them have been released, to see where they stand." The issues covered include healthcare, pension protection, higher education, child care, trade deals, anti-scab legislation and training.
  • Scorecard of Federal Political Parties’ Productivity & Prosperity Enhancing Policies (Canadian Chamber of Commerce): "The Canadian Chamber outlined its six key priorities including: fiscal policy, Canada-US/international trade, skilled and qualified workforce, innovation, energy and environment and health care reform. It then compared the four major political parties’ platforms to these priorities... The Canadian Chamber is calling on all parties to zero in on ways to improve Canada’s competitiveness, increase our international trade, strengthen our economic relationship with the United States, and attract more investment and skilled labour to Canada. Action in these areas is essential to increase productivity which, in turn, is the key to ensuring prosperity for Canadians."
  • Ranking the parties on pensions and SRI (Social Investment Organization): "The Social Investment Organization has issued its ranking of the federal parties on the important issue of transparency and accountability in the investment and voting policies of Canada's national pension plans. The investment and voting practices of mutual funds and pension funds are attracting growing attention worldwide because of the corporate scandals of the last few years. Investors are also demanding information on the social and environmental policies of their investments. Mutual funds in Canada are coming under increased scrutiny from provincial securities commissions; yet there are no provincial or federal regulations requiring pension funds to disclose information on these issues." N.B.: SRI stands for "socially responsible investing".
  • Vote Arts 2006 (Canadian Arts Coalition): "During the past month, the Coalition asked the leaders of the four major political parties to detail their commitment to support the $5.00 per Canadian increase in arts funding, channelled through the Canada Council. We asked them to respond by January 13th, but in the interests of providing Canadian with up-to-date information, we are posting responses as we receive them."
  • Addressing Child and Family Poverty in Canada: Where do the parties stand? (Campaign 2000 - End child poverty in Canada): analyzes where the major parties stand on issues of child poverty eradication, early learning and child care, affordable housing, wages and post-secondary education.
  • Parties release platforms and plans for affordable housing (Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association): a summary of the positions of the main parties.
  • Political party child care platforms (Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada): Outlines what the main parties are saying about child care, and the CCAAC response to their platforms.
  • Early learning and child care in the 2006 federal election (Childcare Resource and Research Unit, University of Toronto): "As Canada moves towards national child care – with 10 provinces signing early learning and child care agreements with the federal government – this election may become a significant milestone in ELCC policy development. For many Canadians, it is hoped that early learning and child care will feature prominently in the election campaign. This Issue File will collect materials about ELCC within the 2006 federal election. It will provide: information about how ELCC is positioned in the political parties' platforms..."
  • Federal Election Alert - Review of Party Platforms (Canadian Urban Transit Association): "Canadians should be well informed going to the polls on January 23, and know what the federal parties have to say on support for public transit."
  • Where the Parties Stand (Federation of Canadian Municipalities): "With the depth and range of proposals presented, it is clear that the municipal sector has been successful at bringing its issues and concerns to the attention of federal parties. " The main parties were asked for their positions on infrastructure, transit, the sharing of the gas tax, housing, the environment, public safety, political partnerships, immigrant settlement, rural and northern development, and recreation.
  • Federal Election Campaign 2006 (Assembly of First Nations): "As the election campaign heads into the final days, the platforms of the parties are being revealed. In addition, all parties have now responded to the specific questions posed by the Assembly of First Nations. By looking both at the responses provided along with the platform information made available by the various parties, we can assess their positions as they relate to First Nation issues."
  • Election 2006 - An Advocacy Toolkit (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canadian Federation for Sexual Health - formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada, Action Canada for Population and Development) : summary of party responses to a questionnaire on sex education, reproductive health issues, abortion, maternity care, sexually transmitted diseases, and international development assistance (especially when related to women's health and prevention of HIV/AIDS) .
  • Comparison of the Health Policy Platforms of the Four National Political Parties in Ontario (Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario): "RNAO offers a comparison of the platforms of the four national political parties running in Ontario: Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic and Green Parties." The Association raised questions about the shortage of health personnel, privatization, the Supreme Court Chaouilli ruling, accountability for federal health transfers to the provinces, etc.
  • 2006 Federal Election Health Platform Comparison (Canadian Healthcare Association): the Association is the federation of provincial and territorial hospital and health organizations across Canada and represents institutions in acute care, home and community care, long term care, public health, mental health, palliative care, addiction services, children, youth and family services, housing services, as well as professional and licensing bodies.
  • Vote 2006 - Federal Election (Canadian Teachers Federation): the Federation quizzed the main parties on immigrant and refugee children, vocational and technical skills development, aboriginal youth, children with physical and mental disabilities, Francophone children in a minority context, copyright and the use of the Internet, trade agreements, and Canada's commitment to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
  • Parties' Election Platforms (Canadian Council for International Cooperation): "Check out what the political parties have to say about more and better aid, 100 % debt cancellation, trade justice, ending child poverty in Canada, defence and multilateralism."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

JURIST Editor's Blog

Bernard Hibbitts, editor of the legal news website JURIST has started a blog called JURIST Editor's Blog.

JURIST is run by a team of more than 20 law students and professors at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

JURIST offers a number of frequently updated news services, including Paper Chase (the main news section), US Legal News, Non-US Legal News, Gazette (documents related to legal news), Monitor (legal news videos), webcasts, This Day at Law (legal history). RSS feeds are available for all the services.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Digital Rights Management Guide

In the fall, I completed an online course on Digital Content Management (being offered again in the spring). So anything on the topic attracts my attention.

The American Library Association just came out with a new publication entitled Digital Rights Management: A Guide for Librarians.

"(D)igital rights management is a collective name for technologies that prevent you from using a copyrighted digital work beyond the degree to which the copyright owner (or a publisher who may not actually hold a copyright) wishes to allow you to use it. The primary purpose of this paper is to familiarize librarians, archivists, and others with DRM and how it works. Secondarily, this paper will outline certain legal and policy issues that are raised by DRM -- issues that will continue to have an increasing impact on the ways in which librarians and libraries perform their functions. To put the matter bluntly -- understanding the basics of DRM is becoming a necessary part of the work of librarians."

Another excellent guide was created by the Australian government Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. It is called A Guide to Digital Rights Management.

For a Canadian perspective on digital rights management, see the DRM section of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

GovDocs: Virtual Exhibit "Written in Stone"

Last November, the Literary Review of Canada unveiled its list of the hundred most important Canadian books ever written.

Of course, this being Canada, a number of government and royal commission reports made it to the list, as well as Howie Meeker’s Hockey Basics from 1973 (d'uh!).

The Geological Survey of Canada: Report of Progress from Its Commencement to 1863 was on the list and Libraries and Archives Canada recently launched Written in Stone, a virtual exhibition of the report, considered a work that "changed our country's psychic landscape".

It profiles the life of William E. Logan, founder of the Geological Survey, providing the entire text of the Report, along with Logan's notebooks, daily journals and maps.

Among the other official documents that made the top 100 list are:
  • Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), by Lord Durham
  • Report of the Royal Commission to Investigate the Facts Relating to and the Circumstances Surrounding the Communication by Public Officials and Other Persons in Positions of Trust of Secret and Confidential Information to Agents of a Foreign Power (1946) - in other words, the report into the Gouzenko Soviet espionage affair
  • Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (1949–1951), known as the Massey Report
  • Report of the Canada Royal Commission on Health Services (1964), known as the Hall Commission Report
  • Final Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1967–69), or the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission Report
  • Report on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada (1985), known as the Macdonald Commission Report

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Federal Party Responses to Election Questionnaire on Info Issues

This is a follow-up to the December 8, 2005 post Federal Parties Surveyed on Controversial Net Issues.

The University of Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic canvassed the parties running in next week's federal elections on issues relating to copyright reform, spam, privacy protection, electronic surveillance, and telecom reform.

Party responses are posted at the bottom of the election section of the organization's website. There are responses from the following parties: Christian Heritage Party, Marijuana Party, Communist Party, Green Party, Liberal Party, and the New Democrats.

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Library of Parliament Backgrounder to the 39th Parliament

A new Library of Parliament publication entitled Government and Canada's 39th Parliament: Questions and Answers was just released in the latest edition of the Weekly Checklist. The Weekly Checklist is a guide to Canadian government publications made available to depository libraries. This particular document is for depository libraries only but is well worth the effort to track down.

The document is structured as an FAQ that deals with issues relating to the transition to the next parliament that will emerge from next Monday's federal elections.

From the intro: "It explains how parliamentary and government activities are affected during an election period and describes the situation of various key political players – the Governor General, the Prime Minister, ministers and MPs – between the dissolution of one Parliament and the beginning of the next. One issue of particular interest is that of minority government, a scenario that may well transpire again following the general election of 23 January 2006. This document considers the constitutional, conventional, and practical implications of a minority government."

The document answers such questions as:
  • When will a new parliament be called to sit?
  • When do MPs begin receiving allowances and services?
  • How does a minority government affect the operation of the Senate?
  • Are there any special rules regarding a minority government?
  • What is Canada’s experience with minority governments?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Hill Times Supplement on Technology and Government

The Hill Times, the Ottawa-based weekly that covers Parliament Hill, has published a supplement or policy briefing on technology in the federal government sector.

The supplement takes a critical look at the Government On-Line initiative, examines plans to spin off a new Service Canada department, and features an interesting selection of statistics on the use of information technology by government.

Some of the statistics:
  • The average costs associated with transactions with the federal government are $30 per interaction in person; $20 per interaction by mail; $10 per interaction by telephone, and $1 or less per interaction over the Internet
  • For the fourth consecutive year, Accenture ranked Canada number one in terms of its
    "e-government maturity", ahead of 21 other countries
  • According to the Auditor General report for 2005, only one government department among the 46 that responded to a survey met all the basic requirements of the government’s IT security policy. Meanwhile, 16 per cent of government departments did not have an IT security policy; 26 per cent did not have a plan in place to ensure continued computer operations in the case of a cyber-attack or power failure
  • The total number of secure electronic transactions completed by citizens and businesses with government in 2004 was 113.8 million. Over 40% of Canadians filed their 2003 personal income tax returns electronically and 90% of applications for federal jobs are being received on-line

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Wiki Subject Guides

As far as I can tell, there seems to be increasing interest in the use of wiki or collaborative editing technology to carry out various library activities, including the creation of subject guides.
The St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana recently attracted quite a lot of library commentary after it launched its wiki-based subject guides. Librarians use the wiki editing technology that does not require any coding or HTML knowledge. The software does allow discussion by users (but not any direct editing of the guides) so professionals maintain editorial and quality control.

David King, Acting IT Director at Kansas City Public Library, has commented on the project: "(T)hey're pointing to their content: linking to their databases, books, and events. They're even pointing to a few non-library events that are focused on the particular subject guide's topic - way cool. Then the wiki part kicks in... each guide has a discussion section where customers can add comments to the guide - think instant feedback, content contributions, and a stronger sense of community. And - if you really want to - you can subscribe to the Recent Changes RSS feed... The nice thing about a wiki, of course, is the built-in ability to edit pages without having to know HTML, PHP, Ajax, or any number of nasty coding languages. You can just edit, update, and create useful content. The wiki is set up for library staff to log in and edit (and no one else gets to), which is fine in this instance."

Last September on Webjunction, Meredith Farkas authored an article entitled Using Wikis to Create Online Communities that described the potential for the use of wikis within libraries, not only for subject guides, but also for adding annotations to catalogue entries and for project management: " Wikis are an excellent space for collaborative group work. All of the planning and communications can be documented in the wiki rather than in emails that can easily be deleted. Everyone can make changes to the wiki. If the group is working on a document, it can be edited in the wiki rather than having different versions of a word processing file going back and forth through email. It’s simply a better way of organizing the group’s efforts and keeping track of where everyone is in the process."

The higher education publication Educause has additional information concerning the 7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Editing Tools and the 7 Things You Should Know About Wikis.

Of course, in the field of law, there is the ongoing debate about the open-content Wikilaw legal resource project that Slaw was discussing today.

Other library wikis are listed on the LISwiki.com site.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Online Court and Law Glossaries

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lobbyist and Government Ethics Resources in the U.S. And Canada

Last week, in a huge scandal that is reverberating through the halls of Capitol Hill in the United States, lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials, including high level Republicans in the Bush administration.

The Washington Post has compiled a large collection of material on the case, including articles on topics such as the legality of lobbying and the relationship between Abramoff and political heavyweights.

In the United States:

  • U.S. Senate - Lobbying: includes information about the Lobbying Disclosure Act, a history of lobbying in the States, and links to public records filed under this and other acts on government ethics
  • Office of the Clerk - U.S. House of Representatives - Public Disclosure: "Members, officers, and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives are required by certain House Rules and federal statutes to file official documents on travel, income, gifts, etc. and to make this information available to the public as Public Disclosure documents". The site also links to information about the activities of lobbyists trying to influence members of the House
  • Center for Responsive Politics ("Open Secrets - Money in Politics"): monitors lobbying spending on Capitol Hill, and includes the political spending patterns of various industries. It also gives an industry-by-industry spending breakdown and has a searchable database of individual lobbyists, lobbying firms, and client businesses. The non-profit research group is funded by the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation, and other foundations
  • Project on Government Oversight: this independent NGO sees its mission as the investigation of corruption in order to achieve a more accountable and open U.S. government. Among its activities are the tracking of government contractors and lobbyists, the monitoring of the "revolving door" between lobbyists and government officials who go back and forth between the private and the public sectors, as well as the protection of whistleblowers in government
  • Center for Ethics in Government: part of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the website provides information on ethics laws and commissions for each U.S. state, laws covering gifts, nepotism and conflicts of interest, and news stories about government ethics issues

In Canada:

  • Act to amend the Lobbyist Registration Act: the Library of Parliament put together material about Bill C-15 (S.C. 2003, c. 10), including the text of the legislation, key debates from Parliament, departmental background information and a legislative summary by the Library of Parliament. The amendments were introduced as part of the federal government's "ethics reform package"
  • Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Ethics Commissioner and Senate Ethics Officer) : another complete package of background information put together by the Library of Parliament about this Act, which is another component of the federal government's ethics package
  • Democracy Watch Government Ethics Campaign: Democracy Watch is an independent lobby group that campaigns for stronger ethics, electoral finance, lobbyist and whistleblower rules in Canada. The website contains a news section, links to ethics rules and enforcement systems (e.g. conflict of interest codes from the Office of the Ethics Commissioner, the Privy Council, Treasury Board, etc.), and links to federal and provincial lobbyist registries. Democracy Watch is very critical of the 2 pieces of legislation described above

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:59 pm 2 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

American Dialect Society Words of the Year 2005: Legal Expressions 'Patent Troll', 'Extraordinary Rendition' Make List

For the 16th year in a row, the American Dialect Society has selected its word of the year.

The overall winner for 2005 is "truthiness", popularized by a satirical fake news show on the Comedy Central television channel. It refers to the "quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true". Podcast was a runner-up.

Podcast did win as word of the year in the subcategory of "most useful". One of the runner-ups in that group was "patent troll", "a person or business, especially a lawyer, who applies for or owns a patent with no intention of developing the product but with every intention of launching lawsuits against patent infringers."

A few other law-related terms scored highly in the "most euphemistic" category (hmmmm, I wonder why): "internal nutrition: force-feeding a prisoner against his or her will" and "extraordinary rendition: the surrendering of a suspect or detainee to another jurisdiction, especially overseas" (in order to be tortured by a friendly dictatorship with less regard for the niceties of courts and a legal defense).

The website lists the various winners going back to 1990.

"Founded in 1889, the American Dialect Society is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it. ADS members are linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, historians, grammarians, academics, editors, writers, and independent scholars in the fields of English, foreign languages, and other disciplines".
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Report on Future Trends in Malware, Spyware, Viruses and Other Baddies

This a follow-up to earlier posts:

Security consultant Dancho Danchev has written a paper entitled Malware – future trends that analyzes the driving forces behind the rise of malicious software practices such as viruses and identity theft.

He also looks at future trends, including the rising vulnerability of mobile networks, open source malware, anonymous and illegal hosting of copyrighted materials, the appearance of malware coding services on demand, cryptoviral extortion ("ransomware" that by illicit invasion and encryption of a target system can render useless an organization's information assets unless it pays a ransom) , etc.

Key summary points:

  • Malware authors update their multi-vendor anti-virus signatures faster than most end
    users and enterprises can react
  • The high pressure put on malware authors by the experienced vendors is causing
    them to unite efforts and assets...
  • Intellectual property theft worms have the potential to dominate in today’s knowledge-driven society acting as tools for espionage
  • The growing Internet population, E-commerce flow, and the demand for unethical services, could fuel the development of an ecosystem for "anything but legal"
  • The "Web as a platform" is a powerful medium for malware attackers understanding
    the new Web
  • The unprecedented growth of E-commerce will always remain the main incentive
    for illegal activities

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Google Pack Software Package

A few days ago, Google launched a new bundled ensemble of downloadable software applications known as Google Pack.

The "free collection of essential software" includes, among others:
  • Adobe Reader 7
  • Ad-Aware spyware remover
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Earth
  • Google Talk
  • Google Toolbar Mozilla Firefox
  • Norton AntiVirus
  • Picasa photo organizer
Users can choose to download everything quickly or only the software they want. Using something called the Google Updater, users can run, manage and/or uninstall any part of the Pack and automatically make updates.

For commentary on the Google initiative:
  • Thoughts on Google Video Store and Google Pack, by John Battelle: "Google is now officially a Really Big Company, and is acting like one. Diversify your revenue streams, for one thing. Leverage and consolidate your core strengths, for another. And protect your vulnerable flanks, for yet another... Pack, if it becomes popular, will bring a whole new set of users to Google, mainly because it includes Toolbar and Desktop, which of course means more searches, and more data, and more money for Google."
  • Google Pack Offers 1-Stop Downloading Of Software, by Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineWatch: "The genesis for the pack, said Google vice president of search products and user experience Marissa Mayer, was the frustration of Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin having to track down and register software for computers they were setting up a year ago. 'They spent all afternoon setting them up. Hundreds of clicks and license agreements later, they had it the way they wanted,' Mayer said."
  • Hands on With Google Pack, by Paul Thurott: "Google Pack is indeed a collection of free software. Whether it's useful or improves the online experience is, I suppose, up to the individual. From what I can see, Google Pack is decidedly mixed. And if you're interested in installing this package, you're going to want to choose which applications you install quite carefully... And though Google goes to great pains to tout how each application in Google Pack is free, it's worth noting that many of these applications feature annoying upgrade advertisements aimed at getting you to purchase the full versions. They're limited in other ways too, as I'll describe below. But most problematic, many of these applications aren't even up-to-date."
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Law Practice Today Articles on Web 2.0

The January 2006 issue of the American Bar Association's Law Practice Today journal has 2 articles dealing with the implications of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0, while still quite new (or nebulous) a concept at times, refers to the set of technologies that are making the Internet more interactive, such as social bookmarking, the use of RSS and blogs, collaborative wikis for work, etc.

The issue includes the roundtable discussion Does Web 2.0 Point Us Toward Law 2.0? that discusses how the new tools can impact legal research, and an annotated list of Web 2.0 "Strongest Links".

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Library Marketing Bibliography from Elsevier

Elsevier recently released a 20-page annotated bibliography on library marketing in PDF format.

It is broken down into such areas as:
  • Strategic Planning
  • Environmental Scanning
  • Customer Service, Media Relations and Public Relations
  • Outreach and Liaison Efforts
  • Marketing Digital Resources
  • Development and Fundraising
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Evaluation

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Seven Deadly Sins of Library Managers

The most recent issue of the British information industry newsletter FreePint includes an interesting article entitled Seven Deadly Sins (and Desirable Strategies) for Library Managers by Rachel Singer Gordon, webmaster of the library careers site Lisjobs.com and author of The Accidental Library Manager.

As Gordon writes, back in 2004, some 343 library staff members responded to an online survey on their managers' qualities and effectiveness. The article summarizes respondents' comments about the best and worst qualities of their managers.

Among the "sins" are micromanagement, lack of communication, fostering divisiveness, abusiveness, failure to listen, avoiding conflict, and taking credit for other's work.

Among the desirable managerial strategies are encouraging growth, providing autonomy, looking out for staff, respecting everyone's contribution, leading by example, communicating and listening, and providing leadership and vision.

FreePint has also just published the newest version of its subject index of all articles appearing in the newsletter between November 1997 and December 2005.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reverse Onus in Gun-Related Bail Hearings

In the aftermath of the Boxing Day gangbanger shoot-out in the middle of Canada's busiest shopping street (Toronto's Yonge St.) that left an innocent 15-year old dead, officials such as Prime Minister Paul Martin have called for reforms to Canadian bail practices.

They want to to change bail conditions so people charged with gun offences can be kept behind bars unless they could show good cause for being released, something known as "reverse onus". Normally, the onus is on the Crown prosecutors to show why an accused should be denied bail.

Officials acknowledge that reverse onus appears to run contrary to the presumption of innocence but they believe the courts will recognize the importance of protecting citizens against what many see as increasingly brazen gun violence, especially in Toronto.

There are already a number of offences enumerated under section 515(6) of the Criminal Code that place the onus on the accused to justify bail. The section lists offences, such as commiting a crime while on bail, as part of a criminal organization, terrorism-related offences, narcotics-related offences, etc.

In R. v. Pearson, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 665, a majority of the Supreme Court upheld reverse onus with regards to bail in drug cases. :"While s. 515(6)(d) provides for persons to be 'detained' within the meaning of s. 9 of the Charter, those persons are not detained 'arbitrarily'. Detention under s. 515(6)(d) is not governed by unstructured discretion. The section fixes specific conditions for bail. Furthermore, the bail process is subject to very exacting procedural guarantees and subject to review by a superior court."

Significantly, Beverley McLachlin, currently the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was in the dissent and wrote: "Section 515(6)(d) of the Code is not justifiable under s. 1 of the Charter. While the legislative objectives of avoiding repeat offences and absconding are of sufficient importance to warrant overriding a constitutional right, s. 515(6)(d) goes further than is necessary to achieve those objectives. There is no reason to conclude that small and casual traffickers pose any particular threat of repeating the offence or fleeing from their trial. Section 515(6)(d) is thus of no force and effect pursuant to s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982."

So how would today's Court look at a Charter challenge to any new reverse onus provision in the Criminal Code related to gun crimes?

On January 2, the Globe and Mail, in an article entitled Targeting gun offences presents legal quagmire, quoted various legal experts as saying it is a "total crap shoot" whether reverse onus would survive a constitutional challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Retired University of Toronto political science professor Peter Russell is quoted as saying: "It's a judgment call about how serious the gun problem is at this point. They would have to provide some evidence," since there is no proof that gun crimes are climbing, certainly not across Canada. University of Alberta law professor Gerald Gall explains that the government would have to argue there is a "pressing state objective" because the Criminal Code applies "not just to Toronto, but the rest of the country.''

Yesterday, CTV News had a story on its website entitled Gun plan could see innocents 'languish' in jail that quoted criminal lawyer Steven Skurka. Skurka says "For example, there is a distinction between someone having a gun in their possession and actually using a firearm." He adds that the difference is important legally.

Also yesterday, the Toronto Star article Lawyers doubt tougher bail rules included comments from criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby: " '(R)everse onuses don't generally make a lot of difference' because judges tend to take into account the circumstances of the alleged offence and the accused. 'It sounds good, which makes for good politics, but it doesn't make much difference,' Ruby said."

Some additional background on the issue of bail conditions is available from the collection Canadian Charter of Rights Decisions Digests - section 11(e) on denial of bail for just cause.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Electoral Law Resources on the Internet

Ok guys. The holidays are over and there is now no way of avoiding the fact that we are in the middle of a federal election campaign. This is a follow-up to the December 1, 2005 posting History of the Right to Vote in Canada.

Here are some of the top Canadian and foreign web resources on the topic of elections, electoral law and electoral reform.


  • Elections Canada - Electoral Law and Policy: electoral rules and legislation, along with research findings on election administration issues
  • Compendium of Election Administration in Canada (Elections Canada): this section of the Elections Canada website provides "a comparative analysis of electoral legislation at the federal level and in each province and territory in Canada". Includes analysis of electoral districts, administration of elections, registration of electors, voting process, nomination of candidates, registration of political parties, election financing, enforcement of electoral law, referendum and plebiscite provisions and major recent court cases
  • Electoral Rights: Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Library of Parliament): "A number of electoral issues have been the subject of Charter challenges resulting in judicial decisions and legislative changes. This paper will review and summarize the main cases and issues"
  • Canadian Electoral System (Library of Parliament) : highlights the principal features of the Canadian electoral system as contained in the Canada Elections Act and other provisions, including the right to vote, the control of election expenses, and election advertising rules
  • Electoral Reform Initiatives in Canadian Provinces (Library of Parliament): There is growing concern in many circles that Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system produces lopsided and unrepresentative results. There have been many calls for reforms, and 5 Canadian provinces have looked into the issue
  • Canadian Election Study : The Canadian Election Study (CES) is a research project undertaken by researchers from three Canadian universities (Montréal, McGill, and
    Toronto). The main goal of the research project is to explain why voters vote the way they do and why some parties are more successful than others. The site contains papers, articles and book chapters that all deal with either the 1997 or 2000 or the 2004 Canadian federal elections
  • Fair Vote Canada: this pressure group lobbies for electoral reform in Canada. Its website contains analysis of what is wrong with the current Canadian electoral system and proposals of how it can be reformed. It also includes newsletters, calendars of forthcoming events and access to fact sheets and journal articles about electoral systems, electoral reform and what it considers to be the advantages of proportional representation
  • http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/: produced by the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University and made freely available on their website, "Election Law @ Moritz is a web publication that covers developments in the law of election administration-- laws dealing with voter registration, voter ID, early and absentee voting, provisional balloting, poll workers and polling place procedures, recounts and election contests, and other related issues. Our primary target audience includes lawyers and legal scholars who focus on these issues, as well as journalists in the elections field."
  • Federal Election Committee: an independent U.S. government regulatory body with responsibility for enforcing electoral law, disclosing campaign finance information to the public and administering the public funding of presidential elections. The website provides a guide to current US electoral law, detailed statistical information on campaign finance, and disclosure reports filed by individual committees and campaigns
  • Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (Parliament of Australia): the Committee website provides information on the administration of elections, election registration and electoral funding in Australia
  • Independent Commission on the Voting System (United Kingdom): full text of the "Jenkins Report" in October 1998. The purpose of the Commission was to analyse the existing British first-past-the-post system and consider alternatives. It provides a detailed assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of different electoral systems including first-past-the-post, proportional representation and the single transferable vote and looks ate the experiences of Australia, New Zealand and France. The UK government has yet to act on the recommendations for reform
  • Jenkins Report : BBC Special Report 1998 : the British Broadcasting Corporation created this site in 1998 to explain the recommendations of the Jenkins Report on electoral reform in the UK. The site provides background information on various electoral systems and examines their possible impact on the composition of Parliament
  • Electoral Studies: an international journal on voting and electoral systems published quarterly by Elsevier Science. It publishes articles, book reviews and research notes on all aspects of electoral systems, the relationship between votes and seats and the political economy of voting. It also contains comments on recent parliamentary elections worldwide. Full text is offered to subscribers only
  • Elections Today: newsletter published by IFES, the International Foundation for Election Systems. It provides access to news stories and articles about recent parliamentary and presidential elections worldwide. Coverage includes results, discussion of the conduct of elections, reports from election observation missions and topics related to the democratic conduct of elections
  • ElectionGuide.org: maintained by the International Foundation for Election Systems, it provides information on upcoming elections around the world, political parties and candidates, governmental and electoral structures, key news and issues surrounding an election, and election results and voter turnout
  • Ballot Access News: an independent self-defined "non-partisan" newsletter published by U.S. lawyer Richard Winger, it provides information on 'third parties' and 'independent' candidates in American politics. In particular it focuses on ballot access laws and 'restrictive practises' (the difficulties independents have in participating in election campaigns because of legal restrictions)
  • PR Library: Readings in Proportional Representation: a collection maintained by Professor Douglas J. Amy of Mount Holyoke College, it provides access to a collection of articles and papers discussing proportional electoral systems, including their effect on the representation of women and minority groups in parliaments worldwide
  • Election Resources on the Internet : this website is produced by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Elections Commission. It links to websites around the world which provide detailed national and local election statistics, as well as other election resources such as descriptions and commentary on local electoral systems
  • Administration and Cost of Elections Project: an international programme sponsored by the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs, its aim is to provide information for election officials on the administrative and financial costs of each particular electoral system. Sections are provided on voter education, voter registration, boundary delimitation, vote counting and electoral systems
  • Political Database of the Americas: from Georgetown University, political information on the countries of North, Central, and South America, including constitutions, electoral laws, and legislative and executive branch information
  • Electoral System Design Database: maintained by International Idea (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the database provides data and charts on the type of electoral system used by over 200 nations worldwide
  • WorldLII > Categories > Subjects > Elections: links to websites on election laws for different countries, from the World Legal Information Institute, a free, independent and
    non-profit global legal research alliance developed collaboratively by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, the Australian Legal Information Institute and others

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:25 pm 1 comments links to this post

Monday, January 02, 2006

Alouette Digitization Project

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported last week on the launch of the Alouette Canada project, a "major effort to digitize millions of books and other documents" by Canadian academic research libraries.

The project is expected to extend over many years and could involve the digitization of 3-to-4 million print items, including rare archival and historical documents. One hopes that legal and constitutional materials will be included in the package.

Alouette Canada will digitize only material already in the public domain, thus avoiding any copyright-related controversies. It is affiliated with the San Francisco-based Open Content Alliance.
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Banished Words List 2006

Why wait for the end of the year? Here is the first list of 2006.

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste.Marie (Michigan) is continuing its tradition of compiling an annual Banished Words List, or "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness" first launched in 1976.

The list is compiled based on submissions from the public. On the list this year are: hunker down, persons of interest, breaking news, pass the savings onto you, an accident that didn't have to happen, and holiday tree.

Archives going back to 1976 are on the site for those interested in getting a quick overview of the continuing bastardization of English (or having a good laugh).
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

All the "Best of" and "Worst of" Lists Under One Roof

I had quite a lot of fun last week browsing through many of the "year in review" and "best of 2005" websites and blog postings. Then, I came across a site by a compulsive compiler who has brought together hundreds of "best of" lists. One stop shopping for the Zeitgeist!

Subjects covered include books, movies, songs, sports, videos, toys, architecture, science, etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:52 pm 0 comments links to this post