CNN Sues White House Over Banned ”Journalist” Jim Acosta

(CNN announces legal action, after correspondent Jim Acosta banned)

CNN’s White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta had his press access to the White House revoked on November 8th. Now his network, CNN, is suing President Donald Trump and several aides.

However, Acosta is arguably not a journalist, but an activist. People are supposed to be there to cover the news and the White House, not to be antagonistic and grandstand. Here are some examples:

(Jim Acosta compilation)

(Acosta, on August 2, 2017)

(Acosta, July 1, 2018)

(Acosta, on October 29, 2018)

(November 6, 2018, which was Acosta’s last day)

The lawsuit claims that by revoking Acosta’s media access, his 1st and 5th Amendments (freedom of the press, and due process), were violated.

Here is the 1st Amendment:

Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Here is the 5th Amendment:

Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property

No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

CNN released the full text of the lawsuit, shown here. But let’s go through some of the more interesting sections. (Quotes in bold, comments in italics)

2. But on November 7, 2018, Defendants revoked Acosta’s White House credentials because, in the President’s own words, Acosta failed to “treat the White House with respect” at a White House press briefing.

Except if you watch that November 6 video, he wasn’t being respectful. He was being antagonistic.

4. And the revocation of Acosta’s credentials is only the beginning; as the President explained, there “could be others also” who get their credentials revoked.

The slippery-slope argument except it is unwarranted here. There aren’t other journalists in the press core who act the way Acosta does. Blatant fearmongering.

5. The Framers of our Constitution embraced a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). The President lacks the authority to quash “[t]he sort of robust political debate encouraged by the First Amendment”— debate that is “bound to produce speech that is critical of those who hold public office.” Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 51 (1988). That is why the D.C. Circuit has been clear that “the protection afforded newsgathering under the first amendment guarantee of freedom of the press requires that . . . access [to White House press facilities] not be denied arbitrarily or for less than compelling reasons.” Sherrill v. Knight, 569 F.2d 124, 129 (D.C. Cir. 1977). And “notice . . . of the factual bases for denial [of access to White House press facilities] with an opportunity to rebut is a minimum prerequisite for ensuring that the denial is . . . [not] based onarbitrary or less than compelling reasons.” Id. at 131.

This conflates a number of things: First, the press is there to cover the White House, not to DEBATE. Second, the 1st Amendment is to enshrine public talks and even unpleasant sharp attacks, but it doesn’t say that public figures MUST engage with you. Third, given Acosta’s frequent behaviour, it would be easy to rebut ”arbitrary or less than compelling reasons quite easily. Fourth, the 1st Amendment doesn’t guarantee access to the White House.

Jim Acosta seems to want a blank cheque to confront and badger White House staff at will.

27. The President dislikes CNN’s and Acosta’s coverage of him and his administration, and has made that clear since before he took office. At a news conference on January 11, 2017, for example, then-President-elect Trump told Acosta, “your organization is terrible.” Acosta responded: “You’re attacking us. Can you give us a question?” The President replied: “Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question . . . . You are fake news.”

While these claims are true, Acosta’s frequent behaviour does make it clear he is there to agitate, rather than report on the news. But since CNN raised the issue of the 1st Amendment, would this not be going against TRUMP’S right to free speech?

33. Speaking through a hand-held microphone, as did all the White House journalists who asked questions, Acosta asked a question about one of President Trump’s statements during the midterm campaign—namely, whether a caravan making its way to the United States from Central America constitutes “an invasion” of the country, a significant feature of the President’s messaging during the just-ended campaign. The President declined to respond, instead remarking: “You know what? I think you should . . . I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”

  1. When Acosta attempted to ask a follow-up question, President Trump refused to take it. A White House staffer then approached Acosta and attempted to grab the microphone. The staffer reached all the way across Acosta’s body, successfully latched onto the microphone, and physically attempted to remove it from Acosta’s right hand. Acosta held onto the microphone, stated “Pardon me, ma’am,” and continued to ask his question.

This is a distortion of the truth. Acosta attempted to ask several questions, and was argumentative the entire time. Footage available refutes these assertions.

39. Hours after the press conference concluded, Press Secretary Sanders issued an official statement announcing that “the White House is suspending the hard pass of [Acosta] until further notice.” The Press Secretary accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the White House staffer who attempted to take the microphone from Acosta during the press conference. The Press Secretary added that the alleged conduct “is absolutely unacceptable” and stated “[w]e will not tolerate this inappropriate behavior.” The White House’s statement indicated that this alleged “incident” was the basis of its decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials.

Whether this was deliberate or not is up for debate in the video. However, it was clear that Acosta was making a nuisance of himself.

FIRST AMENDMENT ARGUMENT

57. Defendants have deprived Plaintiffs of their right to access the White House grounds by revoking Acosta’s White House credentials. Without those credentials, Acosta cannot access the White House and cannot effectively serve as a White House correspondent, thus depriving Plaintiff CNN of its chief White House correspondent.

CNN is not prohibited from covering White House press briefings, only Acosta is. Do they not have anyone else on staff who could do it?

59. Defendants’ justifications for impeding Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights are hollow and hardly sufficiently compelling to justify the indefinite revocation of Acosta’s White House credentials. Consequently, the only reasonable inference from Defendants’ conduct is that they have revoked Acosta’s credentials as a form of content- and viewpoint-based discrimination and in retaliation for Plaintiffs’ exercise of protected First Amendment activity.

Except Acosta wasn’t banned for his views. He was banned for regularly disturbing press conferences.

FIFTH AMENDMENT ARGUMENT

65. Acosta received no direct notice from the White House that his credentials had been revoked, let alone any notice prior to the revocation. Instead, the White House announced the revocation itself via Twitter after Defendants already decided to effectively ban Acosta from the White House grounds.

  1. Defendants did not provide Plaintiffs a written explanation, nor any explanation at all, before revoking Acosta’s press credentials. The only written explanation was a short statement posted on Twitter that Acosta was suspended because he “plac[ed] his hands” on a White House staffer. Even if this tweet were accurate—and it is not, as the reportedly doctored video Defendant Sanders posted would later show—it would not suffice to demonstrate prior notice of the revocation.

Okay, giving him notice would have been courteous, but is not grounds for suing. Nor is oral notification over written notification

Some Thoughts
While many media heads are supporting Acosta’s reinstatement, I believe this claim to be completely bogus.

(1) Acosta has been repeatedly rude and antagonistic to the White House staff. He is clearly being an activist, not a journalist. This is seen again and again on tape. No one else behaves this way, and it is surprising that his behaviour has been tolerated for so long.

(2) Acosta is not banned or restricted from exercising free speech at home or in public. He is just not allowed into White House briefings

(3) CNN is not banned from covering the White House. They just need a new correspondent.

(4) Not being given notice is rude, but not a constitutional violation.

The judgement is expected any day, and a followup will be provided.

Update to the Story
On Friday, November 16, a DC Judge ordered the press credentials to be temporarily returned to Jim Acosta while the matter is formally resolved. Personally, this was a surprise.

From CNN’s reporting on the story:

Trump said the same thing during a Q&A with reporters in the Oval Office.

“People have to behave,” he said, when asked about the administration’s defeat in court.
“If they,” meaning reporters like Acosta, “don’t listen to the rules and regulations, we’ll end up back in court and we’ll win. But more importantly, we’ll just leave,” meaning, stop taking questions from the press. “And then you won’t be very happy. Because we do get good ratings.”

While Acosta seems to be allowed back in, there is nothing to stop the White House from: (a) simply refusing to call on Acosta; (b) cancelling press conferences; or (c) throwing Acosta out for the day.

Voting Eligibility (Part 1) — Crime & Citizenship


(Image by WordPress)

Who is allowed to vote?

Well, depending on where you go, you will get a very different answer. Do you have to be of good character? Can you currently vote while in prison? Do you even have to be a citizen?

This topic could fill several books, but this is just a starter piece. The article focuses on 2 main areas: criminality and non-citizenship

Canada, Criminality:
The Canada Elections Act of 1985 used to prohibit a person from being able to vote if they are serving a federal sentence (2 years or more). However, that was struck down in 2002. The Crown conceded it violated Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that everyone had the right to vote in elections to govern the country. To be fair though, the dissenting Justices thought that the violations were reasonable. As things stand now, even persons in custody are allowed to vote, and jail officials must make accommodation for them to do so.

American, Criminality
The case of Richardson v. Ramirez (1974), held that the 14th Amendment, Section 2, was not violated in barring felons form voting (called felony disenfranchisement). Since then, the 50 states have written their own laws, and they widely vary widely, from Maine, which allows voting while incarcerated, to voting after release, to Idaho and voting after probation ends, to never voting, to Florida requiring a petition.

Australian, Criminality
Things are a bit different here. For starters, voting is mandatory. There are arguments both for and against it. In the past, anyone serving a sentence of 1 year or more was unable to vote. As it stands now, only those serving a sentence of at least 3 years cannot vote until the sentence is finished.

British, Criminality
The UK is having to revise their policies on letting prisoners and convicts vote, because of the European Court of Human Rights. Originally, they couldn’t, but that is changing. Interestingly, Members of Parliament can keep their seat if they have been sentenced to 1 year or less. So they could hold office, but not vote.

Much Europe has some restriction of voting rights, such as type of offense, and is the sentence fully served.

Laws vary widely around the world. However, the main argument against letting cons, or ex-cons vote is that they have violated the social contract with the people, and hence should not be a part of forming its laws.

Voting by Non-Citizens

While this list is too extensive to go through, many countries do allow permanent residents to vote if they have lived their for a long enough period.

Also many cities, such as San Francisco, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Vancouver, allow voting for permanent residents.

One argument against letting non-citizens vote is that it weakens what it means to be a citizen. What then, distinguishes a citizen from a resident? A second is that the longer time to obtain citizenship is necessary to fully adapt to the new homeland. A third is that it leads to divided loyalty from Members of Parliament/Congress, who will look towards future voters more than current ones. All have some merit.

A push over the years from leftist politicians has been to let “undocumented immigrants” (a.k.a.) “illegal immigrants” vote in elections, as well as to reduce or eliminate voter identification requirements.

Note: Women are now allowed to vote in Western countries as well as many others. New Zealand and Australia led the way.

Author’s Views:
However, things do, or at least should have a limit.

(1) There have been many challenges to Voter ID laws, claiming that it discriminates against people who can’t get identification. The usual claim is wither poverty, or that the community lacks these services. Really, a legal citizen, or at least permanent resident can’t get I.D.?! Of course, if they are “undocumented”, that may be why they can’t get “documents”.

(2)So-called “Sanctuary Cities” are letting illegal immigrants vote which seems bizarre. Why should people in the country illegally be helping to vote in people to draft laws? Seems like a serious conflict of interest here.

It seems that items (1) and (2) are very much linked. Could objecting to voter I.D. requirements be to enable, or help cover up, illegal immigrants voting? Hard to say, there is no “documentation”. Could it be to help “elect” candidates who would push for more immigration and easier citizenship paths?

As for convicts voting, obviously everyone has different ideas. My personal choice would be: (a) not while in jail or parole; and (b) not for serious crimes such as murder/treason/terrorism/drug trafficking/sex offenses.

Review of the Book “The New Nationalism”

(Conservative writer and YouTuber, Dr. Steve Turley, promoting his new book)

The New Nationalism, How the Populist Right is Defeating Globalism and Awakening a New Political Order” was just released and is available online. The title is pretty self explanatory, as nations across the world are pushing hard to maintain their identities and sovereignties. Not only do nations and people want autonomy over their lands, they want to see their own cultures intact and thriving. It is a fairly quick at 78 pages, but is packed with information. While he acknowledges that globalists do make occasional advances, they are more of the exception, and that the general trend is towards nationalism.

Before getting too much into the book, let’s take a moment to acknowledge 2 sets of ideas hotly debated currently:

1. Civic v.s. Ethno Nationalism


(a) Nationalism (Identity) v.s. Multiculturalism (Values)
(b) Ethno Nationalism (Identity) v.s. Civic Nationalism (Values)

In many ways they are same argument: Is a nation defined as “who the people are” or by “what they believe”?

Those pushing for a greater unity, ethno-nationalist, argue that who the people are matters, be it: heritage, culture, common language, traditions, way of life, and often ancestry, are the necessary elements for a cohesive society. EN is commonly thought to be a racial supremacist ideology, but that just isn’t the case.

Those pushing for greater freedom and individuality, civic nationalist, are much more likely to believe in the multicultural way of life. The cohesive unity that ethno-nationalists stress is not nearly as important as more abstract beliefs such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and acceptance rather than assimilation of newcomers.

Civic nationalists claim (rightly), that their society promotes tolerance and diversity. Ethno nationalists claim (rightly), that there is nothing that holds them together, and that people will just form groups which do reflect their identities. These 2 ideologies are in fact arguing different things.

Within ethno-nationalism, there is a segment that believes that blood is the single biggest unifier (race). This is often referred to as “the Alt-Right”. Another group believer that other shared traits (culture), are what holds societies together, sometimes called “the Alt-Lite”. One group believes the other to be racist, while the other believes that group to be unrealistic.

In the book, “The New Nationalism”, Dr. Turley is quite clearly arguing a form of nationalism that focuses on a shared culture and traditions, while race itself is not important (Alt-Lite).

The book covers in depth 9 countries across the world: (1) Hungary; (2) Poland; (3) Bulgaria; (4) Italy; (5) Denmark; (6) Russia; (7) Turkey; (8) India; and (9) the United States. Now, for some key passages:

2. Quotes From Book

All over the world, a nationalist revolution is underway. In the past 17 years, the actual number of nationalist and populist parties across the European continent has nearly doubled, growing from 33 to 63.1 And these parties are seeing extraordinary electoral success. The share of votes won by populist parties in Europe has tripled in the course of such time, from 8.5 percent of the European vote to nearly 25 percent.

FIRST TAKEAWAY: The opening paragraph gets right to the point. Using Europe as a model, nationalism is on the rise, and that the # of political parties is rising, as is the % of the popular vote they are receiving. In fact, the first five Chapters deal with European countries where nationalism is still rising: Hungary; Poland; Bulgaria; Italy; and Denmark.

>However, for what I’m calling here the New Nationalism, the communist threat is of course gone, as is any notion of biological racial superiority.

SECOND TAKEAWAY: That the growing nationalism here is built on shared customs, cultures, etc… and that race is not the driving motivation.

Because globalization eclipses the nation-state with wider transnational economic and political processes, many scholars believe that globalization is bringing an end to the whole concept of distinct nations.

THIRD TAKEAWAY: Globalism is a threat to nations because it attempts to break down what actually makes nations distinct.

…. that Orban wants to create an authoritarian theocracy. In fact, nothing can be farther from the truth. As Orban makes clear, Christian democracies absolutely affirm a separation of powers between church and state. The church and the state are wholly unique and distinctive institutions. But what makes Christian democracies different from globalist societies is that while they recognize a separation of powers between church and state, they don’t recognize a separation of purpose.

FOURTH TAKEAWAY: While nations like Hungary may want to maintain a Christian nation, it will not lead to autocratic rule.

open borders mean open values. And so, what does this mean for the EU’s immigration quotas? Very simply, mass unfettered immigration fulfills the political precondition for more liberal democratic social policies. The less secure a nation’s borders, the less secure a nation’s customs and culture.

FIFTH TAKEAWAY: Mass immigration will actually lead to the break down of society. If any and all people and their customs are welcome, then what makes a nation unique? This is actually the main argument against multiculturalism.

However, Poland has no shortage of detractors, particularly in Brussels. One critic accused Poland of “abdicating” its leading role in Central Europe by refusing to bend to the EU’s demands on migrant quotas and internal judicial reforms. But in the process of making these observations, she ended up admitting that the nation of Poland poses a greater existential threat to the EU than does Brexit.22

When the Poles didn’t, Article 7 was enacted to try to strip Poland’s voting rights away.

SIXTH TAKEAWAY: Interesting, that for all the praise that the EU gives to diversity and multiculturalism, it seems they have to force member states like Poland to comply. This is an attempt to overrun their sovereignty and impose laws on them. How exactly is Poland an independent country if it “bends the knee”?

What Salvini is advocating here is but the latest chapter of a history of what scholars call the internationalizing of the nationalist right. While leaders in the nationalist right have focused primarily on local and national elections, they all recognize that transnational politics are in many ways just as equally important, because the ultimate adversary in all of this is globalization, and globalization is by definition transnational.

SEVENTH TAKEAWAY: While individual nations are taking back their autonomy, there is a collective good in such nations working together to do so.

>With communism dead, something even more compelling, more deeply rooted in the Russian soul would have to take its place. And that is the real contribution of Vladimir Putin; he found that the way forward for Russians would be a return, a retraditionalization that would involve reawakening Russia’s pre-Soviet history, her culture, traditions, customs, and Orthodox religion that would serve as the foundation for a rebirth and renewal of Russian civilization.

EIGHTH TAKEAWAY: Russia, facing more and more break off portions, was able to keep itself fairly intact because it focused on what the various regions and people had in common. Putin has said many times, “we are of many ethnicities, but we are Russian first.”

Putin does not celebrate a secularized vision of human rights irrespective of culture; he doesn’t affirm a notion of civil rights that favors certain races, genders, and sexual orientations. Rather, the rights, protections, and freedoms experienced by citizens of the Russian Federation are the direct result of a distinctively Russian culture, religion, society, and sentiments.

NINETH TAKEAWAY: Identity politics is bad. Focusing on collective identity is good. Simple enough.

However, there is one section that seems puzzling.

For example, there have been reports of forced conversion attempts on Christian families in Indian villages by Hindu nationalists, the desecration of churches, and actual physical violence and assaults against Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. These are of course unacceptable in any humane society. But what we have to understand is that, unfortunately, such acts of religious persecution are really just par for the course given the fact that secularism is seen more and more as that ideology that persecutes a nation’s dominant religious identity….. To just defer to good ol’ fashioned secular human rights such as religious freedom, as our Western elites like to do, does absolutely nothing to remedy this problem, but I believe has the reverse effect; it employs rhetoric that only exasperates it.

Perhaps I am missing something, but wouldn’t this be a compelling argument in favour of secularism? If physical violence and religious persecution are “par for the course”, wouldn’t taking religion out of the way of life make things safer for everyone? For example, the Western World has seen repeatedly what “devout practitioners” from Islam are capable of doing.

3. Overall Impression

The New Nationalism is a very informative read. 9 countries are gone through in depth, although many more are mentioned in the introduction. The author has clearly put a lot effort into the research and presentation. While there are exceptions, the overall path seems to be towards nationalism and against globalism.

4. Relevance To This Site

Canucklaw.ca is founded on the idea of discussing and examining comparative law. As such, ideas and systems — good and bad — are looked at. If nationalism is to be the major trend (and the evidence says it will), then new laws are certain to be introduced. Likewise, there are likely to be many court challenges and appeals, as the nationalists and globalists fight it out. This should be a fertile source for research and commentary.

5. Nationalism Is Coming

Dr. Turley covered the election of Doug Ford in June 2018. Worth a watch. (Update: on October 2, he covered the Nationalist Win in Quebec).

Currently, we have: (1) Parliament appoints to cabinet based on gender quotas; (2) criticism of Islam is banned; (3) compelled speech for gender pronouns; (4) Pro-Life candidates are banned from running for office in certain parties; (5) summer jobs grants are denied for wrongthink; (6) opposition to ISIS fighters returning is considered islamophobia; (7) asking about costs for illegal immigration is considered racist; (8) murders of citizens by “Syrian refugees” is laughed off; (9) Diversity is entropy, and apparently, breaking down society is our strength; (10) discussing the challenges of multiculturalism gets condemned by “Conservatives”; (11) $10.5 Million for a this terrorist; (12) $31 million for these accused terrorists; (13) Canada apparently has no core identity; (14) “Old -Stock” Canadians should apparently be replaced; (15) Pride parades which are outright lewd; (16) Showing tolerance and inclusion at Pride, by banning police; (17) Statues of our founder Sir John A. MacDonald taken down; (18) Parks named after foreign founders; (19) ”Gender neutral” national anthem; (20) ”peoplekind” instead of mankind, and so on….

Back to the Nationalism (Identity) v.s. Multiculturalism (Values) mentioned earlier, it was mused that globalists don’t want an identity, that there only be certain “values”. However, it seems that many don’t even want “values”, as they would require logic and consistent standards to apply them.

There are some interesting postings from Candice Malcom: CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE,

Canada has a federal election on October 19, 2019. If there is a nationalist candidate who might win, it would look something like this, or this, or this, or possibly this or this or this, or this, or maybe this.

Canada needs a rise in nationalism. If multiculturalism actually worked — anywhere — we would not need an ever expanding set of laws telling us how to live, and how to accommodate radically different people. Perhaps Dr. Turley can one day do such a book (or a second edition) on Canada

European Union Censorship

(Provocative, but you get the point)

September 12, 2018 — the European Union passed this law, the “Copyright Directive”, in a 438-226 vote.

Other media on the subject can be found: here, here, here, and here.

The “Copyright Directive” was originally stopped in July of this year, primarily over concerns over Articles 11 and 13. And to a degree, the concerns were over the same thing. Responding to, or critiquing another’s work is very common, and makes way for advancement of discussion of ideas. As long as there is some educational, critical or reporting use (and not blatant copyright), then using portions of a person or institution’s work is fine. In fact, this very website, Chimeratsk.com, cites Canadian “Fair Dealing“, and American “Fair Use” provisions.

Article 11, a.k.a. the “link tax”, concerned ways for original content creators to get paid via taxes or royalties. In practice though, how would one know who the original content creator was? Perhaps the royalties would be going to someone who is at least in part responding to another person’s work.

Article 13 had to do with platforms such as Facebook and YouTube being blocked from sharing protected content. Apparently there is to be a huge database on protected material, which by itself sounds creepy. To be fair though, the law says that encyclopedia-type platforms like Wikipedia will be exempt. However, as many images, text and music can sound similar, how would the original creator be identified?

Further, copyrighted material does not last forever. For example, the book “1984”, written by George Orwell (a.k.a. Eric Arthur Blair was written in 1949, so after 1999, a Canuck should be free to use it freely. Under Canadian Copyright Law, 50 years after death, copyright protection would disappear. Yes, ironic to use the Orwewll book here. However, would this EU driven database(s) know when copyright on each image, unique, phrase, text, etc… lapse?

On a semi-related note: there is an academic database — turnitin.com which college and university students would upload digitial copies of essays and other papers. This is an anti-plagiarism site which was to ensure that students were handing in original work. The site would compare and contrast the student paper against millions of others and look for regions of overlap. Sounds great, except for problems those arose in this.

At its core, the Copyright Directive seems to nullify what may be considered Fair Dealing/Fair Use exemptions (by listing the original content creator as the copyright owner of any and all of its content, and responses. CLICK HERE, for an article on the proposed revisions of Article 11 and 13.

Some accidental incidents of censorship occurred here, here, and here.

While the E.U. has passed this Copyright Directive, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic:

First, even if nothing is done, this seems absurd on its face to implement. (See the earlier criticism on logistical issues). Yes, content is still getting blocked, even the most innocuous stuff. While this is done under the guise of “protecting” creators, the complications that will arise will cause more and more headaches. Oddly, creators will “lose” money if research and ad revenue plummet.

Second, the law will undoubtedly face legal challenges and be tied up in the courts for years.

Third, each memberstate will implement their own version of this law, and that will likely not happen for a year or 2. Harder to enforce when the rules aren’t uniform. And on a related note: what about the UK, who is leaving the E.U.? What about any other member who may leave? What happens if governments change and their successors don’t agree with what they see? And won’t any inconsistencies in member laws make it easier to challenge the law?

Fourth, what if any E.U. members decide to just ignore the directive altogether? The EU has shown itself to be rather toothless in enforcing its own rules and orders.

Fifth, how will this be enforced when using material from, or creating new content in countries that do not have these laws, or subscribe to this version of them?

Online creators decry this EU directive, and they do have reason to be worried. However, there are many options available to fight it, and many hurdles it will face.

Review of the Book ”An Advocacy Primer”

(3rd edition of the book by Lee Stuesser)

This book was released in 2005 by Lee Stuesser, a law professor at the University of Manitoba. It is basically a reference book for how to litigate different types of cases.

The book itself was written for law students in how to work for clients. However, the information provided is very straightforward, and many self-represented persons could get a leg up simply by reading through and following along. Self representation, as discussed here, is possible by many people, on the more simplistic cases.

”An Advocacy Primer” details: (a) how to go about the many steps in litigation; (b) gives many tips on how to prepare documents; (c) organize arguments; and (d) common pitfalls to avoid.

A brief outline of the book:

Chapter 1: Developing a Trial Plan
Chapter 2: Draft of the Pleadings
Chapter 3: Civil Case — Disclosure
Chapter 4: Criminal Case — Discovery
Chapter 5: Making Submissions
Chapter 6: A Trial Notebook
Chapter 7: Running a Civil Trial
Chapter 8: Running a Criminal Trial
Chapter 9: Opening Arguments
Chapter 10: Closing Arguments
Chapter 11: Your Case — Direct Examination
Chapter 12: Using Exhibits
Chapter 13: Principles of Cross Examination
Chapter 14: Impeachment
Chapter 15: Objections at trial
Chapter 16: Special Witnesses
Chapter 17: Appellate Advocacy
Chapter 18: Ethics of Advocacy

Stuesser’s work can be used in one of two ways. First, it can be read straight through as a non-fiction book. Second, it can be used in pieces, as needed for a representative in a legal matter. This 475 page book also gives many templates of legal forms, and exact wordings to include.

The second option is obviously far more practical. The first is possible, although it would be a very tedious read to do in one sitting.

Overall, the book is great source of information, both for self-reps and other legal enthusiasts.

Ontario Gov’t Using Notwithstanding Clause to Shrink Toronto City Council (Bill 5)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (Source: HuffPost)

Ontario’s new Conservative Premier Doug Ford is attempting to shrink the Toronto City Council almost in half (from 47 to 25 members).  The main argument is that the ever expanding size of the council does nothing to actually improve representation and effectiveness.  Rather, it just leads to increased staff and costs for taxpayers.

Faith Goldy, currently running for Mayor of Toronto in October 22 election posted a YouTube video seen HERE, commenting on it.  An amusing video.

On July 30, 2018, Bill 5, the “Better Local Government Act” got its first reading.  August 14 saw it receive 2nd and 3rd readings and be passed.  However, the Toronto City Council voted to proceed with a legal challenge against it in court.

The Council claimed that the bill violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  See HERE for a link to the text of the Charter.

On September 10, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled that the Provincial Government’s decision violated Section 2(b) of the Charter, which states:  Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: …… (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;”.  Specifically, the Judge ruled that the Bill violated Torontonians’ right to “freedom of expression”.

To put it in more detail, because of the ongoing Mayoral and Council elections, cutting the Council size, it substantially interfered with municipal voters’ freedom of expression and the “right to cast a vote that can result in effective representation”.

However, the Ontario Government has decided to re-introduce the Bill, and instead rely on a different part of the Canadian Charter, Section 33, which is the “Notwithstanding Clause”.  In short, this provision allows a Provincial or Federal Government to pass laws even though a Court considers them unconstitutional.  33(1) reads as follows:

 (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.”

To be fair, Section 33(3) of the Charter states that legislation passed this way will cease to have effect after 5 years.

The “Notwithstanding Clause” has been a part of the Charter since its inception, but has very rarely been used.

Application of Charter
32. (1) This Charter applies

(a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and

(b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

There is an interesting twist to this story: The Charter effects both the Federal Government, and the Provinces and Territories. (See above for Section 32). However, Canada is also governed by the Principle of Paramouncy. In short, in the cases of competing laws, the highest power will succeed. Put plainly, Federal law tops Provincial law, and Provincial law tops Municipal law. There is a good deal of logic to this, as Federal law would mean nothing if cities and Provinces could simply legislate their way aroung it.

An exception to this of course: is that the various levels of power cannot legislate if doing so steps outside their legal boundaries. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution spell out exactly whose powers are whose.

Hypothetically, the Federal Government could invoke “their” Notwithstanding Clause in order to override “Ontario’s” Notwithstanding Clause. But that doesn’t seem to be happening, at least for now.

A very interesting use of the Notwithstanding Clause. Shows at least the Ontario Government is serious about cutting the size of government. We shall keep an eye on it.

AN UPDATE TO THE STORY: On, September 19, 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeals stayed the order of the Ontario Superior Court, effectively giving Premier Ford the go ahead to shrink Toronto City Council. An interesting note here — while the Court of Appeals did say that shrinking the Council in the middle of a municipal election was unfair, unfairness by itself is not a reason to stop Bill 5.

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