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Indigenous alumnus helps right a 133-year-old wrong

A 25-year campaign to exonerate a Cree chief has finally come to its conclusion.

[Pîhtokahanapiwiyin]
Cree Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (“Poundmaker”) was wrongfully convicted of treason in 1885. (National Archives Canada).

They say the wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly. And sometimes those wheels need help to get moving at all.

Blaine Favel (Law’90), recently saw the truth of those words when a lobbying effort he has championed for more than 25 years finally persuaded the federal government to exonerate Cree Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (“Poundmaker”) from a wrongful 1885 treason conviction.

“Poundmaker was a good man and a good chief who took care of his people. He was unfairly convicted,” says Favel. “[The decision] to set history right is the best news I’ve heard in a long time.”

Poundmaker’s story is one Favel knows well. The CEO of Kanata Earth Management (a Cut Knife, Saskatchewan-based, Indigenous-owned producer of organically grown cannabis), is himself a former chief of the Poundmaker First Nation, a former grand-chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Saskatchewan

“I became aware of Poundmaker’s story when I was growing up, and during my own time as chief, I started working with other members of the Poundmaker First Nation to clear his name.”

In May 1885 in the midst of the Northwest Rebellion, the chief went to Fort Battleford in an unsuccessful effort to convince a government “Indian agent” to provide treaty payments to starving members of the Poundmaker First Nation. However, when the chief and his still-hungry men returned to their reserve, they were pursued by government soldiers intent on exacting revenge for some looting the Cree were wrongly alleged to have committed. On the morning of May 2, the troops launched a sneak attack.

Eight Canadian troops died in the Battle of Cut Knife Hill, and their mates retreated in disarray, but Poundmaker ordered his fighters not to give chase. “They could have wiped out those soldiers the same way Custer was wiped out at Little Bighorn in 1876, but the chief said no,” Favel says. “Poundmaker never wanted war. He was a peacemaker.”  

Poundmaker was convicted of treason and went to prison for three years. However, when he contracted tuberculosis while behind bars, he was released after a year. He died four months later. Members of the Poundmaker First Nation never forgot or forgave that injustice.

[Blaine Favel]
Blaine Favel (Law'90). (Supplied Photo)

When the Trudeau government prioritized reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people, Favel and other members of the Poundmaker First Nation doubled down in their efforts to win exoneration for the chief. An online petition drew more than 4,500 signatures, and Favel and fellow First Nations leaders lobbied politicians. Their efforts paid off earlier this year when at long last Poundmaker was exonerated. 

Favel regards the move as a vital first step toward a comprehensive reparations agreement between Ottawa and the Poundmaker First Nation. He hopes a formal apology also will be part of any final agreement. “The government’s decision should be viewed as an act of literal reconciliation and nation-building,” Favel says. “This is our common history, and so we should embrace Chief Poundmaker as a great Canadian.”

Learn more about Pîhtokahanapiwiyin's story and the exoneration in this CBC Radio news coverage.

Honorary degrees for spring ceremonies

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation. This spring, seven recipients will be honored during the ceremonies. All recipients were selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients this year include:

Phil Gold, Doctor of Science DSc

[Phil Gold]
Phil Gold

Ceremony 2: Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 pm

Phil Gold is the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University. He has served as the Inaugural Director of the Goodman Cancer Centre, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill, and Physician-in-Chief at the MGH.

Dr. Gold’s early research led to the discovery and definition of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), and the subsequent CEA blood test. In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University. Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010, and also received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University and the inaugural McGill University Faculty of Medicine Global Achievement Award in 2011.

Dr. Gold has received national and international recognition throughout his career, including the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002), and many other accolades, including honorary degrees from a number of universities.

Isabel Bassett, Doctor of Laws LLD

[Isabel Bassett]
Isabel Bassett

Ceremony 5: Friday, May 25 at 4 pm.

Professionally, Isabel Bassett was Chair and CEO of TVOntario, MPP and Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation for the Ontario Government, and host and producer of award winning documentaries on CFTO TV, which focused on social issues such as sexual abuse, mental health, and teen gangs.

Now retired, Ms. Bassett is a facilitator using her know-how and connections to work for gender parity. She advocates to get young people more involved in politics and for more diversity on boards and in senior management positions. She is now adding her voice in support of the McMichael Gallery to awaken the public to Canada's little known treasure house of Canadian Art.

Indira Samarasekera, Doctor of Science DSc

[Indira Samarasekera]
Indira Samarasekera

Ceremony 12: Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm

Indira Samarasekera served as the twelfth President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 2005 to 2015. She also served as Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia from 2000 to 2005. She is currently a Senior Advisor for Bennett Jones LLP and serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International, and TransCanada. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as a Federal Member to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments until 2017.

Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her ground-breaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 for outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. In 2014, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US, the profession’s highest honour.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 and a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and from Western University in Canada, as well as Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Valerie Tarasuk, Doctor of Science DSc

[Valerie Tarasuk]
Valerie Tarasuk

Ceremony 13: Friday, June 1 at 10 am

Valerie Tarasuk is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Tarasuk’s research includes Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but much of her career has focused on income-related problems of food access in Canada. She played a pivotal role in the implementation of food insecurity monitoring in Canada and has helped spearhead efforts to use monitoring data to inform programming and policy decisions. Dr. Tarasuk has led PROOF, an interdisciplinary research program investigating household insecurity in Canada, since 2011. In 2017, Dr. Tarasuk was honored by the Canadian Nutrition Society with the Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition.

John Baird, Doctor of Law LLD

[John Baird]
John Baird

Ceremony 14: Friday, June 1 at 2:30 pm

John Baird served as a senior cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. Mr. Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by MPs from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. He is currently a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with Southeast Asian nations.

Mr. Baird holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s. He volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, the Prince's Charities, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative.

Hugh Segal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Hugh Segal]
Hugh Segal

Ceremony 15: Monday, June 4 at 10 am

Now the fifth elected Principal of Massey College and a strategic advisor at the law firm of Aird and Berlis, LLP, Hugh Segal has spent his career in such public service roles as the Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs) in Ontario and the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.  In Ontario, he was involved in the negotiations to patriate the Canadian constitution and create the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Mr. Segal chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism between 2005 and 2014.  He served as Canada's Special Envoy to the Commonwealth and a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on reform and modernization, human rights, and rule of law.

A former President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Queen's School of Policy Studies, and the Smith School of Business at Queen's, Mr. Segal holds honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa.

Douglas Cardinal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Douglas Cardinal]
Douglas Cardinal

Ceremony 21: Wednesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Douglas Cardinal's architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found his passion for human rights initiatives. Mr. Cardinal has become a forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings, and ecologically designed community planning.

Mr. Cardinal has received many national and international awards, including 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.

Proposals for reconciliation

Three Indigenous artists presented art proposals Monday as part of a project to bring First Nations art into the Faculty of Law atrium.

  • Ms. Claus showcases her proposal at Monday's open house. It consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling. (University Communications)
    Ms. Claus showcases her proposal at Monday's open house. It consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling. (University Communications)
  • Ms. Claus' proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (University Communications)
    Ms. Claus' proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (University Communications)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (University Communications)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (University Communications)
  • Ms. Baird speaks to visitors at Monday's open house. If her proposal is successful, the feather she has designed would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (University Communications)
    Ms. Baird speaks to visitors at Monday's open house. If her proposal is successful, the feather she has designed would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (University Communications)
  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (University Communications)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (University Communications)
  • Mr. Dion speaks to Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, about his proposal at an afternoon reception. (University Communications)
    Mr. Dion speaks to Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, about his proposal at an afternoon reception. (University Communications)
  • Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Douglas Cardinal, renowned architect and member of the Queen's Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission, examine the proposals. (University Communications)
    Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Douglas Cardinal, renowned architect and member of the Queen's Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission, examine the proposals. (University Communications)

When visitors pass through the Faculty of Law atrium this fall, they will see the faculty’s commitment to reconciliation writ large. A piece of art will be installed to help increase the visibility of Indigenous art and culture, promote the recognition of Indigenous territory on campus, and create a welcoming space for Indigenous Peoples.

The question remains: will the art take the form of an eagle feather, or of wampum belts?

The Story So Far
Indigenous art to appear in Law atrium - Sept 20, 2017
Queen’s Law reveals shortlisted proposals for Indigenous Art Commission - Mar 1, 2018
● The successful artist will be named by the end of March.
● The art will be installed this fall.

As a committee evaluates the three options they have received in response to their recent request for proposals, the artists had a chance Monday to make their case directly to the Queen’s community.

Artists Wally Dion, Rebecca Baird, and Hannah Claus were on campus to demonstrate their ideas during an open house and a public reception. Mr. Dion’s and Ms. Claus’ ideas involve installing large vertical wampum belts in the Gowling WLG Atrium, while Ms. Baird has suggested suspending a large feather from the rafters.

The purpose of Monday’s events was to solicit comments from the Queen’s community regarding the proposals via an online survey. The comments will inform the committee’s final decision, which will be revealed later this month.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to our two public events, and to those who have taken the time to register their comments,” says Dean Bill Flanagan, chair of the committee. “This project will help our faculty contribute to the important cause of reconciliation in Canada, with the inclusion of a prominent work of Indigenous art that reflects historical and contemporary issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and law.”

The goal is to complete the art installation this fall. For more information, visit the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission webpage.

Queen’s Law reveals shortlist of Indigenous art proposals

Have your say on the three proposals submitted by Indigenous artists seeking to create a permanent art installation in the Queen’s Law building.

  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.”  The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
  • All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
    All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
    Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
  • Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
    Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
  • The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)
    The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)

 

This fall, the Faculty of Law atrium will be home to a permanent art installation created by an Indigenous artist – and the project committee that launched the special commission is seeking your input on three proposals.

“The Indigenous community at Queen’s Law is excited to have a permanent visual representation of our heritage, culture and presences on campus,” says Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Co-ordinator at Queen’s and project committee member. “This art will reflect our history, present and future in Canada, and the evolution of law.”

The Indigenous Art Commission was launched by Queen’s Law in September 2017. The purpose of the commission is to further the cause of reconciliation on campus by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory, specifically within the Faculty of Law. Additionally, the members are seeking to create a welcoming space for Indigenous people and to promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues that are relevant to Indigenous people and law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do in the Faculty of Law.”

The project committee has shortlisted three artists who will be presenting their proposals on Monday, March 12 from noon to 1 pm in the Queen’s Law atrium. Each artist will display a three-dimensional maquette or digital scale-rendering of their proposed artwork. Attendees of the open drop-in will have an opportunity to ask the artists about their proposals, and submit comments to the project committee via a survey.

Later that day, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at an Agnes Etherington Art Centre reception, the Queen’s community can meet and chat with members of the project committee and the three shortlisted artists.

The project committee members will consider public input when making its final decision. Those who are unable to attend the open house can submit their feedback via an online survey.

For those who are unable to attend the presentations on March 12, a summary of the three shortlisted proposals and the online survey is available on the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission web page.

Mapping out life after law school

Queen’s Law students get help with customized career planning through the Career Development Office.

Applying for jobs and finding a career can be a daunting process. To help students manage this stress, the Queen’s Law Career Development Office (CDO) offers a Career Management Plan (CMP) program. Through this program, students receive individually-tailored advice such as steps they should take to stay on track and long-term skills for career planning once they leave Queen’s. The results are impressive: over 95 per cent of Law’17 students who were actively seeking articling opportunities had secured one as of last September. 

An unlimited number of individual career counselling sessions to help students build on their skills and refine their customized career plan is one standout feature.

“We pride ourselves on how accessible we are to our students,” says Julie Banting, Director of Career Development. “In 2016-17, we held over 1,200 counselling appointments. The average student feedback rating was 4.8 out of 5, and 98 per cent of students indicated that they would recommend this service to peers.”

The CDO holds workshops for students introducing career development and job search fundamentals. It also has a comprehensive software platform, Career Services Manager, where students can view job postings, sign up for counselling sessions and events, and access a document library full of helpful tip sheets.

“The dedication of the office’s coordinator, Jenny DeBruyn, has been integral to building and maintaining strong relationships with employers, which has contributed to an overall increase in the number and variety of job postings accessible to students,” Ms. Banting says.  
  
Furthermore, through the CDO, students can access networking opportunities and events.

“We are proud of the strong relationship we have with our corporate partners and alumni and hold many events throughout the year that enable students to build their network,” Ms. Banting explains.

Students may have the opportunity to shadow a practitioner for a day, or contact alumni who have made themselves available for informational interviews on the CDO’s ProNet listing. 

This year, the CDO is excited about developing a formal program for a more structured mentoring experience.

“The CMP allowed me to explore many different career options, from small firms in rural communities to large Bay Street firms,” explains Maggie Carmichael (Law’18). “Through the CDO I had the opportunity to attend information sessions and networking events, as well as one-on-one meetings with career counsellor Michael Molas to discuss my options and prepare a job application package that would allow me to achieve my goals.”  
 
Richard Glennie (Law’19) says that he met with the CDO weekly after his first year.

“I was unsure of what I wanted to do, and working with the CDO on a self-assessment before the Toronto recruit helped me find the areas that I wanted to work in,” he says. “From there, I had weekly appointments to tailor my job search, fine-tune my resume, develop a cover letter, and polish my interview skills. Julie provided support from start to finish, including being available throughout in-firm interviews to answer questions and give advice, helping me secure a position that I’m thrilled with.”

This article was first published on the Faculty of Law website.

Queen’s Law clinic ensuring prisoners’ rights are upheld

Since Paul Quick (Law’09) began working as a staff lawyer with the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic (QPLC) in October 2016, he’s been helping students gain more complex litigation experience. Those efforts in representing inmates are now paying off.

 Paul Quick, Law’09, Staff Lawyer with the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic
Paul Quick (Law’09) is a staff lawyer with the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic. (Photo by Nicole Clark)

The QPLC has a near perfect success rate in getting the Federal Court of Canada to quash decisions made by correctional decision-makers and adjudicators. 

“To achieve and maintain this track record, the clinic must be strategic in choosing the cases it pursues,” says Mr. Quick, who has submitted applications and appeared in court to present arguments along with previous QPLC director Sean Ellacott (Law’01).

Mr. Quick, Mr. Ellacott and new QPLC Director Kathy Ferreira (Law’01), have initially chosen to focus on applications for judicial review to Federal Court, where a record of evidence is already fully established and cases can be heard by the court within a few months. In pursuit of the clinic’s goal to advance prisoners’ rights test-case litigation, Mr. Quick says the judicial review process was a natural starting point for building its capacity and expertise.  

The QPLC’s litigation to date has focused on judicial reviews of Parole Board of Canada national policy and Institutional Disciplinary Court decision-making – both core to front-line services the clinic has always provided.   

Of the eight applications for reviews of Institutional Disciplinary Court decisions initiated by the QPLC, five matters were resolved successfully in the prisoner’s favour (with costs ordered to the clinic) without a hearing. The other three matters were heard by the Federal Court; two of these resulted in successful judgments and the third is now under appeal. 

However, the QPLC’s most significant litigation achievement over the past few months has been against the Parole Board of Canada in Dorsey v. Attorney General of Canada, a case challenging the lawfulness of the Parole Board’s national policy to stop conducting biennial parole reviews for persons serving indeterminate sentences. After receiving the clinic’s written arguments to the court, the Parole Board advised it did not intend to defend its policy in court, had changed its policy as sought by the clinic, and would start conducting such reviews in accordance with the law. 

“Our win in this case is significant, not only because parole is the only opportunity these prisoners have to regain their liberty, but also because the approach of a parole hearing is often the sole impetus for the Correctional Service of Canada to take steps to provide such prisoners with recommended programs and interventions,” Mr. Quick notes.

In the process leading up to the judicial review, QPLC students gain valuable experience conducting the initial hearing before the tribunal. This means students take part in setting the record eventually considered by the court and can see how their early strategic decisions, questions to witnesses, and arguments can end up playing an important role in the court’s assessment of the decision on review. During the judicial review process itself, students not only contribute by providing research support but also have the opportunity to observe the hearing in person (two of these Federal Court hearings have taken place at the law school).

“This opportunity to observe and participate in the full tip-to-tail experience of administrative law practice gives students a deeper and more impactful understanding of advocacy strategies and administrative law principles,” Mr. Quick says.

They’re going to be getting even more experience as the QPLC’s litigation practice continues to gain momentum. Looking ahead, the clinic plans to take on a wider variety of prisoners’ rights issues and to place a greater emphasis on human rights and constitutional issues and remedies. Additionally, the clinic aims to increase its collaboration with Queen’s faculty members who have expertise in prison law and public/administrative law matters.

“It is our goal this year to be in a position to apply to intervene as a friend of the court in appellate-level and Supreme Court-level prisoners’ rights cases on relatively short notice,” Mr. Quick says.

Clinic students will be helping to lay the groundwork for these projects through research into key substantive and procedural issues and development of precedent materials. To get started, all current QPLC students have been assigned “initiative files” related to potential litigation to be pursued throughout the winter term under the supervision of Ferreira and Quick.
 
“We recognize that successful litigation for prisoners’ rights in the long-term requires a front-loading of effort to strategically develop strong evidentiary records at the earliest stage,” Mr. Quick says. “Such carefully structured evidentiary records are required to create real opportunities for bringing precedent-setting judicial review and Charter applications to address systemic injustices in the prison system.

“Many injustices in Canada’s prison system are seen as intractable, and few prisoners have the resources to effectively hold correctional authorities accountable,” he adds. “In expanding the front-line work of the Prison Law Clinic into strategic test-case litigation, we plan to address such systemic problems head-on, and to give students the opportunity to make real change while upholding the rights of some of our society’s most vulnerable members.”

More information about all the Queen’s law clinics is available on the Faculty of Law’s website.

New director settles in at Queen’s Prison Law Clinic

Sixteen years ago, Kathy Ferreira (Law’01) won the course prize as the top student in Clinical Correctional Law at Queen’s. After graduation, she clerked at the Superior Court Central West, developed prison law research materials at Ontario’s Legal Aid Research Facility (now LAO Law), and then returned to Queen’s Correctional Law Project as a staff lawyer in 2003. In November, Ferreira was appointed director of the project, now known as the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic (QPLC). 

Kathy Ferreira
Kathy Ferreira (Law’01) was appointed to the position of director of the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic in November. (Photo by Nicole Clark)

“Kathy set a standard of excellence in her work instructing and supervising students and representing clients in parole hearings and in disciplinary court,” says Karla McGrath (LLM’13) Executive Director of the Queen’s Law Clinics. “The Prison Law Clinic, its students and clients will all be well-served under Kathy’s leadership.” 

The clinic that Ms. Ferreira now oversees is unique to Queen’s, enabling students to assist prisoners in one of six institutions with numerous legal issues for academic credit or in a paid summer position.

When and how did you develop your interest in prison law? 

I first developed an interest in prison law as a student in the Correctional Law Project. I took the Clinical Correctional Law course in 2000-01 to gain practical legal experience, including development of advocacy skills and an understanding of the solicitor-client relationship. Although it was demanding, I very much enjoyed working with the vulnerable client group and advocating for their rights against the Correctional Service and to the Parole Board of Canada. It was my best law school memory, and I have heard that same thought many times since from students who have been involved in the clinic.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Queen’s Prison Law Clinic?

The clients. There is no other area of law I would prefer to do or can even imagine practising. Helping them succeed in small and significant ways is incredibly satisfying. They value the clinic, and our students especially, and I want to ensure we always strive to justify that confidence.

What are the biggest changes in prison law and the QPLC since you started as a staff lawyer in 2003? 

Significant changes in prison law include a very negative anti-prisoner conservative wave of legislative changes that included removal of early parole opportunities for non-violent first-time federal offenders, and a more recent positive liberal swing that has included more progressive Parole Board of Canada decisions favouring release in appropriate cases. Segregation remains a concern and although the government has recently committed to reducing segregation, this is an area where prisoners’ advocates must remain vigilant. The Correctional Service always prioritizes administrative concerns over prisoner rights. Significant changes in the clinic include funding for an articling student, inclusion and focus on litigation, and an overall expansion of the range of services we provide. We remain committed to a valuable student learning experience.

What are you doing in your role as QPLC director?

In my teaching role, I instruct the Prison Law Clinic course and look forward to developing a detailed syllabus for the 2018-19 year. I meet regularly with student caseworkers and supervise their work, as well as work by Pro Bono students assisting the clinic. Also, I oversee the development and implementation of our litigation strategy. For clients, I provide timely summary advice over the telephone and attend the institutions to speak to prisoners at the request of the Correctional Service or other inmate groups. I value the opportunity to talk with prisoners directly about their prison concerns and address parole questions, and do this as a regular guest speaker for John Howard Society Pre-Release groups. In my administrative capacity, I manage the QPLC’s employees, serve as the point person for all clinic inquiries, and report to the law school, our funder Legal Aid Ontario and our corporation board. I also explore making connections with and providing assistance to other groups doing related work, for example, groups assisting families of incarcerated persons.

What are your plans for the clinic?

We have a really solid group with our incredibly capable administrative assistant, our lawyers and students. We continue to work closely with our co-located Queen’s Law Clinics. I look forward to continuing our core mandate of assistance at prison Disciplinary Court, Parole Board of Canada hearings and grievances/human rights complaints against the Correctional Service to help ensure prisoner rights and procedural fairness. Clients expect assistance in these areas (Legal Aid Certificates are rarely issued for Disciplinary Court so the QPLC’s assistance fills an essential service area) and they are essential to experiential learning, permitting student advocacy opportunities and development of the solicitor-client relationship. The clinic is expanding services at consent and capacity hearings for prisoners with mental health issues. The QPLC has been very successful establishing positive legal precedents for our clients and we are working on a test-case litigation strategy together with Legal Aid Ontario.

This article was first published in Queen’s Law Reports.

A degree of inspiration

If you’ve ever wanted to meet a hero, or share a world-changing leader’s insights with the Queen’s community, you may want to consider nominating someone for an honorary degree at Queen’s.

Honorary degrees are one of the most prestigious awards given by a university. Recipients are nominated by the university community based on their contribution to the university, the local community, Canadian society, and to the world.

Bill Flanagan, Dean of Law, recounts his recent experience nominating Douglas Cardinal, a prominent Indigenous architect, Order of Canada inductee, and leader in the Indigenous community.

Douglas Cardinal lectures in front of a packed room in Macdonald Hall during his visit to Queen's to receive his honorary degree in March, 2017.
Douglas Cardinal lectures in front of a packed room in Macdonald Hall during his visit to Queen's to receive his honorary degree in March, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Van Overbeke)

“Douglas has had a long and distinguished career, and he’s been a great friend of the school. He’s come to speak to our students about Indigenous legal matters, and gave two lectures while he was in Kingston for the convocation about Indigenous peoples and law in Canada. He has created award-winning and world-renowned buildings, such as the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and a church in Red Deer, Alberta – a famous building which I attended as a kid, and I was always terribly impressed by its beauty,” he says.

“Nominating honorary degree recipients is of great value, both to recognize their contributions and also as an opportunity to provide inspiration to our graduates,” says Dean Flanagan. “It’s important that these nominees are considered carefully, and be of a certain caliber, like Douglas Cardinal, who has been a tremendous leader in his field.”

The Senate Honorary Degree Committee approves nominees from the applications, and may award a Doctor of Divinity, Laws, or Science to the successful recipients.

Richard Reznick, Dean of Health Sciences, has nominated many honorary degree recipients over the years, and recounts one of his most memorable.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, honorary degree recipient, delivers a moving speech at the School of Medicine Class of 2011 convocation. (Photo: Jackie Duffin)
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, honorary degree recipient, delivers a moving speech at the School of Medicine Class of 2011 convocation. (Photo: Jackie Duffin)

“The very first recipient that I nominated was Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. He is a Canadian-Palestinian doctor who lived in Palestine but trained in Israel as an obstetrician, and had a lot of connections in the Israeli community. During one of the severe conflicts, where there were a lot of bombings, he had a tragedy that killed three of his children, his niece, and injured another child. He became world-famous for writing a book, I Shall Not Hate, which promoted using conflict and tragedy to foster understanding between sides on serious – in this case, thousands of years long – conflicts,” says Dr. Reznick. “When he gave his convocation speech, not only did he get a standing ovation, but he had everyone in tears.”

Both Deans would recommend the experience to anyone in the Queen’s community.

“I’ve made it a habit to nominate someone every year,” says Dr. Reznick. “It’s really about honouring the nominee, and inspiring our students, but it also gives Queen’s a chance to affiliate with these world-famous people, and create a connection.”

“Of course,” says Dean Flanagan. “For my nomination of Douglas, I wanted to both recognize and thank him for his contribution to our school, speaking to our students, participating in our Indigenous art project, and providing a voice for Indigenous people in the law school.”

You don’t have to be a Dean to nominate someone for an honorary degree. Anyone from the Kingston or Queen’s community may nominate a person they believe has made remarkable contributions to the lives of others throughout the world, in academia, business, politics, scientific research, and the arts.

The committee invites nominations for honorary degrees to all who qualify, including women, Aboriginal persons, visible minorities/racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons.

The selection process begins after all nominations are submitted, when the committee meets to review the nominations and make recommendations. The Senate then approves the recommendations in April, and invitations to candidates for both the fall and winter convocations are sent over the summer. In fall, the list of honorees are made public.

Applications are open through the University Secretariat to nominate an individual or group for an honorary degree for fall and winter of 2019. The deadline is March 1, 2018 to submit nomination forms.

A view from the bench

  • Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the first female and longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, answered questions from Bill Flanagan, Dean, Faculty of Law, during Monday's Principal's Forum.
    Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the first female and longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, answered questions from Bill Flanagan, Dean, Faculty of Law, during Monday's Principal's Forum.
  • Principal Daniel Woolf, left, introduces Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, at the beginning of Monday's Principal's Forum in Wallace Hall.
    Principal Daniel Woolf, left, introduces Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, at the beginning of Monday's Principal's Forum in Wallace Hall.
  • Wallace Hall was packed with students and faculty members on Monday for the Principal's Forum featuring Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be stepping down from the bench on Dec. 15.
    Wallace Hall was packed with students and faculty members on Monday for the Principal's Forum featuring Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be stepping down from the bench on Dec. 15.
  • Wallace Hall was packed with students and faculty members for Monday's Principal's Forum featuring Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be stepping down from the bench on Dec. 15.
    Wallace Hall was packed with students and faculty members for Monday's Principal's Forum featuring Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be stepping down from the bench on Dec. 15.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the first female and longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, spoke to a packed Wallace Hall at Monday’s Principal’s Forum public lecture.

Chief Justice McLachlin – who will be stepping down from the bench on Dec. 15 – answered a series of questions from Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, touching upon her career and looking ahead for justice in Canada.

The Principal’s Forum is a public lecture series that enables the principal to invite distinguished visitors to campus to speak on issues of interest to the Queen’s community.

Gathering new insights

Queen’s researchers receive $3.56 million in Insight grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

A total of 27 Queen’s University researchers have received a combined $3.56 million in research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight program. The grants, which run between one and five years, serve to support research and research partnerships that will build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas.

“Queen’s researchers continue to push the envelope in the social sciences, arts, and humanities, pursuing projects that offer the potential for tremendous cultural, social, and economic benefits,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The success of our researchers in obtaining these grants demonstrates the success of Queen’s researchers in addressing the most complex issues facing our society today. I offer my most sincere congratulations, and look forward to witnessing first-hand the success of these initiatives.”

Successful recipients include:

Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine/Public Health Sciences)

Dr. Bartels proposes an in-depth study of the challenges and life courses of “peace babies” – children born as a result of intimate relations, both consensual and non-consensual, between local women and UN Peacekeepers during the MONUSCO mission in the Congo. Her research will examine the socioeconomic, cultural and security circumstances that lead to the unequal power relationships between peacekeepers and the local population, as well as the life experiences and challenges faced by peace babies and their mothers.

Yolande Chan (Smith School of Business)

Dr. Chan will examine Canadian university entrepreneurship incubators, as well as those in the U.S. and U.K. to determine how to strengthen innovation performance. Her research will look at how digital technology can be used to identify novel ideas or findings stemming from university research and assist incubators in nurturing start-ups with high potential.

Marc Epprecht (Global Development Studies)

Dr. Epprecht aims to reconstruct a social history of the South African municipality of Msunduzi from the late 1950’s through the end of apartheid and into the present day. Msunduzi presents an interesting location to study, as it faces some of the most difficult development challenges in all of South Africa, including high rates of HIV/AIDS, unemployment, crime and poverty. Dr. Epprecht will work in collaboration with leading social historians in the region to promote a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural factors at play.

Mohamed Khimji (Law)

Professor Khimji’s research aims to provide a thorough analysis of shareholder democracy – defined as efforts to promote shareholder participation in corporate governance – in publically-traded Canadian corporations. This project will address the lack of quantitative data on shareholder activism in publicly traded companies in recent decades – examining the extent and effectiveness of activism as a tool in corporate governance.

For more information about the Insight program, visit the website.


Insight Grant Recipients
Stephen Baron (Sociology) $137,471
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine/Public Health Sciences) $316,743
Yolande Chan (Smith School of Business) $194,398
Fabio Colivicchi (Classics) $100,000
Christopher Cotton (Economics) $116,924
Peter Dacin (Smith School of Business) $195,980
Evan Dudley (Smith School of Business) $84,971
Marc Epprecht (Global Development Studies) $329,298
Christopher Essert (Law) $85,240
Mohamed Khimji (Law) $155,305
Jean-Baptiste Litrico (Smith School of Business) $124,760
Jeff Masuda (Kinesiology and Health Studies) $236,767
David McDonald (Global Development Studies) $181,909
Allison Morehead (Art History and Art Conservation) $159,344
Morten Nielsen (Economics) $123,805
Susanne Soederberg (Political Studies) $98,460
Wei Wang (Smith School of Business) $70,070

Insight Development Grant Recipients
J. Andrew Grant (Political Studies) $31,547
Gail Henderson (Law) $67,114
Norma Möllers (Sociology) $57,391
Jennifer Tomasone (Kinesiology and Health) $70,267
Benjamin Bolden (Education) $59,972
Theresa Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) $66,000
Sumon Majumdar (Economics) $30,730
Trisha Parsons (Rehabilitation Therapy) $66,383

Partnership Development Grant Recipients
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine/Public Health Sciences) $199,930
Christopher DeLuca (Education) $199,950

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