Tag Archives: women

Mumford on Tax Policy, Women and the Law

Mumford on Tax Policy, Women and the Law

from Bridget Crawford at Feminist Law Professors

The end of the twentieth century saw progress in women’s legal and social equality, but many governments began to increase their reliance on the tax system as a means of influencing the choices that women make. The juxtaposition of this instrumentalist deployment of tax with persisting economic inequality for women is the starting point for this book.

Wrongfully convicted single mothers – and others – to be "compensated"

Sherry Sherrett
Tammy Marquardt

The Province of Ontario has announced that it will grant compensation to those people charged or convicted based on evidence provided by former Coroner Dr. Charles Smith.

The Goudge Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario included testimony about Dr. Smith’s negative opinion of single mothers (around pp.126-132], (here too, around pp. 38-40) and indeed a significant number of the cases where compensation will be offered involve women

Prof. Emma Cunliffe, UBC Faculty of Law

Prof. Emma Cunliffe, appointed to UBC’s Faculty of Law in 2008 and an award winning teacher, is an expert on these cases (she’s presented at the National Judicial Institute, and has a SSRHC grant to take this work further).  I’m looking forward to her forthcoming book, since unless you’ve been lucky enough to hear her talk about it, she’s saved it all for the book!  Make yourself a google alert, or watch for it here.

Emma Cunliffe, Making the Case? Murder, Medicine & Motherhood (Oxford: Hart Publishing , forthcoming 2011)

Emma generously sent me her comments:

“….15 of the 24 people wrongly accused of child homicide by Smith were women. All of those women who had surviving children lost custody in care proceedings, or surrendered them by consent to alternative caregivers.  …..[W]hen a woman was the alleged protagonist, and SIDS an alternative cause of death, Smith tended to assert that the “true” cause of death was smothering or asphyxiation.  Smith generally (with one notable exception – R. v. S.M.) only accused men of shaking; seemingly in accordance with his belief that men and women commit child homicides in identifiably different ways.  He testified to this belief in some court cases.

In addition to the great number of women among Smith’s victims, those who were wrongly accused were disproportionately likely to be aboriginal or people of colour; poor; and otherwise marginalized.  Even before they suffered the inconceivable horror of losing children and then facing wrongful accusations; many of these families were struggling to get by.

To me, Ontario’s compensation “offer” is not only insulting, it demonstrates that government institutions fail to respect and value the lives of those who are poor or marginalized.  For the most part, Smith’s victims do not have the means to challenge the government offer, and no doubt they are exhausted after years of battling for any form of recognition of the injustice that has been done.”

Photos of some of the people wrongly charged or convicted on Charles Smith’s evidence are from the Globe and Mail (click here for link to article)

There are really interesting parallels and contrasts between this situation and the cases involving Dr Sir Roy Meadows in the UK.  Here’s a link to an article which provides most of the salient points. Again, mothers were convicted of killing their children, and Dr. Meadows testimony was critical to their convictions – and seriously flawed.  But one of those women was a solicitor and another a pharmacist.  All had multiple children die in infancy.  And Dr. Meadows wasn’t a coroner.

Which leads us to some of the other issues floating around.  Why didn’t Dr. Smith’s work raise serious questions much earlier than it did?  Why did crown counsel keep calling him even after questions were raised?  Why didn’t defence counsel manage to challenge him?  These questions take us beyond Dr. Smith, beyond the coroners office, and into the ethics of prosecutors, the role of the investigating police,  and the limited amount legal aid ontario will allow for expert witnesses in criminal trials – which usually mean that only local experts can be called.   Maybe even to the incredible popularity of criminal/forensics television shows like CSI which encourage us to treat science as a kind of magic both infalliable and incomprehensible to mortals.

Maureen Laidley
Dinesh Kumar
William Mullins-Johnson
Brenda Waudby

The “Beautiful” Game?

Well, if your team got knocked out in South Africa, you can always hold on till next year’s women’s world cup is played in Germany.

Although I wonder what FIFA’s up to sometimes.

The official slogan is “The Beautiful Side of 20Eleven” (referencing the 11 player team in soccer, of course).

Everyone should be involved in 2011, when the best women’s [sic] players in the world celebrate the world’s favourite pastime in a typically feminine manner: Elegant, dynamic, technically adept, agile and informal… in short, beautiful.”

(from http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/organisation/slogan/index.html)

Now that is some clever semantic work! And you can easily find the obligatory article on Eye-Catching Girls Enhance Allure – on the official FIFA website.


(a) just supervised an LLM in which Osgoode student Katharine Neufeld (along with being an excellent writer and harpist, Katharine is now working as the Legal Information Coordinator at METRAC) explored women’s hockey and the “feminine apologetic”, and

(b) just read Margot (UBC) Young’s piece on the Olympic Ski Jumpers,

maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.  But I was on FIFA’s side about the vuvuzelas, so I feel a bit betrayed.

(I should be clear that FIFA’s got some good stuff up about women’s sport as well. But i did think it was all a bit undercut by other material)

see: Margot Young “The IOC Made Me Do it: Women’s Ski Jumping, VANOC, and the 2010 Winter Olympics” (2010) 18 Const. Forum Const. 95-107 available http://ssrn.com/abstract=1615639.

Is Yorku Safe?

This long awaited report (the process was started in 2007) has finally been released and is available here in pdf.

In President Shoukri’s covering letter (click here), he writes:

….one of the most prominent themes from the METRAC safety audit is the need to develop a more pronounced culture of safety and security for all community members. …The report also highlights opportunities for the enhancement to our services, programs, policies, and infrastructure. For those reasons, I have appointed Gary Brewer, Vice-President Finance and Administration, to lead a pan-University committee to review the report and develop a comprehensive action plan which will be developed over the summer. In early September, I will provide an update to the York Community….

Nov 7, 2008 Roundtable – Women and IP: Is everything rosy in here, or is the glass ceiling tinted pink?

Co sponsored with IP Osgoode.

Read commentary about this event here.

Women and IP Roundtable: “Is everything rosy in here or is the glass ceiling tinted pink?”

Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino (Osgoode Hall Law School)

Susan Abramovitch (Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP)
Professor Ann Bartow (University of South Carolina)
Darlene H. Carreau (Trade-marks Opposition Board)
May Cheng (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP)
Professor Carys Craig (Osgoode Hall Law School)
Virginia H.L. Jones (Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association)
Sangeetha Punniyamoorthy (Dimock Stratton LLP)
The Honourable Justice Karen M. Weiler (Court of Appeal for Ontario)

Pascale Chapdelaine (PhD candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School)

“The Intersection of Copyright and Pornography” by Professor Ann Bartow (University of South Carolina)