Law Times

January 23, 2012

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NEW PRESIDENT Norm Boxall becomes CLA head P2 Follow on LAWYERS' BEST FRIEND Harper gives profession lots of work P7 HEIGHTENED DUTIES Lawyers face higher standards over privacy P10 $4.00 • Vol. 23, No. 3 Untitled-3 1 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE • WWW.LAWTIMESNEWS.COM L AW TIMES 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM ntitled-3 1 BY KENNETH JACKSON For Law Times W hen Prime Minister Stephen Harper made appointments to the Senate recently, critics decried them as examples of more government patronage. But what about appoint- ments to the Ontario Superior Court bench? In fact, there have been several cases in recent months that have raised the notion of appointments of political allies, including those who were campaign workers or vol- unteers or who ran for office for the governing party or its provincial cousins only to lose and shortly thereafter find themselves receiving jobs as a Superior Court judge. Justice Clayton Conlan in Owen Sound, Ont., joined the Superior Court bench last month after serving as campaign manager for the successful Tory candidate in October's provincial election. Justice Bruce Fitzpatrick ran for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the 2007 provincial election in Peterborough, Ont., before his appointment as a Superior Court judge in Thunder Bay, Ont., last year. Superior Court Justice Brian Abrams in Kingston, Ont., had previously been a federal Conservative candidate. Do these appointments reflect bad optics because of the timing or are the new judges the right people for the job regardless of their political ties? Asked about the issue, two well-known legal com- mentators had differing points of view. Philip Slayton is categorically against those types of appointments. "This is easy," says Slayton, a lawyer and author. "The optics James Morton believes there should be a waiting period of at least two years before an appointment. Photo: Sandra Strangemore Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. January 23, 2012 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Are judges appointed for political ties? Recent cases hint at Tory links as party activists join the bench are extremely bad because you take someone who very shortly before was clearly par tisan and clearly speaking on behalf of the government that formed the govern- ment and you put them in a position where they have to be completely non-partisan and unbiased. "So the optics are terrible. Because the optics are so bad, in my opinion, the ethics are also bad. It's a bad thing to do." In Slayton's view, politically connected lawyers should have to wait up to five years before receiving appointments. Abrams joined the family division of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice last February. The appointment came less than two months after he resigned as a federal Conservative candidate in Kingston. "It has been my distinct privilege to have been nomi- nated twice as our federal candidate," Abrams said in a news release at the time, citing family and work pressures as reasons for stepping down as a candidate. The Liberals slammed the appointment as an exam- ple of clear partisanship. "I think Canadians will find it disturbing that someone can be a Conservative candi- date in December and sitting on the bench in February," said Liberal MP Geoff Regan in an interview with The Canadian Press at the time. "This raises serious questions about the government's integrity and how far it's willing to go to bend the rules." The federal Liberals, who faced accusations of patronage themselves during their time in office, also charged that the Harper government had appointed 39 judges with ties to the government since the 2008 See Politics, page 5 M&A lawyers cautiously optimistic BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times quisitions are keeping a sharp eye on the European debt crisis and the slow economic recovery in the United States, hoping with cautious optimism for generous deals in the new year despite the uncertainty. But with many potential buy- B 'There's no doubt that people are worried about the situation in Europe, of course, but it won't have the same impact on Canada's cash flow,' says David Woollcombe. Photo: Laura Pedersen FEEDS LEGAL LegalFeeds_Cl_Jan_11.indd 1 ers keeping a fi rm grasp on their cash, it's unlikely they'll see a quick reprieve from the uncer- tainty, according to several top mergers-and-acquisitions law- yers. Still, interest in Canadian ay Street lawyers who earn their bread and butter on multimillion- dollar mergers and ac- resources won't dwindle in the meantime with China continu- ing to be a key investor in the area in 2012. At the same time, if 2011 is any indication, there's no guarantee of robust activity. Europe's debt crisis dealt a signifi cant blow to potential acquisitions in the second half of 2011 aſt er the fi rst six months saw a frenzied spike in activity. "Th e fi rst half of last year was certainly more robust than the second half," says David Wooll- combe, practice leader of the business law group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. "But when I look at M&A, I still feel optimistic. In Canada, everyone seems to be pretty cau- tious about maintaining their cash fl ow, but we still look pret- ty strong compared to the U.S. and Europe and many of those underlying issues don't impact Canada in the same way. Th ere's no doubt that people are worried about the situation in Europe, of course, but it won't have the same impact on Canada's cash fl ow." But that doesn't mean Cana- dian lawyers should expect fren- zied activity in the year ahead, he adds. "All around the globe, governments are grappling with increasing levels of debt. In the past, countries used to say as our economy grows, we will grow ourselves out of debt but more and more are realizing now that they can't do that anymore and it See China, page 5 A daily blog of visit 1/6/11 11:44:49 AM Canadian Legal News canadianlaw legalfeeds PM #40762529

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