NEWSLETTER – June 2014
Heather Michelin, President
Allen Mendelsohn and Larry Markowitz, Editor(s)
Dear Colleagues, Honourable Judges, and Friends,
As my term comes to an end, I find myself looking back to the opening dinner of the 2013-2014 season.
That night, I reminded you that 65 years ago, a group of forward-thinking Jewish lawyers joined forces to create a Society, now known as The Lord Reading Law Society, whose mission was to lobby for the fair representation of Jews on the Bar and on the Bench during a time when Jews were being marginalized. Their dream was also to create a social forum where they could meet and further their knowledge of the law. With that, the Society’s seeds were sown and like a tree, its roots run deep, defining its past, as well as its future.
During this past year, the Society was reminded of its raison d’être when Bill 60, or the Charter of Quebec Values, was tabled. The Society’s Board of Directors quickly assembled a Bill 60 committee, and their teamwork and collaboration resulted in the Society submitting its Brief opposing Bill 60 to the former Quebec government. The Brief is a true example of the Society’s unending commitment to the defense of human rights, and reminds us that the Society continues to play a pivotal role in defending those rights.
The Society is making a concerted effort to preserve its history for future generations – we are collaborating with the Interactive Jewish Museum of Montreal to create an exhibit featuring the Society’s history and accomplishments.
We have also been asked to assist the Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal in reaching out to its Jewish alumni for anecdotal information for the Faculty of Law’s upcoming book documenting the history of the Jewish community within the Faculty. Please see the item further below in this newsletter for more information.
Our programming organized an excellent lineup of speakers this season, which will culminate on June 9th when we will be addressed by The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada, and at which time The Honourable Morris J. Fish, retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, will receive the Society’s Human Rights Award. You may sign up for the evening using the links found on the left of this page. We are grateful to the evening’s sponsor, Boro Polnicky Lighter.
The Society continues to grow, and our recent Young Bar cocktail event was a huge success. As part of our effort to welcome new lawyers and notaries to the Society, we continue to offer free membership to lawyers and notaries for the year following their call to the Bar.
I am privileged to have served as President of the Society, and I extend sincere thanks to the Society’s Board and Executive for their hard work and dedication. The incoming President will be announced on June 9th, please join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening.
CETA: The Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
On April 29th, the Society had the honour of welcoming former Quebec Premier Pierre Marc Johnson, who spoke on the topic of “Canada-EU: The CETA – A Long-awaited and Promising Agreement”. Mr. Johnson is both a lawyer and a physician, and is known for his expertise in the areas of international trade negotiations, environmental law and health law.
Me Johnson modestly introduced his speech as being the “first-year-of-law-school version” of the topic. However, his talk was far more sophisticated. That said, he kept things understandable – even for those members of the audience who were not international trade law specialists.
The CETA, which stands for “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement”, will make Canada the world’s only major economy with preferential access to the world’s two largest markets, the EU and the United States, home to a total of 800 million people. For Europe, the accord is meant to be a template for its trade negotiations with the United States, which would encompass a third of world trade and almost half the global economy.
Both the EU-Canada deal and the accord with the United States seek to go far beyond tariff cuts and to reduce transatlantic barriers to business. Such trade deals are seen as a way for developed countries to generate economic growth and overcome the worst financial crisis in a generation.
CETA will address everything from tariffs to product standards, investment, professional certification and many others areas of activity, including government procurement. The EU has sought comprehensive commitments by Canada to open up government procurement at the provincial and municipal level in Canada. In return, Canada will obtain reciprocal access to EU state and sub-state entities and enterprises. Me Johnson remarked, in light of recent scandals here in Quebec, that having competition in our public procurement markets can only help us. Education, health and water are excluded from CETA, however, so “we can continue to discriminate” in those areas, as Me Johnson put it lightheartedly.
The origins of the CETA are based on certain principles: 1) prosperity is built on commerce; and 2) a significant portion of our Gross Domestic Product is dependent on exports. The EU is already Quebec’s second-largest trading partner and export destination. While the EU currently accounts for only 12% of Quebec’s exports, much of those consist of what may be termed “high-value” exports. These include chemical products, aerospace, avionics and wood products. The CETA will eliminate tariffs on almost all of Quebec’s key exports and provide access to new market opportunities in the EU.
The origins of CETA go back to a 2007 meeting between then-Quebec premier Jean Charest, then-European Union Trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and European Commission president Manuel Barroso. The Europeans responded that it would be “no go” unless the provinces were on board. They knew how Canadian federalism worked and realized that the CETA would cover areas that fell under provincial jurisdiction, such as public procurement at the municipal level.
Premier Charest then proposed the idea of CETA to the Council of the Federation, the congress comprising the premiers of each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, which he chaired at the time. In May 2009, the provinces came to an agreement with federal International Trade Minister Stockwell Day to the effect that the provinces would have a place at the CETA negotiating table.
While the EU’s economy is significantly larger than that of Quebec (and Canada’s population of 35 million pales in comparison to the 500 million residents of the EU), Premier Charest was able to pursue a top-down approach to getting the EU to the negotiating table. For one thing, he had a strong personal relationship with French president Nicolas Sarkozy. In addition, Germany, boasting Europe’s strongest economy, is generally in favour of trade, so that country was on-board. In addition, the EU was motivated by its desire for access to Canada’s public procurement process (eg in respect of universities, hospitals and the like).
Fast forward to 2013: In October, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and EC president Barroso announced the completion of CETA. However, pointed out Me Johnson, some fine-tuning still remains.
Me Johnson indicated that he expects CETA to be implemented within 24 months if all goes well. This process will include the massive undertaking of translating the accord into the 24 languages of the EU and the adoption by the European parliament, followed by ratification by all 28 EU member states (Though if any balk at adopting the CETA, the EU can force member states to ratify).
The EU-Canada accord may serve as a prelude and a model for a USA-EU accord. However, while the EU and Canada share social democratic systems, the USA has a different attitude toward social programs, plus its population is younger than those of Canada and the EU.
For the time being, though, as it emerged in the question & answer period that followed Me Johnson’s main presentation, the EU cannot use Canada as a base from which to export to the USA under NAFTA. In order to do so, there would need to be enough transformation here in Canada to meet the NAFTA rules of origin to be considered a Canadian tariff-free good.
In his concluding remarks, Me Johnson further opined that it’s good thing that OECD countries are taking control of the norms of international trade, rather than, say, non-democratic China.
That same evening, the Society was thrilled to bestow the Past Presidents’ Medal upon Me Ian M. Solloway, an honour granted only five previous times in the Society’s rich history.
Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law dives into its Jewish history – and needs your help
Dear Society Members and Friends,
The Faculty of Law of the Université de Montréal is currently working on the publication of a book documenting the history of the Jewish community within the Faculty of Law, and wishes to reach out to the community for contributions on the project.
In existence since 1878, the Faculty of Law of Université de Montréal has been the alma mater of numerous members of the community, including several past and current presidents and directors of the Lord Reading Law Society. Through this project, the Faculty of Law wishes to underscore the numerous and remarkable contributions of its Jewish alumni to the Québec and Canadian legal fields, and to publicise what remains a lesser known facet of Quebec’s largest francophone law school.
The Faculty would greatly appreciate if you could offer your assistance in terms of personal experience, pictures, documents or anecdotes for the project, which it hopes will be as comprehensive as possible. If you would like to share your experience as an alumnus/alumna or as a spouse or relative of one, please contact Me Paolo De Michele, Development and Alumni relations officer, at the following address: email@example.com.
Thank you for your participation.
Me Paolo De Michele
Conseiller en développement
Faculté de droit – Université de Montréal
News from the Mishpuchah
- To Board member Gregory Azancot on the upcoming bar mitzvah of his son
- To Board members Nancy Cleman and Tibor Hollander on being re-elected Councillors of the Barreau de Montréal
- To Board member Brian Mitchell on being elected Councillor of the Barreau de Montréal
- To Board member Elliot Lifson on being named Co-Chair of Centraide’s 2014 campaign
- To Society member S. Zalman Haouzi on being elected to the Board of Directors of the AJBM
- To The Honourable Morton S. Minc on being named an honourary member of the AJBM
- To Greg Moore on being elected Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montreal
- To Andréanne Malacket on being elected Secretary of the Bar of Montreal
- To Paul-Matthieu Grondin on being elected President of the AJBM
- To Board member and Membership Chair Hershie Frankel on the loss of his wife Marilyn