Yes, I am coming from that land, PJ, and no, the hubs isn't with me.... it would be rude of me to complain about travelling alone if he were here!
It's been a long, long day. Conference all day long, then the opening reception where a rock band from the 70s played. It was pretty cool and also incredibly loud, so I left a little early. Before that band came on (I'll let you all guess who it was a little later) there were some speeches and some politicians who wanted to thank the organization for raising funds for the recent Congress elections. This organization is very strongly Democrat-oriented, and rightly so, since it sure ain't the Republicans who are gonna stand up for rights to the justice system.
This weekend has highlighted for me a lot of the differences between Canada and the US. For one thing, in the US, the jury selection process is much more complicated than in Canada. In a voir dire (the southern accent pronounces it "vor die-er") the lawyers get to ask the potential jury members extensive questions, and find out about their backgrounds, etc. Then they get several peremptory challenges (where you don't have to give any reason for deselecting someone) and several challenges without cause. In Canada, you find out the most basic of information (name, occupation) and I don't think you get to ask them anything - and then you get some challenges.
Some things are the same between countries though, like the tort reform movement (better named the tort deform movement.) Corporations push tort reform with catch phrases like "Litigation is too expensive!" and "Get rid of the frivolous lawsuits!" Tort reform movements in our own province include the campaigns for no-fault auto insurance. I can't emphasize enough how unfair no-fault insurance can be. In some provinces, if your injury was determined to be "minor", despite whatever consequences may have befallen you, you would be limited to recover $2000 or less. Without a true tort system like we have, you wouldn't be able to turn to the courts for justice.
Sometimes I wonder why I chose to be a lawyer and why God allows me to continue being a lawyer even when I feel like I know nothing at all. But other days, I realize that what I get to do is help people who, in a different province or country, would have no legal right whatsoever... and, if we are complacent, might not have legal rights in the future. It's worth standing up for.