Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/2/2011 (4140 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The criticism that is being leveled at Justice Robert Dewar about comments he made while imposing an extraordinarily lenient sentence on a man he had just convicted of sexual assault are predictable and deserved.
The law on sexual assault in Canada is that there is either consent or not. As noted in the Free Press by Karen Busby (Prof: 'What is the signal we're sending here?' Feb. 24), there is no such thing as implied consent. In other words, just because a woman is scantily dressed does not equal her consenting to have sex.
There will be cases where attire coupled with words and/or conduct can amount to consent -- not implied but actual consent. Of note in this case is that the victim actually said no. That she apparently continued without physically resisting is of no moment. The power shift happened when she said no and the accused continued, and that's criminal.
But without reading the actual transcript of proceedings, it looks like Dewar may have fallen into a trap and then sought an escape which didn't work.
Effectively, what he did by convicting the accused and then giving him a light sentence was to say that he was uncomfortable with the verdict. If that's the case, then he shouldn't have convicted. If he was comfortable with the verdict, then what the accused did was very serious and should have been met with a far greater sanction.
While the law is clear that "no means no," it also makes provision for something called honest mistake. In these circumstances if the accused, after making appropriate inquiries proceeds reasonably on the basis that he believes that the victim has consented, the court can acquit him. Maybe Dewar was headed in this direction but couldn't justify an acquittal.
In this case, which is certainly headed to the court of appeal, we may see both an appeal against conviction as well as sentence.
Faculty of Law
University of Manitoba
Error of passion
Regarding the story Lead weighs on Winnipeg green-space plan (Feb. 16), Canadian Pacific would like to clarify that MP Pat Martin's comment that "the mess was left behind by the Canadian Pacific Railway" is factually incorrect.
Canadian Pacific was never the owner of the lands in question. Midland was purchased by the Burlington Railway, which, up to the 1950s, ran trains of fruit and vegetables north from Florida and California to Winnipeg for further distribution. The area in question at Ross Avenue was known locally as Fruit Row. The old City of Winnipeg, which existed before unification in 1972, used federal money to buy the land from the Burlington Railway.
While we appreciate that Martin is passionate about the environment and the community dealing with this situation, he should take more care in pointing fingers at the responsible party "to mop up the toxic goop left behind."
Re: Katz defends luncheon at restaurant he owns (Feb. 23). Sam Katz must live in a different world than the rest of us. He seems to feel that it's perfectly reasonable for the mayor of a city to use taxpayer money to take councillors and department heads to a restaurant he owns.
It's not so much the money spent or profits earned. It's the fact that, when asked about it, the mayor wonders why it's even an issue. He did say, after getting into a huff, that people like the food there. You can see why he was such a good promoter; he even managed to get a plug in to his own restaurant.
Even if someone else made the decision, the mayor should have put his foot down and changed the destination. Any way you slice it, Mr. Mayor, that was the wrong thing to do.
Re: Tasteless campaign (Letters, Feb. 24). I think the Super Lube ads are meant to be taken as double-entendres. Anyone who sees the "dirty" side of them already has that in their own heads.
Go to any automobile repair shop, and I'm positive you'll hear far worse than what's appearing in the ads.
DC trumps AC
Re: Cost of conversion (Letters, Feb. 17). When a retired dean of engineering gets it wrong (on several counts), is it any wonder that the public may have difficulty understanding the complexity of Bipole III?
Garland Laliberte asserts that "(f)or reasons of energy efficiency, power transmitted over long distances is traditionally exported as AC, not DC." Although we may export AC power, in transmitting electricity over long distances, it is far more economical and advantageous to do it by DC rather than AC because AC has substantially higher line losses than DC. After all, this is the reason why Bipoles I and II were built as DC lines rather than AC.
Laliberte's second possible error is his assertion that "an expensive converter station" would have to be built at the Saskatchewan border if power were to be sold from a DC line to Saskatchewan. In actuality, if Saskatchewan bought power from Manitoba Hydro, it is most likely that it would be branched off to Saskatchewan as DC power from the DC West Route transmission line. In this case, a converter to change the power from DC to AC would be built at the end of the transmission line near Regina or Saskatoon.
Laliberte's third equally impractical proposal is to build an entirely separate AC line from Manitoba's northern generating stations all the way to market areas in Saskatchewan. Although converters would not be required, an AC transmission line is substantially more expensive than a DC line because it has three conductors, compared to two for DC, and it must have larger and heavier towers that would require more steel. More important, throughout the line's 100-year life, the power losses would dwarf the losses of a DC line.
Re: Fellow officers loudly applaud dismissal of charges (Feb. 23). It is bad enough that two serving police constables were facing criminal charges after it was alleged they lied in order to obtain a search warrant and then lied about the lying.
Winnipeggers were then treated to the spectacle of off-duty police officers cheering the failure of justice earlier this week, after the case was dismissed on a technicality. Police officers are paid to uphold the law, not break it and have an obligation to act in a professional way, even when off-duty.
Chief Keith McCaskill should institute discussions with his officers on how to act appropriately when their personal feelings are in conflict with their public obligations. And while he is at it, he can also remind them that the law applies to police officers as well.
John Howard Society of Manitoba
Election fever or not
Re: Tory blitz a precursor to spring election? (Feb. 25). It could also be a precursor to prorogation. It depends on how tactician Harper spins it and that will depend on how gullible he believes Canadians still are, or "not."