Woke? What?

Woke (/ˈwoʊk/ WOHK): adjective: aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)—Merriam-Webster  

I don’t read publications like the Western Standard or the Dorchester Review as a rule but thanks to the imbroglio over Law Society Rule 67.4, I made an exception.

Rule 67.4 gives the Law Society the authority to mandate continuing professional development programming including the Indigenous cultural competency course called The Path.

The Path was a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s call to action #27. It was developed by an Indigenous consulting firm and covers the history and contemporary realities of First Nations, Inuit and Metis in Canada.

It is a free 5-hour online course which can be taken in 1-hour chunks and is virtually impossible to fail. Lawyers had up to 18 months to complete the course, failing which they’d be suspended.  

And this is a problem, why?

Fifty-one lawyers (petitioners) petitioned the Law Society to repeal Rule 67.4 because:

The course is mandatory. Some lawyers say they have no issue with its content, nope, none whatsoever, they’re just worried the Law Society could use Rule 67.4 to force lawyers to take courses that are “political propaganda” and that smacks of the kind of mandatory education found in repressive regimes like China. This is the slippery slope argument, but we’re lawyers, so who cares.   

Interestingly, the same argument could be made about the Law Society’s mandatory professional development course for lawyers who wish to become principals mentoring and supervising articling students, but for some reason, this course is not a problem.

The course is an example of woke woo woo. Lawyer Glenn Blackett (of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) sets out his reasons for repealing Rule 67.4 in the Western Standard and the Dorchester Review. It’s part of the “radical, activist and authoritarian movement known as ‘wokeness’”. It is “re-education, or indoctrination, into a particular brand of wokeness called “decolonization” and, like a cancer, it threatens to “distort the law within the very system entrusted to protect it.”

He argues The Path’s post modernist ideology is based on “metaphysical relativism” and “moral relativism” which holds that “there’s no such thing as the real world or right and wrong.”

The relevance of these complex philosophical doctrines is not explained, instead Blackett offers support for his position by plucking sentences from The Path like:   

“We can look at science and at origin stories as simply different ways to describe where we’ve come from.”  

(I suppose this isn’t the time to bring up that other origin story, the one where Earth is 6000 years old and we all descended from two people who lived in the Garden of Eden).

Four hundred lawyers and 124 non-active lawyers and students have written an open letter urging the Law Society to keep the training requirement.

The matter goes before the Law Society on Monday, Feb 6 where it will be put to a vote.

Why this matters

This is about more than a handful of lawyers objecting to doing their part to deliver on the TRC’s call to action.

It’s about lawyers who would politicize the Law Society’s effort to promote reconciliation.

In addition to urging lawyers to vote to repeal Rule 67.4, Blackett wants “liberally-minded” lawyers to put their names on the ballot for the 2023 Bencher Election, presumably to oust the “woke” Benchers who’ve foisted this “wokeness” upon them.

(Benchers are elected every 3 years, 20 are elected by the profession and 4 are appointed by the Justice Minister, who, you will recall, is currently under investigation by the Law Society).

So Lawyers, when you receive your LSA notice in the fall listing the candidates who‘d like to serve as Benchers you may want to check whether they support professional training in the history and treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and vote accordingly.

To paraphrase the historian Timothy Snyder, it’s nuts to assume that those who came to power through institutions won’t change or destroy those very institutions, especially when that’s exactly what they’ve said they’re going to do.

I’m no longer an active member of the Law Society and I can’t vote on Feb 6, but I am confident that the majority of my colleagues will vote to keep Rule 67.4 so the Law Society can continue to offer training like The Path.

I’m less sure about the Smith government who will come under intense pressure to interfere with the Law Society’s ability to regulate itself if Monday’s vote does not satisfy Blackett et al.

If Smith yields to this pressure, we will have further proof that democracy is under siege in Alberta.

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73 Responses to Woke? What?

  1. John McWilliams says:


    John McWilliams QC

  2. David Hay says:

    Wow. Alberta is a bewildering place at times! Hopefully the last gasps of old white men.

    Still shameful, hypocritical, narrow-minded, imperialist, and frankly, disgusting.

    • David, when I read the Blackett piece in the Dorchester Review (which bills itself as “Canada’s best and bravest magazine”) I can’t help but notice the element of fear underlying the rhetoric.
      The world is changing, those who’ve been disenfranchised are demanding their due. The whole thing upsets people who want everything to fit into neat little boxes like they (supposedly) did in the good old days.
      It would be sad but for the fact it’s dangerous.

      • David Hay says:

        Thanks, Susan. I agree. Although lawyers and white people – as population groups – have hardly been “disenfranchised”.
        Get with it people! Open your minds and hearts to the richness, of everyone. You will be all the more human as a result.

      • David, I agree, I was thinking about Indigenous people, Blacks, LBGTQ and other groups when I referred to disenfranchised people. Seems to me the sentiments expressed in Blackett’s article spring from a fear that someone is coming for privileged white people and will take their power away.
        I saw this a lot when we lived in the US. There was an underlying fear that if Blacks got too much power they would treat whites the same way whites had treated Blacks in the Jim Crow days. This belief was combined with the sentiment (in some quarters) that life for enslaved Blacks hadn’t been that bad. It reminds me of the idiotic comment one of the contributors to the Dorchester Review made when he said life in residential schools wasn’t that bad, look at the photo, all the kids are smiling. God!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Ironically, David, the guy who started the petition is Asian.

      • Carlos says:

        I am not surprised because the idea that white people are the most racist on the planet is not true and we will come to understand that in the future, we just have to get out of the way.

      • Carlos says:

        Well WordPress is having a day and I try again

        I am not surprised because the idea that white people are the most racist on the planet is not true and we will come to understand that in the future, we just have to get out of the way.

  3. keleemaui says:

    I am so sick of people treating the word “woke” as though it is some kind of conspiracy theory when they don’t even know what it means. And if lawyers don’t think that knowing about indigenous issues is important they should resign. It IS important. Also, they might want to brush up on domestic abuse, as many in the legal profession don’t have a clue.

    • keleemaui: Agreed. The Merriam Webster dictionary says “woke” is American slang. It originated in “African American English and gained more widespread use beginning in 2014 as part of the Black Lives Matter movement…it was also being applied by some as a general pejorative for anyone who is or appears to be politically left-leaning.”
      Frankly if “woke” means someone who cares about racial and social justice, and who may be politically left-leaning, then I’m fine with being labelled “woke.”

  4. Jaundiced Eye says:

    This and That.

    Of course the right (the regressives) consider being aware of racial and social justice anathema to everything they stand for. The right claim that the term, “woke” has evolved, which is B.S. They have weaponized the term. Why progressives do not challenge the term, “woke” whenever it is used as a cudgel by the right is lost on me.

    If the earth is only a few thousand years old, why don’t we read about Jesus ministering to the dinosaurs in the Bible?

    Apropos of nothing, Tracy Allard will not be running in May. Apparently, Allard has been diagnosed with Parkinsons. Strangely enough, she is 4 square behind believing the science that told her she has Parkinsons. The science for Covid, not so much. Allard appears to be cherry picking her science.

    No doubt, the science denier truckers in the Ottawa Occupation believe in the science that supplies their cholesterol and high blood pressure meds.

    • Jaundiced Eye: Lots of good points here. Let me pick up on your question about why we don’t read about Jesus ministering to the dinosaurs in the Bible. I’ve asked that question and was told (1) the Bible does mention dinosaurs but called them “lions” or “snakes,” (2) dinosaurs did not exist, the bones that archeologists keep finding were placed there by (a) God to test your faith or (b) Satan to tempt you to disbelieve, and (3) no one can say definitively that dinosaurs and man did not exist at the same time, the proof is in the fact that the Loch Ness monster looks like a dinosaur, and no one has proven that Nessie does not exist, therefore there’s no proof that dinosaurs and man did not walk the earth at the same time.
      There’s not much one can say in response to these arguments other than “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

      • Jaundiced Eye says:

        It has been said before but it is worth repeating. The Flintstones was not a documentary.

      • Carlos says:

        🙂 🙂 unbelievable but true – I used to respect these people way of thinking but in the last 4 years I stopped respecting any of it. It is disgusting and it is time they have their 40 year walk in the desert and recover from their mental affliction.

  5. Irene says:

    Regardless of how certain individuals, including some lawyers feel about indigenous people, the facts are the facts. And, it is fact our legal system and the plight of indigenous peoples are inexorably linked.
    Laws were created to take away things from them, limit their freedoms- and create opportunities for others. No one is rewriting history here, and throwing the term “woke” at this program and calling it brainwashing is really beneath the legal profession. I guess I could throw a term at it. Racism.

    There is no arguing there has been an extreme power imbalance between indigenous peoples and the rest of Canadian society, since the loss of their territories, means of living, and cultures. These losses were shored up by laws against their freedoms and independence. This isn’t a tit for tat argument. The point is the legacy of this set-up is seen today in many of the social problems, health issues (including higher infant mortality), unemployment, crime rates and incarceration.

    No one is telling these lawyers how to think or feel about indigenous history and perspectives, they are saying this is a relevant and necessary part of every lawyer’s education to practice competently in our modern world.

    This Blackett fellow argues that “Our legal system is very much premised on there being a real world — and only one of them.” He is making a case then, for expanding the scope of fact-based knowledge rather than opinions and prejudices.

    • Stephen Anderson says:

      Very well said.

    • Very well said Irene. The Law Society issued a letter before the vote in which it stressed that “Continuing professional development…programs serve the public interest by strengthening public confidence in Alberta’s legal profession. Alberta lawyers are required to participate in activities that enhance their skills, integrity, knowledge and professionalism.”

      One would think this focus on the public interest would be a complete answer to those who object because the Rule is mandatory and those who object because the Rule allowed the Law Society to foist The Path upon them. But it would appear that our definition of the public interest and theirs do not align.

      As an aside. When I wrote the bar exam I was required to take an accounting course (it was billed accounting for lawyers). The course was mandatory, without it I would not have been admitted to the bar. I hate accounting and there was no way on God’s green earth that I would have put myself in a position where I would be giving advice on anything which included accounting, let alone do my own accounting for my own firm (I worked at a big law firm and then for corporations), it didn’t matter, I had to take the course or I was out.

    • Carlos says:

      You are so right about it Irene and it is disgusting that our government does not blink to give the oil companies billions of dollars in gifts and looks at us and our indigenous people as if we are some kind of a cancer to be eliminated.

      The recent incident with the president of Athabasca University is just another of our weekly shows of incompetence and a retard attitude. On top of everything they announced it to Peter Scott when he was back in Australia grieving the death of his wife. I just have no words anymore to describe what is going on in our province. It is disturbing and very sad. Thinking that half of Albertans support this is horrifying.

  6. Lee Neville says:

    I’d rather be “woke” than asleep. Which is just where these “koo-koo for cocoa-puffs” UCP stooges and blitherers want the electorate to be – asleep, torpid, bovinely indifferent.

    Here’s to the benchers greeting the motion with the contempt and dismissal it deserves. Mr Blackett’s essay in Western Standard was a masterpiece of misdirection, screed and weird panic. I giggled reading through it.

    It will be interesting if the Justice Minister / disgraced member of the legislature facing examination of his professional conduct by this same august professional board will stoop to politically interfere with its professional development course syllabus.

    Hey, micromanagers gotta micromanage right?

    Stay tuned all for more UCP lunacy – same moon-bat-crazy time, same moon-bat crazy channel…

    • Lee, I agree 100% with your take on Blackett’s Western Standard article. The one in the Dorchester Review was even longer and more incoherent.

      Blackett argues that the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) can’t make this rule because it goes beyond the delegation of powers accorded to it by the Legislature. If this was Blackett’s real concern he could have challenged the rule in court and let the courts decide.

      Instead he undermined his credibility by characterizing The Path as “mandating cultural re-education” and as largely vilifying Canadian law and advocating for its fundamental restructuring.

      That’s a pretty serious statement about a 5 hour course that is described by the course developer as a review of the history and contemporary realities of Canada’s FN, Inuit and Metis.

      In any event 75% of the lawyers who voted rejected these arguments.

      Now we wait to see what the UCP government will do about it. Will they interfere with the Law Society’s freedom to regulate itself or will they let this one go, at least until after the election.

  7. mikegklein says:

    Thank you for doing this Susan.

    There are a few comments to be made: 1. https://www.thestar.com/politics/2023/02/05/indigenous-history-class-for-lawyers-justified-and-more-common-in-canada-experts.html

    This is a good piece in today’s Star.


    What recognition is there given to the fire department that keeps the building from burning down? The security forces that keeps mobs from over-running the country? The health efforts that keep people alive during a pandemic? The financial services that keep people from losing all their access to the services require to meet Maslow’s basic needs? All this while the Mega-Hats and GOP generally are attacking the foundation of the building known as the USA? Biden is protecting his country from a form of revolutionary civil war, one that would completely redefine US society as a gangster state. And all this while building large initiatives to lead his nation into the distant future successfully.

    As you can see, this is The Washington Post.


    And this alarm raised in the Conrad Black-ian National Post thinly camouflaged as a local paper.

    And then one aspect I see in the attack on our civil society: Nihilism – noun – 1. a view that rejects al values or beliefs as meaningless or unfounded; 2. the philosophical view that nothing has real existence; extreme scepticism; 3. often the doctrine of a 19th-century Russian revolutionary party that social conditions are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake; 4. terrorism or anarchy. Penguin English Dictionary – 2003. I don’t think it’s possible to find reasoning behind this move. Reason is not their thing. I think simple destruction of society’s intent to help us all respect each other, care for each other, operate as a collaborative, learning society is the intent. What is their motivation? Who knows? Suggesting motivation suggests reason, critical thinking all directing them and us to some overarching goal, some greater purpose. I see no greater purpose. I see simple wanton destruction of the means by which human beings may live with each other and nature in harmony, at least live in pursuit of living in harmony. What do I see them proposing to replace this vision with? I can see nothing other than continuing wanton destruction. Lawyers have assumed the responsibility of helping us all live, communicate, interact with each for each person’s benefit. This is an example of the exact opposite of that. Again, I see this as another example of simple wanton destruction of our way of life, our institutions and in the end, of each other.

    Thank you again Susan.



    • Joanne M Helmer says:

      I think the motivation is power over others. the power to write laws, to interpret laws, to enforce laws.

    • mikegklein says:

      I should clarify:
      The Star article agrees with the initiative to have these mandatory classes and argues much as Stephen Anderson does in his comment.

      The WAPO article points out that US citizens do not think Mr. Biden has done much. I think that’s a huge problem for them and for us. He actually has done a ton. I realise some would like him to go further and some would like him to go home. However, he has truly saved the US as a democratic institution and that work is far from complete. (Umair Haque writes strongly about the turn around Biden has been responsible for as does Robert Reich.). He continues his struggle with MAGAHat fascists into which group I include Blackett, Song et al.

      The Herald article points out that emergency preparedness is worried about civil disturbances. We have seen a recent example of this in the so-called Trucker Convoy. Again, this is an example of MAGAHat fascists.

      I congratulate our Alberta lawyers for making the decision they did. They are protecting us.

    • Mike, thanks for this. I took a closer look at the Herald article. As you point out, the Herald chose to highlight civil disobedience in its headline when the story describes 3 high risks events and states there are 16 high risk events in total. I suppose headlines warning of the increased risk of dying of extreme heat or extreme cold would trigger the climate deniers. (Okay, that was snarky, see what happens when you provoke the woke!)

  8. Mike J Danysh says:

    I read the original CBC article, as linked by Susan. There are extensive comments from Roger Song, the lawyer who started the petition, and Glenn Blackett, one of the lawyers at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. I have some concerns….

    We can dismiss Blackett’s arguments as JCCF libertarian BS that amounts to “Don’t tell me what to do!” aka “ignorant and proud of it”. His comments show what libertarians will do to prevent facts from damaging a bigoted opinion.

    (Quotations below are from the CBC article “Mandatory Indigenous course at risk after group of lawyers aims to change Law Society rule.”)

    Roger Song’s motives are more obscure. Song “moved to Canada as an adult and attended law school in Alberta.” He says the course, and the requirement to pass it, “remind him of his time in China.” But how? The article doesn’t have room to say. What possible connection could there be with Xi Jinping’s China?

    Song’s comment that he doesn’t believe there’s “systemic discrimination” in Canada is remarkable in itself. I can only guess he’s never represented a First Nations person in court. Maybe he’s never met a First Nations person. He can believe what he wants to believe, but Canada’s history shows he’s wrong.

    Mr. Song may not want to discuss his feelings in public; that’s fair. Still, it’d help the rest of us to understand why he feels threatened by a simple-to-pass backgrounder that—let’s be honest—can be ignored once you get the “congratulations you passed” email.

    Here’s another quote: ‘”You can’t mandate common sense or compassion,” said [Metis lawyer Chad] Haggerty. “Mandating it is the wrong approach because opening closed minds is next to impossible.”’ True and discouraging, but that’s no excuse to stop trying. Which brings up a question: who were the 26 lawyers disciplined for not competing “The Path” training before the deadline? Do the names Song and Blackett appear on the list?

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      It’s heartening to see the reaction to the Song/Blackett initiative. My quote from Chad Haggerty, above, is now out of date. Mr. Haggarty has joined the long list of people who oppose removing Rule 67.4. His reasoning is instructive.

    • Mike, I believe Song or Blackett (or maybe both) took the course under duress. The question of why some lawyers didn’t take the course is an interesting one. If they boycotted the course in order to make a stand you’d have expected to hear from them. It could be something as simple as they lost track of time.
      When I worked in the US, all Pennsylvania lawyers had to take a specified number of hours of continuing ed. I can’t remember the exact number, it may have been something like 18 credit hours. One of the lawyers who worked for me in our energy group realized in Nov that he needed 3 more hours. There were no energy law courses being offered and he ended up taking a matrimonial law course so he could meet the requirement. As I said, sometimes these things get away from you.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Hi Susan. I’ve at times missed a deadline for something, but never one so important I was told I couldn’t continue my work until I’d fixed my mistake. That, according to the CBC article, was the penalty for not fitting in the five hours’ training within an 18-month period. You’d have to be either extremely busy, or extremely ticked off, to forget that—and the inevitable reminders, too.

        There’s a fascinating post on the ABLawg web site by Koren Lightning-Earle et al, which is an important review of how and why “The Path” was mandated, and why it’s the only training—so far!—to be mandated under Rule 67.4. There are other required courses, but “these requirements were some of the least demanding continuing professional development requirements in Canada.” Why am I not surprised?

  9. Stephen Anderson says:

    Thank you for your article and to everyone who commented here; I found some reassurance and wisdom that gives me some hope.
    I’m not a lawyer, but I do support the mandatory education that some are trying to repress. Most professional organizations provide guidelines and also promote continued growth and education. Doctors read about new procedures, techniques and medicines in order to help their patients more effectively, and lawyers must certainly read about changes in the law. In both those professions ethics and humanitarian practices must also be as important because of the extremely intimate ways those professionals touch, influence and change other’s lives.
    The judge who was censured for making insensitive and misogynistic remarks to female rape victims, and old style doctors who were known to break bad news without compassion are good examples of why sensitivity training is absolutely essential.
    The article in the Western Standard and the remarks of support, show just how important it is to support this sort of professional training. If we don’t stand up for the continued and essential social and moral guidelines then we are going backwards, and those who want to disregard and perpetuate the wrongs must know that we will stand up for them!

    • Stephen, I agree. I did a quick Google search to see who else was offering The Path or a course like it to its professional members. Turns out many groups from nurses, to doctors, to architects and others offer such courses. The BC law society also made it mandatory and no one there has gone off the deep end.
      The fact some a simple 5 hour course is characterized as an attack on democracy by some Alberta lawyers makes me wonder whether whether they understand the society in which they are privileged to live.

      • Stephen Anderson says:

        Hi Susan,
        I also did a search and noted that other provinces require lawyers to take similar courses so it is shocking to see the push back here! Unfortunately it will tend to confirm other’s opinions about redneck Albertans. I’m also happy that medical professionals are required to take similar courses, and I’ve never heard any griping from them or anyone else about this.

        What a terrible comment it is that they would consider this an attack on democracy! It seems that education about other cultures and socially acceptable guidelines of behaviour ARE needed and I’m pleased that the majority of lawyers feel the same way.

      • Stephen: I’m not surprised that other provinces require lawyers to take a similar course. I thought Rakhi Pancholi (NDP) nailed it with a tweet in which she said one of the lawyers argued that “requiring lawyers to take an indigenous cultural course was the same as forcing indigenous children into residential schools .” She also said she’d “never heard a more powerful argument for requiring lawyers to take an indigenous cultural course.”

      • Stephen Anderson says:

        I also agree with Rakhi Pancholi that the comparisons by some “poor inflicted” lawyers absolutely ludicrous, shameful and insulting. The inflicted Indigenous families and communities suffered, and continue to suffer greatly from the destructiveness of residential schools.
        I love Alberta, but the sorts of comments and attitudes are causing me great distress, embarrassment and fear for my children’s future.

  10. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It seems that the UCP can’t go very long, without doing something controversial. Before you know it, they will be at it again. Demetrios Nicolaides is another good example of that, and is opening up a big can of worms with what he is doing with university campuses. Hopefully, in May, Alberta will see the UCP gone. I’ll share some more fitting music. This is a composition from Mark Knopfler, Setting Me Up. It is from Dire Straits debut album, from 1978. Muff Winwood, the former bass player from The Spencer Davis Group, who is Steve WInwood’s older brother, produced the album.

    • Dwayne, you make a good point when you reference the chaos arising from the UCP’s decision to interfere with Athabasca university’s commitment to online learning which led to the Athabasca board’s decision to fire the president, Peter Scott by email while he was in Australia after the death of his wife. God talk about callous.

      I’ve spent a good part of my inhouse legal career working with public company boards. And yes, it’s true the board will delegate the task of finding a new CEO to a board committee, but first the board AS A WHOLE makes the decision to fire the existing CEO, then it hands off the task of finding his replacement to a board committee. Seems to me Athabasca did this backwards. Which makes you wonder who was really driving this decision.

      By all accounts Scott was doing a fine job. Athabasca is on the hook for severance because they fired him without cause. So they’ll be paying (likely) over a million to get rid of him, they’ll risk more chaos as the new guy tries to settle everyone down, and the UCP still won’t have achieved its goal of boosting the local economy by increasing the population in the town of Athabasca, assuming that was their strategy in the first place. With the UCP you never know, they’re such a bunch of bozos.

  11. MM says:

    Richard G. Hovannisian states, “Complete annihilation of a people requires the banishment of recollection and suffocation of remembrance. Falsification, deception and half-truths reduce what was, to what might have been or perhaps what was not at all.”

    From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_denial

    They lost the vote. Let’s not forget. Let’s not forget the appearance of a genocide denier at the University of Lethbridge, either. These kinds of people aren’t going away, certainly not while the UCP is in charge.

    • MM: thanks for the quote. Very apt.

      The case of Prof Widdowson was interesting. first the University of Lethbridge said it would host her speech, then it said it wouldn’t, then she said she’d speak anyway, then 700 students showed up and shut her down.

      Widdowson and her supporters argue this interferes with freedom of speech and erodes critical thinking, perhaps these arguments would carry more weight if her speech didn’t contain what is euphemistically called “falsehoods”.

      Nicolaides, the UCP’s advanced ed minister, said universities will now have to file an annual report demonstrating their commitment to free speech.

      This government, and especially its libertarian premier, are looking more and more like Big Brother with each passing day.

  12. Paula says:

    I think it’s fair to say we already see that democracy is under siege in Alberta under the UCP government. If The Law Society votes to revoke the mandatory training provided by The Path, it will be a further and more dangerous erosion of democracy. Incremental fascism has crept already too far in Alberta.

    • Paula, I agree with your assessment. Thankfully the lawyers rejected the motion. The vote was 864 in favour of the motion to repeal the rule mandating the course and 2,609 against the motion to repeal the rule.
      Sadly, I don’t think this is the end of it. Blackett urged “liberally-minded” lawyers to run for Bencher positions in Nov. If they pack the Benchers, the rule will be repealed.

  13. lungta mtn says:

    So why limit it to lawyers? and what does that do?
    Drunk driving is still drunk driving. Murder is still murder.
    Is this to get them to feel worse about enforcing the law? or to enforce law weaker because … culture?
    wasn’t justice originally advertised as blind? just the facts ma’me regardless of race ,
    color or creed?
    Is it to influence judges to get to a two tier judgement system?
    Why not back classes off to enforcement officers and then again to public social policy as instituted by law making politicians?
    Which puts us where? Right at the crux of socialist style indigenous societies in conflict with western disaster capitalism more concerned with property than humanity and sustainable ecology.
    So I hate to tell y’all but you can be as woke as you want and take as many cultural awareness classes as one can but the “systematic ” problems that really need changing are a long way from being budged by 5 hours of history lessons.
    Which pretty much makes both sides of this “woke” mute.
    All the other woke games also are diversion compared to dealing with the 6th great extinction.

  14. Linda says:

    Not a lawyer, but am confused as to why anyone would object to taking these courses, especially since it appears that there isn’t a charge for doing so. If I were a lawyer, particularly if I were going to be involved in a case involving aboriginal issues I’d be a fool not to take advantage of learning more about the possible issues, precedents etc. One possible reason I can see for not wanting to learn about this stuff is that once one is certified as having been informed about these issues then one can’t plead ignorance. Though ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’, correct?

    • Linda, I’m with you that learning doesn’t stop once you graduate. As Webber said in the Star article Mike provided “The reason for the requirement is to ensure that a lawyer does not continue to practice their area of law as though it were the 1980s.” Lawyers and judges need to move with the times, societies change and the law is sometimes slow to catch up. But it can and must.

  15. Valerie Jobson says:

    So the vote was against the petition, thank goodness, but it seems to me 864 voting for it is still too high a number.

    • mikegklein says:

      Yes that is worrisome. What is even more worrisome is that I, at least, am not surprised by that ratio.
      I also would really like to have seen all 11,000 lawyers weigh in with votes, but I get it. Still.

    • Valerie and Mikegklein: while 864 lawyers in favour of repealing the rule that allows the Law Society to mandate the course does seem high, it’s 25% (if my math is right) of all the votes. In my experience (yes, this is an anecdotal comment) a great many lawyers are true blue conservatives, so the result was heartening in that even they couldn’t bring themselves to go this far.

  16. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. This is from 1958. It is Well Alright. Buddy Holly Jerry Allison and Joe B Mauldin wrote it. It is in my music collection. On February 3, 1959, we tragically lost Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper in a plane crash.

  17. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Brian Jean has an opinion piece in the Calgary Herald today about how Alberta has been ignored in the “Just Transition”. Lord help us, Brian Jean and Danielle Smith. We now have a Canadian edition of, “Ginge and Whinge”

    • Dwayne says:

      Jaundiced Eye: Where does Brian Jean get that nonsense from? He was a CPC MP, and what did he do for Alberta then? Same thing, when he was the Wildrose party leader.

    • Jaundiced Eye and Dwayne: Alberta like all the other provinces was invited to participate in the Just Transition discussions. They chose not to attend and are now griping about being left out. Classic hypocrisy.

    • Carlos says:

      Jaundiced not just the transition it is everywhere. After cutting AHS funding during a pandemic, cutting short the contract we had with the doctors and trying to cut nurses salaries they are now complaining that the money the Federal government is providing for health is not good enough. Furthermore want no strings attached so that they can put it in general revenue and cut corporate taxes even more.

      I would not trust good slogans parrot Danielle for a second.

  18. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here’s my final song pick. It is from 1970, and is Johnny Rivers doing a cover of a Van Morrison song, Into The Mystic.

  19. Dave says:

    Somehow the word woke has been appropriated by the right every time they want to express disdain with anything. Its become a shorthand way of rallying support and is probably as profitable for their fundraising as the issue of gun restrictions. They keep on using it because it seems to work for their purposes.

    Of course, they need to keep coming up with examples to support what they are doing and so end up politicizing everything. Organizations like the Law Society get sucked into this unwittingly and I suspect if reelected the UCP will not be able to resist meddling with them.

    Its too bad this happens, but exploiting and increasing the divisions in our society has become a lucrative activity, both financially and/or politically for some.

  20. Dave, I agree with your comments regarding the pejorative use of the word “woke”. I re-read Timothy Snyder’s comments on the misuse of language Snyder referred to the work of Victor Klemperer who noticed that Hitler’s language rejected legitimate opposition. For example “the people” meant some people but not others, if you’re excluded then you’re not valued.
    I think those on the hard right use “woke” in the same way. If you’re “woke” whatever you say is not worth listening to. It’s a very small minded way to view the world, but it certainly works in drawing up the battle lines.

  21. Sorry, I scrolled by most of the above posts.
    We live in world where well meaning adjectives are twisted , with success, to mean the opposite of the original intention.
    Only our selfishness allows this to continue..


  22. Carlos says:

    Anyone that has lived in Alberta for as long ad I have this is just another black eye. We love this kind of attitude and I hoped for many years this would get better but it has gotten worse. It is ridiculous that an educated segment of our society could have this kind of behaviour, especially lawyers. Obviously our Universities are as racist as these people.

    With all due respect to Susan, this is not surprise to me. When I was a young immigrant in Alberta I was scammed by a landlord in my first apartment in Edmonton and I took them to small claims court. I did not understand the process and when I got in front of the judge he trashed me in front of everyone and I left the court almost in tears of embarrassment. It was a young RCMP officer lady that was not happy at all with what had happened and helped me understand what I had missed.

    Although we think that we are better than anyone else we have a long way to go particularly with our first nations people.

  23. Carlos says:

    I apologize if this is repeated but I have to try because it is not there

    I woke up this morning to the same hopeless news we now get millions of times a day in a brain washing Armageddon type information brought about by this sick Conservatism of bullying and disrespect as if we should live in gangs like in the movie ‘The Gangs of New York”.

    We are without a doubt entering a phase where we can simply self destruct both physically and mentally and we are going to need the best of us to be in positions of power to be able to not just resolve these major crisis but also make sure we can keep living in societies that respect the rule of law. I do not know if you have noticed, but the US is actually in the middle of a political crisis that is challenging their democracy. We are not immune at all and we saw in Ottawa, how easy instability can be brought about.

    So we need the best of us to be doing the work that will take us to a better world.

    Instead what we are getting is the best rednecks trying to force us into a medieval type mentality of survival. We better get rid of this in the next election or we will forever be enslaved to this neo-liberal suffocation of the middle class. These people love inequality and money elites, they thrive on it. We on the other hand have to stop wondering about politics that do not exist anymore. This is not just an ideology of left versus right competition. This is a matter of ethics, morals and justice in our societies. Big companies and billionaires are now the new monarchy and celebrities the profession of choice for young people that live in a complex world of unregulated technology like the Internet.

    We have to go further than this and start taking propaganda down everywhere we can. The society we are moving to is not the stable society we need to evolve and progress as human beings. Time to show our amazing planet that we care and we want to become better not worse.

    Danielle Smith and her gang of people that they all seem to be under investigation for something wrong done like Shandro HAVE TO GO and fast. With all due respect to them, I am sorry but I do not think you have the competency to be running a province.

  24. GoinFawr says:

    Here Alberta, this is what is happening to your province,

    “Totalitarianism differs essentially from other forms of political oppression known to us such as despotism, tyranny and dictatorship. Wherever it rose to power, it developed entirely new political institutions and destroyed all social, legal and political traditions of the country. No matter what the specifically national tradition or the particular spiritual source of its ideology, totalitarian government always:
    – transformed classes into masses,
    – supplanted the party system, not by one-party dictatorships, but by a mass movement,
    – shifted the center of power from the army to the police, and
    – established a foreign policy openly directed toward world domination.”

    – Hannah Arendt. The origins of totalitarianism. 1967

    Let’s go point for point on that with Danielle Smith, who has:

    -attempted to develop entirely new political institutions, destroying established political/legal traditions. Double Check.

    -She is the result of a small, but ‘mass movement’ of the right wing political bowels of Alberta, likely foreign funded at least in part (Alberta conservatives even tried to ‘project’ that act of treason on environmentalists, and failed) Check.

    – she has instructed T.Shandro (a minister of ‘justice’ still under examination by the Law Society), to develop the UCPolice, shifting responsibility from the nationally commissioned RCMP. Check.

    -Danielle Smith made all the noises Putin likes to hear about foreign policies openly directed toward world domination. Check

    On top of that, she is going to give (hundreds? of) millions (billions?) to oil companies to clean up messes that they are already legally obligated to do without taxpayers’ hard earned cash. And, trust me, oil co’s in Alberta are making astounding, record profits right now. Meanwhile healthcare simply must be privatized, because we are assured by the UCP (and their vital partners in the private insurance industry who would love to have a direct line into the taxpayers’ coffer) that relatively opaque, private, for profit health’care’ will always and forever be cheaper and more efficient, regardless of the vast mountains of evidence to the contrary.

    Double Check.

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