Taken Aside

Owe much to first term of first year law school, 1973. Came there with some fog of the times. Emphasis on the contrary. The radicalism of the extremely comfortable, which was typical of so much of the supposedly countercultural.

Had the long hair and the attitude. So a window display is not an offer. Means that evil merchants can pick and choose customers based on race, no? And these lawyers, all these rich lawyers. No lawyer should make more than a plumber, no?

Approaching the law as a vehicle to be used in furtherance of some agenda, from magazines, music and film. On the people’s side, dontcha know.

More than one law professor saying want to talk to you. Remember one in particular: criminal law professor, André Jodouin. Radical in attitude, respectful in and of context. This being after the “lawyer should make no more than a plumber” comment in class. Talking about how important it was to get rid of the attitude. This from someone who truly was of and for the people.

Got rid of the attitude. Got into what the law was, not what I thought it should be. Turning away from legal studies as personally-framed sociology class.

Never forgot André Jodouin, but never thanked him. Hardly saw him again after first year. Others remembered him in more public ways, such as former Member of Parliament Réal Ménard, who also attended my law school. Didn’t know.

On June 18, 2009, in the House of Commons, speaking in relation to the Serious Time for Most Serious Crime Act (a title originating from a non-lawyer, or from lawyer from a much later time…)

Madam Speaker, I did not have access to regional statistics. The statistics I shared with the House are the ones we received from the justice department about people who had been granted early parole.

When I was a law student and was taking a course on sentencing—my professor was André Jodouin, who was assisted by Marie-Ève Sylvestre, here at the University of Ottawa—there was still a very good correlation between crime and indicators of disadvantaged areas. I also remember that there was unfortunately a strong correlation between the first nations and crime. That is why, with the Supreme Court decision in Her Majesty v. Proulx and subsequently with the Liberal government, specific mention of recognizing aboriginal justice in sentencing was even added. That said, my colleague is quite right to ask how these people will be reintegrated into society once their parole ends.

As parliamentarians, we need to strike a balance between the need to set an example in punishing people who commit murder and the need to give those people hope for rehabilitation. As Saint Augustine said, virtue is in the middle.

André Jodouin emphasizing the importance of facts, and the debilitating effects of attitude. Many thanks. As Saint Augustine said…


About brucelarochelle

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