Chair's Report 2006-2007

Posted on Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Shirley E Greenberg gift provides support for initiatives that respond to the needs of women in law  and women effected by law as faculty, staff and students, clients, survivors, agitators and creators. The gift is used to support projects that allow lawyers and students to gain an understanding of the impact that law has on women: how to provide the best legal services, understand their clients lives and understand the impact that law can have on those lives. We hope that this results in better lawyering and in better social policy.

None of this year’s Greenberg projects listed here would have been possible without the Greenberg gift. Like any good feminist catalyst it generated a community  - a cabal really - of excited feminist colleagues working together. This is one of the pleasures that the gift has given us.  Each project brought together scholars, lawyers and activists and provided an opportunity to meet, discuss, bemoan, strategize and plan. Each of the books, conferences, presentations and collaborations are a tangible and lasting testament to that vision.

This year many women and women’s groups spent a great deal of their time responding to the vicious Harper government cuts to programs which support equality rights for minority language communities, women, aboriginal persons and other equality seeking communities. The Court Challenges Program, which provided critical financial support for Diminishing Returns was told to shut its doors. So was the Law Commission. Women’s groups, advancing women’s basic human entitlements and other equality enhancing projects were closed or gutted - cutting government accountability, reducing access to justice and stifling dissent.  

Private donations are no replacement for public financial support, and privatizing the protection and promotion of equality is mean spirited and vindictive. Against this pernicious and bleak climate of  social conservatism  the Greenberg gift stands out for its generosity of spirit and its commitment to the support of ideals of equality.

Greenberg Events 2006-2007

The Greenberg Chair sponsored the annual alumni tea for women alumni at fall Homecoming.

This year the Greenberg lecture series included the following presentations:

Sanda Rodgers 
“Misconceived: Women's Reproductive Capacity and the Supreme Court of Canada”

Kim Pate 
"Why Women are the Fastest Growing Prison Population in Canada and Internationally"?

Sanda Rodgers, Elizabeth Sheehy, Martha Jackman, Sheila McIntyre
Celebrating 20 Years of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

Rakhi Ruparelia
"Consent and Sexual Assault: 'No Means No' is Not Enough"

Sheila McIntyre
"Deference and Dominance: Equality without Substance"

Nicole Laviolette
"Crossing Borders in the Classroom: A Comparative Law Experiment in Family Law" 'La salle de classe transfrontière : étude du droit de la famille dans une optique comparée
Elizabeth Judge 
"Eyeing IP: Gender, Senses, and the Visualization of  Intellectual Property"

Connie Backhouse 
"I come seeking justice": Mary Ann Burton's Complaint of Rape in London, Ontario 1907

Ian Kerr
"New Identifiers For Victims Of Abuse"

Daphne Gilbert and Diana Majury
"Critical Comparisons:  Thoughts on Section 15 and
Comparator Groups"

In addition the Greenberg Chair launched two books published with the support of the Greenberg gift,Calling for Change: Women, Law, and the Legal Profession, (University of Ottawa Press, 2006) is a collection of essays edited by Professor Elizabeth Sheehy and Professor Sheila McIntyre. These essays reflect critically on the status of women within the Canadian legal profession ten years after the first national report on the subject was published by the Canadian Bar Association. Diminishing Returns: Inequality & the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (LexisNexis-Butterworths, 2006), was edited by Professor Sheila McIntyre and Professor Sanda Rodgers. In this collection, nineteen equality scholars, litigators and activists critically reflect on the evolution of Canadian equality jurisprudence over the first twenty years of s. 15 of the Charter of Rights.

As well, The Greenberg Chair supported several workshops and conferences. In the all, 
Charles Smith (CBA), Rosanna Carreon, Rosemary Cairns Way, Rakhi Ruparelia, Dean Nathalie DesRosiers (Droit Civile), Sanda Rodgers and Fanie Pelletier (Barreau du Quebec) participated in a roundtable on Education Equity. The Greenberg Chair was also involved in two conferences. The first, in conjunction with CUSO, was titled Journey to Justice for Women and Children and involved participants from Ghana, Peru and Vanuatu.  The second, in association with NAWL and the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Ottawa was a two day conference on Mothering in Law: Defending Women's Rights in 2007!

The outgoing Greenberg Chair has undertaken a final new book project. Entitled Critical Torts, Sanda Rodgers, with Louise Belanger-Hardy and Rakhi Ruparelia, will edit a new collection on Canadian tort law from a critical perspective. Authors will consider tort law taking into account the context in which the injury/issue occurs and the impact of gender, race, class, disability, age, language or other situations of marginalization. Authors have been asked to consider the issue about which they are writing taking into account feminist, anti-racist or other perspectives consistent with a commitment to social justice. They are invited to critically examine tort law’s implication in social, political and economic inequalities, and its potential and limitations as an instrument of redistributive and egalitarian social, economic and political change.  The  book will be published by  LexisNexus in 2008.

Professor Martha Jackman will become the new Shirley E Greenberg Chair for 2007-2009.

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