The 'double-dipping professor' in Doug Ford’s crosshairs is nothing but a myth

The following first appeared in the National Post (Financial Post) June 4, 2019

There is the unicorn. There is the chimera. There is the Mothman, the Minotaur, the manticore, and assorted mutants. Then there is the double-dipping university professor. Each of these mythical creatures has the same unassailably assailable pedigree, which is to say, none at all. 

You don’t have to have had your ear to the ground in the last few weeks to have heard the vitriolic attacks in Ontario on professors over a certain age who, because they work past mandatory retirement age, are receiving both pension and salary. “Time for Ontario to ditch double-dipping university professors,” reads the headline on a recent Toronto Sun column. The Ford government appears to be poised to adopt legislation that prevents professors from receiving salary and pension at the same time. 

The SNC Lavalin Controversy: The Shawcross Principle and Prosecutorial Independence


Please note that a revised and expanded version of this blog is available at



The SNC Lavalin controversy over whether improper pressure was placed on former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould continues to rage. Both the ambiguities of the facts and the complexity of the policy issues seem to warrant an independent public inquiry. 


Such an inquiry could explore controversies over prosecutorial independence under Justin Trudeau’s government just as the McDonald Commission explored controversies over police independence under Pierre Trudeau’s government. In both cases, the issues had became emmeshed in partisan politics. Clear and independent thinking and reform plans were necessary for moving forward.


The Shawcross Principle


The Shawcross Principle articulated in 1951 is a constitutional convention that while the Attorney General (AG) is entitled to consult Cabinet colleagues about the policy implications of prosecutorial decisions, he or she is not to be directed or pressured on such decisions by the Cabinet and that the decision should be made by the AG alone.


Visiting Prof. Carolyn Strange: "Gay Village killings show there's still tension between Toronto cops, LGBTQ community"

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Faculty of Law was pleased to host Prof. Carolyn Strange, of the Australian National University School of History, as a visiting professor from July to November 2018. Before she returned to Australia, Prof. Strange wrote this piece in The Conversation reflecting on the historical context of the police response to serial killers of gay males in light of the charges against Bruce McArthur in Toronto.

Bruce McArthur, who allegedly lured men into sexual encounters, killed them and disposed of their bodies, faces eight murder charges in Toronto. The case has saddened and angered many, especially those from LGBTQ2S+ communities. They’ve accused police of failing to investigate the case seriously.

Some community activists believe homophobia and racism lengthened the time it took police to make an arrest. These accusations have triggered an investigation into previously unsolved murders of gay men in the 1970s.

Ford government decision is a step backward for investor protection


By Anita Anand

Globe and Mail September 25, 2018

The Ontario Securities Commission recently published a proposed rule banning certain commissions to dealers on mutual fund sales. The rule was not just Ontario’s initiative – it was a joint effort by members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), which consists of regulators from all provinces and territories. After months of discussions, which included the consideration of empirical data, the CSA finally agreed on the need to restrict certain commissions, with each of its members agreeing to implement the rule in its home province or territory.

Then, to the surprise of many, Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli expressed the government’s disagreement with the rule, ignoring the statutory process for making laws relating to the capital markets in this province. The Minister’s approach presents three problems. First, it undermines the rule-making process that is embodied in statute and has been the law for more than 20 years. Second, it fails to appreciate the important investor protection concerns that the CSA identified and sought to address. Third, it creates uncertainty in the capital markets, which the government of the day should be loath to do.

Doug Ford can’t apply the notwithstanding clause retroactively to impede democracy

Originally published in the Globe and Mail.

Prof. Lorraine Weinrib was formerly the deputy director of Constitutional Law and Policy, Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.

Politicians who are disappointed when constitutional rights frustrate their plans sometimes turn to the notwithstanding clause, thinking that it allows them to do anything they want. In this, they are mistaken.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the notwithstanding clause cannot operate retroactively. This ruling brings the override power in line with the rule of law – a pre-eminent constitutional principle. Persons are entitled to assume the continuity of their fundamental rights without worrying about retroactive government nullification.

No Time for Tinkering: On Intellectual Property and NAFTA

Last year, I wrote the following essay, as part of a collection of essays, "NAFTA and the Knowledge Economy", published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The essay discusses what Canada’s approach to intellectual property in the context of the renegotiation of NAFTA should be. Since the issues are back at the table, I thought I'd post it again. You can read it on CIGI's website, download a pdf version, or simply scroll down.

No Time for Tinkering: How a "more progressive" NAFTA could break the vicious circle of global inequities in the ownership of knowledge

The postwar international trading order reflected the assumption that reducing various state-imposed restrictions on trade, and promoting free and competitive markets, would be mutually beneficial to trading nations and to the world as a whole.

Populist and Liberal Democracy

Populist and Liberal Democracy

Alan Brudner


                Many see the authoritarian bent of Donald Trump’s presidency as a threat to liberal democracy—not as great, perhaps, as the populist dictatorships of Poland, Hungary, and Russia, but certainly on the spectrum.  Those who hold this view typically contrast populist democracy with liberal democracy. Populist democracy is the personal rule of a leader who draws direct support from the masses.  Liberal democracy is the rule of laws authorized by the masses’ civic-minded proxies, administered by public servants, and endorsable by all subjects viewed as free and equal.

Enhancing Governance in Dual Class Share Firms

Enhancing Governance in Dual Class Share Firms

by Anita Anand

            In a typical public company, shareholders can elect the board, appoint the auditors, and approve fundamental changes.  In other words, they can participate in the governance of the firm. Firms with dual class shares (DCS) alter this balance by inviting the subordinate shareholders to carry the financial risk of investing in the firm without providing them with the corresponding power to elect the board and exercise other voting rights. I argue that this misalignment of rights and risks should be subject to three modest reforms in order to enhance governance in DCS firms.

            The rationale underlying DCS is that they allow firm founders to protect themselves against a loss of control,[1] thereby ensuring that they can implement a long-term corporate strategy notwithstanding  short-term market pressures.[2] But the central question must be asked: to what extent (and for how long) should the law allow the founders to pursue their “idiosyncratic vision” for the DCS corporation?[3]