Saturday, June 27, 2009

State sanctioned violence

The Braidwood Inquiry focuses Canadian attention on a single deadly outcome of police violence. Robert Dziekanski's death was unusual, but only because a bystander recorded it. That digital video was sufficiently explicit that it swept away false justifications of RCMP participants. Except for public access to this video, the Polish traveler's end would have been one more barely noticed police involved death. Even with the video, all four officers returned to duty and were soon officially cleared by RCMP investigators who devoted main efforts toward exonerating their members.

Deaths of people under police control are not particularly rare. The RCMP published a report on 80 such fatalities from 2002 to 2006, more than half in British Columbia – an unexplained anomaly. No doubt, some deaths were unavoidable outcomes. Yet, others linger in public consciousness because they are not reasonably explained. Tainted justice is self-evident when police circle their wagons to reflexively defend colleagues accused of misconduct.

Bothered by ineffective accountability, civil libertarians are troubled also by unnecessary use of force. Police may be forced to moderate future actions because they are subject to unprecedented scrutiny by photo and security video, cell phones or pocket cameras. Police trying to prevent one person from photographing a scene find themselves photographed by other spectators. However, Britain recently invoked a law to criminalize anyone photographing a police officer. Citizens largely disregard the statute.

One psychologist suggests that police violence is encouraged by expanded inventories of weapons and wider use of body armor and tactical assault training. The act of dressing in body armor and the discomfort of wearing it remind police officers of dangers they might face. They are encouraged to use violence by the anticipation of it. As Dr. Mike Webster said,
"When you think the only tool you have is a hammer, then the whole world begins looking like a nail."
Behavior of the RCMP probably ranks reasonably well in comparison to police around the world. It is easy to find outrageous incidents in almost all nations. The Los Angeles Police Department had 320 accusations of racial profiling lodged against them in 2007. After investigating, they found that not a single allegation was true. That was the sixth year in a row that not a single charge of racial profiling was to be found justified.

A surprising example of police violence comes from Portland Oregon, a city usually noted for being calmly progressive. This 2004 event resulted in no convictions but a civil suit by the dead man's family is still before the courts in 2009.
William T. Grigsby, 24, was shot by bullets 13 times, hit 22 times with beanbags and Tasered four or five times, after running from Portland police. Although he was unresponsive after numerous shots were fired, police made no effort to provide medical aid, even when one officer noticed that it appeared Grigsby was "bleeding out" Thirty-seven more minutes passed as officers fired rounds at him from a Sage 37 mm projectile-launcher, a police dog bit and dragged him, and officers fired two additional Taser rounds at Grigsby, who hadn't moved for nearly an hour. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene. The medical examiner found that immediate medical care probably would have prevented Grigsby from bleeding to death because none of his wounds was immediately fatal.
Is there a solution? Can state sanctioned violence be controlled or reduced? Commenting on another Northern Insight article, one reader said,
"The top brass knows how many [people with elevated Social Dominance Orientation] are hiding within law-enforcement and this is the primary reason for extreme resistance to civilian oversight."
One thing is clear in my view. The law enforcement community actively resists effective civilian review and oversight. There will be no significant change in police management until citizens insist on radical restructuring and government imposes it on these public services.
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Enough said

June, 2009 - From the Cowichan News-Leader:
A black bear wandered onto the grounds of Brentwood College on Vancouver Island and climbed 25 feet into a tree. RCMP and conservation officers responded.

Gymnasium mats were placed under the tree and a conservation officer shot the bear with a tranquilizing dart. The bear fell safely to the ground. Conservation officers released it in an area where it would be safe.
June, 2009 - From the Coast Reporter
A 34-year-old man is in serious, but stable condition after he was shot twice by a Sunshine Coast RCMP officer Friday. According to police, two RCMP officers attended a residence regarding a complaint on a social networking site.

"On the basis of the suspect’s actions one of the officers discharged his sidearm striking the suspect twice.” He said BC Ambulance Service air lifted the man to a Lower Mainland hospital. He underwent surgery and was in serious, but stable condition.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Scary stuff" - one group above the law

Gary Mason is one of the finer columnists in Canada. His work helps ensure The Globe and Mail is Vancouver's prime written news source. Sure, this victory comes mostly by default but Mason is always worth following. He combines words skillfully and has a dead accurate understanding of ordinary events and common people. After the Braidwood Inquiry's astonishing adjournment June 19, Mason had this to say:

The death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski is threatening to engulf the RCMP in one of the biggest scandals in its history.

Just when you thought the reputation of our national police force couldn't sink any lower comes news of the existence of an internal RCMP e-mail that contradicts the sworn testimony of the four Mounties involved in the fatal confrontation with Mr. Dziekanski.

. . . What happened? Not only does the inquiry deserve an explanation but the public does too.

This is scary stuff.

The Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew demands termination of the Braidwood Inquiry and immediate appointment of a Special Prosecutor. In addition to criminal counts related to the original homicide, additional charges of perjury and obstruction of justice seem appropriate. Mulgrew also wants the B.C. Law Society to investigate conduct of federal lawyers involved in the disclosure failure. He wrote:

The situation is as bad as the most virulent critics of the Mounties feared. This is no longer about four officers who made mistakes in judgment: It's about an organization that thinks it is above the law.

"I find this delay in disclosing it to the commission appalling," an upset Braidwood said. "The contents of this e-mail goes to the heart of this inquiry's work."


On June 19, Art Vertlieb, Commission Counsel for the Braidwood Inquiry spoke to Justice Braidwood about the need to postpone final summations and reopen the investigatory and evidentiary segments of the Inquiry. Vertlieb's contained anger was obvious:
The other relevance of this email Mr. Commissioner is that it indicates that by that November 5, 2007, three weeks after Mr. Dziekanski’s death, the officer in charge of IHIT and two of the most senior officers in E Division, had information suggesting that the four officers developed a plan enroute to the airport to use the conducted energy weapon against Mr. Dziekanski if he did not comply. As far as I am aware, there is nothing in the other materials this commission has received from the RCMP to this effect.

This point is crucial. The RCMP claim to have cooperated fully with the Inquiry. Yet the important email from November 2007 indicates a possibility that the YVR 4 committed perjury when they testified in March 2009 and the most senior RCMP officers in BC had to be aware. These high commissioned officers knew two versions of one event, the one written about in the email and the one spun to Braidwood.

Both could not be correct but the Chief Superintendent and the Assistant Commissioner said nothing, did nothing, called nobody. However, the record does shows that C/S Dick Bent went on to argue that the RCMP should not participate in the Inquiry by claiming a jurisdictional excuse. Now, we find that the Chief Superintendent may have been motivated by a desire to hide his own bent integrity.

According to the present RCMP version of events, this important 2007 email was given to DOJ lawyers in April 2009, before the media relations issues were to be reviewed. Clearly, that document had impact well beyond media relations and should have been turned over early in the lifetime of the Commission. Those were not idle comments about an insignificant subject. The RCMP executive level made a considered decision to withhold it from Braidwood's early stages.

The problem now is that we have no authority in British Columbia capable of investigating wholesale obstruction of justice by the RCMP. The force already looked and found itself innocent of wrongdoing and has now had almost two years to purge investigation files and recordings, logs and documents and airport security videos that might have provided irrefutable evidence. Art Vertlieb and his tiny Commission staff have done a fine job of organizing information and evidence but they are limited by resources and the existing mandate. That could be changed by Gordon Campbell's provincial Government but it has its own problems with the BC Rail scandal. Can they put the RCMP at further risk without paying a price themselves. Police files always scare politicians. J. Edgar Hoover played that game to perfection through many U.S. administrations.

The question now is whether or not we have whistle-blowers at work in the RCMP. For sure, people inside E Division headquarters know the truth. Are they prepared to speak or does loyalty to the paramilitary ultimately win out?
2009-06-19 14:29 PDT -- The RCMP wishes to make the following statement regarding today's events at the Braidwood Inquiry:
  • From the outset, the RCMP has cooperated fully and participated fully in the Inquiry.
  • We have produced thousands of documents to our legal counsel for their review and for them to transmit all relevant material to the Commission.
  • Commissioner Braidwood was informed that a specific document was not provided and he himself accepted the Government of Canada’s sincere apologies for this oversight.
  • This was simply an oversight. Unfortunately in an exercise of this magnitude, such an oversight can occur.
  • It was the RCMP, working with our legal counsel, who brought this oversight and this document to the attention of the Commission.
  • The Commission indicates that it will thoroughly look into the matter, including into the relevance, if any, of the specific document, about which there are significant questions.
  • The RCMP is as disappointed as all of the parties involved in this inquiry that there will be a delay in the completion of the Inquiry as a result of this unfortunate development.
  • We will continue to cooperate fully with the Inquiry. The RCMP wants all of the facts surrounding this tragic event to be known so that we can learn as much as possible and make any further required changes to the RCMP’s policies and practices.
The RCMP will not be making further comment on this issue.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A modest proposal (no babies eaten)

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a professor of finance and business at New York's Columbia University. In 2001, he received the Nobel Prize in Economics and, throughout a lengthy career, he has contributed broadly to economic theory and policy. Recently Stiglitz consulted with Barack Obama but he has been one of the Administration's fierce critics too. Stiglitz earned his PhD from MIT in 1967 and became a full professor at Yale in 1970. Since then, he has taught at Princeton, Stanford, MIT and Oxford. Few economists are more widely respected.
He commented recently on our new form of ersatz capitalism, in which losses are socialized and profits privatized. He refers to what some wrongly call the new American socialism. "But," says Stiglitz, "socialism is concerned about ordinary individuals. The United States has provided little help for the millions of Americans who are losing their homes. Workers who lose their jobs receive only 39 weeks of limited unemployment benefits, and are then left on their own."
At the same time, politicians expand the corporate safety net beyond comprehension, offering funds almost without limit even to scummy players in the finance sectors. Stiglitz says, "This is not socialism, but an extension of long standing corporate welfarism. The rich and powerful turn to the government to help them whenever they can, while needy individuals get little social protection."
In this country, I see that Air Canada has taken its place at the public trough again, asking for an immediate $200 million from the federal government. If the airline is unable to negotiate new borrowing, it faces bankruptcy protection for the second time in six years. Of course, with Air Canada facing operating losses and a pension deficit of almost $3 billion, logical observers believe the government tap will continue running for years to come.
David Lewis raged against Corporate Welfare Bums way back in 1972. Perhaps the only thing changed since then is the accelerated pace of doling out public money to wealthy citizens.
If we must pass out cash, subsidize consumers instead of suppliers and manufacturers. And, by managing the subsidy program, we can accelerate movement toward a green economy. Who wants to give cash to Air Canada that enables it to fly half empty airplanes around the country? Instead of handing over $200 million and getting only thanks in return, purchase 400,000 air travel vouchers of $500 each. Hand those out to schools across Canada, one non-transferable in-Canada travel voucher for every Grade 7 student. Fund a coordinating office and encourage student exchanges.
Youngsters could travel from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland or Yellowknife to Winnipeg, with similar sized groups heading from east to west. Air Canada would sell 400,000 seats that might have been empty, get $200 million of new money and our next generation learns about the country first hand.
While we are doing that, we should stop subsidizing auto makers to build inefficient vehicles. Instead, give buyers grants for every vehicle made in North America that is rated at least 7.0 L/100 KM (40 mpg). Replace the aging automobile fleet with safer, clean running, efficient cars. Raise the price of gasoline through significant carbon taxes but pay to get dirty junkers off the road permanently. With sharp incentives for buyers to enter the market, the manufacturers get money the old fashioned way: by building and selling vehicles.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

SCBCTAPS make injury free arrest

After a chase in which speeds reached over 30 kph, South Coast BC transit police captured a suspect accused of illegally using the HOV lane of the Trans-Canada Highway.

On June 10, constables noticed a late model Mercedes suspiciously driving east bound on the freeway in a lane reserved for vehicles containing at least two people. They pulled the car over and detained two for questioning.

Further investigation led to ticketing of an Abbotsford man, arrest of a female suspect and seizure of a possible hijab. No guns or tasers were needed to make the arrest and no injuries were reported.

The picture above shows the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service demonstrating their new offender-friendly style of interaction. The prisoner had no immediate comment.
NOTE: I originally suggested that Transit Police had used Tasers on fare evaders. I removed that assertion and amended the final paragraph after a comment from Sgt. Tom Seaman of the Transit Police. Click to read.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Heads we win, tails you lose

In 2008, the federal Department of Justice and senior RCMP officers considered boycotting the Braidwood Inquiry into the homicide of Robert Dziekanski.

Based on internal emails obtained through FOI, the Vancouver Sun reported that RCMP Chief Superintendent Richard (Dick) Bent, E Division Deputy Criminal Operations Officer, discussed concerns about participating in the Inquiry with the RCMP's second-in-command in Ottawa. Bent claimed that part of him wanted to be transparent and cooperative but said there was a larger issue of jurisdiction. He also said that Paul Kennedy, the allegedly independent Police Complaints Commissioner, agreed that the province had no authority to investigate or hold inquiries into federal departments.

However, the top Mountie in BC, Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, wrote, "Frankly, I don't care what Ottawa's position on it is at this stage. The provincial force will co-operate." In an internal e-mail with that statement, Bass wrote: "I think we should avoid any legalistic jargon which leaves any room for suggestion that we may opt out at some point or under some circumstances."

Media spokesperson Tim Shields added it is the B.C. RCMP's policy to participate in any provincial inquiry it is asked to attend. "…We have a moral duty to be transparent, open and accountable to the citizens of British Columbia."

Today, we learned that the Braidwood Inquiry has served notice of possible misconduct findings to each of the four RCMP officers involved in Dziekanski's death. In response, RCMP lawyers filed an action in BC Supreme Court, arguing that jurisdictional issues should prevent Braidwood from making any findings of misconduct against the officers.

So, in another test of sincerity, despite the instruction of Deputy Commissioner Bass, the RCMP has now recognized circumstances that require it to opt out of the "moral duty to be transparent, open and accountable." They will say this is not our choice, it's a move of lawyers defending individual officers. That defense will ring hollow because the RCMP pays for this court action aimed at preventing honest and complete reporting to the public. Citizens can't hear the truth and will pay for its suppression. Good deal for some people.

I wonder how police would react if a common criminal stated, "I won't show up for trial unless not guilty is the only possible verdict."


UPDATE - June 9 2009

CBC News reports at 8:17 PM:

Sgt. Tim Shields, the RCMP's official spokesman in B.C., said . . .

"The position of the RCMP is that the RCMP will co-operate fully with the inquiry and is also recognizing the jurisdiction of the inquiry as having authority," Shields told the CBC's Terry Milewski.

Asked why the lawyers for the four men were arguing the contrary, Shields said: "These lawyers are representing the four officers; they're not representing the RCMP."

While Shields acknowledged the lawyers are paid for by taxpayers, the force itself has no power to stop them from contradicting RCMP policy.


The response by the RCMP was predicted here last night.

Shields claims the police force has no power over conduct of the lawyers they are paying. However, video witness Grant Fredericks' late appearance at the Braidwood Inquiry, without advance notice, was justified because he could not begin analysis until the RCMP approved funding. Now, we are asked to believe that the RCMP exercises purse strings control for some things but not others. Of course, police management was taken by surprise with this development. Right?

In fact, during the entire Dziekanski affair, each time the RCMP has been challenged to choose between honorable action or devious and disingenuous behavior, honor has been given last place.

The National Post got it right when it editorialized:

"To argue the validity of the Braidwood jurisdiction at the last possible moment is tantamount to a person walking out on a game when he faces checkmate on his next move."

The Globe and Mail concludes:

"Sadly, the attempt to muzzle is consistent with the RCMP's practice of denial, obfuscation and falsification ever since Mr. Dziekanski's needless death."

Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun writes:

"No wonder the Mounties are trying to dilute Braidwood's report before he gets a chance to write it.

In doing so, however, they have revealed themselves for what we had grown to suspect after their testimony: They are cowards who even today are afraid to face the music.

They also have revealed their better-late-than-never apologies issued during the inquiry to be more insincere than even cynics suggested.

How can they possibly defend this attempt to derail a disinterested inquiry into a tragedy that has captured global attention?

If these officers had such serious constitutional qualms about Braidwood's jurisdiction and questions about his authority, they should have raised them before they took the stand and shocked the world with their incredible testimony.

This latest manoeuvre to forestall the inevitable is tawdry."
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

A country of ugly Canadians?

That's what we are becoming, according to Ottawa law Professor Amir Attaran. Outstanding credentials and impressive career achievements mean that we should pay attention to his proposition. Dr. Attaran writes in the June 2009 issue of the Literary Review of Canada. In his essay, this lawyer and scientist argues that Canada is liquidating its internationalism, losing the outward gaze that Prime Minister Lester Pearson cultivated, leaving today's Canadians more insular than preceding generations.

Born in California, educated at Berkeley, Oxford and UBC, Attaran chose to become Canadian, attracted by this country's traditional commitment to furthering international peace, development and human rights. But, Dr. Attaran believes that Canadian laws are now showing a dark side and today's Canada would not please Lester Pearson. The former PM might even say that we are hazardously far down the road toward becoming a country of diverse but ugly Canadians.

Internationalism is a collective effort to make the world a safer and more prosperous place. Attaran sees growing evidence of Canadian exceptionalism, which he says is frequently arbitrary, unexplained or self-sabotaging. He notes bizarre applications of trade laws. For example, Canada has dedicated itself to use tariff preferences to encourage trade with poor nations and to promote democracy. How, Attaran asks, does Putin's Russia or Mugabe's Zimbabwe gain trade preference? Why do Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea and Singapore get the preference or Qatar, which per capita is the world's richest country?

In further discussion, Attaran accuses Canada of deliberately maintaining the loosest corruption laws of any developed country. Bribery of foreign public officials is only criminal if the transaction occurs entirely in this country. Canadian executives can pass out cash stuffed envelopes around the world but they enjoy exemption from prosecution here. None of the other 29 OECD countries has this loophole and, despite mighty complaints from abroad, Canada cravenly refuses to close it.

Another area of Attaran's concern is in public health regulation. Worry of an influenza pandemic makes this time critical. Again, Canada has paid lip service to international cooperation but fallen short in implementation. The Harper government passed a law to establish the new Public Health Agency of Canada but deliberately kept the agency toothless, even after criticism of the Auditor-General. When the federal government kept pertinent information secret while a listeriosis outbreak was killing Canadians, the World Health Organization concluded that Canada was a country of concern.

Finally, despite national self-righteousness, Canada has a rather poor record of respecting human rights. The UN's International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance has been open for signatures since 2007, and so far 81 countries have signed. The Harper government refuses to sign, although it issued assurances that it "supports" the treaty. Attaran believes that Canada does not sign because it is contravening the treaty in Afghanistan. He fears that the agreement between Ottawa and Kabul on prisoner transfers makes Canadian soldiers complicit to torture in that war zone.

Attaran faults fellow academics and NGO leaders for failing to speak out and complacently accepting the drift away from effective internationalism. He blames widespread self-censorship on the dependence of individuals and institutions on government funding. He also says that government has given in to the convenience of employing experts and consultants selected from a sycophantic gallery. As in most established bureaucracies, contrarians are unwelcome, even driven out.


The Ugly Canadian is published in the Literary Review of Canada

Amir Attaran is a lawyer and biologist and Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

The commish: sorta, kinda sorry

As the iconic police service undergoes a sweeping wave of reforms, it must realize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength." RCMP Commish William Elliott said, while coughing discretely, to members of the Senate of Canada.

We asked Elliott to be more specific about the changes.

Q - Discipline for the YVR four?
A - No, transfers and new jobs, although one of the guys is resting at home for reasons involving another completely unrelated death that may become public some day.

Q - Discipline for the cover-up organized by senior officers?
A - What coverup?

Q - Change in Taser policy?
A - Yes, we deleted warnings about multiple Taser use from our training manual and we've asked Taser International to provide us with new independent research proving their devices are invariably safe to use, unless the subject deserved to die anyway.

Q - Any other changes?
A - New cadets are learning first to defuse tense situations. Older members probably can't change but we should see a gradual reduction of unnecessary in-custody deaths, if this new policy takes hold.

Q - Does the RCMP admit responsibility for Dziekanski's death and apologize?
A - No, but we are sorry if anyone is bothered by his death. Actually, we're mostly sorry the event was captured on video and we somehow failed to deal with culpatory evidence in the time honored way. We're still investigating how that occurred.

Q - Have you made any other changes to avoid more unnecessary deaths?
A - No, but we're still listening and evaluating and considering and discussing and we almost all agree that we should nearly always remain open to the possibility that we should be willing to consider new ideas and procedures. This public accountability stuff is not simple and nobody here knows quite how to deal with it.

Q - Is this truly a wave of reform?
A - Well, it is to us.

Q - Any other comments?
A - Certainly, the RCMP has an outstanding record and we are confident the agency will continue to be held in high esteem around the world. Our people have never been mocked or disrespected and we don't intend for that to happen now.
Susan McCarthy,, talks about apologies:
"I'm sorry I was rude" is good.
"I'm sorry if I was rude" is not. It weasels. It implies that maybe you weren't rude. It implies that the person being apologized to has a twisted little worldview...

An apology should give the sense that you actually feel some form of regret. "Sorry if" is a conditional apology. Conditional apologies make things worse, not better.
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Authorities now on notice...

At the Braidwood Inquiry, the late Robert Dziekanski's mother is represented by Walter Kosteckyj of the Vancouver law firm Thompson Elliott. CBC says the lawyer is paid by the BC Government but not at his usual rate or for all hours spent on the case. Donald Rosenbloom acts for the Government of the Republic of Poland and Grace Pastine represents the BC Civil Liberties Association. They established a de facto alliance against those satisfied with the RCMP's initial response and the police investigation that absolved itself of negligence or misconduct.

As many as 20 lawyers lined up for the other sides, most publicly funded although the representatives of Taser International certainly were exceptions. Rosenbloom spoke recently at a fundraiser for Zofia Cisowski. He takes professional pride in the way the Braidwood Inquiry has unfolded. He believes it is already proved worthwhile.

He said, "The actual inquiry is an end in itself. I take great comfort in the fact that an inquiry has taken place. Irrespective of what Mr. Braidwood comes down with, in terms of his recommendations, in his report, the authorities in Canada - police authorities and others - have been put on notice that occasionally their conduct will be reviewed publicly and they will be accountable to the public for what they have done. And, that is an end in itself."
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Hurrah, hurrah, we're number 28...

Excerpted from

Canada has one of the slowest and most expensive consumer broadband networks in the developed world. An OECD report, widely viewed as the leading global benchmark on broadband networks, compared Canada with 29 other countries on a range of metrics. These included broadband availability, pricing, speed, and bandwidth caps.

As measured by price per megabyte Canada ranks 28th out of 30 countries, ahead of only Mexico and Poland. This confirms that Canadians pay more for less.

Canadian consumers also face far less choice with respect to broadband options. Canada was one of only four countries where all broadband options included "bit caps" that limit consumer use each month.

Most Canadians recognize the critical importance of broadband networks for communication, commerce, education, and access to knowledge. Canada was once a global leader, yet today the marketplace suffers from high prices, slow speeds, and throttled services that have led to an unmistakable decline in comparison with peer countries around the world.

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He has obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia Law School. Dr. Geist has written numerous academic articles and government reports on the Internet and law and was a member of Canada's National Task Force on Spam. He is an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues.

In late May, Dr. Geist embarassed the Conference Board of Canada, an organization that promotes itself as providing "Insights You Can Count On." In the "Cut and Paste Caper", the Conference Board was forced to withdraw three reports that, among other things, called for tougher copyright laws. Dr. Geist had pointed out data and interpretation errors and rampant plagiarism with parts of the reports copied from American pro-copyright business groups.

The Canadian Government contributed $15,000 for preparation of the Conference Board reports. It is uncertain whether or not that will be refunded.

Dr. Michael Geist Blog
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