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Alberta

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

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5 minute read

July 14, 2020

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

Lawyers and the legal community use their performance skills to bring awareness and raise funds to support access to justice for our vulnerable population during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) is staging a virtual Public Awareness Campaign partnered with United Way.  Major supporters include the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch and the Legal Archives Society of Alberta.  The show is called Laywers Vs Talent: A2J – Virtual Edition. Here’s a link to the lineup.  You can watch by simply making a donation.  The United Way is helping out so it’s a very secure and safe procedure.  Click here to get your exclusive link.  (You will receive an email with the link prior to showtime.)

COVID-19 caused cancellation of fundraising events (e.g. Battle of the Bar Bands-Calgary) within the profession where proceeds went to Pro Bono legal advice clinics.  The Alberta Bar decided to innovate and create the virtual event for this Thursday, July 16th, from 6:00 PM to 8 PM (MDT) to raise a “behind the scenes” Awareness.  Due to the Pandemic, Pro Bono clinics require technology for remote meetings or remote court attendance or require supplies for their clients such as masks and shields to attend meetings or attend court if people are forced by subpoena or otherwise need to attend.

Donna Purcell, member of the ACTLA COVID-19 Emergency Response Team said “We were going to call our event ‘lawyers got talent’ but one lawyer objected saying Simon Cowell would complain.  Well what about ‘lawyers got no talent’? No, he might still complain, maybe try Lawyers vs Talent” and the seed was sown to invite professional talent, with entertainers from the United States, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America under the Global A2J Alliance banner.  The campaign is meant to highlight the need for everyone to protect the Rule of Law for vulnerable populations.

Forecasts for Alberta include 25% unemployment.  The profession is concerned about providing Pro Bono services given the anticipated domestic situations, personal bankruptcies, foreclosures and evictions flooding antiquated justice systems.

“The legal profession and our judiciary have decided to lead the way in ensuring innovative access to justice for our growing vulnerable populations and all Albertans”, notes Purcell, “And we can’t only work for free, that is called being unemployed.  And no lawyer jokes please, we might not get them.  Grab a Shaq-a-roni, set up a Zoom after party, and come enjoy the entertainment, including some pros who know what they are doing and learn from our feature presenters and feature reporting.”

The show has many serious moments as well. You will hear from Rumana Monzur, Counsel at Department of Justice, Canada. In June 2011, she was brutally attacked and blinded by her husband at the time, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, while visiting in her home country of Bangladesh. As well, you will meet Maria Mitousis, Principal, Mitousis, Lemieux, Howard Law Corporation. Maria became national news when in the summer of 2015, she dropped into her office and opened a package that was on her desk.  In the package was a bomb, and in the ensuing explosion, Maria lost a hand. Hers is a tragic but inspiring story.

A committee will decide where funds that are raised will have the most impact and includes consulting the United Way’s The Social Impact Lab, a platform to research, create, and test new services and business models. The goal is toensure the impact on organizations who support vulnerable populations through the legal sector is maximized.  It is also hoped that public awareness of the out-of-date state of the justice system will encourage a provincial and national discussion.

A minimum $50 donation to United Way receives the Premiere Access link; donate any amount for an after the event link.

For more information and to donate, sponsor or to purchase tickets to the event, visit www.lawyersvstalent.com

Remember, the show goes live Thursday, July 16th, at 6 PM

Disclosure:  Todayville is a proud partner in the production of this innovative program. 

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Alberta

Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

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EDMONTON — A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter.

Court heard that the girl died of blunt-force trauma and prosecutors alleged her mother beat her with a belt and a spatula.

The woman, who is in her 30s, had been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, assault with a weapon and second-degree murder.

Justice Avril Inglis says there was not enough evidence to convict the woman beyond a reasonable doubt on those charges.

But Inglis convicted the woman of manslaughter because evidence showed that the girl’s severe brain injuries were caused by an assault and the only person in the home capable of inflicting them was her mother.

The woman is expected to be sentenced in the fall. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

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Alberta

TC Energy reports $1.1-billion net loss after $2.2-billion writedown on Keystone XL

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. is reporting a first-quarter net loss of $1.1 billion after taking a $2.2-billion after-tax asset impairment charge on its cancelled Keystone XL export oil pipeline.

It says the impairment charge doesn’t yet include the government of Alberta’s investment and guarantees for the project, which are expected to eventually reduce the company’s net exposure to about $1 billion. 

Keystone XL was suspended after newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden fulfilled a campaign promise to cancel its presidential permit in January.

Since then, shippers including Cenovus Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. have reported non-cash writedowns on earnings related to their commitments to it.

In its quarterly report, TC Energy said comparable earnings without the charge were $1.108 billion or $1.16 per share, down from $1.109 billion or $1.18 per share in the year-earlier period.

It says revenue was $3.38 billion, down from $3.42 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

“While we were very disappointed by the revocation of the presidential permit for Keystone XL and the resulting after-tax impairment charge, we are well positioned to deliver sustainable, high-quality growth in the years ahead,” said CEO Francois Poirier in a news release.

 “We are advancing a $20-billion secured capital program and working on a substantive portfolio of other similarly high-quality opportunities under development.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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