News

NDP split on setting up a provincial wing in Quebec

MONTREAL—THE NEW DEMOCRATIC Party (NDP) met in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 3 to discuss the possibility of setting up a provincial wing of their party in Quebec. It is currently not an option for Quebecers to vote NDP in their provincial elections, but after the party had an incredibly strong showing in the province during the last federal election in 2011, there are new incentives to ensure that they maintain a strong Quebec presence.
Some party delegates argued that having an NDP wing in Quebec would provide residents with a necessary alternative to the leftist, sovereigntist parties that currently dominate Quebec’s political arena. Others were concerned that setting up a Quebec branch of their party would consume precious resources that could be better used in defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in the 2015 federal election.
At the weekend’s close, there was no clear consensus on whether the NDP will set up a provincial wing of their party in Quebec.

—Keeton Wilcock

No relief yet for Ontario law grads without articling positions

WINDSOR (CUP)—A PILOT CO-OP project to help Ontario law grads struggling to land an articling position has been shelved.
During a public meeting on Oct. 25, the Law Society of Upper Canada was to make a decision on creating a supplement articling program for law school graduates, but instead broke for lunch and won’t reconvene until next month.
The organization’s Articling Task Force has written a proposal calling for new licensing preparation through a law practice program. It’s intended to lift the pressure off recent law graduates who cannot find articling positions in Ontario by offering them an eight-month program as opposed to a 10- to 12-month articling position. This would also create a streamlined process for students to take the bar exam.
Despite an increase in articling positions in Ontario from 1,200 to 1,700 over the last decade, there are currently an estimated 200 post-grads unable to find articling positions, according to the Articling Task Force’s report.
Roy Thomas, director of communications for the Articling Task Force, said the volume of work in Ontario is far higher than that of other provinces. Ontario is an attractive place for prospective lawyers, but the economics of paying an articling student today are not as favourable.

—Jay Verspeelt, The Lance

CRTC looks to create national standards for mobile providers

OTTAWA (CUP)—TO HELP CONSUMERS avoid surprises on their cellphone bill, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is looking to develop a mandatory national code for providers to follow. After requests from Rogers and TELUS, the CRTC is also asking the public to provide input, having received over 700 online responses so far.
The code would be a national set of rules for mobile service providers to follow, touching on issues such as contract cancellation fees and accurate advertising prices, among others.
Public comments can be submitted on the CRTC website until Nov. 20. After that, a new phase of feedback collection will begin.
Public hearings on the issue will take place in January in Gatineau, with only those who provided input allowed to attend. The CRTC hopes that if all goes smoothly, the code will be in place by summer 2013.

—Jane Lytvynenko, CUP Ottawa Bureau Chief