Month: August 2017

Family Law Assistance Clinics, Regina

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The Family Law Information Centre will be offering free family law assistance sessions for the public every Wednesday morning between 9:30 – 11:30 starting September 6. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, drop in for free assistance at the Regina branch of the Law Society Library:

  • Are you applying to court for child support, custody/access or divorce?
  • Do you need help with court forms or the process?
  • Do you wonder if you have options other than going to court?

We can help answer your questions, and use the court forms available on Family Law Saskatchewan (PLEA).


What We Are Reading This Summer – Part 2 of 2

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Here’s the second and last part of our summer reading list at the Law Society Library. Part one was published on August 23, 2017.

Ken’s List

Dune by Frank Herbert (Ace, 1965)

I finally had to try this one, since it seems to be a favourite of so many people. About half-way through now, and I gotta say – have a glass of water nearby while reading – you will need it. As is so often the case with science fiction, it’s (at least in part) a power fantasy about the rule of a wise, benevolent intellectual class, how they overcome their corrupt, greedy rivals and save the ignorant citizens. Ho hum. But as such, is one of the best of its kind, thanks to Herbert’s considerable research and effort to imagine how one might survive on a planet that severely lacks water, but by accident contains 100% of the world’s most valuable medicine. And if that’s not interesting enough, it also employs the tricks-in-trade of mystery fiction – big surprises await.

Scatological Alchemy: A Gnostic Biography of the Butthole Surfers by Ben Graham (Eleusinian Press, 2017)

This newly published book hasn’t quite arrived yet, but calls itself “an irreverent augury of the idiosyncratic band,” which sounds promising. Reverence is always boring, but in this case would be particularly inappropriate, as the book’s subject revered nothing. Relentlessly and recklessly experimental in both art and life, what I love about this 1980s “post-punk” band is how wonderfully musical they are amidst the sick jokes, noise and mayhem. Looking forward to getting behind the madness.

Testament by Dennis Lee (House of Anansi Press, 2012)

Canada, here is your apocalypse. And, oh dear, are you missing it? Never in the century-long misery of Canadian literature has such a dangerous place existed. Go ahead & step into this minefield – it doesn’t matter what page – kaboom! – did I warn you? Here lives invention, piles and piles of it. Here lives the imagination, unsafe & gigantic. This book is a threat to your existence, and you should be glad for it. Here “verbs of a slagscape thrombosis” form a “syntax of chromosome pileups.” “Scribblescript portents unfurl” till the “autowhammy meltdown” darkens the surge to “geocidal grandeurs” & “germinal terminus schuss.” Never in my wildish days of post-Joycean litterbooging have I wandered into such a frenetic bangfest for my skullbone. A sure-to-be-neglected modern masterpiece.

KellyL’s List

Red Rising series by Pierce Brown: Red Rising is a dystopian science-fiction trilogy (with more books to come in the saga) set on a future planet Mars, and follows lowborn miner Darrow as he infiltrates the ranks of the elite Golds. It has been seven hundred years since mankind colonized other planets. The powerful ruling class of humans has installed a rigid color-based social hierarchy, where the physically superior Golds at the top rule with an iron fist. Sixteen-year-old Darrow is a Red, a class of workers who toil beneath the surface of Mars mining helium-3 to terraform the planet and make it habitable. He and his wife Eo are caught in a forbidden area and arrested. While she is publicly whipped for her crime, Eo sings a forbidden folk tune as a protest against their virtual enslavement. She is subsequently hanged and Darrow finds himself in the hands of the Sons of Ares, a terrorist group of Reds who fight against the oppression of the “lowColors”.

Alan’s List

Jungle by Upton Sinclair

“Upton Sinclair’s dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, this book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then president Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.” GoodReads

The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History by Jason Vuic

“Six months after its American introduction in 1985, the Yugo was a punch line; within a year, it was a staple of late-night comedy. By 2000, NPR’s Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans that’s where the story begins and ends. Hardly. The short, unhappy life of the car, the men who built it, the men who imported it, and the decade that embraced and discarded it is rollicking and astounding, and one of the greatest untold business-cum-morality tales of the 1980s. Mix one rabid entrepreneur, several thousand “good” communists, a willing U.S. State Department, the shortsighted Detroit auto industry, and improvident bankers, shake vigorously, and you’ve got The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.” GoodReads

Iceland’s Bell by Halldór Laxness

“Sometimes grim, sometimes uproarious, and always captivating, Iceland’s Bell by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness is at once an updating of the traditional Icelandic saga and a caustic social satire. At the close of the 17th century, Iceland is an oppressed Danish colony, suffering under extreme poverty, famine, and plague. A farmer and accused cord-thief named Jon Hreggvidsson makes a bawdy joke about the Danish king and soon after finds himself a fugitive charged with the murder of the king’s hangman.  In the years that follow, the hapless but resilient rogue Hreggvidsson becomes a pawn entangled in political and personal conflicts playing out on a far grander scale. Chief among these is the star-crossed love affair between Snaefridur, known as “Iceland’s Sun,” a beautiful, headstrong young noblewoman, and Arnas Arnaeus, the king’s antiquarian, an aristocrat whose worldly manner conceals a fierce devotion to his downtrodden countrymen. As their personal struggle plays itself out on an international stage, Iceland’s Bell creates a Dickensian canvas of heroism and venality, violence and tragedy, charged with narrative enchantment on every page.” GoodReads

KellyC’s List

When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs (1988)

This is by far the saddest and scariest graphic novel I’ve read. The first time I read this book was over 20 years ago. I re-read it recently on an evening with MSNBC covering nuclear weapon testing on my TV screen. The story is comical, poignant, and chilling at the same time. It is about how James and Hilda, an elderly couple living in a cottage in English countryside, prepared for a Russian nuclear attack. They followed the instructions in a government issued booklet. James built a fallout shelter with pillows and doors and Hilda was concerned that the pillows might be stained. The booklet recommended 14 days of food supply so James bought 14 loaves of bread… SPOILER: They survived the initial blast but their communications were cut off and their stored water supply destroyed. Radiation poisoning symptoms slowly appeared on both James and Hilda. They believed help from government would come any day. In the end… well, I’ll let you read it yourself, but maybe don’t share this bedtime story with your kids.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

This is two murder mysteries in one: a Poirot style whodunit wrapped inside a contemporary murder mystery. You will love this if you are a fan of Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders. It has all the elements of an Agatha Christie novel: tranquil English countryside, a foreign detective, a sidekick, a village busybody, a vicar and his wife, a rich landowner, a disgruntled handyman, a dark secret buried in the past and more. All this wrapped inside another murder occurring in present time. There are word plays, anagrams, and all the fixings. Do you know why the title is “Magpie Murders” and not “The Magpie Murders”? Well the answer is in the book. I find the story slow at times but it is great summer read. And what’s better than two mysteries for the price of one.

Access to Justice Bulletin, August 2017

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From the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group


Windsor Law School to offer for-credit self-represented litigants (SRLs) coaching course to law students, pairing trained and supervised law students with SRLs in a clinic setting:

TRC Workshop on Gladue Reports and FASD Training on September 19, 2017 in Saskatoon:

Mediate BC releases final report and evaluation report on Family Unbundled Legal Services Project:

Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan seeks Executive Director/Staff Lawyer:

New CBA Legal Futures Initiative Report by Noel Semple released on “hitting the sweet spot” between “accessibility, quality, and profitability for personal plight law firms”:

Dates for Family Law Information Sessions in Saskatoon during Fall 2017 posted:

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, being held October 16-22, 2017.

National Self-Represented Litigants Project launching social justice pod-cast:

Law Society of Saskatchewan Reference Librarian Alan Kilpatrick publishes article on legal information innovation in Saskatchewan:

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family and the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice are studying the cost of resolving family law disputes:

Several Canadian Justices step forward to encourage lawyers to offer unbundled legal services:

Law Society Library multi-year digitization project improves coverage of Saskatchewan tribunal decisions on CanLII, facilitating public access to the law:



Truth and Reconciliation – Call to Action #27

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By Barbra Bailey
Policy Counsel, Law Society of Saskatchewan

Canada’s Residential School System for Aboriginal children was a government-sponsored education system created to separate Aboriginal children from their families and cultural heritage, thereby assimilating them into Euro-Canadian society.  The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) recognized the damage inflicted by the residential schools and established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).  The TRC spent six years travelling to all parts of Canada to hear from survivors, resulting in the release of the Calls to Action Report in June 2015.  The Calls to Action Report outlines 94 areas to be addressed as part of the reconciliation process.

Call to Action #27 specifically addresses the legal profession and states:

“We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal – Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”

Recognizing the importance of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and the advancement of reconciliation, the Law Society of Saskatchewan has committed to responding to Call to Action #27.  As part of our response, the Law Society has dedicated a section of our website to education about the Residential School System and Truth and Reconciliation.  We will continue to provide more information and resources on this site as they become available.

What We Are Reading This Summer – Part 1 of 2

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Summer flies by so fast and we are almost at the end of August. So what have we been reading this summer at the Law Society Libraries?  We’re excited to share some of the books we’ve been reading.

Christine’s list

The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth (1960)

When I was in university, I bonded with my favourite professor over our shared love of John Barth.  This professor was a baby boomer and he recalled that, when he was growing up, all the cool kids would read any new novel by John Barth or Kurt Vonnegut.  While Vonnegut is still widely read and widely praised, Barth has remained somewhat lesser known and, in my opinion, inadequately appreciated.

The Sot-Weed Factor (read: tobacco farmer) is a lengthy but highly entertaining satire of the picaresque genre, detailing the adventures of Ebenezer Cooke, who travels from England to America in the late seventeenth century.  He encounters pirates, bears, Jesuits, Quakers, tavern-keepers, prostitutes, the landed gentry, millers, farmers, members of various Indian tribes, and a particularly cunning confidence artist. There are political machinations, reunions of long-lost relatives, secrets and devastating revelations. There is truly never a dull moment.

Among the remarkable coincidences and unbelievable twists that characterize such adventure stories, actual historical figures appear, including Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Baltimore. Despite the implausibility of the events depicted, the reader comes away from the story having caught intriguing glimpses of the early days of the American colonies, and of Barth’s home, Maryland, in particular.

Some of The Sot-Weed Factor’s passages might – and indeed, ought to – offend the reader if taken out of context. However, Barth’s treatment of Indigenous characters is ultimately sympathetic. He does not excuse colonialism or downplay its deleterious effect on the native population.

Be aware that this is an oftentimes salty book.  In one highly entertaining passage, two women exchange one-word insults for five whole pages, one in French, the other in English.  Anyone looking for synonyms for “sex worker” (a term I personally find offensive) need look no further than this.

There are elements of the book that make the reader conscious of how much society has changed, not just since 1700 but since 1960.  In spite of this, The Sot-Weed Factor is both hilarious and satisfying, and I recommend it wholeheartedly, particularly to anyone looking to unplug and get lost in a fictional world before summer is over.

The Break by Katherena Vermette (2016)

If 17th-century white men’s voices and Ciceronean style do not appeal, The Break could be the novel for you. The Break is an intergenerational story of Indigenous women and girls in Winnipeg’s north end, delivered in a gorgeous and immediate plain style.

The title refers to a narrow, isolated strip of land that runs through the neighbourhood: “It’s Hydro land, was likely set aside in the days before anything was out there. When all that low land on the west side of the Red River was only tall grasses and rabbits, some bush in clusters, all the way to the lake in the north. The neighbourhood rose up around it.”   As the novel opens, one of the main characters witnesses a scene of violence on the Break. The rest of the novel, narrated by various characters, provide the backstory leading up to that incident.

The Break‘s subject matter challenges the reader, but the complexity of the characters and the immediacy of the dialogue are undeniably compelling. Set aside a few hours, depending on how quickly you read, because you will be tempted to read all 350 pages in one sitting.

The Break could not be more of a contrast to The Sot-Weed Factor. It is serious and quick to read, its plot true to life and current. Canada needs more books like this one, and Canadians of all backgrounds need to read The Break.

Numerous reviewers on Goodreads contend that this book should have won CBC’s Canada Reads. A few disagree, protesting that if they wanted to be depressed, they could read stories like this in the news. That is simply false. Vermette goes deeper than any news reporter could, forcing the reader to come face to face with the legacy of colonialism that continues to haunt our country and simultaneously celebrating the strength and love of the people who survive, despite being treated as second-class citizens.

Sarah’s List

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I have decided that I want to re-live my childhood excitement of reading the Harry Potter series once again. The series was my introduction to a lifelong love of reading and always filled me with a sense of wonderment. I have gotten more into audiobooks lately and have always heard that the audio version of the Harry Potter books was very well done, and that is true because Jim Dale beautifully narrates the series. I can’t wait to hear him narrate my favourite of the series, the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Harry Potter is returning to Hogwarts for his third year at the school of witchcraft and wizardry but a prisoner has escaped from Azkaban, the wizarding prison, and is said to be coming after Harry to finish the job he started when Harry was a child. Harry must delve into his parents’ history to discover what truly happened when he was a child.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

In anticipation of the upcoming movie I have picked up A Wrinkle in Time again, one of my favourite science fantasy novels written by Madeleine L’Engle. It was very uncommon in the 1960s to have a female protagonist in a science fiction novel, but it was wildly popular and has won numerous awards since it was first published in 1963.

Meg Murray’s father is missing and it is up to her, her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin to save him. With the help of three mysterious entities, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Witch, they will travel through the fifth dimension and fight the forces of evil.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

On the recommendation of a co-worker I have downloaded the audiobook of one of George R. R. Martin’s less known novels, Fevre Dream, through our local public library. I haven’t heard much about this novel but I trust it will be as elaborate and well written as the Game of Thrones novels and I’m excited to see how Martin portrays vampires as characters.

Abner Marsh, a riverboat captain who has lost almost his entire fleet, has been offered a partnership with the strange and mysterious Joshua York to travel the Mississippi by steamboat. Marsh accepts on the condition that York helps him build his dream boat, the Fevre Dream. Narrated by Ron Donachie, this intricate novel really comes to life and almost makes you feel like you’re on a riverboat in the 1850’s.

Pat’s List

The Book of Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell

While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves—Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe’s libraries and bookshops, large and small, the books they stole were not burned. Instead, the Nazis began to compile a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on literature and history. In this secret war, the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberal politicians, LGBT activists, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups were appropriated for Nazi research, and used as an intellectual weapon against their owners. But when the war was over, most of the books were never returned. Instead many found their way into the public library system, where they remain to this day.

Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner. It was passed to him by the small team of heroic librarians who have begun the monumental task of combing through Berlin’s public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For those who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession of their relatives they have ever held. And as Rydell travels to return the volume he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.

(Description from Penguin Random House)

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

(Description from Penguin Random House)

The Chosen Maiden by Eva Stachniak