Archive for the ‘Firm Blog’ Category

A New Direction In Canadian Immigration Policy On Sponsorship Of Parents And Grandparents

By Larry W.O. Smeets   Did you know that major changes are occurring in Canada in the way in which the Federal government handles sponsorship applications submitted by Canadians involving parents and grandparents who are citizens of another country? The previous government of Conservative leader Stephen Harper had essentially frozen such family reunification applications, looking upon elderly family members who were brought into Canada under such a program in particular as a drain on the country’s social security system. The Harper government tightened the rules so much that it became almost impossible for Canadians to bring family members into the country. Their

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Joint Divorces In British Columbia

“Joint Divorces In British Columbia” By Larry W.O. Smeets So you and your spouse have concluded that you do not want to remain together, and are going to divorce. You have heard stories about how couples who go through a divorce are embittered against each other for life, and are ruined financially by the process. Is that an unavoidable outcome of divorce? While I am by no means an advocate of divorce (on the contrary), as a lawyer who has practised law for 23 years I believe that if you and your spouse are in fundamental agreement about how to

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The Highway Of Tears – Poetry by Larry Smeets

  FALLEN ANGEL By Larry Smeets (Written in commemoration of Ramona Wilson and the other young women who have gone missing along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, Canada)   With innocent smile she presides over new reports she was unable during her own brief life to comprehend. Her name is now entwined with terms like  “decaying” “serial killer’s victim” and  “shallow grave”. What did she live through between the smiles and the moment of her death? What desires not yet professed were by her abductor’s hands crushed? What hopes were shattered? What trusts betrayed? The contrast between

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Criminal Lawyer Vancouver – Poetry By Larry Smeets

    THE SENTENCING HEARING     We sit alongside a long court table: the prosecutor to the right – solitary, silent, unsmiling;  my client on edge to the left. We’re nationals all of the same land. Yet within these walls there’s no family of man. Governnment lawyers, lawmakers and police work here hand in hand, a self-governing kingdom ruling over the rest. Their task today: to get the court on side.   The judge comes in. A guilty plea is entered. The hearing begins. The prosecutor reads from lines scripted by Burnaby RCMP, portraying in the worst way my

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Labour Tribunals In Canada – Where Are We Headed?

By Larry W.O. Smeets   In a recent article entitled “Labour Tribunals In Canada:  Reflections On A Troubling Trend”, I suggested that legislators in Canada really do not want labour bureaucrats to be held accountable for the way in which they exercise power over the labour force.  I would now like to outline, as a follow-up to what is said in that article, my view on the overall impact of such attempts to circumvent judicial oversight. To answer such a question, we must begin with a review of the actual power of the courts in Canada.  Canadian courts lack a

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Labour Tribunals In Canada: Reflections On A Troubling Trend

By Larry W.O. Smeets   In Canada particularly since the First World War of 1914-1918, the role of government in society has expanded considerably.  Such change has involved an increase in the total number of civil servants employed by all levels of government, and assigned with responsibility for managing the vast increase in social and economic regulation.  As the institutions of the Canadian state have grown, increased discretion has been vested in such officials to manage the affairs of state.  In effect the democratically-elected body has relinquished its powers to the civil servant.  Delegation is often resorted to because it

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Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot of 2011 – Poetry by Larry Smeets

  HELPING HAND   (“For reasons I can’t really explain, I went from being a spectator to becoming part of the mob mentality that swept through many members of the crowd ….  I am truly ashamed of what I did.” Nathan Kotylak, aged 17, reflecting on his role in setting a police cruiser on fire during the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot of June 15, 2011)     We walk a blind stranger across a crowded crosswalk, or give coins to the poor man seated at the street corner, clenching a sign that says ‘No Job – Will Work For Food’. Washed

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Death Penalty In China – Poetry By Larry Smeets

    KILLING CHICKENS TO SCARE MONKEYS (Dedicated to those working for the abolition of the death penalty in the Peoples Republic of China, a country where thousands are executed each year for crimes ranging from the most heinous offences, such as murder, to lesser crimes such as tax fraud, theft of cultural relics, corruption, and small-scale drug trafficking)     It’s execution day in ZhengzhouTown. The parade of the condemned ends at a grassy knoll. There (so the saying goes) chickens will die so monkeys will be scared. Two policemen ready each bound man, pressing him down to a

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Forced Abortions In China – Poetry By Larry Smeets

    ONE CHILD POLICY (For Hui Qing)       In my eighth month Auntie Number Three informed on me to the Family Planners. Told them I was with child again. At night three Planners came to my hiding place. Tied me up like a felon as my man and our son looked on, to prevent escape. I pleaded with them “Please leave me be till the baby is born. Then I will have my tubes tied.” But they scarcely even listened. They’d heard it all before.   I was taken away to thePingTanHospital. Strapped down on a steel

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Interpol Red Notice for Luka Rocco Magnotta

 by Larry W.O. Smeets An international manhunt for a Canadian suspect intensified today as authorities identified the victim of a gruesome killing and dismemberment as Jun Lin, 33, a Chinese student studying in Montreal.   Luka Rocco Magnotta, a self-styled porn star who fled Canada last weekend, is now wanted for first-degree murder and carrying out an indignity to a human body. Magnotta flew out of Montreal’s Trudeau airport on May 26; he is suspected of being in France. It is reported that France’s fugitive search unit has been ordered to hunt for Magnotta.   Interpol posted a picture and

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