Archives for the month of: July, 2013

The legal process in the dealings of Family/Divorce proceedings have developed throughout the years into a fair and just system. Currently Family/Divorce law, sits for the most part in the hands of the provincial level government, however, there are overarching federal laws in place that constitutes the dealings of divorce. The division of all property, upon such an occurrence as divorce, that is acquired between the times of the marriage and the day that the separation is enacted is in all sense completely equally divided between the two parties[1]. In addition as of 2005 Canada also acknowledged same sex marriage to be valid and of equal stature to a marriage between a man and a woman[2] which enables same sex divorces to be enacted under the same laws as any other marriage. In such sights Family/Divorce laws are gender neutral, meaning that neither gender has an advantage over the other, and divorces are, in Canada, sexual orientation neutral, as in laws that apply to a marriage between a man and women apply by all means to a gay or lesbian couple. As such the actual basis of divorce cases are fair and just and seem to be on balance with modern views. However, that does not go to say that the legal system in perspective to such legal dealings of divorce is an entirely just and fair system nor does it go to say that the system does not need to be changed.

In terms of accessibility and financial expense the family and divorce proceedings are for all intended purposes appalling. The expense alone of hiring a lawyer in order to represent you at court is unrealistic for anyone but the wealthy[3]. In a survey done on 275 family litigants in Ontario showed that 60% were self-represented during their divorce proceedings and the number one reason as to why be that they could not afford to pay for a lawyer[4]. The people who came from a wealthier background were much more likely to have a lawyer to represent and to help them to navigate the field throughout their legal proceedings[5]. A similar survey was conducted in Calgary on lawyers and judges; the findings showed that north of 50% of such proceedings that were done where either one or both parties were representing themselves[6]. Moreover, a specific case outlined by Mclean’s magazine showed that Augustine, a woman who had recently suffered a divorce to which she could not afford a lawyer, used all of her vacation and sick days in one year in order to represent herself in court following her separation. Even so, at the end of the year she found she was no closer in finalizing that divorce[7]. Mclean’s described self-representation as a process that is not “[for] the faint of heart” and describes Augustine’s incredible struggle[8]. “Let’s face the facts, the cost of lawyers has escalated dramatically,”[9] stated David Scott, an Ottawa lawyer and chair of Pro Bono law Ontario.

Facing this serious problem, the most significant change that needs to occur in Family/Divorce law is not the laws themselves but the accessibility of the proceedings. The process as it stands takes people who are at one of their most vulnerable and devastated moments in their lives and enhances their feelings of desperation by surmounting the stress. Speaking from a child of divorce, or rather watching my parents deal with separating over the last few years I understand first-hand the difficulties and the lack of help they are given in response to the situation of divorce. Lawyers need to be more financially accessible so that unqualified people are not left to navigate a legal system that they have no specialty knowledge of. In most of these cases, as in the case of Augustine, these people get cheated out of just representation and as such they are at a significant disadvantage throughout the proceedings.

This problem is dire and similar to most legal situations, complicated. There is no easy answer in the improvement of this legal process however there may be small ways to allow a more accessible legal system. For instance Augustine stated, “I don’t make a lot of money, but I make too much to get legal aid.”[10] This problem could be minimalized or eliminated if the amount of income of which was necessary in order to be eligible for legal aid was reduced. This could allow more people access to legal support. Similarly, more governmental aid programs should be set up for those who require them in addition to more government sourced lawyers. It is obvious that neither of these options is simple or inexpensive in themselves, but they may perhaps be an effective answer in dealing with this problem that has affected so much of our population.

Lastly, in order to minimalize the overall affects that divorce reaps on its victims, and as the process is as demanding and expensive as it is, affordable and accessible therapy should be more readily available. After such a rigorous and damaging process a variety of people may require counselling or therapy to which, after such an expensive process, they cannot afford. People suffering through such pivotal and aggressive situations should not be left without government aid to help them sort through such a phonetically altering time. Despite the significance in the problem of expense, mental health, stability, and stress should also be accounted for.

In conclusion, Divorce/Family law has been set upon grounds of solid legal backings and laws. However it does not extend its reach so far as to actually help people dealing with the proceedings. As such the legal process needs to be reformed to be more accessible to people of all wealth brackets and to be more supportive to the people who require it.


Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a richly cultured city of Canada with its own uniquely styled personal life. In contrast to other major Canadian cities it flaunts interestingly painted houses sporting colours such as anything from lilac in a deep purple frame, to lime green walls. The hills in the city coupled with the waterfront only make it a more interesting and unique setting to wander through with a vibrant and beautiful coastline view. The reasons as to why guests to the city frequent Halifax tend to be the more mainstream tourist destinations. The Bluenose II boat, which boasts of a colourful younger life of bootlegging rum into Canada during the Prohibition in World War 1, is one of those popular attractions that drive hoards of people into the city to see. Peggy’s cove is in addition another popular tourist destination that convinces people from all over the world to drive the two hours out of Halifax to stand on the rocky coastline and gaze up at the pealing white and red paint of the light house. However, despite these historic and interesting attractions that Halifax offers and is so esteemed for, there is actually plenty of other, equally if not even more, fascinating and attractive sights to see while in the city. Here are a few off the beat and lesser known activities to seek out while you’re visiting Halifax.

For one, a popular musical event that takes place every Saturday at 4 o’clock is the frequented visit of a father and son duo at the pub Dirty Nelly’s. This pub fills during the moments leading up to the weekly show that has taken place at the same time same day over the last few years. The generational duet brags of a huge variety of songs in a variety of contrasting musical genres, anything from Pink Floyd’s Us & Them, to Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars, all the way to Great Big Sea, and makes a point of sticking to the style in which the original musician intended for the song. These two men’s show is surely an authentic experience of Halifax that the locals frequently enjoy but may perhaps be something that tourists tend to miss or pass by unawares of. In this unfortunate reality, I implore those who are planning a visit in the near future to seek out this must see attraction for a generally local experience.

Furthermore the music life in Halifax is one of the most authentic and available music scenes around.  ImageThe city brags local music of all ages from aspiring young musicians to accomplished international legends. The music scene in Halifax is abundant, genuine, vibrant, atmospheric, and an experience one would never forget. To see music performed along the ocean, with the expanse of water in the bay throwing back the sound, with the addition of the birds in the trees adding their own musical dealings in when they choose, and the fresh salty sea air surrounding the entirety of the experience. That’s the summer atmosphere. However when weather ill-permitting there are the numerous age old pubs with their dark rooms and musky atmospheres: one could argue that that is how music is supposed to be heard.

In addition to the behind the scenes musical charm that Halifax so ably provides, a perhaps more well-known but equally vibrant and authentic experience of the city is the farmers market located along the shore line. This small market provides anything from authentic foreign foods to hand made enameled glass jewelry to beautiful local photography. The variety of goods and tasty treats ensures something for all who visit. The atmosphere of the space alone is a worthwhile experience in itself and another off the beat must see upon arriving in Halifax.

Moreover, it being true to Canada through and through the vivacity of Halifax and the genuiImagene kindness of the locals is a stellar addition to such a vibrant city. The bits of artwork patch worked in and around the city add a truly beautiful walk when wandering the streets and the waterfront.  A particular lamp post sculpture situated on the docks is a beautiful and eerie piece of art that is just one of the many in such an artistic city. It may not be common form for some tourists to simply wander a city due to its lack of destination as they are unawares as to where they are truly headed, but from personal experience that has come to be one of the best ways for one to truly get to know the bricks of an unfamiliar city. The general benevolence displayed by the locals of Halifax only make that practice more and more enthralling and a more genuinely engaging experience. If there ever was a city to wander with a tourists camera in hand and no map to speak of, Halifax would be the one. The waterfront, the pieces of art littering the sidewalks and docks, as well as the too nice people that will point you in the direction of your hotel should you get lost before dinner time, make it an experience to remember.

Furthermore I must point out for the runners, walkers, and outdoorsmen out there the greenery embroidering Point Pleasant Park, and what a beautiful space to wander through whether in your runners or your walkers. The city of Halifax is known for its hills and as such running along the paved streets can become rather difficult and is why the Bluenose Half Marathon, a half marathon situated in Halifax itself, is such an engaging and difficult run. The reprisal is the park, which places you in a pocket of greenery surrounded, perhaps unknowingly, by the city itself. This park is truly a beautiful place to wander through and an ideal running space for those who pack their running shoes when they vacation. And those insane enough to try, the Bluenose Half Marathon is a feat worth boasting of.

Lastly, there is no event more prideful, no attraction more rambunctious, and no celebration more homegrown than Alexander Keith’s birthday. Alexander Keith’s, a beer boasting of rich flavor and a Halifax origin, is never more consumed than the day that its creator and namesake was born. The university students and locals join together for a night of celebrating (and toasting) Mr. Keith into the wee hours of the morning. No experience is bettered more then by the situation and atmosphere that it is absorbed into. This unbeatable experience, whether or not it’s well known to the common public, that is to say the people who perhaps don’t live in Halifax or its surrounding towns and cities, is truly one that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. You will never rival the friends made, the memories, and the truly indomitable experience.

If none of these road-less-traveled aspects of Halifax have convinced or thrilled you to the utmost, although I couldn’t imagine how or why, then hey, why not just come to the city for the well-known attractions? The viewing of the Bluenose II is a riveting experience complete with a two room museum and view of the boat itself. And just perhaps, while you’re spending your vacation reliving the glory days of this time infested boat, you might, just might chance upon one of the many more local amusements of the city and you just might just thank yourself for it.