Sometimes, as a summer student, you strike gold. I’m not talking about closing a mining file. Two weeks ago, we received an email from Peter Henein with the subject line “FUN ASSIGNMENT (for reals!)” Luckily, I’m the only summer student with an interest in this area of the law, so I got the pleasure of taking this assignment.
Peter is a partner in the Advocacy practise group and specializes in the areas of intellectual property, product liability, and class actions. However, for the purposes of morning television, Peter would be doing a segment on the craziest, kookiest, Canadian laws still on the books. To help him prepare, I searched the hallows of the internet, everywhere from Canada’s Criminal Code to the bylaws of small towns to the Federal Maple Syrup Regulations. Here is a glimpse of what I came up with:
- In Petrolia, Ontario, the self proclaimed “Greatest Town on Earth”, there are noise by laws that prohibit sounds from toy engines, a pet’s barking and even whistling or shouting.
- It’s illegal to attach a siren to your bike in Sudbury, Ontario.
- According to Section 365 of Canada’s Criminal Code, it is illegal to pretend to practice witchcraft – this prohibits “everyone who fraudulently pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery or enchantments.” The ban also includes anyone who fraudulently practices fortune telling.
- Oak Bay’s by laws make it illegal to keep a caged bird whose frequent noises could disturb the peace and enjoyment of other individuals.
- Duelling, or even challenging someone to duel, is a criminal offence in Canada punishable by jail time.
Finally, it was time for Peter’s debut and he invited me to accompany him to CTV studios. We were ushered in by a kind staff and stage crew and before we knew it Peter was live.
All joking aside, Peter was eloquent, engaging and accessible. As a seasoned litigator, Peter explained to me that the art of public speaking is creating a conversation, not delivering a presentation. Advocacy skills are transferable to every forum and serve a lawyer well in front of a judge and in front of a camera. I expressed to Peter early on that I was hesitant to try litigation. Over the course of this assignment, he took the time to give me great advice, debunk some common litigation misconceptions, and encouraged me to try a rotation during articling. While I’ve be able to do some really interesting work this summer, this assignment may be the most memorable. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to working with Peter next year as an articling student.
But enough about me, I know what you’re all thinking – what’s next for Peter Henein? Word at the firm is that he’s been fielding calls from Hollywood all afternoon. So, summer students of today and tomorrow, if you see Peter around the halls of Cassels, no flash photography, please, but I hear if you ask really nicely, he might sign an autograph.
Check out Peter’s segment below!