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Friday, August 31, 2018

Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop, schedule for fall term, 2018

Here is the schedule for the fall term. Everyone welcome to all or any of the sessions (you will want to email Jim at to get on the distribution list to receive papers).


All sessions held in Room J230, Jackman Hall, University of Toronto Law School. All sessions begin at 6.30.
Wednesday September 19: Carolyn Strange, Australian National University: ‘Capital Punishment and Sex Crimes in Canada, 1867-1950’

Wednesday October 10: Virginia Torrie, University of Manitoba: ‘Federalism and Farm Debt during the Great Depression’

Wednesday October 24: Jim Phillips and Tom Collins, University of Toronto: ‘The Origin of the Division of Powers in the BNA Act’

Wednesday November 7: Ian Radforth, University of Toronto: ‘The Sad Story of the Minister's Daughter: A Botched Abortion in Victorian Toronto’

Wednesday November 21: Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School: "Settling In: Civil Justice on the Indigenous Plains, 1876-1886"

Wednesday December 5: Heidi Bohaker, University of Toronto: TBA

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Blaine Baker obit in Globe and Mail

Obit from the Globe, 18 August 2018


June 9, 1952 - July 11, 2018
Blaine passed away at 66 years. Predeceased by his father, George Grant Baker QC, his mother, Muriel Isabel Baker, and his brother, Eric William Baker. He is survived by his sister, Jill Elizabeth Baker. A private family service is being held.
Blaine was a professor of law at McGill University for 28 years. During his time there, he served as Associate Dean (academic) from 1999 to 2001, and Associate Dean (graduate studies) from 1997 to 1999.
A beloved teacher, Blaine received several teaching awards. His scholarship as an accomplished legal historian earned him encomiums from various learned academic institutions.
Blaine wrote many leading and influential articles and book chapters on Canadian legal history. Professor Baker also taught at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall law schools. He was also an accomplished adjudicator with the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal.
A commemorative ceremony is planned for Professor Baker on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 2 p.m., Birks Heritage Chapel, McGill University, 3520 University St., Montreal. Contributions to the Professor Blaine Baker Scholarship Fund may be made through McGill University.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Morin, "Indigenous Peoples, Political Economists and the Tragedy of the Commons"

Michel Morin of the Faculté de droit Université de Montréal has published "Indigenous Peoples, Political Economists and the Tragedy of the Commons" in Theoretical Inquiries in Law, vol 19. no. 2 (2018).

Here's the abstract:

In “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Garrett Hardin implicitly moved from bounded commons — a pasture or a tribe’s territory — to the case of boundless commons — the ocean, the atmosphere and planet Earth. He insisted on the need for imposing limits on the use of these resources, blurring the difference between communal property and open access regimes. The success of his paper is due in great measure to his neglect of economic, scientific, legal  and anthropological literature. His main lifelong focus was on limiting population growth. He could have avoided the conceptual confusion he created by turning to well-known political economists such as John Locke and Adam Smith or, for that matter, jurists, such as Blackstone. Instead, he simply envisioned indigenous lands as an unbounded wilderness placed at the disposal of frontiersmen. Though he eventually acknowledged the existence of managed commons, he had little interest in community rules pertaining to resource exploitation. For him, these were simply moral norms which inevitably became ineffective after a community reached a certain level of population. He also took economists to task for failing to include in their analysis the true environmental and social costs of public decisions. Still, the famous example of the indigenous people of Northeastern Quebec illustrates a shortcoming of his analysis: community members did not act in total isolation from each other. On the contrary, communal norms could prevent an overexploitation of resources or allow for the adoption of corrective measures.