Our articling student, Elsa Ascencio, was recently interviewed by New York Magazine about the Trump’s Administration’s decision to deport 200,000 Salvadorans from the United States. Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans have lived in the States for more than a decade through the Temporary Protected Status program. The program was a response to the devastating earthquake that struck the country in 2001.

The decision will have a lasting impact on Salvadoran families across the United States because many of them have built their lives in the U.S. Our articling student, Elsa Ascencio, spoke out on the issue. Although many Salvadoran immigrants are proud of their heritage, El Salvador still faces high levels of poverty and violence among youth. As the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Elsa wants others to know that countries like Canada and the United States have given opportunities for immigrants to pursue their dreams. Elsa uses her story as an example. Her parents arrived to Canada as immigrants and they worked in factories to support Elsa’s dream to go to law school.

At Jewitt McLuckie & Associates LLP, we promote the advancement of human rights in our society and we stand with our articling student in her dedication to a fair future for all immigrants.

Check out the full video here: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/the-deportation-administration-whats-at-stake.html

On December 17, 2015, Kael McKenzie was appointed as a Judge of the Provincial Court in Winnipeg. He is the first openly transgender person appointed to the bench in Canada.  Like many provinces, Manitoba recognizes the diversity of the province as a central criterion to the judicial appointment process. The Provincial Court Act demands that a qualifying candidate represent the “diversity of Manitoba.”[1] McKenzie’s appointment illustrates the judicial selection committee’s adherence to the legislation and efforts to address the lack of judicial diversity seriously. As Canadian anti-discrimination laws continue to develop, it is fundamental to such progress that the judiciary also be increasingly representative of the citizenry over which they preside. A diverse bench will undoubtedly result in more socially aware and contextualized decision-making. Speaking to the importance of diversity within the judiciary, in the Supreme Court of Canada decision R v R.D.S, Justices McLachlin and L’Heureux-Dubé  wrote:

 “Judges in a bilingual, multiracial and multicultural society will undoubtedly approach the task of judging from their varied perspectives. They will certainly have been shaped by, and gained insight from, their different experiences, and cannot be expected to divorce themselves from these experiences on the occasion of their appointment to the bench. In fact, such a transformation would deny society the benefit of the valuable knowledge gained by the judiciary while they were members of the Bar.”[2]

 Further addressing the need for a more diverse bench, Chief Justice McLachlin eloquently stated, “Many people, particularly women and visible minorities, may have less than complete trust in a system composed exclusively or predominantly of middle-aged white men in pinstriped trousers.”[3] Justice McKenzie may well be a man who wears pinstriped trousers, but his experience and perspective is a welcome addition to the bench, and it will be interesting to witness the impact of increasing diversity  on the development of law and the evolving concept of justice in Canada.


[1] Provincial Court Act

[2] R. v. R.D.S. [1997] 3 S.C.R. 484

[3] http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/Upload/Documents/JSCInauguralLectureJune2012.pdf page 21

Story: Cara Ryan
Cover image and text: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/transgender-judge-manitoba-appointment-1.3372983