Law Matters

For access to archived digital issues of Law Matters, please contact the CBA Alberta office at 403-263-3707, or

Most Recent Issues

Law Matters | Winter 2019

Canada's International Obligations


At Law Matters we always strive to keep our finger on the pulse of Canadian legal discourse. Our last edition — published shortly after cannabis legalization — discussed the implications of legal cannabis for municipal regulation, immigration, workplace safety, and criminal law. Here, we discuss another pressing issue currently facing Canadians: Canada’s international obligations.

Examples of the recent controversy surrounding Canada’s international obligations — and, more broadly, of legal issues with international scope — are plentiful.

At home, the Global Compact has been a divisive legal and political issue. Some raise concerns about its implications for Canadian sovereignty; others argue that, as a non-binding agreement, the Compact raises no such concerns, and is nothing more than partisan pandering. For a thorough discussion, The Docket has a detailed interview with Louise Arbour who personally worked on the Compact as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration. Similarly, the recent RCMP occupation of the Unist’ot’en Camp in northern British Columbia likewise stimulated discussion about Canada’s commitment to international standards regarding Indigenous peoples.

International issues have also been at the forefront of Canadian legal media with respect to issues abroad. In December, Canadian officials arrested a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei for extradition to the United States in relation to fraud allegations. In seeming retaliation, China has detained multiple Canadians, and sentenced one to death. And of course, the ostensible assassination of Jamal Khashoggi — a Washington Post reporter — drew international headlines across the globe. The international dimension of these issues expand their scope, complicate their analysis, and in turn, demand even greater attention and adversarial discussion.

In this edition, we take on various international issues. Michelle Hoffmann — who was part of the core legal team supporting CUSMA negotiations — provides a helpful overview highlighting key components of the agreement, and explains why it is no Faustian bargain. Further, Professor Nigel Bankes discusses Bill C-626 and Canadian legislative efforts to implement UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), and in turn, make greater efforts to “decolonize Canadian law and the Canadian legal mind.” For additional analysis on implementing UNDRIP, see this helpful discussion8 from former Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Canada, Gib Van Ert. Lastly, we include two accounts from international trailblazers who provide insights into how lawyers interested in the international arena can get involved. Amanda Bahadur — born and raised in Calgary, Alberta — discusses the Young Lawyers International Program which provides new calls the opportunities to work abroad promoting global development and the rule of law; in her case, YLIP brought her to Guyana, where she has been working tirelessly to promote LGBTQ+ rights. And Vincent Wong — a prestigious Human Rights Fellow at Columbia Law School — sat down with me to discuss his experience working with human rights, and how, whether at home or abroad, there are many worthy human rights initiatives for lawyers to get involved with.

In an increasingly globalized world, we can no longer remain blind to the increasingly interconnected world we live in. Many of the most heated debates of our generation — from climate change, to President Trump’s border wall — are innately international. So join us in reflecting on Canada’s international obligations, both at home and abroad.


Joshua Sealy-Harrington


Law Matters | Winter 2017-18

The quarterly publication of the Canadian Bar Association - Alberta Branch. How does one find their passion when pursuing a career in law? Are the "traditional" career paths are there are? In this issue of Law Matters, we examine legal career paths, and ways that lawyers can find meaning inside and outside of the firm. 

Law Matters | Fall 2017

The quarterly publication of the Canadian Bar Association - Alberta Branch. We are pleased to present our issue on Truth & Reconciliation, which features responses from both the CBA and the Law Society of Alberta on the TRC Action Items.


Law Matters | Spring 2017

In this edition, we look at the issue of unconscious gender bias in the legal profession, and examine what our colleagues in the profession and other professions are doing to combat it.

Law Matters | Winter 2016-17

As technology changes, the legal profession rushes to keep up. Our Winter 2016-17 issue tackles topics including cloud storage and computer dispute resolution, and looks at the technological innovations coming from one of the world's largest law firms. 

Law Matters | Fall 2016

"Diversity" is a popular buzzword in the legal profession today, and it is easy for some to write to off as a passing trend. This issue of Law Matters examines why diversity in the profession is important to the success of practitioners and the profession as a whole, and features some very personal testimonials from those who are most affected by the lack of diversity that currently exists.

Law Matters | Summer 2016

Sex, drugs and assisted dying: how free should we be? Our legal experts discuss issues surrounding consent, legalization of marijuana, and the recent assisted dying legislation.

Law Matters | Spring 2016

The practice of law is rapidly changing, and lawyers must change with it. Prepare yourself and your practice with this issue featuring articles by Jordan Furlong, legal market analyst and consultant, and on Axiom Law (formerly Cognition LLP), which is setting the standard for practicing law differently in Canada.

Law Matters | Winter 2015-16

As the legal profession changes, so must legal education with it.  From law schools to articling programs, read an update on the state of legal education in Canada today. Plus, read a special insert celebrating the centenary of the Canadian Bar Association - Alberta Branch.

Law Matters | Fall 2015

Alternative service delivery has recently been a topic of heated discussion in the profession.  Read our issue for an in-depth look at the topic.

Law Matters | Summer 2015

The Alberta Branch presents the first electronic edition of Law Matters.  This issue provides an in-depth discussion of the debate surrounding the accreditation of the Trinity Western University Law School.

Law Matters | Spring 2015

Read our issue on “Law and Happiness”, with submissions on law and happiness from Professor Marilyn Poitras, how collaborative practice makes for happier lawyers and clients, and more. 

Law Matters | Winter 2014-15

Law Matters presents the History Issues.   This issue focuses on historical perspectives, including a look back at past CBA leadership by Steve Mandziuk, QC and a brief history of women in the Alberta legal profession.

Law Matters | Fall 2014

Just in time for law schools to begin for the 2014-15 school year, Law Matters presents the Career perspectives issue. In this issue, we hear from law school graduates at different stages in their careers from senior practitioners to judges, and even one non-practicing lawyer with a sweet career.

Law Matters | Summer 2014

We tackle issues surrounding regulatory law in the summer 2014 edition of Law Matters. With a debate on the regulation of pipelines, to updates on railway regulation and the Species at Risk Act, this issue provides a comprehensive look at regulatory law in Canada.

Law Matters | Spring 2014

Welcome to the new format of Law Matters. This issue focuses on the topic of the future of the legal profession.  Topics covered in this issue include an analysis of three-stream articling, co-op law school and more, with contributors providing engaging discussion on the future of our profession.