kerfuffle in the court

refs_2Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed the newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada yesterday, having decided that of all the former 14-year-olds never drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1964, Mr. Justice Marc Nadon is the best one for the job.

A kerfuffle, The Toronto Star is calling it this morning. Justice Nadon told The Huffington Post that he was sorry to have used the word “drafted.” It was a term he’d employed “very loosely.”

“I wouldn’t,” he said, “have used that word if I thought this was going to be — for me drafted meant, was really meant in a really wide sense.”

“I certainly didn’t lie.”

Lessons learned, then? Justice Nadon told The Star he’d be much more careful in his judgments. That seems important, a good start.

I’m still waiting on word back from Detroit, so we still don’t know whether the Red Wings can build on this: are they willing to do the organizational soul-searching that would seem to be in order for a team that chose Claude Gauthier first overall in the amateur draft nearly 50 years ago?

On the legal side, is it still too soon to be talking about reforming the highest court in the land? At some point, surely, we’re going to have to talk about shaping a Supreme Court that truly reflects the society we live in, which, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, is actually teeming with guys who have been drafted by NHL teams.

Finally, if there’s one thing we know now that maybe we didn’t just a few short days ago, it’s this: records from the Ligue de Hockey Midget Inter-Cité are not as readily available as some of us would wish.

Of course, if we can’t mull over Justice Nadon’s youthful scoring exploits, I guess it’s some kind of solace that so many of his legal decisions are accessible online, including several with a hockey bent to them. For instance, from the Federal Court of Appeal in 2007, a trademark case, Canadian Tire Corp. v. Accessoires d’Autos Nordiques Inc.

Canadian Tire was trying to argue that their application for a trademark on the word Nordic was meant to evoke the NHL’s once mighty Quebec Nordiques rather than a tire company they were competing with.

In the original case, Canadian Tire lawyers had commissioned a survey from a Dr. Corbin to … well, to

assess the extent to which the word NORDIQUES brings to mind the Nordiques hockey team. This survey demonstrates the inherent distinctiveness of the NORDIQUES trade-mark and the ideas it suggests. The results of the survey showed that “[a]s a matter of first impression, 80 % of Quebec purchasers of auto-parts or tools think of hockey when seeing the word NORDIQUES. […] As a matter of first and second impression combined, 96% think of hockey or some reference to hockey.’

The original decision went against Canadian Tire, I guess. For the appeal, they brought new evidence, which, guess what?

The new evidence supported Canadian Tire’s argument before the Registrar that that the word NORDIQUES, when read aloud, evoked the NORDIQUES hockey team rather than the Appellant’s NORDIQUES trade-mark.

Or what about this case, fascinating, from the Federal Court of Appeal from 2010, a tax dispute involving a nude dancer from the Chez Parée club in Montréal, whether she was declaring all her income, and “the hypothesis that she was perhaps being supported, unbeknownst to her common-law spouse, by someone from her past, namely, a hockey player.” I have to admit, I kind of lost my way in the transcript’s procedural thickets. I do know that the Canada Revenue Agency asked the dancer’s lawyer

to provide the name of the person allegedly supporting his client, the sums that she had received, the dates of the alleged payments, the method of payment and the alleged reason for the payments.

He wouldn’t do it, though, the lawyer. “He insisted that his suggestion that his client had received sums of money from a hockey player was merely a hypothesis.” Which also means, I suppose, that we’ll never know the answer to the question that really matters here: was this alleged guy ever drafted?

One response to “kerfuffle in the court

  1. Andrew Heintzman

    Congratulations Puckstruck on your tireless reporting! And thank youfor finally adding a comments section. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I will return frequently and tell you all my thoughts. On many subjects. No charge.