Tag Archives: Star Trek

Lawyer inspired by Star Trek’s Picard

The most amazing thing in this article was reading that ST:TNG, made its debut 30 years ago. THIRTY YEARS ago?!  –CPL

Star Trek was a key part of my legal education

Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard boldly went where all lawyers should dare to go, Gavin MacFadyen writes.

While Trekkies everywhere are excited over the arrival of Star Trek: Discovery, it was an earlier series in that venerable franchise that influenced my professional life as a lawyer.

Thirty years ago this week, the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation coincided with my first year of law school at McGill. My legal apprenticeship would have been well-served if I skipped class and only had that series upon which to draw.

Lawyers often cite Atticus Finch as a character from whom they drew their inspiration. For me, it was Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Enterprise, who provided a lifelong seminar in legal philosophy, morality and ethics.

In the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, an omniscient and meddlesome being called Q places the Enterprise crew on trial for the crimes of humanity.

“You will now answer to the charge of being a grievously savage race,” says Q, acting as judge.

“‘Grievously savage’ could mean anything. I will answer only specific charges,” Picard fires back. He is, in essence, challenging the legal sufficiency of the charge as being void for vagueness.

As a criminal defence lawyer, I learned that mastering the minutiae of procedure and challenging each point is what builds a reputation that prosecutors hate in opposing counsel. Their desire to avoid prolonged and costly trials is what fuels the plea bargaining that typically marks the resolution of criminal proceedings.

Another first season episode brought home that punishment must always be informed by fairness. In Justice, laws on a seemingly idyllic planet have only one punishment: death. Wesley Crusher, teenage son of the ship’s doctor, damages some flowers while playing catch.

Captain Picard is now faced with a moral choice: If he stays true to the Prime Directive (i.e. absolute noninterference in developing cultures) the result would be Wesley’s execution.

What does Picard do? What would any of us do?

He prevents the execution, of course! Picard had a sophisticated understanding of context. It drove home the point that the law must always reflect common sense.

It is in what is perhaps the most widely lauded episode of the series, The Measure of a Man, where Picard shines brightest. A Star Fleet scientist wishes to appropriate the Enterprise’s android Data and dismantle him for study and possible replication.

A hearing is convened. Picard argues that Data is a sentient being who should be accorded the right of self-determination. Picard emphasizes that any ruling today will bind all the potential androids that come after. A new race of beings could be subject to “servitude and slavery.”

It was a valuable early reminder that legal rulings create precedents. As well, Picard’s willingness to stand with those who would otherwise stand alone reminds us that vigilance in the face of officially sanctioned oppression of those who are “other from us” is an ongoing struggle.

More than a decade before 9/11, Picard recognized that security must never come at the expense of due process. In the episode The Drumhead, the uncovering of a single Klingon agent on board the Enterprise results in an official inquiry conducted by a visiting admiral who sees spies and saboteurs under every 24th-century bed.

Swiftly, accusation and innuendo smother the search for truth.

When a young crewman is singled out for lying about his parentage — his Romulan grandfather — the inquiry turns into a witch hunt.

That episode taught me that tyranny does not announce itself in one grand moment, but takes hold incrementally and can cloak itself in the veil of innocent inquiry and investigation.

What made Jean-Luc Picard so inspiring was his default approach: He always asked what should happen and not what a statute said must happen.

He identified the just result, and then constructed an argument to make it happen.

He boldly went where all lawyers should be willing to go.

ST: Discovery on Crave TV

Click here to read full press release

TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2017 /CNW/ – Set phasers to stream as STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, the hotly anticipated next instalment of the iconic sci-fi series, is coming to CraveTV. Already home to the robust STAR TREK Collection, which features the entire STAR TREK television library, the eagerly anticipated new series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY begins streaming exclusively on CraveTV, Monday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET with a special two-episode premiere. This follows the series’ previously announced Canadian broadcast premiere Sunday, September 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT on CTV and Space, day-and-date with CBS and CBS All Access in the U.S. Subsequent episodes stream on CraveTV Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

Following each new episode, the official STAR TREK: DISCOVERY after-show, TALKING TREK, streams on CraveTV. The first episode of TALKING TREK streams Monday, September 25 at 10 p.m. ET, with new episodes rolling out every week at 9 p.m. ET.

Trekkie licence plate sparks Indigenous anger

Pulled from use after Indigenous activists protest

The plate holder says, “WE ARE THE BORG” and “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”

Is the word assimilate offensive? At issue is a legal battle that has just been launched that pits the right of a Star Trek fan to have it on his licence plate against Indigenous groups opposed to the word.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nick Troller, a Winnipeg man whose licence plate — ASIMIL8 — was rescinded by the provincial government for being offensive to Indigenous people.

“It’s another case that pits the Charter freedom of expression against the new, phoney right not to be offended,” said JCCF President John Carpay, a former Alberta Wildrose party candidate. Carpay said he can understand why the plate might offend someone, but the word still shouldn’t be censored. “There’s a difference between words that are inherently offensive regardless of how you use them, such as vulgarities, obscenities, four-letter words, versus words like ‘war’ or ‘assimilate,’ which can have positive or negative connotations,” he said.

Troller said the licence plate is clearly a reference to the Borg, a fictional race from Star Trek that forcibly assimilates other cultures. The plate holder says, “WE ARE THE BORG” and “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”

“The word ‘assimilate’ is just a word — it is neither good nor bad. We assimilate nutrients into our bodies in order to live,” Troller said in his affidavit.

But Indigenous activists say Canadians should do more to understand why the word could be considered offensive.

Anishinaabe Nation member and University of Manitoba assistant professor Niigaan Sinclair called free speech a “bogus argument” and said that Indigenous people are having “a very understandable reaction.”

“If Indigenous peoples feel triggered by a licence plate or a sports logo, or the name of a historical figure on a building, Canadians would be best served to listen to why Indigenous peoples are triggered, and show some care and sensitivity when they express themselves,” he said.

“You can’t just say whatever you want to say without any worries of consequence or responsibility.”

Troller used the licence plate for two years before the provincial Crown corporation rescinded it in April, following two complaints from Indigenous people.

“The Borg uses these phrases and the word ‘assimilate’ as a core part of their dialogue,” he said in his affidavit. “The meaning of the word … has not changed between the time that I obtained the plate and the time MPI ordered me to surrender it.”

Sinclair said that’s the problem. Many Canadians aren’t aware of the struggles Indigenous people have faced in the past, which protects them from considering others’ feelings, he said.

“Canadians don’t know their own past — or they only know parts of it — and they particularly have not been trained well to understand the complexities that Indigenous peoples have experienced,” he said.

The word “assimilate” is a grim reminder of past pain inflicted on Indigenous communities, said Ry Moran, director of the Winnipeg-based National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

“For basically the entirety of this country’s history, Indigenous peoples have been forcibly assimilated through really extremely destructive means and ways,” Moran said. “Words like that, meant or not, have an actual impact on many people.”

Sinclair encouraged Canadians to reflect on whether their speech was “responsible.” “We live in a time period where we’re waking up to the violence and genocide of the past, particularly in this country, where Canadians have never had the opportunity to understand that, and Indigenous people are living in the intergenerational effects of that violence,” he said.

“It’s a very privileged position to ignore history …. Those of us in the Indigenous community, we live and breathe history every day.”

Star Trek Discovery to premiere in fall

ST : Discovery will debut on September 24th.

We’ve been waiting a long time for a premiere date for ST : Discovery.  It was announced in today’s Montreal Gazette that Discovery will debut September 24th 8:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. CT on both CTV and Space. The season will then run on Space in two parts: September 24 to November 5 and then resuming in January.

I hopped over to the Space website, but the dates for the second part of the season are not specified-it just says it will restart in January 2018.

There is a teaser and a poster on the site.

The Wait Is Over—Star Trek: Discovery Finally Has A Release Date

Starfleet’s finest captains materialize on dramatic Canadian Star Trek™ stamps

You can order on line En français ici
Bold explorers are shadowed by the menacing villains they faced
Pour lire en fracçais, cliquez ici.

OTTAWA, April 28, 2017 /CNW/ – Canada Post today issued a set of seven Star Trek stamps that celebrate each of Starfleet’s finest leaders, dramatically depicting them with the most cunning of the adversaries they confronted on their voyages.

Five stamps are dedicated to the exploits of James T. Kirk (Montréal-born actor William Shatner), Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula).

Two additional stamps feature the intrepid shuttlecraft Galileo, which was often deployed for missions too dangerous for the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the ominous Borg cube, which has been specially enhanced with holographic foil and embossing.

A sequel to last year’s 50th anniversary collection, these seven stamps feature:

  • 2017 Star Trek stamps (CNW Group/Canada Post)

    Admiral James T. Kirk with Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan™, 1982)

  • Captain Jean-Luc Picard with Locutus of Borg (Star Trek: The Next Generation™, 1987-1994)
  • Captain Benjamin Sisko with Dukat (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine™, 1993-1999)
  • Captain Kathryn Janeway with the Borg Queen (Star Trek: Voyager™, 1995-2001)
  • Captain Jonathan Archer with Commander Dolim (Star Trek: Enterprise™, 2001-2005)
  • The classic shuttlecraft Galileo (first appearance in Star Trek, 1966)
  • The Borg cube (first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1989)

About the stamps
Designed by Signals Design Group and printed by the Lowe-Martin Group, the five stamps featuring Starfleet heroes measure 24 mm by 30 mm and are available in booklets of 10, as a pane of five stamps, and as an uncut press sheet. The shuttlecraft stamp, measuring 24 mm by 20 mm, is available as a coil of 50 stamps. All seven stamps, including the uniquely-shaped Borg cube, which measures 67 mm by 62 mm and is enhanced with holographic foil and embossing, are available ready-to-mail in a prestige booklet. The Official First Day Covers – all cancelled in Vulcan, Alberta, except Kirk’s, which is cancelled in Montréal, Quebec – are available only as a set of seven.

TM & © 2017 CBS Studios inc. © 2017 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

To order on line, click here
En français ici

New Star Trek coins from Canadian Mint

Last year the Canadian Mint issued several beautiful coloured coins in honour of Star Trek’s anniversary. This year, they have added two more to the series: Five Captains, and The Borg.

GLOWS IN THE DARK! In daylight, colour over engraving recreates the portraits of the legendary captains; when viewed in the dark, your coin reveals a glowing image of U.S.S. Enterprise in flight, along with the iconic Delta Shield Insignia. Click here to see both images.
The field includes an outstanding amount of detailed engraving that provides a rare close-up of the exterior of a Borg cube vessel. Against this engraved background, a colourful scene finds a Borg cube locking onto the U.S.S. Enterprise with its green tractor beam.   Click here for more detailed image and more information.

Author Andrew Fazekas, our Guest Speaker April 9

Andrew Fazekas, AKA The Night Sky Guy, will be our guest speaker at the 9th of April meeting of MonSFFA.

Andrew is the author of Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Universe, a gorgeous National Geographic Publication. He has promised to bring a few copies for sale and signing at the list price of 30$.

Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who shares his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a columnist for National Geographic where he authors the popular online weekly StarStruck column, and is also a syndicated space news contributor on radio and TV networks (you may have seen him on CTV news on Sunday mornings)  and is an active member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada who has over 30 years of skywatching experience .

Andrew’s Website:  http://thenightskyguy.com/

Read Jeremy Berlin’s interview with Andrew here: