Reviewed by BERNIE BELLAN
When Jack London set out to write his memoir, he told a Zoom audience Wednesday, October 15, he went through 27 different drafts before arriving at the final version.
The result is an absorbing story, titled “Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law”.
Why “Serendipity” you might ask? Because, as London explains at the very beginning of the book, he attributes a very major part of his considerable success in life to nothing more than sheer luck. Of course, one can easily dismiss that as deliberate self-effacement, but when you do read of some of the amazing twists and turns that his endlessly fascinating life has taken, it’s not hard to agree with his assessment that good luck was very much something that accompanied London at some very key points.
In the final chapter of the book London summarizes the reasons that he considers himself so darn lucky:
“I am seventy-seven but I still feel eighteen. I mean that! My mind has never got past that age. I feel like a kid with a sense of spunk and optimism about the future and the new opportunities it will bring. I know intellectually that’s ridiculous, but that knowledge for the most part doesn’t affect my life. I’m lucky that way and as I have said, luck is the key variable to survival and accomplishment in life.”
The book is partly a personal story of London’s life, including his formative years – of which working at his mother’s arcade at Winnipeg Beach played a pivotal role, and partly a discussion of the law.
It’s written in chronological form; London’s early years are described in a wry and open manner. He admits that a good part of his youth was what could be described as misspent – something, by the way, that he says he doesn’t for one moment regret. Again, London admits throughout the book that he very often managed to find success by being in the right place at the right time.
Whether it was as a student or later as a lawyer, including stints as a professor of law and dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law though, London was constantly interested in exploring new fields. Again, lucky for him, his wife Belva was always willing to encourage him as he set out on one new course change after another, whether it was his going to Harvard for a year, working for the Federal Government as a tax lawyer in Ottawa, or taking a sabbatical year in France.
Readers of this paper will probably find most interesting London’s referencing other well-known lawyers from this community, especially Izzy Asper, Hymie Weinstein, and Harvey Pollock. While he worked with both Asper and Pollock professionally, his lifelong friendship with Weinstein, however, almost ended tragically when they were both passengers in a car when they were 18, along with a third fellow, and their car was involved in a head-on collision on the road to Minneapolis.
Amazingly, as London describes it, he was propelled 200 feet out of the car, but got up with only a scratch on his head. When you read that story and another similar story of yet one more almost fatal accident, you do begin to understand how fate always seemed to be on London’s side.
Not to give away all the juicy parts – but one more enthralling adventure took place in 1992 when Jack and Belva went to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. They happened to be there though just as the horrific slaughter of Tutsis by the majority Hutu tribe began to transpire. Reading London’s account of what he and Belva went through for 36 hours, trapped in a bathroom as shells, bullets, also a Kaytusha rocket whizzed all around them is as terrifying an account of a near-death experience as you’re likely to find anywhere.
Anyone who has heard Jack London speak would know that he’s a master of the English language, able to tailor his remarks so that they’re understandable to just about anyone. Yet, when he refers to his voluminous output as a lawyer, including his many appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, it’s easy to see that he is as skilled at legal argument as the very best lawyers.
And, while he does introduce many concepts in law through the course of the book, London always explains things in a clear and concise fashion. He has also advocated a consistent liberal philosophy throughout the course of his career, in particular when it comes to advancing the case for the right to die and a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body.
London’s Jewish identity is something that he has always proudly worn. Twice, in fact, he has been called upon to mediate two particularly thorny issues within Winnipeg’s Jewish community. The first was when the Talmud Torah and I. L. Peretz Folk School were both in financial difficulty and a merger was necessary in order to insure the future of at least one Jewish day school in the city.
Later, London’s skill as a mediator was brought into play when three synagogues: the Beth Israel, Bnay Abraham, and Rosh Pina, were brought together in a merger that bruised many egos. Ultimately though, London notes that the most difficult challenge faced by the newly formed congregation was how to assign seats for the high holidays!
In the latter part of his career London began to forge a new path entirely as he developed an expertise in Indigenous legal issues. His writing about the 30 years that he spent serving as counsel to various Native groups provides as clear an explanation as one can read why Native rights deserve to be upheld. At the same time London developed a close relationship with Phil Fontaine, former Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, about whom he writes with the utmost respect and affection.
London played an important role during the Meech Lake discussions, helping to fashion the essential arguments why that particular attempt to amend the Canadian constitution was so deeply flawed (for not recognizing the First Nations as having equal status to the English and French nations).
Ultimately though, London describes an encounter in Vancouver when he was barred from entering a meeting by four Native chiefs in a clear demonstration of anti-Semitism. The bitter effect of that demonstration of bigotry affected London deeply to the point that he no longer engages in working on Indigenous issues
(Ed. note: Following publication of this review in the Oct. 28 issue of the JP&N, Jack London sent me a note in which he wanted to correct what I had written. Here’s what Jack wrote:
‘Your suggestion that I no longer engage in working on Indigenous issues is misleading, I have not been active recently in resolving ‘political Issues’ for the major First Nations lobby groups, concentrating instead on commercial, charitable and litigious cases for First Nation individuals and Bands. I am still of the view that Reconciliation is the pressing social issue of our time.”)
Jack London has traveled down so many paths during his life, it’s hard to imagine that he’s still only 77 years old which, these days, would make him well qualified to run for President of the United States – if he were American. The fact that, as he remarks often during his memoir, he’s always come back to Winnipeg, is a testament to his love for this city and, if I can be so bold, a reflection also on the hold that our Jewish community has on so many individuals who could have made a far bigger name for themselves had they left Winnipeg.
Even if you’re not familiar with Jack London (and it’s hard to imagine too many of our readers being in that position), reading this book will take you back in time to the 1950s and through the ensuing decades. Lucky for us, Jack London hasn’t written his final chapter – and, unlike other notable lawyers who never bothered to write their memoirs (most notably, the late Harry Walsh, who always put off the idea of doing that), London has given us a book that will both charm and educate.
Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law
By Jack London
Published by Heartland, Winnipeg, 2020
Available at McNally Robinson Booksellers or directly through the publisher
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 204-284-089
Legal Roadmap: Canadians Working Down Under in Australia
Australia’s sun-kissed shores, vibrant cities, and dynamic job market attract many Canadians looking to expand their horizons. The allure of working Down Under is strong, but before you can exchange the chilly Canadian winters for Australia’s summer beaches, there’s a significant legal pathway to navigate. This post will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that your Australian work experience is both enjoyable and compliant with local laws. One essential element is securing an Australian visa for Canadians, but there’s much more to consider. Let’s dive in.
Understanding Australian Work Visas for Canadians
The first port of call for any Canadian looking to work in Australia is to secure the correct visa. The Australian visa for Canadians is not a one-size-fits-all; there are several options depending on the nature and duration of your stay.
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
Many young Canadians (18 to 30 years old, with a recent extension to 35 for some applicants) choose the Working Holiday visa. This visa allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it for a second or third year if certain conditions are met, such as undertaking regional work.
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
If you have skills in particular occupations that are in demand, you might qualify for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. This requires sponsorship from an approved Australian employer and has both short-term and medium-term streams.
Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
For Canadians with significant work experience who are being offered a permanent role in Australia, the Employer Nomination Scheme visa may be suitable. It allows you to work in Australia permanently, and your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
This visa is for invited workers and New Zealand citizens with skills Australia needs. For Canadians, it means you’re not sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government.
Securing an Australian Visa for Canadians
Assess Your Eligibility
Your first step is to determine which visa fits your circumstances best. Assess your skills, qualifications, and the purpose of your stay in Australia to identify the right visa subclass.
Gather Necessary Documentation
Once you’ve determined the visa you need, compile all the necessary documentation. This may include proof of qualifications, work experience, health insurance, and police checks.
Most visa applications can now be made online via the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website. Ensure all information is accurate and that you include all required supporting documents to avoid delays.
Processing times can vary depending on the visa type and the volume of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs. During this time, keep an eye on your application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.
Upon approval, you’ll receive your visa grant number and the date your visa starts. Make sure to comply with all visa conditions and keep a copy of your visa grant notice.
Preparing for the Australian Workplace
Understanding the legal framework is vital, but it’s just as important to prepare for the cultural shift in the workplace.
Australian work culture might be more casual and laid back than you’re used to in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean that Australians do not work hard. It’s a balance, with a strong emphasis on work-life harmony.
Employee Rights and Obligations
Familiarize yourself with Australian labour laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides resources outlining your rights and obligations as an employee in Australia, including fair pay, work hours, and workplace safety.
Leverage social platforms like LinkedIn or local Canadian-Australian business associations to build your network and find job opportunities.
Once you arrive, there are a few practicalities to take care of:
Tax File Number (TFN)
You’ll need to apply for a TFN for taxation purposes. Without it, you’ll be taxed at the highest rate.
Australian Bank Account
Open a local bank account to manage your finances efficiently. Some banks allow you to open an account from Canada up to three months before you arrive.
Consider short-term accommodation while you get your bearings. Research the housing market in your chosen city to find something more permanent.
Depending on the visa, you might need to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. Research Australian health insurance providers and select a suitable policy.
Abiding by Visa Conditions
Ensure you fully understand the conditions of your visa. Working longer than permitted or outside of the terms could lead to visa cancellation.
Understand your tax obligations. Canada and Australia have a tax treaty to prevent double taxation. However, it’s wise to consult with a tax professional.
Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent to assist with complex visa applications or issues that arise while in Australia.
Embrace the Australian Experience
Working in Australia can be a life-changing experience. By following this legal roadmap, you’ll be well-equipped to embrace the Australian lifestyle and work culture. Remember, securing an Australian visa for Canadians is your golden ticket to an incredible personal and professional journey Down Under. Prepare thoroughly, respect the local laws, and immerse yourself in all the adventures that await.
Why don’t the Palestinians of Gaza rid themselves of Hamas?
By JACK LONDON I am Jewish. I am sickened by and angry about the unprovoked invasion of Israel by Hamas and its brutal murders, rapes, dissection and kidnappings of Israeli babies, children, women, and men. I am offended by the ignorance and distortion of the region’s history. I am offended by the policies of the CBC and other journalists who use the word “militants” to describe “terrorists.”.Militants do not rape, murder and amputate the heads of babies. Terrorists do. Hamas and terrorism are synonyms. They are not freedom fighters; they are oppressive cruel despots and thugs who have subjugated and sacrificed their own people. I am mortified that a group of 38 Liberal MPs, (perhaps led astray by Prime Minister Trudeau’s own jump to a wrongful judgment of Israel’s responsibility for the deaths in a Gaza hospital parking lot), have authored a demand that Israel desists from pursuing the leadership and mechanisms of Hamas’s terror these many years. Just what is the alternative when cowardly terrorists use civilian populations as shields behind which to hide, plot and act out their nefarious brutality?
Most of all, I ask myself why it is that the Palestinian population of Gaza has not itself found the desire, courage, or capacity to stand up, demand elections and exorcise its malevolent Hamas government?
I am not a Pollyanna automaton about Israel. I don’t agree with Israel’s ultra-orthodox sects whose members fail to serve their country and, replicating the past, inhibit their future. I do not support suggestions by some Israeli settlers of the West Bank to introduce apartheid-like policies into Israel’s existing principled democracy. Apartheid was, is and must remain an antonym to Israeli ethics and democracy. I condemn the recent retaliatory murders of some Palestinians by a few settlers on the West Bank. I fear and oppose the recent attempts by PM Netanyahu and his fascistic coalition partners to take uninhibited control of government by reducing judicial expertise and oversight of Israel’s basic laws. Netanyahu’s coalition has been, for the moment, sidelined by the recent formation of the Unity War Coalition, but it will be back in control. It is anti-democratic and increasingly and rightly disrespected in the Jewish Diaspora. Moreover, Netanyahu and his coalition conservatives have been so focused on their radical, self-serving, anti-democratic restructuring of the essential liberalism of Israel, they failed to fulfill their primary responsibilities: anticipation of, protection from and defense against inevitable attacks by Hamas throughout its modern existence and its allies. Tragic!
Nevertheless, Israel has been a shining light of democracy, innovation, education, science, business, progress, inventiveness, peace, humanism and a haven for Jews and others suffering persecution around the world. Absurdly, these strengths inflate the historic conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism of much of the world for whom anti-Zionism is just a synonym for anti-Semitism. But, Jews are the historical citizens and governors of the land of Israel. Read the voluminous histories and the Bible, check the archeology, and study the scholarly works. On the other hand, a Palestinian People has never existed or held governmental control of the land of Israel. Arabs have lived on the land, named Palestine by the world’s superpowers in 1929, but they were never rulers or governors of a state. The governance for centuries had been Ottoman and, later, British.
Compared with the never-ending deadly damage Arab leaders in the Middle East have imposed on their own populations, I take great pride in Israel’s development and in the two million progressive and successful Arabs who, as residents of Israel, share rights equivalent to Jewish citizens, including participation in the Knesset, its governing Parliament.
Hamas, which rules in and dominates Gaza, is a Mafia-like organization of masked (always the telltale mark of terror) soldiers, first elected to office in 2007, but never since forced to stand for re-election. The leadership of The Palestinian Authority has had legitimate governance rights in Gaza and the West Bank but has been hampered and obstructed by Hamas. Both the PA and Hamas have never had any compunction about senseless provocation of Israel, which has led inevitably to the disbenefit of Palestinians who deserve better. Their hate invokes continuing hardship, peril, death, and a Kafka-like impossibility of finding their way out to the light.
It is not the fault of the Palestinian residents themselves. Arab leaders, not Israelis, authored the wars in the region which have cost their peoples dearly. Successful, learned, intelligent, hardworking, affluent, peace desiring Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank outnumber those who are poor and hawkish. They all are victims. They suffer never ending fear and malignant infection because of Hamas’s terrorism, the ineptness of the Palestinian Authority, and absurdly evil misinterpretations of the Koran by radical Mullahs – all of which is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. They teach hatred of Jews to Arab children in their schools, thereby victimizing yet another generation of their own people.
The Palestinians who suffer in the disputed territories and Gaza are victims deserving of our caring and support. Given its seaside port and border, Gaza, which originally was Egyptian, could have flourished when Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlers in 2007. It failed because of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The failure was not because of Israel’s insistence on a blockade at the Gaza’s border with the sea; it was because of Hamas terror and Iranian malevolence that a blockade has been necessary.
The Palestinians suffer from the shortsightedness of their leaders, terrorist or not, who consistently reject available solutions that would end hostilities and would permit peace and prosperity to reign for all. Peace and viable two state options have been open to Arab leaders for decades and not taken. The United Nation’s 1948 Partition Plan, which divided the former British mandate into two states, was rejected by the Arabs who instead chose war- twice. United Nations Resolution 242 called for a land-for-peace solution. It has been offered and refused. The 1978 Camp David Accords failed. The Oslo Accords of Israeli Prime Ministers Peres and Rabin, and PLO Chairman Arafat in 1993/95, which bore the seeds of success, were sabotaged. The generous Camp David Accord of 2000 negotiated by President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat was quickly renounced by Arafat. Arafat likely demurred because he feared assassination from his own if he did the right thing.
Israel’s two base line conditions for peace: acceptance that Jews are a People, not only a religion, and that Israel has the right to exist as a homeland of the Jewish People, have not been honored.
My concern for the Palestinian population of Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank, stems primarily from the failure of its leaders to grab the always available opportunity to secure a new, flourishing path for their people. I bemoan their timidity and shortsightedness and I fear for the never-ending disappointment and pain of their people They deserve better from their own but their own, Hamas, are illegitimate cowards and murderers.
Abba Eban, the brilliant Israeli orator, in a speech in Geneva in 1973 famously exclaimed that “Arabs never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I wish Eban had been wrong. But, though some Arab countries have moved forward into the light, my heart tells me that in the case of the Palestinians, nothing has changed. They are doomed to suffer under the crushing heels of their immoral terrorists and incapable politicians, past and present.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. Israel’s intention to disable Hamas once and for all will have unhappy side effects in Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East. But it has no option. It is at war begun by Hamas, which must be eradicated. It cannot allow terror to win. It cannot insult the memory of the victims of the Hamas massacre and the yet unknown fate of more than two hundred hostages held by Hamas. The side effects will be many and unhappy, but there is no choice. Israelis cannot be docile while facing the barrels of guns aimed at them. It must eradicate the shooters.
Jack R London C.M, Q.C, LLM (Harv)
Author: “Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law” (Heartland Associates Great Books).
Former Dean of Law, University of Manitoba;
presently, Senior Counsel to a Winnipeg Law Firm
A Winnipeger at heart speaks from the heart from Jerusalem: Solly Dreman, Ph.D.
Posted Oct. 31, 2023 By SOLLY DREMAN Israel is faced today with a crisis of historical proportions with a threat not only to its existence but to the free democratic world at large. The horrendous events of Shabbat October 7th in which 1400 citizens, men, women and children and infants were slaughtered, decapitated and raped, 3400 injured and 239 taken hostage in Gaza or declared missing has shocked the nation, shaken Israeli citizens’ confidence and is threatening not only Israel but the free democratic world .
There is no question that this was a genocide of historical proportions and an act of pure evil designed like the Holocaust to ultimately exterminate the Jewish people world-wide. This is the professed aim of Jihad, but the reactions of the international community extend beyond Islam and the cries of the woke international community for “the massacre of the massacred” echoed in recent mass demonstrations, hate crimes, support of leading university administrators and their students is unforgivable. Even more shocking is the support of so called liberal progressive Jews, even rabbis, against Israel in support of a “Free Palestine”.
As a Winnipegger who made Aliyah to Israel in 1964 and has been a part of the main stream of Israel’s life as a clinical psychologist dealing with central issues in Israel like war and terrorism, immigration, death and dying and families in crisis, I have been exposed to some of the main streams in Israel’s development. I am proud of being an Israeli and being part and parcel of this young, dynamic, nation state. I am, however, deeply concerned with the fate of our nation, which is the ultimate saferoom for the Jewish people in times of crisis.
As a Winnipegger I am very proud of my origins and even wrote a book: “A Personal Odyssey:
From Winnipeg to Jerusalem” (link attached). Winnipeg is a great supporter of Israel and in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 donated more per capita than any other city in North America. Bernie Bellan just wrote me that in the current war efforts Winnipeg has raised over 3.6 million dollars for Israel’s war efforts, which is indeed commendable. In these fateful days Israel badly needs the continued and unconditional support of world Jewry. Knowing Winnipeg’s Jewish community well I am certain Israel can count on its continuing support for Israel as the continuing homeland for world Jewry.🙏
Solly Dreman made Aliyah to Israel in 1964. He is a Fulbright Scholar (University of California Medical School, 1977) and Professor Emeritus in Clinic Psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He was the Brigade Psychologist of the Jerusalem Brigade on the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973
Post script: I asked Solly whether, given his extensive experience as a psychologist, he could offer any tips to Israelis that might help them in the current situation. Here is what he wrote back:
1. Unprecedented rates of volunteering on the home front such as offering psychological assistance, hosting refugee families from the south and north, providing food and clothing for both civilians and soldiers, etc. Being active is therapeutic and diminishes self concern and anxiety.
2. The media: Too much exposure, particularly to graphic portrayals of violence exacerbates anxiety. Too little exposure and lack of information also promotes uncertainty and anxiety. Need a moderate level of exposure.
3. Social support as displayed in whatsapp groups, zoom meetings, meetings with friends when exposure to threat is minimal are important and prevalent.
4. Parents, should present their children a confident but not invincible stance like “For sure we will win!”. They should not be afraid to admit that they are also anxious because this will prevent their children from expressing their emotions.
5. Information about victims on the home and battle front should be conveyed to children and family at large because, particularly in Israel, war and grief are intimate and the facts on the warfront will ultimately be revealed. Failure to disclose realities on the ground will create a confidence gap.
6. Routine and activity should be encouraged such as physical activity, school when there are adequate safe rooms and family and social visits when the security situation permits.
7. Contact with families of victims is important. As a brigade psychologist in the Yom Kippur War many families complained that friends avoided them because it was difficult for them to confront death and dying. This was very painful for deceased families