BC vis-à-vis Saskatchewan

It’s Sunday night again; deadline for me to submit my article to The Voice for this Wednesday’s publication. I prefer not to leave things to the last minute, but often I work best under pressure. That feature of my personality will come in handy, as I will no doubt be relying upon it heavily over the next few years. I have just completed my first week of law school and I am now sitting in the University of Saskatchewan College Of Law Library. It is a state-of-the-art facility with innumerable legal texts and electronic reference facilities”?new (computers) meets old (books). There is a wireless LAN to which my laptop is now connected and I can access the university network via 128 bit encrypted communication. I have a seamless interface with the Internet through the university portal which enables me to “surf the Net” or pull pertinent cases from Quicklaw while typing lecture notes in the moot courtroom. Despite the workload, life is bliss.

There is no working slowly into this program of study, as the readings were piled on heavy from the first classes. As one of my professors put it, “Law is not a more difficult subject to study than any other discipline, just a lot more work doing it.” I’ll take him at his word. I have just finished four hours of briefing cases for my Tuesday Contract Law class and have several more cases to go. I’ll fit that in tomorrow between classes and other homework: Tonight’s work will conclude with my computer and the Voice readers. I’d like to publicly thank all of those well-wishers who have e-sent congratulatory messages to me and well-wishes to my family. In response, I can say that without Athabasca University and its cyber-culture of students and faculty, I would not (in fact, could not) be sitting here today.

I have never lived outside of the borders of British Columbia in my life, although I have held residence in most regions of that Province. In the short week that I have lived in Saskatchewan, I’ve noted many cultural and legal differences between the two. Some of them I have found amusing and I thought you might as well:

“¢ In Saskatchewan, the wine and beer stores have two prices on each product”?a day price and a night price; the latter price typically being several dollars more than the former. BC has one price right up to closing time:

“¢ In BC drivers licenses are good for five years and are a single plastic picture ID. In Saskatchewan drivers must renew their licenses yearly (and pay a $25.00 fee each time) and they come in two parts”?a plastic picture ID (retained for five years) and a paper license (replaced annually at renewal).

“¢ Saskatchewan drivers are bad. BC drivers are bad.

“¢ In BC restaurants are generally either smoke-free or they separate smoking and non-smoking patrons from each other in separately ventilated rooms. In Saskatchewan, everyone smokes while they eat out, whether they are holding a cigarette or not.

“¢ BC is mountainous and beautiful. Saskatchewan is flat and beautiful.

“¢ In BC the standard deposit when buying a house is $1000; in Saskatchewan it is $3000.

“¢ In BC children’s clothes and school supplies are tax-exempt; in Saskatchewan they are not.

“¢ Provincial sales tax in BC is 7.5%; in Saskatchewan it is 6%.

“¢ People in BC are friendly. People in Saskatchewan are friendly.

“¢ In Saskatchewan you see the sun very early in the morning and very late into the evening; in BC it is usually occluded on one or more sides by mountains for the better part of the day.

“¢ There are more wasps and grasshoppers in one square meter of Saskatchewan than in all of BC.

“¢ In BC you infrequently find animals killed by traffic alongside the highway. In Saskatchewan road-kill is more frequent than mile posts.

“¢ In BC you can find raccoons in your back yard. In Saskatchewan you can find badgers in your back yard.

I find it amazing that two provinces within the same great country can hold such diversity”?culturally, geographically, and legally. And as we all know, Canada has ten provinces and three territories full of distinct people and things. Canada”?”the distinct society.” Vive la différence! I’d love to hear from you about interesting legal or cultural differences in your region of residence. Drop me a line at wayneben@sasktel.net

[ed. I’ve already taken up Wayne’s challenge. You can find my list on Alberta quirks in the editorial. I’d love to get more lists from people across Canada, or even just individual quirks. I’ll print them in an upcoming Sounding Off column. Or just reply to Wayne if you don’t want to be published. Either way, it’s your turn now!]

Wayne E. Benedict has a varied career history and strong links to the Canadian labour movement. He is working part-time toward his Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations at Athabasca University. He is a fulltime first-year student of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. For a more detailed writer bio, see The Voice writers’ feature page, at: http://www.ausu.org/voice/authors/authorfull.php?ID=7 If you would like to send article-feedback to Wayne, he can be reached at wayneben@sasktel.net

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