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Nov Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE 933 VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 that the distinction between advice and recommendations can sometimes be elusive and that literary allusions, when pressed into service, do not always come successfully to the rescue. Perhaps, in hindsight, the discursive circumlocutions of Samuel Beckett were less well-suited to his Lordship’s purposes than might have been the more terse and telegraphic (though less lyrical) language of Ernest Hemingway. Consider this passage from “A Pursuit Race”, which appears in Hemingway’s collection of short stories Men Without Women (London: Jonathan Cape, 1928): William Campbell shut his eyes. He was beginning to feel a slight nausea. He knew that this nausea would increase steadily, without there ever being the relief of sickness, until something were done against it. It was at this point that he suggested that Mr. Turner have a drink. Now consider these lines from Hemingway’s famous poem “Advice to a Son”, written in 1931 and first published in Germany in 1932: … Always put paper on the seat, Don’t believe in wars, Keep yourself both clean and neat, Never marry whores. Never pay a blackmailer, Never go to law, Never trust a publisher, Or you’ll sleep on straw … The exchange between Mr. Campbell and Sliding Billy Turner Dear Sir, Re: Mr. Justice Dermod Owen- Flood (Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam)1 I wish to draw to your attention a lively and erudite passage from the decision of the late Mr. Justice Owen-Flood in College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2001 BCSC 726. It is found at para. 133: In holding as I do, I add as obiter that the distinction between “advice” and “recommendations” can be difficult to describe with clarity. In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, (New York: Random House, 1954) Estragon would be giving Vladimir “advice” if he said, “Vladimir, I have considered at length the life you lead on this bitch of an earth, and I am of the opinion that you should hang yourself tomorrow.” However, Estragon would be providing Vladimir with a “recommendation” if he proposed the following: “Vladimir, I have tested the willow’s branch and I am sure that your neck will break before it does. I suggest that you reinforce the branch, find a stepladder so that you can reach it, and proceed with the hanging tomorrow at sundown.” Alas, his Lordship’s decision was overturned on appeal on this very point (namely, the distinction to be drawn between the giving of advice on the one hand, and the making of recommendations on the other): 2002 BCCA 665, leave to appeal to S.C.C. refused 2003 S.C.C.A. No. 83. The reversal simply confirms


Nov Advocate 2017
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