by “of a minor or ward”, there being no comma separating the two
phrases. Thus, the defendant fell squarely within the mandatory
minimum sentence. As she put it, “A timeworn textual canon”
— the last antecedent rule — “is confirmed by the structure and
internal logic of the statutory scheme”: ibid., 962 S. Ct.
 I describe a U.S. case not because it is applicable here, but
simply to illustrate how a textual argument works, and how the
nuances of text and grammar can create diametrically opposed
meanings. Albeit in a vastly different context, a similar textual
argument is made by plaintiff’s counsel in the case at bar.
 Section 1.29 of the Plan raises a classic comma question.
The so-called Pension Index, or measurement of the cost-of-living
increase built into the pension, must be calculated every year. As
administrator, Bell Canada must apply “the annual percentage
increase of the Consumer Price Index, as determined by Statistics
Canada, during the [previous year]”.
 The section contains a list of two items — the annual percentage and the CPI — followed by a modifier “as determined by
Statistics Canada”. There is no comma between the items in the
list since there are only two of them, but there is a comma immediately preceding the clause that constitutes the modifier. What
can one make of this grammatical structure? To put it another
way, what is it that Statistics Canada must determine — is it the
Consumer Price Index alone, or is it the CPI together with the
annual percentage increase in the CPI?
 Counsel for the plaintiff argues that “[a] comma before the
qualifying words ordinarily indicates that they are meant to apply
to all antecedents while the absence of a comma indicates that
they are meant to apply to the last antecedent alone”: Sullivan,
supra, p. 277. This is the mirror image of the same “timeworn
textual canon” that Jusice Sotomayer invoked in Lockhart. The
“last antecedent rule” holds that the modifier “as determined by
Statistics Canada” would apply only to the last item in the preceding sequence if there were no comma preceding it.
 Since there is a comma preceding the modifier, the opposite of
the last antecedent rule — often dubbed the “series qualifying rule”
— is applied. In such instances, “When there is a straightforward,
parallel construction that involves all nouns or verbs in a series,”
a modifier that comes at the end of the list with a comma separating
it from the list, “normally applies to the entire series”: A. Scalia and
B. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (West
Group, 2012), p. 147. Thus, the plaintiff contends, the modifier “as
determined by Statistics Canada” qualifies both items in the preceding
series of items — i.e., the CPI and the annual percentage increase
— and not just the last antecedent — i.e., the CPI alone.