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The Bencher Election campaign for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is now under way and it is a doozy! The stakes could not be higher for the over 55,000 Ontario lawyers.
In 2019 an uprising occurred among the Ontario lawyers that saw a slate of 22 benchers elected with the aim of stoping the LSO’s policy of imposing a “Statement of Principles” upon the legal profession. This policy would have required lawyers to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in their practice.
Opposition quickly arose because of its attack on free speech.
Not only were lawyers expected to carryout the policy, but they had to believe in it.
One lawyer noted, “While the LSO has the mandate to regulate lawyers, it has no mandate to regulate t Lawyers play an essential role in our society; that role, however, does not include becoming state agents that parrot state-sponsored speech.”
22 of the STOPSOP were elected as benchers in 2019 and eventually the SOP was stopped as promised.
The benchers are up for election again in 2023 and this time there are two opposing camps – one called the “FULLSTOP” slate of 35 lawyers seeking to become “Benchers”; the other group is called the “Good Governance Coalition” slate of 45 lawyers.
The choice could not be starker. The FullStop group wants to “Stop Bloat” – reducing the LSO budget, annual fees, and bureaucratic interference in the practice of law; “Stop Creep” – restore the LSO to its core mandate of regulating competence and integrity; “Stop Woke” – Remove social engineering, group identity politics, and “woke” ideological agendas from the LSO.
The Good Governance Coalition – wants to “return competent, representative leadership” to the LSO. In other words, it wants to get back to the agenda of the pre-2019 program that caused the FullStop group to come into existence.
Barry chats with law professor Bruce Pardy, who is the executive director of Rights Probe – www.rightsprobe.org. Prof. Pardy shares with Barry concerns he raised in a recent article stating – “It threatens not just lawyers but professionals of all kinds, as well as every Canadian who might someday need their services: embrace our politics or risk losing your licence.”
This is Part One of a Two Part interview.
Please note the views expressed by the individual(s) in this video are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or principles of the First Freedoms Foundation.