Monday, February 26, 2018

Law Society of Ontario vs reality

The Law Society of Upper Canada, soon to self-resurrect as the Law Society of Ontario, is the trade association of Ontario's 50,000 lawyers and 8,000 para-legals.

The Society's latest gambit is to require its members (officially licencees) "to adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public. And they must do so annually.

That's serious adopting and abiding, and beyond the Society's regulatory authority.

The Society's president explains that it's all about countering racism within the profession and towards the general public.

The hornet's nest has been disturbed. Some licencees claim the statement infringes on their constitutional rights. A member of the Society's board is advocating exemption for conscientious objectors. Another licencee objects to being forced to adopt and promote someone else's "political ideology" as indeed it is.

The naiveté in this feel-good measure is the belief that law can stop racism. At best it may limit its overt expression. Partial solution rests with education. Even then. racism will continue to exist in one form or another.

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