The following is an open letter I sent earlier today to the Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC”) with respect to its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. The letter more or less speaks for itself. If you agree, I would encourage you to contact the Benchers to share your concerns.
I’ll provide a longer post when I have time, but I figured I’d give an update on the ongoing legal battles between Trinity Western University, an evangelical Christian university located in BC, and certain of Canada’s law societies, including those in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
As I’ve written about ad nauseum before, here, here, and here ,the law societies of Nova Scotia, BC and Ontario have refused to accredit TWU over its covenant of community (i.e., Christian) values which refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. As I’ve noted previously, the arguments put forward by opponents of TWU have generally been high on rhetoric but light on legal analysis (i.e., wrong). Apparently, Justice Campbell of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court agrees, because he concluded, in a judgement released earlier today, that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s refusal to accredit TWU was illegal on the bassis that the decision (i) was unfounded in any legal authority of the NSBS and (ii) violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s a long decision (though a pretty well-written one), but for casual readers the first 10-20 pages or so have a nice pithy summary of Justice Campbell’s reasons.
This was an obvious decision which anyone with even a passing familiarity with the NSBS’s statutory authority and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the jurisprudence around TWU thereunder) would have seen coming. Apparently this group excludes a majority of the benchers of the law societies of Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia, and a majority of the members of the BC bar who voted not to accredit TWU. This is a sad commentary on either the intellect or integrity of the legal profession in Canada.
So, a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, last summer. I confess that I hadn’t been closely following the circumstances of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson Missouri over the summer. Sure, I read a few articles about the incident and subsequent protests in the August, but I hadn’t been paying close attention. But, with the release of the evidence presented to the grand jury, I thought it would be interesting to see what the basis of the grand jury’s decision was (as an aside, the evidence is fascinating, and from what I’ve read so far, provides a far more nuanced and subtle portrayal of the incident then has been broadly reported). There’s a lot of evidence, which I’m still sifting through, but what really strikes me, so far, is how different the evidence is from the impression one would have formed from intermittently following media accounts (as I had done). Consider two examples.
I’m not sure why I actually care about the Trinity Western University (“TWU“) law school (which I’ve written about ad nauseum, here, here and, most recently, here) or whether or not it gets accredited by the provincial law societies. I went to a proper law school (UofT) and frankly would rather spend my weekend at the local gay pride parade than at bible study with the TWU grads. Yet, here I am, defending TWU. In part, though, I think its the fact that, as a lawyer, I’m offended by the by shabby, misleading, and plain stupid legal arguments being made against TWU.
I guess being the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “LSUC“) means you aren’t compelled to comply with silly little rules… like the law. How else can one explain the appalling decision of the LSUC to refuse to accredit the proposed new law school at Trinity Western University (“TWU“)?
Here’s another “Classic Bob” rant from last year on the decision by Justice Malloy, of the Ontario Court of Justice, striking down the provisions of the Criminal Code imposing a mandatory minimum 3-year sentence for possession of a loaded handgun. Justice Paul Bellefontaine later struck down a related provision on similar grounds last summer: