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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Law society's new policy compels speech


Every lawyer gets emails from the Law Society: reminders to file reports, pay fees, or use assistance programs to cut back on the booze. But a recent message almost made me choke on my sandwich. “New obligations for 2017” was its subject line, “Actions you need to take.” All lawyers, it said, must prepare and submit a personal “Statement of Principles” attesting that we value and promote equality, diversity and inclusion. According to the advisory, “The intention of the statement of principles is to demonstrate a personal valuing of equality, diversity, and inclusion with respect to the employment of others, or in professional dealings with other licensees or any other person.”

My first instinct was to check my passport. Was I still in Canada, or had someone whisked me away to North Korea, where people must say what officials want to hear? Forced speech is the most egregious violation of freedom of expression, protected by section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In free countries, law governs actions rather than expressions of beliefs...

1 comment:

John the Mad said...

This demand by the Law Society of Upper Canada is a Maoist grotesquerie that must not be allowed to stand. Lawyers ought to refuse to bow to this political grandstanding. Regrettably, many won't. Who guards the guardians of the law?