As lawyers, we took action to stop a mandatory Marxist requirement
In December of 2016, the board of directors of the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), who are known as “benchers,” imposed a “statement of principles” (SOP) on their membership —a mandatory requirement for renewal of membership—in which they would acknowledge their “obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion” in both their professional and personal affairs.
The regulatory body also required law firms with 10 or more lawyers or paralegals to complete an “inclusion self-assessment” every two years and publish the results. Those lawyers and firms who refused to comply with these demands were threatened with “progressive compliance measures.”
The motivation behind these initiatives was to eliminate “racism” in the practice of law, which in their understanding was not actual bias in the treatment of minority colleagues or clients, but the lack of proportionate representation of minorities in the profession of law. Thus, the SOP was in fact a commitment to a belief system—Marxism in a word—which demands equality of outcomes. Henceforth, for the right to practice law, LSO members would be compelled to express commitment to an ideology rather than to unbiased behaviour in their treatment of colleagues and clients.
A minority of legal professionals were alarmed by its implications and decided to take political action. Twenty-three of us formed a campaign team for the 2019 Benchers election that took place in late April. Our slate of candidates were called StopSOP (“Stop the Statement of Principles”) and we were committed to “repealing the requirement and reversing the imposition of identity politics on professional norms,” as leading dissident, Queens University law professor Bruce Pardy put it in a recent National Post article.
Twenty-two of us were elected, resulting in a majority position and a victory for StopSOP. Many were delighted at the result, and many were dismayed. Everyone was surprised, because in the first year of the SOP rollout, although it was mandatory, no penalties were to be imposed for failure to sign, yet virtually all lawyers and paralegals did in fact sign it. Why the compliance then, and the defiance now? I believe it was because our team made an effective case (this, after all, is what we do for a living), and we opened/changed minds in the court of collegial opinion. Democracy worked.
I have always known that any such SOP is an infringement of my freedom of expression and thought, and that compelled speech and policed thought are unhealthy for any society. But I had assumed my only choice was passive resistance and acceptance of discipline for professional misconduct. When StopSOP arose as an alternative, I seized the opportunity to engage more positively—at first, only by donating money, and then, when asked by organizer Lisa Bildy to join the StopSOP slate (and after overcoming feelings of insecurity and shyness), as a full-fledged activist.
During the campaign, I was sidelined by illness and open-heart surgery. But the team continued to support me without complaint. When I felt well enough, I promoted myself through emails and any other way I could, including a March interview with the Law Times, in which I articulated my motivation for running for office. When the results came in, I felt my sense of vulnerability slip away; I felt pride in setting an example for my children.
The slate chose me as their media spokesperson. I had no hesitation in assuming this task, because I had earned my spurs in this role in 2014 as the spokesperson for David Chen, the grocer whose ordeal changed the law on citizens’ arrests. In an interview with the CBC, the reporter’s first concern was to elicit comment on the fact that I shared the slate with mostly white men. I honestly responded that this fact had made no impact on me. Although there had been many comments on our slate’s racial and gender makeup on social media, my own focus was completely on the principles and goals we shared. I hardly know some of the members of the slate personally, but I consider all of them comrades-in-arms in a just cause.
I was also asked why a group of white people would choose an ethnic woman to speak on their behalf. I am 59 years old, with 28 years experience in litigation (and before that, a career in space engineering), but all this reporter could see was my skin colour. I was dismayed and insulted by the implication that I had been chosen as a token minority rather than for my qualifications to do so, and I said as much to the reporter, who had no response. That portion of our exchange was not aired. Too bad. It would have spoken volumes about the media’s obsession with group identity to the general public.
Our slate knew that the results could have gone either way. We are naturally elated that our message, delivered with heartfelt passion, got through to our constituency. Lawyers are on the front lines of individual rights. This was an important victory for the LSO and its membership, but an even more important victory for the principle of freedom of speech, the foundational right on which all our other rights as Canadians rest.
As an immigrant, I have always loved Canada for the nourishment and support for my endeavours I have received since I arrived here at the age of 15. I have always bristled at suggestions that Canada is a racist country. With this election archived in the history books, it is now my turn to give back to Canada, to offer whatever nourishment and support I can to help ensure that the freedoms that attracted my family to its shores, remain strong for my children and for theirs, and for theirs.
Devan Bracci-Selvey, 14, was murdered by two of his fellow students on October 7, 2019. The boy was stabbed to death while waiting for his mother to pick him up outside Sir Winston Churchill School in Hamilton.
Today an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old were brought before a Hamilton courtroom to face charges of first-degree murder.
The Crown dropped the murder charge laid against the 18-year-old suspect. Investigators believed the 14-year-old suspect was the one who wielded the knife.
Four teens were arrested in total following the incident but two were later released without charge.
Shari-Ann, mother of 14-year-old Devan confirmed that she witnessed the stabbing herself in an interview with CP24 News.
Both of the suspect’s identities have been protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act that bans publications from printing the names of minors.
The 14-year-old suspect still has the charge of first-degree murder pending.
The murder has led to a review of anti-bullying procedures throughout the Hamilton-Wentworth School Board. Shari-Ann Bracci-Selvey said the bullying of her son was well documented and that the teachers at the school were aware of it. Devan would sometimes refuse to go to school as a result of his bullies his mother said.
According to a Tennessee couple, a man hacked into their Ring security camera system and was talking to their daughter through it while pretending to be Santa.
Young Alyssa LeMay only had the system in her room for about four days when the chilling incident occurred. According to WMC News, she first heard Christmas music playing.
Alyssa said, “First, what happened I was in the hallway I thought it was my sister because I hear music. So I come upstairs and I hear some banging noise and I was like, ‘Who is that?’”
A voice then responded, “I’m your best friend. I’m Santa Claus.”
Alyssa shouted to her mother asking for help, and the hacker continued to speak to the child saying, “I’m Santa Claus, Don’t you want to be my best friend?”
According to the parents, the voice which sounded male, was telling the young girl to behave destructively.
Alyssa’s mother Ashley LeMay noted, “They could have watched them sleeping, changing. I mean they could have seen all kinds of things.”
In a statement, Ring wrote, “While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security. Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services.”
Jasmine Pickel is an entrepreneur and the Interim Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Our politicians are addicted to spending. Even though they speak poetically about their good intentions and virtue signal whilst cheque-signing on our behalf, much of that spending is wasteful and sinks us further into debt.
Here are five phrases that usually indicate that a politician is about to waste your money.
1) Politicians will say they’re “investing”
When politicians say they’re investing government money, what they really mean is that they’re spending taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, politicians at all levels of government in this country have a poor track record in this regard.
In Newfoundland, the government lost $260,000 when it tried to operate a Tim Hortons. Likewise, the Ontario government lost $42 million trying to sell marijuana.
Given that governments can’t make money selling double-doubles or weed brownies, they should let taxpayers keep more of their own money to invest it themselves.
2) “It’s not a spending problem–it’s a revenue problem!”
Imagine saying that in the context of your own life – that it’s not your fault you spent so much, it’s just that your job doesn’t pay what you’d like to spend. Unfortunately, our politicians just keep adding to our credit card bill.
A recent Ontario government report shows why it is in fact a spending problem. It found that Ontario would have spent $330 billion less in the 15-year period the former Liberal government was in power if it had simply kept spending in line with population growth.
Instead, spending increased in real terms by $2,200 per person, and now Ontario’s debt has surpassed $350 billion, making the province the largest subnational debtor on the planet.
Politicians love painting deficits as a revenue problem so they can raise taxes. Don’t fall for it. Tell politicians to manage their own budgets instead of taking more out of yours.
3) Politicians say they’re spending to “help the middle class”
While big government apologists like to pretend all of our tax dollars go toward vital services such as health care and education, the reality is that politicians will often take tax money from hard working Canadians to hand it over to large, profitable corporations.
Take for example the $12 million the Trudeau government gave to Loblaws to buy more energy efficient fridges (even though the company posted net earnings exceeding $800 million that fiscal year). That’s nothing in comparison to the $4 billion of taxpayer money that has been given to Bombardier though, a company owned by one of Canada’s wealthiest families worth close to $3 billion.
Taxes are the single largest expense for most Canadians, taking up approximately 45 percent of the average Canadian’s annual household income. If politicians really wanted to help the middle class, they’d stop giving corporate welfare handouts and instead lower our taxes.
4) Politicians justify their overspending by saying they’re on “a responsible path to budgetary balance”
Translation: “We’re going to keep adding to the debt for the next few years at least.” There’s simply nothing responsible about overspending, especially in good economic times.
In fact, it’s very irresponsible for politicians to ignore the opportunity costs of running up large debts. For example, this year Ontario will spend about $13 billion on interest payments. That’s more money than it will spend on colleges and universities put together!
Politicians should stop making excuses as to why they can’t balance budgets, and they should start paying down the debt.
5) Politicians say “we can keep spending as long as the debt-to-GDP ratio stays in check”
Although this is a favourite excuse used by our current prime minister, the reality is that this economic ratio isn’t reliable. For example, if Canada were to encounter tough economic times and our debt were to increase more sharply than planned, the ratio would be thrown out of whack. All of a sudden, we’d be in a position where we’d be saying “wow, we really need to pay down debt, but now we’re not in a financial position to do so.”
Conversely, even if our GDP were to increase sharply thereby lowering the ratio relative to our G7 counterparts, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more spending is justifiable or a good idea.
Canadians live within their means. It’s time our politicians followed suit.
Sue Wereham, manager of the Riff’s department store had a heartwarming story to share with CBC last weekend. The Clareville manager received a phone call from an anonymous woman wondering if she could pay off some of her fellow citizens’ tabs at the store.
Although the woman remained nameless, she came into the layaway counter over the weekend. “She just walked on out of here,” Wareham told CBC. “I don’t who she is. She’s just a kind, kind person.”
The woman explained to Wareham that she and her husband didn’t want to exchange gifts the year but would rather pay for four or five people’s purchases from both Riff’s location in Gander and Clarenville.
“I have told so many people about the kindness of this couple. It’s unbelievable. People do get so angry and frustrated this time of year and just seeing somebody calm and thoughtful, it’s a wonderful feeling.” Wareham said.
The Christmas holidays can be difficult for everybody and working in the retail industry can be stressful as well. People are often stressed about their finances and schedules but this was a moment of smiles and tears of joy.
Wareham said that it was a gift to everyone, including other patrons of the store just watch the lucky customers find out their bill had been taken care of. Wareham said that there was more that herself and others had been brought to tears by it.
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought that’s the true meaning of Christmas, just being kind to other people. It made me cry, just that somebody would be so kind and thoughtful to do that sort of thing.” Wareham said.