A vote for the StopSOP Slate is a vote for:
- Principled lawyers and paralegals who will vote to rescind the unconstitutional, compelled Statement of Principles
- Responsible lawyers and paralegals who understand the importance of reining in excessive regulation, mission creep, and overspending by the regulator
- Reasonable lawyers and paralegals who will apply evidence-based analysis to proposed initiatives
- Courageous lawyers and paralegals who have stood up against the Law Society's overreach to fight for the fundamental rights and freedoms that protect ALL of us
Note: There have been some reports that online voting has been challenging (due to the system being overloaded and/or the site not working with some internet browsers). If you are having trouble voting online, please do not give up - we need your votes! You may also vote by phone. The two-digit phone codes required to do this are listed beside each candidate's name.
Ryan Alford (01)
Gerard Paul Charette (09)
Joseph Chiummiento (10)
Gary D. Graham (21)
Cheryl R. Lean (28)
Cecil Lyon (31)
C. Scott Marshall (34)
Trevor Robert Parry (38)
Jorge E. Pineda (41)
Brian L. Prill (42)
Alexander D. Wilkes (52)
Robert P. Adourian (01)
D. Jared Brown (07)
John F. Fagan (20)
Sam Goldstein (27)
Lubomir Poliacik (55)
Chi-Kun Shi (64)
What is StopSOP?
We are a group of lawyers and paralegals in Ontario who are concerned about the directive by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) that each legal professional must abide by a Statement of Principles (SOP) that acknowledges an obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, in our behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.
We believe that the LSO has no business telling legal professionals what principles they must profess, value or promote, and that this is an encroachment on fundamental freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does not matter whether you agree with the spirit or intent of the values which you are asked to promote; the fact that an arm of the state can dictate your beliefs to you, on pain of the loss of your livelihood, is deeply troubling.
Isn't the SOP just acknowledging reasonable duties that we are already expected to uphold, namely not to discriminate?
It is correct that we have a duty not to discriminate on prohibited grounds, but there is no positive legal duty to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. The LSO is effectively forcing lawyers to do something which it has no legal authority to require.
Given that 'equality' can mean different things, and that its pursuit is often ideologically driven, this is not merely about ridding the profession of any lingering racial discrimination, a goal with which we think reasonable people would not disagree. Since the Law Society has already voted to extend its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) recommendations to "other equality-seeking groups", however, without limiting or even defining those groups, we might be forgiven for thinking that we are dealing more with ideology than with the solving of actual problems. Indeed, the LSO's own website defines equality as equality of outcome, NOT equal opportunity for all without discrimination.
A Note About the "Compromise Motion"
You may have seen a piece in the Law Times suggesting that a motion will be brought to Convocation to modify the SOP. Don’t be fooled – this motion is nothing but a political ploy in the middle of a Bencher campaign. The Pro-SOP forces are feeling the heat from the silent majority who are fed up with the Law Society’s identity politics. The mover of the motion, Omar Ha-Redeye, is a staunch supporter of the SOP. In the past he has denigrated anyone who questioned it and suggested that StopSOP candidates (and anyone opposed to the SOP) should be publicly ridiculed.
Reportedly, his motion proposes to clarify that the SOP “is intended to promote reflection, and not impose any belief”. That means, of course, that it is still about belief since it calls upon members to reflect upon their beliefs. Moreover, the exact same wording remains - you are still declaring your obligation to *promote* these values, but the proponents are now pretending that this does not direct your beliefs.
The motion, reportedly, also proposes that the Law Society will not audit or suspend a licensee for failing to have a Statement of Principles. If all this were genuine, one might reasonably ask, why have a SOP at all? If it does not require a statement, and the non-existent statement is not about beliefs (that is, your principles), and you won’t be audited or suspended, then why does Omar insist that the SOP is necessary, essential and mandatory?
If the SOP is something, then we need to get rid of it. If it is nothing, then it should matter to no one if we get rid of it. Strangely, that is not acceptable to our activist friends who support the SOP.
Please don’t be taken in by these political maneuvers. They come from a place of desperation. Support the StopSOP slate of candidates with your vote and we will do whatever we can to rescind this pernicious requirement.
If we lose this election, it is unlikely that the proponents of the SOP will continue with this "compromise motion", which will not be heard until AFTER the election, and we will be back to having our beliefs dictated and enforced by the Law Society.