In the background materials posted on the Law Society website for Convocation in December of 2017, a brief of supportive letters was included. None of the many letters written by lawyers and legal associations which expressed concern about the Statement of Principles, or the EDI initiative generally, were included.
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Mar22FriMarch 22, 2019Just Say ‘No’
This year, again, the LSO annual return inquired whether I would “abide by a Statement of Principles that acknowledges my obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion”, in order to address “the barriers faced by racialized licensees”.
Again, I said ‘No’.
1. The idea of "racialized" licensees is itself racist. There is no such thing as “race”. Indeed, proponents of the SOP acknowledge as much. The LSO is therefore perpetuating a false social construct invented and historically used by racists. I will not support such an endeavor.
2. Ostensibly, SOP is said to be a means of reducing barriers to inclusion and equal participation. In fact, I believe the opposite will happen. Like all identity politics, the ideology behind the SOP requirement will sow division and discord. Individuals who choose to self-identify as “racialized” cast themselves as different, inherently, than others. This is not equality. Indeed, history has shown that such thinking is often manipulated and used to create profound inequality.
3. All people are equal and deserving of respect, regardless of where they come or what they look like. Indeed, to borrow the language used (ironically) in section (4)(f) of the annual report, we should strive to ensure that “all members and employees of [our] legal workplace are treated fairly and respectfully, without regard to age, ancestry, color, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, and all other prohibited grounds”.
4. The concept of "racial" equality being mandated by LSO is a euphemism for equality of outcome, something in which I do not honestly believe, and accordingly, an idea to which I cannot honestly commit.
5. Compelling promotion of such a partisan political idea by a professional regulator is ultimately not in the public interest; especially a regulator whose core mandate is the protection of the rule of law through an independent legal profession.
I will continue to carry on legal practice according to the highest ethical standards and respect for the rule of law. And when compelled by anyone, be it the LSO or some other powerful group wielding a political mandate, to profess allegiance to an idea that by its nature undermines free choice and the rule of law, I will continue to just say ‘No’. That is my statement of principle.
March 21, 2019
David S. Steinberg, Barrister