Friday, August 03, 2012

Jason Kenney: About 128 years too late this time

Jason Kenney's nasty attempt to intimidate a lawyer who criticized him by registering a complaint with the law society seems to be backfiring.  Scores of other lawyers are repeating the criticism of him, and daring Kenney to report them too.  Actually this tactic of Kenney's is one with some history.

In 1884 Conservative activists in Toronto brought rather analogous complaints against the Liberal Blake brothers (Edward Blake then being leader of the opposition in Ottawa). In those days the Law Society of Upper Canada's discipline committee was a relatively open forum.  Simply by lodging the complaint, the Tories got several days during which the Blakes seemed to be facing serious ethical charges -- even though the complaint was found to be groundless once a hearing was held.

As a result the Law Society took more firm control of discipline process. Henceforth only the Law Society could launch a formal hearing into a lawyer's conduct. Frivolous or tactical accusations, like those of 1884, were screened out in advance. Now it has happened to Kenney's effort.
The meanness and viciousness of this government, and its intolerance of criticism or opposition, really are something extraordinary. But Kenney's attempt to punish a lawyer who disagreed with him through a frivolous complaint is about 128 years too late.  

(Source:  this book, with the relevant example readable at Google Books here at page 150.)
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