The battle for the future of the LSO: good governance vs. fear tactics

The Good Governance Coalition seeks to restore sanity and prudence to the regulator

The battle for the future of the LSO: good governance vs. fear tactics
Quinn Ross

The upcoming Law Society of Ontario (LSO) bencher election is pivotal for the legal community and our constitutional democracy. At the heart of this crucial moment is the FullStop slate, a group that has built its campaign on fearmongering and dog-whistle politics. They prey on the electorate’s fears by invoking a nonexistent "woke" ideology, failing to understand the core mandate of the LSO.

The FullStop slate seeks to repeal the Bencher Code of Conduct. They seek to gut the LSO’s budget without regard to its statutory mandate and voted against budgets that responsibly reduced fees. Despite preaching about “core mandate,” they bring motions related to God Save the Queen, chastising the former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice and seeking to oversee the courts – none of whom the LSO regulates. Two of them have sued the LSO. They are fixated on EDI, which makes up less than 1 percent of the LSO’s budget but contributes little that is constructive to the real regulatory challenges faced by the LSO in the future.

As a professional regulator overseeing the competence and conduct of nearly 60,000 lawyers and 15,000 paralegals, the LSO's primary duty is to protect the public interest. Legal professionals are in an unparalleled position of trust, regularly engaging with the most vulnerable. Yet, the FullStop cadre seems to confuse the public interest with self-interest at every turn, campaigning on disingenuous attack-style soundbites and leveraging big names to support their misleading characterizations of their opponents.

The FullStop slate would have you believe that anyone who is not them is a "Wacky Woke, Bay Street Establishment, Cool Kid" – part of a secret society hell-bent on raising costs and bringing about the decline of Western civilization through a debased social agenda. This is nothing but a farce. The FullStop slate is the only group with a political agenda that threatens the very foundation of self-regulation.

The FullStop slate has polarized the LSO and the election, but this is not a battle of left versus right. Instead, it is a struggle between sanity, prudence, and competence versus anger, loudness, and naïveté. The only pole is FullStop, while the rest of us sit where most Canadians, Ontarians, and global citizens reside – in the center, working towards a better tomorrow informed by today’s lessons. The upcoming election is the most important one in a generation for the legal community, and the stakes could not be higher.

The loss of the right to self-regulation, a potential outcome of the FullStop slate's reckless approach, would have far-reaching consequences. By attacking structures they do not understand and ignoring the responsibilities they ought to uphold, FullStop undermines the very foundation of that privilege. This privilege is essential in ensuring the separation of powers and preventing state control of the professions responsible for safeguarding the rule of law.

Unfortunately, the FullStop slate can only be defeated with a counter-slate, giving rise to the Good Governance Coalition. Comprised of tested, experienced, and competent leaders, this group is united by a single shared commitment: work to ensure no slates can ever run in LSO elections again and to govern in the best interest of the public they serve, not themselves.

The Good Governance Coalition seeks to restore sanity and prudence to the LSO, focusing on public interest rather than self-interest. They aim to foster a more inclusive and accountable legal community that upholds the rule of law and preserves the privilege of self-regulation. By championing transparency and collaborative decision-making, the GGC seeks to ensure that the LSO remains a pillar of our constitutional democracy.

As the LSO bencher election approaches, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be swayed by the fearmongering tactics of the FullStop slate. We must stand up for the principles that underpin our legal system and the very fabric of our society, ensuring that the LSO continues to function in the public’s best interest.

To achieve this, we must support the Good Governance Coalition in its efforts to counter the divisive and detrimental tactics of the FullStop slate. By voting for the GGC, we can work towards a more just and equitable legal community that upholds the values of fairness, professionalism, and integrity.

As members of the legal community and the wider public, it is crucial that we make an informed decision in the upcoming LSO bencher election.

The GGC offers the only viable alternative to the divisive and self-serving tactics of the FullStop slate. By voting for the GGC, we can prevent vote-splitting, preserve the right to self-regulation, uphold the rule of law, and ensure that the LSO remains a beacon of integrity and professionalism in our constitutional democracy.

The upcoming LSO bencher election is not just about the future of the legal community but also the future of our constitutional democracy. Let us rise above the noise and divisiveness perpetuated by the FullStop slate and choose to support the GGC in pursuing a more inclusive, accountable, and transparent profession that serves the public’s best interests. The stakes are high, and the choice is clear. Vote for the Good Governance Coalition and secure a brighter future for the LSO and our constitutional democracy.

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