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Editorial: Words matter

A Law Times column that ran this past week has engendered plenty of discussion.

In the column, lawyer David McRobert asks: “Why does Ontario’s Law Society cling to an arcane tradition of insisting its name must remain as the Law Society of Upper Canada? 
“There are profound reasons for divesting the LSUC of its colonial vestiges,” he states in the column.

“Irrespective of the geographic confusion that the 220-year-old name garners, the name risks becoming increasingly contentious due to its negative colonial connotations.”

Response online has been active — poll responses came in fast and furious. At press time, about 50 per cent of respondents said they thought the name should change. Another 50 per cent said the LSUC name was appropriate as it was.

“LSUC refers to a colonial past; let’s update its name in respect to TRC,” said one commenter.

“What specious reasoning,” said another.

“To argue that ‘Upper Canada’ is somehow less colonial than ‘Ontario’ is a ridiculous exercise.”

As the piece by McRobert notes, there was a failed attempt in 2012 to update the law society’s name to the Ontario Law Society. But, five years have elapsed, and social norms have changed.

My issue with referencing Upper Canada is not just its baggage — it’s accuracy.

Upper Canada just simply isn’t accurate. Time to move with the times.

When it comes to changes, there are also some on our end to report.

We’re very grateful to longtime Law Times columnists Alan Shanoff and Richard Cleroux for their years of insight, and we wish them well in their next adventures.

As of this issue, we welcome veteran Ottawa journalist Susan Delacourt as Law Times’ columnist at Parliament Hill. Welcome, Susan.

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Law Times poll

Law Times reports the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that a foster mother can be named a party in a child protection case, if it’s in the child’s best interests. Do you think recognizing foster parents will serve the best interests of children?
Yes, recognizing foster parents as parties in child protection cases will help improve the well-being of children.
No, this decision could cause implications resulting in the permanent abolishment of the child-parent relationship.