I applaud the efforts of the lawyers in the Department of Justice to formally raise the issue of changing the name of the Law Society of Upper Canada to reflect a modern one (see “Should LSUC change its name?” on April 23).
On April 25, I raised the issue of amending the current motion so that the updated name could be something like the Ontario Lawyer and Paralegal Regulatory Authority.
I agree with those who say this deserves careful consideration. But in my experience, every effort I have made to have the issue properly addressed by the LSUC has been stonewalled.
You have to wonder if the lawyers and elite folks who oppose the change want to identify with Upper Canada College or some other private school.
I first raised the issue of changing the name of the LSUC with former attorney general Ian Scott in 1986 when I was a law student.
He sympathized but shrugged his shoulders and said to take it up with the LSUC. Then I raised it with Scott and management at the Ministry of the Attorney General in 1988 when I was an articling student with the policy development branch that was responsible for drafting amendments to the Law Society Act.
In September 1989, I raised the issue with then-LSUC treasurer Allan Rock. There were about 500 students in the room at the time and I was loudly booed by most of them.
I discussed the issue of an LSUC name change with classes I taught on law at York University between 1991 and 2009. Then in 2011, I taught students in the business law and paralegal programs at Humber College who complained about the name.
Last year during the 2011 bencher election campaign, I made the issue a prominent part of my platform. As someone who has fought for social justice, I think that language is extremely important. Feminists have pointed this out for decades.
As I point out to my daughters, change happens slowly and incrementally. Pay equity was important as a phrase in 1986 when Ontario’s Pay Equity Act was passed even though in practice true fairness still has not been realized in many private-sector workplaces.
Still, we would not have come as far without the act.
In all my teaching and work, I stress the importance of history and tradition. But when does the tradition become absurd?
I did not win a position at Convocation. But I think it is time for a change.