There’s a huge push and pull between the will to centralize — resources, goods, power — and the forces against it. Many of the issues facing Ontario lawyers highlight the tension between an authoritative body in power and those resisting or decrying its efforts to corral others.
Take the number of lawyers voicing their opposition to a plan by the province to reduce the number of councillors elected in the City of Toronto.
Rocco Achampong, a Toronto lawyer who’s running in Ward 13, has filed a court action in an attempt to stop the move by Premier Doug Ford and his government to make the cuts. Another lawyer and municipal candidate for Ward 13, Renatta Austin, says she supports the city in pursuing a legal challenge.
Lawyer Wade Poziomka makes a wise distinction.
“This will ultimately dilute access to political representation for Ontarians because there will less representatives for the same number of people.
While I do not see this as an illegal move, I do see it as an anti-democratic one,” he says.
In this issue of Law Times, there are also stories that focus on issues personal injury lawyers perceive with the Licence Appeal Tribunal, after a recent ruling where it was revealed that a lawyer acting for a crash victim received an anonymous letter containing details on the inner workings of the adjudicative body. And then there are the withering words of Justice Edward Morgan over the actions of a provincial assessment officer involved in a matter involving a 92-year-old woman who had disputed a bill with her lawyer.
“A person in her 90’s has rights, just like a more robust person, even if she does not make the kind of personal appearances that she might have done at an earlier age,” Morgan said.
“To assume . . . that she somehow attaches minimal importance to a proceeding by hiring a lawyer and having him appear in her place, is to display a blindness for the human condition.”
The centre — whether it is the newly elected provincial government or the LAT — may not be able to hold.