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  • So today I'm talking to two of my compatriots, those in this ongoing discussion in Canada, a vote free speech issues including Compelled speech.

  • And I met Jared Brown and Bruce Party.

  • Jared's practicing lawyer and Bruce is, ah, professor at Queen's University in the law school there, and I met them both when we were when we manifested a mutual interest last year in Bill See 16 which we all regarded as, um, a piece of legislation that was infringing on the rights to free speech of Canadian individuals in a manner that hadn't bean ever attempted before.

  • And more recently, the Law Society of Upper Canada, soon to be known as the Law Society of Ontario, has put forward a requirement for all of its members.

  • So all of the lawyers in Ontario to produce a document of principle that we all have bean talking about.

  • The three of us have been talking about that we regard as another but far more egregious example of compelled speech.

  • So I'm gonna let Jared introduce himself and say a little bit about who he is.

  • He testified with me at the Canadian Senate last year.

  • Bruce Party also testified at the Senate on Bill See 16 and Bruce was also the lawyer that I debated.

  • He played Devil's Advocate at Queen's University, and some of you watching this will be familiar with that video.

  • So, Jared, I'll let you introduce yourself and then Bruce and then Bruce Bruce recently wrote a column for The National Post on this new requirement by the Law Society.

  • And so we're gonna let him begin the discussion property onto you.

  • Jerk.

  • I'm an everyday litigator.

  • I'm a commercial litigator in Toronto.

  • I've been practicing for about 15 years, doing increasing more and more human rights tribunal work, things like that, Um, and obviously stepped into the breach on C 16.

  • And as far as I can tell, I may have been the only practicing lawyer that actually spoke out against the legislation.

  • There were certainly a lot of lawyers, including the Canyon Bar Association, that were arraigned in favor of the legislation.

  • But as far as I can tell boots on the ground, I think I was the only one.

  • So I've got a pretty benign practice, but but certainly of ah, taken up the fate of people.

  • Bruce, Thanks.

  • Well, this this issue arose for me a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from the Law Society and all lawyers get these e mails to do various things.

  • But this was different because it announced a new requirement for this year.

  • Now, Jared, I think, was aware of this developing before I was.

  • But like many other lawyers in the problems, this is supposed to first indication that this new requirement existed.

  • And essentially, the email said, One of the things I said most others was that every licensed lawyer now is required to draft and submit what they're calling a statement of principles.

  • And that statement is required to express your agreement and the value you place on inclusion, diversity and equality and the fact that you will actively promote those values.

  • And that's me just sprung off screen as a, uh, radius example off forced speech out the same kind that we were talking about under ability 16 but but worse, this one actually requires you to make a full fledged statement.

  • This will be subject to their approval in order to maintain your license.

  • In other words, this is not a matter of it being suggested to you that you might ought to want to do this.

  • This is a condition of your ability to practice law in the problems monetary.

  • So, uh, this destruct me as a matter that needed to be aired publicly.

  • I needed to be discussed amongst lawyers in the province because this is a a slow march to a dark place, and I think that's where it all began.

  • Well, it was concerning to me when I encountered this.

  • I mean, I'm the member of a college as well the college of psychologists.

  • And my sense of this is that if the lawyers fold and and go along with this, the probability that this will be required of every professional in Ontario and then very rapidly every professional in Canada is extremely high.

  • Because if the lawyers who are you know, a relatively disagreeable bunch and who are very familiar with the law and with common law in general are willing to have their political beliefs dictated to them by their college, then the probability that the rest of us will be able to withstand that I think, is extremely low, strong.

  • A strong independent bar is always supposed to be the defense, or at least one line of defense against tyranny or against government overreach.

  • And by having the lawyers through under the guise of their regulatory body, being compelled to speak or share opinions.

  • Um, it's obviously something scary, and I think it's something that lawyers should wake up to and they need to push back against compelled speech, which was obviously the issue on C 16 is a particularly nefarious infringement and intrusion.

  • Yeah, well, it's mean.

  • It's one thing to put restrictions on what people can say.

  • I mean, I know you can't incite someone to crime, for example, but it's a completely different thing to require people to a spouse a particular political stance, especially when it's being reviewed by what's essentially an arbitrary committee.

  • And when the punishment is so jazzed draconian as a CZ, potentially losing your right to practice and that that's enforced as a mandatory like the first step was to make that mandatory rather than as a suggestion.

  • So let's let's just emphasize this point the distinction between restrictions on speech, which which are not good things in our debatable and so on.

  • But this is a different category question.

  • This is compelled speech.

  • This is a department that makes you say something you may not agree with.

  • And I mentioned in the columns statements from the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • And maybe I'll just read out one of those just to just to make the point, because even the court has said explicitly that, uh, this is this is no on in a free society.

  • You hear the words of the Supreme Court forcing someone to express opinions that they do not have used totalitarian and as such, helium to the tradition of free nations like Canada, even for the repression of the most serious crimes, which, of course, is not in question here story Jordan, That was.

  • That was the cornerstone of not only the opinion piece that I put up on my website about C 16 but also in the cornerstone of the presentation that was made to the Senate is that this is a particularly egregious infringement on freedom of expression.

  • You're having to mouth opinions on ideas that may not be your own, and the government is forcing me to do it.

  • And obviously, in this instance, you've got your regulatory body, which which holds your license in your ability to carry on the livelihood in the chosen profession that you're in telling you that you've got to start voicing These opinions soldiered when we talked before to one of the things that you pointed out and Bruce you had commented on this as well.

  • Is that you know, the Law Society administration theoretically did some background work before deciding that this was a necessity.

  • And they produced a report essentially proclaiming that the the law the people who are practicing law in Ontario are essentially racist in your orientation.

  • Which is why this this racist and perhaps misogynist a swell, Which is why this piece of administrative let's call it law requirements has come into practice.

  • But it isn't obvious that their own data support that conclusion.

  • You can easily read what they wrote as pretty, providing pretty compelling evidence that the legal profession, the demographics of the legal profession, for what that's worth, they are transforming quite rapidly.

  • And so, um, the the thing that concerns me as well from a psychological perspective about this sort of thing is that lawyers who agreed to participate in this process are basically admitting their racism and misogyny.

  • on a conscious and unconscious basis and thereby convicting themselves like they're guilty.

  • To begin with.

  • They they don't have an opportunity to prove their innocence and by by going along with these requirements there basically admitting through their action that the accusations that are being thrown at them both individually and as a collective are our totally accurate but require immediate remediation.

  • Yeah, well, I mean the, uh, the wrecker.

  • The requirement that's being rolled out right now is the result of a A.

  • I think it's about a 58 page report that had 13 recommendations that were passed by Complication, which is the governing body of the law society.

  • And the report itself was entitled strategies to address issues of systemic racism in the legal profession's.

  • I mean, that statement on its own is saying that our our industry, as well as the law society organization itself it systemically racist and clearly that's a to me.

  • I mean, it's it's ah ah very bold statement, and one that I think, um, requires some level of scrutiny.

  • You know that the group that came up with this report is an esteemed group.

  • These are all highly respected Well, accomplished individuals.

  • And there is a body of data that they've produced a CZ well as some qualitative anecdotal stories as to some of the issues that are being faced by what they call racialized licensees.

  • I mean, the data is something that a lot of people are going to look at.

  • But I do encourage people to look at it and see what, what the basis on that finding that were a systemically racist industry and obviously profession.

  • I encourage people to look at it, study the report.

  • I can assure you that most most lawyers won't 58 pages something that happened back in December.

  • But there's there's a lot of shocking information in there, and there's obviously some shocking findings.

  • But yeah, I know it's it's got me concerned because my mind industry has now been deemed racist by the body that governs it.

  • Yeah, yeah, well, in one of the things that's really appalling about doubt, I think, and also about the requirements for the statement of principles is that there's a pronounced ideological bent to them, and the first is three idea of systemic racism because the way that you prove systemic racism is is I would say Let's say call it questionable method logically, to say the least, because the basic concept is is that you divide the population up by racial, ethnic and sex based identification, which you can do in a very large number of ways, by the way.

  • And then you compare any organization to that population based division.

  • And if the the ratio of individuals categorized in the general population isn't the same as the ratio of individuals in that profession, then you can automatically make a case for systemic racism.

  • And that's a very, very weak methodology.

  • No credible scientist would regard that, and I go.

  • We would regard that as proof of anything and worse.

  • I can't imagine that any any claim like that would stand up in something resembling a court of law if you know if it was possible to take a group to court, because there's all sorts of reasons why there might be differential representation in a group.

  • And that and that is assuming that that's what the Bennett shows and in many respects, that's actually not what this data show.

  • So I take your point about the methodology.

  • But even so, even if you accept that methodology, it's not crystal clear that that's what the numbers actually suggest.

  • Get back for a moment to your to your implication.

  • Point me, I agree that the requirement to make this statement in this context essentially put be interpreted as though it were required to make a confession about what it is you've done wrongly in the past and what it is you will do now in the present to correct it.

  • That's an individual.

  • And there's also the trouble that once you have written a statement so as to to comply with the requirement, then you have on the wreck for a statement of what it is that you believe and they're after.

  • Your future actions could be compared to that statement so as to show that you are not acting income in the compliance with what you have said you believe, or that on one occasion or the other you haven't been telling the truth.

  • So some so I've heard some lawyers say, in response to this requirement that oh, well, this is not a big deal.

  • I'm just gonna write a statement.

  • They'll put it in a file, sit in some corner of the law society computer and who cares if little big deal?

  • But actually it is a very big deal because there they are hurting you towards pulls a certain way to think a certain way to express yourself in a certain restriction on your behavior and your expression in terms of how you what you say you believe in in the future about this kind of law and all right.

  • But also you're you're subscribing to this idea that the system is racist, that the that the industry in the profession themselves are racist and that, to me, that implies hopelessly corrupt.

  • And that shocks me.

  • And I don't think I want my industry advertising that unless, of course, you know we've got a knish you here, and it's not entirely clear to me from reading the report that we do, but I mean, Jordan may have some comments, obviously, about writing, writing a statement in the declaration and what that means.

  • But I just find that, you know, having to affirm in a statement that our industry is hopelessly corrupt is it's not something I'm willing to do at this point.

  • Well, one of the things I've learned after over the last year is that apologizing or admitting guilt to ideologues is an unbelievably dangerous thing to do because all it's taken, as as Bruce basically alluded to, is a statement of guilt.

  • And, you know, the other problem from a psychological perspective is that and this this There's a very clear psychological literature on this.

  • So, you know, if you have a particular set of philosophical positions, let's say principals, let's call them and maybe your principles or something like excellence, meritocracy and honesty, which strikes me as a better set of principles for lawyers than diversity of equity and inclusiveness.

  • Not that those aren't, you know, in in certain contexts and carefully defined.

  • Also important.

  • If you write a statement of principle, especially one that's going to have to pass muster, then what will happen is you will bring your beliefs and your actions in line with that statement of principle.

  • You'll do that unconsciously, and there's a bunch of reasons for that.

  • And one reason is, is that you've now made a coherent and credible argument in favor of that set of principles, and you will find that convincing because articulating yourself in that matter actually changes your character, and the second is is that it puts you in into, ah position.

  • That's that's that's often being described as cognitive dissonance, which is one of the most famous findings in in psychology and cognitive dissonance is theon on pleasant feeling that you get when you're holding two opposing beliefs.

  • Let's say at the same time and you notice that, and so the cognitive dissonance here would be, Well, I'm just gonna write this statement of principles.

  • What difference does it make?

  • However, that is a statement of principles.

  • And so it's It's intrinsically dishonest and character damaging to craft a statement of principles with which you do not agree.

  • And so then you could either regard yourself as a coward and a liar.

  • Or you could bring your thinking in line with the statement of principles and that the ladder thing is what people tend to do.

  • And so and then the idea that this is just going to sit in some musty file drawer that's completely that's completely naive, in my estimation, because basically what's happening and I've seen this happening with the creep of ethics committees on university campuses is that once you decide that you're guilty and that you're going to abide by a new set of principles.

  • It now becomes incumbent on the law society as a matter of the intrinsic logic of the of the movement to do things like check you out on a year to year basis to see how your attitude and behavior is.

  • Uh, actually, in keeping with your statement of principles, it's not just gonna hang there in the air, it's gonna be enforced.

  • Yes, and that is part of the transition, I would say from the law.

  • Society regulating competence regulating values mean it used to be at one point that the law study was there to make sure that you had the skills to be able to practice law.

  • And as time is going on there, there overseeing is more and more in the area what it is that you sink and whether or not that thinking is appropriate.

  • And one good comparison of this is the case involving the Trinity Western boss.

  • Still, of the graduates of that lost causes a private school out in bridge, and they require all they're all their faculty and students to sign on to a pledge that contains certain values that promise not to do certain things like have premarital sex and, uh, all kinds of things the law society.

  • On the basis, I think that it is inappropriate for institution to impose values upon to people within it.

  • I've said that they will not license graduates from that law school now.

  • You might agree or disagree with that perspective, but it is hypocritical now that what they have done is the same thing.

  • Essentially except with a different set of aliens.

  • They have indeed imposed a set of values on the people within their own institution.

  • It's just that they have chosen different values, which means that their objection to turn your question was not really at all about the position of the values.

  • They just don't like the values that Attorney Western chose, right?

  • Yeah, it's pretty ironic that the argument would be made that an organization doesn't have the right to impose its values on it's on.

  • It's voluntary participants, which we should point out because you certainly don't have to go to Trinity Western or signing agreement.

  • There's lots of law schools you can go to where is in this particular situation?

  • You're basically, I mean to say that a gun is pointed to your head is too dramatic, obviously.

  • But it's no joke to be faced with with the threat of losing your license and also to have to undergo what would essentially be a bureaucratic inquisition and those air not pleasant, those air seriously.

  • Not pleasant if you if you fail to comply.

  • No.

  • And there's other.

  • There's other parts of boats before we need 20 Western.

  • We just underline what you just said, which I think is very important, which is that that t