POLITICS

B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond Will Keep Her Job, Judge Throws Out Bizarre Case

06/18/2012 06:50 EDT | Updated 08/18/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia judge has rejected a bizarre petition that claimed the province's attorney general isn't fit to serve in her cabinet post because she's not a lawyer.

Lesslie Askin filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court, arguing Attorney General Shirley Bond's appointment to cabinet last year was invalid because she's not, nor has she ever been, a practising member of the Law Society of British Columbia.

Askin first complained to the law society, which governs the legal profession in the province. When that failed, she turned to the court, which rejected the case after a hearing earlier this month.

"The relevant statutory provisions ... do not require the Attorney General to be a practising member of the law society," Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein wrote in a decision posted to the court's website on Monday.

"The petitioner has obviously put a lot of time and effort into her submissions to this court on a topic she is obviously passionate about. However, in my view, her petition is devoid of merit."

Bond was appointed acting attorney general last year after the resignation of Barry Penner. At the time, she was already solicitor general. That appointment was confirmed in February of this year, when she was named justice minister and attorney general.

Askin sent a letter to the law society in January, arguing that because Bond wasn't a lawyer, she was violating rules that say only practising members of the law society are allowed to practise law.

The law society asked outside counsel to review the matter. A month later, the society told Askin that no laws prohibit non-lawyers from serving as attorney general. The society also said it did not have jurisdiction to further investigate the complaint.

Askin reacted by filing a petition with the court, asking that Bond be forced to step aside and that the matter be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada its opinion.

Stromberg-Stein said Askin provided a "shopping list" of supposed charter violations, but none had merit.

The judge added other former attorneys general have been non-lawyers.

Bond has never been a lawyer. She served on the Prince George School Board before she was elected to the legislature as a Liberal in 2001.