The Law Society of Upper Canada -- now with the Court's approval -- won't recognize TWU's law degree solely because the person who earned that degree decided, while studying law, to join others in a religious community where people share a personal commitment to traditional marriage. Lawyers have the freedom to advocate for, and practice, their moral beliefs about sexuality. This reflects a basic respect for fundamental Charter freedoms. So why should it be any different for those seeking to enter the legal profession?
One very telling trait in a prospective candidate's makeup is their ability to ascribe whatever success they may have had thus far in their careers to the influence or assistance of others. Often they will speak of a mentor or a series of mentors as pivotal figures. One very special mentor and teacher of mine is the Honourable Irwin Cotler.
John Carpay's condemnation of the Ontario Superior Court alleges that 'half-truths' have been relied on to scuttle Trinity Western University's quest to establish a law school. Ironically, Mr. Carpay's own analysis is built upon factual and legal mischaracterizations. These are designed to stoke suspicions of a nonexistent anti-Christian bias among legal institutions and to undermine the crucial public policy considerations invoked by the Law Society of Upper Canada in denying TWU's accreditation. The dispute surrounding TWU is about the public interest obligations of law societies to promote equal access to the profession, not about meddling with university policies or religious doctrines.
Over the past decade or so, the landscape of new lawyers, at least in Ontario, has dramatically changed. Today, based on at least anecdotal evidence, a sizeable portion of new lawyers obtain their law degrees from a foreign university with far lower admission and graduation academic standards than those required by Canadian universities.
TWU's statutory object is to provide a university education to persons of any creed. It is the BC legislature which has enacted the statute which uses the mandatory "shall" when articulating the requirement that TWU's education be provided to persons of "any creed". It went on to expressly state that TWU's Bylaws must not include anything "that is in conflict with this Act".
As I find myself on the eve of World Pride weekend, making plans to march in the parade with my partner, my son and step-daughter, and their dads, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that it has been almost a quarter of a century since I came out. Our children are in Grades one and three. They love all of their moms, and my parents are thrilled to be grandparents -- to not one but, now, two kids. I continue to be an advocate, although today it takes different forms. Today, my girlfriend and I dream about getting married in the backyard of our home. I will get married because now I want to. And now I can.
Pushers for Trinity Western and its faith-based law school -- which is an oxymoron up there with civil war and old news -- would like you to believe this whole deal is about religious freedom. How can any law school be able to create, foster, and spit out our next generation of lawyers when it doesn't hold our values? Not just Canadian values but simple human-to-human values.
Long before Mark Persaud became the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal winning activist, the noted Toronto lawyer spent many trying days as a new immigrant on the streets of Toronto, homeless. He opens up on the early days as an immigrant, his law career, why he is a patriotic Canadian and the reason why he is committed to peace and justice in Canada and abroad via the Canadian International Peace Project.
You find Saskatchewan people everywhere. We often stray from the province and find ourselves working, visiting or living our lives in other parts of Canada. When you discover one of us -- as you most certainly will -- there is a good chance that the conversation will turn, at some point, to farming. I guess people just really like to talk about farming and they believe that we're more likely than others to indulge them.