♫ ‘Cause these things will change, can you feel it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down
It’s a revolution, the time will come for us to finally win
We’ll sing hallelujah!
We’ll sing hallelujah! Oh…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Taylor Swift.
While the #OccupyVancouver (the movement’s twitter hash tag) goes to the Supreme Court of British Columbia again today for a resumption of the injunction hearing by the City of Vancouver, a different type of protest is just getting underway.
The two groups could not be more different. On one hand, we have protestors occupying tents on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery, issuing a list of 28 “Demands” (see: Occupy Vancouver Demands Released) and exercising their rights to a (hopefully) largely peaceful protest. These Occupy Vancouver protestors are a motley crew and the general consensus is that they have largely failed at presenting a united, cogent and persuasive list of suggested changes that address their list of demands.
The second group is not camping outside in the rain. They are not holding ceremonial fires or jostling journalists. They are coordinating a province-wide withdrawal of (adult) legal aid duty counsel services (criminal).
The schedule for the withdrawal of services is as follows:
- No one will accept a duty counsel referral for January 1-7, 2012.
- No one will accept a duty counsel referral for February 1-14, 2012.
- No one will accept a duty counsel referral for March 1-21, 2012.
- No one will accept a duty counsel referral for April 1-30, 2012.
The Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia is coordinating this protest through its Legal Aid Action Committee. Lawyers who support the aim of restoring legal aid funding are asked to wear a ribbon demonstrating their support for the cause. Azool Jaffer-Jeraj, President of the TLABC has issued a letter that provides further details and contact information.
Of course, when lawyers are involved with a protest, ethical issues abound. We will see how the court, the public and those accused of offences view the withdrawal of legal aid services.
Since all protests now have a social media aspect, I guess we will have to develop a twitter hash tag for this protest. I suggest #BCLegalAid. One thing seems to be clear; when lawyers protest, it is indeed a revolution…