“Let’s Return Good Governance to the LSO” – Slogan of the Good Governance Coalition.
Sparked by the outrage over the Statement of Principles, lawyers formed the STOPSop group (STOP the compelled Statement of Principles) during the last Bencher election. In response, to the success in getting benchers elected, another group has formed this year. This has led to the creation of a two party system: the StopSOP and the Good Governance parties.
The StopSop party and the Good Governance party could loosely be compared to the Republicans versus the Democrats. This two party system, positions Benchers against each other.
The Good Governance side proposes to bring decorum back to Convocation and to actively address discrimination.
Whereas, the StopSop’s slate voted to repeal the Statement of Principles, and has voted against expanding the Law Society’s breadth. As stated on their website, “StopSOP’s 22 Benchers ran as candidates on a platform of repealing the SOP and reining in the Law Society’s ever-expanding mission, sprawling bureaucracy and ballooning budgetary expenditures”.
Through their committee work and Convocation meetings, Benchers set important policy and determine matters related to the governance of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Benchers gather most months of the years in a meeting called Convocation.
Now with the announcement of the Good Governance Coalition, many questions arise. Will a party system necessitate the designation of a leader? Will lawyers vote strategically for teams over voting for the individual bencher? Once in power, will votes be whipped (after all, why run as a slate)? Will there be an “in” team and a “out” team (eg official party and opposition party)? Will committee assignments be prejudiced by what team you ran on? More importantly, do lawyers and paralegals want a two party system? Is it easier to choose candidates from a vetted slate than research each individual’s platform? Who decides who gets to join which slate?
What would you like to see for the next term? How should lawyers be governed in Ontario? Do you like the idea of a party system?