Click here to read the Law Union of Ontario’s written submissions to the TPSB responding to and commenting on the CAPP Report.
In November, 2014 Logical Outcomes released its Community Assessment of Police Practices (CAPP) report titled Community-Based Assessment of Police Contact Carding in 31 Division. The report was commissioned by the Toronto Police Services Board to evaluate the implementation of the TPSB’s “Community Contacts” policy enacted to respond to concerns respecting the practice of “carding” and its disproportionate impact on racialized youth.
At its public meeting of December 15, 2014, the TPSB considered oral deputations and written submissions responding to and commenting on the CAPP report. The Law Union of Ontario’s submission to to the TPSB can be viewed here.
Toronto – 9 December 2014 – The Law Union of Ontario is calling on Michael McCormack and the Toronto Police Association to publicly apologize for dishonestly and illegally condemning the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board over a Facebook post. These attacks threaten to set back progress in community-police relations by years.
Dr. Mukherjee re-posted a flyer that was critical of the the frequency with which Americans are killed by police officers in that country. Eric Garner and Michael Brown are just two recent high profile examples. The Toronto Police Association suggests the message in the poster in some way reflects on policing in Toronto. “The Toronto Police should be disassociating themselves from the kinds of fatal and racist police practices that take place in some jurisdictions south of the border, rather than finding common bond with those practices,” said Vilko Zbogar on behalf of the Law Union of Ontario’s Policing Committee.
This morning, the Law Union of Ontario sent a letter to Michael McCormack putting him on notice that the Police Services Act prohibits police officers from engaging in unauthorized political activity. “Lobbying the mayor and the premier to replace a civilian overseer of the police force is a political activity and it is illegal,” said Law Union lawyer Paul Copeland.
“Dr. Mukherjee has been working to reduce the size of the police budget,” added Law Union lawyer Bob Kellermann. “The Toronto Police Association has a vested interest in wanting to undermine him for that reason. In addition the Police Services Board under Dr. Mukherjee’s leadership has been progressively reforming policing, such as by instituting a new carding policy. Police have not been receptive to these changes.”
Mayor John Tory campaigned on a promise of building better police-community relations. “Unfortunately, by aligning himself with the Toronto Police Association’s attack on the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, Mayor Tory risks undermining the progress that the Board has been making to build public confidence in the police,” stated Paul Copeland.
The Steering Committee of the Law Union of Ontario is urging all of its members to resign from the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) as a result of the CBA’s intervention in Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Yaiguaje, et al. We have written to CBA to this effect; the full text of this letter is at the end of this post.
In 2011, after nearly 20 years of battle, an Ecuadorian court ruled that Chevron had to compensate victims for the destruction it had caused. The Supreme Court of Ecuador ratified this decision and set damages at US $9.51 billion.
In December 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that Ecuador’s indigenous communities were entitled to have their case against Chevron Canada heard in Ontario. Chevron is appealing this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).
In September 2014, the CBA announced its decision to have Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP submit a brief to the SCC on issues of corporate identity. Blakes represents Chevron in other matters. This decision by the CBA both followed and propelled widespread criticism from CBA sections and CBA members, including the CBA’s Legislative and Law Reform Committee, which had recommended against proceeding with the intervention when it was first proposed. Critics pointed to a lack of consultation in the intervention decision-making process and a violation of the CBA’s stated public interest/access to justice mandate.
In calling for CBA member resignations, we follow the lead of advocates, lawyers, and law students who are protesting both the process and the substance of the CBA’s intervention. In particular, we would highlight the following statements:
Petition to CBA: Withdraw from the Supreme Court of Canada or Don’t File an Argument
We write to advise you that the Steering Committee of the Law Union of Ontario is urging all of its members to resign from the CBA as a result of your intervention in Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Yaiguaje, et al at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Your intervention flies in the face of any concern for the environment; your stated commitment to access to justice; your own members’ objections; and our profession’s ethic requiring us to act in the public interest, unless acting for a party to litigation.
The Law Union of Ontario (LUO) writes to express its concern regarding the proposed merger of seventeen independent community legal clinics in the GTA into a few mega-clinics.
In particular, we are concerned that this amalgamation does not reflect a model of community lawyering that responds to the needs of low income people. We call on Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and the Province of Ontario to ensure access to justice by providing increased funding to existing community legal clinics in catchment areas with high levels of poverty. Additionally, any major clinic transformation should only occur after meaningful, extensive, and widespread consultation with clinic-users and low-income communities.