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Letter to the Editor: ‘Paper-thin defence of bullying actions’

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 @ 9:17 AM | By Craig Burley

Re: Social media bullying sign of battle eroding law society’s soul

I was dismayed to read bencher Cheryl Lean’s paper-thin defence of her bullying actions against the LSO’s Equity Advisory Group chair Nima Hojjati published on Feb. 6.

Hojjati has been extraordinarily kind and solicitous in refusing to call bencher Lean’s actions racist; she took the opportunity to accuse him of calling her a racist anyhow. I have no professional need to be kind to benchers, however. Lean’s actions were racist.

It is racist to claim that you can tell a racialized person hates democracy by looking at them. Bencher Lean did not deny the comment. It was a racist act. She claims it was not intended as such; I am glad of this but it does not dilute the impact of her comments. Furthermore, her claim that he lacks “serious character” (for correctly analyzing that the mandate of benchers is not democratic but institutional) again reiterates the belittling racism and bigotry that bencher Lean and many of her colleagues exhibit towards racialized licensees, towards the EAG, and towards those of us in other equity-seeking groups besides.

Bencher Lean claims an equity agenda is “narrow.” It is anything but. The majority of our society is composed of those in equity-seeking groups, and a vast majority of the wider public we serve want to receive services equitably, from an equitable profession. A minority (for their slate is a minority) of benchers disagree; that makes the equity agenda no less broad.

Bencher Lean should have taken the shock and dismay exhibited at her comments by the LSO’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel as indicative of how those of us in the profession saw her. Instead, she claimed shock that the DHC would take such a view. She should understand that this shock and dismay is widespread throughout Ontario.

Finally, bencher Lean should reconsider her comment that chair Hojjati was appointed chair of the EAG by a “mysterious cabal,” and should, along with her colleagues, educate herself about how the LSO and the EAG works, institutionally. It will dispel this mystery for her, and it will help her be a better bencher.

Craig Burley,