Ezra Levant: will push finally come to shove?
A little bird tells me that lawyer and notorious SubTV commentator Ezra Levant is once more in a spot of bother with the Law Society of Alberta.
Some may remember that prominent civil rights activist Richard Warman lodged a complaint against Levant with the LSA in early 2008:
The LSA found Mr. Levant violated the following rules of professional conduct: to “respect and uphold the law in personal conduct,” to “seek to improve the justice system,” to not “act in a manner that might weaken public respect for the law,” to be “courteous and candid,” and to not “harass any person or discriminate against any person” on various prohibited grounds. Mr. Levant confirmed the matter was dropped after he attended a “mandatory conduct advisory,” known as a “fireside chat,” with senior bencher Stephen G. Raby, QC.A more recent outbreak of Levantian logorrhea led me to suggest that the issue of Levant’s conduct might appropriately be revisited. And that was before Levant’s hateful attack on the Roma people in a national broadcast on September 5, for which SubTV subsequently apologized. His slobbering rant is now the subject of a Toronto police investigation for possible breach of Canada’s criminal hate speech laws.
A confidential letter signed by complaints manager Katherine A. Whitburn, dated last year, states that the senior lawyer would have to be satisfied Mr. Levant understands there is “a balance between freedom of speech and the obligations imposed on a lawyer… to maintain courtesy at all times,” and that he “undertake to cease the publication of [his own or others’] opinions… that are discourteous.”
Once again, dear readers, given that the LSA appears to be taking this sort of thing seriously, may I suggest that those of us disgusted by his vile anti-Roma propaganda might want to make complaints of our own to reinforce what is apparently already in front of the Society?
Here’s how, and below is a suggested template, but for goodness sake develop your own content, don’t go full-tilt Wente:
The Law Society of AlbertaNo harm in turning the heat up on the haters a degree or two.
919 11 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Attention: Complaints Department
Dear Sir or Madam,
RE: Mr. Ezra Levant
I write regarding the conduct of the above-noted member of the Law Society.
On September 5, 2012, Mr. Levant broadcast a nine-minute attack on the Roma people on his program The Source carried by SunTV. SunTV eventually apologized to its viewers, and Levant’s comments are currently under investigation by the Toronto police after a criminal complaint by the Toronto Roma Community Centre, although no charges have been laid to date.
There are three things that seem problematic about Mr. Levant’s public diatribe:
Members of the Law Society of Alberta are required to be courteous and non-discriminatory. Rule 6.03(1) of the Law Society’s Code of Conduct reads:
- It cannot be considered courteous speech. It does nothing to advance legal or political discourse. It cannot be accorded much constitutional protection under s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (see R. v. Keegstra,  3 SCR 697). Certainly, it is not an expression that builds respect for the legal profession when a member of the Alberta Law Society utters this sort of thing on a national television broadcast.
- Mr. Levant appears to have shown no remorse to this day for his broadcast.
- Throughout this episode, Mr. Levant was a practising lawyer, as his program’s website clearly indicates (see http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/shows/the-source.html).
“A lawyer who engages in another profession, business or occupation concurrently with the practice of law must not allow such outside interest to jeopardize the lawyer’s professional integrity, independence or competence.”
As the Law Society’s code states, “lawyers should aspire to the highest standards of behaviour at all times and not just when acting as lawyers.”
It is public knowledge that the Law Society has received complaints about Mr. Levant’s uncivil conduct in the past, which it resolved by having him attend a “fireside chat” with another lawyer. This does not appear to have restrained his conduct.
As a private citizen, I respectfully request that the Law Society immediately investigate this matter, and that this investigation consider whether Mr. Levant possesses a suitable character for the practice of law in Alberta.