March 04, 2016

Why did I resign as a lawyer?

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

I resigned as a member of the Law Society of Alberta on March 2, 2016. I actually had to apply for permission to quit.

Now, that’s not really news — I haven’t worked at a law firm in 13 years. I’m a journalist and activist. But for some reason, there were more than 100 news stories about my resignation.

I’ll tell you the reason: because it was a matter of freedom of speech.

You see, even though I was a non-practicing lawyer, I was still governed by the Law Society’s code of professional conduct. That’s supposed to discipline lawyers who do things like steal money from their clients — serious, professional malpractice. But there’s also a catch-all provision to discipline lawyers who engage in “unbecoming” conduct.

Well, over the last eight years, left-wing political extremists have abused that provision to file 26 nuisance complaints against me, claiming my journalism and political activism was “unbecoming”.

Here’s a video I made about complaints number 25 and 26:

I had been a lawyer for almost sixteen years. So why did all these nuisance complaints start eight years ago? Because that’s when I launched my campaign against Canada’s corrupt human rights commissions, and their censorship powers.

Not a single one of these complaints against me was ever upheld. I resigned with a perfect record. But each time I’d beat one complaint, leftist activists would simply file a new one. Because it cost them nothing — and it cost me thousands of dollars to fight each complaint.

The process itself became the punishment. So I applied to get out. But not before I gave the Law Society a piece of my mind.

Here’s the statement that I read out at the Law Society’s headquarters:

Statement by Ezra Levant to the Law Society of Alberta

March 2, 2016

I’ve been a member of the Law Society of Alberta for sixteen years but I only worked for a law firm for just over one year: after I briefly ran for Parliament in Calgary Southwest in 2002, until I started the Western Standard news magazine in 2003. Those two things – politics and journalism – are what I do. I don’t practice law.

I’m glad I went to law school and I use my legal training almost every day, but I use it to do politics or journalism, not as a lawyer. I haven’t had a client in years.

While I was at the firm, I received no complaints about my professional work. After I stopped practicing law, I kept renewing my Law Society membership and paying my dues, out of habit and sentimentality. Trouble is, by remaining a member of the Law Society, even as a non-practicing lawyer, I gave my political opponents free shots at me through the profession’s complaints procedure.

Starting in 2008, weeks after I launched my political and journalistic campaign to reform Canada’s human rights commissions, I became the target of a series of nuisance complaints to the Law Society. None of the complaints had anything to do with my work as a lawyer – I wasn’t working as a lawyer then. None of the complaints were filed by clients – I didn’t have any clients then. And almost all of the complaints were made by people with no connection to Alberta.

They were filed by political activists who had found a free way to take a run at me because of my politics and journalism. I don’t believe that’s what the Law Societies are about, or what the Code of Professional Conduct is about. But those nuisance complaints were jammed into the catch-all heading of “conduct unbecoming” a lawyer.

I acknowledge that there are some things that could amount to conduct unbecoming for a lawyer, even a non-practicing lawyer. Being convicted of a crime might be one example. But having strong opinions shouldn’t be. Nor should expressing them. Which is good, considering how many opinionated politicians are non-practicing members of the Law Society. Like Premiers Alison Redford, Jim Prentice and Rachel Notley.

It’s been eight years since the first nuisance complaint was filed against me. And as of today, fully 26 complaints have been filed against me, all by political activists. They prefer a Law Society complaint to a letter to the editor, because Law Society complaints compel me to hire a lawyer to defend myself, and to go through a meticulous process, consuming my time and money. And they prefer a Law Society complaint to a civil lawsuit against me, because when their complaints are eventually thrown out, as the 24 resolved complaints have been, they aren’t on the hook for my legal costs. The Law Society of Alberta has become a magnet for every nuisance litigant, crank and shakedown artist in the country. One Ontario left-wing activist – probably living not too far from where I live in Toronto – actually published an online template for how to file complaints against me here in Alberta. Just like me, the Law Society is forced to deal with these tactics.

Every complaint against me has been dismissed so far. But the trouble is, by the time each complaint had been dismissed, another one had been filed. So there has been no free moment to resign from the Law Society in eight years, and I wasn’t going to resign in the face of a complaint. That’s my one complaint: the Law Society has been fair in their dealings with me, and they’ve obviously supported my freedom of speech every single time. But they’ve been slow about it, usually taking more than a year to throw out political complaints.

To my surprise, after eight years of dismissing nuisance complaints without even a hearing, a panel of Benchers recently decided to refer the last two complaints against me to a prosecutor. I really couldn’t believe it – at first I thought it was a typo. The complaints, as you can see, center around a newspaper column in which I called the Alberta human rights commission “crazy”. In a newspaper’s editorial section. We were going to have a full hearing about that.

The Alberta human rights commission is crazy. I know, because I lived through one of their crazier prosecutions – a 900-day blasphemy case against me for the grave sin of publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in a news magazine. But there is no such thing as the counterfeit human right not to be offended. That’s a crazy idea.

I should mention that Syed Soharwardy, one of the imams who filed that human rights commission complaint against me, also filed a Law Society complaint against me too. Both were dismissed.

I believe these last Law Society complaints are a violation of my Charter rights of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of conscience. I am confident that they would be dismissed, either by a Law Society panel or a court of appeal. The law in this area is well developed.

It was strange to me that after eight years of standing up for my freedom of speech, a panel of Benchers wanted a hearing. I’ve skimmed through the other disciplinary hearings at the Law Society – lawyers stealing money from client trust funds; lawyers making legal settlements without their client’s permission; lawyers too drunk to do their jobs. Real cases of professional conduct issues. And in the middle of that, a hearing because I called the human rights commission crazy.

Well, look. I’d love to have that hearing, and win, and set a strong precedent for freedom of speech – not just for myself, but so that in the future, no lawyer, either on the right or the left, has to go through the expensive hassle of a multi-year investigation of their political opinions.

I just stared down Premier Notley, whose office directed the sheriff to kick my reporters out of the Legislature. The Premier has backed down. This was an important freedom of speech issue, that we fought on behalf of, but also for the benefit of all journalists. Yet I have no doubt that a Law Society complaint against me is coming, alleging that my comments during this latest fight with the Premier weren’t lawyerly. This merry go round is not going to stop.

To be frank, the cost and inconvenience aside  – I was looking forward to a freedom of speech fight with the Law Society. But a few weeks ago the Law Society raised the idea of resolution without the necessity of a hearing. I was pretty suspicious – what was the catch? Would I be asked to say that the Alberta human rights commission is a great bunch of guys, totally not crazy, really really sane? Or maybe that I shouldn’t have written my newspaper column about it? But that’s not the proposal. It appears all counsel want resolution without a contested hearing which, on their advice, I am prepared to accept.

I haven’t lived in Alberta for years, and I haven’t been at a law firm in over a decade. I actually submitted an application to resign from the Law Society years ago – but on the condition that there are no complaints outstanding against me. So, I’ve been waiting.

I’m a 16-year member of the Law Society without a single disciplinary action on my record. I’d prefer to remain an inactive lawyer, but I accept, that in this situation, it makes little sense for me to remain a member of the Law Society, knowing that the political harassment will continue.

I’ll miss the collegiality of being a lawyer – a little bit. But I won’t miss the nuisance complaints. And I promise I’ll keep fighting for freedom of speech every day in my real job as a journalist and political activist.

I think I know what the Law Society staff wants to do after eight years of nuisance complaints. They want to stop being forced to read my newspaper columns and watch my videos as part of their job. But you’re the deciders here. Let me know what you think is in the interests of the profession, the province, and the Constitution.

What do you think? Should I have stayed and fought — and wasted thousands more dollars and hundreds more hours?

Or should I have pulled the plug — so I can spend time on the projects I choose, not those chosen by my political enemies?

In the end, the Law Society granted me my resignation, with a perfect disciplinary record. They know the complaints were bogus.

Finally, the bleeding from the legal bills is over — at least in this forum. But unfortunately, I’ve still got plenty of nuisance suits being filed against me in other courts, by many of the same activists. In fact, my next court date is coming up in May.

I hate these vexatious suits against me. But I know one thing: people never shoot at a dead duck. The fact that 26 nuisance complaints were filed against me is a grim compliment. These leftists know I’m making a difference, or they wouldn’t be trying so hard to bankrupt me.

Ezra Levant

P.S. Believe it or not, I had to hire lawyers to apply for me to resign from the Law Society. They prepared for weeks, and in the end it was a three-hour hearing. I know, it’s crazy. If you are in a position to help me cover those legal costs, I’d be very grateful. Please click here, if you can.

P.P.S. It’s a small consolation, but here is confirmation from the Law Society that I leave the profession with a perfect ethical record — despite 26 attempts by left-wing activists to smear me.

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commented 2016-04-02 02:40:25 -0400
Pardon me. Seems I’m ranting a bit on this thread.
It’s so much fun.
The old man warned me about fishing. Don’t use dynamite or a rifle.
commented 2016-04-02 02:37:41 -0400
Yes, why?
Lot of something about little.
commented 2016-03-31 01:06:21 -0400
I forgot. You are a narcissist and slightly insecure.
commented 2016-03-31 01:04:14 -0400
Who cares?
You are incompetent as a lawyer and as a newsman.
commented 2016-03-12 04:11:15 -0500
makes sense to me
commented 2016-03-11 04:28:06 -0500
No Ezra You can obviously afford a carribian cruise. HRT is not a real court. Stop asking for money. You do it too much.
commented 2016-03-06 03:19:31 -0500
A couple of thoughts on that rabble article.
  1. - Why would a news website that hates the rebel so much go out of its way to write that article and to post it up?
  1. - If rabble hates the rebel so much, does it not realize that they are giving free publicity to the rebel?
commented 2016-03-05 16:20:58 -0500
Ron, my IQ tested at 147. The only person I know personally who tested higher is Reg Downs, who’s Brad Wall’s chief adviser. As you can see (I’ll point it out for you, in case you miss it in your blind ignorance) I blog as atokenconservative. I used to be a left winger, like you. I guess intelligence does count for something. Anyhoo, I like how you go on and on about how unimportant and miniscule this site is, and yet here you are, again and again. One could be fooled (?) into believing that you were simply a masochist, sticking your buttocks in here and spewing your stink just so you can get your jollies at all the spankings you get in response. I don’t know, there’s got to be some kind of psychological reason why someone who (on the surface) supports supposedly humanitarian causes like any other SJW and yet so obviously is so full of hate Hate HATE for any and all things Ezra, so much so that you contradict yourself with every posting on this supposedly almost invisible website. With more hits than MacLeans. How do you untie yourself from all those knots? Nevermind, I don’t want to know.
commented 2016-03-05 13:17:39 -0500
Ron Christensen: All you do is offer ad hominem attacks of others having a less i.q. which is really a smoke screen to hide behind and not an intelligent argument in and of itself. If I was to argue a case in court and forwarded the argument that somehow I was right because I was more intelligent than than my opponent it would be irrelevant as to the truth and validity of the issues at hand and to advance such an argument would be considered really stupid. Whether or not you are smarter or not ( lean towards not) has no bearing on the individual issues being discussed and is a logically invalid argument. You also suggest Harper failed after 9 years. Failed at what exactly?Digging us into a huge debt which offers no basis for ensuring success. For failing to rise to the level of corruption the previous liberal administrations brought us which almost decimated their party into obscurity? The problem is we tend to forget the damage the liberals and their entitlement can create unless we have doses of their waste and corruption intermittently. Sorry your arguments hove been tried in the balance and found to be cheap personal shots lacking any intellectual rigor.
commented 2016-03-05 13:07:54 -0500
To all you left wingers please stick with CTV CBC and the Eastern media as they are in agreement with your narrow-minded, vicious, malicious, hateful attitude and leave us right wingers alone, When the west separates, you can enjoy your left wing attitude as you all will be in agreement. Those living in the west, please leave as there will be no support for you in our new country. 35 years ago businesses in Toronto were complaining that the Human Rights Commission were not applying the laws of Canada but rather sharia law so I guess they haven’t changed. Also note it’s the Moslems who abuses the Commission, our other immigrants are thankful to be living in a free democratic country. Quit wasting your time as most of us just skips your remarks anyways.
commented 2016-03-05 12:08:26 -0500
At the end of the day we must all make decisions that are best for our own interests. Properly executed will result in greater comfort levels and confidence. Belonging to an Association or Society that will not back you simply makes no sense, and should be dumped!
commented 2016-03-05 11:26:06 -0500
You do realize Ron Christensen that the CBC takes money out of your pocket every day in the form of taxes and you have absolutely no choice in the mattter. People come to this website of their own free will and have no obligation whatsoever to pay for the privelege. Some of us are supporting The Rebel because it offers a different perspective. You should probably go buy yourself a Toronto Star paper and tune into the CBC for their perspective on the state of Canada and the world and forget about telling us how stupid we are.
commented 2016-03-05 11:19:09 -0500
Isn’t it somewhat unbecoming of a lawyer or law society to file or accept frivolous complaints?
commented 2016-03-05 11:14:41 -0500
Once again I will reiterate, this “low IQ” conservative supporter, will stay with my “low IQ” choices, but that’s my right as a Canadian, as is yours to support a party that’s flailing around the pool like cat that fell into it. You continue to read the Rabble, and other quasi communist articles that’s your right. But as a liberal you like to tell people how to live, to live the right way? Even though you have no clue what life is like 1500kms or even 30 from your home. But that’s liberalism, I bet Stalin would have done better if he called his party liberal. And by the way he knew how people should live to, broke, desperate and starving. How long before those of us in Canada under this new government who are broke, desperate, and starving are going to be taken to “camps” for their own well being of course, as they cannot help themselves. Yup sounds Utopion to me Ron. Like the environment issues, out of sight out of mind right? Electric (coal powered) cars, solar panels in the artic( dark for 6 months), but they are cleaner, right? Well not as a footprint but as a thought, same thing.
commented 2016-03-05 11:02:33 -0500
Ah as a working man such as myself Ron does it not scare you that anyone can create a situation where fraudulent charges hold the defendant responsible until found not guilty? While you say you hate extreme con views that’s one of the worst there is and has been eliminated from real courts after the Middle Ages? I think you just don’t like conservatives as a rule, since there is NO extreme right wing parties in Canada, the Federal Conservative party when viewed globally is centred, proof? Well they governed for 8 years 4 in majority and we still have EI and Healthcare and even the CBC, all socialist policy?
commented 2016-03-05 10:53:28 -0500

Nope ot a union boss at all. I just do not accept extremist conservative views. I have voted progressive conservative and liberal, but will not EVER will I vote for such trash jthat Ezra Levant and his ilk put forth what ever way they can. Worked all my life, but I have an education which I suspect is rare around here in the opinion comments section. It is obvious because the general comments in are are quite telling as to the utter ignorance of the submitters. I am a Canadian who is proud of the Charter and extremely contented knowing that PET saw oafs like Harper, Levant, Kenny, etal. coming. The last ten years of your “failed liberal” Harper were enough to make Canadians understand just how low information low iq conservatives could damage the country. Ezra Levant is a failed lawyer and a failed journalist and all I can dois feel sorry or those who worship the words and the ground he walks on. Levant is like an evangelical fraud who bilks stupid people for money.
commented 2016-03-05 10:49:11 -0500
Funny looking at the news this week, suspected terrorist freedom lobbied by Sasha Trudea, so you as a non Canadian can say you want Canada to end violently, in Canada, and not a crime apparently, but heaven forbid a Canadian calls another Canadian “Crazy”. No wonder you so upset Ron “union Boss” Christensen.
commented 2016-03-05 10:43:24 -0500
@ Ron
Please link some articles from Al-jazier next, as I assume you are a paying subscriber.
commented 2016-03-05 10:41:55 -0500
Hey Ron! I’m not paying you double time on your wage for this.
commented 2016-03-05 10:40:45 -0500
@ Bob Foster
So much volume, so little substance, if you keep those arguments up you may create a new lighter than air solid to stand on!
commented 2016-03-05 10:38:27 -0500
Ron The “union Boss” Christensen, I’m afraid Ezra has more education than Peter Masbridge minus the public paid pension. As an apparent liberal Utopianist, and an union employee (obviouse assumption), you should not take the time I as a business owner pay you as a servant to complain about kangaroo ethics courts, but as a union boss you probably run one of your own about once a week. Bet your glad you can see which employees you should fire for voting against you now.
commented 2016-03-05 09:33:32 -0500
And I forgot, in the end of the article again, Ezra Levant pleading for money. Disgusting.
commented 2016-03-05 09:30:51 -0500
I’m a journalist and activist.

Just another lie from the pied piper of lies and half truths. Ezra Levant himself testified in court he is NOT a journalist. The Revel is a little spot on the web that is just like the magazine rack at a check out food store. The most prominent low class rag there is the National Inquirer. The Rebel is no different. Now I know I’m not going to convince the right wing looneys who happily prance behind the pied piiper but fore the vast majority of citizens, this corner of the internet is just ignored and for good reason.
commented 2016-03-05 08:33:31 -0500
Saul Alinsky rules! Attack attack attack! Law be damned! Thanks Ezra you keep peeling the onion for enlightenment! UN treasonest in Ottawa exposed everyday!
commented 2016-03-05 06:17:03 -0500
Sam Young is unfortunately right. SJWs never stop until the heretics are silenced, and now we have a government controlled by them. We had to read Orwell’s 1984 in high school and even then it made me feel ill while I was reading it. Today I see the exact same shite in the news and nobody in the MSM says a goddamn thing. Just throw it down the memory hole. FUCK!
commented 2016-03-05 03:50:58 -0500
The leftists will always go after you. They will just find other ways.

You were right to ditch the law society. It is not like they were doing anything for you any more.
commented 2016-03-05 02:37:30 -0500
Bob Foster enjoy dying a virgin loser. Now go upstairs your mom said dinner is ready. LMAO!
commented 2016-03-05 00:39:31 -0500
As much as I hate to allow bullies to prevail you have to decide what is best for you and your family and career etc. Yes this was certainly a noble fight but at what cost? Would it make sense to fight a court case that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if you were suing for ten thousand? So would it make sense to to spend hundreds of thousands when you are making nothing off of it? I do really cherish the causes you were and are fighting for but no one can blame you for what decision you are making and perhaps this will free you up to continue the fight on other levels with hopefully less restrictions and with more focus. I truly wish we were a larger group and had more affluence to be able to help you fight these battles. I wish you nothing but the best in your fight for freedom and thank you for all the issues you have already brought to our attention and the causes you and your supporters have helped finance.
commented 2016-03-05 00:00:00 -0500
you quit because you’re too fat to chase ambulances….you aren’t a rebel. you are a pig.