Vote Vladimir

7. Becoming a Bencher should be about who you are, not who you know

I am Vladimir Reznik, and I am running for paralegal bencher of the Law Society of Ontario in the 2023 election. 

Running on an independent platform of being a candidate who makes sense. 

I continue to make these videos… without fancy backgrounds, without expensive videographers or make-up artists, without professional lights and sound technologies.  Just my laptop camera, and me looking you straight in the eye, and reflecting with you on matters that are important for us in this election. 

And I feel it is time for my campaign and for anyone who cares about the future of our profession to identify and recognize the adversary that needs to be defeated in this election. It is not any particular individual bencher candidate, and not even any specific group of candidates campaigning together. But it is the method, the thinking, and the ideology, which is pervading our legal community and spreading like cancer. 

Our self-regulation has never been closer to self-destruction by allowing a coalition of top Bay Street interests to forever control the governance of legal professionals in Ontario, in a communist style single-party system. 

Forever, because once in power, according to their own platform, they intend to support an electoral reform to prevent other candidates from running together in slates against that coalition ever again. 

But coalition members are not just campaigning together. They are campaigning to be elected together. Coalition candidates are not just asking for your vote. They are asking for you to vote for their choice of candidates. 

In my view, there is a line between a group of individuals each standing on their own core values and a group of individuals who agreed to adopt shared group values as a condition of gaining a special access to a special exclusive team. In my view, that line is a threshold between self-governance in public interest and a very dark place. 

The coalition promises that it is not a party. Speaking as a single voice on a comprehensive set of shared values, and with every member echoing each other’s approved message, the coalition assures the voter that its members do not speak and will not vote as a bloc. The truth is, they are already voting as a bloc. In December Convocation a motion was carried, allowing for a greater transparency between eligible benchers across the works of committees, task forces and working groups. Not a bad idea. Except not a single current bencher who is a coalition member voted in favour of that transparency. In fact, they all voted together against it, as a bloc. Please reach out to me if you think I have miscounted the votes. They are found in this February agenda consent motion. I have counted and cross-referenced them several times against the list of coalition candidates hoping that I had made a mistake. 

They said the Statement of Principles is dead. Not a single coalition member, they said is going to bring it back. Not one, they said. But what happened to the core values of the benchers who adamantly protected the need for that Statement of Principles? Did they all evolve to recognize that there is no longer systemic racism in the legal profession? It’s also a fascinating display of confidence for a group that wants us to believe that there is no whip. 

But the reality is, whip or no whip, any vote a coalition member is about to take will have to be cross-referenced against a comprehensive set of shared values, also known as ideology, which every member has agreed to adopt as a condition of being accepted into that team. In 225 years, the legal professions have never been closer to having our privilege of self-governance being taken away from us. Like it happened to lawyers in Australia, like it happened to many other professions. Real estate agents in British Columbia is a very recent example of a Crown agency taking over self-regulation. 

It is also my position that there has never been a greater threat to diversity, inclusiveness and equality than the exclusive club of like-minded bencher nominees running to be in charge of our self-governance. I appreciate how diverse the coalition looks, but I have seen no evidence of how inclusively and equitably it is able to function. 

Quite the contrary, by asking the voter to only vote for its own members, the coalition has not only disadvantaged, but has effectively excluded every other diversity candidate running or potentially even contemplating a run. 

I call upon every coalition candidate to step up and reject coalition politics before it’s too late. Reject your special access and your special privilege and come out to your voter on your own core values and your own ideas, not just echoing each other’s approved message. 

Becoming elected as a bencher should be about who you are, not who you know. 

I call on every bencher candidate and voter to step up and call out and reject coalition politics to ensure survival of our self-regulation. 

I am Vladimir Reznik, running for paralegal bencher of the Law Society of Ontario in the 2023 election. 

Running on my own two feet, not being carried to victory by special interests. 

Standing on my own core values, not trading them for group values as a condition of being accepted into an exclusive club. 

Working hard every day to earn your vote, never taking it for granted. 

With more to come, Bye for now.

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