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Gerard Charette

Southwest Electoral Region (SW)
Gerard Charette

Candidate bio description

Since 1980, I have practiced tax planning in Windsor at Miller Canfield and its predecessor firms. Throughout my career, I have lectured on tax planning for diverse associations, including the Canadian Tax Foundation, the Michigan State Bar, and Michigan’s Public Accountants. I am a past director of TV Ontario and past lay member of the Council of the College of Optometrists. I devote personal time to part-time academics. I am about to complete an MA and begin a new project at the University of Windsor. My area of study is theological aesthetics comprising Jewish, Islamic and Eastern studies and visual arts. I also volunteer as a church deacon by serving the needs of men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

A desire to serve the public interest by helping the LSO to turn away from a narrow focus on social activism (as embedded in the Statement of Principles (SOP)) toward a more broadly balanced approach that honours the key aspects of lawyerly practice: sound standards of learning, professional competence and conduct. Currently, our professional autonomy and professional independence are at risk as a consequence of SOP.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?

LSO's tendency to act outside the four corners of its public interest jurisdiction. Although SOP may well be laudable, laudability does not bestow jurisdiction. LSO has no jurisdiction to require lawyers to pledge allegiance to anything. Moreover, it has no jurisdiction to press lawyers into active service as promotional agents for any idea. LSO must turn away from an activist agenda and seek to fulfill its statutory mandate by taking a more broadly balanced approach. It best serves the public interest by focusing on the key aspects of lawyerly practice, all without demanding pledges of allegiance.

What would be your first priority upon election?

Examine and re-evaluate the LSO initiatives and all operations against the background of its statutory public interest mandate to regulate lawyerly practice, and the other more incidental tasks assigned to it my the Law Society Act.

What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?

I hope to ensure that the LSO delivers to the public of Ontario the finest regulatory services in accordance with its statutory jurisdiction. And also, to resist the sometimes inevitable temptation to act outside the framework of the LSO's statutory jurisdiction.

What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?

Liberate the members of the profession from unduly intrusive regulatory burdens so as to allow them to better serve the public interest by delivering the finest quality legal services to their clients.

Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?

No, I do not. SOP is an unduly intrusive interference in the solicitor-client relationship. The Rules require that we be jealous guardians of our professional autonomy and independence so as to be free to serve our clients without regard to personal interests. Yet, SOP constitutes a personal interest that we must disclose to our clients. For example, SOP forces labour lawyers to take sides against clients who are alleged to have violated any equality, diversity or inclusivity regime. If a lawyer pledges to support SOP then he or she has adopted a personal interest that is adverse to such clients. 

Poll Question

What do you see as the top issue that prospective benchers need to address if they are elected?