Candidate bio description
John was born in Revelstoke BC of Italian immigrant parents. When he was 8 years old his parents and 6 siblings moved to Toronto. John attended Regal Road Public School, Rockcliffe Senior Public and Runnymede Collegiate Institute. While at RCI he was elected student council president. John graduated from York University with a degree in Political Science in 1977. He graduated from Osgoode in 1980 and was called to the Bar in 1982. Upon graduation he established the law firm of Nunziata, Anand & Levy. In 1978, while in 2nd year law, John was elected as an Alderman in the Borough of York and was re-elected in 1980 with the biggest majority in York's history. On September 4, 1984 John was elected to the House of Commons as the Liberal MP for York South-Weston and re-elected three times, serving a total 16 years in Parliament. On June 2, 1997 after leaving the Liberal Party over a matter of principal regarding the promise in the 1993 election to scrap the GST, John made political history and was re-elected as an independent MP. Winning as an independent has been a rare achievement in Canadian politics since confederation. John is currently a sole practitioner focusing on government relations and administrative law.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
An ad I saw on the subway that read "Our Society is Your Society" which I believe shed a negative light on lawyers and paralegals in Ontario and was a waste of LSO resources. As well, at my stage in life and my career, I have the time and desire to devote to the governance of our profession not only in the public interest but also in the interest of all lawyers in every region in Ontario. Having served in public office and having practiced in a small firm and as a sole probationer for 35 years, I believe I have the experience to make a meaningful contribution to the legal profession in the interest of my fellow lawyers and in the public interest.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
There is clearly a disconnect between the Law Society and Ontario Lawyers. This is evidenced by the fact that only 33.84 % of lawyers voted in the Bencher election in 2015. Over the last number of months in anticipation of running for bencher, I have asked numerous lawyers for their thoughts about the Law Society. The responses were predominantly negative. I would like to help change that. As I did while in public office, I will not toe the party line and will not hesitate to challenge the status quo in the best interests of my constituents.
What would be your first priority upon election?
To review the Law Society budget line by line through a zero-base budgeting approach with a view to reducing the budget by 15%.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
I would like to see lawyers take a greater interest in their governing body in a positive manner and to make the Law Society more fiscally responsible. I would also like to see a complete review of the Law Society Act and the role of the Law Society.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
The negative public perception of lawyers and the disconnect between the Law Society and it members.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
I believe that an issue of this significance ought to be decided by a plebiscite of LSO members. As an elected bencher I believe I have a moral responsibility to represent my constituents. Personally I am opposed to a mandatory statement of principles.