1 1235 Fairview St., Suite 223, Burlington, ON, L7S 2K9 Ph Fax Via to: The Law Society of British Columbia 845 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC V6B 4Z9 ATTN: Executive Director Timothy E. McGee, Q.C. February 28, 2014 Dear Mr. McGee: RE: Trinity Western University Consultation The Law Society of British Columbia is reviewing the approval of the Trinity Western University (TWU) application for a law school and in so doing, has stated that the Benchers have the final say in whether any faculty of law is an approved faculty of law for the purpose of meeting the academic qualification of the Law Society s admission process. And further that the Benchers take very seriously their obligation to ensure that any decision regarding a new law school at TWU is done with the utmost attention to openness and fairness and to a process that is thorough, thoughtful, and fair. The society has invited submissions from members of the profession and from the public. The Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF) appreciates the opportunity to make submissions to the Law Society of British Columbia in this matter. Much of the attention surrounding Trinity Western University s (TWU) proposed school of law has to do with sensitivity to concerns about discrimination. In particular, in connection with the TWU Community Covenant Agreement, for example, the Nova Scotia Barristers Society is reviewing the issue of whether they will permit graduates of Trinity Western University s (TWU) proposed school of law to acquire membership in their society. It is noted that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, to whom the power of approval was granted, has already considered this issue and approved TWU s application. TWU also received approval from the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education to grant the degree Juris Doctor (J.D.). The CLF is a national charitable association that exists to serve the legal profession by deepening and strengthening the spiritual life of its members, and to encourage and facilitate among Christians in the vocation of law the integration of a biblical faith with contemporary legal, moral, social and political issues. The CLF s membership consists of nearly 600 lawyers, law students, professors, and others who support its work. It has 14 chapters in cities across Canada and student chapters in most Canadian law schools. While having no direct denominational affiliation, CLF s members represent more than 30 Christian denominations working in association together. NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations BOARD OF DIRECTORS Robert Reynolds, President Québec Michael Menear, Vice President Ontario Josh Tong, Secretary Ontario Tim Sinnott, Treasurer Ontario Shannon Davis Alberta Philip Fourie Saskatchewan Philip Milley, Student Rep. Newfoundland & Labrador Shawn Smith British Columbia Rev. Greg Sumner British Columbia Charlene Thomas Manitoba Sheldon Wood Ontario STAFF & VOLUNTEERS Calvin (Cal) Beresh Director, Student Ministries Rev. Reid Cooke Chaplaincy Mary Lou Houlik Administrative Support Shawn Knights Student Ministry Support Janine Van Nus Office Manager/Legal Researcher Ruth A.M. Ross Interim Executive Director Tim Stonhouse Regional Director, West
2 CLF Page 2 The CLF was founded out of the conviction that the practice of law is a vocation, a calling from God. As Christian lawyers, we are heirs to a tradition of legal thought that bears on many of the most pressing legal and constitutional questions facing our profession, as well as our broader community. We believe it is our responsibility as Christian lawyers to continue to develop that tradition, and to articulate what we understand to be required by justice in a free and democratic society. As Canada s largest association of Christian lawyers, CLF is uniquely positioned to comment on some of the issues being considered by The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) in this matter. Our starting point is that, in a multicultural society such as Canada, there can be no single conception of sexual morality and marriage that all must be compelled to believe. Indeed, even within CLF s own membership, there is a divergence of individual beliefs on this matter. However, our members stand united in the conviction that individuals should be free to formulate and adhere to their own understanding of the good, and live according to their individual conscience and religious beliefs. These principles are not only entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but in this particular context, they are specifically affirmed in the preamble to the Civil Marriage Act, which states that 'it is not against the public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage'. 1 CLF would be concerned if TWU refused to admit gay students, but it does not. It does require that all of its students live according to an evangelical Christian code of conduct while in attendance at TWU, including an evangelical Christian understanding of marriage and sexuality. The current campaign, although directed against TWU specifically, has implications for all those in the legal profession Christian or otherwise - who understand marriage and sexuality in the same way as TWU, as well as for any lawyer who opposes certain laws, even while abiding by them and advising their clients to do likewise. The message is that it is not enough to accept gay and lesbian colleagues and clients as colleagues and clients and to serve them impartially. The thrust of the opposition to the TWU proposal would prohibit lawyers, judges and law professors from articulating or endorsing, either in the public square, the academy, or the marketplace, a religious understanding of marriage and sexuality which differs from what is defined by the civil law for secular purposes. TWU is not training its students to accept an erroneous understanding of the civil law or provide inaccurate legal advice about the legal impact of the Civil Marriage Act if so, the LSBC would have every right to be concerned. To the contrary, Christian lawyers, like all lawyers, understand the difference between providing accurate, sound legal advice in their professional practices, and formulating personal comprehensive belief systems which may differ from the state s official position. The implications of refusing TWU accreditation on these grounds will be felt by Christian lawyers indeed lawyers of all faiths and those of no faith who hold similar conscientious views throughout Canada. Law deans, law firm diversity committees, corporate counsel initiatives, law student councils, and others with power over lawyers and law students will take from such a refusal a mandate not to tolerate any dissent from their view on matters of sexual morality or marriage. Canadian society is robust enough to live with the tension of divergent understandings of marriage and sexuality, just as it is robust enough to live with the tension of divergent understandings of the divine. Canadian society can handle disagreements about the morality of sexual practices and the nature of marriage, just as it handles disagreements about the value of religious practices. There exist, in the courts, law faculties, and firms, Christian lawyers who accept the moral theology behind the TWU code of conduct. They have not, to this point, been viewed as unfit to practice and to teach. But if the TWU application is denied, we can expect that pressure will be brought to bear on them as well. It is intolerable that lawyers should be
3 CLF Page 3 required to conform their personal beliefs to someone else s view of what marriage ought to be and what its purpose is. But that will be the message if the TWU application fails. The legal profession is one that has always promoted independence from the state, diversity of opinion, and freedom from mental and religious coercion. Its existence is predicated on the ability of its members to maintain that independence, and that starts with respecting their freedom to form their own beliefs. Law societies exist to regulate professional conduct and competence, not to police the personal beliefs and convictions of its members. To impose a blanket prohibition on all TWU graduates would be to pre-emptively judge a candidate as unworthy of the profession simply because he or she adheres to certain religious beliefs. Such a ban would violate the very principles of independence, diversity, and natural justice that the profession exists to protect, and would be egregious in the absence of any evidence that the individual candidate would actually engage in unlawful discrimination in his or her practice. To paraphrase the findings of the Supreme Court of Canada in BCCT v. TWU 2, although members of the legal profession may have reasons to object to TWU s Community Standards, they are not sufficient to deny TWU graduates admission to the bar. Indeed, if TWU s Community Standards could be sufficient in themselves to justify such denial, it is difficult to see how the same logic would not result in the denial of admission to the bar to members of a particular church, or to any future candidate who might hold dissenting and unpopular views on a given political, social, or moral matter. The diversity of Canadian society is partly reflected in the multiple religious and other non-governmental organizations that mark the societal landscape, and this diversity of views should be respected. As a quasi-governmental body, the LSBC must exercise its authority in a manner consistent with the values enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The LSBC must take into account the Charter value of freedom of religion. As the SCC concluded in its careful review of this very issue, where rights appear to be in conflict the appropriate reconciliation involves the toleration of divergent beliefs and respect for the freedom of individuals to adhere to those beliefs. As the Supreme Court of Canada concluded in BCCT v. TWU, tolerance of divergent beliefs is a hallmark of a democratic society. The CLF submits that such tolerance must begin with lawyers themselves, as the guardians of the rule of law. Please note the 175 endorsements including judicial (retired) that follow. CLF would be pleased to provide further assistance in any way the LSBC believes would be appropriate. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, Ruth A.M. Ross, B.A., LL.B. Interim Executive Director Called to the LSBC 1983 (Ruth Ann Mix); member of the Ontario Bar CHRISTIAN LEGAL FELLOWSHIP / Alliance des chrétiens en droit Suivez- nous sur / Follow us on In the Crossroads Centre, 1295 North Service Road, Burlington, ON Mailing Address: Suite 223, 1235 Fairview St., Burlington, ON, L7S 2K9 Telephone: Ext 253; Fax:
4 CLF Page 4 ENDORSED BY: 1. John E. Humphries, Barrister & Solicitor, Peachland, BC 2. Philip J. Dougan, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 3. Gerald Kent, Lawyer, Cranbrook, BC 4. T. Charles De Jager, Barrister & Solicitor, Surrey, BC 5. Donald L. Wilkinson, Partner, Porter Ramsay LLP, Kelowna, BC 6. Geoffrey Trotter, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC (intends to file an additional, individual submission) 7. Stanley Leo, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 8. Oloff Beirmann, Barrister & Solicitor, Langley, BC 9. David Gileff, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 10. Ken Volkenant, Barrister & Solicitor, Surrey, BC 11. Ronald J. Smith, QC, Barrister and Solicitor, Kelowna BC 12. Peter J. Anderson, Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver, BC 13. Shawn M. Smith, Partner, Cleveland Doan LLP, Barrister and Solicitor, White Rock, BC 14. I. Stanley Osobik J.D., Lawyer, Victoria, B.C. 15. Marie-Louise Fast, Barrister & Solicitor, Richmond, BC 16. George Gunnink, Lawyer, Surrey, BC 17. Michael Dieleman, Lawyer, Richmond, BC 18. Carmelle Dieleman, Articling Student, Richmond, BC 19. Geoff Severide, Barrister & Solicitor, Penticton, BC 20. Candace Cho, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 21. Rev. Greg Sumner, Pastor, New Life Community Baptist Church, Duncan, BC 22. Jeffrey S. Lowe, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 23. Luke Johnson, Barrister & Solicitor, Surrey, BC 24. Sandra M. Jennings, Lawyer, BC 25. Thomas J. Johnson, B.A., LL.B., Lawyer, Summerland, BC 26. Alastair Rees-Thomas, Barrister & Solicitor, Richmond, BC 27. Kallen Fong, Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver, BC 28. Masao Morinaga, Lawyer, Richmond, BC (intends to file an additional, individual submission) 29. Sean Hedley, Second-year Law Student, UBC Faculty of Law, Vancouver, BC 30. Robert Z. Donick, Barrister & Solicitor, Kelowna, BC 31. Nardia Chernawsky, Articling Student, Vancouver, BC 32. Christopher A. Becker, Lawyer, Abbotsford, BC (intends to file an additional, individual submission) 33. Brad E.L. Douglas, Barrister & Solicitor, Prince George, BC 34. Lee Sawatzky, Lawyer, Langley, BC 35. Jamie A. Bleay, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 36. Marie Burgoyne, J.D. (Candidate for Admission to the BC Bar), Vancouver, BC 37. Scott Macfarlane, Lawyer, North Vancouver, BC 38. Dan Draht, Student-at-law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC 39. John B. MacDonald, B. Com., LL.B. (UBC), M.A. (Regent College), D. Min. (TWU). 40. J. David S. Avren, Director of Legal Services, BC Hydro, Vancouver, BC 41. Jeannette Savoie, Lawyer, Yellowknife, NT 42. Tom Schuck, Lawyer, Weyburn, SK 43. Thomas G. Dean, Lawyer, London, ON 44. Kelly P. Hart, B.A., LL.B., Barrister & Solicitor, Ottawa, ON 45. Karen Gee, B.A., J.D., LL.M., Barrister & Solicitor, Richmond, BC 46. John C. Knibbe, Barrister, Solicitor, and Notary, Calgary, AB 47. Kathleen Pinno, Student-at-Law (University of Alberta), Edmonton, AB 48. Renée E. Short, Barrister & Solicitor, Calgary, AB
5 CLF Page Daniel J. Mol, B.A., M.Sc.Econ., J.D., Barrister & Solicitor, Edmonton, AB 50. Ryan McConaghy, Lawyer, Toronto, ON 51. Waldy Derkson, Lawyer, Winnipeg, MB 52. Barbara F. VanBunderen, Lawyer, London, ON 53. Christine Lowe, Student-at-Law (Osgoode Hall Law School), Toronto, ON 54. Danny Gurizzan Jr., Student-at-Law, Woodbridge, ON 55. Rob Wildeboer, Lawyer, Toronto, ON 56. Grace McIntosh, Legal Counsel, Seventh-day Adventist Church of Canada, Oshawa, ON 57. Monick L. Grenier, Barrister & Solicitor, Ottawa, ON 58. Simone Samuels, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B., B.C.L., Montréal, QC 59. Charles Graham Wallis King, B.A., M.Sc., J.D., Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto, ON 60. David St. Clair Bond, Barrister and Solicitor, Hubbards, NS 61. Kristin Debs, Lawyer, Halifax, NS 62. Changoo Jung, Student-at-Law (Queen s University), Kingston, ON 63. Fr. Evo DiPierro, Member of the N.S. Bar since Denis Grigoras, Lawyer, London, ON 65. Geoffrey F. Cauchi LL.B., Lawyer, Mississauga, ON 66. Lakin Afolabi, Lawyer, London, ON 67. Deborah Santema Olthof, Lawyer, Leduc, AB 68. Paul D. Faris LL.B., Lawyer, Called to the Bars of Ontario and Alberta, London, ON 69. John Sikkema, Law Student, Queen s University, Kingston, ON 70. Murielle Harkema, Second-year Law Student, University of Alberta 71. Janine Van Nus, completed 2 years of law school at the University of New Brunswick 72. David McMath, Lawyer, Fredericton, NB 73. Clifford G. Pyle, Saskatoon, SK 74. James CS Lam, Lawyer, Markham, ON 75. Chantal Desloges, LL.B. (Osgoode), C.S., Lawyer, Toronto, ON (Certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as: Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law & Specialist in Refugee Law) 76. Michael Menear, Lawyer, London, ON 77. Dennis Shannon, Fenelon Falls, ON 78. Elizabeth Swarbrick, Lawyer, Almonte, ON (Member of the NS Barristers Society for 10 years, Attended Dalhousie University) 79. Catherine Duncan, Law Student, Western University, London, ON 80. James F. Reich, Lawyer, Calgary, AB 81. Richard M. Harding B.A., J.D., R.F.M, Barrister and Solicitor, Calgary, AB 82. Elizabeth F.C. Davis-Dagg, J.D., Deputy Mayor, Municipality of Lambton Shores, Ontario 83. Joel Reinhardt, Student-at-Law, Ottawa, ON 84. Barry W. Bussey LL.M., LL.B., Lawyer, Elmira, ON (Newfoundland 1993, Ontario 1996) 85. Genna A. S. Evelyn, Lawyer, New Brunswick (2007), Ontario (2009), Québec (2014) 86. André Schutten, LL.B., LL.M., Ottawa, ON 87. Paul D. Mack, Lawyer, Oshawa, ON 88. Derek B.M. Ross, LL.B., LL.M., Lawyer, Elmira, ON 89. Jonathan Ng, Lawyer, Toronto, ON, Dalhousie Law alumnus 90. Jessie Legaree, Second-year Law Student, University of Toronto (also submitted independently as a TWU alumnus) 91. Walter Thiessen, Lawyer, Winnipeg, MB 92. Joshua Tong, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto, ON 93. Dr. Thomas M.J. Bateman, Associate Professor Political Science, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB
6 CLF Page C.E. Taucar, Ph.D., LL.M., LL.B., B.A., Barrister & Solicitor, Bradford, ON 95. Tyler Koverko, JD, Articling Student, London Crown Attorney's Office (Ontario) 96. Rhoda Adetunji, Articling Student, Toronto, ON 97. Dr Brian D Scott. HBA; LLB; D. Min, Retired Lawyer, Pastor, Consultant, London, ON 98. Robert E. Reynolds, Avocat, Montreal, QC 99. Wayne L. Bernakevitch, Partner, Deer, McDougall Gauley LLP, Barrister and Solicitor 100. Daniel J. Whittal, Lawyer, Chatham, Ontario 101. Angie Redecopp LLB, MBA, Director of Development Prairie Region, International Justice Mission; former partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP 102. Jeffrey Wyngaarden, Master's candidate, Philosophy of Law, McMaster University 103. Philip Milley, Articling clerk, St. John s, Newfoundand 104. Timothy J. Sinnott, Lawyer, Partner, Bereskin & Parr LLP 105. Philip Fourie, Lawyer, Partner, Kirkby Fourie Law Firm 106. Shawn Knights, Articling Student, Niagara Falls, Ontario 107. Peter Trieu, Lawyer, Calgary, AB 108. Roger Song, Student-at-Law AB, Member of New York Bar, JD University of Calgary, LL.M. New York University, USA, LL.B, LL.M, Peking University, China 109. Jessica Lo, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC 110. Anthony N. Schratz, Member of the Quebec Bar 111. Valerie Dye (PhD), Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public, 100 Sheppard Avenue West., Toronto, ON, Adjunct Professor (Business Law) Ryerson University Christian Ferraro, Law Student/ MBA Student: Osgoode Hall Law School, Schulich School of Business 113. Nicolas Francis Osgoode Hall Law School, JD Candidate 2015, Toronto, ON 114. Jordan Bierkos, Law Student, University of Calgary, Calgary. AB 115. John S. Lockhart, Lawyer, Mississauga, ON 116. Nancy Bergstrom, Lawyer, Red Deer, AB 117. Andrea Dickinson, CPA, CA, LL.B., Lawyer, Toronto, ON 118. Joseph P. Hamon B.A., LL.B., C.S. (Family Law), FMC Cert. CFM, Combermere, ON 119. Walter Kubitz, Lawyer, Calgary, AB 120. Andrew Loewen, Winnipeg MB, Lawyer 121. Theodoric Derek Nowak, BA, BEd, LLB, Called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar Ted Newell, Associate Professor, Crandall University, Moncton, NB 123. Darren L. Richards, Barrister & Solicitor, Edmonton, AB 124. Terry Prockiw, B.Comm., LL.B., Barrister and Solicitor, Smoky Lake, AB 125. Heather Hughes, CLF Supporter and Associate Member, Fredericton, NB 126. Gary Hoftyzer, Lawyer, Mississauga ON 127. Donald Edward Lionel Hutchinson, In-House Counsel, Ottawa, ON (1990) 128. Albertos Polizogopoulos, Lawyer, Ottawa, ON 129. Faye Sonier, Legal Counsel, Centre for Faith and Public Life, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada 130. David L. Campbell, Lawyer, Windsor, ON 131. Teanna Lobo, 2nd year Law Student, Western University, London, ON 132. Michael H. Murray, Lawyer, London, Ontario 133. Ginny Li, Law Student at Osgoode Hall Law School, J.D. Candidate 2015, Mississauga, ON 134. Jennifer Park, Barrister and Solicitor, BA, JD 135. Shayna Beeksma, Lawyer, Burlington, ON 136. Marcia Smith, LLB (U.K.) NCA (UNB) 137. Jad Debs, Law Student, Schulich School of Law, Halifax, NS 138. Dennis J. Reeve B.Sc., J.D., Hobson & Reeve Barristers, Newmarket, ON 139. Miyoun Oh, Law student, Toronto, Ontario 140. Chris Markou, Lawyer, Brampton, Ontario 141. Lesley L Heureux, Counsel, Department of Justice, Ontario Regional Office, Tax Law Services Section
7 CLF Page George P.L. Filliter, Arbitration and Mediation Services, Fredericton, NB 143. Marcus Beesley, Student- at-law, Fredericton, NB 144. Andrew Nicol, JD Student, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie, Halifax, NS 145. Andrew Loewen, Lawyer, Winnipeg, MB 146. Timothy W.U. Bayly, Lawyer, Partner, KMSC Law LLP, Grande Prairie, AB 147. Hilery T. Hargrove, Barrister & Solicitor, Plaster Rock, New Brunswick 148. Dawson McKay, Law Student, Halifax, NS 149. Ian Mahood, J.D. Candidate 2016, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS 150. Peter Vlaar, Law student, Osgoode Hall Law School 151. Peter Luttmann, Dalhousie-Schulich School of Law, South Farmington, NS 152. Serena Singh, Student-at-Law, Toronto, ON 153. J. Allen Howard, Barrister & Solicitor, Calgary, AB 154. Ashley Gnyś, Lawyer, Partner with Sharpe, Beresh and Gnyś, Niagara Falls, ON 155. Calvin Beresh, Lawyer, Partner with Sharpe, Beresh and Gnyś, Niagara Falls, ON 156. Jeannette Klekta, Winnipeg, MB 157. Brian K. Worrad, Lawyer, Partner with Menear Worrad & Associates, London, ON 158. Charlene Thomas, Lawyer, Winnipeg, MB 159. Ann Seidenberg, Oakville, ON 160. Richard L. Wright, Barrister, Solicitor, & Notary Public, Belleville, ON 161. Lisa Wight, Lawyer, Plattsville, ON 162. Rev. Reid Cooke, Niagara, ON, Ordained by the United Baptist Churches Maritimes (1974) 163. Edward Choi, Law Student (JD candidate, University of New Brunswick), LLM (Arb&DR), LLB, BBA, Dip Acct 164. Jonathan Kulathungam, Partner, Teplitsky, Colson LLP, Toronto, ON 165. James S Kitchen, Law Student (University of New Brunswick), BA, Fredericton, NB 166. Frank de Walle, Lawyer, BA, LLB (U of T 1980), Lethbridge, AB 167. Gwenyth S Stadig, BSc, MA, JD (cand.) (UNB), Fredericton, NB 168. Nicola P. Mulima, Lawyer, Brampton, ON 169. Sam Ip (Articling Student), JD/MBA (Western University) 170. Craig Lewis, B.A., LLB., Lawyer, RZCD Law Firm LLP, Mississauga, ON 171. Eugene Meehan, Q.C. LL.B., LL.M., LL.B., D.C.L., Practising member of the Bar of Ontario & Alberta, all three Northern Bars (Yukon, N.W.T., Nunavut), and the U.S. State Bar of Arizona 172. Bradley W. Miller, DPhil (Oxon), Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario 173. Timothy A. Stonhouse B.A. J.D., Former presiding Justice of the Peace in Alberta, Member of Alberta bar, presently practising in BC 174. The Honourable Ernest A. Marshall QC 175. The Honourable George W. Baynton, retired Justice, Queen's Bench Court for Saskatchewan: As a recently retired Justice of the Queen's Bench Court for Saskatchewan, I strongly endorse the CLF submission for the reasons that follow. The constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of religion, which are stated by the Charter to be fundamental freedoms, have come under attack these days in a manner that could not have been anticipated a few years ago. One has no real value in the absence of the other. Traditionally the legal profession has fought hard to uphold and protect the constitutionally protected rights of Canadians even though in some cases the views of the individuals or groups in issue may not be those held by a majority of Canadians or those in the legal profession. As a former judge, I often rendered judgments to uphold the rights of litigants despite the fact that I did not endorse their views or agendas. I in turn felt secure that the courts would uphold my constitutionally protected rights, if they were ever violated, even though the court might not endorse my views or agendas. If a judge made his or her rulings
8 CLF Page 8 involving fundamental rights on the basis of his or her views or opinions rather than in accordance with the rights protected by the Charter, the judge would not only be seriously in error, but would also bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The justice system as a whole in a constitutionally protected democracy is responsible to uphold and do what it can to protect and uphold these fundamental rights. A democracy is kept healthy by the ability of its citizens to freely express their views and opinions. This stimulates debate which in turn fosters new ideas and solutions. Conversely a democracy that does not tolerate free speech on the basis that it must be confined to the views and opinions held by another segment of society, will become rigid and stagnant and will cease to remain a constitutionally protected democracy. Canadian society, with its multicultural make up, acknowledges the value of and necessity for tolerance. If I attempted to stifle or restrict the rights of others to express their views, just because those views differed from my own views which I maintained were constitutionally protected, I would be intolerant and possibly even bigoted. As long as our public institutions are not swayed by such intolerance, our freedoms will remain unscathed. But if such intolerance is supported by any segment of our justice system, including the legal profession and its governing bodies, our freedoms will be seriously undermined. In my respectful view, our society is at a crossroads. Either we choose to affirm the need to continue to be ever vigilant in protecting our constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of freedom of speech and religion, or we choose to turn a blind eye to them in our intolerant zeal to stifle all views that differ from or challenge our own. The latter choice will inevitably lead to the disintegration of our democracy and the substitution of some form of dictatorship or mob rule. For almost a half century of service in the legal profession and in the judiciary, I have attempted to uphold the rule of law and the constitutional principles that have shaped our society. I sincerely trust that we will make the right choice and preserve the unique and wonderful society and nation in which we are so fortunate to live. FOOTNOTES: 1 Civil Marriage Act, S.C. 2005, c Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, 2001 SCC 31.