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Legal Clinics Mergers - An Addendum

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
PHOTO: Doors Open Toronto 2012 - Osgoode Hall
PHOTO: Doors Open Toronto 2012 - Osgoode Hall
In writing yesterday's article on the future of the GTA's community legal clinics, there was an area I wished to touch on, but could otherwise not within the bounds of an already quite expansive article.
 
In our interview, Jack de Klerk--speaking on behalf of himself and Majorie Hiley--communicated as follows in response to my final interview question. My intention here was to provoke introspection and perhaps field some counter-arguments to those made by opposition. de Klerk's response on these matters, however, rested on other forms of rebuke for their critics--as can be found below.
 
TMC: After attending a recent community meeting regarding the process and some opposition to it, do you have any thoughts or reflections on any issues with the process so far or the nature of that opposition in the community?
 
Hiley and de Klerk: Formal opposition from within the community legal clinics at this point has been limited to one clinic. Our position with respect to their position has been articulated to them and in on our website. There has been other opposition, for instance the “stopclinicmergers” group. However as was clear at the meeting you referred to no one seemed prepared to take ownership of this group and one leading participant acknowledged she had no real interest (other than perhaps an intellectual one) in community legal clinics. More recently OPIRG Toronto has stated its opposition to the Project as has the Law Union of Ontario. Both these organizations have objected in part to our process (allegedly lacking sufficient consultation) and we have asked both of them to explain their own process in coming to their conclusions. There are many Law Union members who do not share the opinion expressed in the Law Union’s public letter and who had no opportunity to discuss the matter. With respect to OPIRG Toronto, they have no apparent history of dealing with legal aid matters and seem to have come up with a strong opinion on a complex matter without any back ground information. Neither group talked to us about their concerns.
 
We appreciate that not everyone is going to accept the vision that we are articulating. However just as we have gone to some lengths to explain why we are proposing what we are, we expect opponents to do more than simply assert an opposing position. We are prepared to dialogue with anyone interested in doing so.
 

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Brad Evoy (Brad Evoy)
Toronto
Member since Octobre 2013

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Brad Evoy is a graduate student at the University of Toronto, blogger, writer, commentator, and sometimes firebrand. He has served as one of the Summer Membership and Admin. Coordinators for the Toronto Media Co-op and in the past has written for various other publications. Meanwhile, as an organizer, he's associated with the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Toronto) and Scientists for the Right to Know, along with past associations with various student organizations in two provinces.

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