Immigration Minister tries (and fails) to silence Toronto Immigration Lawyer

This is a first I think. As reported in the Globe and Mail, the government took the unusal step of complaining to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the regulatory body governing  Ontario lawyers. The complaint was against  a Toronto Immigration Lawyer for allegedly engaging  in professional misconduct for claiming that the government gave special treatment to Conrad Black in processing his Temporary Resident Permit.

The lawyer in question is my colleague Guidy Mamman, a reputable well known immigration lawyer in Toronto. I have known Guidy for many years. He is a tireless and outspoken advocate for the right of immigrants. I have always admired his fearlessness when it comes to confronting the government and its policies.

The issue at hand had to do with Conrad Black and whether the government gave him special treatment in allowing him to enter Canada despite his criminal record.  I have been interviewed by the CBC about this very topic . My take is that as far as I know, there is no such evidence of special treatment and that TRPs are adjudicated on a case by case basis. But that is not the point here.

We live in a free society and the fact that our elected government launched such a complaint because they did not like what a given lawyer may have been saying scares the hell out of me. Freedom of speech is a keystone of any free society. The government, using the Law Society as a tool to silence a private citizen, threatening his livelihood is extremely concerning.

The Law Society receives complaints from the general public daily. This is a good thing. Lawyers should be regulated. The public needs to be protected against lawyers who engage in real professional misconduct. What the public does not need is the all powerful government trying to silence citizens and businesses.

This incident should give not only Canadian lawyers pause but make us think twice about  value we place on freedom of expression. I have spoken out against  Minister Kenney  and what I consider draconian immigration policies in the past and I will continue to do so. Perhaps I will receive a complaint from the Law Society. If I do, I will make it public like Mr. Mamman. That is our only defence.


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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