Finally after two false starts, Big Law has recruited a formidable opponent to try to nail Harry Kopyto. Her name is Margo Blight. She will chair the Panel deciding Harry’s professional future starting this Wednesday and Friday, February 2nd and 4th in the Museum Room at Osgoode Hall at 9:30 a.m.
Margo Blight is a partner in Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), a giant national Bay Street firm representing Big Business and government agencies.
Harry Kopyto and Margo Blight are a stark study in contrasts.
Margo Blight is a partner in BLG, a 750 member law firm. Harry works alone answering only to his clients and his conscience.
Margo Blight promotes herself as a counsel for public and private employers. She has a strong record of fighting unions and workers before Labour Boards and arbitrations. Harry represents workers and unions fighting against their employers for decent wages and working conditions.
Blight defends employers charged with safety violations. Harry prosecutes employers charged with committing carnage in the workplace.
Blight represents school boards and trustees in human rights complaints and discrimination complaints made against them. Harry represents minority students and teachers victimized by racist policies and zero tolerance.
Blight represents the Ontario Government and advises them on legislative reforms. Harry is a socialist who fights against big corporations dominating and controlling the legislative agenda.
Blight specializes in defending government institutions and policies in constitutional challenges. Harry specializes in bringing constitutional challenges to meet the needs of those of us at the bottom of the social scale — the poor, minorities and the working class.
Blight advises and sits on government agencies on how to deal with embarrassing and “sensitive” cases including judicial misconduct. Harry sets the fires that Blight puts out including exposing judicial misconduct.
Blight boasts of her membership in the Ontario Bar Association which advocated regulation of paralegals because it “would go a long way towards alleviating the competitive pressure for certain types of legal work which helps to sustain small firm practices.” Harry is fighting to free paralegals from the LSUC’s hostile takeover in order to make access to justice affordable.
Blight has been appointed to the Panel judging Harry from outside the ranks of the Benchers (directors of the Law Society). A strategic thinker with a strong sense of what Big Law needs to run smoothly, Blight is being betted upon by the legal elite to do the job that two other panels have failed to do over close to two years. Her Bay Street firm has volunteered her time on the panel to try to bring Kopyto down. The financial sacrifice — Blight’s $500.00 a day remuneration for sitting on the panel is probably less than her hourly rate — is an economic sacrifice for what the LSUC and Big Law see as a good cause — squelching a gadfly who has managed to be a voice speaking truth to power since 1974 in Ontario. It is a small sacrifice which may take several weeks of her valuable time, if Margot Blight can disarm a fierce warrior for justice.
Blight is the most serious opponent Kopyto has faced so far in his good character hearings. The Law Society has flanked her with two other panel members — Baljit Sikand who is a businessman who runs a garage and limousine service and is head of the Toronto Cab Owners Association and a figure in the Liberal Party machine in Mississauga. He is supposed to represent the “public interest”. Michelle Tamlin is a paralegal temporarily appointed by the Law Society to give the illusion that paralegals are involved meaningfully in its activities.
The Law Society has massive resources, a payroll of 400 employees and an incestuous relationship with the Ontario Government and the Attorney General to aid it in doing its bidding. Kopyto only has us to support him.
Let’s be there as witnesses to ensure that he is treated fairly. The stakes have never been higher. The hostile takeover of paralegals is choking access to justice. Kopyto faces formidable opposition. The fight is on. This Wednesday, February 2nd and Friday February 4th, Osgoode Hall at 9:30 a.m. Join us.