Right now, Ontario lawyers all around you are voting … well, maybe not at this exact moment, but still, they are/will/should be voting this month.
Who are we voting for? Benchers.
Naturally, if you’re not a lawyer you’re wondering: “What the heck is a bencher?” It’s not a coach that sits a player, but that weak attempt at humour doesn’t answer the question either.
A bencher is essentially a member of the board of directors of the Law Society of Upper Canada – the governing body for the legal profession in Ontario. There are 40 benchers elected from the legal profession – approximately ½ from Toronto and ½ from outside of Toronto – proving once again that Toronto is the Centre of the Universe, legally speaking.
The “big issues” in the election appear to be the mandatory legal education that has been put in place this year and the role of paralegals.
So, how do lawyers base their votes? Many carefully consider the issues, review the backgrounds of the candidates and evaluate their positions. Some are solicited to vote for candidates by people they don’t remember from law school, who were instructed by their large Law Firm employers to call people and tell them who to vote for.
I, however, prefer the sensible approach taken by Katherine I. Henshell – baked goods. Yes, you read that correctly. Katherine has ensured that the lawyer’s lounge at the Milton Court House has been stocked with homemade baked goods and a request to vote for her. Anyone who can make the type of shortbread that Katherine makes deserves my vote – though I am a bit concerned all her benchering might take away from her baking.
Maybe the Harper, Ignatieff & Layton campaigns will follow in Katherine’s footsteps if it works for her. Can you imagine getting Conservative Cupcakes, Liberal Cookies or NDP pies? I don’t think the Green Party should try the baked goods route though – most people seem to think organic baking isn’t appetizing and might not help the campaign.
Inga B. Andriessen, J.D.