Alberta Law Society accepts resignation of Ezra Levant

Outspoken political commentator Ezra Levant will no longer be able to practise law in Alberta and two complaints against him have effectively disappeared following a ruling by the body that governs lawyers in the province.

CALGARY — Outspoken political commentator Ezra Levant will no longer be able to practise law in Alberta and two complaints against him have effectively disappeared following a ruling by the body that governs lawyers in the province.

Following a three-hour hearing Wednesday, a Law Society of Alberta panel allowed Levant to resign after 16 years as a member.

The ruling means complaints against him over a column he wrote in March 2014 are moot because Levant no longer falls under the society’s jurisdiction.

“I feel freed from this leghold trap that I’ve been in,” Levant said Wednesday after the decision.

“Part of me really wanted to have that hearing on my freedom of speech in the … column. They basically abandoned the fight so I think it would be a little bit much if I said, ‘no, come back and prosecute me.”‘

Levant argued before the panel that he hasn’t practised law in years and moved from Alberta to pursue other interests.

“I’m glad I went to law school and I use my legal training almost every day, but I use it to do politics or journalism, not as a lawyer,” he said in his submission.

“I haven’t had a client in years.”

Levant applied to resign two years ago. But he was scheduled to face a week-long disciplinary hearing over the complaints before the law society offered a resignation hearing instead.

However, he said he would not quit the society unless the complaints against him were lifted.

The column, which ran in the Calgary Sun and its sister newspapers across the country, criticized the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s handling of a case involving a Muslim man who was claiming discrimination when he was fired from his job as an electrician in Edmonton.

Law society citations had alleged comments Levant made in the column entitled “Next Stop, Crazy Town” were “inappropriate and unbecoming” for a lawyer and violated the professional code of conduct.

Levant addressed those allegations in his submission.

“I acknowledge that there are some things that could amount to conduct unbecoming for a lawyer, even a non-practising lawyer,” he said. “Being convicted of a crime might be one example.

“But having strong opinions shouldn’t be. Nor should expressing them.”

A law society official initially dismissed the complaints against Levant, saying he was acting as a journalist and there was no reasonable prospect of finding his conduct breached the law society’s code of conduct.

That position was overturned when the complainant, an Edmonton lawyer who worked for the human rights commission, appealed.

Levant said one of the complaints against him was 1,000 pages long and he sympathized with law society staff who had to investigate.

“Imagine how much time was wasted by the staff here … They had to read my columns. Imagine that punishment.”

The law society’s executive director said all complaints against members are taken seriously, but this was straightforward.

“It’s an uncontested fact he hasn’t practised law, he hasn’t delivered legal services for many years,” said Don Thompson.

“Everything he is doing is really outside the practice of law.”

Levant was assessed $5,264 in costs for the hearing, but will only have to pay if he ever applies to rejoin the society.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read