2015 BENCHER ELECTION CANDIDATE
As past President of the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada and Chair of the National Secretariat Against Hate & Racism in Canada, I have assisted both Aboriginal communities and diverse ethno-racial and faith-based communities of Canada to develop a national common effort on promoting access to justice, equity and diversity in the legal system, and fighting racism and discrimination in Canada.
A lack of access to justice for Ontarians continues to be an issue, specifically for Aboriginal people, low income Ontarians, and increasing numbers of underrepresented parties, especially in rural and northern communities across Ontario. Greater support for Legal Aid Ontario is essential in this regard, but more is needed.
I commend the work that the Law Society has done on the retention of women in the profession, the challenges for racialized licensees and other important initiatives. As someone who works to affect change, I will contribute to the development of innovative solutions to improve and promote access to justice for all underserved communities by contribution to the work already underway and with other partners. The Law Society should also engage itself to ensure a balance between security and fundamental freedoms, especially with respect to legal rights and administration of justice. I will also promote making the civil justice trial process more accessible, efficient, and less costly.
As a partner in a small law firm serving First Nation clients across Ontario and Canada, I understand and appreciate the challenges that exist for sole and small firm practitioners. While local bar associations continue to provide their members access to library, research and other supports, I believe the Law Society and other partners in the justice system can do more to improve services offered to our practitioners.
Finally, I am committed to further strengthening the programs and supports available to licensing candidates and lawyers and to addressing the issue of racialized licencees. Our ability as a profession to continue to self-regulate and serve the public relies on sound professional development and competence programs. This means further enhancing affordable and accessible CPD, and improving mentorship for licensing candidates and new lawyers.
Born and raised on Manitoulin Island
Living in Minesing, Ontario with her husband and two children.
LL.B. University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 1996, HBSW., Laurentian University
Aboriginal law, specializing in Treaty and Aboriginal rights for First Nations. I represent First Nations in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
President and Board Member Indigenous Bar Association in Canada
Chair of the National Secretariat on Hate and Racism Canada (2003-2006)
Indigenous Bar Association in Canada
The Advocates’ Society
Simcoe County Law Association
Lecture and author Aboriginal law papers and presentations regarding Indigenous law and Indigenous peoples
Honours and Awards
Canada’s Top 25 most Influential lawyers, Changemaker (Canadian Lawyer, August 2012);
Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel, 2013