Last week I had the honour and privilege of being an invited guest at the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity.
The $100,000 Allard Prize is one of the world’s largest prizes dedicated to the fight against corruption and protecting human rights. The prize is administered by the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, and is awarded every two years to a person, movement or organization that demonstrates exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption, especially through promoting transparency, accountability and Rule of Law.
Over the two days of events, I spoke for a total of several hours with the 2015 finalists, various members of the Allard Prize Committee and Advisory Board, other invited guests and the keynote speaker, Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire.
To be honest, there were times when I felt a bit like a duck out of water, to be in the presence of so many leaders and esteemed persons from Canada and around the world. I was surprised to learn that several people I spoke with were already aware of my story in some detail. A few even sought me out and introduced themselves at the various events. They had heard about how Ontario lawyers fabricated evidence and lied to the courts to convict me of contempt of court in my absence from Canada during a rushed civil hearing that I was not made aware of.
It was also interesting to hear the anti-corruption community’s focus turning from the injustice of my conviction and incarceration to a wider concern about how Ontario’s legal profession covered up and whitewashed proven corruption and criminal acts by lawyers from some of Canada’s largest and most respected law firms.
As one person commented to me,
“How could the Law Society of Upper Canada not look into a lawyer taking a million dollars for a phony company he knows doesn’t really exist?”
That was a good question, and one for which I had no answer. The one thing we do know is that the million dollars was never deposited by Faskens lawyer Gerald Ranking into any bank account in the name of his fraudulent, non-existent, phoney Barbados client ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm’.
I shared a chuckle with the Attorney General for British Columbia, The Honourable Suzanne Anton Q.C., whom I did not recognize. Ms. Anton is a gracious person, and from what I heard at the reception, is a zealous advocate for integrity and ethical behaviour in the legal profession. Read more