A couple of weeks ago I wandered into an event held in the city hall council chambers, do to with access to legal aid for low income people. As I suspected, it was mostly about the legal aid/legal clinic mafia looking for more money from, and to protect their power against, the provincial government.
I have not followed legal clinic politics much in recent years. I have found them at best useless and often downright hazardous to deal with. Generally, it is much better for people to represent themselves in legal proceedings. The pressure needs to be on government to make it easier for people to deal with most legal matters themselves.
However, I know that legal aid and the legal clinics are being reorganized. There has been a great demand to move these services in house. Both legal aid and the clinics have become turf for the usual types of authoritarian left apparatchiks, who all have people like me on their shit lists. For me to even walk into one of their offices is enough for some of them to decide there is an "incident" going on and to proceed to manufacture one in the usual psychobully fashion.
The clinic system is being restructured into three area clinics. It seems that the "specialty" clinics are being left alone. One of the main authors of this plan is Jack De Klerk, who I have dealt with in the past at Neighborhood Legal Clinic. He has in past been somewhat critical of legal clinics in general, while working for them.
It seems that legal clinics on the east side of Toronto, like NLS, have been more supportive of amalgamation than the clinics on the west side, such as Kensington Bellwoods. But the basic problem with community legal clinics is that the way they are required to be structured means they are open to capture by political cadres.
Kensington Bellwoods is one of the worst of these politicized legal clinics, with strong ties to the "third internationalist" communist party network, which effectively operates like a left version of the masons. It is all about protecting your "comrades", making sure they have well feathered nests. KB also has close tiers with the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations FMTA, which seems like an umbrella for much of this clinic mafia.
I have had problems with FMTA, if you do not know. You can read about it by googling cause pimps and FMTA. I have had problems with Tim Maxwell, yet I did not recognize him at first when he used my name as I got on the elevator to go to the council chamber.
I had not seen him in a long time. The last I heard of him, he had left town because of some sort of sexual harassment scandal at Kensington Bellwoods. That is why he has never had a folder on cause pimps web site. And, why I was surprised to see him again.
The last time I encountered him was in 2003, just after the McGuinty liberals had come into office. The new attorney General, Brad Duguid, was holding a town meeting about what to do with the legal aid and legal clinic systems. It was at the good old "rumble cavern" at OISE.
Of course, the hall was packed with the usual toadies, pleading for more funding and more autonomy for their various little benefices and mini empires. A few people, like me, were talking in various ways about the inadequacies of the clinic system, and were being booed down by the crowd. I had Timmy standing behind me at the mike lineup, doing kindergarten bully things, pushing me and so on.
I went to find a security person and of course he ran ahead of me and found one of these peculiar Toronto police types who always seemed to be around events like this during the rule of chief Fantino. Their collar numbers showed they were part of head quarters staff; an ominous sign.
I chose a different strategy. I went looking for Duguid himself. I easily found him and talked to him briefly. He seemed to be understanding what I was getting at. He had his own security person there. This security guy talked to the city cops, who very quickly backed off. Timmy disappeared as well. I had to start at the back of the line again and I do not think I ever did get a chance to talk.
Later I talked over the phone with Duguid's staff about my experiences with FMTA and the need to get rid of these clinics and take these services "in house". The provincial liberals had FMTA and related groups on a blacklist and have never funded them again, but they could do little about the city government which had started to fund them. Duguid urged the city to defund them. Miller turned out to be a big protector of FMTA.
However, I could not follow up any further with Duguid's office, never got to the subject of my judicial railroading back in 2000. And of course, they tried to rail road me again next year and I know Mayor Miller had a hand in that.
But now here at city hall was the same old cast, looking a bit depressed this time. All the nibbles and printouts had been put on by Kensington Bellwoods. I thought it was significant that Howard Tessler was not there. But Ken Hale and Barb Hurd were there. I think Hale is still on the board of KB while running the Etobicoke clinic. The people on the board of FMTA now were here.
I tried taking some pictures with my cell camera but it was not good enough to give me decent pictures; it did not focus quick enough. I could see I was getting some attention from some of the jerks in the crowd. Maxwell had not moved yet.
I did not feel like staying around. I had had enough nibbles, had lots of reading material, the speeches were not very informative, so I decided I would get one good shot of Maxwell and leave. Hale jumped up and started pointing at me, yelling that I was making trouble. I got a shot of Maxwell but it wasn't great and then I headed for the exit.
Timmy followed me. I told him he really did not want to get on the elevator with me. He got that point. Like most little turds who are kept around to sic on people, he is gutless as well as talentless. I think he gets some paralegal work thrown to him although he has no qualifications and surely no ability as a paralegal.
So I ambled toward the exit. As I got to the security desk he was already there. Of course a little weasel like Maxwell would now the short cut down the stairs behind the washrooms in the city hall rotunda. As I approached the desk I told him to get lost. He did, yelling behind him that he wanted me barred form the building.
The security guard behind the desk was clearly not very impressed by Maxwell. He asked me what that was all about. I told him, at great length. I even went back to my days as a board member of FMTA, and all the trouble since. He was at first amused, but then became bored.
He was more interested in what was on his monitor, and some radio back chatter form a mobile patrol. "So, thats what that is all about" says I, and walked out.
This reorganization of the clinics is going to be a significant blow to the FMTA people. They will have fewer places to place their toadies, like Maxwell. Hale and Hurd will have to find new jobs. They will have fewer allies, with less resources.
And thats what that is all about.