Earlier today, SooToday.com told you about the death of Vancouver lawyer Dugald Christie last night in a cycling accident near Iron Bridge.
Christie was cycling across Canada to raise awareness for access-to-justice issues and for reforms he wished to make to the Canadian justice system.
The following is a letter e-mailed to us today by SooToday.com reader Paul Spanier, followed by an official statement from the Law Society of British Columbia, followed by a June 15 news release from the Western Canada Society to Access Justice, describing Christie's cross-country bicycle odyssey.
SooToday.com is interested in publishing other comments from readers who were clients or coworkers of Mr. Christie, or who wish to share photographs or comment about either bicycle safety or the justice issues he espoused.
E-mails may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ********************** Letter to the editor
What a terrible tragedy...
What can we do to stop the killing of cyclists on our roads?
For starters, can we not expand the paved shoulder of our main roads ?
I have travelled throughout the U.S. and Canada and find the roads of Ontario unfriendly to cyclists.
On a recent trip to B.C. I was amazed to see paved shoulders throughout the province with cyclists riding two abreast.
Similarly, the roads of the U.S. that I have travelled, have paved shoulders.
Why can't our road shoulders be paved in Ontario?
Not only would it give cyclists an improved level of safety and hopefully prevent another tragedy, but also, it would encourage more people to use non-motorized vehicles more frequently, and thus enhancing our wellbeing environmentally and behaviourally (more people being physically active).
We need to reverse (slow down?) the trends of more people driving cars to get anywhere and the "skyrocketing" increases in obesity rates of our population.
Paul Spanier Ph.D. Candidate Graduate Department of Exercise Science University of Toronto
********************** Law Society of B.C. mourns the loss of Dugald Christie VANCOUVER, Aug. 1 - The Law Society of BC wishes to convey its deep sadness over the loss of lawyer Dugald Christie in Toronto, whose commitment to pro bono work profoundly affected access to justice for the people who could least afford it. Law Society President Robert McDiarmid, QC, who has known Mr. Christie for many years, says: "Dugald fought tirelessly for the rights of the poor to have access to legal representation. He was a fearless advocate who loved pushing the envelope in the interest of his cause, and who was a remarkable lawyer. Dugald exemplified many of the fine things about our profession. His death is a deep loss to the legal community, and our condolences go out to his family and friends." Mr. Christie founded and worked to build The Western Canada Society to Access Justice, which was instrumental in establishing 60 clinics offering free legal services throughout BC. Dugald Christie, 65, was struck and killed last night while cycling on a highway in Ontario.
He was doing what he had spent much of his legal career doing: helping those most in need.
Mr. Christie was on a cross-Canada cycling trip to raise awareness for equal access to legal assistance.
The Law Society of BC was founded in 1869 and is the governing body of the legal profession in B.C.
Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline of the more than 11,000 lawyers in B.C.
******************* Lawyer cycles to Ottawa for justice reform
Prominent pro bono lawyer Dugald E. Christie rallies Canadians for access to justice
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (CANADA) – Local area lawyer Dugald E. Christie, 65, well known in the legal community for his constitutional challenge of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on legal services and as a strong advocate for low-income clients has announced that he will cycle across Canada this summer to raise awareness for access to justice and gather momentum for his proposed reforms to the Canadian justice system.
Offering the slogan "Let's Reform the Justice System," Mr. Christie is hoping to attract both members of the legal profession and average Canadians who have been hurt by their experiences in and out of the court system to advocate three goals, which Mr. Christie has dubbed the ABC's of true justice: Affordable, Brief and Comprehensible.
"Canadians have to focus on the reality: the ordinary person simply cannot afford the legal process, cannot wait the years that are necessary to get before a judge and cannot understand the horrific paperwork that is required. In short, Canadians do not have access to justice! Access to justice is the most important issue there is in Canada today!"
Mr. Christie is no stranger to the ABCs.
He is the founder of the Western Canada Society to Access Justice, a pro bono legal services organization that operates 60 free legal advice clinics in British Columbia, staffed by over 400 volunteer lawyers.
Furthermore, his claim that taxing legal services is a barrier to justice has succeeded in both the Supreme Court of B.C. and the B.C. Court of Appeal and is now on its way to Ottawa for a final decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The tax garners millions of dollars for the provincial government and exponentially raises the rates of lawyers helping those most in need.
Mr. Christie will be visiting cities along his tour to collect signatures for his "Access Justice" petition which he plans to present to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa.
He will also be making a presentation at the Canadian Bar Association's meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland.
He plans to depart from Vancouver at the foot of Burrard Street near Canada Place on June 16 at 8 a.m. and arrive in Ottawa on August 10.
He will then fly to the CBA National Meeting in St. John's Newfoundland and bicycle back to Ottawa between August 14 and September 17.