Lawyers Warned On Tweets

Lawyers should not make snide Twitter remarks about former clients, the Law Society of Ontario said yesterday. The regulatory guidance came on a complaint filed by Blacklock’s against Mark Bourrie, an Ottawa solicitor who lamented news coverage of the We Charity “non-scandal.”

“Mr. Bourrie appears to consider his comments to be a personal opinion made in the context of a journalist,” wrote a Law Society investigator: “Mr. Bourrie should be careful about any statements he makes about his former clients.”

Bourrie in an unprovoked series of tweets last August 22 called Blacklock’s one of a “rogues’ gallery of fake news” along with the website Canadaland and other publishers. Blacklock’s “started going off the rails five or six years ago,” he said.

Law Society Rules Of Professional Conduct state a solicitor must not “undermine the client’s position on a matter that was central to a previous retainer.” Bourrie in 2018 was retained by Blacklock’s to serve libel notice on yet another tweeting Ontario solicitor, Christopher Ball of Kingston, who published a post claiming Blacklock’s was a front for an Italian crime syndicate.

The Law Society yesterday said Bourrie was issued regulatory guidance “to remind Mr. Bourrie of his professional obligations and to help him comply with the Rules Of Professional Conduct.”

Bourrie, a former Parliamentary Press Gallery member, in Twitter comments blamed numerous media outlets including the Globe & Mail, National Post, Sun Media, Maclean’s and others for criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “The people attacking Trudeau on this are the same folks who claim the free market can solve our economic problems,” he tweeted.

“Opportunistic opposition MPs and a reckless desperate media drummed up the bogus We Charity scandal,” he wrote. Bourrie in other Twitter posts described media as “grotesque,” “flying monkeys,” “puppets,” “the Tories and their media stooges,” newsrooms that “collect scalps” and “put heat on people until they break” and reporters who “can’t speak French.”

“Thanks Justin Trudeau,” tweeted Bourrie. “Justin Trudeau is no Churchill, but I am damned glad he won the 2019 election”; “How many ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’ questions is Trudeau expected to answer?”

“Sociopaths are succeeding in taking him down with the help of Hill media and reckless Opposition MPs,” tweeted Bourrie: “There are quite a few women in media, on the left and on the right, who are just as dishonest and vitriolic about Trudeau. You might be able to show a preponderance of men are hateful, but there’s a substantial number of women, too.”

Bourrie in 2019 announced in a CBC Radio interview he planned to quit social media as a New Year’s resolution. “There’s a lot of crap out there,” he said.

By Staff [photo: Tom Sandler, CNW Group/Charles Taylor Prize]

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