Michael Bryant quietly gets a new job

Bay Street law firm Ogilvy Renault chooses entitlement over ethics

Mess Media, December 6, 2009

The Toronto Star reported yesterday that former attorney general Michael Bryant, who is facing criminal charges stemming from the killing of cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, “has quietly begun work at a prestigious law firm.”

John West, senior partner at Ogilvy Renault‘s Toronto office, said Bryant is working with the firm’s energy law team.

“Michael is a person we believe brings a lot of value to the table. We recognize that in some quarters it could potentially be viewed as controversial … it’s just a human tragedy all around,” West said Friday.

“But, as lawyers, we believe in the rule of law … and that means we believe first of all in the presumption of innocence and Michael is entitled to the same treatment and respect that you and I are.

“The fact that he’s a former cabinet minister doesn’t mean that he gets lesser treatment, it means he’s entitled to the same treatment that all of us are … and Michael is equally entitled to earn a living.”

Bay Street law firm, Ogilvy Renault, with offices high atop the golden towers of the Royal Bank Plaza, certainly has the legal right to appoint Bryant to a privileged position but if the firm is only providing Bryant with the same treatment that all of us are entitled to then I’m sure Mr West could quickly name all of the other accused killers he has hired or that are currently employed by Ogilvy Renault.

The presumption of innocence applies to the rule of law. It doesn’t necessarily apply to hiring decisions and the public doesn’t require a criminal trial and a ruling by a judge to form an opinion. The public can watch what happened on video or listen to eyewitness statements as Michael Bryant’s “innocent until proven guilty” behaviour was captured live in front of many witnesses.

A couple of days after the killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard, Michael Bryant thought the charges were so serious that he should resign from his position as CEO of Invest Toronto. In a letter to Toronto Mayor David Miller, he wrote that :

“It would, however, be unfair to you, the (Invest Toronto) board and above all to the residents of Toronto to allow this event to distract from the vital efforts of Invest Toronto,” the statement says.

“I do not believe, however, that I can continue in this position on account of the circumstances of the past two days,”

In other words, Bryant’s employment at Invest Toronto is wrong but his employment at Ogilvy Renault is entitled.

What we can conclude from Michael Bryant’s statement and Ogilvy Renault’s hiring decision is that Ogilvy Renault and its senior partner, John West, have much lower ethics and standards than Invest Toronto and other firms.

Ogilvy Renault is the former employer of Brian Mulroney. “Mulroney twice failed his bar exams, but the firm kept him due to his charming personality.”

8 Responses to Michael Bryant quietly gets a new job

  1. J.M. says:

    Brian Mulroney BTW is still listed as a Senior Partner according to their site.

    I imagine there are some Ontario citizens impacted by Michael Bryant`s “reverse onus” Legislation who are getting quite a “chuckle” out of this quote below.

    “… and that means we believe first of all in the presumption of innocence and Michael is entitled to the same treatment and respect that you and I are.”

    I wonder if the gentleman who said that has the balls to send a letter of support on his letterhead to Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo.

    How about it Mr West?

    There are many Ontario citizens who would like to receive the same treatment and respect as Michael Bryant.
    I`m sure they`d appreciate your support.

  2. Frank Theriault says:

    Not only is Mr. Mulroney a senior partner with Ogilvy Renault, he also uses (or used) the services of Navigator.

    Co-incidence, isn’t it?

  3. Edward says:

    Right, so… came across this very interesting quote: “The presumption of innocence applies to the rule of law. It doesn’t necessarily apply to hiring decisions and the public doesn’t require a criminal trial and a ruling by a judge to form an opinion.”

    I think Mr. West does form an opinion with his statement and his opinion is that he will wait to see what a qualified courtoom rules in respect of Mr. Bryant before passing judgment. Frankly, I support the fact that the presumption of innocence applies not only to the rule of law but also to the treatment of the accused in all other respects. Otherwise, the analysis of the author above would support that we not concern ourselves with falsely accused persons (who are ultimately fully exonerated) but who have lost their entire livelyhood because nobody would hire them – doubt anybody would agree with that approach. Innocent until proven guilty should apply on all levels. Fact. Well done Mr. West. And if he’s found guilty, I’d be happy to re-open this discussion…

  4. Frank Theriault says:


    The “presumption of innocence” is nothing more than a legal burden of proof. In our Common Law system it means that the burden is on the Crown to prove that Mr. Bryant is guilty of the charges that have been laid (as opposed to the so-called Continental System, in which an accused must prove their innocence in court).

    However, if he’s found guilty, he be presumed to have been guilty from the moment the precipitating events occurred. For instance, his actions between the time of the event and his sentencing could be most relevant to the determination of that sentence.

    As a ~society~ we uphold “innocent until proven guilty”, but that in no way stops individuals from having opinions as to the guilt or innocence of charged individuals.

    Employers are under no obligation to hire anyone. They can decide against hiring one merely because they aren’t a good “personality match”.

    Does Ogilvy Renault have a right to hire Bryant? Of course they do.

    Does that mean that it was the “right thing to do”? No it doesn’t…

  5. kathy says:

    the law society is crooked. when you complain about a lawyer all the people who take your complaint are lawyered up. not the public….. the staff and the lawyers have lawyers to protect thier interests. the law society is a closed group like no other in the world. in all other countries benchers who adjudicate your complaint are the gerneral public and lawyers,, not in Canada EH. how do lawyers policing other lawyers help the public.

    The law society of upper canada does not care about the law or protecting the public from the thievery and the stealing of lawyers. they are there to protect themselves.

    had i not had first hand experience with a lawyer steeling from a trust account i would not have believed it myself. to add to matters the law society looks for reasons to make the complainant look bad they try to belittle you to make the actions of the lawyer secondary.

    i gave money to a lawyer by cheque with in trust for the purpose it was intended and the lawyer scooped it and the law society says it ok.

    lawyers and the law society need a rude awakening. how is it that lawyers can kill you, steel from you and at the end they are the winners.

    if bryant can kill, not take a breath test and get away murder we have definitely got a problem with democracy. it means that lawyers can get away with any lawlessness they choose and pay no penalty.

    unlike we the general public who pays for the law society to exhist and yet they do nothing to uphold the law.

    Does anyone have a solution?

  6. […] for their (get this) energy team. Well Bryant has a lot of that to spare doesn’t he? Read Michael Bryant quietly gets a new job.  Ogilvy Renault is the former employer of Brian Mulroney who explained that “Mulroney twice […]

  7. Steven D. Briggs says:

    To check Mr. Richard Peck’s, the special prosecutor that let Bryant off without going to court look up “Vivelecanada.ca
    The Special Prosecutor Process in B.C. A Criminal Conspiracy” and see how getting Bryant off was done. There should be an inquest into this ruling.

  8. Bruce Rudolph says:

    I came across this blog by chance and I am impressed by the quality of the reporting. I am shocked and disappointed by the actions of Mr. Bryant and believe that this case should be re-opened

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