(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

First Nation condemns ‘inadequate’ punishment of B.C. lawyer who took on ’60s scoop cases

Stephen Bronstein was suspended for one month and fined $4,000

A First Nation in B.C.’s Cariboo region is condemning the B.C. Law Society’s handling of a Vancouver lawyer’s mishandling of residential school survivor cases.

Stephen Bronstein was suspended for one month and fined $4,000 after admitting to mishandling the cases of residential school survivors. He was also barred from acting as counsel for any ’60s Scoop claimants in the future.

The ’60s Scoop was a large-scale program that allowed child welfare organizations to remove Indigenous children from their families and place them in the foster care system and allow them to be adopted by white families.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation on Wednesday condemned the law society for not adequately punishing Bronstein, noting that many of his clients were from the First Nation.

“The failure to appropriately condemn this misconduct, is yet another injustice and stain on the handling of the victims and survivors of residential schools,” said Chief Joe Alphonse in a statement. “Bronstein failed to protect his clients and created a situation of further victimization and trauma for survivors.”

According to the law society, Bronstein did not investigate the background of a contractor he had hired before allowing him to work with, and have unsupervised access to, residential school survivor clients who were applying for compensation under the Independent Assessment Process, an out-of-court settlement process.

The law society also found that Bronstein failed to investigate or address complaints that his contractor was demanding that clients hand over a portion of the settlement money they received.

Bronstein also admitted to providing “inadequate service” to 17 clients by not document important communications properly, by not replying to some communications and failing to inform clients and advance their claims in a “timely” manner.

“He admitted to misconduct in his handling of declarations signed by the clients, by directing staff to remove the declarations clients signed on their original Independent Assessment Process application forms and attaching the declarations to revised forms which clients approved over the telephone without seeing them,” the law society stated.

The Tŝilhqot’in pointed to a dissenting opinion written by the law society’s hearing panel which described the disciplinary action as “grossly inadequate.”

In her dissenting opinion, Karen L. Snowshoe wrote that she did “not find that the proposed disciplinary actions fall within the range of fair and reasonable disciplinary actions, in all the circumstances.”

Alphonse said that the outcome of the law society’s hearing “makes a mockery of justice” for residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors.

“This case needed further investigation into the serious claims being made about (contractor) Ivan Johnny’s intimidation and extortion of clients,” he said. “It took a lot of courage for witnesses to come forward, and this is what they have to show for it – nothing. Bronstein basically got off with no repercussion.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenous

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read