While to many St Patrick’s Day is just a bit of fluff, an excuse to dress up in costume and get drunk, to lawyers, and others concerned with civil liberties it is, or at least ought to be a more sombre and thought-provoking occasion. Lawyers, I say, arise and man the barricades! Another minority group in need of protection has been found.!
I know it’s hard to believe that this could happen in Canada, especially after Pierre Trudeau’s gift to lawyers everywhere, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not to mention our very own BC Human Rights Code, and the trojan efforts of the BC Human Rights Tribunal to stamp out even the sniff of discrimination anywhere, be it real or imagined
But consider Dear Reader, the plight of our forest folk- that’s right, our little people, our Huldufolk- our leprechauns. Yes, those very creatures mocked and tormented so cruelly every St Patrick’s Day. Your correspondent has scoured the law library and must sadly report that there exists in Canada absolutely no legal protection, either statutory or at common law, for leprechauns, fairies, elves or other small woodland folk.
The shocking truth is that it is perfectly legal to refuse a leprechaun accommodation in your garden, bar him from drinking green beer in your pub, or from marrying your daughter. These poor forest folk cannot vote, or own property and can be imprisoned without due process of law. Indeed, under WESA they cannot even make a valid will !
This day especially, the day of the wearing of the green, it is appropriate that some public awareness be raised on this sensitive topic. Education is surely needed to prevent otherwise liberal and tolerant Canadians from continuing to publicly ridicule and belittle this helpless minority, mocking them incessantly with tired stereotypes and bad jokes
We should, I submit, follow the enlightened example of Iceland, where hidden folk are acknowledged, respected and accommodated. Indeed, Icelandic elves have even been granted intervenor status in a case presently before the Supreme Court of Iceland (cited as Friends of Lava vs Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission) involving an injunction to halt a road project that might disturb elf habitat, including the site of an ancient elvish church.
We were drawn to the plight of our wee forest folk in part from our natural ( and unprofitable) urge to champion the cause of those less fortunate, the downtrodden, and the dis-enfranchised, but also because they remind us of our typical client, cheeky, largely invisible, and always wanting the fees to be paid out of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
So Dear Reader, can we urge you to join the cause and write your MP or MLA on behalf of leprechaun’s rights ? Can we at least persuade you to reform your personal behaviour, and refrain from sharing demeaning leprechaun jokes and cartoons? (and if you find one in need of a lawyer, could you put him in touch ? We are available in the Willowbrook Professional Centre, and all leprechauns, elves and woodland folk possessed of a suitable retainer (including pots of gold) are welcome.