The OLIP Interns were privileged to meet with Attorney General of Ontario and MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, the Honourable Doug Downey. The responsibilities of the Attorney General of Ontario include the administration of the courts, criminal and provincial prosecutions, and civil litigation involving the government. The Attorney General also plays an important role in the Cabinet, offering a legal perspective on decisions.
We were excited to ask Attorney General Downey about his career prior to being elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2018. Attorney General Downey had previously been a practicing lawyer and was involved in municipal politics in Orillia. He stressed to us the importance of community involvement as a prelude to politics, and as something that continues to bring him joy. As community-minded individuals, we could relate to Attorney General Downey’s love of volunteer work.
Most of the conversation revolved around the work that Attorney General Downey has done as Attorney General of Ontario, including digitizing the court system. The pandemic played a large role in moving some aspects of the court system online. Attorney General Downey believes that permanent changes can be made that will increase access to the court system and help people resolve cases faster, but he stressed the need to ensure that no one is left behind as the system evolves. The theme of digital governance and administration has been prevalent for us throughout our internship, so it was enlightening to hear about digitization processes in the legal system.
We are thankful to Attorney General Downey for taking the time to meet with us and for sharing his perspective!