Philippe Messina
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Candidats en lice

Philippe Messina

Candidate for Director Position (Montreal) - 2 years

Member of the Barreau since 1978

Presentation

Born in France, in the small village of St-Chamond, my parents immigrated to Quebec when I was only 4 years old. My father quickly accepted a job in Val d'Or in the mines of the region, while my mother looked for work as a seamstress. We were forced to move very often since it was difficult to find stable work. In Montreal, there was more opportunity and despite our financial difficulties, my parents managed to instill in us the importance of a good education, something that they did not have the opportunity to pursue on their own.

Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University in 1974, with a major in Political Science, I continued my studies at McGill University, in the Faculty of Law, where I obtained my Bachelor of Law degree.

Member of the Quebec Bar since 1978, I began my career in private practice, specializing in civil and commercial law for over 15 years. Subsequently, I accepted the position of Prosecutor and head of the Legal Department at the City of Saint-Léonard. In 2002, with the municipal mergers, I accepted the position of Assistant Chief Prosecutor and later, Chef de Division Équipe Pénale at the Direction des poursuites pénales et criminelles at the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal, where I practiced for 25 years. Retired from the Municipal Court, I am now back in private practice.

Experiences

During my practice I have met thousands of lawyers and have always listened to what they had to say about their practice and the difficulties they are experiencing.

As a Board member, I would be there to represent you and make the Barreau du Québec aware of your needs and concerns. I would be available at all times to ensure better communication between you and your professional order.

As Chef de Division, at the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal, I practiced in criminal and penal law. I was for many years responsible for the disclosure of the evidence on behalf of the prosecution, where I had to interact with defendants, victims, defense lawyers, as well as the SPVM.

An active member of the Municipal Committee which was formed to study the feasibility of wearing body cameras by the SPVM, this enriching experience allowed me to assess the concerns of citizens and the difficulties regarding the management of evidence.

Proud member of an ethnocultural community, through my diversity and my integrity, conscientious and extremely hardworking, I present my candidacy to defend not only the best interests of the members of our profession, but also to ensure the community better access to justice, respect for their legal and constitutional rights, in the language of their choice, without distinction of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental limitations or social status

Former president of the Association of Italian-Canadian Jurists of Québec, I set up seminars offering all members of the Barreau, the obligatory training required by the Barreau du Québec at very reasonable prices and I will continue to fight so that the Barreau offers the mandatory training at affordable prices.

I would make sure to work in concert with the other members of the Board to ensure that our annual fees are also more affordable for all members.

My contribution to the advancement of our profession includes solutions where the citizens of Quebec in difficulty are able to benefit from them and this through concrete social programs, such as the projects and programs that have been put in place at the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal. These various projects and programs have modernized an important part of our judicial system and should, in my opinion, be implemented in all the courts of the province. To do this, I recognize that the participation and continued contribution of the Barreau du Québec is essential. I am ready to work in consultation with our next Bâtonnier or Bâtonnière, who can count on me in achieving this objective.

A person who likes to solve problems, I accept challenges with courage and dedication to the task. I am always looking for positive solutions. I am ready to work in consultation with the other members of the Board to promote a virtual and paperless legal system, while keeping in mind the needs of our members.

Objectives

As a member of the Board of Directors, I will accomplish my mandate with rigor and objectivity, while keeping in mind that the Barreau du Québec's primary mission is the protection of the public.

Although the Barreau's priorities are dictated by the Bâtonnière or the Bâtonnier, here are some topics that I would like to discuss with the collaboration of the other members of the Board of Directors:

1. Modernization of the justice system

This sad pandemic we are presently living has forced us to adjust to a new reality in the practice of law. Whether it's in courtroom trials, interviews with our clients or  meetings with colleagues, the practice of law has been challenged, but it has also shown us that we can do things differently.

I am ready to work closely with the Barreau to ensure the implementation of the best practices, which have been developed during this period of our history, such as:

  • Elimination of the use of paper, where possible;
  • Subsidize the modernization of computer technologies;
  • Standardize IT platforms as much as possible;

Technological resources are there for us and all lawyers must be trained to use them correctly and effectively. I will propose that the Barreau du Québec undertake the responsibility of training all members on the use of these technological advancements which are at our disposal.

The Barreau is currently participating in several modernization projects with Justice Quebec. I will bring my expertise to the aspect of modernizing the criminal and criminal justice system, both on issues of electronic disclosure of evidence and on remote hearings. Having participated in the development of these new approaches and authorized legal proceedings using fully digitized evidence, I will be able to share this expertise with the Board members, which will certainly be beneficial for all our members, as well as the public.

We certainly must not forget that the need for accessibility to justice in civil matters which remains a glaring issue also. As such, I will support all efforts put in place by the Barreau to ensure that rapid and effective justice is served, regardless of the area of ​​law.

The domestic violence jurisdictions of the Court of Quebec and the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal are chaotic for the citizens of Montreal and for the lawyers and it must be reviewed. Currently in the judicial district of Montreal, half of domestic violence cases are handled at the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal and the other half are handled at the Court of Quebec. This situation creates a lot of confusion for victims, defense lawyers, the SPVM and prosecutors and is certainly not as efficient as it could be.

The Barreau du Québec must get involved without further delay in the reorganization of these jurisdictions in Montreal for the good of the lawyers and the citizens of Montreal.

2. Parental Leave

As a father of triplets, I understand all too well the challenges our members face as they need to look after their careers while maintaining their family responsibilities.

As a manager for more than 25 years at the DPPC, I have seen all the difficult situations that our members, as young mothers and fathers, have to face in wanting to balance their professional duties as lawyers and their family obligations.

For this reason, I would like to work with the Board of Directors and make the Barreau du Québec aware of the help we need to give our members facing this dilemma. This includes the troubling existing situation in court, where too often our members are forced to make difficult decisions, at the request of the judiciary, who often have no regard for the family obligations of our members. This has to stop.

3. Support for young lawyers and retired lawyers

Too often, young lawyers have been left to fend for themselves. The resource of retired lawyers is an asset that has not been used to its full potential. I will propose to the Barreau to set up a structured mentoring program, where the experience of retired lawyers and the knowledge they have accumulated over the years, can be passed on to these young lawyers, who too often have a need of advice and guidance.

In addition, the Barreau must play a greater role in ensuring that all articling students receive the appropriate training they deserve and in return for fair and equitable compensation.

4. Racism and harassment

Racism and psychological and sexual harassment are more prevalent today than ever in our society and there is no reason to believe that our profession is free from this serious problem. Job security and the fear of reprisals have always prevented victims from coming forward to speak out against this behavior. It is understandable but unacceptable. Consequently, I will propose that the Barreau du Québec establish, for our members, an independent and confidential structure that will deal with all complaints of racism and sexual and psychological harassment in the workplace.

5. Continuing education

Having organized many seminars for our compulsory training, over the years, I understand the importance of putting together relevant and well-structured presentations. More recently, webinars have become the norm and this new approach is both more accessible for our members and less expensive for the organizers. I will propose to the Barreau du Québec that the prices of these courses be reduced to be more affordable and accessible for our members.

In order to have good representation at the Barreau du Québec and taking into consideration my goals, as well as my life and professional experience, I am submitting my candidacy and hope to be able to count on your support in the elections that will begin on May 4.