Mayor John Morgan of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality will appear before a Nova Scotia Barristers' Society hearing on Nov. 20 to face allegations of professional misconduct.
The mayor, who is also a lawyer, said Thursday the charge is based on a complaint to the society and arises from remarks he made in a CBC radio interview about a court ruling on a constitutional legal action that has been launched by the municipality.
Darrell Pink, executive director of the barristers' society, said he would not provide any details about the substance of the allegation, but he noted the hearing is open to the public.
The society said in a notice on its website that its hearing committee will deal with allegations Morgan breached provisions of a legal ethics and professional conduct handbook for lawyers.
Specifically, the society says it is alleged the mayor failed in his duty to encourage public respect for justice and to uphold and try to improve the administration of justice.
The municipality has been fighting for more equalization money, arguing the province is shortchanging it by millions of dollars each year by not fulfilling its obligations under the Constitution. But Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice John D. Murphy handed them a setback in April 2008 when he ruled their argument did not present a justifiable constitutional issue.
Morgan said Thursday that in his remarks during the CBC interview, he was saying the municipality should appeal all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and that it has to get outside of the court system in Nova Scotia.
The mayor said the initial complaint to the barristers' society apparently involved his remarks that the Nova Scotia courts aren’t “tree shakers.”
Morgan said Thursday he didn't mean to insult or offend anybody and he has informed the barristers' society of that.