Friday, August 31, 2007

Ready for the question Canadian taxpayers and Manitoba Metis - is this worth your hard earned dollars?

Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4
Fax: (204) 944-8878

Gerald S. Posner
Manitoba & Ontario Bars

Murray N. Trachtenberg
B.A., LL.B.
Direct Line: (204) 940-9602
August 29, 2007

Mr. Terry Belhumeur
P.O. Box 166
Gunton, Manitoba R0C 1H0

Clare L. Pieuk
2 - 371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2N6


Re: MMF et al vs. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. CI 05-01-41955
My File No. 2003-20

I have determined that some additional documents need to be added to the affidavit of documents previously provided by my client.

I enclose a revised Schedule A - pages 1-8 inclusive. The additional documents are listed at nos. 26(a), 43(a), 81(a) and 109(a)-(l) inclusive.

Yours truly,
26(a) Copy of letter from Murray Trachtenberg to Petition Co-ordinator in Duck Bay, Winnipegosis, Camperville and Skownan, Manitoba dated February 24, 2004 (2 pages);

43(a) Posting from Manitoba Metis News dated July 28, 2005 (1 page);

81(a) Copy of letter from Murray Trachtenberg to Jeffrey J. Niederhoffer - Niederhoffer Law Firm dated December 1, 2005 with attached copy of Press Release dated November 30, 2005 (4 pages);

109(a) The Manitoba Metis Federation Board of Directors Report on the Lawsuit dated February 24, 2006 (3) pages;

109(b) Posting from dated March 24, 2006 (3 pages);

109(c) Posting from dated March 26, 2006 (3 pages);

109(d) Letter from Clare L. Pieuk to Murray Trachtenberg dated May 1, 2006 (1 page);

109(e) Posting from dated May 8, 2006 (1 page);

109(f) Email from Terry Belhumeur to Murray Trachtenberg dated May 9, 2006 (1 page);

109(g) Posting from dated May 9, 2006 (1 page);

109(h) Posting from dated May 13, 2006 (1 page);

109(i) Posting from dated May 14, 2006 (1 page);

109(j) Posting from dated May 16, 2006 (5 pages);

109(k) Posting from May 16, 2006 (3 pages);

109(l) Posting from dated May 29, 2006 (2 pages)

Distribution List:
(Canadian Taxpayers Federation)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Canadian taxpayers your hard earned dollars are in good hands: "Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-Ching!"

Without Prejudice

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E4

Fax: (204) 944-8878
Direct Line: (204) 940-9620

Dear Mr. Trachtenberg:

Thank you for a copy of the letter which was sent to Mr. Terry Paul Belhumeur.

I will study it closely and no doubt will be contacting you with questions to make sure I understand its contents.

Thank you very much, Sir, for helping me better understand Court of Qeen's Bench Rules.

Yours truly,
Clare L. Pieuk
Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4

Gerald S. Posner
Manitoba & Ontario Bars

Murray N. Trachtenberg, B.A., LL.B
Direct Line: (204) 940-9602
August 29, 2007

Mr. Terry Belhumeur
P.O. Box 166
Gunton, Manitoba R0C 1H0

Mr. Clare L. Pieuk
2-371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2N6


Re: MMF et al vs. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. CI 05-01-41955
My File No. 2003-20

As both of yor are self-represented in this litigation, I wish to draw to your attention to the provisions of Corut of Queen's Bench Rule 30.1 entitled "Deemed Undertaking." I enclose a copy of the Rule for your review.

In particular, I wish to draw your attention to the provisions of Rule 30.1 (1) (a) (i) and 30.1 (3).

The plaintiffs have produced a number of documents through discovery of documents. You are both "deemed to undertake not to use evidence or information" that is obtained through the dioscovery of documents "for any purposes other than those of the proceedings in which the evidence was obtained."

Yours truly,

Distribution List: (Canadian Taxpayers Federation)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You be the judge Canadian taxpayers - good use of your hard earned dollars?

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

Mr. Murray Norman ($Happy$) Trachtenberg invoices the MMF at the rate of at least $250/hour. How much do you figure this letter cost to produce? From where in the Federation's budget are the funds being taken? Which of YOUR programs, Manitoba Metis, are suffering as a result?

Fellow Blogger Derryl Sanderson ( recently asked the Manitoba Metis Federation for $330 to help cover the cost of his young son's upcoming football season. Well, guess what? Surprise he was turned down - wonder why? Maybe the MMF has run out of taxpayer dollars for those activities which really matter.

To date how much of your hard earned taxpayer dollars has the MMF been billed on this file? An educated guess - over $100,000! For what?

So what say you Readers should this Blog pay Murray Norman (Billable) Trachtenberg at least $1,077.25 to get copies of all those documents so they can be posted on the internet for the world to see?

Murray Norman Trachtenberg

Clare L. Pieuk

Distribution List: (Canadian Taxpayers Federation)

Allan Fineblit, B.A., LL.B., Q.C.
Chief Executive Officer
Law Society of Manitoba
219 Kennedy Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C1S8
Telephone: (204) 942-5571
Facsimile: (204) 956-0624
Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4

Gerald S. Posner
Manitoba & Ontario Bars

Murray N. Trachtenberg
B.A., LL.B.
Direct Line: (204) 940-9602
August 28, 2007

Mr. Clare L. Pieuk
2 - 371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2N6

Dear Mr. Pieuk:

I acknowledge receipt of your email dated August 26, 2007 requesting that I provide you with copies of all documents referred to in Schedule A of my client's affidavit of documents being 1-118 inclusive.

Before embarking on any photocopying in accordance with your request, satisfactory arrangements will have to be made to secure the photocopying costs to which my client is entitled to be paid by you. As you are well aware, the amount of photocopying you have requested is very substantial and the cost for same will also be substantial.

Copies of the documents you have requested will be provided at the rate of $.25 per page. This rate is the same as that charged by other legal firms in the city for photocopying.

With respect to your request, I respond in detail as follows:

1. The majority of documents listed in Schedule A indicate how many pages each document is. The total of those so indicated is 498 x $.25 = $124.50 plus tax.

2. Documents no. 115 is the pleadings. I expect that you are already in possession of most if not all of these as you and/or your former counsel Mr. Niederhoffer were served with all affidavits, motion briefs and other documents filed on behalf of the plaintiffs. I enclose a Manitoba Courts "File Details" listing dated August 27, 2007 itemizing the 105 entries to date. If there is something on this list that you do not have, you may obtain same from the Court of Queen's Bench. Alternatively, once you identify the specific item/items that you are requesting, I will be in a position to advise you as to the estimated cost of complying with your request.

3. Document no. 116 is "routine correspondence with defendants." I have sent to you and all responses you have sent to me. I will not photocopy these documents unless you advise me of a specific item you are looking for that you do not have.

4. Document no. 117 is "routine correspondence between counsel." All correspondence I had with your pervious counsel Mr. Niederhoffer will be in the file he maintained on your behalf while he represented you. You should make arrangements with him. If you have not already done so, to obtain that file.

5. Document no 118 is a "box of documents containing bundles of documents produced by Mr. Pieuk in May, 2006." These are the documents you provided to me following the issuance of the order of Justice McCawley. According to your website posting of May 13, 2006, three deliveries of documents to this office was described as "To date, that makes 1,545 pages carefully indexed and catelogued for future reference." Assuming your count is accurate, the cost of photocopying procucition no. 118 would be $386.25 plus tax.

6. Document no. 114 is a letter from Mr. Hannon dated June 21, 2007 and enclosures. Mr. Hannon retruned to me the documents that you had provided to Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. Production no 114 consists of 424 pages and the cost of photocopying same would be $106.00 plus tax.

7. Document no. 110 is a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and enclosures. There are doucments that you provided to the Office of the Auditor Genreal of Manitba and which were then provided to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. At present. we have not determeined the exact nubmer of pages for document on. 110. It would appear that document no. 110 has at least as many pages as does document no. 118 or perhaps more. For ther purpose of this letter, I will set the estimated cost of photocopying at $400.00 plus tax.

Please provide me with either a band draft, money order or certified cheque in the amount of $1,077.75 to be applied towards the cost of photocopying the documents you have requested. Please understand that this is an estimate only. It does not include copying any part of document no. 115. I expect that the acutual page count, once the task has been completed, will result in an additional charge being submitted to you for payment.

I look forward to receipt of payment and your response with regard to Document no. 115.

Yours truly,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Time for a joint forensic audit of the MMF-MNC legal costs!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:
Interesting article posted on Mr. Sanderson's (and BEAR's!) revised comments appear at the end (blue). Originally, Blogger Sanderson talked about how his son had been denied $330 for his upcoming football season. Why? Probably because the MMF doesn't have any money left because it's paying so much for legal services!
Anyone know which lawyer is handling the court injunction? From where the taxpayer dollars will be taken to pay for it? Is there an attorney out there who could anonymously contact us with an estimate of how much the legal fees are likely to be? A Federal Government audit is long overdue!
Clare L. Pieuk
Chartrand/Chartier Combo To Seek Court Injunction
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Metis National Council (MNC) President Clement Chartier and Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand announced today that a court injunction is being sought to protect democracy and restore order to the Metis National Council.
The matter will be heard before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on September 6th 2007.The request for an injunction was prompted by the attempts of several MNC Board of Governors to wrongfully remove MNC President Chartier on July 31st of this year.
According to Chartrand it is only the MNC General Assembly that has the final authority to remove a sitting President, and only then with just cause.The interim order will preserve the 'status quo' of the MNC, which Chartier and Chartrand allege has been compromised as attempts have been made to cancel contracts and change MNC Ministerial appointments following the wrongful removal of President Chartier.
"As Board of Governors of the MNC we are there to represent the people we serve in each of our provinces" stated MMF President Chartrand, "While my first priority is to resolve matters of governance outside the courts, we must ensure the integrity of the national assembly and the democratic process of the people is never compromised."
Both Chartier and Chartrand hope the injunction will provide expeditious resolutions that will protect the precious resources and restore the credibility of the national office, so that the focus can return to advancing the Metis Nation Agenda.For more information, please contact:
Clement Chartier (306) 221-9861
Manitoba Metis Federation
Nicole Leclair
Director of Communications
(204) 986-8474 ext. 374
Cellular: (204) 232-5737
To Clem and CEO Chartrand.....all you had to was to practice the democracy you preach.....the MNC was supposed to have an election last year.The Saskatchewan election was a poor excuse to extend Chartier's mandate, and by the other Metis leaders reactions', they feel the same way.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nolo contendere (no contest)!

Metis Watcher has left a new comment on your post, "Metis National Council Election!"

There are two people from Manitoba going to run for this Office, Yvon Dumont and David Chartrand. Yvon will win ..... Go Yvon go!
Completely agree! If Mr. Dumont runs he'll eat David Chartrand's lunch!

Metis National Council Election!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

The MNC will be electing a new President mid-October this year. To win a candidate needs 3 of 5 votes (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario). Presumably the MMF will not initiate costly taxpayer paid for legal action to keep Clem Chartier in Office. However, given the current Federation "Leadership" you never quite know what to expect.

One would also think MNC public dollars would not be used to continue the appeal against Yvon Dumont's successful defence last year of their beyond asinine lawsuit but .....?

Clare L. Pieuk

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You be the judge Canadian taxpayers - good use of your hard earned dollars?

Barristers, Solicitors & Notaries Public
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E4
Fax: (204) 944-8878

Gerald S. Posner
Manitoba & Ontario Bars

Murray N. Trachtenberg
B.A., LL.B
Direct Line: (204) 940-9602

July 23, 2007
Mr. Terry Belhumeur
P.O.Box 166Gunton, Manitoba R0C 1H0

Mr. Clare L. Pieuk
2 - 371 Des Meurons Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2N6

Re: MMF et al vs. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. CI 05-01-41955
My File No. 2003-20

I acknowledge receipt of an email from Mr. Pieuk dated July 15, 2007 advising that he is available for discovery on Friday, August 31, 2007 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. No response has been received from Mr. Belhumeur.

I will not start an examination at 8:00 a.m. nor will the Court reporter. I am prepared to accommodate and to start at 9:00 a.m. if that suits your schedule.

Please be advised that I expect to be at least one full day with Mr. Pieuk. As such, I would suggest that we start at 9:00 a.m. and go until approximately noon, break for lunch and resume by 1:30 p.m. and proceed through to approximately 5:00 p.m. If the examination is not completed that day, a further time will have to be scheduled.

As for as my examination of Mr. Belhumeur, I expect that it would last approximately one half day. Both examinations cannot be done on the same day.

Each of you is entitled to attend at each other's examination for discovery.

As far as my examination of Mr. Pieuk is concerned, I am available September 4, 5, 6, and 7, 2007. I am also prepared to examine Mr. Belhumeur on one of these days.

May I please here from both of you in the near future with respect to scheduling discoveries for an appropriate amount of time during those days?

Yours truly,
File No. CI 05-41955



Manitoba Metis Federation Inc., Anita Campbell, David Chartrand, Elbert Chartrand, Rita Cullen, Richard DeLaronde, Darrel Deslauriers, Jean Desrosiers, William Flett, John Fleury, Laura Hyrich, Julyda Lagimodiere, Joyce Langan, Leah LaPlante, Judy Mayer, Bonnie McIntyre, Rosemarie McPherson, Darryl Montgomery, Marilee Nault, Jack Park, Claire Riddle, and Denise Thomas


- and -

Terry Belhumeur, Clare L. Pieuk and Vanessa Everton


Barristers, Solicitors and Notaries Public
Suite 710 - 491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 2E4

Phone No. (204) 940-9602
Fax No. (204) 944-8878
File No. 2003-20

I, OLIVER BOULETTE of the City of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:

1. I am the Executive Director of Manitoba Metis Inc. and as such I have conducted a diligent search of the Corporation's records and made appropriate inquiries of others to inform myself in order to make this affidavit. This affidavit discloses to the full extrent of my knowledge information and belief, all documents relating to any matter in issue in this action that are or have been in the possession, control or power of the Corporation.

2. I have listed in Schedule A those documents that are in the possession, control or power of the Corporation and that it does not object to producing for inspection.

3. I have listed in Schedule B those document that are or were in the possession, control or power of the Corporation and it objects to producing because it claims they are privileged and I have stated in Schedule B the grounds for each such claim.

4. I have listed in Schedule C those documents that were formerly in the possession, control or power of the Corporation but are no longer in its possession, control or power and I have stated in Schedule C when and how it lost possession or control of or power over them and their present location.

5. The Corproation has never had in its possession, control or power any documents relating to any matter in issue in this action other than those listed in schedules A, B and C.

City of Winnipeg, in the Province)
of Manitoba, this 6th day of)
July, 2006)

Murray N. Trachtenberg)
A Notary Public in and for the)
Province of Manitoba.)


I CERTIFY that I have explained to the deponent Oliver Bopulette the necessity of makig full disclosure of all relevant documents.

July 6th, 2007
Murray N. Trachtenberg


Documents in the Corporations' possession, control or power that they do not object to producing for inspection.

1. Posting from dated June 21, 2003 (6 pages);

2. Posting from dated September 15, 2003 (22 pages);

3. Articles from Grassroots News dated October 22, 2003 (3 pages);

4. Posting from dated November 11, 2003 (26 pages);

5. Posting from dated November 12, 2003 (4 pages);

6. Posting from dated November 21, 2003 (5 pages);

7. Posting from dated November 25, 2003 (24 pages);

8. Posting from dated January 21, 2004 (2 pages);

9. Posting from dated January 22, 2004 (14 pages);

10. posting from dated January 28, 2004 (2 pages);

11. Posting from dated January 28, 2004 (3 pages);

12. Posting from dated January 28, 2004 (3 pages);

13. Posting from dated January 30, 2004 (5 pages);

14. Posting from dated January 30, 2004 (7 pages);

15. Posting from dated February 5, 2004 (3 pages);

16. Posting from dated February 5, 2004 (11 pages);

17. Posting from Manitoba Metis News dated February 5, 2004 (3 pages);

18. Posting from dated February 6, 2004 (4 pages);

19. Posting from dated February 6, 2004 (2 pages);

20. Posting form dated February 6, 2004 (1 page);

21. Posting from dated February 7, 2004 (2 pages);

22. Posting from dated February 9, 2004 (3 pages);

23. Copy of letter form Murray Trachtenberg to Lionel Chartrand dated February 9, 2004 (2 pages);

24. Copy of letter from Murray Trachtenberg to Terry Belhumeur dated February 9, 2004 (2 pages);

25 Posting from dated February 10, 2004 (2 pages);

26. Posting from dated February 11, 2004 (6 pages);

27. Posting from dated March 3, 2004 (1 page);

28. Postig from dated April 10, 2005 (2 pages);

29. Posting from dated April 13, 2005 (2 pages);

30. Posting form dated April 15, 2005 (1 page);

31. Posting from dated April 15, 2005 (2 pages);

32. Posting from dated April 16, 2005 (3 pages);

33. Copy of email from Murray Trachtenberg to dated April 18, 2005 with attached copy of posting, from dated April 16, 2005 (4 pages);

34. Posting from dated April 18, 2005 (2 pages);

35. Posting from dated April 25, 2005 (3 pages);

36. Posting form dated April 26, 2005 (3 pages);

37. Posting from dated May 5, 2005 (11 pages);

38. Posting from dated May 16, 2005 (2 pages);

39. Posting from dated June 17, 2005 (2 pages);

40. Copy of fax form MMF dated June 23, 2005 with attached posting, form dated May 6, 2005 (4 pages);

41. Posting from dated July 1, 2005 (2 pages);

42. Posting from cybersmokesignals dated July 25, 2005 (2 pages);

43. Posting from dated July 26, 2005 (1 page);

44. Copy of fax from Mr. Al Brolly to Murray Trachtenberg dated July 29, 2005 (2 pages);

45. Leter from Jeffrey J. Niederhoffer to Murray Trachtenberg dated July 29, 2005 and enclosures (56 pages);

46. Posting from dated July 30, 2005 (5 pages);

47. Posting from dated July 30, 2005 (5 pages);

48. Posting from dated July 30, 2005 (5 pages);

49. Posting from dated August 5, 2005 (1 page);

50. Posting from dated August 11, 2005 (1 page);

51. Posting from dated August 15, 2005 (3 pages);

52. Posting from dated August 15, 2005 (2 pages);

53. Posting from dated August 15, 2005 (3 pages);

54. Posting from bated August 15, 2005 (2 pages);

55. Posting from dated August 17, 2005 (6 pages);

56. Posting from dated August 20, 2005 (2 pages);

57. Posting from dated August 26, 2005 (2 pages);

58. Posting from dated August 26, 2005 (2 pages);

59. Posting from dated August 29, 2005 (32 pages);

60. Posting from dated August 29, 2005 (2 pages);

61. Posting from dated August 30, 2005 (3 pages);

62. Posting from dated August 31, 2005 (2 pages);

63. Posting from dated August 31, 2005 (2 pages);

64. Posting from dated September 6, 2005 (2 pages);

65. Posting from dated September 9, 2005 (2 pages);

66. Posting from dated September 13, 2005 (4 pages);

67. Posting from dated September 14, 2005 (2 pages);

68. Posting from dated September 19, 2005 (7 pages);

69. posting from dated September 23, 2005 (3 pages);

70. Posting from dated October 15, 2005 (7 pages);

71. Posting from dated October 17, 2005 (1 page);

72. Posting from dated October 24, 2005 (2 pages);

73. Posting from dated Novermber 11, 2005 (4 pages);

74. Posting from dated November 15, 2005 (3 pages);

75. Posting from dated November 15, 2005 (2 pages);

76. Posting from dated November 16, 2005 (2 pages);

77. Posting from dated November 28, 2005 (3 pages);

78. Posting from dated November 30, 2005 (3 pages);

79. Positng from dated November 30, 2005 (3 pages);

80. Posting from dated November 2005 (2 pages);

81. Posting from dated November 30, 2005 (2 pages);

82. Posting from dated December 7, 2005 (3 pages);

83. Posting from dated December 7, 2005 (3 pages);

84. posting from cybersmokesignals.conm dated December 8, 2005 (2 pages);

85. Posting from dated December 13, 2005 (3 pages);

86. Posting from dated December 14, 2005 (2 pages);

87. Posting from dated December 23, 2005 (5 pages);

88. Posting from dated January 4, 2006 2006 (5 pages);

89. Posting from dated January 5, 2006 (4 pages);

90. Posting from dated January 17, 2006 (4 pages);

91. Posting from dated January 19, 2006 (3 pages);

92. Posting from dated January 19, 2006 (2 pages);

93. Article from the Winnipeg Free Press dated January 19, 2006 (1 page);

94. Posting from dated January 20, 2006 (2 pages);

95. Posting from dated January 24, 2006 (1 page);

96. Posting from dated January 26, 2006 (4 pages);

97. Posting from dated Jauary 28, 2006 (4 pages);

98. Posting from dated January 30, 2006 (2 pages);

99. Posting from dated January 31, 2006 (2 pages);

100. Posting from dated February 11, 2006 (5 pages);

101. Posting from dated February 12, 2006 (6 pages);

102. Posting from dated Februiary 14, 2006 (6 pages);

103. Posting from dated February 15, 2006 (2 pages);

104. Posting from dated February 16, 2006 (2 pages);

105. Posting from dated February 16, 2006 (3 pages);

106. Posting from dated February 17, 2006 (3 pages);

106. Posting from jeffreyniederhoffer dated February 17, 2006 (3 pages);

107. Posting from dated February 17, 2006;

108. Posting from dated February 17, 2006 (3 pages);

109. Posting from dated February 21, 2006 (2 pages);

110. Letter from Christian Asselin, Office of the Auditor General of Canada to Murray Trachtenberg dated July 7, 2006 enclosing various documents bundled and labelled as:

MMF Binder Part I
MMF Binder Part II
MMF Binder Part III
Orange folder entitled Pieuk, Clare (Rec'd @ July 4/05) Chartrand Insurance
Orange folder entitled Clare Pieuk - Folder #2 (Copies @ June 10/05)
Yellow Folder entitled "Red Binder" (re Clare Pieuk: copies at June 10/05)
Orange folder entitled Clare Pieuk - Folder #1 (Copies @ June 10/05)

111. Letter to MMF Inc. President David Chartrand signed by Vanessa Everton dated November 9, 2006);

112. Posting from dated May 13, 2007 (2 pages);

113. Posting from dated May 13, 2007 (7 pages);

114. Letter from Gordon E. Hannon - Manitoba Justice to Murray Trachtenberg dated June 21, 2007 and enclosures;

115. Pleadings;

116. Routine correspondence with defendants;

117. Routine correspondence between counsel;

118. Box of documents containing bundles of docyuments produced by Mr. Pieuk in May, 2006;


Documents that are or were in the Corporation's possession, control or power they object of producing on the grounds of privilege.

A. Lawyer and client communications

The following groups of documents are in themselves communications between client and lawyers made with a view to receiving advice with respect to the matters at issue in the action or instructing counsel in this action;

1. Correspondence between Posner & Trachtenberg and the plaintiff Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. and individual plaintiffs.

2. Various memoranda prepared by counsel relative to discussions with the plaintiffs.

B. Lawyers' work product or brief

The following groups of documents or douuments were created or obtained by Posner & Trachtenberg to enable them to act for the plaintiffs in this action:

1. File notes of case law or issues of fact or law to consider in this matter

2. File notes prepared by counsel relating to discussions with third parties.

3. Correspondence between Posner & Trachtenberg adn the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

4. Correspondence between Posner & Trachtenberg and Manitoba Justice.

5 Correspondence between councel on a "without prejudice" basis.


Documents that were formerly in the Corporations' possession control or power but are no longer in their possession, control or power.


Check it out -!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

Perhaps the MMF should find an excuse - whatever - to sue this Blog for posting the material. Can you imagine if someone were to secretly and selectively record (audio/visual) proceedings from the upcoming MMF Annual General Assembly? Maybe the Federation should install metal detectors at all entrances!

Clare L. Pieuk
This is a new and very important step for our people's growth, politically. For the first time on the web, an actual Metis political meeting captured on video!

Check it out!

This is a new and very important step for our people's growth, politically. For the first time on the web, an actual Metis political meeting captured on video !!
Deanna...that's quite a holiday you're taking.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A special message to "Unbelievable!"

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

"Unbelieveable" sent an anonymous e-mail in response to our recent posting, "Meet Ratso, B.A., LLB. - on his way to work to commit fraud?"

You certainly seem to be on top of the facts, however, given the explosive nature of the allegations against this lawyer, could you please provide more particularization? Understand it's not that we doubt your information, rather, we must confirm its accuracy - wow!

Clare L. Pieuk

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Firsthand Report Alberta Metis AGA - The Real Truth About The Chartrand Endorsement of Chartier"

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

Derryl Sanderson ( has posted an e-mail from a lady who attended the just concluded Metis Nation of Alberta's Annual General Assembly - fascinating! View the Comments section below the article. She also claims to have a video recording of certain of the proceedings which she's agreed to make available for display on the internet.

In an August 7, 2007 article, the aforementioned site, in reference to the Clem Chartier debacle, also stated in part:

".....a unanimous resolution was passed instructing and authorizing MMF President and CEO David Chartrand to retain legal Counsel and take all actions necessary ....."

Isn't this litigation going to be interesting if it goes to trial with all the MMF's legal costs paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

Clare L. Pieuk

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Who are you to point your finger at Canadian taxpayers - sometimes pictures are worth thousands of words!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:
Happened to be checking online the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench File Registry today and couldn't believe my eyes. The Plaintiffs (Metis National Council Secretariat/Metis National Council/Clem Chartier) have filed notice they intend to appeal Justice John Menzies written decision last summer in which he dismissed their action against The Honourable W. Yvon Dumont. They were assessed court costs - Anders Bruun and Jeff Niederhoffer's legal fees for defending Mr. Dumont plus Murray Norman Trachtenberg's (minimum $250/hour) who acted for the Plaintiffs. Amount? Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing. Educated guess - ballpark $100,000 worth of taxpayer money. For what? Where's the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation when we need it?

One can't help but wonder if this is in any way related to the MMF's recent announcement it was retaining legal counsel to challenge Clem Chartier's replacement as MNC President recently by British Columbia's Bruce Dumont.
For $5 anyone who is not a Party in this case can visit The Provincial Law Courts Building (408 York Avenue) to view the file and photocopy (25 cents/page) any or all of its contents. Should be some fascinating transcripts/documents which will make for good reading. Shortly we'll have a look and post whatever we find of interest.
Recall Anders Bruun in a Winnipeg Free Press article shortly after the decision saying, "..... this case is virtually unappealable ....."
Are there any attorneys who could help us with two questions:
(1) What is the deadline for filing an appeal in this type of case?
(2) Is it true at appeal no new evidence can be entered into the record unless it can be shown it is relevant but for whatever valid reason(s) was not disclosed during trial? In other words, at the appellate level legal technicalities are argued?
If you're a solicitor licensed to practice in Manitoba, please contact CyberSmokeBlog - you can remain anonymous we have no way of knowing your identity unless, of course, you reveal it!
Assuming the MMF loses, as it probably will, it will be libel for ALL legal fees. Estimated cost to Canadian taxpayers - another $50,000-$60,000. It always comes down to, FOR WHAT?
If any of you are near the Provincial Law Courts Building, stop in at the Queen's Bench File Registry counter and ask to see File Number CI 05-01-42919. Photocopy any interesting material you see, e-mail it and we'll post the documents - it's public information. Please stay tuned, this is going to get a lot more interesting!
Clare L. Pieuk
Distribution List:

Telephone: (204) 697-7257

Adrienne Batra
Cellular: (204) 227-5561

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Not all lawyers are rats!

Jeffrey J. Niederhoffer
Jeff Niederhoffer has left a new comment on your post, "Meet Ratso, B.A., LL.B. - on his way to work to commit fraud?"
In my experience, the Manitoba bar is less rife with examples of this kind than other jurisdictions. I can say, honestly and with a straight face, that during my time in private practice, I worked hard - damn hard - to have my hourly billings accurately reflect my time on a file. I think it's fair to say that the same is true of most other lawyers who practice on an hourly basis.
Clients are typically the most effective police of what you do as a lawyer. Clients have every right - ethically and legally pursuant to the Code of Professional Conduct - to have their lawyer justify their fees, and most will not be shy about doing this.That said, I'm not going to be naive about this. There ARE real abuses within the legal profession, in Manitoba and elsewhere - but typically they center around lawyers not keeping their clients fully informed or even occasionally (and usually inadvertantly) misrepresenting affairs.
The "usually inadvertantly" comes with a huge asterisk, because this to me is the most pernicious abuse that occurs among lawyers. There are lawyers in this province - they are well known in the legal profession - who have reputations for fleecing unsophisticated clients by conducting frivolous litigation. These lawyers will often promise their clients (who are genuinely ignorant and don't know to ask the important questions) the sky and the moon. When these lawyers fail to deliver, they are then in the position of having to come up with creative - typically fraudulent - explanations as to why this is the case. This cycle will be repeated again and again, at least until the lawyer loses all credibility, the client loses their money to the lawyer, or some intervening event outside of the solicitor-client relationship causes the client to come to a realization that they require new counsel. This is predictably a painful process, for both clients and counsel, and will invariably culminate in acrimony, fee disputes, lawsuits, and Law Society complaints.
I've heard of this happening, typically with unsophisticated clients who face the prospect of a financial windfall through litigation or, less typically, with unsophisticated clients who somehow already have access to substantial funds. Sadly, it is these clients who are the most victimized by the unscrupulous lawyer. It is they who frequently will be the most difficult to convince to retain new counsel, as they are forced into the position of admitting their ignorance and the fact that they were "taken."
From personal experience lawyers Jeff Niederhoffer ( and Anders Bruun ( are highly ethical, principled individuals of unquestioned integrity - real class acts! Jeff has temporarily suspended his practice of law while he recovers from a recent serious slip and fall accident.

Clare L. Pieuk

More taxpayers should demand an audit of the MMF!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Will my town get an MMF sign paid for by Canadian taxpayers?"

Taxpayers don't demand audits because most of them don't realize what is going on, and the rest just don't give a crap! Those of us who do care either continue the fight, or have simply given up out of frustration.
Dear Anonymous:

Unfortunately, so many Metis are fed up and frustrated with the current MMF leadership they disconnect. That's why these individuals keep getting re-elected. Sad but true.

Will my town get an MMF sign paid for by Canadian taxpayers?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Pathetic isn't it!"

If any of the readers want to know if a sign is designated to go up in their town just drop a line here, I have the map and list of all the locations. I don't understand why taxpayers don't demand an internal audit be done of the MMF! David (President Chartrand) needs to realize he is not helping his people.
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for taking the time to write with your kind offer. Completely agree. Since the MMF is publicly funded, taxpayers in those towns which will be getting a sign have every right to know. To Readers we say, please e-mail with your questions. Again, we appreciate your assistance Anonymous.

Also, support your position calling for an internal audit of the Federation. Election reform should also be on the table for review. As it currently stands, there's virtually no financial accountability or public disclosure requirements for campaign spending.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pathetic isn't it!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "The sign that just won't go away!"

What a pathetic excuse to whine and claim racism! I'm "Metis and Embarrassed!" Maybe we should all go back to the day when proving your Metis status wasn't just walking into your Local and saying so. For crying out loud my dog is Metis. You don't need a sign to gain respect. We don't deserve any more respect than any other culture in this country. False claims and the whining done by David Chartrand has made the Metis people a joke and has embarrassed many Metis people in this province. Maybe the MMF needs to be reorganized and run by someone who is actually working for the people and not per his agenda. You will not erect a sign in my town!
Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for writing. Completely agree and to think the current administration claims to represent ALL Manitoba Metis. What a joke it's a social club!

Clare L. Pieuk

Thursday, August 09, 2007

As posted on!

CEO Chartrand Authorized To Take Legal Action.....With MMF Member Funds Of Course

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Metis Federation, in a specially-called Board of Directors Meeting and with a unanimously-passed resolution, affirmed its continued recognition of President Clément Chartier as the legitimate and sitting President of the Metis National Council.

Protecting the Manitoba Metis Federation’s rights and interests as a Founding Member of the Metis National Council, the unanimous resolution instructed and authorized Manitoba Metis Federation President and CEO David Chartrand to retain legal counsel and to take all actions necessary.

Chartrand will defend the integrity of the Metis National Council’s Constitution, reputation, and financial resources, as well as the democratic process of the Metis Nation.“The Manitoba Metis Federation, without any doubt, fully and completely continues our support for President Chartier,” said CEO Chartrand.

“In purportedly appointing one of their own, the Board of Governors has unlawfully attempted to override our Constitution. Only the Metis National Assembly made up of representatives of the Metis Nation has the authority to democratically remove and elect the President.”

“They have attempted to steal the democratic rights away from the Metis Nation and install one of their own. This attempt to remove President Chartier is illegal, shameless, and wrong,” Chartrand went on to say.
Question: From exactly where in the federally-provincially funded MMF budget will the monies be taken to pay the lawyer? Maybe the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation should be looking at this.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The sign that just won't go away!

No Metis Government Sign In Ste. Anne
Written by AM1250/Mis96News
Sunday, 05 August 2007

Before the Manitoba Metis Federation can put up a welcome sign in Ste. Anne, it'll have to change the wording. Mayor Bernie Vermette says it's too misleading to say "The local Metis Government welcomes you." He would like it to say "The Richer Metis Local welcomes you." Mayor Vermette is also Metis and Chairs the Richer Local. He says it's a good idea to let people know there are Metis in the area and there is an organization that helps raise funds for the community. However, Mayor Vermette says the Metis are not the local government and that's what the sign would lead many to believe. This comes after the Metis sign in Ste. Rita was burned following protests from people in the community who also said the wording was misleading.

Perhaps the good citizens of Ste. Anne should do as their Ste. Rita counterparts did - start a petition! If President Chartrand is not careful he's going to end up with all those silly signs no one wants in his backyard. Good place for them!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Meet Ratso, B.A., LL.B. - on his way to work to commit fraud?

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

A Top Legal Scholar And Ex-Bay Street Partner Exposes The Corruption Of His Profession

That's the headline on the cover of the current issue of MACLEAN'S Magazine. Needless to say it's generating a lot of comment both within and outside the profession.

Clare L. Pieuk
'One Prominent Lawyer Told Me, "Every Lawyer Is Going Into The Office Today And Commit Fraud." Then He Laughed.'

Q It's hard to imagine a book titled "Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada's Legal Profession" (Penguin) is going to be popular with your colleagues. Why did you write it?

A: I know lawyers are going to say, "Come on, he's talking about 15 or 20 members of a profession that has 90,000." But in telling these stories I'm trying to extract general ideas: the amoral nature of legal practice, the gross deficiencies of the regulation of lawyers, the sense of misery that pervades the legal profession.

Q: Do you think most of the lawyers you write about started off bad, or did the practice of law change them?

A: Why do people end up doing things they shouldn't do? Their upbringing, their background? The point is, I don't think there's anything in the legal profession now that restrains people's bad impulses. I don't think there's a generally accepted code of conduct or a vivrant disciplinary system.

This isn't just a Canadian problem, either. On my desk I have an editorial from a South African magazine which begins, "Let's face it, our legal system has effectively collapsed ... One of the more obvious reasons is the culture of greed, pride and self-indulgent arrogance that pervades the legal profession." Then there's this gem from the South China Morning Post about a client who asked for a breakdown of his legal bill, which included a charge for "recognizing you in the street, crossing a busy road to talk to you to discuss your affairs, and recrossing the road after discovering it was not you.

Q: As you point out, in 2004 only 44 per cent of Canadians said they trusted lawyers, whereas two years earlier, 54 per cent said they did. Why do people dislike lawyers so much?

A: Lawyers are seen as greedy, and in good measure I think that's a justifiable criticism, and also unprincipled. Thirdly, and this is perhaps the most important point of all, the average person has no real access to lawyers, to the legal system, to justice. It's all right if you're very poor and have the kind of problem that legal aid will not help with, but most Canadians have middle-class incomes and simply can't afford to hire a lawyer. The Chief Justice has spoken out about this, but very little is being done to rectify it. It's fundamentally undemocratic. It's as if somebody tried to pass a law that said you can't vote in a federal election unless you have an income of $100,000 or more. Well, there would be a revolution.

Q: How has the legal profession changed in Canada over the past few decades?

A: In very general terms, it has become a business: interested in profit, not interested in making judgments, not interested in providing access to poor people or even middle-income people. The old ideas - that lawyers have something to do iwth justice and fairness, and are part of an important system that provides a stable, safe, law-abiding society-have, to the extent that you can generalize, been lost by members of the legal profession.

Q: You taught law for 13 years, both at McGill and the University of Western Ontario, where you were the Dean of Law. Is there something about legal training that nudges lawyers toward amorality?

A: Yes, I think so. Law students are taught and lawyers subsequently believe that it is not their job to pass judgment on their clients as people, or to pass judgment on what their clients want to do. Lawyers are enablers. They are there to try to do what their client wants, and are in many cases paid handsomly for it. The whole question of the values behind the rules of the legal system is not on the whole of great interest to law schools or the legal profession. And there's an additional point: lawyers are taught to manipulate the rules in favour of their clients. If you're a manipulator of rules, then you can't respect the rules as such or believe that they incorporate important values.

Q: How does that bleed over into their private lives?

A: I'm not sure of the answer to that, except to say I think it does. There are studies about the martial success of lawyers, indicating that there's a higher divorce rate among members of the legal profession, and that may be true. The reason, I think, is that when you come home from the office, you don't become a different person. You don't shed all the ways of doing things and thinking about things that preoccupied you during the day. [I can imagine] a wife making small talk and a husband cross-examining her as though she's on the witness stand: "What evidence do you have to support the fact that there's something wrong with the furnace.

Q: You left teaching to practise at a big Toronto law firm. Did your timne in the classroom prepare you?

A: Not at all. The world of the law school and the world of the big downtown law firm are two very different worlds.

Q: What kind of ethical dilemmas does the average lawyer face?

A The average lawyer is a big firm practice faces the requirement to put aside whatever kit bag of values, principles and ethics he may personally subscribe to and concentrate on making it possible for clients to do what they want to do. No client comes into a lawyer's office and wants to have a discussion about whether its a good thing or socially desirable to do this, that, or the other. And they'll seek another lawyer if you try to have that discussion.

Q: There's a big incentive for lawyers to pad their bills isn't there?

A: Yes, and it's common practice. It's easy to round up. It's easy to reflect on what you've done during the day and say you've worked for seven hours rather than six.

Q: What should you do if you get a lawyer's bill and the number of hours seems ridiculous?

A: The first thing you can do is refuse to pay it. People certainly do challenge bills, and often some kind of accommodation will be reached. Ultimately, you can take your bill to an officer of the court who will adjudicate on the fairness of it. But I think there always will be a tendency to pad bills, and it's because of the pressure lawyers are under to generate revenue for their firms and themselves. In big firms, there's an accepted number of billable hours a year that people have to reach, about 1,800 hours. If you're consistently shy of that, you're going to get into difficulty.

Q: Do lawyers talk abouit over-billing amongst themselves?

A: Any lawyer you ask will say, "We don't do that." First of all, you can get disbarred. And secondly, it might arguably be a criminal offence, a fradulent activity. But there's a general recognition that it happens very widely. I remember once standing on a sreet corner with a prominent Toronto lawyer at nine in the morning and he said, "Every lawyer in this province is going to go into their office today and commit fraud," then laughed. Another lawyer told me he was in favour of what he called "portal-to-portal billings": he was in the office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and figured that one way or another he had to bill 10 hours, which of course doesn't allow much time for bathroom breaks, or lunch, or doing something pro bono, or even gazing out the window. There are a number of ways you can gently, but over time, significantly inflate your billable hours. It's a large underground problem.

Q: Did you ever pad your bills?

A: My carefully considered answer is that I was part of the legal culture of the times and I did what it demanded.

Q: Lawyers are no longer at the top of the socio-economic totem pole. They're way below, say investment bankers. Does that engender anxiety?

A: I think it does, there's a kind of economic voyeurism that takes place and generates a lot of discontent. Of course, the legal profession is big, and there are people in Canada who make $2 million a year and there are also people just scraping by. But looking at the top end, many corporate lawyers at big firms make what most people would regard as a pretty handsome living, yet they look at their clients and think, "They're making more money than I am." And then perhaps they'll add, "And they're doing it because of all the clever ideas I bring to them. It's not fair!"

Q: You quote a former law clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice as saying that lawyers suffer from "depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates."

A: And those are the well-adjusted ones!

Q: Why are lawyers so miserable?

A: If you practise law you're plunged into what is by its nature a highly competitive, highly stresssful environment that sucks up most of your time at the expense of things that most people think go a long way toward making life worth living, shch as spending time with family, or reading a book.

'If you're taught how to manipulate rules you lose respect for them and that leads to a kind of arrogance: I'm bigger than the rules.'

Q: The same could be said of many jobs, like banking or even journalism.

A: No doubt. But I think there's more to it for lawyers than simply stress. If you're a doctor, you may have a hell of a day, but at least you can be comforted by the idea that in some small way you improved the general state of society. I don't think you can believe that if you're a laywer. I hasten to add that legal practice is very diverse, and there are lots of different kinds of people practising law, and this is not true of all of them. But it's true of a lot of them. You come home at the end of the day and say, "Why did I bother doing that? What I've really done is make rich people a little bit richer, maybe, and as a result of that I can send them a big bill." This is not a good way to spend your life. After you get over the initial drama of this high-stakes environment, you're left with the feeling that this is a pointless occupation that you should find something worthwhile to do.

Q: Why did most of your students go into law?

A: A lot of people don't like lawyers and would be horrified if their child came home and said, "I want to be a lawyer." But it is a profession, and one with the potential of generating a significant income. It gives its members a certain power, the power of knowing something that other people don't know. And there is a kind of glamour accocited with it. Look at all the television porgrams that deal with the law - people are fascinated with this process, even though they're deeply suspicious of lawyers. And I think in mnay cases, certainly this was true in my case, people went into law because they couldn't think of anything else to do.

Q: Is there something else you should have done?

A: Oh yes, but I'm not going to tell you. I find myself increasingly in the role of critic of the legal profession, but I've spent my life as a lawyer. I went to law school in 1966, I've been in the legal profession one way or another for 41 years, it gives me no pleasure at the end of all that to look back and say, "Oh God, this was not a good way to spend my time."

Q: Is this book your penance?

A: [laughs] No. Do I think it will lead to some kind of significant reform of the legal profession? Of course not. It's beyond sny one person's ability to do that. Do I think some kind of significant rethinking of the profession is in order? You bet I do.

Q: So many of the lawyers you write abourt wound up stealing from their clients or bilking their firms. But greed wasnt alwyas the motive, was it?

A: No. I first got interested in this whole subject in 1989 or 1990, when I was a junior partner [at Blake, Cassels & Graydon]. The most prominent partner, Bob Donaldson, a nationally if not internationally respected lawyer making lots of money, was suddently found to have had his hand in the till. That was a startling fact in itself, but here's the thing that puzzled me most of all: the amounts of money involved were relatively minor. It wasn't as if millions and millions had disappeared, it it was more on the order of using money improperly to buy airline tickets to go to Bermuda for the weekend, penny-ante stuff by his standards. Why would somebody risk everything - reputation, friendship, professional status, even potentially freedom - for that? It certainly wasn't greed. And in nearly every case I write about, the lawyers didn't do it, for the most part, for money.

Q Well, is it self-destructiveness or is it arrogance?

A: Arrogance is part of it. If you're taught how to manipulate rules, you lose respect for them and that leads to a kind of arrogance: I'm bigger than the rules. I'm not the average man on the street who needs to be law-abiding because I know how to get around teh rules. And there may be just a touch of the more common form of arrogance too, which is "I'm smarter than they are, they'll never catch me." But you can be arrogant and still have a healthy sense of what's good for you, and what dangers you shouldn't run. I have some speculation about why people behave this way, and one reason is simple boredom. When people are bored, there's a tendency to take risks.

Q: What happens to lawyers who steal? How is the profession regulated?

A: The disciplinary process of the law societies in this country is deeply flawed. Lawyers are disciplined for breaches of professional rules, but it's like so much in Canada: everything depends on where you live. What can get you disbarred in Alberta won't have much effect on you at all in, say, Nova Scotia. The first difficulty with the disciplinary system is that if you're a lawyer who's alleged to have stepped afoul of the rules, you're investigated by the law society. If they decide you're a transgressor, they'll prosecute you, they'll hire a lawyer to do that, and the disciplinary committee itself is the law society. So you have the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge all essentially representing the same institution. I thought in this country we had a fundamental principle, that the person who investigates and prosecutes isn't the same persn who judges.

Q: Is yours a widely held opinion?

A: I haven't heard people rising up to complain about this. In the United States, by the way disciplinary matters in just about every state are heard by courts, not by panels of the bar association which is how it should be. I think Canada really has to get its act together. Llook at the reforms in the UK., which woke up some years ago to this problem and [adopted] quite sweeping reforms that largely removed self-regulation from the legal profession. Why in heaven the same sort of reforms are not under consideration in this country I do not know, except that self-regulation is regarded with quasi-religious fervour.

Q: What's the basis of the opposition to anything but self-regulation?

A: The ideological underpinning is that a fundamental responsibility of the legal profession is to help citizens fight the state. It's an important offsetting influence to the power of the state, and therefore cannot be regulated by the state, because then it will tend to become subservient to it. I just simply reject that. There are all kinds of other ways that you could ensure independence when it matters, and there are all kinds of ways you could get advice from lawyers without giving them final say over what happens. And in any event, lawyers only regulate themselves pursuant to legislation that is passed by provincial legislatures, which they could change tomorrow.

Q: You talked to quite a few lawyers who've been caught doing somthing worng. How many of them actually expressed remorse?

A: On the whole, there was not a whole lot of remorse expressed. I don't think these were penitent people who were terribly ashamed of doing a bad thing. Take the case of Martin Wirick the B.C. lawyer who was involved in a massive real estate fraud, I think it's the single biggest legal fraud that Canada has ever experienced. It wasn't as if he was stockpiling money to run off to South America. The most he ever got out of it was paymentof very ordinary legal bills, and in fact I don't think the client ever even fully paid them. So he didn't do it for money. When I talked to him, he said things like, "Oh, I was just so tired, I just didn't give a shit, I was unhappy, I hadn't had a vacation in years. "What he did not say was, "When I think back on what I did, I I'm so sorry about it, I'm so sorry about poeple who lost money as a result of my activities." I think he was hapless, a bit of a schlemiel, and his client was a charismatic glamourous person.

Q: Is it common for lawyers to become enamoured of their clients?

'There's always a tendancy to pad bills, and it's becuse of the pressures lawyers are under to generate revenue for their firms.'

A: Oh yes, very much so. I think lawyers can have a hero worship of their clients. Think of the whole Conrad Black trial, that poor Mark Kipnis, who will probaqbly go to jail because he did what the boss told him to do. It's [a case of] the dull old lawyer with the charismatic client who says "Do this, do that," and it's not always absolutely clear what's right, what's wrong, what can and cannot be done. That makes it easier to say, "Well, let's try it out and see what happens."

Q: Who stands out in your mind as being the worst of the bad lawyers you wrote about? I'm guessing you're going to say Ingid Chen, the Winnipeg lawyer.

A: There's no doubt that she behaved abominably. She's now in prison, because it was established that she hired enforcers to beat up clients who upset her, along with a whole variety of other things. But the behaviour was so bizarre, so manifestly self-distructive and likely to lead to catastrophe, that you can't just say she's a bad person who got what's coming to her. It's more that she has some deep problems that need to be sorted out. An interesting case is Michael Bomek, a criminal lawyer based in Flin Flon, Man. with a largely Aboriginal clientele, who was thought to be a creative and gutsy lawyer who fought against and RCMP detachment that was thought to be recist and indeed there was subsequently a government commission that found it was racist. He was a notable figure and something of a hero, almost. And then it turned out that he had been having sexual relations with some of his male Aboriginal clients. The RCMP accused him of sexual assault and indeed he pled guilty, went to prision and was disbarred, though for other reasons. I went ot Flin Flon and to the reserve and I wound up feeling sorry for him, I found him quite an engaging character. I wrote [an article] about him but subsequently he got into all kinds of other trouble. He got out of prison and was running a hot dog stand in Prince Albert - where's Monty Python when you need them? - but he wasn't just selling hot dogs, he was selling marijuana. The police busted him. But then the whole thing took a sinister turn, he was charged with further sexual transgressions involving children and was convicted of some of them. You look at this guy and there's a lot, dare I say it, to admire, certainly in his early career. But perhaps, as the Crown attorney who prosecuted him the first time around told me, hes a pyschopath. I'd be very surprised if he had the slightest little bit of penitence in him.

Q: Why are lawyers now so instrumental in money laundering operations?

A: There's recently been a whole spate of national and international rules about money laundering, trying to get rid of it because it promotes organized crime. In Canada, lawyers have resisted successfully, application of those rules to the legal profession. To simplify, they've said, "You cannot oblige us to report cash transactions to a government agency" - which, by the way, banks are now obliged to do - "because to do that would be a fundamental violation of solicitor-client privilege." Meanwhile, those who know anything about this, like the auditor general of Canada and variouis high officials in the RCMP have said that partly because they're largely exempt from these rules, lawyers can become, and some have become, agents of money laundering. You go to your lawyer whith cash because he's exempt from these rules. The law society will say, "No, no, no, we have rules about this, any cash transaction over a certain amount has to be reported to the society." But there certainnly isn't the full oversight by federal authorities that you find in all other areas where financial transactions happen. I think invoking solicitor-client privilege is nonsense. If you're a lawyer, and somebody walks into your office and says he's going to buy a house and needs to put a $50,000 deposit down, and here's a briefcase full of each, would you not think, Hmmm, this is very unusual? It's not some massive encroachment of solicitor-client privilege to address this issue. It's just plain common sense.

Q: You don't have a lot of warm feelings for tax laywers, do you?

A: In some ways I have a deep admiration for them, because tax law, is probably the most intellectually complex area of law. But there's something in the nature of it that's pernicious. Tax shelters are highly complex schemes designed with one purpose in mind: to stop somebody paying tax he would otherwise pay. The kind of society we line in, with its great public projects such as universal medicare, depends on tax revenue. At some point you have to be very unhappy about schemes that deprive public coffers of money that's needed and simply make rich people a whole lot richer. In the U.S., there's been a tremendous outcry about this, but that hasn't happened in Canada. It should.

Q: The lawyers in your book are almost as oversexed as the ones on TV. Is it ever okay to sleep with a client?

A: Various law societies have various answers that veer from zero tolerance to the Wild West. I don't think anybody has a clear answer. My answer is, there's a huge difference between a male lawyer taking advantage of a highly vulnerable woman and a lawyer who has a client a highly competent general counsel of a major coproration well able to take care of herself. But if somebody asked me in the abstract for advice, I would say, don't do it!

Q: Have you ever felt embarrasssed to tell people you're a lawyer?

A: When people on airplanes ask what I do, I say I'm in auto parts. No one wants to talk about auto parts. But if yo tell them you're a lawyer, everybody has a story about how they were screwed by a lawyer, or the terrible thing a lawyer did to Aunt Bessie.

Q: How can the average person protect herself from being cheated by a lawyer?

A: Do not be overawed, and feel free to question both the advice and the bill. Before the Internet, lawyers were gatekeepers, really the only ones, to this vast store of legal knowledge. Now, anybody can go on the Internet and get any Canadian statute, regulation, or case, easily. But people don't seem to be doing that in the same way they do it with medicine, where if you have a pain in your toe, you go on Googlel.

Q: What's your best lawyer joke?

A: Well, there are so many. One I sort of like is that there's this ancient lady who shuffles into her lawyer's office and asks for a new will. He says fine, and charges her $200. She hands him a wad of bills and shuffles out, leaving him counting the money. She's given him $300. So now he has a real ethical dilemma: should he tell his law partner or not?

Q: That's sort of funny.

A: It's not very good, is it? Oh well. M

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Get better Jeff - fast!

Tansi/Good Day Folks:

Had an e-mail the other day from Jeff Niederhoffer. Recently he suffered a serious slip and fall accident and is recovering. In the meantime, he's temporarily not practicing law and, therefore, is listed with the Law Society of Manitoba as being inactive.

He'd like to thank the many who have e-mailed ( wishing him well.

You will recall last Christmas he notarized legal documents for several low income Winnipegers. He also capably assisted Anders Bruun in the successful defence of The Honourable W. Yvon Dumont in a ridiculous lawsuit brought by The Metis National Council Secretariat/The Metis National Council/President Clem Chartier. The Plaintiffs were represented by none other than Murray Norman Trachtenberg.

Clare L. Pieuk

Knew it!

Wheat Board's Barley Monopoly Stands
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
By Larry Kusch
Winnipeg Free Press
Page A3

A Federal Court judge Tuesday night struck down a cabinet order - mere hours before it was to take effect - that would have ended the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on barley marketing.

Justice Dolores Hansen ruled that the Harper government exceeded its authority in June when it attempted to create an open market for Western Canadian barley by issuing an order in council when it should, instead, have sought the approval of Parliament.

Ottawa's proposed changes were to have taken effect today, the beginning of the grain industry's crop year.
The judge's decision - released at nearly 8 p.m. Ottawa time - means that the Winnipeg-based Wheat Board will continue to control the marketing of Prairie barley destined for export or used domestically for human consumption.

Reached Tuesday night while en route to Edmonton, the Wheat Board's Chairman, Ken Ritter, said he was delighted with the ruling.

"We're obviously very pleased with the results of this decision," said Ritter, saying it confirmed what the CWB has been telling the government all along - that changes to the agency's powers could only be made through a well-defined process that included the approval of Parliament.

Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said in an interview late Tuesday night that he was "very disappointed" with the court's decision, adding that "I won't be alone in that."

He said that, arguably, a majority of Prairie farmers wanted more marketing choice for barley.

Strahl said the government would review the decision closely over the next few days. It has the option of appealing the ruling to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Tuesday's Federal Court ruling was a blow for the Harper government, which had been hell-bent on ending the CWB's single-desk powers.

After vowing to give farmers more freedom over grain marketing during the last federal election, the Conservatives fought hard to keep that promise - going so far as to sack a Wheat Board President who refused to toe the government line.

Now the Conservatives, who are a minority in the House of Commons, may be faced with passing legislation to achieve their goal - a daunting task considering all opposition parties are against ending the wheat board's monopoly without a clear indication that most farmers support that.

Justice Hansen heard arguments from the government, the Wheat Board and other interested parties in Calgary last week.

She had promised to try to deliver her ruling before the beginning of the new crop year today - and Tuesday night politicians, grain industry officials and farm group leaders anxiously awaited her decision well into the evening. The Wheat Board and an organization called Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board had both appealed to the Federal Court to strike down the federal order in council.

One supporter of the government's plans to create an open market for barley called the judge's ruling "a stumbling block," but said she was optimistic that the Wheat Board's monopoly would end one day.

"Things are going to happen a little slower than what we wanted to, but there's no doubt in my mind that this is going to happen," said Cherilyn Jolly-Nagel, president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
She said with market prices for barley now sky-high, the wheat board will "have to do a lot of spin-doctoring" if farmers aren't able to cash in over the next year.

The government's supporters were so confident that Ottawa would defeat the court challenge to its marketing order that they organized a special "Barley Freedom Day" celebration at Portage la Prairie farmer Jim Pallister's spread for today.

Strahl's parliamentary secretary, Saskatchewan MP David Anderson, was scheduled to appear, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was sending greetings to the group.

Pallister said Monday, however, that if his side lost the legal challenge, the gathering would go ahead as "Barley Freedom Fighters Day."

This isn't the first time a Conservative government has sought to strip the wheat board of its barley-marketing monopoly through an order in council.

Fifteen years ago, the Mulroney government attempted to remove the CWB's monopoly over barley sales within North America. But six weeks after the launch of the continental barley market a judge declared that the order was invalid. The Wheat Board is expected to announce initial payments for wheat and barley for the new crop year as early as today.

Ritter, the Wheat Board Chairman, said the CWB realizes that with its court victory comes the obligation to address farmers' concerns over the delivery and pricing of malting barley.

These concerns had led to calls in some quarters for farmers to have a choice over how they marketed their barley.

Today's web poll question:

Do you agree with a federal judge's decision allowing the Canadian Wheat Board to keep its monopoly on barley marketing?

Cast your vote at THE BACKGROUND: The federal government passed an order in council in June ending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on barley sales effective Aug. 1.

The Wheat Board and a group calling itself Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board then took the government to court, saying that Ottawa wasn't within its rights to change the Board's marketing powers through cabinet decree.

WHAT HAPPENED TUESDAY? Federal Court Justice Dolores Hansen ruled in favour of the Wheat Board and its supporters, striking down the federal order in council.

WHAT'S NEXT? The Wheat Board continues to be the sole marketer of Prairie barley for export sale and for domestic human consumption in Canada. Ottawa is reviewing the decision and could challenge the ruling in the Federal Court of Appeal. The Conservatives could also try to introduce legislation to change the Wheat Board's powers, but they are in a minority in both the House of Commons and Senate.

Larry Kusch

Anders Bruun

Knew it! Ran into Anders this past weekend who had just returned from a grueling three day Federal Court of Canada trial representing Friends of the Wheat Board. Several years ago when Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister he acted for the Canadian Wheat Board in a similar case. Therefore, Justice Hansen had case precedence upon which to rely.

This sets the table for the next looming battle - the marketing of wheat in Canada.