Monday, August 24, 2009

Did we get it right Public Eye?

Truth To Power
Good Day Folks:

The Public Eye has posted another Law Society of Manitoba Discipline Case Digest. As is their custom, they include a metaphoric photograph leaving readers to figure out the connection. We have never met Mr. Fisher so based solely on pictorial evidence we're guessing American comic actor and writer from the 1950s Sid Caesar.

Although we haven't researched the subject, TTP is probably one of the few Canadian blogs, if not the only, that publishes disciplinary rulings from Law Societies. Increasingly, today's computer savvy clients are Googling lawyers before engaging their services making these postings invaluable.


Clare L. Pieuk


24 August 2009
Manitoba Lawyer Robert Fisher (a/k/a Bob Fisher)


Case 09-05

Member: Robert Lewis Fisher

Jurisdiction: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Called to the Bar: June 23, 1983

Particulars of Charges: Professional Misconduct (2 counts):

- Breach of Chapter 2 of the Code of Professional Conduct [failing to serve client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner]

- Breach of Chapter 3 of the Code of Professional Conduct [failing to be honest and candid with client]

Date of Hearing: October 20, 2008


- Robert A. Dewar, Q.C., Chair

- Victor P. Bellay

- Donald G. Douglas


- Fine of $2,000.00

- Costs of $4,600.00


- Joe R. Gallagher for The Law Society of Manitoba

- Member, Unrepresented


Failure to Serve Client/Failure to Be Honest and Candid with Client



Mr. Fisher was retained in October, 2003 to defend a claim brought against his client by the builder on a contract for the purchase of a lot and construction of a residence for the client. At the examinations for discovery in 2005, Mr. Fisher entered into a settlement agreement on behalf of his client but did not confirm the terms of the settlement in writing to the client.

Shortly thereafter, it became apparent that his client had not understood the terms of the agreement. Instead of withdrawing as counsel and referring his client to new counsel, Mr. Fisher continued to act, and he failed to be responsive to opposing counsel who was trying to enforce the settlement agreement, or to his client who was trying to determine the status of the matter.

As a result, and without the client’s knowledge, Summary Judgment was entered against him and a Writ of Seizure and Sale of the client’s property was issued to the Sheriff’s Office to execute the Judgment. Sherriff’s officers attended at the client’s residence in August 2006 to execute the writ.

Mr. Fisher was contacted and misled his client as to the status of the matter. He advised the client that there had been an error by someone in Mr. Fisher’s office, and that the client would have to immediately pay $15,134.00 into court to correct the error. The client provided a certified cheque which was sufficient to satisfy the judgment, interest and the costs of the writ.

Thereafter, Mr. Fisher failed to respond to communications from opposing counsel, and failed to advise the client of a motion to amend the Judgment, or of the fact that the motion was granted and the Judgment amended to permit the release of funds held to complete repairs of deficiencies.

Mr. Fisher was charged with failing to serve his client in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner so as to provide a quality of service equal to that expected of a competent lawyer, and also failing to be honest and candid with his client.

Decision and Comments

The Committee accepted Mr. Fisher’s admission to both counts and found him guilty of professional misconduct.


The Committee accepted the joint recommendation made by the parties and ordered that Mr. Fisher:

(a) pay a fine in the amount of $2,000.00 to the Society; and

(b) pay $4,600.00 to the Society as a contribution towards the costs of the investigation, prosecution and hearing of the matter.

The Committee ordered that the fine and costs be paid by way of consecutive monthly payments until paid in full, with the amount and schedule of the monthly payments to be agreed from time to time, but not less than annually, between the Society and Mr. Fisher.

Ladies, ladies please try to control yourselves!

Outed blogger Rosemary Port blames model Liskula Cohen for 'skank' stink
August 23, 2009
Google revealed identity of blogger Rosemary Port, who now plans to sue Web site.
(Justin Macala)
Model Liskula Cohen's lawyer says she does not deserve to be called a 'skank' or a 'ho' in anyone's anonymous blog.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word for the blogger who anonymously scorned a model as a "ho" and a "skank," igniting a legal and media maelstrom.
Speaking out for the first time since a court order forced Google to reveal her identity, blogger Rosemary Port tells the Daily News that model Liskula Cohen should blame herself for the uproar.
"This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing," said Port, whose "Skanks in NYC" site branded the 37-year-old Cohen an "old hag."
"By going to the press, she defamed herself," Port said.
"Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it," Port said. "That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated."
The pretty 29-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology student added that she's furious at Google for revealing her identity, so much so that she plans to file a $15 million federal lawsuit against the Web giant.
"When I was being defended by attorneys for Google, I thought my right to privacy was being protected," Port said.
"But that right fell through the cracks. Without any warning, I was put on a silver platter for the press to attack me. I would think that a multi-billion dollar conglomerate would protect the rights of all its users."
In her suit, she'll charge Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity," said her high-powered attorney Salvatore Strazzullo.
"I'm ready to take this all the way to the Supreme Court," Strazzullo said. "Our Founding Fathers wrote 'The Federalist Papers' under pseudonyms. Inherent in the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously. Shouldn't that right extend to the new public square of the Internet?"
"I feel proud to live in a country where you're not persecuted for your opinions," Port said. "That right has to be protected.
"Even though people are now taking shots at me on the Web, I believe those people have a right to their opinions - and their anonymity," said Port, who is slated to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" tomorrow.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge forced Google to unmask Port, rejecting Port's claim that blogs "serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting" and shouldn't be regarded as fact.
The surprising decision, though, seems to have only increased the bad blood between the two women, who knew each other from Manhattan's fashion scene and reportedly quarreled after Cohen badmouthed Port to her ex-boyfriend.
Poll Results
The anonymous writer of 'Skanks of NYC' was forced by a court order to reveal her identity after a defamation suit. Should bloggers ever be allowed to remain anonymous?
Yes, of course. It would be ridiculous to demand names and impossible to enforce: 35%
No. If you are going to write something, you should have the courage to stand by it by putting your name on it: 61%
I'm not sure: 4%

Why Bill Clinton likes Canada!

Good Day Readers:

This was one of two ads that appeared on the main page of yesterday's Toronto Star online edition so we decided to do a little research. BMO Field Stadium is a 20,000 seat facility located at Exhibition Place billed as Canada's first soccer-specific venue and home to our national team.

At the Ticketmaster link seats were going for $19.99, $40 and $50. Assuming a sellout and average price of $35 that's $700,000 gross. So how much would he clear $350,000? At times like this why does the image of televangelist Benny Hinn come into focus?
Clare L. Pieuk

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beware the water cops!

What no taser?

Ours? "Absolutely!"

A public service announcement!

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the information and sorry for taking so long to reply. Its been posted so our readers see the announcement should any wish to attend.
Clare L. Pieuk
Daniel invited you to "March to Manitoba Legislative Grounds" on Wednesday, September 16 at 12:00 p.m.

Event: March to Manitoba Legislative Grounds - "Citizen's take Hope to Manitoba Leaders!"
What: Rally
Host: Hope in the Community
Start Time: Wednesday, September 16 at 12:00 p.m.
End Time: Wednesday, September 16 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: St. John's Park

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:

The Facebook Team
March to Manitoba Legislative Grounds Citizen's take Hope to Manitoba Leaders!
Hope in the Community
Causes - Rally
Network: Global
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: St. John's Park
Street: Main Street
City/Town: Winnipeg, MB
This is a peaceful demonstration to show our leaders that we care about the issues we all share in our Winnipeg Community. We want to show camaraderie for the exploited and the oppressed, to bring hope to the hopeless and to reinforce those in need for the sake of the children.

As posted by The Public Eye!

Truth To Power

August 23, 2009
Manitoba Lawyer David Guttman

City attorney disbarred after lying
Helped client by padding bill but discrepancy was discovered
by Kevin Rollason
As originally published: Winnipeg Free Press
August 23, 2009

A veteran Winnipeg lawyer has been disbarred for trying to get more money for a client in an unlawful dismissal case.

David Guttman, who practises at the McRoberts Law Office, was disbarred last week after a hearing by the Law Society of Manitoba's disciplinary committee.

Guttman's disbarment was supposed to begin on September 1, but Allan Fineblit, the society's CEO, said it will be put on hold because the lawyer appealed the decision immediately after it was handed down.

Fineblit said the Manitoba Court of Appeal will hear the appeal.

Guttman was found guilty of "trying to get more for your client."It's admirable - but you can't lie," Fineblit said.Guttman ran afoul of the society while representing a client in an unlawful dismissal case in 2007.

After a settlement was reached with the employer, the employment insurance paid out had to be given back, minus the lawyer's bill for services, Fineblit said.

But Fineblit said Guttman submitted a bill a few thousand dollars higher than it actually was, so he could give more money to his client."

It wasn't for personal gain," Fineblit said. "But that's not an excuse for dishonesty."

Guttman could not be reached for comment.

Fineblit said disbarment is the worst penalty a lawyer could face - far worse than other options, such as suspension."

The decision is forever, but some have been able to apply to come back after a number of years," he said.

The latest incident is not the first time Guttman has run into trouble with the law society or the courts.

In 2007, provincial court Judge Ken Champagne called into question Guttman's advice to his client not to co-operate with a court-ordered psychiatric assessment.

The client, Paul Joubert, who was accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of his elderly parents in Brandon, hanged himself on January 31, 2005, before an assessment could be conducted.

In 1989, Guttman was fined $1,600 after lying to a judge. At an earlier hearing Guttman told the judge he missed a preliminary hearing because while on vacation his chartered bus was late getting him to Vancouver for his flight to Winnipeg.Guttman later admitted he had been hungover and was too ill to go to court. The law society later suspended him from practising for two months.

In January 1992, Guttman was acquitted on a charge of attempting to obstruct justice by counselling his client to identify himself as his brother.

The judge said he didn't believe Guttman would tell his client to do so, because the brother's fingerprints were on file with police.

"If Mr. Guttman would give the advice he was supposed to have given, it would either be deceitful or downright stupid. I don't think David Guttman is that stupid," Mr. Justice Michel Monnin said during the ruling.

But just a few weeks later, on February 21, Guttman was sentenced to eight months in jail after being found guilty of obstructing justice for misleading the court into believing a client was in the courtroom for her trial.Guttman had told his client, who was charged with three Highway Traffic Act offences, to stay outside of the courtroom when the case hinged on whether witnesses could identify her.

When the provincial court judge asked Guttman whether his client was in the courtroom, Guttman answered: "My client is here today, yes, and we are ready to proceed.

"In convicting Guttman, Judge Frank Allen said, "I would describe this as sharp practice if it were not so pitifully stupid."

But the Court of Appeal later unanimously overturned the conviction, saying Guttman's actions were wrong, but not criminal.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DRA's - whose ass got kicked officer?

Alberta court rules marijuana grow-op detector violates privacy
Daryl Slade, Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009
CALGARY -- Alberta's top court says police use of a digital recording amp-metre without judicial authorization, to determine if there is a marijuana grow operation in a home, violates the homeowner's privacy rights.
In a split, 2-1 decision released on Friday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that Calgary police should not have requested Enmax to install the device to create a record of when electrical power was being consumed at Daniel James Gomboc's southwest home in January 2004, before obtaining a warrant.
"It has been famously said that, ‘The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,'" wrote Justice Peter Martin, who ordered a new trial for Gomboc.
"The actual prohibition is much broader: in our society, absent exigent circumstances, the state has no business in the homes of the nation without invitation or judicial authorization."
Lawyer Charlie Stewart, who represented Gomboc - convicted of producing marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking at Court of Queen's Bench in 2007 - said the decision affects every grow op case in Alberta in which police have used the DRA technology.
"It's interesting to think of all the people who have pleaded guilty or been convicted under these circumstances," said Stewart. "It's a question of the legitimacy of the search."
With the information from the DRA probe, police obtained a search warrant and found a two-stage grow op involving hundreds of plants.
They also seized 165.3 kilograms of bulk marijuana, 206.8 grams of processed and bagged marijuana, as well as numerous items related to the grow op.
With the decision, all evidence gathered in the search would be inadmissible at trial.
Martin, who was supported in his decision by Justice Ron Berger, said the homeowner's expectation of privacy extends beyond data about electricity consumption.
"It is also objectively reasonable to expect that the utility would not be co-opted by the police to gather additional information of interest only to police," wrote Martin.
"Indeed, I expect that the reasonable, informed citizen would be gravely concerned, and would object to the state being allowed to use a utility to spy on a homeowner in this way.
In a lengthy dissenting opinion, Justice Clifton O'Brien agreed with QB Justice Marsha Erb's original trial decision to convict.
"When combined with the other (indications), the DRA information supported the issuance of a warrant," O'Brien said. "Further, the regulatory regime in Alberta concerning the usage of electricity negates any confidentiality on the part of a customer vis-a-vis the police, relative to his or her usage thereof."
Calgary Herald

Ex-wife: "Honey guess what? I just found your hidden Swiss bank account!"
Ex-Wives Eagerly Await UBS Tax-Cheater List
By Stephen Gandel Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

It's not just the U.S. government that wants to get its hands on the list of Americans who hold secretive Swiss bank accounts. Ex-wives, creditors and former business partners are also salivating over the idea that a settlement between the U.S., the Swiss government and a Swiss bank may lead to the public disclosure of as many as 4,450 U.S. individuals that used the foreign bank accounts to hide money. Prominent New York City divorce lawyer Raoul Lionel Felder says he is already getting calls from clients who want to know what they can do to get their portion of the money they always suspected their ex–loved one had tucked away overseas.
Related Stories
"You see allegations of Swiss bank accounts in divorce proceedings all the time," says Felder, whose clients have included Rudy Giuliani, Robin Givens and the former Mrs. Martin Scorsese. "A lot of divorces are going to get opened up."
Tax evasion may only be the beginning of the legal problems facing holders of secret UBS accounts. On August 19, UBS, Switzerland's second largest bank, agreed to hand over the names of thousands of American clients suspected by the IRS of evading taxes. The settlement comes after well over a year of investigation by the U.S. government into allegations of tax fraud at the Swiss bank. Should the names become public, lawyers say a raft of lawsuits could hit the account holders from creditors and business partners who may have long believed that the individuals using the accounts were hiding money that wasn't rightfully theirs.
One lawyer for UBS account holders says he has at least one case in which a client used a Swiss bank account to hide assets from creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. Lying in bankruptcy court can result in jail time, though the statute of limitations on bankruptcy proceedings is generally six years. Divorce proceedings, however, have no statute of limitations in most states in the country. So no matter when the divorce happened, a divorce settlement could be thrown out if it is disclosed that an ex-spouse used one of the UBS accounts to shield a portion of their assets. What's more, the new settlement is likely to be harsher toward the party that lied during the original divorce proceedings.
Lawyers for UBS clients, though, say the stiffest penalties for using the UBS accounts will still probably come from the IRS. The accounts that the U.S. government is getting access to hold an average of $4 million each. Account holders found guilty of tax fraud could have to hand over as much as 50% of the money in the accounts, and many will likely receive prison time. Of the 2,144 individuals convicted of U.S. tax evasion in 2008, 1,957, or 91%, were sentenced to some form of incarceration. Some may have served that time at home with an ankle bracelet or in a halfway house, but most went to prison. According to Steve Johnson, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the average prison sentence over the past 10 years for tax evasion has been 25 months.
Still, it's not clear how many of the UBS account holders will be made public. The IRS is giving account holders who have cheated on their taxes a period of clemency that lasts until Septtember 23. If they turn themselves in by then, the IRS says in most cases the agency will waive jail time, and is likely to impose a smaller fine. Most disclosures made to the IRS are subject to confidentiality, so other creditors might not ever find out about the hidden accounts.
But if a UBS client used the Swiss bank account to defraud a bankruptcy court, or others, it is not clear the IRS will allow them to enter the clemency program. Lying in divorce proceedings, though, may not be enough to get someone kicked out of the clemency program, but ex-spouses could still find out about the accounts. Attorney Charles Falk of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman says he had a situation a year ago in which a husband had filed joint tax returns before his divorce. So when the client made a voluntary disclosure to the IRS that he had used a Swiss bank account to evade taxes, his ex-wife was notified of the disclosure as well. She had technically violated tax laws as well because her name was on the income filings, even though she never knew the account existed. A new divorce settlement was reached with the man handing over more money to his ex-wife.
"People hid money in Swiss bank accounts not just to avoid the IRS, but other creditors as well," says Martin Press, a lawyer representing a number of UBS clients. "If these names become public, we are going to see a number of cases of bankruptcy fraud, corporate fraud and divorce fraud."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge coming?

Judges' ages threaten court cases
Two already adjourned over law limiting service on bench past 75, raising fears of a crippled system
August 20, 2009
Nicholas Keung Immigration REPORTER
Lawyer Rocco Galati talks to the media after leaving the court house in this 2006 file photo. (NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)
The Federal Court was scrambling yesterday to adjourn and reassign cases scheduled to be heard by a 77-year-old deputy judge after a Toronto lawyer challenged his age.
By law, federal judges cannot serve on the bench past 75, an argument raised by constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati this week involving two separate immigration cases presided over by Deputy Judge Louis Tannenbaum.
The two cases were adjourned on Tuesday, immediately prompting a flurry of emails and calls in legal circles and casting doubt on the validity of numerous other federal court decisions made by other sitting judges over 75. At least 11 of Tannenbaum's cases have been adjourned and rescheduled this week.
Currently, six of the seven federal deputy judges – all retired judges on pension but appointed and paid per diem for their wealth of experience – are older than 75. Both the Federal Courts Act and the Judges Act disallow a superior justice to sit past age 75.
Ontario scrapped mandatory retirement in 2006, but provincial court judges still must retire by age 75.
"This has the potential to cripple the court because the court has already been stretched to the limit in its ability to hear cases," said Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann. "At 75, it allows them (the judges) a graceful exit. It is a question of energy and competencies to hear all these cases."
This latest turn of events not only affects immigration and refugee cases but all federal court matters such as trademark litigations and lawsuits against the federal governments, said Mamann, adding that this precedent could open the door for counsel to challenge the authority of any judge past the statutory retirement age in upcoming hearings or previous decisions.
But the over-age judges have their champions.
Age discrimination is the final frontier, said lawyer Susan Eng, vice-president of advocacy for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), which opposes mandatory retirement at any age.
"You should judge people based on their competency," she said. "It's legitimate to ask people to have cognitive ability when they are doing a job that requires absolute clarity. But you judge on the basis of the individual competency, not on some arbitrary age."
Age alone can't predict how individuals perform, said Dr. Michael Gordon, one of Canada's longest practising geriatricians, with 38 years of experience.
"We trade off our ability to manipulate knowledge with our experience," said the 68-year-old doctor, who works at Toronto's Baycrest centre for geriatric health and teaches medicine at the University of Toronto. "Obviously, experience goes a long way."
There is no age limit for practising medicine, Gordon noted. However, when doctors turn 70, they are assessed for competency every five years, a practice that could be adopted for judges, he suggested.
According to the Federal Court, in 2008, the deputy judges carried about 5 per cent of the overall caseload.
On Tuesday, Galati wrote to Chief Justice Allan Lutfy requesting a new judge be assigned because Tannenbaum "would not be vested with the requisite jurisdiction" to hear the case.
"Many people wouldn't know whether their judges were over 75 or not. They don't go and check their bios," Galati said yesterday.
In an order issued yesterday, Lutfy instructed both the applicant and respondent, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, to file motions and a notice of constitutional questions, if any, concerning the jurisdiction of a deputy judge over the age of 75. The case will be heard September 30.
With files from Laurie Monsebraaten
Note: The Constitutional Questions Act is the basis for challenges to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Cyber bullies!

Canadian woman wins lawsuit against Google
Matt Hartley
, Financial Post
Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Former fashion model Liskula Cohen sued Google in January, demanding the Web company hand over the name of an anonymous blogger who posted pictures of her with unflattering captions on a blog entitled ... (Courtesy of Bryan Bantry Agency)
A Canadian woman has won a landmark lawsuit against Google Inc. which forces the search engine giant to reveal the identity of the anonymous cyber bullies she says posted offensive comments about her on a blog using the technology titan's Blogger service.
Former fashion model Liskula Cohen -- who appeared on the covers of Australian Vogue and W magazine in the early 1990s -- sued Google in January, demanding the Web company hand over the name of an anonymous blogger who posted pictures of her with unflattering captions on a blog entitled "Skanks of NYC" in August of 2008.
Ms. Cohen, who won the suit in New York State Supreme Court this week, was not seeking a financial settlement from Google, only the identity of the person or persons who posted the blog entries.
Although the blog has since been removed, Google handed over the anonymous blogger's email address and IP address as a result of the suit.
While Ms. Cohen and her New York-based lawyer Steven Wagner could not immediately be reached for comment, according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, Ms. Cohen said she discovered the anonymous poster was a female acquaintance she knew from her time on New York's party circuit.
"Thank God it was her and she's an irrelevant person in my life," she told the newspaper. "Why should anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street you're not going to let it go and why should I just ignore it? I couldn't find one reason to ignore it."
Google declined to directly comment on the lawsuit, opting instead to issue a brief statement saying the company sympathizes with anyone who winds up the victim of cyber bullying.
"We also take great care to respect privacy concerns and will only provide information about a user in response to a subpoena or other court order," the company said. "If content is found by a court to be defamatory, we will of course remove it immediately."
Google purchased Blogger's parent company Pyra Labs for an undisclosed amount in 2003.

What kind of Facebooker are you?

The 12 most annoying types of FacebookersStory Highlights
By Brandon Griggs
Facebook can be a gerat tool, and an occasional annoyance. What kind of Facebooker are you?

(CNN) -- Facebook, for better or worse, is like being at a big party with all your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers.
There are lots of fun, interesting people you're happy to talk to when they stroll up. Then there are the other people, the ones who make you cringe when you see them coming. This article is about those people.
Sure, Facebook can be a great tool for keeping up with folks who are important to you. Take the status update, the 160-character message that users post in response to the question, "What's on your mind?" An artful, witty or newsy status update is a pleasure -- a real-time, tiny window into a friend's life.
But far more posts read like naval-gazing diary entries, or worse, spam. A recent study categorized 40 percent of Twitter tweets as "pointless babble," and it wouldn't be surprising if updates on Facebook, still a fast-growing social network, break down in a similar way. Take a CNN quiz: What kind of Facebooker are you? »
Combine dull status updates with shameless self-promoters, "friend-padders" and that friend of a friend who sends you quizzes every day, and Facebook becomes a daily reminder of why some people can get on your nerves.
Here are 12 of the most annoying types of Facebook users:
The Let-Me-Tell-You-Every-Detail-of-My-Day Bore. "I'm waking up." "I had Wheaties for breakfast." "I'm bored at work." "I'm stuck in traffic." You're kidding! How fascinating! No moment is too mundane for some people to broadcast unsolicited to the world. Just because you have 432 Facebook friends doesn't mean we all want to know when you're waiting for the bus.
The Self-Promoter. OK, so we've probably all posted at least once about some achievement. And sure, maybe your friends really do want to read the fascinating article you wrote about beet farming. But when almost EVERY update is a link to your blog, your poetry reading, your 10k results or your art show, you sound like a bragger or a self-centered careerist.
The Friend-Padder. The average Facebook user has 120 friends on the site. Schmoozers and social butterflies -- you know, the ones who make lifelong pals on the subway -- might reasonably have 300 or 400. But 1,000 "friends?" Unless you're George Clooney or just won the lottery, no one has that many. That's just showing off.
The Town Crier. "Michael Jackson is dead!!!" You heard it from me first! Me, and the 213,000 other people who all saw it on TMZ. These Matt Drudge wannabes are the reason many of us learn of breaking news not from TV or news sites but from online social networks. In their rush to trumpet the news, these people also spread rumors, half-truths and innuendo. No, Jeff Goldblum did not plunge to his death from a New Zealand cliff.
The TMIer. "Brad is heading to Walgreens to buy something for these pesky hemorrhoids." Boundaries of privacy and decorum don't seem to exist for these too-much-information updaters, who unabashedly offer up details about their sex lives, marital troubles and bodily functions. Thanks for sharing.
The Bad Grammarian. "So sad about Fara Fauset but Im so gladd its friday yippe". Yes, I know the punctuation rules are different in the digital world. And, no, no one likes a spelling-Nazi schoolmarm. But you sound like a moron.
The Sympathy-Baiter. "Barbara is feeling sad today." "Man, am I glad that's over." "Jim could really use some good news about now." Like anglers hunting for fish, these sad sacks cast out their hooks -- baited with vague tales of woe -- in the hopes of landing concerned responses. Genuine bad news is one thing, but these manipulative posts are just pleas for attention.
The Lurker. The Peeping Toms of Facebook, these voyeurs are too cautious, or maybe too lazy, to update their status or write on your wall. But once in a while, you'll be talking to them and they'll mention something you posted, so you know they're on your page, hiding in the shadows. It's just a little creepy.
The Crank. These curmudgeons, like the trolls who spew hate in blog comments, never met something they couldn't complain about. "Carl isn't really that impressed with idiots who don't realize how idiotic they are." [Actual status update.] Keep spreading the love.
The Paparazzo. Ever visit your Facebook page and discover that someone's posted a photo of you from last weekend's party -- a photo you didn't authorize and haven't even seen? You'd really rather not have to explain to your mom why you were leering like a drunken hyena and French-kissing a bottle of Jagermeister.
The Maddening Obscurist. "If not now then when?" "You'll see..." "Grist for the mill." "John is, small world." "Dave thought he was immune, but no. No, he is not." [Actual status updates, all.] Sorry, but you're not being mysterious -- just nonsensical.
The Chronic Inviter. "Support my cause. Sign my petition. Play Mafia Wars with me. Which 'Star Trek' character are you? Here are the 'Top 5 cars I have personally owned.' Here are '25 Things About Me.' Here's a drink. What drink are you? We're related! I took the 'What President Are You?' quiz and found out I'm Millard Fillmore! What president are you?"
You probably mean well, but stop. Just stop. I don't care what president I am -- can't we simply be friends? Now excuse me while I go post the link to this story on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Goodbye cruel world - snore, snore, snore....."

"Hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil, think no evil!"

This article from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was sent to you by The Public Eye (

The Public Eye said "Shades of "Metis Mom, non?"

QUICKLINK New York · August 18, 2009
Judge rules blogger's identity must be revealed

A blogger lost his bid to keep his identity secret after a judge in New York City ruled that a fashion model had
established a legitimate defamation claim

Establishing a legitimate underlying claim is necessary under New York rules of discovery before a subpoena to reveal an anonymous speaker will be enforced, according to the court.

The blogger had created a site called "Skanks in NYC," and had featured model Liskula Cohen in several postings. One posting labelled her a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank."

The blogger had argued that the comments should be understood as opinion and hyperbole, and thus not stating anything factual that could be the subject of a libel claim.

But Judge Joan Madden
disagreed. The use of the words as captions to "sexually provocative" photographs of the model reinforce the sexual overtones of the words, Madden held, and thus "the words 'skank,' 'skanky' and 'ho' carry a negative implication of sexual promiscuity, and as such as resonably susceptible of a defamatory connotation and are actionable."

Because Cohen had established the basis for a libel suit, the judge ordered Google, which had hosted the blog through its site, to reveal the identity of the blogger.

Dear Public Eye:

Truth To Power

Thank you for the link. To explain your comment to our readers.
While involved with the now defunct, Vanessa Everton asked to use the pseudonym After the taxpayer financed Manitoba Metis Federation issued it's Statement of Claim against (May 2005), Winnipeg Lawyer Murray Trachtenberg had me served with a Notice of Cross-Examination (January 2006).

Under its terms, I was required to bring copies of all e-mail involving which is how the MMF found out her identity. The process was conducted under oath, before a court reporter lasting a couple hours. A written transcript was eventually produced. The process no doubt cost Canadian taxpayers several thousand dollars.

During November 2006 Ms. Everton wrote a, "hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil, think no evil" letter to Federation President and Plaintiff David Chartrand. Unfortunately, Queen's Bench Rules prevent its verbatim publication on the internet. The following month she was dropped as a Co-Defendant.

Daryl Chicoine at the time with Orle Davidson Giesbrecht Bargen LLP represented her. He's now with Aikins Macauly & Thorvaldson LLP.


Clare L. Pieuk

Winner of today's poster award - The Public Eye!

We're off to court!

Good Day Folks:
As many know, there is a publication ban covering only the Pre-Trial Conference/Case Management Meeting phase of the MMF's litigation against the now defunct However, since this will be a public hearing we are able to provide the following information:
(1) Three Motions are scheduled to be heard two involving requests by the Co-Defendants to amend their original Statements of Defence. The third will challenge a 2006 Court Order requiring internal Federation documents be turned over to the care, control and power of MMF Lawyer Murray Trachtenberg
(2) The Hearing will begin at 10:00 on the morning of Friday, August 21. The courtroom location, presiding Justice and name of the court clerk will be posted on a bulletin board - inmediate left past perimeter security
(3) Please be advised adjournments are not uncommon with these kinds of proceedings
Clare L. Pieuk

New wave fundraising - please contribute!

Good Day Readers:
Heard a short piece the other day on CBC Radio's morning show about Twitter (Approximately 2,500 Winnipeg "Tweeters!") potentially being accessed by Siloam Mission for a fundraising campaign. Decided to contact Blair Barkley the organization's Website and Social Media Coordinator. Here's his reply.
Please contribute!
Clare L. Pieuk
Hi Clare,
Thanks for your interest in this Twitter initiative. It's actually called a Twestival and is going to be the first in Winnipeg. As a third party event, it means we aren't directly involved with its organization -that's being done by three people I met on Twitter who are interested in participating. They approached me and wanted to donate all funds raised to Siloam Mission. So I took them on a tour of our facility to show all we do and provide for the city's less fortunate. We're offering whatever we can to help promote the event.
The Twestival will be September 12th so you can actually donate money through Twitter and it will all go to the Mission. There will be an actual event location you can visit. I'll be there with a co-worker at a booth talking about Siloam. Also available will be live acoustic music and other sponsor booths, as well as, laptops setup so people can donate online.
Here is a link to a blog the organizers setup, the Twitter profile and the Facebook page with the information and details:
You can find our Siloam Mission online presence at:
Facebook Profile
Fan Page
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Have a good day.

Blair Barkley
Website and Social Media Coordinator
Siloam Mission
300 Princess Street
Winnipeg, MB R3B 1M3
Phone: 204.956.4344
Fax: 204.956.0956


Creator of ‘Joker’ Obama image unmasked
By Matthew Shaer August 18, 2009

Earlier this month, we covered the story of the “Socialist Joker” Obama poster, which was spotted around Los Angeles and as far afield as Chicago. By early August, the image had gone viral, enraging progressives and earning plaudits from conservatives. Now, thanks to some gumshoeing by the folks over at the Los Angeles Times, the creator of the portrait has been unmasked.
And guess what? He supported the liberal candidate Dennis Kucinich.
“I abstained from voting in November,” 20-year-old college student Firas Alkhateeb told the Los Angeles Times. “Living in Illinois, my vote means close to nothing as there was no chance Obama would not win the state.” Still, he added, had he voted, he would have thrown his ballot to Kucinich, famously a punching bag for right-wing types.
Alkhateeb’s original creation was a fake Time magazine cover. The image sat on Flickr for several months before a second, anonymous artist created the more familiar work, pictured at right. The portrait was intended to take Obama down a notch, Alkhateeb told the Times. “After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ,” he said. “From my perspective, there wasn’t much substance to him.”
Many found Alkhateeb’s work to be particularly vicious. On the website of LA Weekly, Steven Mikulan wrote the following:
The poster, which bears a very superficial resemblance to Shepard Fairey’s famous Obama Hope illustration, has been pasted on freeway supports and other public surfaces. It has a bit of everything to appeal to the drunk tank of California conservatism: Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger’s Joker’s) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word “Socialism” appears below his face. The only thing missing is a noose.
Many commenters on this site agreed. On Aug. 3, for instance, “Murdock” wrote, “This is the typical hate-centered projection that the hysterical right is manufacturing. They are out of real ideas and all they have left is scorched earth. This represents their typical projection and emotes who they really are: jokers with the burned out eyes.”
Others expressed interest in buying stickers or T-shirts emblazoned with the image. “[C]all me weird, I have the utmost respect for what Obama tries to stand for, I have nothing against him and certainly think he is quite a few steps up from Bush,” another commenter wrote. “[I] like this picture, well done.”
Editor’s note: The original post named Alkhateeb as the creator of the image pictured here. In fact, Alkhateeb created a fake Time magazine cover with a”Jokerized” Obama, which was appropriated by a different – and as of yet unnamed – artist.

Et toi? Weigh in here or on Twitter, @CSMHorizonsBlog.

Ladies, rogaine for your eyes!

Want luscious lashes? Grow your own
British singer Amy Winehouse typically wears loads of heavy eye makeup. (TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

August 19, 2009
David Graham
Fashion Editor

For the millions of women who wouldn't bat an eye at spending hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to transform skimpy, lifeless lashes into something longer and more luxurious, the beauty industry's new motto is: Grow your own.

Scientists and cosmetics researchers are working around the clock to find the magic ingredients that will render mascara – every woman's most indispensable beauty weapon – obsolete.

Earlier this year, the makers of Botox unleashed Latisse on Americans. Allergan uses actress Brooke Shields and her infamous eyes to sell the drug, introduced after the company discovered that a side effect of a glaucoma medication is longer lashes.

Health Canada is reviewing Latisse for distribution here.

Meanwhile, researchers at L'Oréal laboratories in France are scurrying to push their new eyelash-extending gel onto a cosmetics counter near you.

While the beauty giant continues to extol the virtues of mascara, their researchers have gone to the heart, or rather, the root of the lash matter. They've discovered that the hairs on our heads grow for years before falling out, while eyelashes hang in there for three months before collapsing on your pillow.

Their goal: to get eyelash hair to behave more like the hair on your head.

According to an article in The Sunday Telegraph, L'Oréal's gel is made from a cocktail of "citric acid, an amino acid known as arginine, and extracts from a Mexican plant known as Centella asiatica."

The white treatment is applied to the roots of eyelashes each night for three months, the article continues.

A three-month clinical trial involving 32 women revealed that lashes increased in length and density by about 30 per cent.

Call it Rogaine for your eyes.

Dave Lackie, editor of Cosmetics magazine, is overwhelmed by the recent deluge of advancements in eyelash technology, from motorized, vibrating wands to treatments that combine vitamins and testosterone blockers (testosterone being the arch-enemy of the hair follicle).

Lackie says Canadian women spent $368 million on eye makeup last year, in attempts to get those sultry, Cleopatra by way of Amy Winehouse eyes using mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow.

But mascara, with its mandate to turn ordinary eyelashes into dense, fluttering marvels, leads the pack.

Karen Szlamkowicz of L'Oréal is excited about the lash gel, a "pro-keratin complex" to be unveiled in 2010.

She'll reveal little about the "concentrated, lash-boosting serum" – except to say its applicator looks more like a spatula than a mascara wand.

While some beauty experts are mourning the end of an era, others are convinced mascara will hold onto its place in most beauty regimens. Even women with naturally long lashes will continue to enlist the power of mascara, says Szlamkowicz.

"Mascara is the little black dress of makeup. It drives cosmetics growth in Canada," she says.

More poetically she adds, "Your eyes are the window to your soul. Mascara enhances your personal reveal to the world and that includes your inner beauty."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Busted by an armadillo!

Prime Minister's Office "bummed" out!

PMO typo draws chuckles, cringes
Misspelling of Iqaluit translates as a derogatory term for 'people with unwiped bums'
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is greeted by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Nunvavut Premier Eva Aariak as he arrives in Iqaluit on Aug.17, 2009. The Canadian Press

Terry Pedwell
Ottawa — The Canadian Press
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A bumble by the Prime Minister's Office has residents of Nunavut alternately chuckling and cringing.

A news release sent out Monday outlined Prime Minister Stephen Harper's itinerary as he began a five-day Arctic tour.

The release repeatedly spelled the capital of Nunavut as Iqualuit – rather than Iqaluit, which means “many fish” in the Inuktitut language.

The extra “u” makes a big difference.

“It means people with unwiped bums,” said Sandra Inutiq of the office of the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut.

“It's not exactly a nice term.”

Ms. Inutiq said people who speak Inuktitut are sometimes offended or even angered when non-northerners incorrectly spell the name of their capital.

The Prime Minister's Office was apologetic, calling the gaffe a human error that might teach Canadians an important lesson about spelling mistakes.

“Hopefully this unfortunate typo, which we have corrected, will inform the greater public that there is no [extra] ‘u' in Iqaluit,” said Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas.

“We obviously strive to have the highest possible standard in terms of spelling and grammar... When typos do occur, and we notice them, we either issue a revised advisory or immediately correct it.”

He pointed out that many media outlets, including The Canadian Press, have misspelled Iqaluit with an extra “u.”

The initial release was replaced on the PMO website by early Tuesday, but not before being noticed by some northern bloggers, many of whom were incensed by the mistake.

At least one suggested that the person who wrote the release should lose their job, while some merely ridiculed the author.

“Ohhh oh, someone's going to get fired,” wrote one blogger on a site titled Advocatus diaboli.

“And then the other fellow who was supposed to check and proof the release. I would hope so anyway.”

Ms. Inutiq estimated that nearly half of the correspondence received by her office has Iqaluit misspelled.

“I just received an invitation from a university who did the same,” she said.

A quick search of Google on Tuesday revealed more than 100,000 online pages with some reference to the improperly spelled version.

Media websites carried stories Tuesday with various spellings of Iqaluit, even as many acknowledged their own past misspellings.

“A quick search of a number of media sites, including our own, shows this is a common error committed by southerners,” wrote James Fitz-Morris on the CBC's media blurb.

“In fact, CBC viewers with a keen eye may spot a strip of red tape across one of our studio backdrops. Across it is typed the word ‘Ottawa,' beneath it is what was originally printed on the backdrop: ‘Iqualuit.' ”

Known as Frobisher Bay prior to 1987, the city on the south coast of Baffin Island was named capital of Nunavut when the territory was created in 1999.

Why is this man not being sued? Possible conflict of interest?

Wetaskiwin, Alberta Crown Prosecutor Lionel Chartrand
2nd Floor, 5201-50 Avenue
Telephone: (780)361-1206
Fax: (780) 361-1468
Murray Norman Trachtenberg
Good Day Readers:

Truth To Power

A special thank you to The Public Eye ( for publishing this public domain document.


Clare L. Pieuk


18 August 2009

Alberta Provincial Crown Prosecutor / Former Manitoba Lawyer Lionel Chartrand and "The Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. and its Board of Directors"

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

February 9, 2004

Lionel R.R. Chartrand
Barrister & Solicitor
6 Braswell Bay
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3X 2B5

Dear Mr. Chartrand:

Re: Cybersmokesignals.Com
My File No. 2003-20

I am counsel to the Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. and its Board of Directors.

I have reviewed your article dated February 5, 2004 posted on the above-noted website.

You have been repeatedly identified in the past as general counsel to this website and I therefore assume that it is in that capacity that the article was written. I am also aware of previous articles posted to the website over your name, all related to the issue of Metis hunting rights, and your apparent disagreement with the position taken by the Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. with regard to this matter and its dealings with the Manitoba government.

Your article of February 5, 2004 contains numerous false statements and is defamatory of both Mr. Chartrand and the entire Board of Directors of the Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. Amongst the defamatory and false statements are the following:

“In fact, he was so upset he temporarily lost his mind and did the right thing …”

“What he did, his judgment impaired by anger, was to preach exactly what I have been saying all along …”

“The poor fellow is confused, conflicted and most of all contradictory … Then he told us not to engage in wildlife harvesting until the government said we could.”

“For new CyberSmokeSignals’ readers who may not be closely monitoring David Chartrand’s public statements, he has been travelling throughout Manitoba advocating that Metis should not hunt until there’s a signed co-management agreement in place otherwise they could be charged.”

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out and predict that these charges will be dismissed. With someone like David on the provincial payroll so eager to undermine and sell our hunting, fishing and other aboriginal rights, do you really think for a moment the Doer government would risk upsetting him so he goes around criticizing politicians in the MMF’s Grassroots News sounding more and more like me every day. They don’t have to – they’re already manoeuvring him around the chessboard with ease and he’d not bright enough to figure it out.”

“How can we expect any respect after David caved in because he’s simply incapable of understanding the real significance and intricacies of the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling. That’s why he’s not insisting both the letter and spirit of the law be upheld.”

“But remember after you kiss and make up with Conservation Minister Stan Struthers and his department, thus ensuring an uninterrupted, well-lubricated flow of money for you to “administer” (We know you need and are using a good portion of it for election campaigning!) and return to being a government lackey, we will be continually quoting what you said in the January 28, 2004 edition of your newspaper.”

This is to inform you that legal action will be commenced in the future against you, Mr. Terry Belhumeur, registered domain holder for, and his employee, Mr. Claire L. Pieuk.

I suggest that you immediately arrange for your defamatory article to be removed from the website and issue a full and complete retraction and apology to Mr. Chartrand and the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. in order to mitigate the damages that will be sought from you.

Yours truly,


cc: Terry Belhumeur
An Association of Independent Lawyers