Friday, August 17, 2012

Mahitoba's federal judiciary and political contributions

Good Day Readers:

Anonymous Blogger The Six Estate published a list the other day of 1,155 names who it claims have received appointments since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in 2006. By reviewing Press Releases, Cabinet Orders of the notoriously secretive Privy Council Office then Googling the names in search of former politicians, what resulted was placed in election financial data bases and the matches "interneted."

For those keeping score:

Conservatives = 1,135
Liberals = 78
NDP = 4
Bloc Quebecois = 1
Green Party = 1

"So isn't politics the art of patronage" say you? Perhaps, however, what caught our attention was the first entry on the list:

"Douglas Abra, Donor, appointed to the Manitoba Court in 2007"

We scanned the list to find three other Queen's Bench Justices, namely, Robert Dewar at 288, Shane Perlmutter (862) and Herb Rempel (913). Before going into detail a word about political contributions is in order.

Elections Canada mandates each voter is allowed to contribute a maximum of $1,100 each calendar year for which they will receive a tax concession from The Canadian Revenue Agency. This can be made to a candidate or registered political party or registered electoral district. However, as testimony at the Charbonneau Commission looking into corruption in Quebec's construction industry has already shown the rule is easily circumvented - multiple employees working for the same organization making contributions to the same candidate or party.

Douglas Abra

Douglas N. Abra (born April 1, 1947) in Winnipeg was appointed (July 10, 2007) a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench replacing Mr. Justice Alan D. MacInnes appointed to the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

He received a Bachelor of Arts (1968) and Bachelor of Laws (1972) from the University of Manitoba after which he was called to the Manitoba Bar (1973) then began practicing as an Associate with Monk Goodwin & Company before serving as a Provincial Crown (1974-1979). Next came Thompson Dorfman Sweatman (1980-1989) followed by Hill Abra Dewar (1989-2007) where he was a partner.

Prior to his appointment he practiced administrative law, civil litigation, criminal law, insurance and professional liability, regulation of professions and professional discipline, as well as, employment and labour law. In 1992 after receiving his Queen's Counsel designation he was: President of the Law Society of Manitoba (1993-1994); a Member of Court of Queen's Bench Rules Committee; frequent lecturer for the Law Society's Continuing Legal Education Programs; and Board of Trustees for Westminister United Church.

There's that name again Thompson Dorfman Sweatman. It seems as though half of Winnipeg's legal community has passed through TDS at one time or another.

We were unable to find a picture of Justice Abra nor confirm whether the "Dewar" in Hill Abra Dewar is fellow Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar a name with whom many women in the province will be familiar.

Robert Dewar

"Donor, appointed to the Court in 2009"
Ottawa born Robert A. Dewar obtained a Bachelor of Arts (1970) and Bachelor of Laws (1973) from the University of Manitoba. Called to the Bar (1974) he joined Pitblado & Hoskin where he partnered from 1979-1998.

As a partner with Hill Dewar Vincent (Winnipeg) since 1998 he focused on civil litigation (corporate, commercial, insolvency, professional liability, discipline matters, construction disputes and insurance) until he was appointed to Queen's Bench in February 2009.

He has appeared before Queen's Bench, the Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada receiving his Queen's Council designation in 1991.

As a Law Society of Manitoba Bencher (1984-1992), he chaired various Committees for which he was appointed a Life Bencher in 1994. At the time of his appointment to Queen's Bench he was a Member of the LSM's Discipline Committee and past Director fo Legal Aid Manitoba.

Prior to his intemperate remarks at the sentencing of a convicted rapist it is unclear whether he had any prior experience presiding over these types of cases.

Shane Perlmutter

"Shane Perlmutter - Donor, appointed to the Court of Manitoba in 2011"
Shane I. Perlmutter was appointed a Justice (February 3, 2011) of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. According to a a Thompson Dorfman Sweatman announcement at the time:

Partner Shane Perlmutter has been appointed a Judge of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. Shane commenced his practice with TDS in 1997 and has been a partner since 2000. Shane's practice focused primarily on civil litigation and administrative law with emphasis on insurance and health law in which he earned the respect of clients and colleagues as thoughtful, fair and trusted counsel. The partners, associates and staff of TDS extend our congratulations to Shane as he embarks on another stage of his career in law."

Herbert Rempel

"Appointed to Manitoba Family Court in 2011. Donated to the Provencher Riding Association. Possible relative to PMO staffer Roy Rempel?"
Herbert Rempel, a lawyer with Pullan Kammerloch Frolinger (Winnipeg), was appointed a Justice of Her Majesty's Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba (Family Division), to replace Madam Justice R. M. Diamond who elected to become a supernumary judge as of February 26, 2011.

Mr. Justice Rempel received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg in 1984 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Manitoba in 1987. He was admitted to the Bar of Manitoba in 1988.

Herbert Rempel had been a lawyer with Pullan Kammerloch Frolinger since 2004 previously being an Associate with Loewen Martens & Rempel from 1991 to 2003 and with Booth Dennchy from 1988 to 1991. His main areas of practice were adoption, corporate and commercial law, wills, estates and civil litigation.

He was a member of the Estate Planning Council of Winnipeg and Board Member of the Canadian-Manitoba Bar Association, as well as, a Member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. Additionally, he served as a sessional lecturer at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law, from 1994 to 1996and a lecturer for educational seminars conducted by Adoption Options. Justice Rempel has also served on the Board of Directors of numerous community organizations.

Note: CyberSmokeBlog visited the website for the Privy Council of Canada but it does not list the names of staffers. Therefore, we were unable to verify whether Roy Rempel is an employee and related to Herbert Rempel.

Clare L. Pieuk


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