Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Weaselly" words and Canadian Judicial Council style transparency ..... a 2012 outer mind and body odyssey!

Good Day Readers:

Our out of mind and body experience with the CJC began when Caveman, Head of CyberSmokeBlog's crack team of investigative reporters examining the Canadian Judicial Council sent the following link.

Inquiry into Manitoba judge's sex scandal stuck in limbo which appeared in The Ottawa Citizen (Tuesday, October 30, 2012) written by veteran Postmedia News Toronto reporter Christie Blatchford. It outlined a conference call meeting that had taken place between 16 lawyers and Federal Court of Canada Prothonotary Judge Mireille Tabib. Among the collection of solicitors participating was one representing The Association of Superior Court Judges an organization contemplating an application for intervenor standing at the Inquiry.

The Team subsequently discovered Ms Cristin Schmitz, Ottawa Bureau Chief for The Lawyers Weekly also had access to an audio link.
Ms Schmitz has been with TLW as both an editor and reporter since its inception opening the newspaper's Ottawa Bureau in 1988. She covers the Supreme Court of Canada, Parliament and various other legal issues including family law. Cristin Schmitz also regularly writes about various legal topics for the general media both in Canada and the United States and reported from Kosovo and Afghanistan during those conflicts. Previously, she served as President of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery. Telephone: (613) 820-2794.

Well, imagine Team CyberSmokeBlog's shock and dismay upon learning it had been denied audio access to the aforementioned meeting. It certainly raised eyebrows and caught it's attention given Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin recent utterances blogs and the alternative media have a vital role to play reporting on court proceedings
 Was this blatant discrimination or an inadvertent oversight. Enter into the equation Inquiry Counsel Mr. George Macintosh.
1.0 CyberSmokeblog's Questions

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mr. George K. Macintosh, Q.C.
Farris, Vaughan Wills & Murphy LLP
25th Floor, 700 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V7Y 1B3

Re: Federal Court of Canada Douglas Inquiry Hearing of October 30, 2012

Dear Mr. Macintosh:

On behalf of CyberSmokeBlog I trust you are keeping well during these turbulent Douglas Inquiry times.

This correspondence is directed to you in your capacity as Inquiry Counsel. A copy is also being transmitted to Mr. Norman Sabourin the Canadian Judicial Council's Executive Director and Senior General Counsel who, on multiple occcasions has failed to respond to our queries.

Yesterday in the media


a de facto hearing in the Federal Court of Canada was held via conference call to discuss the Douglas file.

Our Questions

1. Why was there no pre-announcement placed on the Council's website?

2. Why were no arrangements made so the public could be kept informed by PodCast or other similar technology as if it had been held in an FCC courtroom per se? Is this not consistent with the public interest as the Canadian Judicial Council purports is the most important part of its mandate?

By so dong CyberSmokeblog was unable to keep its readership informed.

Please be advised a copy of this letter will be posted on CybersmokeBlog, as well as, any reply received.

Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Clare L. Pieuk

Media Citizen Journalist

Norman Sabourin

2.0 The "Answers" 

Enter Normand Sabourin, Executive Director and Senior General Counsel, Canadian Judicial Council.

November 8, 2012

Dear Mr. Pieuk:

I have received your message to Mr. Macintosh, copied to me, which mostly concerns the judicial review applications currently before the Federal Court. The following few points of information may be useful to you.

The proceedings before the Federal Court are distinct from the proceedings before the Inquiry Committee. As you may know, Council has asked to be an Intervener in the Federal Court proceedings, however, that issue and related procedural issues, will be addressed by the Court in the coming weeks.

In past inquiries where judicial review applications were made, Council posted on its website key documents arising from the Federal Court proceedings. For example, in the Matlow and Cosgrove matters, the applications for judicial review were posted and a link was provided to the Federal Court website for decisions relating to the proceedings.

We have followed a consistent approach in regard to proceedings that are related to the current inquiry. All key publicly available documents directly related to the work of the Inquiry Committee in the Douglas matter have been, and will continue to be, posted on the Council's website.Council has also posted the Applications for Judicial Review that have been filed in relation to the Douglas matter, as well as, Orders relating to these.

You ask how one might be alerted to upcoming Federal Court proceedings in relation to these applications. Public access to the schedule of proceedings before the Federal Court is available on the Court's website. This provides hearing lists, information about counsel in the proceedings and key information about court filings and decisions. You can access the Court Index and Docket at

Members of the media who would like more information about court proceedings can direct queries to Mr. Andrew Baumberg, Executive Officer to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court proceedings, including the names of lawyers, parties or interveners. I suggest you begin your queries by using the Federal Court website.

I hope this information is helpful.

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
Canadian Judicial Council

3.0 Exhibit "A"

A special thank you to CyberSmokeBlog's Research Team who assisted in the preparation of this section of the report.

The link Mr. Sabourin provided in his reply (November 8, 2012) is that of the Federal Court of Canada's website. Simply plug in the File Number for matters relating to the Douglas Inquiry (T-1567-12/T1789-12) and voila!

Ottawa, October 30, 2012
Before Mireille Tabib, Prothonotary Federal Court of Canada Judge

Before the Court:

Meeting to discuss certain matters brought fourth in the letter of the Applicant in T-1567 dated October 3, 2012.

Result of Hearing: T-1789-12 has been deemed as specially managed. The Court will recommend to the Chief Justice that this file be case managed by the same Judge as in T-1567-12. The AGC's motion to be removed as a respondent will be heard in Toronto on November 30, 2012 for 1 day. The Rules in this matter are suspended pending the determination of the AGC's motion, as well as, Mr. Chapman's motion in T-1567-12.

An Order will follow held in chambers by way of Conference Call Duration per day: 30-October - 2012 from 01:20 to 03:20 Courtroom: Judge's Chambers - Ottawa Court Registrar: Christen Clement Total Duration: 2 hour

Appearances: Rocco Galati (416) 536-7811 representing Alexander Chapman

Sheila Block/Molly Reynolds (416) 865-7319 representing The Honourable Lori Douglas

Paul Cavalluzzo/Adrienne Telford (416) 964-5500 representing Canadian Judicial Council

Catherine Lawrence/Zoe Oxaal (613) 948-3463 representing AGC Peter Griffin

Jaan Lilles (416) 865-2921 representing Guy Pratte

John Hunter/Claire Hunter (011) 490-351 / 216-2528 / (604) 891-2403 representing for the Inquiry Committee

Chris Paliare/Richard Stephenson (416) 646-4318 representing Superior Court Judge's Association

Suzanne Cote/Alexandre Fallon (514) 904-8180 representing New Independent Counsel in the Inquiry

Comments: Heard together with T-1567-12 and T-1562-12.

Minutes of Hearing Taken in T-1567-12 Volume 870 Pages 106-122.

Cristin Schmitz for 'The Lawyers Weekly' and Christie Blatchford for 'The National Post'were in attendance. (emphasis CyberSmokeBlog's)

Minutes of Minutes of hearing entered in Volume 870 pages(s) 146-147.

Abstract of Hearing placed on file.  

4.0 You Be The Judge And Jury

How say you readers? Did the Canadian Judicial Council satisfactorily answer the two questions posed by CyberSmokeBlog?

Clare L. Pieuk

Kari D. Simpson


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