Thursday, January 31, 2013

He's back the little guy from Shawinigan!

"A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

Just spotted this an hour ago on the front of the National Post ( so I don't have the full sense of it yet. The media must realize that the implications about Jean Chretien's involvement will be the biggest issue for the public. It's been in the Globe and Mail too (

I couldn't find anything on the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench website but here's a copy of the Agreed Statement of Facts currently on the Canadian Bar Association's site (

Evidently, while the bribe was actually paid through Mr. Chretien's firm Heenan no lawyers have been charged with anything ..... yet.

E. G.

Dear E. G.:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog and the good sleuthing. Don't know whether you're aware but Pierre Trudeau also landed at Montreal BigLaw powerhouse Heenan Blaikie doing much the same kind of work as Jean Chretien.

Here's where it gets interesting. Does a relationship exist between Heenan Blaikie and Montreal-based engineering-construction giant SNC-Lavalin which the RCMP is currently investigating recently announcing about $160 million had been paid for bribes in its international operations much of which appear to have taken place during the regime of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. This begged the question whether H B has done business with SNC?

A quick check of the internet revealed in January, 2010 Jacques Lamarre (not to be confused with former Montreal Canadians hockey player and now Senator) an ex-SNC President and Chief Executive Officer joined SNC as a Strategic Advisor. Further, a year later Heenan Blaikie organized the "Brazil Initiative" with, yes, SNC-Lavalin plus mining giant Vale SA which eventually purchased nickel giant Inco a few years ago so the two entities know each other.

Then there's the Arthur Porter story profiled below. Who was one of the major contractors in the construction of McGill University's $1.3 billion Medical Centre that's right SNC. So as you can see E.G. the little guy from Shawinigan was small potatoes in the grand scheme of things - perhaps he should change his Christian name to "Chad." Chad Chretian has a nice ring to it don't you think?

Wouldn't it be interesting if the Charbonneau Commission making daily headlines for its investigation into corrupt practices within Quebec's construction industry were expanded to include the law firms that service these companies?
Unfortunately, it's not going to happen E.G. because the legal lobby is far to powerful so Quebec will have to live with the situation as it exists.
In the meantime, you may be interested in the following article about that little guy from Shawinigan..

Clare L. Pieuk
Exclusive: Chretien played a key role in controversial Chad oil deal

Jacquie McNish and Carrie Tait
Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien in April 2012 in Shawinigan, Quebec. (Ryan Remioiz/The Canadian Press)

Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien played an instrumental role in persuading the government of Chad to grant lucrative oil and gas rights in 2009 to Calgary’s Griffiths Energy International Inc., says the country’s former ambassador to Canada.

Mahamoud Bechir said he attended a meeting with Mr. Chrétien and the country’s long-serving President, Idriss Déby, and its then-Minister of Petroleum and Energy in September 2009. During the meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., the former Prime Minister promoted the fledgling company, which was struggling to secure oil concessions in the African country.

More Related to this Story

There is no suggestion or evidence that Mr. Chrétien was involved in any of the dealings that resulted in the bribery case, nor that he had knowledge of the payment to the Ambassador’s wife. Mr. Chrétien is counsel to Bay Street law firm Heenan Blaikie, which served as Griffiths Energy’s legal adviser from August 2009 to January 2011. It is common practice for major law firms to hire retired politicians to help build relationships with domestic and foreign countries.

At Heenan Blaikie, Mr. Chrétien has helped a number of Canadian companies establish ties with a variety of African countries.

Mr. Chrétien declined through a spokesman to discuss the meeting, citing client confidentiality. A spokesman for Heenan Blaikie also declined comment.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Bechir, who was fired from his job as Chad’s Ambassador to South Africa on the weekend, portrayed Mr. Chrétien as a man who helped Griffiths’ senior management gain access to key officials in the Chadian government. The ex-Ambassador said his wife, Nouracham Niam, wrote a formal letter to the embassy proposing the meeting, which he approved “because this is Jean Chrétien. … He has the priority because he was the former Prime Minister of Canada.”

The meeting took place in a small conference room next to Mr. Déby’s suite at the Ritz. According to Mr. Bechir and other people familiar with the session, Heenan Blaikie lawyer Jacques Bouchard Jr. and two company founders, Brad Griffiths and Naeem Tyab, were also in attendance.

Mr. Bechir described Mr. Chrétien “a very funny guy,” who set a jovial tone during the meeting and reassured the Chad delegation about Griffiths Energy’s potential.

“This is a big testimony from a high-profile person,” Mr. Bechir said. “I think that facilitated – it give some confidence to the government these are not just a bunch of people who are dreaming in the internet.”

“I think that gave the confidence to the government that these people are serious, Griffiths’ company is serious.”

Mr. Déby responded by telling the Griffiths team that “they are welcome” in Chad, Mr. Bechir said. One month later, on October 26, 2009, Griffiths Energy signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct due diligence on two oil blocks.

The agreement was a huge leap forward for a relatively unknown company that had failed after a number of visits to Chad to purchase rights to produce oil and gas in the country’s rich southern oil fields. Mr. Griffiths, a former Bay Street investment banker, was so entranced with the investment opportunities in Chad that Mr. Bechir said the executive told him he would change his first name to Chad from Brad if the oil and gas investment was approved. He also promised a number of investments to build everything from new roads in Chad to a radio station at the Washington embassy, the Ambassador said.

Griffiths Energy ultimately secured formal rights to the Chad properties in January, 2011, but the victory was short-lived.

Mr. Griffiths drowned in July, 2011, in a boating accident. The company’s new management team discovered problematic contracts in the fall of that year and alerted the police to them, which culminated in last week’s guilty plea.

Federal prosecutors have begun proceedings to force Ms. Niam to forfeit the $2-million payment and her large holding of shares in the company. According to an agreed statement of facts released by the court, in the fall of 2009, Griffiths Energy sold Ms. Niam and two friends 4 million so-called “founders shares” for a fraction of a penny each.

The statement said Ms. Niam was originally awarded 1.6 million shares for $1,600. Mr. Bechir said his wife later purchased an additional 1.6 million Griffiths Energy shares that were awarded to their children’s teacher, Adoum Hassan, who was one of the original recipients of the founders shares.

Her stock holding is currently valued at about $20-million. Mr. Bechir said he plans to fight prosecutor’s plans to force his wife to forfeit the shares.

More Related to this Story

The lights are on but is anyone home?

Good Day Readers:

For those who watched this mini-documentary the other night on CBC's The National you must have come away shaking your heads. Didn't anyone do a detailed background check on Arthur Porter before he was hired as the Chief Executive Officer of McGill University's $1.3 billion Health Centre? As you will see, all anyone had to do was call his former employers at the Detroit Medical Centre where he left the place in a mess amid controversy. Better yet, telephone reporters at The Detroit Free Press they seemed to know all about him.

It really begs the question, "How thoroughly, if at all, are senior appointees vetted by the Harper administration prior to being selected for positions in which they will be responsible for the stewardship of millions of dollars worth of taxpayers' dollars? Is this the tip of the iceberg since Stephen Power came to power?

Clare L. Pieuk

Terence McKenna's documentary "Porter's Way" is a close-up look at the amazing rise and fall of Arthur T. Porter.

The Prime Minister's former senior National Security appointee resigned in scandal 14 months ago in scandal 14 months ago from his position as Chairman of the Federal Security and Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) and the CEO of the new $1.3 billion McGill University Health Centre.

He disappeared from Montreal and avoided questions about his role mismanaging billion dollar budgets and what he knows about an alleged $22.5 million fraud against the hospital on his watch.

Porter is now living in Nassau, Bahamas which is where Terence McKenna caught up with him.

He finally agreed to sit down for an extensive, revealing interview with CBC Television's The National.   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stephen Harper's inner circle outed!

Good Day Readers:

So you thought your Member of Parliament had influence in Ottawa eh? See them sitting at the table do we?

Clare L. Pieuk
Prime Minister Harper's inner circle
By Paul Wells
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper surprised his nearly 300,000 Twitter followers on Monday by tweeting photos and video from a typical day at home and on Parliament Hill.

One of the most striking posts was a short video showing him entering his daily senior staff meeting. It was a rare look at the advisers who are on hand to brief the PM as he begins his work day.

Many of these people are barely known outside Harper’s office. Their hiring and departure is almost never announced in a news release. This isn’t the only power group in Harper’s Ottawa — cabinet ministers and their staffs have important responsibilities; top bureaucrats manage departments numbering in the thousands — but in a city where it sometimes seems that clout increases with proximity to Stephen Harper, this is literally the inner circle.

Click on each individual to find out who they are and what they do:

Related reading: The Maclean’s Power List 

It was a hoax ..... dummies!

Good Day Readers:

The following went viral recently on the internet.

Clare L. Pieuk
By Daniel Perez
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Yesterday we highlighted an umbrella that had a grip in its handle that allows the owner to use an umbrella and their smartphone at the same time because we thought it was both a cool and silly concept. We can imagine using the umbrella on a regular basis when using your phone and shielding yourself from rain are equally important.

Today, we stumbled onto an iPhone case that should be considered a necessity if you value both your addiction to your iPhone and your addiction to having a drink readily available at all times. The UpperCup iPhone case has a pop-out cup holder that will allow you to keep your cup of coffee within reach at all times when you need your caffeine fix while texting your friends.

UpperCup is currently seeking funds to become an actual product on Indiegogo, $25,000 to be exact. If you think you need the UpperCup in your life, you can snag one for your iPhone 4/4S for $25, while the iPhone 5 case will cost $30. If the project reaches its goal, UpperCups are expected to be delivered by April 13.

"Are you kinky ..... well are you?"

Potential jurors in Zumba case face probing questions
A truth too naked
By Margery Eagan
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
“Do you have a domination fetish?”

“Have you dealt with this by hiring a prostitute?”

“Was this a wise investment for you, sir?”

Sadly for dozens of presumably upstanding Maine residents called for the jury pool in the so-called “Zumba” prostitution trial, these are the kind of sexual questions they may be asked.

Worse: A judge’s effort to keep the questioning private has been overturned by the state’s highest court.

Even worse: As early as this morning, potential jurors could be back on the stand in open court fielding questions about their attitudes toward prostitution.

For those who think government already probes too deeply into the personal life of its citizens, this would seem to be a probe too far.

As for a possible “domination fetish” inquiry — well, a list of domination fetishes was among the items taken from Zumba instructor and alleged prostitute Alexis Wright, 30, and her alleged accomplice Mark Strong, 57, reports Vanity Fair magazine — along with four bottles of baby oil, five cameras and four camcorders with which Strong allegedly filmed Wright’s unwitting customers in action.

Oh my.

Is this line of questioning fair to potential jurors, who are just doing their civic duty?

“Is life fair?” asked a philosophical Keith Parent, 27, a carpenter working on a building on Main Street in Kennebunk yesterday.

“They won’t tell the truth anyway,” said his co-worker Dominic Rush, 47, of Arundel.

“Well, it’s a lot more interesting if you hear this stuff, too,” quipped David White, 65, in an antiques store down the street.

“If it’s me on the stand, I’d say it’s not pertinent,” said Denise Senecal, a clerk at the Kennebunk Inn, where she said an ABC news crew, hot after the Zumba story, had camped out for days.

Senecal was one of many locals who said too much has been made of a case involving “only adults, no children, no coercion involved.” Other merchants said it all reflects badly on picturesque Kennebunk, a summer mecca heretofore best known as former President George H. W. Bush’s summer home.

But the story went viral when it turned out that the friendly mother and popular Zumba instructor allegedly led a second life well advertised in semi-naked, naked and even pornographic pictures online.

Then police created a panic and an uproar by releasing names of her alleged johns, some of whom were locally well known. Let’s just say many locals wished they’d never heard of Alexis Wright.

A man who answered the door yesterday at Wright’s Wells home said no comment.

The secluded chalet style, cedar colored three-bedroom with the wraparound porch, almost five miles from a main road, is up for sale for $255,000.

The Zumba studio, and scene of the many alleged crimes, is for rent in a strip mall between Best Nails salon and Toppings pizza.

A pizza worker said he’s a witness in the case, which resumes at 8:30 this morning.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Helicopter Pete" you had 11 days to get there you could have taken a canoe!

"Jump Pete Jump taxpayers can't afford you any longer!"

DND emails reveal new questions aver Peter MacKay's Comorant helicopter ride to news conference

Scheduled to attend: Defence Minister Peter MacKay and PUblic Works Minister Rona Ambrose

Lee Berthiaume
Postmedia News
Monday, January 28,2013

OTTAWA — Government officials didn’t want to hold the Ontario media event that prompted Defence Minister Peter MacKay to catch a private ride on a search-and-rescue helicopter from a fishing trip in Newfoundland two years ago.

Internal emails obtained by Postmedia News also raise questions over government assertions that MacKay’s attendance at the news conference in London, Ontario was confirmed only a few days before the event took place.

MacKay has been under fire since it was first revealed that a Cormorant helicopter was called in to pick him up from a private fishing camp and ferry him to Gander airport in July 2010 — at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $16,000.

Critics called for his resignation after accusing him of using military assets for personal reasons when other modes of transportation were available, and then misleading Parliament about the issue.

The new documents will do nothing to quell the controversy, which originates with a decision the minority Harper government made in July 2009 to award a sole-source contract to a defence company in London, Ontario to upgrade the Canadian army’s fleet of light armoured vehicles for more than $1 billion.

MacKay and then-Canadian army commander Andrew Leslie made the announcement at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick as part of a broader $5-billion plan to purchase new vehicles and upgrade existing ones for the army after Afghanistan.

In March 2010, the London-based company was about to receive a small $34-million contract as part of that larger $1-billion upgrade.

Government officials initially recommended against the news conference in London, saying it was unnecessary. Instead, they suggested simply issuing a press release.

“For your info,” a National Defence communications adviser wrote to her Public Works counterpart on March 18, 2010, “the recommendation I passed along here was not to do an event. I believe the ‘announceable’ at this time is that the project is progressing as per the plan, which would not warrant an event.”

“Understood,” the Public Works official replied. “I am recommending a news release only.”

It’s unclear who decided to organize a news conference at the London company’s plant despite these views, or when the decision was made, but the documents show the date of the event was moved twice for unknown reasons — once in April 2010 and again in May 2010.

MacKay as well as Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, who is responsible for all federal government purchasing, were scheduled to attend both previous events.

Then on June 25, 2010, the Privy Council Office, the department that provides direct support to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and cabinet, notified Public Works the event was confirmed for July 9, 2010.
The emails show Defence officials were notified on June 28, 2010.

At that point, they began preparing talking points and communications products that were sent to MacKay’s office for approval.

In addition, while the main planning document for the news conference listed local Conservative MPs Joe Preston and Ed Holder as “TBC,” or to be confirmed, there is no such designation for MacKay or Ambrose.

Eleven days later, MacKay was hoisted from the ground to a waiting Cormorant before being taken to the Gander Airport where he caught a waiting Challenger jet to London.

After the news conference in London, MacKay used the Challenger to fly to his riding in Nova Scotia to attend a lobster dinner.

The total cost of the helicopter pick up was estimated at $16,000, while the Challenger flights were estimated at about $25,000.

News of the private pickup and Challenger flights were first revealed in September 2011, prompting outrage from opposition parties and members of the public.

MacKay’s director of communications, Jay Paxton, said in an email that the news conference “was important to inform Londoners and Canadians of this work during a fragile economic recovery.”

Paxton also maintained Friday the minister’s attendance at the news conference was only confirmed a few days before the event was to take place.

“Clearly Minister MacKay has many scheduling interests that are always being juggled by staff,” Paxton said, “and he was confirmed for the announcement sometime between July 5th and July 8th.”

Liberal Defence critic John McKay said the news conference was unnecessary and simply an attempt by the Harper government to bolster its reputation.

“It appears you can never re-announce often enough,” he said, noting the Harper government has held other press conferences to re-announce a project or program. “These guys have taken this to new heights.”

McKay was also skeptical that MacKay was only confirmed for the news conference a few days when National Defence knew it was going ahead more than a week beforehand.

“He could have taken a canoe,” McKay said. “He had 11 days between when his office knew about it and when he was scheduled to make the announcement. To suggest now that he didn’t know about it is stretching credibility beyond its breaking point.”

“It’s further confirmation that there was plenty of time to make alternate arrangements,” NDP defence critic Jack Harris said of the emails.

“The minister certainly claimed all along that this was something unexpected and that this had to be done to meet this unexpected request. Clearly it was not unexpected, it was planned.”

The government has previously offered a variety of explanations for the helicopter picking MacKay up from the private fishing camp called Burnt Rattle.

In addition to saying the minister’s presence in London was confirmed only at the last minute. MacKay has previously said he was participating in a pre-planned search-and-rescue demonstration.

Other Defence Department emails, however, have indicated the demonstration was a “guise” designed to protect the minister from embarrassment should the pickup be discovered.

Those documents showed the minister could have also taken a two-hour boat and car ride to get to the airport in Gander.

Other emails show that one day after a TV report that MacKay had used a Cormorant helicopter to be taken from a private fishing lodge near Gander, Newfoundland-Labrador military officials began searching for instances of opposition members using military aircraft.

The officials were particularly interested in a flight Liberal MP Scott Simms took in the same area in January 2011.

MacKay used the information to hit back at Simms in the House of Commons in the following days and weeks, even though the emails show MacKay’s office ordered the Jan. 17, 2011 flight to educate Simms about the military’s search-and-rescue capabilities.

Why is the bail system failing battered and abused women" that's about 60 deaths a year!

On Saturday January 19th, in the early hours of the morning, Bridget Takyi left her home and two young children to walk to her car, to drive to her job as a waitress at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. She never made it.

Good Day Readers:

The approximately 23-minute interview with Elizabeth Sheehy and James Morton can be heard on The Sunday Edition website along with some insightful comments from listeners.

Clare L. Pieuk
Bail and Violence Against Women
Sunday, January 27, 2013
In Canada, a woman is killed by her intimate partner every six days, on average according to the Canadian Women's Foundation. (Photo: Zab Ethanne)

She was attacked, stabbed numerous times and then set on fire. She was so badly burned, it took police nearly 24 hours to positively identify her body. It didn't take quite as long to arrest a suspect in the case.

Police have charged Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah (above) with the first-degree murder of Ms Takyi. He is her former boyfriend, and the father of her children. At the time of the attack, he was on bail, following numerous charges of assault, assault with a deadly weapon and threatening to kill Ms. Takyi.

This shocking case has raised once again the troubling issues surrounding charges of violence against women, the rights of the accused -- and the protection of victims.

These issues come up every few years, when the justice system fails to protect a woman like Bridget Takyi. Despite numerous reports, inquests, studies and conferences, we don't seem to be able to get this right.

Michael Enright talks to Elizabeth Sheehy and James Morton.

Elizabeth Sheehy teaches law at the University of Ottawa. She has published widely in the fields of criminal procedure and violence against women. She is currently editing a book called Sexual Assault Law: Practice and Activism in a Post-Jane Doe Era.

James Morton knows the intricacies of the court room and the bail hearing inside out. He is head of litigation at Steinberg, Morton, Hope and Israel, a past-president of the Ontario Bar Association and has written numerous legal papers and books on evidence and criminal law.

Friday, January 25, 2013

That wasn't a hunger strike it was a hungry strike!

Careful what you digitize privacy no longer exists!

 To Catch a Cheater. PI's Track Digital Footprints

From Facebook to Twitter to text messages, online antics could mean the end of infidelity. (January 1, 2013)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pratte and Binnie do professional ethics!

"Ladies and Gentlemen please give a warm welcome to the comedy team of ..... 
'Pratte The Cat'


..... 'RoadKill!'"
Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

Yes, Pratte and Binnie with their hilarious routine, Professional Ethics. You'll laff till you cry.

I decided to have another look at the "Canadian Institute" ( in anticipation of their bi-annual trip to Cambridge - that I presume is on for this year. The website format is noticeably unattractive. What they had when I first found it was better so I suspect this is to discourage visitors.

You can use the "Site map" to see what's there. I just spotted Pratte's name in the list of Directors which includes 6 Judges.

So I separately Googled his name and "Strasbourg" then invoked translate to English on th first link:

Friday, July 4, 2008

Theme V: Legal and judicial ethics and professional

Problem: This workshop will address two issues. La première touche la morale judiciaire: Comment s'assurer que les magistrats se conforment bien aux règles de déontologie qui les gouvernent? The first key judicial ethics: How to ensure that judges are complying with the rules of ethics that govern them? Quelles peuvent être, en cas d'abus, les mécanismes juridiques qui permettent de les sanctionner. What are, in cases of abuse, the legal mechanisms to punish them. Plusieurs modèles sont possibles. Several models are available.

La seconde porte sur une question controversée en pratique. The second focuses on a controversial issue in practice. Il s'agit des conflits d'intérêts des avocats ou des cabinets d'avocats. It is a conflict of interest lawyers or law firms. Avec la mondialisation et l'internationalisation des rapports juridiques et l'expression des grands bureaux, quelles sont les règles juridiques et éthiques qui doivent régler les conflits d'intérêts? With globalization and the internationalization of legal relations and the expression of large offices, what are the legal and ethical rules that should govern conflicts of interest?

B. Law and professional ethics

 M. le juge William Fletcher , 9th Circuit - Federal Court of Justice, USA Judge William Fletcher, 9th Circuit - Federal Court of Justice, USA

Hon. Hon. Ian Binnie , Juge à la Cour suprême du Canada - Ottawa Ian Binnie, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada - Ottawa

Me Guy Pratte , Borden Ladner Gervais - Montréal Guy Pratte, Borden Ladner Gervais - Montreal 

E. G.

Dear E.G.:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. "Laff till you cry" hell CSB laughed till it peed its pants! The Cat-RoadKill comedy team doing professional ethics is beyond hilarious. The Cat after collecting about $200,000 worth of taxpayer legal fees abruptly resigned from the Douglas Inquiry not willing to make his resignation letter public which the "transparent" Canadian Judicial Council subsequently refused to publish. So Alex Chapman's lawyer Rocco Galati was forced to file a Judicial Review with the Federal Court of Canada to try to force the CJC to release it - more public money down the toilette.

"RoadKill" recently completed a $400,000 plus study for the New Zealand government which it claims is flawed and thus useless - he's currently wearing it. The Cat-RoadKill comedy time really is funny! Having a strip poker or weddubg social? How much do you figure they'd charge to rent them for an evening E. G.?

Clare L. Pieuk

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tales from the Supreme Court of Canada crypt you'll never hear ..... maybe?

Former Justice William "RoadKill" Binnie

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

When I sent William Binnie a copy of my e-mail submission to The Law Reform Commission of Western Australia I received a prompt reply of one work - "Thanks." Can't read anything into that. I doubt that former Supreme Court Justice Binnie or any of his cohorts are concerned about anything. But it must be apparent to everyone that what they've bequeathed to the generation of younger lawyers is a legacy that is a disaster.

Two of those younger lawyers are named at the bottom of the first page of Mr. Binnie's paper: James Wishart (


,as well as,

BTW, I probably shared with you that Jill Copeland the Supreme Court of Canada official who sent out that letter (warning former SCC interns not to discuss Justices they had worked for past or present), first came to my attention when she replied to a letter I had sent to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in 2008 before I filled out my first complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council. And Ms Copeland has since heard from me again because on leaving the Supreme Court she joined a labour law firm of strategic importance to me in the labour law regime.

Chris J. Budgell


Dear Mr. Budgell:
Mr. Self-Rep

Thank you indeed for contacting CyberSmokeBlog.

Chris Budgell is a frequent contributor to this site and one of a couple extraordinary, quintessential self-reps CSB has encountered along the way. He can be reached at

For over 10-years he's been challenging British Columbia's legal establishment winning an important victory in the province's Superior Court against its Labour Relations Board and now in the Federal Court of Canada where he has filed an application for a Judicial Review of two complaints he tendered with the Canadian Judicial Council. Essentially, Mr. Budgell will be arguing its summary dismissal by Executive Director and Senior General Counsel Norman Sabourin is not supported by The Council's bylaws.
Then there's self-rep Karyn Delichte a Winnipeger currently enrolled in a Doctoral program at a California University. Her file (Karyn Lynn Delichte versus Brandan Noel Rogers FD 04-01-73022) is almost 10-years in the making during which time no less than 11-Manitoba Queen's Bench Justices plus 5-Masters have "touched" it - it's a poster child for what's wrong with Family Division

Or what about Langley, British Columbia's Kari Simpson whose's defamation case went all the way to the Supreme Court. In his written decision then Justice Binnie referred to her as "road kill."
She has since gone on to found the highly successful web-based radio station, yes, RoadKill Radio, the site RoadKill Radio News, as well as, Drive For Justice a series of almost 30 videos in which she is single-handedly lobbying for a Parliamentiary Inquiry into the conduct of British Columbia Superior Court Justice Mary Marvyn Koenigsberg (alleged conflict of interest) for her actions by a lower court in hearing her defamation lawsuit.

When Alberta Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice John Rooke in a ruling (Meade versus Meade) last year inferred all self-reps are Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigants (OPCS's) he showed a shocking ignorance of the situation for which he should be "benchslapped" by the Canadian Judicial Council. And Canadian taxpayers pay him how much to be so ill-informed?

When you read the Canadian Lawyer magazine article below just remember it was Jill Copeland now of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP who tried to slam the door shut forever to the Supreme Court's crypt buried deep below the fortress-like building thus sealing the tales of Justice Roadkill. But then again this is the age of the internet right? Just ask those who appointed Lori Douglas as Associate Chief Justice, Manitoba Queen's Bench Family Division no less! 
But CyberSmokeBlog will not be deterred. Join us as we investigate the urban legend there's a secret passage way known to a select few leading from the Supreme Court Building directly to the Prime Minister's Office!

Clare L. Pieuk

A supreme misstep
Written by Philip Slayton
Issue Date: August 2009

 The Supreme Court recently put a foot badly wrong. With one clumsy step, it raised doubts about its commitment to transparency and openness. To boot, it puzzled and annoyed — in some cases, even offended — many of the most knowledgeable and friendly observers of the court and its workings.

David Weiden is a professor of political science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. In 2006, he published (with Artemus Ward) a book called Sorcerers’ Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court. Weiden, a serious scholar, then became interested in Canadian Supreme Court law clerks and was given a research grant by the Canadian government to study their “impact and influence.” He sent a survey to former clerks, hundreds of them.

Jill Copeland, the court’s executive legal officer, responded with an e-mail of her own to former clerks. It said participating in the Weiden survey would violate confidentiality obligations which “are not limited to information about cases, but also extend to internal processes of each justice’s chambers.” Presumably, Copeland’s e-mail was authorized by the chief justice, and, one speculates, may have followed discussion among all the justices. It is not known exactly what effect this intemperate e-mail has had on Weiden’s work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t crippled his study, or even brought it to an end.

Full disclosure: I was a law clerk to Justice Wilfred Judson in 1969-70, and received the Weiden survey and the Copeland e-mail. I completed and returned the survey.

There’s so much wrong about what was done here that it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters, to send such a peremptory and heavy-handed message to lawyers who were among the best and brightest of their generation, and who in many cases have gone on to distinguished legal careers, was insulting. Surely these former law clerks could be trusted to judge for themselves the nature and extent of their confidentiality obligations? If an e-mail had to be sent (and why would that be?), it could simply have alerted addressees to any concerns the court itself had about the Weiden survey, and expressed confidence in the ability of individual law clerks to deal appropriately with the issue.

Then, this incident makes the Supreme Court appear blind to the historical and legal importance of the law clerk experience, and in particular the way in which law professors who have been clerks use that experience in their teaching and writing. For example, Lorne Sossin, a respected law professor at the University of Toronto, who was clerk to chief justice Antonio Lamer from 1992 to 1993, published a law review article in 1996 called “The Sounds of Silence: Law Clerks, Policy Making and the Supreme Court of Canada.”

What about Justice Robert Sharpe, now a judge on the Ontario Court of Appeal, or Kent Roach, another University of Toronto law professor? Sharpe was executive legal officer at the court (the job now held by Copeland) from 1988 to 1990 when Brian Dickson was chief justice; Roach was law clerk to justice Bertha Wilson from 1988 to 1989. Sharpe and Roach co-authored a 2003 biography of Dickson, which describes much of what went on behind closed doors, and includes several pages describing the role of clerks.

Can anyone seriously maintain that Messrs. Sossin, Sharpe, and Roach, in the valuable work they have done, violated confidentiality obligations? Does the Supreme Court intend to ask the law society to investigate Sossin and Roach for ethical breaches, and will it complain to the Canadian Judicial Council about Justice Sharpe? I don’t think so. In that case, exactly what is Ms. Copeland’s e-mail all about?

In the United States, Supreme Court law clerks (and others insiders, including judges) have almost routinely shared at least some of their experiences. Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, who published their famous book The Brethren in 1979 (it’s still in print), interviewed about 170 clerks. Jeffrey Toobin, for The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, published in 2007, spoke to about 75 of them. Weiden’s Sorcerers’ Apprentices was based in part on interviews and written surveys of 150 former clerks. For another recent American book about law clerks, Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk, author Todd Peppers, relied on “an endless number of former law clerks who took the time to talk repeatedly with me about their clerkship experience and complete my surveys.” These books and others like them have contributed to popular and scholarly understanding of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s hard to understand why the Supreme Court of Canada reacted the way it did in the Weiden affair. Everyone understands that some things must remain confidential; no one is advocating unrestrained tattling by those who were in the inner sanctum. But, to argue that because some things should not be known then nothing should be known, is to reason in a way that a first-year philosophy student would find embarrassing.

Perhaps the problem is that the court’s attitudes have not kept pace with its powers. Since the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court has been a vital part of the government of Canada. It makes important policy decisions all the time, despite pro forma protestations to the contrary. Secrecy surrounding government institutions that determine policy is not a good companion of democracy. Openness is — or should be — part of the price you pay for power.

It’s not like the old days, when Supreme Court judges embraced and enjoyed a remoteness and mystique willingly tolerated by a respectful citizenry. Lack of openness didn’t really matter when any case involving more than $10,000 could be appealed as of right to the court (before the 1975 jurisdictional reforms) and most of the court’s work was settling individual disputes of little or no general significance. But now, particularly with decline in the power and reputation of parliament, the Supreme Court stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the executive as a major branch of government. We’re entitled to know as much about it as possible.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it Canadian judiciary!

The first Canadian taxpayer made million dollar a year woman?

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

The following link provides the latest salary and benefits for Judges.

Kari Simpson
RoadKill Radio

Dear Ms Simpson:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog with the link from the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada. Little wonder Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas has so far refused to resign costing the public even more. With the added cost of the Inquiry she may be the first Canadian Taxpayer made million dollar a year woman! No one will have to organize a tag day for her and husband "Polaroid" Jack King.
Check out the "Benefits" section in the CFJAC link. And you though federal Members of Parliament had platinum-edged pensions! Oh, and by the way Ms Simpson how does your salary + pension + benefits + perks package compare?

Clare L. Pieuk

Current judicial salary levels for federally appointed judges are shown below:

As of April 1, 2012
Supreme Court of Canada
Chief Justice$370,300
Federal Courts & Tax Court
Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice$315,900 + $2,000 (additional allowance for Federal & Tax Court Judges only)
Justice$288,100 + $2,000 (additional allowance for Federal & Tax Court Judges only)
Appeal, Superior, Supreme, Queen's Bench
Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice$315,900
Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Senior Judge$315,900 + $12,000 (Northern Allowance)
Justices resident in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut $288,100 + $12,000 (Northern Allowance)
Justice resident in Labrador$288,100 + $12,000 (Northern Allowance)


Monday, January 21, 2013

When a defence of duress is no longer valid for battered/abused women!

Good Day Readers:

The only interview Nicole Ryan has given since the Supreme Court handed down its recent decision has been with Anna Marie Tremonte host of the CBC's daily national affairs program The Current.
If you visit you will find a podcast of the approximately 28-minute discussion that includes comments by her lawyer Joel Pink. It is not being reproduced here because of technical considerations. For whatever reason(s) while the embed code can be copied to another website or blog, it activates every time that site is visited meaning you can still hear it even though it may no longer be at the top of main the page.

Here is Ms Ryan's former husband's version of events as displayed by the National Post (See The husband in the Nova Scotia hitman case deny allegations he pursued a 'reign of terror' against his wife - Tristin Hopper, Monday, January 21, 2013). As one might expect the two versions differ dramatically.

As the Judge and Jury in the Court of Public Opinion you must decide three questions::

(1) To whose version would you give greater credibility?

(2) While politicians, police and the courts are quick to point out the zero tolerance rule for domestic violence do you think it's working?

(3) Is Family Court broken?

How say you jurists?

Clare L. Pieuk
Supreme Court grants stay to abused Nova Scotia woman who tried to hire hitman

Douglas Quan
Post Media News
Friday, January 18, 2013
Nicole Ryan, the Nova Scotia woman who tried to hire a hit man to kill her abusive husband, attends a news conference at her lawyer's office in Halifax on January 17, 2013. Ryan is free after the Supreme Court of Canada ordered an extraordinary stay of proceedings. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

In an “exceptional” move, the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday overturned the acquittal of a woman who tried to hire a hitman to kill her abusive husband but said she will not have to face another trial.

All the judges said they did not accept the woman’s claim that she had acted under extreme duress when she attempted to take out a contract on her husband’s life. Such a defence can only be used in limited circumstances, the court said.

But a majority of judges ordered a rare stay of proceedings, saying that it would be unfair to put the woman through another trial.

“The abuse she suffered and the protracted nature of these proceeding(s) have taken an enormous toll on her,” the judges wrote.

“It is an exceptional situation that warrants an exceptional remedy.”
Free: Nicole Ryan, a school teacher from Nova Scotia, was arrested in March 2008 and charged with asking an undercover police officer to kill her husband. (CBC News)

The judges also referred to the “disquieting” fact that the police had failed to respond to the woman’s several calls for help in dealing with her estranged husband’s “reign of terror.”

One dissenting judge, Morris Fish, said it should be up to the Crown to decide whether to hold another trial.
At a press conference in Halifax, Nicole Ryan, who will not have a criminal record, said she was “relieved” and hoped that she can “re-establish my life.” She has already gone back to teaching.

She choked back tears and uttered a single word when asked if she still feared for the life of her daughter.


She hasn’t had contact with the girl in almost five years, ever since Michael Ryan took the child, now 12, in March 2008.

Ms. Ryan was charged in 2008 with counselling to commit murder after she approached an undercover RCMP officer and agreed to pay him $25,000 to kill her husband.

In court, Ms. Ryan claimed she had been under duress and acted out of fear for her life and her child’s life.

The abuse, she testified, was verbal and physical and lasted for many years.

He was a six-foot-three former soldier and 230 pounds. She was five-foot-three and 115 pounds.

On one occasion, he held a pistol to her head and called her a “weak soldier.”

When she brought up the subject of divorce, his response was that he would “destroy” her and their child, she said. Having tried on numerous occasions to get police to intervene, she said she did not believe police would be able to stop her husband from carrying out his threats.
"It’s still not clear what would the next woman be able to do, to defend herself?"
While two lower courts accepted the woman’s defence, Friday’s ruling made it clear that the duress defence can only be used in situations where a person commits a crime in response to a specific threat.

There has to be a threat of death or bodily harm and “no safe avenue of escape,” the Supreme Court said.

The ruling disappointed the interveners in the case — the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund — which had hoped the court would address the self-defence issue.

“We still have a lack of clarity about the law of self-defence,” said Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Fry society.

“It’s still not clear what would the next woman be able to do, to defend herself? Should she just be shot, herself? Should she be murdered and her child murdered with her?”

Postmedia News, with files from The Canadian Press
When your only choice is to hire a hitman the system is broken
Matt Gurney
April 11, 2011

The highest court in Nova Scotia has reached a “landmark” ruling concerning abused women and their violent husbands. Nicole Ryan, 40,  found not criminally responsible for plotting to have her husband murdered in 2008, has had her acquittal upheld on the grounds that: “Ms. Ryan was compelled to take the action she did by normal human instincts and self-preservation. It would be inappropriate, under these circumstances, to attribute criminal conduct to her.” In so doing, the court has ruled that she was acting under duress when she tried to have her husband killed (which is different from killing in self-defence, which is limited to those case when lethal force is necessary to preserve one’s life or property from immediate threat).

The particulars of the case are highly disturbing. Nicole Ryan, a physically slight woman, reportedly endured 17 years of brutal abuse at the hands of her husband, a physically powerful member of the Canadian Forces.

Among the crimes attributed to the husband, Michael Ryan, are physically and sexually assaulting his wife, threatening her with death and pointing firearms at her head. According to Nicole Ryan, it was only after her husband began to threaten their daughter’s life that she left him. (Michael Ryan did not appear at the trial to dispute any of this, leaving it as unchallenged testimony).

Even after leaving her husband, however, the death threats continued. That was when Nicole Ryan tried to arrange her husband’s murder, meeting with a man she thought was a contract killer. He was, in fact, an RCMP officer, and Nicole Ryan was arrested in the spring of 2008. When she was taken to jail and given a 30-day psychiatric review, which found her fit to stand trial, she told her jailers that she hadn’t felt that free in years. Only behind bars did she truly feel safe.

According to Ms. Ryan, on several occasions she went to the police and was told to file a restraining order against her estranged husband — which would not help to deter a violent man bent on murder. Having left him, and still feeling her and her daughter were endangered, one can see how, in the absence of police protection, she’d conclude that pre-emptively murdering him was necessary. Certainly the courts feel that way — they agree that given her emotional and mental trauma, plus the very real perception of danger, she was not criminally responsible for her actions.

This is, perhaps, a happy ending for Nicole Ryan. Removed from an abusive relationship and with her legal troubles over, she can now begin to put her life back together (and can also try to regain custody of her daughter, who is apparently and worryingly in the custody of Michael Ryan). But it presents some troubling questions: If the courts agree that her actions were reasonable in the circumstances, obviously, the system is broken.

Why was an abusive husband not arrested and jailed? Why were there not emergency relocation options for Nicole Ryan and her daughter? Why were Michael Ryan’s firearms not removed from him (which is virtually the entire purpose of the registry, proving yet again its futility). Why did Nicole Ryan not have resources in the community she could turn to before choosing to have her husband murdered?

Many of the case’s details remain unpublished and known only to the participants. But the unanswered questions are disturbing. Several dozen women each year can expect to be murdered by current or former partners. For all the talk about preventing violence against women, if for those few women trapped in a nightmare of violence with no way out, there are no better options than to murder their aggressors, then both our correctional and mental health-care systems need dramatic and immediate improvement.
Follow Matt Gurney on Twitter: @mattgurney