Friday, June 27, 2014

The legal establishment as "political bag people?'

Good Day Readers:

Hang out long enough at a Law Courts Building and it may not be long before you begin to hear, "See judge so and so over there as a lawyer they were a bag person for such and such a political party which explains, at least in part, why they were appointed to the bench." However, once there can they continue to pursue their career as a bag people? What, if anything, does The Judges Act, or other legislation for that matter, say on the subject? Anyone know?

The LaPresse article below raises this question. BTW, according to the Elections Canada website the maximum contribution a Canadian citizen can make to a political party or its leader is currently $1,200.

Clare L. Pieuk
Appointments of judges generous lawyers with conservatives

Hugo Grandpre
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Between 2007 and 2009, Robert Mainville, the Judge whose appointment to the Court of Appeal of Quebec is controversial paid nearly $5,000 to the Conservative Party, to Conservative candidates or Conservative Constituency Associations. (Photo: Ivanoh Demers, La Presse Archives)

(OTTAWA) Robert Mainville, the judge whose appointment to the Court of Appeal of Quebec is controversial, has contributed significantly to the body of the Conservative Party in the years before his appointment to the Federal Court of Appeal in 2009.

Elections Canada data compiled by La Presse show that the Montreal lawyer is not the only one to have been generous with the curators of the 13 persons named in the federal courts by the Harper government last week.

Together, the three lawyers chosen to go to the Federal Court have paid thousands of dollars into the coffers of the Conservatives in recent years.

Blair Nixon appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench in Calgary, for his part, is closely associated with the Conservative movement. The tax lawyer, with seveal oil companies among his clients, is a member of the Board and Treasurer of the Manning Foundation for Democratic Education. the organization was founded by former Reform leader and sponsor of the contemporary conservative movement Preston Manning.

Over $5,000

Between 2007 and 2009, Robert Mainbille paid nearly $5,000 to the Conservative Party, to Conservative candidates or constituency associations. These gifts added about $1,500 paid to the Conservative Fund in 2006 and nearly $3,000 to the federal Liberals between 2004 and 2006.

His last gift to the troops of Stephen Harper was in April 2009, two months before he was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal. the limit at the time was $1,100.

Of the three lawyers appointed to the Federal Court 10 days ago, the famous lawyer Henry S. Brown has paid nearly $4,000 to the Conservatives since 2010 and about $1,000 to the Liberals. The other two, Keith Boswell and Alan Diner gave $4,000 and $200 respectively in 2007 only to the Conservatives.

Appointments challenged

These designations arise when judicial appointments by the Harper government are challenged like that of Marc Nadon, invalidated by the Supreme Court of Canada

Robert Mainville is a recognized Aboriginal law specialist who practiced in the Montreal office of Gowlings untl 2009. On June 13, the Minister of Justice announced that he would be transferred to the Federal Court of Appeal from the Quebec Court of Appeal as of July 1.

The reaction to the transfer was strong. A legal challenge was even filed by Rocco Galati, the Toronto lawyer who successfully challenged the choice of Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada a few months ago.

Several including Mr. Galati and opposition parties in Ottawa, fear that the Prime Minister is trying to do indirectly what it cannot do directly, and he appoints Mainville a Judge of the Supreme Court within the next few months. In the case of Nadon, the court ruled in March that the judges of the Federal Court of Appeal are not eligible to occupy one of the three seats in Quebec at the highest court in the land. A brief stay in Quebec could circumvent the rule.

For now, the federal government has not clarified its intentions, besides reiterating that it will respect the spirit and letter of the direction given in March. It also said that the transfer was made at the request of Judge Manville himself.

Based on skill

Ottawa has denied having been influenced by these political contributions. "Our government is always guided by the principles of merit and legal excellence in the selection and appointment of judges," said a spokesman for Justice Minister MacKay. "Each candidate brings extensive legal knowledge and extensive experience which will be significant assets within the Canadian legal system."

Please not that these donations are not illegal and even the opposition parties took care to defend the jurisdiction of Robert Mainville as a lawyer.

"I have great respect for all those lawyers and no one would suspect anything if you do not have a government that politicizes everything," said Liberal MP Stephane Dion when La Presse told him this information.

"But we are not in normal circumstances, said Mr. Dion. It is a government that attacks the Chief Electoral Officer, that attacks the Chief Justice, politicizing all processes that can touch it ... and that is why there is this concern

Judge Mainville refused to answer our questions. "No comment," said a spokesman for the Federal Court. The spokesman did not respond to our email about other judges.

Grand Chief of the Crees welcomes appointment

In a letter to La Presse the Grand Chief of the Cree Nation of Quebec Matthew Coon Come, has welcomed the appointment of Robert Mainbille to the Court of Appeal of Quebec. "Justice Mainville represented the Cree for decades, especially during the negotiations of the Pease of the Braves. He devoted his life to defend the poor and under-represented in Canada, and he did it with great success," wrote Dr. Coon Come. Contrary to what has been published recently in various English media articles, the professional profile of Justice Manville is not one that is consistent with the Conservative policies of the Harper government.

Will someone please escort 'Caveman MacKay' back to his carve?

Caveman MacKay

Good Day Readers:

About the only thing missing from Peter MacKay's 1950's steroeotyping of women and men in his Mother and Father's Day messages to Justice Department staff was mention of barefoot and pregnant women in the kitchen.
He really needs to fast forward to the new reality of 2014..
A reader mentioned something recently that no one in the media seems to have picked up on yet. There are approximately 5,000 federal Department of Justice staff presumably some of whom are single (unmarried). Did Caveman press the "send all" button so even non-parents received his goofy Mom and Dad e-mails? What about married couples without children? How would he know those employees with and without children. What about older staff whose children have long since left home?

And to think he's Canada's Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Is he really that stupid? Little wonder the Department of Justice is so totally ....ed up these days.

Clare L. Pieuk

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rocco's ready to rumble!

"Ladies and Gentlemen our main event. In the blue corner weighing 157 3/4 pounds wearing the black trunks with white stripe former middleweight champion of the Marines ..... Rocco 'The Human Monkey Wrench' Gaaaaa .....laaaaa .....tiiiii .....!"

Later .....
"9 ... 10 ... you're out Harper you bum! Get out of here you don't know what you're doing!"
"..... and the winner by a knockout at 1:47 of the first round and still champion Rocco 'The Monkey Wrench" Gaaaaa ..... laaaa ..... Tiiiii .....!" 

Good Day Readers:

Typical Harper government. Rather than sitting down with constitutional experts opposed to amendments to Bill C-24 it will arrogantly push it ahead. Then when the Supreme Court of Canada strikes down the changes Messrs Harper, Alexander and MacKay will be all over Chief Justice McLachlin like a cheap shirt.

They really are crybabies.

Clare L. Pieuk
Rocco Galati launches court fight against Citizen Act changes

Parliament does not have the power to strip Canadian-born terrorism convicts of their citizenship, Toronto lawyer argues in joint legal challenge

Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati, seen in this July 2012 file photo, has launched a legal challenge of the Conservative government's new Citizenship Act Changes. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA—Lawyer Rocco Galati has made good on a threat to take the Conservative government to court over its Citizenship Act changes, formally filing documents Wednesday with Federal Court in Toronto.
Galati launched the legal challenge to invalidate a key provision of the Conservative government’s new law, which received royal assent last week.
Galati is seeking a declaration that Parliament does not have the constitutional power to strip a Canadian-born citizen convicted of terrorism or treason of his or her Canadian passport in cases where the individual is a dual citizen.
More at
The provision has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight with the conviction and sentencing this week of Egyptian-Canadian dual citizen Mohamed Fahmy and two fellow Al-Jazeera journalists in Cairo on terror-related charges. Fahmy was sentenced to seven years in prison — a ruling that has triggered international outrage.
Galati wants the courts to invalidate the Governor General’s royal assent of Bill C-24, the so-called Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. He wants the provision itself declared void, and the federal government to hand over its legal opinions on the constitutionality of the bill from before and after Galati first flagged his intent to challenge it.
Galati bases his challenge on the 1867 and 1982 Constitution Acts, which he says give the federal government power over “aliens and naturalization” but, he argues, confer no power to strip Canadian-born people of their citizenship. He traces his argument back to the Magna Carta, stating that citizenship is not a right the government can strip from those born on its soil.
Galati is joined by lawyer Manuel Azevedo and the Constitutional Rights Centre Inc. — which does pro bono constitutional litigation — in the challenge.
Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander has shrugged off Galati in the Commons and at committee in the past two weeks as he pushed the bill through its final legislative stages. He said the government will not revoke the citizenship of a Canadian-born person convicted of terrorism as long as the individual renounces a dual nationality — even if the corresponding country refuses to recognize such renunciation.
Alexander also says the government would weigh whether a trial abroad that convicts a Canadian of terrorism or spying was fairly conducted. That assessment would look at whether the convicting country is democratic with an independent judiciary, due process and trial proceedings that respect human rights and the rule of law — an evaluation that would be made by the government, not public servants, which itself would be subject to judicial review, said Alexander.
Alexander said an individual targeted under the act would have the chance to make written submissions and given 30 days to apply for leave to appeal from the Federal Court, where he said the bar is “quite low” and judicial review is likely.
Galati’s is not a Charter challenge; he is not relying on guarantees of equality or the mobility rights that allow Canadian citizens to leave, enter and remain in the country. Instead he is arguing that under the Constitution Act, which sets out the division of powers for each level of government, Ottawa does not have the power to legislate away citizenship.
In response, Alexander’s press secretary, Alexis Pavlich, sent the Star talking points on the new law, saying: “Canadians gave us a strong mandate to protect and strengthen the value of Canadian citizenship.”
Galati is the first to take the new law to court, but the challenge comes on the heels of an announcement by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association that they, too, will launch a legal fight against the law, on slightly different grounds.
In announcing his intention to sue, Lorne Waldman, president of the refugee lawyers’ group, said the law “would allow certain Canadians to be stripped of citizenship that was validly obtained by birth or by naturalization. We think that is unconstitutional.”
Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said in a release at that time: “In Canada, lawfully obtained citizenship has always been permanent — once a Canadian, always a Canadian — and all Canadians have always had equal citizenship rights. This bill turns the whole idea of being Canadian upside-down, so that the Canadian citizenship of some people will be worth less than the Canadian citizenship of others. That is wrong.”

Who's the richest Canadian Supreme?

Good Day Readers:

After reading the following article it occurred how little voters and taxpayers know about the financial disclosure of members of the Supreme Court of Canada. Look at what has been published about United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Now ask yourself what do you know about Beverley McLachlin's financial position.

See what we mean? Get the point? Transparency on the land's highest court? Don't think so.

Clare L. Pieuk
Underneath their robes: A detailed drive into the Justices financial disclosures

By David Lat
Monday, June 23, 2014
Everyone smile and say "certiorari"

The opinions released by the Supreme Court this morning were not super-exciting. The good news, pointed out by Professor Rick Hasen on Twitter, is that “[t]here are no likely boring #SCOTUS opinions left.” (But see Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, noted by Ken Jost.)

So let’s talk about something more interesting than today’s SCOTUS opinions: namely, the justices’ recently released financial disclosures. Which justices are taking home the most in outside income? How robust are their investments?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are some big-picture points:

  • Investments can be important for deciding which justices recuse in which cases. For analysis of some possibly investment-driven recusals, see this article by Tony Mauro.

  • Are gifts to the justices drying up? Mauro notes: “Justices are required to report gifts they receive that are valued at $350 or more. In past years, they would list gifts ranging from shirts to rare books. But in 2013, according to the forms, none of the justices received gifts worth reporting.”

  • As pointed out by Adam Liptak, the justices got a pay raise last year: Chief Justice Roberts now earns $255,500 a year, up from $223,500, and the associate justices now earn $244,400 each, up from $213,900.

Now, on to the financial disclosures. We’ll do a justice-by-justice rundown, in order of seniority. Click on each justice’s name to be taken to their 2013 financial disclosure (helpfully posted online by the Center for Public Integrity).

Two caveats, which we’ve noted in the past: (1) justices aren’t required to report exact values for assets, just ranges (e.g., $1,001,000 to $5,000,000), and (2) they don’t have to list their Lawyerly Lairs, i.e., their primary residences. So if you were to try and calculate net worths based on these forms, you’d end up with estimates that would be both rough and conservative.

Also, note that these disclosures cover the reporting period from January 1 to December 31, 2013. The justices’ fortunes might have changed since then.

1. Chief Justice John G. Roberts

Chief Justice Roberts earned $20,000 from teaching for the New England School of Law (an institution known for paying its people well). NESL also covered JGR’s air transportation, meals, and lodging for his trip to Prague, site of his course on “The U.S. Supreme Court – Historical Perspective.” The Chief’s disclosure form notes that his wife, superstar legal recruiter Jane Sullivan Roberts, earned compensation from Major Lindsey Africa, but does not reveal the amount (which the justices aren’t required to reveal).

The Chief owns a nicely diversified mix of investments — stocks, mutual funds, even a little real estate (a one-eighth interest in a cottage in Limerick, Ireland). But is he nervous about the stock market? He has a large amount of cash, between $1 million and $5 million, parked in a bank account with Capital One. That account produced less than $1,000 in interest in 2013 — why such a small amount? Yes, interest rates are low, but they’re not that low. Perhaps a lot of money flowed into the account right near the end of the year (e.g., if Jane Sullivan Roberts got a big payout from Major Lindsey near year-end).

2. Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Scalia supplemented his salary as an associate justice with another six figures in teaching fees and book royalties. He earned a total of more than $25,000 from five different schools and pulled in $76,913 in book royalties from West Publishing aka Thomson Reuters, publisher of Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts and Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (affiliate links), both co-authored with legal writing guru and lexicographer Bryan A. Garner.

The justice, known for preaching the gospel of originalism at every opportunity, received reimbursement for expenses for 28 trips, more than any other justice, to destinations including Italy, Germany, and Peru. Not all of these talks were before right-of-center groups like the Federalist Society; he spoke to such left-leaning groups as the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Association of American Law Schools, and he even did an event for prominent plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Lanier.

His biggest investments: an annuity worth between $250,001 and $500,000, a trust worth between $250,001 and $500,000, and another trust worth between $500,001 and $1 million. So that’s a cool million right there, assuming they sit at the very bottom of the ranges. His most interesting investment: a rental property in Charlottesville, Virginia, perhaps dating back to his days on the UVA Law faculty. If Justice Scalia is your landlord, make sure that your lease contains as little ambiguity as possible.

3. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

Justice Kennedy earned a little more than $20,000 from teaching in 2013. The powerful swing justice continues to be one of the poorest members of the Court, listing just four investment assets worth, at most, around $700,000. But at least he enjoys liquidity, with between $250,001 and $500,000 in cash in his PNC Bank account.

4. Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Thomas might not ask many (or any) questions from the bench, but he does speak publicly — and powerfully. And sometimes he gets paid for it. In 2013, six schools paid him for teaching — and although he donated some of the money to charity, he still took home almost $27,000 in additional income. His wife, noted conservative activist Virginia Lamp Thomas, earned income in 2013 from the Daily Caller and Liberty Consulting. (It’s good that CT listed this income; he has erroneously omitted it in the past.)

5. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

She might not have matched her pal on the Court, Justice Scalia, but Justice Ginsburg did her fair share of traveling in 2013. She got reimbursed for a total of 14 different trips, including ones to Paris and the Hague. Not that she needs the reimbursement — RBG, who generally tops the SCOTUS net worth ranking, continues to hold several seven-figure investments. Listed in the $1,000,0001 to $5 million range are her TIAA/CREF retirement accounts and the Fried Frank pension of her late husband, tax-law god Martin Ginsburg. It seems that Marty Ginsburg used his tax knowledge in his own estate planning; Justice Ginsburg’s form notes the existence of a trust, worth between $500,001 and $1 million, that was created under her husband’s will and funded last year.

6. Justice Stephen G. Breyer

Fun tidbit, revealed on his form: the highly cultured Justice Breyer is a juror for the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He received almost $11,000 in book royalties, presumably for Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View and Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution (affiliate links).

The internationally oriented justice got reimbursed for a dozen trips, including ones to Norway, Sweden, and Monaco. He also got reimbursed by one David Rubenstein — we’re guessing it’s that David Rubenstein, the lawyer turned billionaire investor — for traveling to Nantucket for a wedding last August.

Justice Breyer’s biggest investments: his TIAA/CREF retirement account and a position in Pearson stock, each worth between $1,000,0001 and $5 million. He still owns that property in Nevis (where he was robbed back in 2012). In case you’re wondering, SGB does his personal banking with Bank of America, where he keeps between $50,001 and $100,000 in his checking account.

7. Justice Samuel A. Alito

Justice Alito earned $15,000 from teaching at Duke Law (where his son Philip went to law school, and a decent source of clerk talent for the justice). The somewhat shy SAA got reimbursed for a mere five trips, on the low side for SCOTUS.

He has a long list of investments, including a lot of individual stocks. His two largest single investments are accounts at PNC Bank, worth between $500,001 and $1 million, and an asset worth between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 that’s listed simply as “Estate #1.” This asset and others might represent an inheritance after the passing in February 2013 of Justice Alito’s mother (as noted by Tony Mauro).

8. Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Does Justice Sotomayor need another visit from Suze Orman? The Wise Latina is unwisely carrying balances on four different credit cards. Considering that she received nearly $2 million in advances back in 2012 for her memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link), one wonders why she still has to resort to credit card debt. She doesn’t seem to be a profligate spender; she shops at Costco, after all.

Here’s a more positive explanation: perhaps she’s carrying balances because she got 0% APR promotions on these cards. Paying interest on these credit card balances would be simply irrational, since the balances total less than $60,000, and her investment schedule reveals Citibank accounts holding between $500,001 and $1 million in cash (presumably a lot of that book advance money). The Citi accounts are her second-biggest investment; her largest investment is the million-dollar apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village, which she now rents out (at perhaps a below-market rent; it seems she earned less than $15,000 in rental income from it in 2013).

Justice Sotomayor reported no book income in 2013 (although she did note that her publisher disbursed almost $30,000 in 2013 to promote her book). Adam Liptak and Tony Mauro interpret this as evidence that sales of My Beloved World, a huge bestseller, have not yet surpassed the justice’s sizable advances.

9. Justice Elena Kagan

Justice Kagan, a former law professor and law school dean, earned $14,000 from teaching at Harvard — the college and not the law school, apparently — and $12,500 from McGeorge Law (where Justice Kennedy has taught for many years; perhaps he roped her into it). She got reimbursed for ten trips, putting her in the middle of the SCOTUS pack for speaking engagements. She seems to be a smart investor, with her wealth spread out fairly evenly over a wide range of mutual funds, including some index funds.

Taken as a group, the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are doing very well for themselves financially. They are far from the wealthiest members of the legal profession, of course, but power and fame aren’t bad consolation prizes.

Royalties and Teaching Help Fill Bank Accounts of Justices, Report Says [New York Times]
Supreme court justices earn quarter-million in cash on the side [Center for Public Integrity]
Justices’ Latest Disclosures Offer Clues to Recusals [Legal Times]

Earlier: Who Is The Richest Supreme Court Justice? A Net Worth Ranking
Does Judge Sotomayor Need A Visit from Suze Orman?
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Elena Kagan — She Already Is!
Supreme Court Justices Are Just Like Us — But Richer

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If this doesn't make you smile you're not a Winnipeger!


Four old retired men are walking down a street in Yuma , Arizona.

They turn a corner and see a sign that says, "Old Timers Bar - ALL drinks 10 cents."

They look at each other and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true.

The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, "Come on in and let me pour one for you! What'll it be, gentlemen?"

There's a fully stocked bar, so each of the men orders a martini.

In no time the bartender serves up four iced martinis shaken, not stirred and says, "That'll be 10 cents each, please."

The four guys stare at the bartender for a moment, then at each other.

They can't believe their good luck.

They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis, and order another round.

Again, four excellent martinis are produced, with the bartender again saying, “That’s 40 cents, please."

They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity gets the better of them.

They've each had two martinis and haven't even spent a dollar yet.

Finally one of them says, "How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?"

"I'm a retired tailor from Phoenix," the bartender says, "and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery Jackpot for $125 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime. Wine, liquor, beer it's all the same."

"Wow! That's some story!" one of the men says.

As the four of them sip at their martinis, they can't help noticing seven other people at the end of the bar who don't have any drinks in front of them and haven't ordered anything the whole time they've been there.

Nodding at the seven at the end of the bar, one of the men asks the Bartender, "What's with them?"

The bartender says, “They’’re retired people from Winnipeg.

They're waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half-price, plus they all have coupons..."

And the CyberSmokeBlog Golden Arse Award for most asinine comment by a Conservative politician goes to .....?

Captain Harper: "Jump Helicopter Pete Jump!"

Good Day Readers:

It was very, very difficult deciding the winner. On the one hand you had Peter MacKay who's increasingly been stepping in it while sticking his foot in his mouth and chewing it versus Vic Toews who uttered what has to be the big, honking, mother of all asinine comments when he suggested as Public Safety Minister those who opposed his highly invasive warrantless internet searches stood with the pedophiles.
"Commissioner Paulson, immediately arrest all those people over there without a warrant because they oppose my Bills C-30 and 51, therefore, they stand with the pedophiles."

Peter "The Jerk"MacKay won because of the sheer numbers of stupid comments he's been making lately. However, in recognition of "Justice No Gem's" outstanding contribution to the annals of all time political "asinineity" CyberSmokeBlog has created a special award in his honour called, The Vic Toews Caveman Award.
Congratulations recipients!

Clare L. Pieuk
Peter MacKsy's mohter's day and father's day messages raise eyebrows

Justice Minister Peter MacKay sent two very different tributes to female and male employees for Mother's Day and Father's Day this year

By Jennider Ditchburn
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Peter MacKay's message to mothers mentioned household duties while his message to fathers described them as "shaping the minds and futures of the next generation of leaders." (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press file photo)
OTTAWA—Justice Minister Peter MacKay raised eyebrows in his department with two very different tributes to female and male employees for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year.
Emails obtained by The Canadian Press show that in May, MacKay saluted mothers in the department for holding down two full-time jobs — at home and at work.
“By the time many of you have arrived at the office in the morning, you’ve already changed diapers, packed lunches, run after school buses, dropped kids off at daycare, taken care of an aging loved one and maybe even thought about dinner,” MacKay said of the women in a staff-wide memo that went out to thousands of employees before Mother’s Day.
The email didn’t get much reaction internally until the Father’s Day version arrived a month later.
It made no mention of any household duties, but said the men were “shaping the minds and futures of the next generation of leaders.”
“Needless to say, it can also be daunting to consider the immense and lifelong influence we have over our children,” MacKay wrote. “Our words, actions and examples greatly mould who they will become.
“We can only hope that the moments we spend teaching, guiding and loving them will sustain them throughout their lives.”
The Mother’s Day message does not touch on the impact the women have on their children’s futures. In both instances, MacKay referred to the fact that he is the father of a toddler.
MacKay’s office did not respond to a request for an interview or to take questions by phone.
“With regards to the messages to Department of Justice staff, the minister takes every opportunity to thank the staff for their contribution to the department and to advancing justice issues on behalf of all Canadians,” spokesperson Paloma Aguilar said in an email.
Liberal trade critic Chrystia Freeland calls the difference in the email messages striking and says they play on outdated stereotypes of parental roles.
“I think that particularly in families like the ones that were addressed by these emails . . . I simply don’t think that reflects the modern Canadian family and is demeaning to both mothers and fathers,” said Freeland.
“Both mothers and fathers change diapers and worry about dinner and both mothers and fathers, at least we try to mould the minds of our children and to set an example through our own actions.”
MacKay has faced criticism recently over comments he made on the roles of parents in the context of the dearth of female judges in Canada.
“At early childhood, there’s no question I think that women have a greater bond with their children,” he said Thursday.
The Star reported last week that MacKay rankled a group of Ontario lawyers during a private meeting when he evidently
suggested that women didn’t want to apply for judge jobs because they feared being sent out travelling on a circuit court.
On Sunday, MacKay took to Facebook to say that he did not make the comments attributed to him.
“These allegations are simply untrue and in fact the opposite of everything that I said,” MacKay wrote.
“Rather, in addressing a few dozen lawyers I took the opportunity to encourage MORE women and minorities to apply to be judges, to enable the federal government to promote them to the bench and thus to better reflect the diversity that is Canada today. That was the intent and tone of my remarks.”
Gender issues are always a factor in electoral politics. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has tried to stake territory with female voters by announcing all his candidates must commit to vote pro-choice on matters touching on abortion in the Commons.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have promised to introduce income-splitting for families. The plan would allow a family where one spouse makes much less than the other to pool earnings to reduce taxable income.
The party’s base includes many social conservatives who strongly support such a proposal, arguing it removes tax discrimination against families and would provide more economic flexibility to parents.
“Each family embraces their personal responsibilities and the challenges in their own way and I respect that,” MacKay said in his Facebook post.
“Again, this reflects the fabric that is our country and that is something we all value and share.”

CyberSmokeBlog to "The Chief: "You've been cleared you're good to go ..... remove the cuffs boys (and girls)!"

Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis

Good Day Readers:

Yesterday CyberSmokeBlog telephoned The Chief's office to inquire exactly what information is released when a criminal record check is issued. Privacy advocates are becoming increasingly concerned because some jurisdictions are including every thing including the kitchen sink - all contact a citizen has had with a police agency even though there may not have been any illegal activity whatsoever involved. The cost in both time and money to have the situation rectified can, if at all, be quite expensive.

As you can imagine this is causing completely innocent citizens untold grief at a time when the demand for record checks has been increasing exponentially as potential employers, professional associations and volunteer organizations are requiring them as standard operating procedure. Recently, the Toronto Star has published articles detailing some of the horror stories of completely innocent individuals because their police department has very bad, sloppy, tainted data hygiene practices.

A major culprit is the Toronto police but since there's no national policy as to what is in and out of bounds for criminal record check information, undoubtedly there are other jurisdictions with the same problem. But was Winnipeg one of them?. The answer from someone in Chief Clunis' office was only information on date(s) and types of conviction(s) is released.

However, there's another problem. Canadians showing up at the American border and unlawfully being denied access. The issue begins with the big, honkin, mother of all criminal data bases the Canadian Police Information Centre maintained by the RCMP in Ottawa. All police agencies flow data into it and can access the system. Each jurisdiction is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information it submits - that's not the Mounties responsibility.

Well you guessed it. The United States National Crime Information Centre and its National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System are interfaced with CPIC.

Useful Information for Aspiring Criminals

A reader contacted CSB with this informaitn:

Here is how you can get a copy of your own records You can do it online, but must visit in person with ID to pick it up. Alternatively, you can present yourself in person and then it will be mailed to you. Doing such In person is $5 less (go figure). and

What's the matter "Bunky" police got your mug shot and greasy, sticky little fingerprints on record? 

Have we got a solution for you.

Most people who may have been arrested do not realize that if a charge has been stayed, or if they have been acquitted, i.e. non-conviction, they can apply to have fingerprints and photo expunged from records. Otherwise, they are there forever.

Finally, lots more information for aspiring criminals:

Alright, Chief, you've spent enough time reading this posting. You've been cleared back to work!

Clare L. Pieuk

"Helicopter Pete" morphs into "The Jerk!"

Good Day Readers:

Have you noticed recently federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has increasingly been preforming like Steve Martin in the 1979 movie The Jerk? It seems every time you turn around he's either stepping in it or has his foot in his mouth and is chewing it.

Given Stephen Harper's penchant for choosing people of character ( Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin, Mack Harb, Mike Duffy, Bruce Carson, Arthur Porter - need more examples?), he should give "The Jerk" the Minister for the Status of Women portfolio. On second thought maybe that's not such a bad idea then the ladies could rip him to shreds.

Clare L. Pieuk
Lawyer disputes Peter MacKay's claim that women, visible minorities don't apply to be judges

When Avvy Yao-Yao Go read the federal justice minister's claim women and visible minorities are under represented on Canada's courts because they don't apply for the job, she was furious.

By Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Avvy Yao-Yao Go a Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and a practicing lawyer for 23 years, says she knows "worthy" and visible minorities who have applied to be judges.
OTTAWA—When Avvy Yao-Yao Go read Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s claim that women and visible minorities are underrepresented on Canada’s courts because they don’t apply for the job, she was furious.
Go, a director at the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and a practicing lawyer for the past 23 years, says it’s not true. She knows “worthy” candidates who have applied, and so has she.
Go submitted her name for a federal judicial appointment two years ago and again this year. She was worried by cuts to legal aid that might threaten her own job, and on another level, she says she believed it is up to visible minority lawyers to throw their hats in the ring.
But Go, who was recently named to the Order of Ontario, heard nothing back except that her application would be held “in the system” for two years. She suspects her past criticism at parliamentary committees of the Conservative government’s policies on immigration, refugees and poverty reduction mean she has no chance of an appointment.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, she took the step of going public in a letter to the Star because “I was just so pissed off” at MacKay’s comments reported in the Star.
“Perhaps MacKay is counting on the fact that most women and racial minority lawyers who have applied for judicial appointment wouldn’t dare come out to prove him wrong,” she wrote.
“So let me be the first to acknowledge that I, too, have put in an application as an act of challenge with no expectation of ever being appointed, not only because I am a woman of colour, but more importantly, because my politics are not in sync with the current government.”
Go’s comments reflected a storm of criticism that erupted after the Star reported MacKay’s response to a query about the lack of diversity on the bench.
Last Friday, he told the Ontario Bar Association in a “private” meeting that women and visible minorities “simply aren’t applying,” according to those in the audience. Then he addressed only the issue of gender, saying women fear an “old boys” network on the bench would dispatch them on circuit work to hear cases in courthouses across a region — a prospect he described as unappealing for women with children at home.
Unbowed Thursday, MacKay doubled down on his comments. “At early childhood, there’s no question I think that women have a greater bond with their children. As for more women applying to be judges we need more women applying to be judges — it’s that simple,” he told reporters.
In the Commons, the NDP and Liberal parties hammered the minister who is in charge of up to 50 appointments a year to senior trial and appellate courts across Canada.
The Liberals called his remarks sexist and demanded an apology, while the NDP’s Megan Leslie said she wasn’t seeking an apology but a clear plan of action to increase the numbers of women and visible minorities on the bench.
MacKay insisted his remarks had been “mischaracterized” as sexist and said the government was not solely responsible for advancing the cause of underrepresented groups.
“With respect to minorities and women being promoted to the judiciary, I think we can all agree that government of course plays an important role in that, but so, too, do law schools, so, too, do law societies. That is exactly the message I was bringing to the Ontario Bar Association.”
Lai-King Hum, president of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, said MacKay’s stance is “shocking,” especially since she formally wrote him and his office about the issue last month.
Neither MacKay, his office, nor the commission for federal judicial affairs ever responded to the Federation’s concerns, Hum said Thursday.
The federal government is responsible for the more than 1,100 judges who sit on federally appointed courts in Canada.
While it tracks the number of applications overall, it does not document publicly how many are from applicants who represent visible minority populations, nor does it publish the number of sitting visible minority judges. It does, however, document the number of women: 382 out of an overall total of about 1,100 sitting judges.
The federal judicial affairs office website indicates Ottawa makes about 40-50 federal judicial appointments a year, and received about 500 applications in 2011-2012.
It said the applications are screened and ready for vetting by the 17 judicial advisory committees across Canada within about three months. They may be held on file for two years, at which point applicants must re-apply.
University of Ottawa law professor Rosemary Cairns-Way has compiled figures, suggesting there is a “pattern of deliberate disregard” for diversity on the bench.
Cairns-Way told a symposium in Ottawa last month that she looked at 107 federal judicial appointments between April 2012 and May 2014, of which she said 90 were white. She could not reach a conclusion on the racial background of 16 and just one was a “racialized person.”
By combining her data and information in a report in the Globe and Mail two years ago, she said she concluded just three of 191 federal judicial appointments in the past five years across Canada were non-white judges.
Lawyer Douglas Grenkie, a past president of the Ontario bar association and a member of provincial judicial advisory committees for more than 16 years, said he had asked MacKay at last Friday’s meeting if the government would agree to be bound by the list of candidates submitted by the federal judicial advisory committees, as is the case with provincial court nominees.
Grenkie said the provincial court process is superior to the secretive federal one because it involves face-to-face interviews with would-be judges, a broad-based screening panel which almost always comes up with unanimous recommendations on the best candidates.