Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lawyers always win even when they lose - Lori Douglas' pension?

Good Day Readers:

That comment was prompted by yesterday's announcement the Douglas Inquiry will finally reconvene beginning in late October along with a couple anonymous e-mail CyberSmokeBlog received from readers earlier this week.

The first simply asked what's happening with Ms Douglas' platinum-edged pension plan and benefits package while she's effectively on hold citing the following:

Prorated Annuities — Early Retirement
Marginal note: Fifty-five years of age and ten years in office

43.1 (1) The Governor in Council shall grant to a judge who has attained the age of fifty-five years, who has continued in judicial office for at least ten years and who elects early retirement, at the option of the judge, an immediate annuity or a deferred annuity, calculated in accordance with this section.

CSB are not Philadelphia lawyers so it doesn't know but it does raise a most interesting question.

Manitoba Queen's Bench and the Canadian Judicial Council have been "Coy"

"Coy" is code for evasive and not forthcoming. Have either organization addressed that question publicly anywhere? Don't think so. Recall, when Complainant Alex Chapman went public back on August, 2010 all you were told is she had been reassigned administrative duties doing what God only knows. Perhaps sharping pencils for the other Queen's Bench Justices? A little later after that she was now on administrative leave but what about her pension and benefits?

You have a Right to Know

Whether a federally appointed Justice is on administrative leave or suspended regardless of how it is defined from a financial perspective it matters not. You are investing a lot of money in someone who''s doing z-e-r-o to earn their keep. Is she allowed to continue to make contributions to her pension and benefits plan? Don't Know. While on administrative leave does this time count as pensionable time? Don't know.

This becomes relevant when you consider the readers quote. Appointed in 2005 she's closing in on the 10 year requirement to draw a pension which even if partial would be a lot more than 99% of the population will ever see in this lifetime and the next one and the next one. CyberSmokeBlog was under the mistaken impression the minimum requirement was 15 years. Has the golden pot been sweetened even more? Those Justices sure know how to look after themselves!

The Mike Duffy Act

In last Spring's federal budget legislation was introduced to prevent Mike Duffy et. al. from accruing pensionable time while under suspension. Lori Douglas is a federal employee so why should it not apply equally to her?

Deny, Deny, Deny - Delay, Delay, Delay - Obfuscate, Obfuscate, Obfuscate

Given the incredible time it's taken the Canadian Judicial Council to get its .... together, it's entirely possible if allowed to accrue pensionable time Lori Douglas could have accumulated the necessary 10 years to lay claim to at least a partial pension and very rich benefits package. Assuming that's the case is that a strategy of her taxpayer financed defence team?

The Canadian Judicial Council is Impotent

Why oh why doesn't the CJC have in place a rule, regulation, bylaw that says something like, "A federally appointed Justice or Judge if under investigation for alleged misconduct while able to collect their full salary cannot accrue pensionable time." Otherwise it's rewarding someone for doing nothing to earn their taxpayer salary while tending their garden? Getting full salary is more than generous enough.

Another reason the The Council lacks balls is because there's no citizen/civilian oversight - judges judging judges, police investigating police, etc. It's a system designed for lawyers, of lawyers and by lawyers.

What's next for Lori Douglas?

CyberSmokeBlog sees 6 options:

(1) She returns to Queen's Bench - hard to envision

(2) Resigns. Given her salary over the years unless she has burned through money like an army of drunken sailors she should be able to retire to live comfortably secure in the knowledge she need never work another day

(3) Don't forget if The Council recommends her removal it has to be passed by an act of Parliament. But hold on. According to University of Manitoba administrative law professor Karen Busby she could appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to review the decision. It has the final say whether it does so or not. More taxpayer money down the drain?

(4) Work for BigLaw Winnipeg although she may be too radioactive

(5) Start her own law firm

(6) Become a media celebrity a la Rob Ford. Write a book, host a television show focusing on the law, etc., etc., etc.

If you can shed any light on Lori Douglas' pensionable time scenario, please contact CyberSmokeBlog. It will respect your anonymity should you so choose.

The Second Very Insightful Reader Comment

In speaking of Canada's judicial system the reader wrote:

"To me it is now clear why no one - absolutely no one - is prepared to take what we think are the obvious initiatives. It's like an enormous dam holding back a vast reservoir of corruption. Every now and then there's a little spill which is ultimately cleaned up and forgotten.

That is the way it has been for a very long time. But something fundamental has recently changed. Ordinary people with no special connections are now able to dig beneath the foundations of the dam and that's what we are doing. Like every other 'professional' lawyers are connected and, therefore, compromised. From what I have personally seen it is apparent that all lawyers are compromised. So I wouldn't count on Douglas speaking out after her situation is finally resolved."

The only exception is Rocco Galati otherwise the rest of the legal community is anally fixated on its almighty billable hours.

Clare L. Pieuk  


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