Good Day Readers:
One comment in National Post
columnist Christie Blatchford's article caught CyberSmokeBlog's
attention. In describing Lori Douglas' treatment by the Judicial Selection Committee that recommended her appointment and later by the judges and lawyers of the Inquiry stated in part, "..... they collectively have prosecuted and persecuted her." Huh?
Here's what stuck in CSB's
(1) How long has she been on administrative leave now (Over 3-years?) at full salary (approximately $288,000) plus
an eye popping benefits package plus
access to a judicial expense fund - just ask Manitoba Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal about that one. Further, the Conservatives (Tony Clement) is on the public record as saying the Harper government will introduce legislation to block suspended senators from accumulating pensionable time while their fate is being decided. Should the same not apply to Ms Douglas?
(2) Taxpayers are paying for all her "defence team's" legal costs which must be well into the $100,000's by now for which they have received exactly what save for some juicy, salacious Inquiry testimony?
(3) She's in no danger whatsoever of going to jail. The worst that could happen? She gets tossed out on her arse which would not be the end of the world. Using the Rob Ford business model, she could become a one person self-promotion corporate conglomerate: eventually write a kiss and tell book sell the movie rights; give paid speeches; write regular articles for a national newspaper or two a la Conrad Black; guest appearances on television shows - hell, even her own television show - she could end up earning more than she did as a Justice. Thank you very much taxpayers! How many of you would like to be proprosecuted and persecuted in this way?
Then along comes "Uncle" Vic who has to be the poster child for advanced FJSR. Thanks guys for making Winnipeg its capital. Perhaps Ricky of Trailer Park
Boys said it best when he said to Julian, "The system (of selecting federal judges) is totally ....ed!"
So, Readers, when do you figure Season II of the award winning series The Inquiry
will get underway?
Clare L. Pieuk
Christie Blatchford: The rot in Canada's system of picking federal judges
Monday, April 23, 2014
Manitoba Judges Lori Douglas and former MP and Justice Minister Vic Toews.
(Handout: Sean Kilptrick/The Canadian Press
It’s funny, but the letters recently released by the Canadian Judicial
Council in the Lori Douglas matter reveal the real rot in the system — and it
has little to do with the so-called “naked judge” scandal.
The rot is in the arrogance of lawyers and judges who perpetrate the fiction
that the Canadian system of picking federal judges (which means not just those
on the Supreme Court, but also the 1,115 superior and appeal court judges in
every province and territory) is pristine and brilliant.
Rather, as the appointments of Manitoba judges Douglas (2005) and the more
recent one of former MP and justice minister Vic Toews (2014) illustrate, the
system is inherently political, secretive and riven with cronyism.
That it may sometimes also result in a brilliant appointment — and both of
those I mention may qualify as such some day — is but a happy accident.
Associate Chief Justice Douglas, of course, is the judge whose husband, Jack
King, in mid-mental breakdown posted bedroom pictures of her on a hard-core porn
website and then tried to solicit a client to have sex with her — all without
her consent or knowledge, as he has long admitted, she has always insisted and
the evidence tends to support.
That client, one Alex Chapman, first attempted in 2003 to blackmail Mr. King
(with some success, in that Mr. King paid him $25,000 to go away), and then, his
natural conspiratorial bent encouraged by his own lawyer, seven years later
launched a complaint against Judge Douglas, who by then was a rising star on the
It is evidence in that complaint that an inquiry committee of the Canadian
Judicial Council began hearing in the summer of 2012.
The committee’s fairness to the judge quickly became a huge issue and the
whole thing careened off the rails, with independent counsel Guy Pratte
resigning (and with the CJC’s release of its correspondence with Mr. Pratte,
with good reason) that fall, and the members of the inquiry committee following
suit more than a year later.
(The CJC had argued the letters were sacred and covered by solicitor-client
privilege, bizarre since the role of Mr. Pratte as “independent counsel” was to
be independent, and that it was above judicial scrutiny. A federal court judge
found there was no solicitor-client relationship and ordered the release of the
letters. The CJC released the letters, but in the context of an announcement
that it was appealing the decision — in other words, the CJC still believes it
was right. Oh yes, as an added fillip, the CJC also wants the new inquiry
committee to get cracking and says, despite its appeal, the hearing should
The most critical allegation against Judge Douglas is that she failed to
properly disclose this black cloud when she applied for the bench. She answered
no to a question on the form that asked if there was anything in the past or
present that could reflect negatively on her.
But the fact is, as no less than former Manitoba Court of Appeal Judge Martin
Freedman testified at the hearings, and he was the chair of Manitoba’s Judicial
Advisory Committee or JAC at the time, the committee nonetheless had a
discussion of Ms. Douglas’s, as she then was, hideous situation.
That discussion included the fact that she was an excellent lawyer; that
there had been this incident involving photographs of “a sexual nature”; that
she herself “was an innocent … victim in this situation” and that though Judge
Freedman and the others naively believed the offending pictures had been
permanently removed from the Internet, the committee decided to “flag” the
matter to the justice minister’s attention, just in case.
"The entire process — from the appointment of the JAC members to how
candidates apply to how they are okayed or not — is opaque and
Now, not all those on the committee at the time remembered the discussion as
having been as explicit as Mr. Freedman did, but he was the Chair, and he did
have at least a procedural note to rely upon.
And at bottom, the committee recommended Ms. Douglas be appointed, though, in
a lovely bit of punch-pulling, they didn’t “highly recommend” her, as they had
As for Mr. Toews, whose appointment to the bench was widely rumoured as
likely even back in 2012, he too first would have been okayed by the Manitoba
Judicial Advisory Committee.
The members of this JAC are different from those who chose Lori Douglas, but
as with their predecessors, they are either representatives of the Canadian Bar
Association, the Law Society of Manitoba or the
judiciary (one member each),
more recently the law enforcement community (one member), with the remainder
well-connected with the political establishment of the day (one member appointed
by the provincial justice minister, three by the federal justice minister).
In 2005, when Judge Douglas got the thumbs-up, the JAC members were
well-connected to the federal Liberals; in 2014, when Judge Toews was appointed,
they’re connected to the federal Tories.
In her case, at least two members (the chair, Judge Freedman, and a member
whose memory of the discussion accords with his) knew in some detail about the
scandal in her — or rather, her husband’s — background, and all of them knew the
bare bones of it, and yet they gave her the nod anyway.
In Judge Toews’ case, they knew that the appointment broke with the
convention of waiting two years after a person leaves government, and did it
anyway, in eight months.
And the entire process — from the appointment of the JAC members to how
candidates apply to how they are okayed or not — is opaque and mysterious.
(They do things much better for the provincial court in Ontario, where
vacancies are advertised and candidates actually interviewed.).
In other words, the world of lawyers and judges welcomed Lori Douglas into
their club knowing full well the baggage she carried. Once that baggage became
public, however, it was off with her head; they collectively have prosecuted and
The system — the breathtaking arrogance of those within in, from the CJC to
the JAC and all the acronyms in between — is the abject failure in this