Sunday, March 29, 2015

The day Beverley McLachlin et. al whacked Vic!

Good Day Readers:

The changes Vic Toews made while federal Justice Minister to the process by which federal judges are appointed made his selection a slam dunk which his time came.

First, they turned the Queen's Bench representative on the Manitoba Judicial Advisory Committee into a eunuch by taking away their vote. Next as Mary Welch of the Winnipeg Free Press pointed out it allowed him to stack the Committee with his supporters making the outcome a foregone conclusion. Makes you wonder why the Committee even bothered meeting. Jezus they must think you're stupid.

Mr. Toews is an exemplary example of what Mark Twain once said, "Do as I say and not as I do."

Clare L. Pieuk
Top judges rebuke Tories

Kirk Makin/Justice Reporter
Friday, March 17, 2009

Beverley McLachlin, Canada's Chief Justice, along with a powerful council of the country's top judges issued an unprecedented rebuke yesterday to Justice Minister Vic Toews for hatching a plan to arbitrarily change the way judges are chosen.

The Canadian Judicial Council expressed dismay that Mr. Toews is planning to introduce "significant changes to the composition and functioning of the Judicial Advisory Committees," secret groups which are set up in each region to vet candidates for the 1,100 federal judgeships across the country.

Chief Justice McLachlin, who chairs the council, urged Mr. Toews to include the judiciary and key legal bodies in any discussion of changes to the committee vetting process.

The first hint of what the government may be planning came this week, when Mr. Toews told a Winnipeg newspaper that police representatives will be put on the judicial advisory committees.

Chief Justice McLachlin called on the minister to initiate an immediate process of consultation on the proposed changes within the judiciary, Canadian Bar Association, the law societies and other interested parties. "We believe this is necessary to protect the interests of all Canadians in an independent advisory process for judicial appointments," she said.

Mr. Toews said, however, that "the law-enforcement process is a very important aspect of the justice system and to date, they have been underrepresented in that process. We are getting all the names in place so that this can commence fairly quickly."

The council, an august body composed of the chief justices and associate chief justices of every superior court in the country, said "the Council is concerned that these changes, if made, will compromise the independence of the Advisory Committees."

It specifically criticized the government for breaking with long-established convention and bypassing prior consultation with the council and top legal bodies. It urged Mr. Toews not to put any plans into place until "meaningful consultation" has taken place.

The council's rebuke is certain to send shockwaves through the legal establishment, where the function and makeup of the regional committees is a much-debated issue.

"Three cheers to the judicial council for blowing the whistle on this," said Peter Russell, a retired University of Toronto political scientist who has written extensively on the judicial appointments process. "It is good if they try to reform the system, but not in a way that totally undermines the integrity of the whole process."

Frank Addario, vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, said senior judges are put in an uncomfortable position "when they have to reproach the Minister of Justice publicly for breaking with convention."

Operating in tight secrecy, the regional advisory committees consider applications from lawyers with 10 years of experience who are seeking federal judgeships. Committee members make discreet inquiries and delve into matters such as a nominee's legal track record and community involvement.

Mr. Russell said the committees are typically composed of five senior members: one nominated by the federal government; one by the chief justice of the province; one from the provincial bar association or law society; one from the provincial government; and a lay member.

They rank nominees as being very qualified, qualified or not qualified. The federal government is then free to choose from the large pools of judges who have been vetted in each region. They almost always choose someone in the qualified or very qualified category.

Mr. Toews also said the government plans to move to a simple pass or fail rating for judicial nominees. A spokesman for his office could not be reached last night.

"That is a transparent attempt to broaden his discretion and reduce the power of the committees," Mr. Addario of the criminal-lawyers group said last night. "Inevitably, you get more patronage and less qualified appointments."

Mr. Addario said there is nothing wrong with broadening the composition of the committees if it is done fairly. The problem, he said, "is that the minister has singled out one particular viewpoint for favour, suggesting he wants to appoint judges who will arrive with an agenda."

The main criticism of the current vetting system has not been the composition of the committees, but how the government chooses from the pools of candidates it has ranked. Successive governments have appointed judges from those who are merely qualified, ignoring some of those ranked as highly qualified.

It is far too easy for marginal candidates to be ranked as qualified, Mr. Russell said. "Right now, they just screen out the utterly incompetent," he said. "If you are in Kingston Penitentiary or something like that, you don't make the list, but that's about it."

Most of those pushing for reform insist that the government should be obliged to choose only from the pool of candidates ranked as very qualified.
A patronage critic on Queen's Bench
A panel stacked with backers elevates Toews

By Mary Welch
Saturday, March 8, 2014
As Canada's Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews backed a controversial online surveillance bill and mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of fire arms crimes. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press Files)

He was once a relentless critic of patronage appointments to the bench, pummelling the Liberals for choosing Grit-friendly judges.

Now, after nearly six years of speculation, former Conservative cabinet minister Vic Toews has been named to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench, thanks to a vetting system he helped create and a committee stacked with his supporters.


"Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government has allowed judges to become the most powerful force in setting social policy in Canada. Whether it is by allowing convicted murders to vote or by changing fundamental institutions like marriage, this government has substituted the supremacy of an elected Parliament with unelected judges."

- House of Commons, February 23, 2004, speaking as Opposition justice critic

"Mr. Speaker, the point is this so-called independent panel does the screening for the minister. It checks Liberal credentials before he gets to see them. The minister may say that he has no knowledge of this, but the system has been set up to ensure that it is Liberals who make it to this final panel. If there is no truth to these allegations, why does he not refer the matter to the Judicial Council for a full hearing? This is a clear way to clean up this cloud on Canadian judges."

-House of Commons, May 4, 2005, speaking as Opposition justice critic about Liberal judicial appointments

"Mr. Speaker, Canadians understand that this is a Liberal process, controlled by Liberals, for Liberals... When will the minister finally agree to an independent judicial appointments process that is transparent and public?"

-- House of Commons, May 17, 2005, speaking as Opposition justice critic about Liberal judicial appointments

"I have heard sufficient testimony that leads me to the conclusion that if we change the definition of marriage, it will have an impact on other rights. I am also confident that there are ways to address equality concerns without changing the definition of marriage. That is the Canadian way. That is what Canadians support. They support equality, but they also support this basic institution."

- House of Commons, June 27, 2005, speaking as Opposition justice critic on same-sex marriage

"We are proposing measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide the police with the lawful tools that they need. He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

- House of Commons, Feb. 14, 2012, speaking as public safety minister to a Liberal MP questioning a Conservative online surveillance bill

"We are very concerned about the courts doing that, because illegal firearms - especially those smuggled in from the United States... Minimum prison sentences are absolutely essential to create a strong deterrent against that kind of activity."

- Golden West Radio, July 17, 2012, speaking as public safety minister chiding judges who struck down mandatory minimum penalties for gun crimes

"I'm not going to the Senate, I'm not retiring, I'm not going to the bench. I'm not leaving politics."

- Quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, Jan. 19, 2010, on rumours of a judicial appointment

"I keep hearing all the time that I'm retiring, and your newspaper is the one that keeps on saying it... Also, I have to sort of shrug my shoulders and say, 'You must know something that I don't know.' That's all I can say."

-- Quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, July 2012, on rumours of a judicial appointment


Vic Toews appointed to Court of Queen's Bench

Toews gets his medal as a loyal Tory soldier

Toews replaces Justice Donald Bryk in the court's general division, which hears criminal and some civil cases. Toews' appointment was announced Friday and sparked questions not only about the appointment process but also about Toews' ability to be impartial and fair, given his vocal support for the Conservatives' tough-on-crime agenda and his disdain for judicial activism.

Kate Kehler, Acting Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba, said the presumption of innocence has already been eroded by lengthy stays in remand before trial.

"And now we have a federal appointment to the Queen's Bench of a former Public Safety Minister who, while in that role, espoused often extreme views that other legal experts, such as the Canadian Bar Association, noted were not based in evidence," she said.

As Attorney General and then Public Safety Minister, Toews was a vocal proponent of mandatory minimum sentences, the elimination of house arrest for some crimes and tougher rules for repeat offenders.

Many at Winnipeg's Law Courts reacted to the appointment with raised eyebrows Friday, with some questioning the optics of it, given Toews' well-established views. None would go on record, most loath to criticize a judge they will likely appear before.

Winnipeg lawyer Evan Roitenberg, who sits on the Board of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, said he expects Toews will do what all judges must -- evaluate evidence in a fair and independent manner.

"What people did in their past positions generally should be forgotten when they go to the bench," he said.

Toronto lawyer Bill Trudell, National Chairman of the Defence Lawyers Council, echoed Roitenberg's views, saying he expects Toews to honour the office by behaving impartially.

"Once someone becomes a judge, it's a new role, it's a new world. Whatever their political affiliation was before, whatever stances they took before, it would be expected those would be parked," Trudell said.

Lawyers often don't know what personal biases are at play when they appear before a judge. In Toews' case, his views are well-known, Trudell said.

"At least we know where he's coming from and can confront it in arguments," he said.

Toews resigned from Parliament last summer after prolonged speculation he was angling for a judicial appointment. In recent years, multiple sources have suggested Prime Minister Stephen Harper favoured a cooling-off period before Toews could be considered for a judgeship. While in opposition, Toews hounded the Liberal government over its judicial-appointment process, accusing then-justice minister Irwin Cotler of exploiting a "Liberal process, controlled by Liberals, for Liberals," and stacking the bench with party supporters.

When he became attorney general following the 2006 election, Toews made three key changes to the judicial-appointment system, most of which did little to make theprocess less secretive, said University of Guelph Political Scientist Troy Riddell, who studies judicial appointments.

Toews added a police representative to the advisory panel that vets potential judges in each province, a move condemned by many, including national lawyers' groups and the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

In Manitoba, it resulted in longtime Winnipeg Police Association President Mike Sutherland's appointment to the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Manitoba, where he still serves.

Toews also changed the way the Provincial Advisory Committees forward possible appointments to the Justice Minister. Before, would-be judges could be recommended, not recommended or highly recommended. That allowed the committee to clearly highlight superior legal minds, perhaps above political affiliation.

Now, recommendations are made to the federal justice minister based on a simpler designation, either recommended or not recommended. What other names are in the mix are kept secret, so it's not clear who Toews might have beat out for the Queen's Bench appointment.

Also in 2006, Toews stripped the Chair of the Advisory Committees -- in Manitoba, currently Queen's Bench Justice Brenda Keyser - of voting rights.

Currently, the majority of voting members on Manitoba's Judicial Advisory Committee have close ties to Toews.

Marni Larkin is a top Conservative strategist who ran the party's last provincial campaign, served on the party's national council and quarterbacked several local riding races. Ken Lee is a senior strategist and fundraiser for the provincial party. John Tropak, a Winnipeg video-store owner, has donated at least $5,400 to the Conservative party in recent years and was rumoured to be a contender for a Senate appointment. And Mike Sutherland has been a Toews ally. Toews awarded Sutherland a Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 and last year appointed him to the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee.

Toews will make $288,000 as a Queen's Bench judge and is also eligible for a federal pension worth $79,000 annually and a provincial pension for his five years as a provincial MLA.

While an MLA running for re-election in the 1999 race, Toews violated the province's Election Finances Act. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to spending more than the allowable limit and was fined $500.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2014

OMG! OMG! Rocco Galati please save Canadians from Vic Toews!

"Rocco! Rocco! Rocco! ..... "
Good Day Readers:

You have to admit the Harper government has done some pretty stupid things in its days but appointing Vic Toews Manitoba's red neck (Sorry prairie grain farmers!), rogue embarrassment would take the cake. With these latest revelations he's making the failed Marc Nadon appointment look pretty good.

Supreme Court of Canada Justice? OMG! OMG! Wouldn't it be classic if Stephen Harper were that stupid and Mr. Galati had to again step in to save us? If anyone deserves to be a Supreme Court Justice it's Rocco!

Ever wonder what would happen if some group or individual were to file a formal request with the Canadian Judicial Council that it review/investigate his suitability/appropriateness to continue to sit as a Queen's Bench Justice given his past and current transgressions coupled with a selection process that was severely flawed?

Since complainants can remain anonymous ..... humm? Imagine the consternation it would cause the CJC given it's already labouring under a seriously broken business model as the Douglas Inquiry clearly demonstrated.

Where is Mr. Galati when the country really needs him?

Clare L. Pieuk
Perspectives and Politics Editor
Shannon Sampert (204) 697-7269\

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Page A14

Toews is back in court of public opinion
The jury is still our on Justice Vic Toews. Slightly more than a year ago, the former Manitoba Conservative politician was appointed to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench. It was a controversial appointment to say the least, particularly since Mr. Toews himself had criticized patronage appointments of judges when he sat in Opposition. With Mr. Toews' own appointment to the high court just six months after he resigned from politics, many pundits saw this as a misstep by a government with a clear law-and-order agenda tainting the bench with an ethically questionable appointment.

This question of ethics continues to hover over Mr. Toews; in his judicial career his short-lived career as a lobbyist and in his political career. For one who seems to ready to commit others to a very high standard, Mr. Toews seems quite content to look the other way when his own ethical judgment is wanting.

First he broke the law in 1999 when he violated Manitoba's Election Financing Act by spending more than the law allowed duing the provincial election campaign. His excuse? It was the campaign workers' fault. It was the provincial Tories fault. It wasn't him.

Fine, it's not a criminal conviction. It carries with it no record, but one wonders if the shoe had been on the other foot and it was a Liberal in the same situation, would Toews not have been first on his feet, jabbing his finger in the air and questioning the optics?

This past week, it was determined Mr. Toews is now having his sizable, taxpayer-funded paycheque garnisheed because he didn't pay the rent for a condo he lived in while an MP. Mr. Toews ignored a tribunal's order to pay up. His excuse? He didn't understand the contents of the judgment because they were written in French. For someone who's had a lot of experience with legal documents (a precursor for serving as a Queen's Bench judge), you have to wonder about that one - particularly since the document had "DECISION" in its headline. That's pretty easy to translate.

And of course, still hanging over Mr. Toews' head is an ethics investigation. Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is investigating a possible conflict-of-interest violation in connection with his dealings with a lawyer from Peguis First Nation shortly after Mr. Toews left government. No excuses so far from Mr. Toews as the investigation continues.

So here's the big question: Does Mr. Toews respect the rule of law in Canada? While he certainly has not broken any criminal laws, so far he has snubbed his nose at other laws with alarmingly bad excuses. And will this have an effect on his future as a potential Supreme Court of Canada appointment, which many have rumoured he could be?

Perhaps. Certainly now is the time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fully consider his options to replace Justice Marshall Rothstein who will hit the mandatory retirement age this Christmas.

Let's face it. Mr. Harper's last appointment - Suzanne Cote - was again controversial because it was done with zero transparency. Moreover, she seemed to have little experience being named to the bench fresh out of private practice. And recall the failed appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court in 2014 after he was determined to be ineligible for the job by the Supreme Court, which led to a nasty fight between the Prime Minister and Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

There is no requirement for Mr. Toews to step down, but he certainly brings more controversy , particularly here in Manitoba where we're still reeling from the ethical concerns about Lori Douglas's appointment to the Queens' Bench, who finally resigned from her position, but not before intimate details of her sex life were trotted out in a protracted investigation.

This is simply another controversy we don't need.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Anyone seen "Tricky Vic?"

Good Day Readers:

Was at The Law Courts today but didn't see "Justice" Toews on the daily docket, Jezus, hope he hasn't self-destructed yet! Thought for sure he'd be in court throwing the book at someone for not paying their rent and garnishing their wages. Or what about hearing a case involving illegal lobbying? Perhaps he's still looking for that hacker group Anonymous in a haystack for those half dozen embarrassing YouTube videos that remain on the internet.

"I know you're in there! Come out Anonymous with your hands up or I'll call CSIS and the RCMP!"

You have to like Dan "Sleepy" Lett's line,, "He gives patronage a bad name. The Harper government should be thanking the stars he's no longer a cabinet minister.

Clare L. Pieuk
A penchant to self-destruct in full view
Toews hasn't changed at all

By Dan Lett
Friday, March 27, 2015
Vic Toews was sworn in as a Queen's Bench Justice in May 2014. Before that he was a cabinet minister at both the federal and provincial levels. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

You can say a lot of things about Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vic Toews.

You could certainly say Toews was a successful politician, serving as a cabinet minister at both the federal and provincial levels.

You could also say he was frequently, consistently newsworthy, channelling his blustery, verbose personality into some of the best partisan political rhetoric ever heard in federal and provincial politics in this country.

You could also fairly conclude he was a prominent beneficiary of patronage, retiring from politics and receiving a judicial appointment to the Court of Queen's bench.

Finally, you could point out that throughout his political and personal life, Toews has had a penchant for self-destructive behaviour.

This penchant has been on display over the last week with the eruption of two stories that confirm his long, personal history of questionable judgment.
It has long been known that for a very public man, Toews has, at times, led a messy existence

This week, we learned Toews will be investigated by the federal ethics commissioner for lobbying work performed during the six months following his retirement from politics and before his judicial appointment.

Toews did consulting work for the Peguis First Nation, with which he had dealings during his years in the federal cabinet, a fact that raises questions.

And then on Thursday, we learned Toews has had his wages garnisheed under an order from a Quebec tribunal for failing to pay thousands of dollars in back rent on a Gatineau condominium.

Toews claimed he did not pay the back rent because he could not understand the tribunal's order and supporting documents, which were written in French.

The judge who issued the garnishment order noted Toews was a lawyer and a former federal attorney general. "More than anyone, he should be in a position to understand the respect and attention that should be paid to a document titled 'Decision,' the judge wrote.

For those of us who have followed Toews' career, none of this is very surprising.

It has long been known that for a very public man, Toews has, at times, led a messy existence.

He pleaded guilty to exceeding 1999 election spending limits while a provincial politician. Toews claimed he ran afoul of the limits because of decisions made by the Manitoba Progressive Conservative campaign to run certain expenses through his riding. Still, he could have settled the matter quietly to avoid media attention. Instead, he fought it all the way to court before pleading guilty and paying a $500 fine.

The same appetite to make a bad situation worse was on display in his divorce a few years ago.

Toews worked to keep details of his failed marriage from public view. He had fathered a child with a Tory staffer.

However, despite having a lot to lose from the publicity, Toews managed his divorce proceedings in a way that attracted publicity.

At one point, he fired his lawyer and began to act on his own behalf. This slowed proceedings, prompting his ex-wife to file documents detailing a history of infidelity.

The file of self-inflicted wounds goes on. In 2010, he was caught failing to declare pension income earned while he worked as a Manitoba Crown attorney. In 2008, while still a minister, it was learned he had applied for a federal judicial appointment, a bid that caused even more headaches for the Harper government.

Frankly, Toews is doing no favours for the federal Conservatives who, against a lot of advice and a risk of political blowback in Manitoba, helped him obtain the federal judicial appointment he desired.

Setting aside a job like this for a former cabinet minister, just six months after he left federal politics, is more than a little risky for a sitting government.

How has Toews rewarded his former political colleagues? From the moment he left government, he has acted in a way that has invited criticism.

He has raised the spectre he violated ethics guidelines by lobbying on behalf of a First Nation he dealt with while in cabinet.

And he ignored an order requiring him to pay back rent until he was forced to endure the humiliation of a garnishee order.

Not all political patronage is unfair. There are many times when good people are rewarded for a job well done with an appointment to a job they deserve. But then there are patronage plums handed out to politicians such as the former MP for Provencher.

That could be Toews' political epitaph: He gave patronage a bad name.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2015 A4

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A midnight move ..... busted and now garnished!

Good Day Readers:

Did "Tricky Vic" try to stiff a former landlord for Mickey Mouse money but got caught?

Clare L. Pieuk
Toews' salary to be docked
Garnishee order issued against Manitoba judge

By Mia Rabson
Friday, March 27, 2015

Vic Toews a current judge and former justice minister has been ordered to pay $3,900 to a former Quebec landlord. An order has been issued to garnishee his salary. (Mia Rabson/Winnipeg Free Press)

OTTAWA -- An order has been issued to garnishee the salary of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vic Toews to cover rent he didn't pay for a Quebec apartment he once lived in.

The order for $3,900 came from a Quebec residential rentals tribunal judge on March 18. That judge dismissed Toews' request for the judgment to be dismissed, saying the appeal was filed too late.

Vic Toews (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The tribunal judge chastised Toews for claiming he didn't read the judgment when he got it in December because it was written in French.

The decision stems from a dispute between Toews and his former landlord in Gatineau, Quebec, over whether the lease was monthly or yearly.

On Thursday, Toews' office said he had no comment.

"More than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision.' " ..... Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon against Vic Toews, above), in a dispute over rent for a Gatneau, Quebec apartment (above).

'More than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and the attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision' "

-- Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon in his ruling against Vic Toews (left), in a dispute over rent for a Gatineau, Que., apartment (above)

In legal documents filed in February with the Regie du Logement and obtained by the Free Press, Toews' Montreal legal team argued he signed the original lease in 2010 as an annual lease, but the building's manager agreed that after the first year, the lease would convert to a month-to-month deal.

He notified the landlord of his intention to end the lease in July 2013 when he announced he was leaving politics. At that time, the landlord said the lease was not monthly and said Toews would need to pay the remainder of the lease.

Toews' lawyers said he believed the dispute was settled when he agreed to pay the full rent for August even though he believed he wasn't legally required to do so.

In addition to the agreement to shift to a monthly lease, Toews told the landlord in a letter in July 2013 he could terminate the lease because the landlord hadn't made requested repairs to a leaky toilet and a broken window, and the building was unsafe for him because of surrounding gang activity and the fact he would no longer have RCMP protection after he left cabinet.

"For that reason alone, even if there was a yearly lease, I would be entitled to end the tenancy because you are not providing me with the appropriate security that I should expect in a building of this nature," Toews wrote.

On August 1, 2013, a cheque for $1,300 was sent from the numbered Manitoba company owned by Toews' wife, Stacy Meek, and that cheque was cashed.

A month later, landlord Raymond Desmarais filed a complaint with the Regie du Logement asking for it to order Toews to pay the additional three months' rent owing from an annual lease, totalling $3,900.

Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon ruled in Desmarais' favour and in November 2013, ordered Toews to pay the landlord $3,900 in back rent, as well as interest and $78 in legal fees.

Gagnon's responses, both written and spoken, were translated from French.

Toews' lawyers told the tribunal he knew nothing of the complaint, the hearing nor the judgment against him. He filed proof, showing a copy of the decision sent to a Winnipeg address at which Toews hasn't lived for more than a decade. Had Toews known about the hearing, he would have contested it, the document says.

In December 2014, Toews received a letter from a collection agency, naming Desmarais as the creditor. Toews didn't recognize the name and thought it was a mistake or fraud. Documents with the letter were in French, and since Toews doesn't speak French, he didn't read them.

About a month later, he was told "to his great surprise" by his payroll department that it had been ordered to garnishee his wages due to the November 2013 rental board decision.

On February 2, Toews filed a request to have the judgment dismissed. On March 18, Gagnon refused.

Gagnon said Toews' claim he didn't know about the ruling until the garnishee notice was not acceptable because he had received a copy of the judgment and the letter from the collections agency. The fact the judgment was in French and Toews doesn't speak French is not an acceptable argument for not figuring out a letter marked "Decision" was important, Gagnon wrote.

As a lawyer, a judge and a former cabinet minister, "more than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and the attention that should be assigned to a document titled 'Decision,' " Gagnon wrote.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2015 A3

What's the French word for "decision" Justice Toews?

Good Day Readers:

That's right it's exactly the same in English save for the acute accent (l'accent aigue) over the "e." Talk about lame/feeble excuses! Can hardly wait until there's a rental payment dispute case before him so he can throw the book at the accused.

Clare L. Pieuk
Quebec judge calls Toews to task over ignoring letter from former landlord

Former Minister of Justice owes thousands in unpaid rent, interest

By Mia Rabson
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vic Toews (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press Archives)

OTTAWA – Former federal minister and current Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews has been ordered by the Quebec government to pay $3,900 in unpaid rent for a Quebec apartment he lived in for the last three years of his time in federal politics.

The order comes from a judge with the Regie du Logement in Quebec, the special tribunal that oversees Quebec residential laws.

It stems from a dispute between Toews and his former landlord in Gatineau, Que., over whether the lease for his Gatineau apartment was annual or monthly.

In legal documents filed in February with the Regie du Logement and obtained today by the Winnipeg Free Press, Toews argued he signed the original lease in 2010 as an annual lease with the agreement from the building’s manager that after the first year, the lease would convert to a month-to-month lease automatically.

He notified the landlord of intention to end the lease in July 2013, when he announced he was leaving federal politics. At that time the landlord said the lease was not monthly and said Toews would need to pay for the remainder of the lease.

Toews, in legal documents filed by his lawyer, said he believed the dispute was settled when he agreed to pay the full rent for August even though he felt he wasn’t legally required to do so. On Aug. 1, 2013 a cheque for $1,300 was sent from the numbered Manitoba company owned by Toews’ wife, Stacy Meek, and that cheque was cashed.

However, a month later, the landlord, Raymond Desmarais, filed a complaint with the Regie du Logement asking it to order Toews to pay the additional rent owing from an annual lease.

At the tribunal hearing, which neither Toews nor his lawyer attended, the landlord claimed he was owed $3,900 in rent for September, October and November 2013, and that Toews had defaulted on the rent and left the apartment with his belongings.

Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon ruled in Desmarais’s favour and in November 2013 ordered Toews to pay the landlord $3,900 in back rent, as well as interest and $78 in legal fees.

Toews claims, in documents filed with the tribunal in February, he knew nothing of the complaint, the hearing or the judgment against him.

The decision was sent to a Winnipeg address Toews hasn't lived at for more than a decade.

In December 2014, he received notice from a collection agency that he owed $17,490.34 demanding payment within 48 hours, naming Desmarais as the creditor.

In the documents, Toews’ lawyer said the creditor’s name was not familiar to Toews, "which led him to believe that this letter was either an error or some sort of fraud."

Toews also claimed the fact he doesn’t speak French meant he didn’t understand what the rest of the documents attached to the letter were about.

"Certain documents were attached to the letter but, because they were in French, the Tenant could not read them," reads the document.

So he set the letter aside and did nothing, planning to contest any eventual proceeding.

About a month later he was told "to his great surprise" by his payroll department that it had been served a notice to garnish his wages stemming from the November 2013 rental board decision.

He noted the judgment from November 2013 was sent to a Winnipeg address no longer Toews lived at and he never received it.

Had Toews known of the hearing he would have contested it, says the lawyer, and they asked Gagnon to suspend the judgment against Toews.

In a letter filed with the documents that Toews sent to the landlord in July 2013 while disputing the monthly-versus-annual lease, Toews also claims the apartment was in disrepair, demands for fixes to a leaky toilet and broken window went unanswered, and that the building was unsafe because it was surrounded by gang activity. He said he only remained living there because as a cabinet minister he and his family had access to RCMP security.

He said when he resigned, his security detail was no longer available and the dangers in the building – notably drug and gang activity – still existed.

"For that reason alone, even if there was a yearly lease, I would be entitled to end the tenancy because you are not providing me with the appropriate security that I should expect in a building of this nature," Toews wrote.

On March 18, Judge Gagnon refused Toews’ request mainly because he said Toews filed it too late.

Gagnon agreed Toews had not been given a chance to appear at the original hearing, but he said Toews’ claim that he didn’t know about the ruling until the garnishment notice was not acceptable because he had clearly received a copy of the judgment along with the letter from the collections agency.

The fact that the judgment was in French and that Toews doesn’t speak French is not an acceptable argument for not figuring out what a letter marked "decision" was about, wrote Gagnon.

Toews is a veteran lawyer, a judge in Manitoba and a former cabinet minister and former minister of Justice, said Gagnon, and as such, he should have known better.

"More than anyone, he is able to comprehend the respect and the attention that should be assigned to a document titled "Decision," Gagnon wrote.

He also listed several other judicial decisions in Quebec which rejected a language deficiency as an excuse for not understanding legal decisions or orders, and noted the Constitution and Quebec law both allow English and French to be used.

A spokeswoman for Toews at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Manitoba said Toews had no comment.

Manitoba's favourite Justice is back!

Good Day Readers:

These latest revelations should tell you something. The alacrity with which Mr. Toews geared up to find a technical basis for complaining against Winnipeg Member of Parliament Pat Martin suggests he's taking this quite seriously. However, does Mr. Martin enjoy parliamentary privilege that would insulate/negate Vic Toews' criticism?

But there may be even more serious considerations. Was his judicial selection process so superficial/flawed that everyone along the way was completely oblivious to this latest controversy? What does this suggest to you about the way the federal government appoints its Judges/Justices?

Oh for sure, Vic Toews has maintained he was lobbying on behalf of a provincial entity so was exempt from the 2-year cooling off period former federal cabinet ministers must exercise. But isn't that being overly cute and clever while splitting hairs? Either directly or indirectly was he not lobbying for the Peguis First Nation which, as such, would have received federal funding even though his efforts were via its now former lawyer Jeffrey Rath?

Justice Vic Toews splitting hairs?

Further, will Vic Toews have to recuse himself from any cases that could come before Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench related to his lobbying endeavours? Perhaps what is called for is an online petition to the Canadian Judicial Council requesting a review/investigation of the appropriateness of the Toews' appointment. Have the chickens finally come home to roost? Will that moustache save him this time?

It's nice to see Mr. "My cheap underwear is too tight!" Martin finally doing something useful for a change.

Clare L. Pieuk
Toews' lobbying to be probed

Ex cabinet minister accused of violating Conflict of Interest Act

By Mia Rabson
Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner will investigate the lobbying activities of Vic Toews a former Manitoba senior cabinet minister who is now a judge. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA -- The federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner will investigate the lobbying activities of Vic Toews, a former Manitoba senior cabinet minister who is now a judge.

On March 13, Mary Dawson received a complaint from Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin about Toews' post-cabinet lobbying work for a lawyer representing Peguis First Nation, with whom Toews dealt with on a handful of issues while in cabinet.

NDP MP Pat Martin (CP)

On March 20, Dawson wrote back telling Martin she would launch a full investigation.

"In light of the information provided in your letter, related media reports and publicly available information, I am of the view that I have reasonable grounds to commence an examination," she wrote.

She said she had informed Toews of the investigation. A spokeswoman for Toews, who was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba in March 2014, said Toews had "nothing to add."

The Conflict of Interest Act bars cabinet ministers for life from "taking improper advantage" of their previous cabinet position or knowledge they have because of that position. There is a specific two-year cooling-off period in which former ministers cannot work for or contract with any entities with which they had "direct and significant official dealings" in their final year in office.

Within two months of leaving cabinet, Toews was doing contract work for Jeffrey Rath, a lawyer representing Peguis on files such as the Kapyong Barracks land claim in Winnipeg and a joint venture between Peguis and the Manitoba Jockey Club for development at Assiniboia Downs.

As public safety minister, Toews dealt with Peguis on disaster financial assistance and flood-mitigation files in the year before he left office.

As the senior minister in Manitoba between February 2006 and July 2013, Toews was the lead government negotiator on the Kapyong file in a dispute that saw him wanting to dispose of the land to a Crown corporation developer. Treaty One First Nations in Manitoba said they weren't given proper consultation to acquire that land as part of their treaty land entitlements.

The dispute has been in the courts since 2007.

In November 2013, Toews registered as a lobbyist to represent Rath to the provincial government on a gaming matter, known to be a joint venture between Peguis and the Manitoba Jockey Club for the Assiniboia Downs project that included a new hotel and casino.

He met senior Manitoba government officials about that project. Invoices contained in court files from a lawsuit between Rath and Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson show Toews also met or spoke with Rath several times about Kapyong in the fall of 2013.

Martin said he is pleased Dawson is carrying out a full investigation.

Martin is now facing a complaint against him, which was forwarded to Dawson by Toews. Two days after Martin wrote to Dawson, Toews asked Dawson to investigate Martin for violating the Conflict of Interest Act provision that says if an MP has information about a public office holder possibly violating the act, he can't disclose that information to anyone other than the commissioner until after she has written her full report.

Toews attached a copy of the Free Press article about Martin's complaint.

Martin called it a "knee-jerk, tit-for-tat reaction" that stymied him. "I doubt it has any merit, but we will treat it seriously," Martin said.

He said the information he disclosed to Dawson in his complaint letter was from publicly available media reports, so he wasn't disclosing anything not already in the public realm. Dawson can compel ministers and others to provide documents and answer questions, but she has little at her disposal regarding penalties.

If she finds either Toews or Martin did violate the act, her only recourse is to disclose her findings.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2015 A3

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oy veh Judge Joe WTF?

Good Day Readers:

Used to enjoy watching Judge Joe on television - Judge Judy is too much of a humourless shrill shrew. Favourite case? Owners of a pet supply store were suing a shapely blonde woman who'd tied her large dog to a gum ball machine on the sidewalk outside. You guessed it. The dog was spooked and attempted to take off crashing the machine to the ground breaking its glass top. Judge Joe ruled damages to the store owners,

Well, Shapely was indignant questioning what kind of judge he was. "That'll cost you another $500 want to try for $1,000?" Shapely shut her face awfully fast/

Had the judge in the case at hand applied the same reasoning Judge Joe could have been looking at about a $2,500 fine.

Clare L. Pieuk

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jezus that's funny Hillary! Did you hear the one about Bill, the blue dress and his inability to keep his little pecker in his pants?

Hillary jokes with reporters about email scandal

By Marisa Schultz
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

(Photo: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton joked about her email scandal and her history of troubles with the media Monday night when she gave a speech to a group of reporters.

Clinton made the wisecracks while delivering the keynote speech at the Toner Prize journalism awards ceremony.

“I am well aware that some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight,” Clinton said.

“I wanted to spend an evening with a room full of political reporters, I thought to myself: ‘What could possibly go wrong?’”

The former secretary of state told the crowd that she was ready to open up a new era of transparency and divulge all her classified information.

“No more secrecy, no more zone of privacy — after all, what good did that do me,” she announced.

“But first of all, before I go any further, if you’ll look under your chairs you’ll find a simple nondisclosure agreement. My attorneys drew it up. Old habits last.”

The event capped a full day in Washington, where Clinton spent the morning touting a renewal of cities and urban development at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for American Progress.

She also met with President Obama and tweeted a photo of the two about to embrace.

Time to shake up the Bank of Canada and it's Governor Stephen Poloz?

Good Day Readers:

This is one of those lawsuits that has gone largely unnoticed save for a handful of people up until now. While CyberSmokeBlog was vaguely aware of it, it took an eagle-eyed CSB reader ti spot an update in the international publication Epoch Times so yesterday it was published. Later that same day the Toronto Star came out with the following article which is being re-printed because it contains additional information not included in The Epoch Times version.

The $100,000 plus Bank of Directors meeting last June coupled with its Governor Stephen Poloz's beyond asinine comment young people should work for free to gain experience suggests the Bank is long overdue for a good shaking up.

Clare L. Pieuk
Rocco Galati in court to challenge how Bank of Canada does business

Renowned Toronto lawyer brings unusual case to change the way Canada's central bank operates.

Les Whittington/Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Monday, March 23, 2015

Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is representing a small group that contends the Bank of Canada is mandated to provice debt-free support for public projects undertaken by federal provincial and city governments. (Aaron Harris/Toronto Star File Photo)

OTTAWA—Renowned Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati is pursuing a court case intended to do nothing less than force the Bank of Canada to reorient its activities on behalf of Canadians.Galati, who led a successful challenge against an appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, is representing a small Toronto group whose legal bid is attracting increasing attention from people in Canada and elsewhere who distrust global financial institutions.
The unusual case originated with William Krehm, a much-travelled 101-year-old Toronto native and former Trotskyite who was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and once stood guard over Leon Trotsky’s corpse after the Russian revolutionary was assassinated in Mexico City.
Krehm, later an economic writer, asked Galati to launch the case on behalf of his Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER). Galati first filed the case in 2011 and after several legal rounds — including a court skirmish with federal government lawyers — is expected to return to Federal Court within days to move the challenge forward.
COMER contends the Bank of Canada, a publicly owned national financial institution created in the Great Depression, is mandated to provide debt-free support for public projects undertaken by federal, provincial and city governments. Not doing so has deprived Canadians of the benefits of larger infrastructure investments, COMER alleges.
Among other arguments in its court submission, the group alleges Canada ceded its sovereign ability to conduct independent monetary policy to the “secret” deliberations and control of private foreign bankers. This unconstitutional move, COMER argues, was a result of Ottawa’s decision to join several multinational financial organizations, particularly the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
Headquartered in Switzerland, the BIS is an organization that brings together the central banks from 60 countries to co-operate in the promotion of international monetary and financial stability. Canada joined in 1970.
“It’s by far the most serious and important case I’ve ever done,” said Galati, who gained national prominence in a classic David versus Goliath case last year in which he moved to block Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to Canada’s top bench.
Of the current case, Galati says, “It impacts the entire country in a profound way, right down to the bone of our economics and the history of the way we’ve maintained and lost, through illegal action, our independent monetary policy. It’s huge.”
The federal government tried to quash the case on the grounds it was frivolous and the alleged infringement of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights was “too uncertain, speculative and hypothetical.”
And judges noted COMER’s contention that the Bank of Canada has a mandate to provide interest-free loans to governments in Canada hinges on the interpretation of a sentence in the bank’s enabling legislation saying it “may” provide such loans.
But the courts have said Galati can proceed with an amended statement of claim.
“We have no comments on a matter that is before the courts,” the Bank of Canada stated.
But on its website, the Bank of Canada explains why it doesn’tprint money to repay the national debt or to finance government programs. Doing so, it says, “would reduce the value of our money, raise interest rates, and undermine the growth of the economy.”
Ann Emmett, a former teacher who now chairs COMER, said she “absolutely” believes foreign banks are controlling the Bank of Canada’s actions.
“I have to tell you that the lawsuit has sparked interest around the world,” Emmett added. “They are not going to be able to put the genie back in the bottle.”
The lawsuit also alleges the federal finance minister is depriving MPs of their right to properly vet government spending by inappropriately calculating available financial resources.
The original COMER case indicated an intention to make it a class action suit, with $1 in damages for each Canadian. But it’s unclear if that part of the claim will stand.

Badge 714 returns to Ottawa!

Good Day Readers:

You don't know do you why Sergeant Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department wore badge number 714? Give up? He was quite a baseball fan and that's the number of home runs hit by Hank Aaron.

 Hopefully, the new wave Joe Friday will come with a badge, gun and long, hard nightstick to clean up the corruption that's rampant in Ottawa these days.

Clare L. Pieuk
Just the facts - veteran lawyer Joe Friday tabbed as new integrity commissioner

Monday, March 23, 2015

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has nominated Joe Friday, a lawyer and long-time public servant, to be Canada's next public sector integrity commissioner.

Friday has been interim commissioner since Jan. 1, replacing Mario Dion, who left the job for personal reasons.

The new commissioner first joined the integrity office as general counsel in 2008 and because deputy commissioner in 2011.

He joined the public service in 1992, serving in a variety of legal posts, including general counsel of dispute resolution services with the Justice Department.

He holds a degree in journalism from Carleton University and a law degree from the University of Ottawa.

His appointment will be referred to a Commons committee and must be approved by both the Senate and the House.

The integrity commissioner investigates wrongdoing on the public service and helps protect whistleblowers from reprisal.

In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he is pleased Friday accepted the nomination.

"He brings to the position extensive knowledge and understanding of the role of the commissioner, a strong legal background and extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution," Harper said.

What's the Bank of Canada's position on unpaid internships Governor Stephen Poloz?

Male "sextremists" coming to the House of Commons?

Good Day Readers:

As you've undoubtedly heard by now Ms Neda Topaloski ("Top-al") from the group Femen bared her little boobies BIG BOOBIES running about the public gallery of the House of Commons in protest of the Harper government's highly controversial anti-Terrorist Bill C-51. Or in Justin Trudeau phraseology she "whipped them out."

The male ego being what it is and not to be out done, one can only wonder how long it will be before a well-hung dude pulls out his "thing" with an anti C-51 message written on it? This was not the first time for Top-al having already whipped them out in the Quebec National Assembly.

CyberSmokeBlog would like to invite her to Manitoba's Legislative Assembly to spice up its b-o-r-i-n-g sessions.

Clare L. Pieuk

Monday, March 23, 2015

The bozo eruptions of the Governor of the Bank of Canada!

Pricey Bank of Canada meeting included trip to oil sands

Helicopter rides, wine, 3-course meals in Alberta cost Bank of Canada more than $100K

By Dean Beeby
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and other officials attended a bank meeting last June in Edmonton with a side trip to Fort McMurray, that racked up more than $100,000 in expenses. (Ryan Remoritz?Canadian Press)

A Bank of Canada junket to the oilsands at Fort McMurray, Alberta helped push the cost of a single Board of Directors meeting last June to over $100,000, a CBC News analysis shows.

The scheduled meeting of the Board in Edmonton included a side trip to Fort McMurray, with a reception, dinner, museum tour and three private helicopter flights over northern Alberta costing about $2,500 each.

Those bills were in addition to meeting costs at Edmonton’s Matrix Hotel of at least $27,000, including almost $1,300 for wines and $900 for centrepieces for the tables.

Travel and accommodation costs for Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz and four of his senior staff came in at $20,000, with another estimated $50,000 for the dozen independent members of the Board, who flew in from across the country.

The Bank of Canada has declined to provide detailed costs for the event. But publicly posted expense claims and other invoices and records obtained under the Access to Information Act indicate the final bill was in excess of $100,000.

Panelists and speakers

Each June, the central bank holds one of its six or seven annual Board of Directors meetings outside Ottawa. Last year’s in Edmonton focused on the oil and gas industry, with at least nine panellists and speakers from the private sector. The event occurred when oil was trading at more than $100 US a barrel, before falling sharply in the months following, catching many economists off-guard.

But before the Edmonton session, Poloz and more than a dozen others flew to Fort McMurray in two planes, took helicopter tours, paid a visit to a museum, and attended a reception and dinner before heading back to Edmonton for more receptions, lunches, a visit to an art gallery and a three-course dinner on June 18-19.

The Bank of Canada has refused to make public its guidelines for travel and hospitality costs, which differ from those of the federal government. Treasury Board rules set strict limits on such costs for government departments, and require a minister’s pre-approval to exceed them.

"A greater understanding of regional economic conditions" - Bank of Canada official on reason for oil sands visit.

The Conservative government has for years been clamping down on travel and hospitality, setting tighter limits and encouraging teleconferencing, as it eliminates the federal deficit.

A bank spokeswoman declined to answer a series of questions about the cost of the Edmonton-Fort McMurray events.

"The Bank of Canada has its own policies and guidelines for travel-related expenses," Louise Egan, a media-relations official, said in an email. "It takes guidance from the policy directives of the federal government but is not bound by them." She did not respond to a question about whether the bank had abided by its own guidelines for the June events.

Asked about the value for public money for the Alberta events, Egan said such regional meetings "afford the board and staff members an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of regional economic conditions and the outlook for key industries."

Carney farewell cost $30K
Former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney was treated to three farewell bashes that cost about $30,000 in 2013. (Alastair Grant/Reuters/Pool)

In 2013, the Bank of Canada’s hospitality policy came under scrutiny when The Canadian Press reported officials spent about $30,000 for three farewell bashes for outgoing governor Mark Carney. At the time, bank officials volunteered much of the cost information.

Last fall, Poloz himself generated headlines when he suggested unemployed young people should seek unpaid work as interns to gain job experience, a suggestion slammed by critics who said only the children of the rich could afford to give up a paycheque.
The Bank of Canada is currently refurbishing its Wellington Street headquarters in a $460-million construction project, with another $150 million budgeted to locate staff to temporary offices while the work continues to 2016.

Follow @DeanBeeby on Twitter

And if that were not enough Mr. Poloz distinguished himself with this gem of a bozo eruption. Wonder if he or his children would work for free? Looks like he still hasn't mastered the concept free labour is never appreciated.
Try it yourself, e-mailer tells Poloz after work-for-free remark

By Greg Quinn
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz. Unpaid job experience "is very worth it," Poloz said at a press conference in Toronto after speaking to a business audience there. (Photograph: Cole Burston/Bloomberg)

If Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz had any doubt that his comment suggesting jobless young people should work for free to build a resume was controversial, this e-mail should have cleared it up:

“As the parent of three young people, I say they will work for free when you do,” one person said in an e-mail from Vancouver.

Poloz’s Nov. 3 comments, aimed at what he called kids living in parents’ basement, provoked written responses from at least 51 people, 13 of whom suggested the governor himself should try working for free. Ten people suggested Poloz was advocating a form of slavery. The e-mails were contained in 115 pages of correspondence sent to Bloomberg News after a freedom of information request.

Unpaid job experience “is very worth it,” Poloz said at a press conference in Toronto after speaking to a business audience there. He reiterated his comments later that week in parliamentary testimony. The Governor was offering his advice for young people struggling in what he called a tough job market, and his words became front-page news.

The documents didn’t include any responses from Poloz. He did respond to some of the correspondence, however it was outside the timeframe of Bloomberg’s information request, Josianne Ménard, a Bank of Canada spokeswoman, said by e-mail, adding the volume of correspondence during the period was “slightly higher” than usual.
Out of Touch

Criticism arrived from a variety of people, among them a retired employment counselor, the head of one of the country’s largest labor unions and the Ontario employment minister. Messages range from formal, polite letters questioning Poloz’s grasp of economic policy to profane e-mails fired off from mobile devices.

“Mr. Poloz has presented himself as being just as out of touch with Canadians as the corporations he obviously serves,” one person wrote.

Three people referred to French Queen Marie Antoinette. Eight resorted to profanity. Three said the governor should resign.

“What does this guy know about the horrors of unemployment, poor wages, poverty and all that junk that afflicts folks who are trapped in these cycles of lack,” one person wrote.

Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s labor minister, said “the rise of unpaid work is a troubling phenomenon that undermines minimum wage laws and other employment standards,” in his letter dated Nov. 7.

Not everyone disagreed with Poloz. Four people expressed support for his position, including one person who called it “good advice,” and offered the governor some guidance:

“Treat this tempest as training for the slings and arrows that will be hurled your way once the time comes for the Bank to start raising interest rates.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at Chris Fournier, Carlos Caminada

Rocco Galati Canada's one man unofficial opposition party

Good Day Readers:

While Mr. Galati was in Winnipeg a couple years ago for the Douglas Inquiry, CyberSmokeBlog had occasion to sit down with him on a few occasions. One topic that came up for discussion was his conspiracy lawsuit. Given who the defendants were recall thinking at the time, "Year right!" However, that was before the Nadon decision which not many expected him to win. In the meantime, this litigation had disappeared from the radar. But what if he wins?

Then there's the recent bozo behaviour of current Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz ($100,000 for a Board of Directors meeting; unemployed young people should work for free to gain experience). Would he work for free? Guess he has never learned free labour is never appreciated.

Rocco et. al seem to be arguing some governments (e.g. Argentina, Greece) lack discipline printing money in the mistaken belief they can spend their way out of a recession/depression in extreme cases leading to triple digit inflation. What the COMER group is suggesting is when a central bank (e. g. Bank of Canada) borrows from its citizens by way of Canada Savings Bonds then lends the funds to the government at market interest rates, there's an automatic restraint mechanism because the Bank knows it will have to repay the principal and interest to lenders upon demand. Further, any resulting inflation that may be created should be manageable.

It's most refreshing these days to encounter a lawyer who's not anally fixated on protecting their billable hours nor saying or doing anything to possibly harm their future prospects of becoming a judge.

Given this litigation has received virtually no media attention, a special thank you to the sharp eyed reader who spotted the article and passed it along.

Go Rocco Go!

Clare L. Pieuk
Bank of Canada, Finance Minister, and others face lawsuit for alleged IMF conspiracy

Crown lost two attempts to have case tossed, has days left for final appeal

Matthew LIttle
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati, seen here in Winnipeg in July 2012 is arguing a suit that alleges the Bank of Canada has a duty to make loans to the country's federal, provincial and municipal governments. (The Canadian Press/Trevor Hagan)

TORONTO—It would be easy to assume the people suing the Queen of England, the Bank of Canada, and three ministers for a conspiracy against “all Canadians” wear tinfoil hats.

They don’t. They may be conspiracy theorists, but they are also intelligent, thoughtful people who have a lawyer with a history of winning unlikely cases.

And despite the government’s best efforts to have this case thrown out, it’s going ahead after winning an appeal that overturned a lower court’s ruling to have it tossed and surviving a follow-up motion to have it tossed again.

The government has one more chance to have it thrown out through an appeal at the Supreme Court, but that has to be filed by Mar. 29 and that looks unlikely.

That means the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) is going to have its day in federal court.

This little think-tank alleges that the Bank of Canada, the Queen, the attorney general, the finance minister, and minister of national revenue are engaging in a conspiracy with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to undermine Canada’s financial and monetary sovereignty.

No major media have covered this story. That could be because of the powerful vested interests the suit targets, as Rocco Galati, the lawyer trying the case, suggests. Or it could be because there are parts of the statement of claim that read like they were pulled from the dark corners of some Internet conspiracy forum.

They weren’t. These are serious people with wide knowledge of the financial and monetary system. And their lawyer is no slouch.

Galati has a reputation for winning unlikely lawsuits. The Globe and Mail’s justice writer Sean Fine once called Galati Canada’s “unofficial opposition” for his propensity to have the government’s edicts tossed out in court.

One recent high-profile win saw Galati block the Conservative’s appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court with a suit he won in March last year.

"It's not often a government has to defend itself against a conspiracy suit in court"

Toronto-based COMER and its fellow plaintiffs Ann Emmett and William Krehm are suing over fundamental changes to the Bank of Canada’s role that were made in 1974 when the bank stopped making loans to the government.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) was founded in the Great Depression and played a major role loaning money to the government. It helped finance Canada’s war effort during World War II and could loan money to the government, without interest, if it chose to do so. Any profits the BoC made were returned to the government minus the Bank’s operating expenses. That last point remains the case today, with $1.7 billion sent to the Receiver General annually.

No National Debt?

COMER alleges that by no longer providing these loans, the Bank and others named in the suit have forced the government to finance budget deficits by borrowing from private markets and paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest. Last year, $28 billion—over 10 percent of the federal government’s $277 billion in expenditures—went to servicing the debt.

That’s more than what was spent on National Defence ($21.5 billion) and nearly as much as the Canada health transfer ($30.5 billion).

The Bank of Canada Act allows, or as COMER alleges - requires - the BoC to give the federal government loans up to a total value of one-third of the government’s predicted annual revenues. For provincial governments it is a quarter of those revenues. The loans have to be repaid within the first quarter of the next fiscal year. At that point, the government just needs to pay back the loan with incoming revenues, and take out another loan to make up any deficit.

The Bank of Canada is named in a lawsuit that has survived two attempts to have it thrown from court. The suit alleges the Bank is conspiring with the IMF and others to force the Canadian government to go to private markets to borrow money. (Matthew Little/Epoc Times)

The benefit of that is no national debt, according to Galati. However, there is a risk of inflation if too much money is poured into the economy. Some economists argue that any arrangement where central banks loan money directly to their national governments invariably leads to runaway inflation.

Galati disagrees, pointing out that the government can borrow as much as it wants from private markets and inflation is manageable.

The suit alleges that the BoC stopped providing these loans at the behest of the IMF, BIS, and FSB so private interests could benefit, presumably from interest paid on the national debt.

Galati predicts the government will try to delay the suit, but if it goes ahead, he said the facts will be borne out.

“A lot of the facts are not in dispute, believe it or not. They just don’t want this case heard.”

Galati plans to call the BoC governor, the finance minister, and others to testify if the case goes ahead.

The Bank can’t comment on the case directly because it is before the courts, said a spokesperson, though it did provide background materials on the Bank’s history.

How Money Works

The nature of money and debt is at the heart of the lawsuit COMER has filed. Representatives from the group told the Epoch Times that few people understand how money is created.

One might wonder, therefore, how much money the Bank of Canada has, and how the government can borrow from the country’s own central bank.

This is where conspiracy theory meets the cold hard facts—that the vast majority of the money in Canada’s economy was created by bankers with the push of a button. The BoC can do that also.

When someone takes out a mortgage, the borrowed money does not come from someone else’s savings. Instead, the money is created in that instant through the trick of double entry bookkeeping. The bank records the loan on one side as a liability, and the debt owed to the bank as an asset. As long as the two balance out, the system works pretty well.

Banks keep the system humming along smoothly by shuffling these balance sheets around each day. If they are short, they borrow from each other on the overnight market at the rate set by the BoC.

As long as everyone pays their loans, the systems works pretty well and basically creates wealth out of thin air. But if banks loan money to people who can’t repay it, the whole system falls apart. That is essentially what happened in the 2007 subprime mortgage debacle that brought on the global recession.

There is one problem with the system, according to its critics: interest. And if you are a government, that interest is significant.

Significant portions of COMER’s suit, including a tort portion seeking damages, were thrown out in those earlier rulings, though Galati said they could be amended and filed again. Both he and the government have until next week to file appeals of the previous ruling.

And even elements of his central argument were questioned in those earlier rulings which weighed, among other things, if the case had any chance of success. But courts are required to err on the side of permissiveness when deciding on motions to strike, as well as assume the facts claimed in the suit are true.

And so with the case set to move forward, Canadians could be in for a fascinating look at how our monetary system works and what role international financial bodies like the IMF play in Canada’s monetary and fiscal policy.

It’s not often a government has to defend itself against a conspiracy suit in court. This one promises to be interesting.