Sunday, March 29, 2015

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?

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Perspectives and Politics Editor
Shannon Sampert (204) 697-7269\shannon.sampert@freepress.mb.ca
Winnipeg freeperss.com

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.

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