Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Will she or won't she go public?

Good Day Readers:

Now that Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas is about to become citizen Douglas on May 21 a lot of questions still remain. Here's a sampling in no particular order:

(1) Perhaps the biggest one is will she go public? She has not uttered one word throughout this ordeal. Will that change once she officially retires and is safely ensconced with a pension and benefits package the likes of which you can never hope to see in this lifetime or the next should you believe in reincarnation. At age 55 Citizen Douglas should never have to work another day in her life should she so choose, that is, unless she's beyond a miserable manager of money

In any organization there will always be cliques. There is no reason to believe the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench is any different in spite of its public attempts at public collegiality, conviviality and unity. Undoubtedly she has her supporters but also her dissenters. Does she have any axes to grind? A best selling kiss and tell book?

(2) Given her financial position ("Freedom 55") will she choose to ride off quietly into the sunset to retire to some remote South Pacific island never to be heard from again? Another possibility

(3) What about joining a BigLaw firm in its family division or is she considered too radioactive within the legal community?

(4) The Queen's Bench administration has been less than forthcoming on exactly what, if anything, she contributed to taxpayer value since she stepped down "voluntarily" from the Bench way back in August of 2010. First, it was she was doing administrative work than it was administrative leave with full salary and benefits. So what exactly did she do to earn this taxpayer largess? Tend to her tomato patch at home? How much did her financial windfall amount to over the years? You don't know and likely never will

(5) The suspended Canadian Senators are not allowed to claim their time removed from the workplace as pensiionble time. What about Lori Douglas? Was she such that at the right moment her publicly funded "defence team" was allowed to go before the Canadian Judicial Council to say she plans to retire May 21 as soon as he reaches the age of 55 one of the requirements for a full pension and benefits. The CJC was so relieved to be rid of this colossal, unmitigated disaster it would have jumped at anything!

(6) The Council is a total .... up - by lawyers, of lawyers for lawyers; judges judging judges. It's been over a year now since it asked for written submissions on how to reinvent itself - got over 200. Still nothing. Problem is it lacks layperson oversight. People with common sense who would be concerned with taxpayer expenditures.

What do you call a system that allowed Lori Douglas' defense team to file judicial review after judicial review after judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada that denied ... denied ... denied ... delayed ... delayed ... delayed ... delayed ... obfuscated ... obfuscated ... obfuscated waiting for the magical "freedom 55" to arrive? What about a severely flawed business model?

(7) Will Queen's Bench throw a gala departure party for her once again paid for by taxpayers or will she quietly leave by the back door?

There is so much you don't know about this sordid saga which will probably never be revealed. But then again perhaps that's for the better lest you become violently ill.

The appointment of Justice Marianne Rivoalen should come as not surprise. She's been Acting Associate Chief Justice (Family Division) for the past several months. In effect, you've been paying for two ACJ's Family Division. Thank you taxpayers. Now shut the you know what up and make sure to file your income tax returns on time.

The Canadian Judicial Council and Court of Queen's Bench where taxpayer dollars are no object. That should be their motto!

But take heart taxpayers. If there's a saving grace/silver lining in all this at least Ottawa didn't appoint "Volatile Vic" (Toews) to replace Lori Douglas in Family Division.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
New judge named to replace Douglas in family court division

Mia Rabson
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

OTTAWA – The federal government has announced a replacement for Justice Lori Douglas as the associate chief justice of the family division of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench.

Justice Marianne Rivoalen will take over the post on May 22.

Rivoalen has been a judge in the family court in Manitoba since 2005. Prior to that she worked as a senior counsel for Justice Canada in Aboriginal Law Services and the Indian Residential School Litigation Counsel. She was called to the bar in Manitoba in 1989.

Douglas will retire this month, putting an end to the saga that saw her dragged before the Canadian Judicial Council to defend against allegations she harassed a former client of her husband’s, lawyer Jack King.

The inquiry, which dragged on for more than four years, was abandoned last fall when Douglas said she would step down from the bench. She has been on paid leave since the allegations against her were made public in 2010.

The main questions raised in the case were whether the existence of nude photographs disqualifies someone from being fit for the bench, and whether or not Douglas had properly disclosed the situation with her husband and his former client while she was being vetted for the bench in the first place. Her legal team had always maintained she had but the question was never fully answered because the inquiry spent most of its time battling jurisdictional issues and questions of bias rather than considering the allegations against Douglas.

Allegations of sexual harassment against Douglas were dismissed by the CJC after two independent lawyers reviewing the file could not find any evidence Douglas knew what her husband was up to when he offered to pay his former client to have sex with his wife. King, who died a year ago, also posted nude photos of his wife online without her knowledge.

The Canadian Judicial Council ended the inquiry last fall after Douglas announced she would retire.

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