Monday, March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Like father like son: "Why don't you go fuddle duddle yourselves!"

"Two minutes for taunting the opposition and flaunting it - you're out of here you bum!"

Trudeaumania 2

Can the new prime minister parlay his celebrity into influence

Saturday, March 5, 2016
SINCE leading his Liberal Party back to power in Canada last October, Justin Trudeau has been profiled in such glossy magazines as Vanity Fair and Vogue; Hello’s photo spread featured his wife and children. On March 10th he will sit down with Barack Obama at a state dinner in the White House, the first for a Canadian leader in 19 years. “I can’t think of a Canadian politician who has attracted as much attention in the United States,” says Laura Dawson of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington.

Mr Trudeau owes his celebrity to more than glamour. He succeeds Stephen Harper, a prickly Conservative, who in ten years as prime minister conducted an ideologically charged foreign policy at odds with Canada’s multilateralist traditions. His relationship with the United States, by far Canada’s most important, was tense. Mr Trudeau replaces a scowl with a smile. He personally greeted some of the 25,000 Syrian refugees Canada agreed to admit. Such gestures have helped bring back to life the Trudeaumania inspired by the prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau, a dashing Canadian leader of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. “But how,” Ms Dawson wonders, “do we translate celebrity into influence?”

Mr Trudeau’s answer: by returning to Canada’s diplomatic traditions. It is the world’s tenth-largest economy; as a military power, it counts for less. It has historically sought to increase its modest clout by working through international bodies such as the UN and the Commonwealth. Mr Harper spurned them as talking shops for despotic regimes. He refused to support a global accord on climate change (or introduce a credible policy in Canada). 
Co-operation is back in, says Stéphane Dion, the new foreign minister. His “mandate letter” from Mr Trudeau directs him to resume working through the UN. Mr Trudeau signed the global climate agreement reached in Paris in December. He was due to meet Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial leaders on March 3rd to talk about a national climate strategy and may announce a climate initiative with Mr Obama.

The prime minister intends to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran and to revive Canada’s relationship with Mexico, its partner, along with the United States, in the North American Free-Trade Agreement. He promised to lift visa restrictions on Mexicans, imposed in 2009 to stem an influx of asylum-seekers and an irritant ever since.

He is not rolling back all Mr Harper’s policies. Canada is likely to ratify the free-trade agreement with the European Union, which Mr Harper negotiated. It may also join the Trans-Pacific Partnership among a dozen Asian and American countries. “We should not change everything,” said Mr Dion in a recent speech.

If Mr Trudeau just gets along with Mr Obama, that will be a significant change. The two sporty leaders have engaged in pre-prandial raillery about which country’s ice-hockey teams are better. Mr Obama has taken with equanimity Mr Trudeau’s decision to withdraw Canada’s six fighter planes from the United States-led fight against Islamic State; Canada is increasing humanitarian aid and the number of troops advising Iraqi Kurds instead. The Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude from Alberta to the southern United States, greatly desired by Mr Harper but vetoed by Mr Obama, is unlikely to figure much in the dinner-table conversation.

That leaves trade and tax. The United States is the market for three-quarters of Canada’s goods exports and the source of two-thirds of its imports, but commerce could flow more freely than it does. The “beyond the border” agenda is supposed to accomplish that but has hit a snag: a disagreement over what law will apply to United States officials stationed in Canada to pre-clear goods for import. A row over Canadian softwood lumber, which the United States says is subsidised, could get worse. Canada objects to a United States law that obliges its banks to hand over information about accounts held by expatriates (see article).

But the main threat to Canadian-American relations will not come from anything the two leaders feasting in the White House might do. It comes from the loud-mouthed property mogul who aspires to be the building’s next occupant.

From the print edition: The Americas

"I need you to .... off!"

Has the Canadian Judicial Council finally seen the light of day?

Good Day Readers:

Mr. Sabourin's comments are likely tempered by the taxpayer fiasco that was the Douglas Inquiry plus more than 200 written submissions the CJC received after asking for the public's help in lifting it out of the dark ages.
Did it finally "dawn" on Council Members, "Jezus, this is not a very efficient way of doing business?"

Several of Young Norman's suggestions makes a lot of sense but will politicians have the balls to pass the necessary legislation? They haven't up to now.

CyberSmokeBlog does not believe everyone is entitled to their opinion only if it's an informed opinion. If you have a comment please contact CSB at But remember no Donald Trump type commentary will be accepted.
"You a-.... my earpiece just fell out I didn't hear the question so .... off!"

Clare L. Pieuk
Judicial Council looks for curbs on challenges and other reforms

Ways sought to speed up discipline process when it comes to Judges

By Cristin Schmitz
March 4, 2016 issue
Executive Director of The Canadian Judicial Council Norman Sabourin seen above in his Ottawa office is looking at a wide range of ideas to make the panel's work in meting out discipline for Judges more efficient and economical. (Roy Grogan for The Lawyer's Weekly)

The Canadian Judicial Council wants Ottawa to clamp down on public funding for interlocutory court challenges brought by federal judges fighting misconduct allegations, says its executive director and senior general counsel Norman Sabourin.

In an exclusive interview, Sabourin said the council of 39 chief and associate justices also wants to explore with the federal government other Judges Act amendments and administrative reforms that could make the sometimes glacial federal judicial discipline process more efficient, speedy and economical.

Worth examining are the feasibility and merits of some measures used in other jurisdictions — for example, requiring judges to reimburse their publicly funded legal defence fees to the government if misconduct allegations are made out, he suggested. Reducing judges’ pay if they are off work for years due to discipline proceedings, and possibly imposing financial penalties if they are ultimately found to have engaged in misconduct are among many other possibilities that could be discussed, he said.

“Of course judges have every right to defend themselves, and I think it’s appropriate, and I think the public would expect it’s appropriate, that public funds can be used for [judges] to defend themselves,” Sabourin said. “But in all the [judicial conduct] regimes that I’m aware of, [whether] publicly funded or privately funded, there are very clear parameters about what can be funded, and how much can be funded, and those parameters seem to be, at most, sketchy at the federal level,” he explained.

“We don’t know the full parameters of what is done. What we do know is that we face judges who, through their lawyers, are challenging everything that we do here at the council. And we know that these matters are publicly funded,” he said. “And the CJC has expressed concern about…judges having the ability to essentially challenge not only the allegations against them, but the very process of review of the allegations, and to do so through many repeated challenges before the courts. I think it’s a legitimate question to ask whether that should be publicly funded, and…I don’t think, in the past, judges would have necessarily launched the legal challenges they did, while not sitting for three, four or five years [with pay], if they had to pay for [the litigation] themselves.”

Recent CJC formal inquiries into the conduct of former senior Manitoba judge Lori Douglas, ex-Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Cosgrove (both judges eventually resigned), and Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Girouard (ongoing) have together expended millions in public funds on the leading senior litigators who represented the judges, the inquiry committees and the council itself. Each inquiry got bogged down and delayed by interlocutory court challenges.

“It’s not a big secret that a lot of money gets paid for legal fees,” Sabourin remarked. “And a key question is whether it should go the way it does. We think at the council that there should be clear parameters. It’s not something that requires legislative change. It’s something we hope the government will act upon.”

He said the disciplinary body for Canada’s 1,138 federally appointed judges continues to streamline the judicial conduct regime, for example recently empowering the executive director to screen out clearly unmeritorious matters, rather than requiring members of the judicial conduct committee to review all complaints. The council also changed its bylaws to eliminate the role of “independent counsel” who presents the case against the judge to the inquiry. The reformed inquisitorial process puts the inquiry committee itself firmly in charge, thus eliminating a repeat of clashes between the inquiry committee and independent counsel, as occurred in the Douglas case. “We think that this will really improve efficiency,” Sabourin said. “I would expect that at the end of the day it will be a less costly and more timely process.”

Further improvements await legislative amendments, something both the Liberal government and its predecessor indicated they were receptive to, Sabourin said. “The [justice] minister has indicated she is very interested in the council’s ideas on legislative reform.”

Key questions the council wants to talk about with the government include when and how there can be judicial review of CJC decisions, including interlocutory review, and what powers the inquiry committee and council have. “I think there is a vacuum in the Judges Act,” Sabourin explained. “At the very minimum there is a need to clarify those rules. I don’t think the council has made any final decision, and they’re open to engaging in consultation with the government…but I would think a lot of people would agree that you should normally wait for proceedings before the council to be over, before you have an ability to run to the courts. And if you’re going to run to the courts, a key question, I think, would be which court?”

Currently, appeals of decisions by the CJC, whether interlocutory or final, go for judicial review by a single judge of the Federal Court. One “out-of-the-box” idea to explore, given the unique composition of the council, and the quasi-constitutional nature of a council decision to recommend a judge’s removal, would be giving the judge in question a direct appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (with leave), Sabourin suggested. He called it “kind of ironic” that “a single judge of the Federal Court could issue an order overturning 24 chief justices who have decided on a judicial conduct matter.”

Another idea for discussion would be making the inquiry committee itself the arbiter of whether to recommend a judge’s removal, with the full council sitting as the final appeal body. “I’m just exploring ideas here that I think deserve to be explored,” he said. “Fundamentally what the council would like to do is continue exploring with the government, so that in due course the minister can…in her best judgment, propose to Parliament amendments to the legislation.”

Expanding the remedial tools available to the council — which strictly speaking only has a clear mandate to recommend removal — “is not an easy area because of the constitutional security of tenure of judges,” he noted. Yet in some countries which constitutionally protect their judges’ job security and independence, there is more remedial scope, he said. “In the U.K., if a judge is charged with a criminal offence, they’re automatically suspended.”

There is also an unresolved debate in Canada whether chief justices are empowered to decide not to assign cases to (i.e. effectively administratively suspend) judges facing misconduct allegations. Most recently, Federal Court Justice Robin Camp, who faces a formal CJC inquiry into comments he made while presiding over a sex assault trial, was pulled from his duties so he could devote all his time to re-educating himself, at his own expense.

“There are judges in the past who have argued that a chief justice has no authority not to assign cases,” Sabourin acknowledged. “Is there any authority to suspend a judge unless you amend the Constitution? I don’t know.’’

Ultimately, changes to the Judges Act are Parliament’s decision, he said. “We’ve begun a good dialogue with the minister [of justice] and I think pursuing that dialogue is only going to result in better information to allow the government to come to a view about potential amendments.”

Screw the Charter!

Edgar Schmidt

Federal Court of Canada Judge Simon Noel

"..... it as important to remember that the Judge did not review how the government applied the standard, but only how it should be defined - even though we know that laws with very questionable constitutional status were introduced and passed in recent years."
Former Justice Department lawyer loses Charter suit

Sean Fine Justice Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2016

He launched a three-year court battle to prove to the Canadian Justice Department that it was showing a lack of respect for the Charter of Rights and for Parliament. The battle ultimately cost Edgar Schmidt his $155,00-a-year job. And on Wednesday, a Federal Court Judge ruled against Mr. Schmidt, saying he was wrong about how the process of lawmaking works.

It had been Mr. Schmidt's job as a senior Justice Department lawyer to review proposed laws to determine whether they were "consistent" with the Charter. Under federal law, the Justice Minister is obliged to report to Parliament about laws that may run afoul of constitutionally protected rights. But such reports haven't been happening.

The lawsuit became something of a cause celebre among legal activists during the Harper years, when the courts repeatedly struck down federal crime and social-policy laws for violating Charter rights.

But Justice Simon Noel, in what amounted to a 146-page lecture on political science, said that Mr. Schmidt had misconceived how the Canadian system works. Justice ministers are not constrained by the reports of their underlings as they develop legislation, and are the legal adviser to cabinet, not the House of Commons.

"The Minister of Justice is not atlas, carrying the world of guaranteed rights on her shoulders," he said.

Mr. Schmidt, who is now retired, responded to the ruling in an e-mail to the Globe: "I am clearly disappointed by the court's ruling. I will, in consultation with legal counsel, consider an appeal.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which intervened in the case to argue in support of Mr. Schmidt's challenge, said it was important to remember that the Judge did not review how the government applied the standard, but only how it should be defined - "even though we know that laws with very questionable constitutional status were introduced and passed in recent. years."

The Commons Justice Committee decided last week to study how constitutional issues are flagged to Parliament. "Whether or not it's constitutional the way we're currently doing it, doesn't mean we can't propose that it be changed or propose a different manner by which the Justice Minister would advise parliamentarians about Charter issues related to proposed legislation," Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said in an interview.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a statement that she is committed to ensuring that federal legislation respects the Constitution of Canada, including the Charter, and that the rights of Canadians are protected.

Even when a proposed law's chance of passing muster with the courts was estimated at less than 5 per cent, Mr. Schmidt's supervisors in the Justice Department told him he could still find it had a "credible argument" to succeed, and was therefore consistent with the Charter. He said consistency should mean "more likely than not" - that is, more than a 50-percent chance of success.

Justice Noel after reviewing the legislative process in detail, and after noting that even Harper-era laws rejected by courts sometimes found Judges at lower courts or dissenting Judges on the Supreme Court who supported their legality, said the "credible argument" standard undoubtedly made for a weak reporting mechanism. But he said legislators intended it that way.

"The legislator aimed to promote consistency with guaranteed rights but did not impose on the Minister of Justice the onerous and most likely impossible responsibility of guaranteeing inconsistency-free legislation."

He said that Parliament intended to give the federal cabinet flexibility under the "credible argument" standard. "As we all know, the legal and judicial worlds evolve. Jurisprudence from previous decades may need to be adopted to new situations of fact and to evolving legal principles."

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

So what's the problem ..... eh?

Good Day Readers:

So why can't the Judge who'll rule in the FBI versus Apple case place some very tight restrictions on the code that can be used to break encrypted information?

(1) At all material times the code remains in the care, custody and control of the court

(2) At no time is it to be reproduced by the FBI, Justice Department or anyone else. After its usage the formula must be returned to the court

(3) Failure to comply will result in contempt of court citations resulting in large fines and jail time for anyone who has violated these conditions

(4) The ruling in the San Bernardino case applies to that and only that decision. It is not a legal precedent. Every additional request by the authorities will be subject to a separate and distinct legal challenge

Now why wouldn't that work ..... eh?

Clare L. Pieuk
America's rotten request to unlock an Apple iPhone

If law enforcement win right to security back door everyone's privacy suffers

By Michael Geist
Tuesday, March 2, 2016
Legal battle over access to a San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone could take months to resolve. (Phone photo via Shutterstock)


The U.S. government's attempt to invoke a centuries-old law to obtain a court order to require Apple to create a program that would allow it to break the security safeguards on the iPhone used by a San Bernardino terrorist has sparked an enormous outcry from the technology, privacy, and security communities.

For U.S. officials, a terrorism related rationale for creating encryption backdoors or weakening user security represents the most compelling scenario for mandated assistance. Yet even in those circumstances, companies, courts, and legislatures should resist the urge to remove one of the last bastions of user security and privacy protection.

This case is about far more than granting U.S. law enforcement access to whatever information remains on a single password-protected iPhone. Investigators already have a near-complete electronic record: all emails and information stored on cloud-based computers, most content on the phone from a cloud back-up completed weeks earlier, telephone records, social media activity, and data that reveals with whom the terrorist interacted. Moreover, given the availability of all of that information, it seems likely that much of the remaining bits of evidence on the phone can be gathered from companies or individuals at the other end of the conversation.

Dangerous precedent on horizon

As Apple and other technology companies have recognized, scratch below the surface and you find a case that is fundamentally about establishing legal precedent that can be wielded to require companies to establish backdoor access to devices, break encryption, or weaken security measures. In fact, despite claims that it is a one-time request, there are already reports of at least nine other cases involving Apple in the U.S. alone.

The problem with such a precedent extends beyond the "slippery slope" argument. Creating security vulnerabilities leaves everyone more vulnerable since there is no mechanism to limit weakened security measures or backdoors to the "good guys." If the U.S. government can get it, so too can other foreign governments or criminal organizations.

Moreover, the case enhances the role of government and law enforcement in the design of security safeguards within consumer devices.

Ironically, the U.S. government has recognized the danger of its approach in other venues. For example, it has pointed with approval to provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership that purport to restrict the ability of governments to impose conditions on products that contain encryption, claiming those restrictions will allow companies and individuals to "use the cybersecurity and encryption tools they see fit, without arbitrary restrictions that could stifle free expression."
That is a laudable goal, yet the TPP contains its own backdoor provision that allows law enforcement to use the courts to require access to unencrypted communications. The Apple case highlights how the TPP will ultimately do little to address the issue, with the U.S. example paving the way for foreign governments to demand similar access to otherwise secure devices.

Will consumer privacy prevail?

While the Apple case may take months to resolve, it has already placed the spotlight on the near-complete erosion of privacy within our modern communication system. Telecom transparency reports have revealed how law enforcement is able to use our everyday communications to create detailed maps of our movements and communications habits. Our reliance on cloud computing services for email, photographs, and document storage grants centralized access to data that previously only resided on harder-to-access personal computers.

The last line of defence may be our portable devices, where access can be secured through passwords, data can be encrypted from prying eyes, and security settings can thwart would-be hackers.

Yet should Apple lose this case, those safeguards will be gone, escalating fears that in today's internet-enabled, smartphone world, privacy is gone too.

Read more: Rights + Justice, Politics, Science + Tech

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. He can reached at or online at

"Fuddle Duddle off my earpiece was broken!"

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

It's the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Annual Teddy Awards!

Oops .... sorry CTF wrong Teddy!

18th Annual Teddy Government Waste Award Winners

  • Federal – Canada’s 2015 COP Paris Conference Delegation
  • Provincial – PEI Department of Tourism and Culture for its “uplifting” tourism guide
  • Municipal – City of Calgary for its waste station art project, a.k.a. “the poop palace”
  • Lifetime Achievement – Bombardier for 50 years of receiving taxpayer handouts
OTTAWA, Ontario: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today held its 18th annual Teddy Waste Awards ceremony, celebrating the best of the worst in government waste. CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick served as host, joined by the CTF’s pig mascot Porky the Waster Hater and talented event hostess Amy. The awards event took place on Parliament Hill at the Charles Lynch Press Conference Theatre.

The Teddy, the pig-shaped award given annually by the CTF to government’s worst waste offenders, is named for Ted Weatherill, a former federal appointee who was turfed in 1999 for submitting a panoply of dubious expense claims, including a $700 lunch for two.

“Opposing government waste is serious work, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun highlighting some of the most ridiculous examples,” said Wudrick. “Especially since the capacity for governments to dream up creative new ways to waste money seems infinite.”


Canada’s delegation to the 2014 conference numbered 69 people – but the new Trudeau government quadrupled that figure to 283 for the 2015 event. The total bill for taxpayers has yet to be tallied, but the costs from one Ministerial office alone ran to $282,000.

“It seems counter productive to stick nearly 300 people on green-house gas spewing planes to fly them to a conference to figure out how to cut greenhouse gasses. There’s simply no need for such a large delegation, especially considering even the United States sent less than half as many people,” said Wudrick.


Prince Edward Island’s Department of Tourism and Culture printed 180,000 copies of their 2015 tourism guide. The cover features a man and a woman relaxing on a sandy PEI beach, with the woman reading a book and the man in shorts laying back and relaxing. Unfortunately, the department clearly failed to notice a significant “bulge” in his shorts that appears to be an erection.


“This was a pretty firm example of government oversight,” continued Wudrick. “But the consolation may be burgeoning prospects for PEI’s tourism industry.”


The City of Calgary spent an extra $246,000 on a project to embed LED lights on its new Forest Lawn Lift Station that change color depending on how fast the station is pumping waste water. Opened in September 2015, the new lift station proved immediately controversial, with area residents dubbing it the “poop palace.”

“Most people would agree that our waste water is something to manage discreetly, rather than celebrated with an expensive hilltop art project,” noted Wudrick.


Cost: At least $3.8 billion and counting

Bombardier, the Montreal-based aerospace and transportation company is one of Canada’s longest-running corporate welfare recipients, having taken at least $3.8 billion in public funds (2015 dollars) since 1966. They are rumoured to have asked for an additional $1 billion in support from the federal government.

“Bombardier is certainly not the only Canadian company surviving on taxpayer handouts,” said Wudrick. “But there is no question that it is one of Canada’s most prominent symbols of a fiscally wasteful, economically distorting and politically manipulative strategy of subsidizing failed private companies with public dollars.”


Federal – The Canadian Museum of Human Rights: $1.89 million for opening weekend events, in addition to huge capital and operating overruns.

Federal – The “Severance Seven”: New MPs collecting taxpayer-funded ‘transition’ packages from former jobs in provincial and municipal politics – in spite of now having higher-paying jobs as MPs.

Provincial – Thunder Bay Biomass Plant: $40 million per year to operate a coal-turned-biomass plant that run only on imported Norwegian wood chips, generating energy at 25 times the average cost.

Provincial – The Alberta School Boards Association: For spending $41,000 on such baubles as an adult Easter egg hunt and off-site planning events at luxury hotels.

Municipal – City of Victoria: For spending $10,000 on installing musical sensors on the stairwell railings in a municipal parking garage

Municipal – City of Saskatoon: Two separate nominations, for a $5.3 million money-losing parking system that doesn’t work well in cold weather and spending $462,000 on a decorative lighting system on a bridge that was subsequently torn down.

Click here for our backgrounder on all 2016 Teddy award nominees

By Aaron Wudrick

Posted: February 24, 2016