Saturday, August 02, 2014

If you see this man between August 15-17 immediately call 1-800-CBA-Pete!

Good Day Readers:

If you see this man between August 15-17 please call 1-800-CBA-Pete the Canadian Bar Association would like to know where his is and what's he doing. He may be in Nova Scotia, likes to use Canadian Forces helicopters and water ski. He's a lawyer so could be hanging around courtrooms. You'll recognize him by his appalling lack of knowledge of how the Supreme Court of Canada operates. Sometimes he goes by the name "Helicopter Pete."

Should you spot him do the right thing have the courage to make that call and remember you can remain anonymous.

Clare L. Pieuk
Peter MacKay skipping Canadian Bar Association annual conference

CBA President says Justice Minister's scheduling conflict reason for not attending is 'unfortunate

Catherine Cullen
Friday, August 1, 2014

Justice Minister Peter MacKay won't attend annual legal conference

For as long as anyone at the Canadian Bar Association can remember, Canada's Justice Minister has attended the group's annual legal conference.

Not this year.

In a year when the government has faced off with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and current and former heads of the CBA have called the prime minister's actions into question, Justice Minister Peter MacKay will miss the group's annual get-together Aug. 15 to 17 in St. John's.

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MacKay's spokeswoman said the invitation to attend the Canadian Legal Conference arrived in June, when the Minister's summer travel was already planned, resulting in a "scheduling conflict."
Justice Minister Peter MacKay won't be attending the annual legal conference hosted by the Canadian Bar Association in St. John's this month. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

"The Mminister has professional working relationships with his various stakeholders, including the CBA, and will pursue these relationships for the benefit of Canadians and strengthening Canada’s already robust criminal justice system," said Mary Anne Dewey-Plante in an email to CBC News.

MacKay attended the event last year.

"He's advised us that it's a scheduling conflict. I have no reason to question that. It's unfortunate," said CBA President Fred Headon.

In May, Headon called the Prime Minister's clash with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin "disturbing." In comments on Twitter, Headon said he hoped the disagreement was a misunderstanding and urged the prime minister to clarify that McLachlin acted appropriately.

Fred Headon @FredHeadonFollow

• Confusion undermines the Court. We urge the PM to clarify. Cc: @CBA_News #nadon #SCC #cdnpoli
5:34 PM - 2 May 2014

Eleven former presidents of the CBA also signed an open letter saying Harper's action demonstrated "a disrespect" for the judicial branch of democracy.

In June, the CBA weighed in on another controversy.

MacKay was at a meeting of the Ontario Bar Association when he was asked by a group of lawyers about the challenges of getting more diversity on the bench. MacKay reportedly responded that women aren't applying to be judges for fear that circuit-court jobs would take them away from their children.

Once again, the CBA raised questions.

"We need to wonder whether there is a basis in reality for MacKay's assertions as to why there are fewer female judges," Headon said in an interview with the CBC News at the time.

MacKay later said in a Facebook post that he never made the comments in question.

'Breaking Point'

In June, another former CBA president, Simon Potter, told a CBA conference in Ottawa that Harper was "pushing the system to its breaking point."

Headon wouldn't tie any of those remarks to MacKay's decision to not to attend next month's gathering.

"I have no evidence of a chill and I certainly would hope it's not taken that way," he said.

"It's a long-standing relationship. I hope that that will be taken into account by those that might be looking at our comments and understand that we are trying to play that constructive role that we've played in the past."

The CBA says it invited MacKay in June to the St. John's event, and received word "a couple of weeks ago" that he would not be attending.

The CBA represents some 37,000 judges, lawyers, notaries, law teachers and law students.


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