Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"The Douglas Deal" ..... how's your pension doing taxpayers, that is, if you can even afford one?

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

On reading the CJC's terse announcement I was wondering how they would justify paying her until her date of "early retirement" unless she starts hearing cases again.

Looks like they've engineered an answer by saying the inquiry is not really concluded, but merely "adjourned," which I guess puts her in a kind of suspended animation.

... cb

Dear cb ...

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. You have raised some interesting points. Why was Lori Douglas' retirement not effective at the start or end of a month as it would have been in most similar cases? More than likely because it will give her sufficient pensionable time to meet the minimum requirement for $130,000 annually.

What will she be doing between now and May 21, 2015? God only knows. She has been on full administrative leave since August 2010 during which time she has not set foot in a courtroom. One can only assume she's been at home tending to her tomato patch or perhaps sharpening pencils for the other Justices.

And you're right this is an "engineered" settlement.

The alacrity with which the Canadian Judicial Council accepted "The Deal" suggests it couldn't wait to get the huge monkey off it's back that the Douglas Inquiry has been - an unmitigated public relations disaster. Its complaints procedures and business model under which it's currently labouring has been exposed as totally inadequate prompting it to finally seek public input.

Is the Inquiry Panel required to seek ratification of the deal from the full CJC membership? Don't know. Here's another flaw. When the Canadian Senators were initially suspended they were allowed to accumulate pensionable time. After the public raised its voice the federal Treasury Board was forced to backtrack to introduce legislation in the March 2014 Omnibus Budget Bill that put an end to this practice.

Look at the Douglas case. She's been accumulating pensionable time since 2014 yet hasn't done one iota of work for the Crown and ultimately taxpayers but will be compensated as though she had. Like Senators, federally appointed Judges and Justices also work for the Crown. Without this 4-years of unearned pensionable time she would not qualify for her very, very generous "minimum" pension.

Legislation needs to be introduced that immediately ends such unearned public benefits.

"The Douglas Deal" is yet another in a long line of examples that explains why the Canadian Judicial Council is widely viewed as judges protecting judges; judges judging judges. It's public inquiries are for lawyers, by lawyers and of lawyers. Where's the independent public oversight?

Is Alex Chapman Poised To Become Canada's Next Best Selling Author?

This morning on CBC Winnipeg Radio, never at a loss for words Alex Chapman (who spoke up when no one else would) was interviewed. Apparently he's writing a book. Should be interesting although it won't be a picture book. He best begin proofreading his material and using a spell check - that or hire a ghost writer.

Clare L. Pieuk


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