Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When simply paying back the money is not good enough!

Good Day Readers:

There has been such a wanton disregard for public money as evidenced by former Alberta Premier Alison Redford it begs the question, "When will she be criminally investigated by the police and charged?" It's hard to recall in recent memory a more blatant disregard of taxpayer resources by a politician. What are you waiting for Alberta need more proof do we?

Clare L. Pieuk
Premier Alison Redford's flights had 'false passengers,' auditor general says

Alberta Premier staff 'blocked' other passengers from government planes

Charles Russnell/Jennie Russell
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alison Redford's travel expenses scrutinized

A review by Alberta's Auditor General found "false passengers" were booked on at least a dozen government flights, making it possible for then Premier Alison Redford to fly alone with her entourage.

Merwan Saher also concluded Redford derived a "personal benefit" by taking her daughter on dozens of government flights. Saher raises the question of whether Redford's desire to take her daughter on out-of-province trips may have influenced the decision to use government aircraft rather than commercial carriers.

These findings are contained in an internal report to the government obtained exclusively by CBC News.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"WTF are these?" ..... "Royal carrots you idiot!"

"Duhhhhh .....!'

A Harper government fundraiser!

Friday, July 25, 2014

For better or worse, right or wrong, good or bad you're stuck with them!

Good Day Readers:

In the case of Beverley McLachlin tha'll be in September of 2018 when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75. For Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay, unfortunately, it's probably in October of 2015 and the next general election, that is, unless all the trials get to them - Mike Duffy, Mack Harb, Patrick Harp, probably "Hurrican" Pam Wallin and possibly Nigel Wright.
In the meantime, look for the Harper government to attack the International Commission of Jurists like a pit bull. Isn't that what it does when criticized?

Clare L. Pieuk
Chief Justice cleared in spat with Stephen Harper

The International Commission of jurists slammed the Prime Minister that were critical of Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

By Tonda MacCharles/Ottawa Bureau Reporter
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin's call to the Prime Minister to flag a potential legal problem was "not inappropriate," the international Commission of Jurists found. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA — An international legal body has cleared Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in her efforts to communicate with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government over a judicial appointment to her court last year, and slammed the prime minister for remarks it says hurt her moral authority, integrity and public confidence in the judiciary.
The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, in a letter to a group of Canadian lawyers and legal academics who asked it to investigate, said it concluded that McLachlin’s move to flag a potential legal problem was “not inappropriate.”
On the contrary, Harper’s and his officials’ remarks were the problem, it said. It urged the prime minister and his justice minister to withdraw the remarks and apologize, and to revamp its judicial selection process to boost transparency and independence.
The group’s review outlines the facts of the unprecedented spat that unfolded after Harper’s officials revealed a call by McLachlin to Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
Harper’s officials suggested McLachlin’s behaviour was “inappropriate and inadvisable” and amounted to lobbying against Harper’s eventual choice of Federal Court of Appeal Judge Marc Nadon for a spot on the Supreme Court.
The ICJ dismissed that argument, and added its voice to an overwhelming chorus in Canada that said the best thing Harper could do is withdraw his remarks and apologize.
“The Prime Minister and Minister of Justice could best remedy their encroachment upon the independence and integrity of the judiciary by publicly withdrawing or apologizing for their public criticism of the Chief Justice.”
The ICJ is a respected non-governmental organization of up to 60 lawyers including senior judges, attorneys and academics who “promote respect for international human rights through the law. It has no legal power or authority, but a Manitoba law professor who with others sought the opinion, says it is known and respected for its expertise in judicial independence, and its “neutrality.”
It set out the responsibilities of the Canadian government under international law to uphold an independent judiciary, and said Harper, MacKay and other senior government officials had made criticisms of McLachlin that were “not well-founded and amounted to an encroachment upon the independence of the judiciary and integrity of the Chief Justice.”
Their public criticism “could only have a negative impact on public confidence in the judicial system and in the moral authority and integrity of the judiciary, and thereby on the independence of the judiciary in Canada.”
The letter was the result of an examination undertaken in response to a May 9 letter written by Manitoba law professor Gerald Heckman, Saskatchewan professors Ken Norman and Brent Cotter, Lucie Lamarche of the Université du Québec à Montréal and the University of Ottawa, Toronto professor Audrey Macklin and Lorne Sossin dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.
In an interview Heckman said he agreed with what he called a “thoughtful and constructive” opinion that was “not a condemnation” but a review based on international principles.
“Mistakes were made by the prime minister and his justice minister that impacted the independence of the judiciary but they can be remedied” by a public retraction, said Heckman.
Heckman also welcomed the ICJ’s observation that some of the controversy might have been avoided if Canada had an independent body to select judicial candidates and clear procedures for consultation between the executive and the judiciary.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday declined to offer any comment on the report.
The Conservative government had not responded to the ICJ’s original request to provide any relevant information to the probe.
The ICJ said there was “no evidence” the chief justice “had any intention in contacting the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister’s Office other than to alert them to the possibility that a legal issue could arise with the nomination” of a Federal Court judge to the Supreme Court of Canada.
And no evidence that she “either intended to or expressed a view on the merits of that legal issue or the merits of any individual.”
“The ICJ understands that at the time the Chief Justice made the calls on 31 July 2013, the issue of eligibility potentially affected several candidates on a long short list under consideration.” Even if it had only been an issue with one candidate under consideration, it wouldn’t change the ICJ’s view of it, the body said.
Furthermore, the ICJ clears McLachlin of any hint of wrongdoing in issuing her own public denial to the allegations first published in the National Post, calling her statement “brief, measured and factual . . . consistent with international standards and within the scope and role of her office in defending the public confidence in the judiciary in light of the allegations she had been informed were then being made public.”
It said McLachlin’s remarks “contained no implied or express criticism of the actions of the PMO or Minister of Justice.”
Rather, McLachlin’s response “emphasized the need for respect between the different branches of government.”
It said a “problem arose” when Harper’s own office — through his spokesman Jason MacDonald — said neither the prime minister nor MacKay “would ever consider calling a judge where that matter is or could be before the court of competent jurisdiction,” remarks that MacKay and Harper repeated in following days.
“This was unfairly conflating the issue of the executive seeking to influence a court on the merits of a matter in litigation,” the ICJ said. It was a statement made during the normal consultation period, when no shortlist or candidate had been picked, and even if Harper and MacKay held a different view of it, there was no need months after the fact for the government to raise it “in public and in a manner that impugned the propriety of the Chief Justice’s actions.”
If anything, the only appropriate thing would have been to raise the concerns at the time through a formal complaint process.
“If the concerns were not of a character to warrant formal complaint, it is difficult to see why there was a need to air them in the court of public opinion several months after the fact.”
A spokesman for McLachlin said Friday the chief justice had no comment on the ICJ's letter or recommendations.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ladies, why on earth would you want to become sleazy, greasy, smarmy, sneaky, creepy, self-serving, self-enriching, ethically challenged politicians?

Good Day Readers:

If you're going to run for political office best to open your closet to let all the skeletons out otherwise your opponents will. That's how politics is played.
Clare L. Pieuk
Crap, I'm ineligible for public office

Trish Kelly is young, female, openly sex positive. If she can't run, neither can I and so many others

By Jarrah Hodge
Monday, July 21, 2014
Writer Jarrah Hodge: They'd have too much on me.

Back in 2005 I ran in a provincial election. Since then I have occasionally been asked if I'm ever going to run again. Today I am announcing my intention not to run in a future election, because I have realized I may be ineligible for public office.

Here are some reasons why:
  • When I was in high school, I wrote and published erotic Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fanfiction online.
  • In my high school musical I played Rosie, a woman who, desperate to attract the attention of her fiancé, attempts to seduce an entire Shriners meeting.
  • I have over 14,600 tweets. There's gotta be something in there someone wouldn't like... maybe a positive review of a burlesque show or a criticism of Game of Thrones.
  • On my blog, I have written about many things, including vaginal mints, menstrual cups, tampons, sex ed, abortion and the HBO show Hung.
  • I'm pretty sure there's a video out there of me singing an innuendo-laden Britney Spears song at a karaoke night.
  • On Facebook, there are or have been pictures of me as follows:
2007: Me appearing to double-fist beers at a bowling night (in fact I am holding a beer for a friend)

2007: My friend at the same bowling night pretending bowling balls are giant boobs

2007: Me in front of a Pride float full of gyrating, nearly-naked men

2009: Me and my roommate dressed in fancy and debatably sexy outfits holding a fake party for our cats

2010: Me in an Improv Anywhere Freeze flashmob, pretending to hit another participant

2012: A cartoon version of me as Dr. Claw, the villain from Inspector Gadget

2013: Me doing "cat bearding"

But wait, you say. Sure, some of those things might be dumb. But what does most of that have to do with seeking public office?

Oh, I forgot the operative factor that makes the other things worse, apparently:

  • I'm a woman.
For some reason young women candidates keep finding themselves attacked for expressing their sexuality, even though it's not at all relevant to the office they're seeking.

The most recent casualty is Trish Kelly, a fabulous activist who had handily won a nomination for Vision Vancouver's parks board slate in the Vancouver municipal elections this fall. A local blogger released a humorous video Kelly made for a Fringe Festival piece, in which she talks about how great masturbation is. Kelly has a great history of sex-positive activism and has always been open about that, so this wasn't an issue of vetting.

Here's what Kelly said in her statement of resignation:

"After 25 years of serving my community, I put my name forward as a park board nominee to move my life as a community activist fighting for social justice issues, to claiming a seat at the decision-making table," Kelly stated. "Unfortunately, my work in theatre and as a sex-positive activist is being sensationalized -- and will clearly continue to be -- distracting from my efforts in the community and in the election campaign."

Miranda Nelson at the Georgia Straight implored Kelly to stay on:

"Trish, you had my vote, 100 per cent. You're open, you're honest, you're funny and you're unafraid. Those are the sorts of qualities I look for in my civic election candidates. Fearlessness. The ability to laugh at oneself. And the willingness to talk about a woman's body without a lick of shame."

Who's dirty?

Like Nelson, I was really looking forward to voting for Trish Kelly. I also watched the video before it was taken down, and my first reaction was, "This is amazing! I want to vote for her even more now!"

But I don't doubt that the issue was going to become worse as the campaign went on. The first video was a shot across the bow, but I've seen how dirty politics can get, especially municipal politics, and I know how incredibly taxing it is on a person to be subject to intense personal attacks and whisper campaigns. With election day months away, I wouldn't ask anyone to ride that out without immense support from their party, friends and networks.
Former Vision Parks Board candidate Trish Kelly: did she make the right decision?

I'm not interested in holding any one person or group particularly responsible. This sensationalizing and shaming of women's sexuality is part of our culture and we all need to take responsibility for changing that, because it's not only Kelly this has happened to.

When actress (and feminist) Ashley Judd announced she was interested in seeking a state senate seat in Kentucky, one of the big narratives against her was that she had appeared naked or partially naked in several of her films. This is a particularly good example of how there's a sexist double standard at work here: check out this Mother Jones article on all the male actors who turned political figures with nary a mention of their film nudity.

In 2010, 28-year-old Democrat candidate for Congress Krystal Ball was pilloried when her opponents dug up and shared private photos of her and her husband having a sexy Christmas party six years earlier. Her comments are really helpful at shedding light on why this is so wrong:

"How did this happen? How did I end up with private photos of me at 22 with my ex-husband across the entire Internet, and in papers from London to New York to Boston? It's not because people care about the Congressional race in the first district of Virginia or because of my positions on energy independence, school choice, marriage equality, or pro-growth environmentalism....

"I don't believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore. They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I've heard them all. So, I sat in my husband's arms and cried. I thought about my little girl. I couldn't stand the idea that I had somehow damaged the cause of young women running for office. I couldn't stand the idea that I might shame my family, my friends or my supporters in some way."

Sooner the better

I have long felt there will be a point where my generation and younger generations will be the ones filling not only political positions, but the positions of pundits, bloggers and other opinion leaders. And at that point people will care a lot less about the things that can be dug up online about a woman candidate, because we'll all have something like that online.

But I'm no longer okay to wait for that cultural change to happen slowly and naturally. We need to have these conversations now. We need to look at all the totally normal, human, awesome things about our sexuality and ask whether we'd think it was fair to be judged like Kelly, Judd, Ball and others have been. We have to call bullshit on those who think something like talking about masturbation or being in a sexy photo is shameful or even relevant to holding the vast majority of public offices.

As Ball said in 2010:

"I knew that there could be no other answer to the question than this: society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office."

Read more: Gender + Sexuality,

"Wrecking Ball Rocco" rocks! Justice Mainville ..... "Doink!"

Federal Court of Appeal Justice Robert Mainville to ..... "Doink!" Quebec Court of Appeal 

Galati's challenge could rock appointment practices

Galati bid seeks to restrict Quebec candidates to current bar, quash Mainville promotion

By Cristin Schmitz
Friday, July 25 Issue
Universite de Montreal law professor Paul Daly sees the potential  for major ripple effects if Rocco Galati's challenge of Justice Robert Mainville's appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal succeeds. (Wassim Njeim for The Lawyers Weekly)

Rocco Galati’s constitutional bid to quash the July 1 appointment of Federal Court of Appeal Justice Robert Mainville to the Quebec Court of Appeal could upset the whole federal judicial appointment apple cart if it succeeds, constitutional lawyers say.

The Toronto litigator and the Constitutional Rights Centre run by Paul Slansky have asked the Federal Court to declare that Federal Court of Appeal judges are ineligible for appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal by virtue of s. 98 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (read together with s. 97) which stipulates that federally appointed Quebec judges “shall be selected from the Bar of that Province.”

Galati is using an argument parallel to that he used to persuade the Supreme Court to quash Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon’s Supreme Court appointment last March.

He argues that since Justice Mainville isn’t currently a member of the Quebec bar, he can’t join the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Montreal aboriginal law expert spent 33 years at the Quebec bar before joining the Federal Court in 2009.

“I think Galati has a plausible claim — not maybe as strong as the one in the Nadon Reference — but certainly plausible,” said Université de Montréal law professor Paul Daly.

Galati’s attack is two-pronged: he seeks to declare invalid Justice Mainville’s Quebec Court of Appeal appointment based on s. 98 of the Constitution, and he wants the Federal Court to declare that Justice Mainville is ineligible to fill an upcoming Quebec vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada in December.

If the court accepts that s. 98 refers only to current members of the bar, it could have major ripple effects on federal judicial appointments, Daly said.

Notably, judges of the Quebec provincial court — who historically are often “promoted” to their province’s trial and appellate superior courts — would likely become ineligible for those posts “even though they are very strong candidates for appointment,” Daly said. “I think it would be regrettable if they turned out to be collateral damage from this litigation.”

The fallout could extend further, contends a factum filed by the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges with the Supreme Court for the Nadon Reference last January.

On behalf of his clients, University of Ottawa civil law Dean Sébastien Grammond warned that if the courts were to accept the argument now being advanced in the Mainville case, “since Confederation, all appointments of superior court judges to courts of appeal would have been contrary to sections 97 and 98 of the Constitution Act, 1867.”

He noted that in 1867 and in 1875, the promotion of judges from one level of court to the other was well known. “It was certainly not the intention of the Fathers of Confederation to exclude sitting judges from the possibility of being promoted to a different court,” he said. “Thus when ss. 97 and 98 of theConstitution Act, 1867 require that judges ‘be selected from the Bar’ they do not set out a strict requirement of membership in the bar at the time of appointment, but rather require that the person appointed have been admitted to the bar some time before appointment to the bench. If it were otherwise, it would be constitutionally impermissible to appoint a superior court judge to the court of appeal, which is absurd.”

Grammond added: “Likewise, when s. 5 of the Supreme Court Act requires 10 years of bar membership, it means that a person appointed to the Supreme Court must have been called to the bar at least 10 years before being appointed. It does not require bar membership at the time of appointment.”

However, the Supreme Court ruled the opposite on the latter point in Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6 [2014] S.C.J. No. 21 — the “Nadon Reference” — by interpreting ss. 5 and 6 of the Supreme Court Act as requiring that only current members of the Quebec bar or Quebec superior courts are eligible for a Quebec seat on the Supreme Court.

Galati argues in his June 15 notice of application that the Nadon Reference “is determinative of not just s. 6 of the Supreme Court Act, but also s. 98 of the Constitution Act, 1867 on the same issue.”

University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen disagreed.

“I do not see an automatic mapping of the Nadon opinion here,” she said. “I think the interpretation of s. 98 of the Constitution Act, 1867 raises different issues than ss. 5 and 6 of the Supreme Court Act. The Supreme Court is a federal institution serving a bi-juridical nation, and created in the context of specific political historical realities. The confidence required of its Quebec judges seems distinctly different from the qualifications required for appointment to judicial office in the common law and civil law provinces. So…it seems to me that to the extent that past bar membership is OK for, say, Ontario, it probably is for Quebec too.”

However, Galati told The Lawyers Weekly “this issue was already resolved in the [Nadon] Reference. It’s the same wording in s. 98. Why this government cynically thinks it can simply again ignore the Constitution is beyond me.”

He said the upshot of s. 98 is that judges of the Federal Court of Appeal (and Federal Court and Tax Court) cannot be directly appointed to the superior courts of Quebec and would also be “hard-pressed” to be appointed to other provinces’ superior courts under s. 97 — which is similarly worded. If they wish to join those courts, “they can step down, write the bar exams and become members again,” Galati suggested.

Galati also does not accept that his s. 98 argument would bar elevations within the provincial superior courts. “There’s a difference between an appointment, and an elevation within the same court to the appellate level,” he said. “Your first appointment under s. 98 has to come from the bar. So if you were appointed to Quebec Superior Court from the Quebec bar, and then elevated to the [Quebec] Court of Appeal from the same court system, that’s fine. But you can’t have your first appointment straight to the Court of Appeal if you weren’t a member of the Quebec bar under s. 98. It’s clear wording.”

Whether Quebec provincial court judges are constitutionally eligible to be appointed to the Quebec superior courts is a more complex question, but arguably, “they can, because when they were appointed to the Quebec Court they had to be members of the bar so…if they’re elevated in what the Supreme Court of Canada calls our ‘unitary court system’ they are part of the same court system, under the Courts of Justice Act in Quebec,” Galati said.

In addition to his s. 98 challenge, Galati has accused the Harper government of appointing Justice Mainville to the Quebec Court of Appeal merely to make him eligible to replace Supreme Court Justice Louis LeBel of Quebec, who will retire November 30.

Daly said the nomination of Justice Mainville to the Supreme Court appears less plausible now given that his eligibility is unlikely to be determined before Justice LeBel retires, absent another expedited reference to the Supreme Court.

Mathen said she is “skeptical” about the s. 98 challenge to Justice Mainville’s Quebec Court of Appeal appointment, but “the rubber hits the road” if the prime minister appoints him to replace Justice LeBel.

“It seems to me that such an appointment could well be inconsistent with the spirit of the Nadon Reference and the constitutional status of the Supreme Court as regards Quebec,” she said.

“Given the circumstances, and particularly the possibility of a six-month ‘stop-over’ if Mainville replaces LeBel, I think there is potential for an argument based on the principle of judicial independence,” she added. “The Quebec Court of Appeal is owed respect by the executive branch. It seems clearly wrong to use it solely as a stopping point along the road to a goal completely disconnected from its needs and the executive function of appointment to it.”

Does Sam have a case of advanced Duffyism?

"Very well then. Are you sure your permanent residence is not a cabin on Prince Edward Island?"

Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz received tax credits after listing Arizona mansion as primary residence

By Katrina Clarke
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
A spokesman for the Maricopa Assessor's Office said Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz's Arizona property was reclassified after a state law dealing with rentals properties and tax credits changed in 2013. (Boris Minkevich/Winnipeg Free Press)

It’s hard to fault the wealthy mayor of Winnipeg for wanting to escape Canada’s bitterly cold winters and head south for rest and relaxation. But Sam Katz’s $1-million Scottsdale, Az., mansion is bringing him more grief than peace.

This week it emerged Mr. Katz’s Arizona home is listed as his primary residence, entitling him to over US$1,000 in tax credits, while his Winnipeg home is also listed as a primary residence.

According to Arizona’s Maricopa County Assessor’s Office, homeowners can declare only one property as the primary residence. The owners must live in the home for nine months of the year, though there are exceptions.

Mr. Katz’s spokeswoman said the title company responsible for managing transfer of ownership made the error.

“[Mr. Katz] was not aware of the error in status,” Carmen Barnett wrote in an email to the National Post, adding that he “appropriately declared Canadian status with the titles office.”

‘He has already spoken with the assessor’s office and corrected the information provided to them by the title company’

Ms. Barnett said Mr. Katz’s primary address of residency is in Winnipeg. She said he is not planning to move to the United States, and he is trying to resolve the mistake.

“He has already spoken with the assessor’s office and corrected the information provided to them by the title company,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the 14,500-square-foot Arizona property has caused the mayor grief. He purchased the home from the sister-in-law of Sandy Shindleman, CEO of real-estate firm Shindico, in 2012. Shindico has made successful bids on several development contracts with the City of Winnipeg and Mr. Shindleman owns shares in the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team, owned by Mr. Katz.

The purchase raised eyebrows but Mr. Katz said his relationship with Mr. Shindleman did not constitute a conflict of interest.


Mr. Katz, 62, a well-known businessman and a former entertainment promoter — he brought the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney to Winnipeg — has served as mayor since 2004, easily winning re-election twice. In June, he announced he would not be seeking re-election this fall.

According to a statement of assets and interests, Mr. Katz currently lives in Winnipeg’s Tuxedo area, which Tourism Winnipeg describes as an upscale “oh la la” area with “sprawling mansions” and “lush greenery.”

Ms. Barnett said the mayor was not available for comment Tuesday. He was spending time with his family “at the lake.”

According to property information from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office, Mr. Katz’s Arizona home was listed as a primary residence since 2013.

Robert Pizorno, spokesman for the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office, said Mr. Katz’s property was reclassified after a state law dealing with rentals properties and tax credits changed in 2013. Mr. Katz’s home was classified as owner occupied/primary residence because of information in the deed, he said.

“We don’t believe there was an error by any party, however, the owner has the legal obligation to correct the error once they receive notice,” he said.

‘In the two Taxation notices, the property was clearly shown as receiving a tax credit of $600 for each of the years in question’

The office sent four notices to Mr. Katz, including two indicating he was receiving US$600 primary residence tax credits, he said.

“In the two Notices of Valuation, the property was clearly identified as a Primary Residence. In the two Taxation notices, the property was clearly shown as receiving a tax credit of $600 for each of the years in question, for being a primary residence,” said Mr. Pizorno. “Each of these notices gave the owner the opportunity to correct the classification of the property.”

He said his office has reached out to Mr. Katz’s office to “expedite correcting this problem.”

Arnold Porter, an Arizona-based realtor and co-owner of Arizona for Canadians realty service, said he’s never heard of a title company mistakenly declaring a home a primary residency.

“It shouldn’t be something that the title company decides on their own,” Mr. Porter said.

Home ownership controversies have plagued other wealthy mayors in the past.“The buyer has to declare how they want to hold title. So the type of property that is, what their residency is [and] is this an investment property or personal use property.”

In 2010 The New York Times ran an investigative piece on then-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and the time he spent at his luxurious Bermuda home while mayor. While New York mayors are known to spend seven days a week on the job, Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire who owns at least 10 homes, travelled to the island at least twice a month, according to the article.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Shelly Glover meet @gccaedits ..... @gccaedits meet Shelly Glover!"

Good Day Readers:

It's hilarious how federal politicians (and others) are scrambling these days to self-sanitize but are getting caught. You'd have thought Ms Glover, her staff or whomever would have known better - apparently not.

Wonder if she, her staff or whomever will have the presence of mind not to try to erase that Tupperware, love-in fundraiser or whatever it was held at the home of a member of her constituency riding last January which Liberal Ralph Goodale asked the federal Ethics Commission to investigate?

After contacting Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, CyberSmokeBlog received an acknowledgement reply saying it would have a a more detailed response in about three days. It's now starting to feel more like three weeks. Will "The Shelly" come clean in her next, now famous honkin, Mother of all Pablum-laced, puffery-laden taxpayer mail-outs? Stay tuned.

Clare L. Pieuk
Twitter account tracks anonymous Wiki edits from House of Commons addresses

House of Commons computers are being used to anonymously re-write Wikipedia articles, and a new Twitter account is exposing them.

Alex Boutilier/Staff Reporter
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Political biographies on Wikipedia have been altered by House of Commons-connected IPs including the deletion of aspects of the Senate spending scandal from Pamela Wallin's biography. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA—What do Pamela Wallin, a defunct CFL team, and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada have in common?
All have had their Wikipedia entries anonymously altered by people using government-associated Internet protocol addresses. And a new Twitter account is tracking those changes.
Government of Canada Edits (@gccaedits) is a Twitter bot that automatically tweets whenever a Wikipedia entry is edited anonymously from a House of Commons-associated IP address.
In just six days, the account has publicized changes to numerous entries, including biographical notes for MPs, the list of Canadian Forces special operations units, the page on the defunct Ottawa Renegades CFL team, and — fittingly enough — the entry for the Canadian Museum of History.
The site was inspired by similar initiatives in Britain and the United States, where Twitter bots have found anonymous changes to topics from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to Choco Taco ice cream snacks. The U.S. version, @congressedits, made the source code for the program public, spawning new accounts in Australia, Germany, South Africa, Ireland and other countries. Other accounts track changes from police and security agencies, including the RCMP.
Nick Ruest, a York University digital assets librarian, tailored the program to pick up changes from the House of Commons, the Department of National Defence, and Industry Canada.
“It’s a way to empower the citizenry to see what’s going on,” Ruest said on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of things that are good that can happen (with the edits), but there are a lot of things that are bad. It’s just transparency, and that’s the key thing for me.”
Ruest’s program monitors every time an edit is made to a Wikipedia article, filtering out the edits made by people who have logged in to the online encyclopedia. It then takes those edits and checks them against a list of IP addresses associated with the Canadian government. The program then automatically tweets the changes to almost 2,000 people.
Now that more people know about @gccaedits, Ruest says he hopes to add more government IP addresses to the code to pick up more changes.
Most of what the bot has captured have been minor changes to wording, like changing Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro’s former occupation from “used car salesman” to “auto salesman.”
Perhaps prompted by the publicity of @gccaedits, that changed sparked a debate on the online encyclopedia around Del Mastro’s recent election overspending trial.
But subsequent investigation from the online news outlet VICE found that other political biographies had been altered by House of Commons-connected IPs — including the deletion of aspects of the Senate spending scandal from Wallin’s biography, and changes to Conservative deputy Senate leader Yonah Martin’s role in the suspension of Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.
Heritage Minister Shelly Glover’s office confirmed to VICE that they were behind the anonymous removal of parts of her bio concerning overspending during the 2011 election. Glover reached a compliance agreement with Elections Canada in November concerning the $2,267 in overspending, which was determined to be a mistake. (emphasis by CyberSmokeBlog)
But even the more banal changes inform Canadians of how history is written on the Internet, and by whom. Ruest anticipates that more and more free tools will be developed to help increase that kind of awareness.
“This goes along with open government and open data initiatives,” Ruest said. “All this data is out there and available, and it’s (about) grabbing it and doing something with it.”
With files from The Canadian Press

"Auntie Shelly" b-u-s-t-e-d!

Good Day Readers:

Don't you love the way federal politicians are quietly hurrying to sanitize themselves before the next election? Wonder if Ms Glover will include this little tidbit in her next honkin, mother of all taxpayer mail-outs? Nice try "The Shelly." B-u-s-t-e-d!

Whoever did this wasn't very bright. Didn't another federal politician within the last few days try this cheesy little trick only to get caught the same way?

What will Shelly Anne Glover do with her Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench divorce file?

Clare L. Pieuk
Glover staffers remove ugly details from Wikipedia

Elections Canada dispute cut from site

By Oliver Sachgau
Turesdy, July 22, 2014
Shelly Glover (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

 Staff of Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover anonymously edited her Wikipedia page to remove controversial details about her run-ins with Elections Canada.

The information disappeared last week and involved a 2013 request by Elections Canada that the Saint Boniface Conservative MP be suspended because she filed inaccurate campaign spending reports. The missing sentences were quickly restored by Wikipedia editors.

Shelly Glover (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Glover's office confirmed in a statement the attempt to change the Wikipedia article was made by a political staffer in her office.

"(The staff member) was made aware of inaccurate and improperly sourced information on Wikipedia, and removed it. All relevant information about the issue in question is available on the Elections Canada website," said the statement from Glover's office.

Her staff would not agree to make Glover available for an interview.

'This is not her own website. This is a public encyclopedia ... People go to it for information'

The edits appear to be part of a co-ordinated attempt to sanitize the Wikipedia entries of several government MPs. A popular Twitter account, @gccaedits, has been set up to track the changes, and spotted Glover's.

In most cases, the edits are reversed, sometimes within seconds, by some of the more than 130,000 active editors on the website. In the case of Glover's page, the change was reversed and the information restored within minutes.

The attempted edit was done by an IP address - a unique address that identifies a computer connected to the Internet - registered to the House of Commons.

The Wikipedia website shows the same IP address has edited numerous other Wikipedia pages, including those of sitting MPs. In some cases, sections that detail a members' previous controversies are completely deleted. In other cases, sections are added advertising an MP's accomplishments, in words that could be found in a promotional leaflet.

In Glover's case, the deleted section stated that the Speaker of the House of Commons received a request from Elections Canada in June 2013 for Glover's suspension. Every statement in the section was cited and supported, and the events it mentioned are a matter of public record. The 2013 complaint was eventually resolved without Glover being suspended.

The IP address in this case can be used by more than one person, the Wikipedia page for the address stated, as it refreshes with every reboot. The actual person doing the editing could be anyone on the Canadian parliamentary Internet system, the page stated. They could be in Ottawa, or in a federal MP's constituency office.

Changes to Wikipedia matter, because it is the only place many people go to for information, said University of Ottawa law Professor Penny Collenette.

The changes were also not made on a forum that Glover's office exclusively owns, Collenette said, which raises questions whether the changes were justified.

"To remove that, if it was her own website, sure. Why would she draw attention to that? But this is not her own website. This is a public encyclopedia ... people go to it for information," said Collenette.

With campaigning for the 2015 federal election slowly ramping up, Collenette said Wikipedia pages will become even more important, and changes to them equally powerful.

"MPs turn into candidates during an election, and (they could) decide they don't like what's there, so they'll edit it, or someone will do it for them," she said.

Though Collenette said she wasn't sure in this case whether the changes were justified, she does not agree with such edits being anonymous.

Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Pat Martin disapproved of Glover's office making the changes.

"Attempting to sanitize your own Wikipedia page by removing facts that are potentially embarrassing is not only cheesy, it's revisionist and dishonest ... it certainly shouldn't be done on the taxpayer's dime." Martin said by email.

The address that edited Glover's page has also edited the page for Conservative MP Colin Carrie in 2009, removing a section about a defamation charge against Carrie of which he was eventually acquitted. In March 2014, it edited the page of Conservative MP David Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex), adding in statements such as, "He is very proud of the riding and works hard every day to keep Canada a strong and prosperous nation, not only for our generation but for those generations to come."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2014 B2

"Forget about the quails you should shoot him in the dick!" ..... "I can shoot him in his scotus!"

Good Day Readers:

You have love how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is portrayed. Ever wonder had this been produced in Canada which male colleagues Beverley McLachlin, Rosalie Siberman Abella or Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis would like to shoot in the dick?

Clare L. Pieuk

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Ontario Judicial Council a modern day Star Chamber!

"Judges protecting judges - where there's no publicity there's no justice"

Good Day Readers:

What's most troubling, to say the least, is the secrecy shrouding this case like the Star Chamber of 15th century England. Public money is used to fund and support the Ontario Judicial Council yet taxpayers are the last to find out if at all.

The other troublesome aspect is how the OJC seemingly plays fast and lose with Constitutional/Charter law. What is needed is a group of constitutional lawyers to challenge certain of The Council's policies in court. They'd probably win.

Clare L. Pieuk
Toronto Judge upbraided for errors, still on the job

A complaint about a repeatedly chastised Toronto judge sparked a lengthy investigation into his conduct before the matter was dealt with in secret and the case closed.

By Rachel Mendleson/News Reporter
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Ontario Court Justice John Richie pictured outside Old City Hall last summer. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star)

A complaint about a repeatedly chastised Toronto judge sparked a lengthy investigation into his conduct before the matter was dealt with in secret and the case closed.
The name of the judge involved might have been shielded from the public forever had it not been for a manila envelope delivered to the Star by an unknown source. The documents it contains provide a rare glimpse into how a judge who has been upbraided for legal errors, the appearance of bias and delivering “boilerplate” decisions avoided a formal disciplinary hearing and is still hearing cases at Old City Hall.
And Ontario law, at least according to the Ontario Judicial Council, prohibits us from sharing any of it with you.
What we can reveal was gleaned from court records, media reports, interviews with lawyers and a conversation with Justice John Ritchie, who confirmed that he was the subject of a complaint by the Criminal Lawyers’ Association two years ago.
Upon review, the Judicial Council, which probes complaints about Ontario’s 330 provincially appointed judges, did not question the substance of his decisions, Ritchie said. But, on the council’s recommendation, he took a refresher course on how to write good judgments.
“It was a good course,” he told the Star. “I liked it.”
Despite Ritchie’s candour, we are very limited in what we can report because the Judicial Council has made a general order sealing “any information or documents” relating to mediations that don’t result in a public hearing.
This order applies “whether the information or documents are in the possession of the Judicial Council, the Attorney General or any other person,” according to council registrar Marilyn King.
The council has only concluded six public hearings in the past decade, King said. It publishes summaries of complaints that don’t result in a public hearing in a report to the Attorney General each year but does not identify the judges involved or the complainant. (The council received 40 new complaints, on average, per year from 2007 to 2012.)
Toronto constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati said the blanket order shrouding the vast majority of investigations into complaints against judges is “an abuse and excess of power” and is an example of “judges protecting judges.”
Galati, who recently challenged several judicial appointments, said allowing secrecy in the courts carries serious consequences.
“In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing,” he said, quoting 18th-century British jurist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham. “Where there is no publicity there is no justice.”
Several legal experts said the confidentiality provision is so broad and sweeping that it could violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The (charter) says we have freedom of expression, including freedom of the media,” said Ian Greene, an expert in judicial administration at York University. “Democracy is always a work in progress. If there’s unnecessary secrecy, that can provide a cover for unacceptable things to happen.”
Greene said this case “certainly shows” that the law “needs to be revisited.”
Toronto defence lawyer Andras Schreck, too, said the confidentiality permitted under the Ontario Courts of Justice Act could be “vulnerable to an attack on its constitutional validity.”
“On its face, it prevents the media from publishing proceedings respecting judicial conduct, which, although it may not result in a hearing, still reflect that there was a concern and steps were taken to address the concern,” Schreck said.
The provision is intended to enhance confidence in the courts by ensuring that the reputations of judges are not eroded by making public baseless and specious complaints, he said.
However, in cases in which a complaint results in remedial action, Schreck said, proceedings should be disclosed.
“I think the public would have probably more confidence in the administration of justice if it knew that serious complaints were taken seriously and that steps were taken to address the complaints,” he said.
Schreck, former vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA), stressed that his comments do not relate to any specific case. He would not comment on — or confirm the existence of — a complaint by his organization against Ritchie.
Toronto defence lawyer Anthony Moustacalis, who is president of the CLA, also declined to comment on the case, citing the order imposed by the Judicial Council.
“You and the Toronto Star are not allowed to have that material or to distribute or publicize it,” he said in an email. “I would therefore ask that you comply with the order and return the material to the judicial council and not publicize it.”
Ritchie, who was appointed by Mike Harris’s tough-on-crime government in 1999, earned $271,420.72 last year, according to public sector disclosure records. Over the years he has been repeatedly taken to task by Superior Court judges, whose sharp language has been widely quoted in the media.
In 2004, an appeal court reversed a drunk-driving conviction because the reasons Ritchie gave, according to Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy, were “so deficient as to amount to no reasons at all.”
As the Star reported at the time, Molloy reviewed another four of Ritchie’s cases and found he used included the same generic “boilerplate” reason for conviction: “I had ample opportunity to observe the demeanour of the witnesses and consider the inconsistencies and conflicts in their evidence,” he wrote.
In 2011, Ritchie was rebuked for his treatment of the defendant in rejecting an application under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in another drunk-driving case. As the Law Times reported, Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer said Ritchie’s actions would leave an observer “with the distinct impression that that trial judge had predetermined the result of the … application, if not the likely outcome of the proceeding as a whole.”
Nordheimer overturned Ritchie’s ruling on the application and ordered that the case be heard by another judge.
The following year, the Globe and Mail reported that Ritchie had been admonished yet again by a Superior Court judge for convicting a mentally ill man who did not appear at trial, despite the fact that even the Crown had pointed out the man may have gone to the wrong courthouse.
As officers of the court, lawyers rarely speak out against judges. But criminal lawyers have, in media interviews, repeatedly stated their concerns about Ritchie’s decisions.
In 2012, Toronto defence lawyer Edward Royle said that he had put the word out that he would represent “indigent defendants” seeking to appeal a conviction by Ritchie on a pro bono basis, according to the Globe report.
Criminal lawyer James Lockyer told the Law Times in 2011 that Ritchie has “a reputation among the defence bar and beyond for being a judge you’d like to avoid if you can.”
Several criminal defence lawyers who spoke to the Star on condition of anonymity said that he is the draw they dread most.
“I personally have found Justice Ritchie to be a true gentleman and even a compassionate sentencer,” Toronto defence lawyer Reid Rusonik said in an email this week, “but by absolutely all accounts, he seems to struggle mightily with the application of the essential criminal law concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Ritchie denied that the repeated chidings represent a concerning pattern.
“I’m a good judge,” he said. “When I make a decision, some people are going to agree with it and some people aren’t going to agree with it.”
He said he has applied the lessons from Superior Court judges.
“When we are appealed, and there are decisions that give us guidance and help, obviously we pay attention to them,” he said. “Of course I take it to heart, and of course I do something about it, as do all judges.”
Asked about the perception among defence lawyers that he has a tendency to convict, Ritchie said, “You’ll have to talk to them about that.”
“Some defence lawyers want to come in front of me, and some don’t. That applies to every judge,” he said. “I only convict somebody when the Crown proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Ritchie said the documents that detail the complaint against him were marked “private and confidential.” He said whoever shared them with the Star acted “contrary to the wishes of the Ontario Judicial Council and their legal opinion.”
The Judicial Council declined to comment on the case.
“It is the policy of the (council) … that it will not confirm or deny that a particular complaint has been made to it, unless the council has ordered a public hearing,” King, the registrar, said in an email.
The Ontario government created the council in 1995 to investigate complaints by members of the public against provincially appointed judges.
The council follows standards developed by the Chief Justice of the Court of Ontario, and is made up of six judges (including the chief justice), the treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, another lawyer and four community members who are neither judges nor lawyers.
Complaints are investigated by a judge and a community member and then reviewed by a panel made up of two other judges, a lawyer and a different community member. The panel then decides whether a public hearing is warranted, King said.
Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo declined a request for an interview regarding Ritchie.
King told the Star that complaints that don’t result in a public hearing are confidential and directed the Star to the confidentiality provisions in the legislation, which stipulate that the council “may order” that information and documents relating to these proceedings remain secret.
The Star asked whether such an order had been made and requested a copy of the order. She replied that there is “a general order to reflect the legislative provisions and framework that governs the Council, not an order specific to a case,” which “reflects the practice of the Judicial Council since its inception.”
She did not share a copy of the order. Instead, she provided what she described as the “wording of the order.” It stipulates that, subject to an order of council, the materials “are confidential and shall not be disclosed or made public.”
“The provisions of the Courts of Justice Act recognize the need to balance constitutionally protected judicial independence with judicial accountability for conduct,” she said. “If the press believes that their Charter rights justify disclosure of the disposition of a complaint that would otherwise be confidential under the law … that would permit them to apply for an order from the Judicial Council of disclosure of that information.”
The Star intends to submit an application to have the materials unsealed.
Star editor Michael Cooke said, “Our judges, above all, need to be held accountable.”
“How can the public have confidence in our system of justice if the process by which judges are judged is secret?” he said.