Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Douglas Inquiry update:The lady in black!

Good Day Readers:

Over the years experience has taught CyberSmokeBlog three variables always determine the outcome of a court proceeding:

(1) Which team files the most paper

(2) Which speaks the loudest and longest

(3) Especially which has the nicest shoes

On that basis Team Independent Counsel won!

For both days lead Independent Counsel Suzanne Cote (black hair no makeup) came to court dressed from head to toe in black wearing 6" stiletto heels. As both sides dronned on ad nauseum in excruciating minutiae in a monotone in a courtroom with audio that could best be described as third world lousy, boys will be boys.

CyberSmokeBlog wondered why Mme Cote never accessorized with a bit of orange given Halloween is rapidly approaching. But what kept CSB in even more suspense was whether she'd list on her stilettos and fall on her derriere. It never happened - Rats!

To be continued .....

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CyberSmokeBlog challenges Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to take its courtroom audio challenge!

"What's that eh? CyberSmokeBlog can't hear you the audio equipment in this federal courtroom is third world lousy!

.Good Day Readers:

Supreme Court Chief Justice and Chair of the Canadian Judicial Council Beverley McLachlin it seems is quick to tell anyone who'll listen Canada has among the world's finest jurists, well-appointed courtrooms and an open court system of which Canadians should be proud. CSB would beg to differ on a couple points.

It has been "blogging" since June of 2000 before the term and its derivatives had even been invented. During that time CSB has been in many, many courtrooms both federal and provincial. With few exceptions the audio infrastructure is that of a third world country. At the 2012 Douglas Inquiry had a chance to chat with veteran Toronto-based National Post columnist Christie Blatchford - same problem there.


A multitude of reasons:

(1) From the public gallery you face the backs' of counsel. "Pacers" are not uncommon - they walk back and fourth while addressing the court often out of range of their stationary microphones

(2) Judges who speak in muted tones (some even mumbling). To make matters worse they too are given to drifting outside the range of their stationary microphone(s). One relatively new Manitoba Queen's Bench Justice (an up and comer who's already been assigned a few high-profile cases) likes to sit side-saddle problem is "Justice Side-Saddle" doesn't re-position their microphone and in a large courtroom .....

(3) Witnesses who don't speak clearly and into the microphone. the judge, lawyers and juries may be able to hear them but the gallery?

(4) Large courtrooms with bad acoustics

(5) Inferior technology

How do you define an open court system?

Is it one in which a significant number of courtroom visitors can't hear all the  proceedings all the time? Don't think so.

Taking the challengeIf the Chief Justice would like to visit Winnipeg, CyberSmokeBlog will gladly select a few large courtrooms where she can sit at the front, middle and back of the galleries. This would be followed by a written test. Unless she has superwoman hearing she'll be hard pressed to pass. No doubt Ms Blatchford in Toronto would also be prepared to administer the challenge.

How to cement your legacy?

A lot of senior citizens attend court proceeding not only because of their interest but also because of their enhanced time flexibility. A recent United Nations Study predicted within 20-years seniors will make up the largest segment of the North American population - grey power rules - Yes! If you really wish to cement your legacy never mind all those sexy, highfalutin supreme court decisions immediately mandate that in every federal courtroom all judges, lawyers and witnesses must wear those lapel microphones the media has been using for how many years now?

Clare L. Pieuk


BTW, the federal courtroom where the Douglas Inquiry preliminary hearing of four Team Douglas motions concluded yesterday has lousy, third world audio infrastructure.

CSB can only cite two members of  Manitoba's judiciary for consistently running an audible courtroom - Provincial Judge Kelly Moar and Queen's Bench Justice Richard Saull.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A quick update ..... chaos reigns down at the Manitoba Queen's Bench File Registry!

Good Day Readers:

CyberSmokeBlog was at today's preliminary hearing involving the  Douglas Inquiry. More about that a little later other than to say for now its turned into a veritable circus. Independent Counsel Mme Suzanne Cote reminded us Halloween was coming.

Of increasing concern was CSB's inability (today) to access a statement of claim (public domain document) at The Law Courts. This involves a defamation lawsuit filed quite recently by a Winnipeg police sergeant/supervisor against the police officer husband of a junior officer who has claimed she was sexually harassed by the sergeant. The sergeant maintains it was consensual. Also named as defendants are the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Department. Chief of Police Devon Clunis has been quite tight lipped on the situation as there's also an ongoing internal police investigation underway.

The problem is both a Winnipeg Free Press article plus one by CBC Manitoba (virtually identical) for whatever reason(s) did not identify the name of the sergeant (plaintiff) or the lower level police officer defendant (husband of the junior officer) making it virtually impossible to find a file number. At any given time there are multiple lawsuits in the system against the City of Winnipeg and/or Winnipeg Police Service.

Suffice it to say for now that's where our (more correctly their - i.e. Queen's Bench File Registry's) problem begins.

CyberSmokeBlog will have much, much more to say about this situation in the coming days. Essentially, it was denied the means to identify and thus access what should be a publicly available court document. Not good, not good at all!

Clare L. Pieuk

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Read a newspaper "Jaws" Glover!

"Jaws Glover is a true Harper sycophant. Kept in the dark about delays eh? Pick up a newspaper." ..... Winnipeg Free Press reader

Good Day Readers:

Shelly Glover must think all non-Tory taxpaying voters are deaf, dumb,blind and stupid if she believes they'll accept her feeble/lame beyond asinine explanation of Stuart Murray's firing.

Notice how "Jaws" claims the museum needs someone with a different skills set to take it into its next phase but can't or won't (likely a bit of both) elaborate on just what those new skills are - Mr. Murray should now jump to the NDP and run against her given that party has yet to announce their candidate in the Saint Boniface riding. Wouldn't that be sweet revenge if he won?

Presumably, among these special skills will be the ability to kiss Tory ass lots and lots of it! Assuming "Wikipedia" Glover runs in 2015, and hopefully she won't, she'll  have those new special skills beyond being a temporarily former Winnipeg gumshoe.

Then there's her malarkey she wasn't aware that several of the exhibits might not be ready for the official opening. The Winnipeg Free Press reader quoted above said it best. It seems the Winnipeg media kept everyone apprised so it came as no surprise to everyone save her.

The Last criticism goes to the Winnipeg Free Press and Winnipeg Sun. "Jaws" Glover is unhappy because you didn't give more credit to the Harper government for the CMHR so smarten up and give her all the credit. She's going to need all the publicity she can get to win St. Boniface again..

Clare L. Pieuk
Murray's Exit not payback: Glover
Denies dismissal due to delays, spat with Aspers

Mia Rabson
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shelly Glover with Stuart Murray in August. She says this phase of the museum's life requires a unique skill set. (Joe Bryksa/Winnipeg Free Press)

OTTAWA -- Heritage Minister Shelly Glover says she is disappointed the Canadian Museum for Human Rights wasn't entirely ready for its grand opening but denies that or any disputes with the Asper family led to the dismissal of CEO Stuart Murray.

Murray's term as the head of the new national museum will come to an end November 1 after the government decided not to renew his five-year-contract. The decision, made public last week, shocked many, including Murray himself who said the "end came sooner than I expected."

Glover said Murray was hired for the "creation and construction phase," and now the museum is open, it needs someone else to take the helm.

"We're now going into the next phase, which is the operation of the museum, which really requires a completely different skill set," Glover told the Free Press in an interview.

'... Were it not for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to making it a national museum, it would never have happened. But you would never know that from the articles that have been written' - Heritage Minister Shelly Glover

Glover did not elaborate about what skills Murray may have been lacking, but said she wants to thank him for what he did in the five years he was there.

"Really, I want to thank him for all that he's done because this museum would not be the success that it is," said Glover.
Sources told the Free Press Murray's ouster came despite a recommendation by the museum Board to keep him on, which means the decision was made in Ottawa. The sources said Murray's departure comes in part due to construction delays that meant only four of the museum's 11 galleries were ready for the September 19 opening ceremonies.

They also suggested, however, it was because Glover and other Tories were upset after former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien delivered a speech at a donors' gala the night of the museum opening, which championed his own role in the museum's history. The Chrétien government agreed to put capital dollars toward the project but never agreed to make it a national museum, which meant taking on operating funding.

That didn't come until 2007, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper made that call, saving the project most knew could not survive as a private operation.

Glover called such speculation "completely inappropriate." She did, however, complain Harper and the Conservative government's role in making the museum a reality has largely been overlooked by the Free Press and other media.

"The fact that it's a national museum, Gail Asper has said it a million times and I agree wholeheartedly, were it not for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to making it a national museum, it would never have happened," Glover said. "But you would never know that from the articles that have been written."

Glover said she is upset she was kept in the dark about the delays in gallery construction by museum staff. She said she visited the museum regularly over the summer and became concerned the closer the opening got.

"There is no secret to this. Are you going to be ready or aren't you going to be ready? The fact that I had to actually go there and see it for myself to figure out that what they were telling me wasn't exactly what I was seeing, that was disappointing."

Glover said the Board will oversee the process of finding a replacement for Murray but she will be invited to make some suggestions.

"I think we ought to take a really good look at who has the best skills," she said.

Once the museum opens the rest of its galleries next month, it will have to start taking stock of its finances in preparation for negotiating its future operating funds from Ottawa. It is guaranteed $21.7 million in annual federal funding through to the end of 2015-16, but beyond that it has to negotiate. Among its future concerns are the still-undetermined payment in lieu of taxes to the city, which could be as high as $8 million.

Glover hinted last week there will not be a lot more money on offer.

"We committed the operational funding, which isn't going to change," she said. "The fact remains they've got a budget and they've got to stay within their budget. It's part of their mandate."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2014 A4

CyberSmokeBlog would politely tell the man behind the counter under Canada's Constitutional and Charter freedom of speech provisions he should go .... himself!


What if you picked up a cup of coffee on your way to work and paid $2.00 in cash, only to have the man behind the counter request your home address?

"My home address?" you might ask.

"Yes," he might reply. "And your full legal name. I'm keeping it in a file for the next 10 years, just in case the government wants it."

Sound ridiculous? Substitute bitcoins for cash, and that's what might happen in the near future at businesses that accept digital currency in New York and elsewhere.

The State of New York has proposed BitLicense, a sprawling regulatory framework that would mandate licenses for a wide range of companies that interact with digital currencies. The proposal creates expensive and vague new obligations for startups and infringes on the privacy rights of both Bitcoin businesses and casual users. And we have only four days before public comments on the proposal close.

Speak out now

This isn't just about Bitcoin. Any future digital currency protocol would be affected, even if it's not being used for financial services. As the proposal is currently drafted, innovators who want to use these protocols for smart contracts, to track digital assets, or for any other purpose would still be affected.

BitLicense extends well beyond the state of New York. The regulations impact any business "involving" New York or a resident of New York, which is pretty much any online service. And the proposal as written wouldn't just affect big digital currency exchanges; it would sweep up software developers and other entrepreneurs designing creative services for the digital currency environment.

There are also no carve-outs for academics or security researchers.

What the proposal would do:
  • BitLicense requires digital currency innovators to get a license. They would need to undergo a background check and submit their fingerprints to state and federal law enforcement.
  • Even technology users just dabbling in Bitcoin could be affected. All the companies who obtain a BitLicense may be forced to collect personal data on consumers—including full name and physical address—and keep that data for 10 years, no matter how small the transaction.
Think back to the coffee shop at the beginning of this article. If this coffee shop were using a Bitcoin payment provider to process transactions, that payment provider would need to obtain a BitLicense from New York. While the coffee shop and its customers would not need to get a license, every digital transaction processed by the payment provider would have to follow the BitLicense record-keeping requirements, including identity information about all parties to a transaction.

Virtual currencies like Bitcoin have the potential to be privacy-protective and censorship-resistant, but the proposal from New York could undermine all of that. Perhaps worst of all, it could stifle a fledgling privacy-enhancing industry before we even know what potential societal benefits may develop.

We have until October 21 to submit comments to the state of New York about their proposal. Please help us educate New York about how BitLicense would affect privacy and innovation. Send in comments today using this suggested text or by emailing

Defending your digital rights,

Imagine had Sarah Palin made it into the White House there'd have been a brawl on the front lawn every week!

Palin Family Brawl
Bristal: He called me a c..t and a slut!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bristol Palin hysterically told cops during the epic drunkin Palin family brawl in Alaska last month some guy knocked her down and called her a f..king c..t.

Bristol's conversation with cops outside the party in Anchorage was recorded by the officer and TMZ obtained a copy. During the conversation Bristol explains the fight was triggered by an 'old lady" who shoved her younger sister Willow.

Listen carefully ... you can hear Sarah Palin in the background telling Bristol not to cuss during her statement.

As we reported, police broke up the massive melee, but no one wanted to press charges.


Police officer's likely reaction? "Too bad you little ..... "

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The best scandal to hit Winnipeg since Douglas-king-Chapman?

Good Day Readers:

The first question that jumped out at CyberSmokeBlog upon reading veteran Winnipeg Free Press crime-court reporter Mike McIntyre's article (below) is why didn't he identify those named in the lawsuit? So you're left to speculate. Here goes:
(1) Statements of claim once registered and filed become public domain. Since Mr. McIntyre obviously had access to said document it hadn't been sealed which in and of itself would be extraordinary. The other option is redacted names which again would be beyond unusual to say the least. Best guess? Prior to breaking the story extensive talks took place between senior WFP management and it's legal department. IF the case makes it to trial and the allegations were shown to be false, the newspaper could potentially be sued for defamation

(2) Since the actions of the three officers named in the suit are currently under internal investigation is there something in the department's regulations preventing their identification unless or until they're found guilty?

Either way the Winnipeg Free Press should have explained its reason(s) for not naming those in the statement of claim otherwise rightly or wrongly it leaves the impression the officers are receiving preferential treatment.

Chief Clunis on the hot seat

It stands to reason it would be in the best interests of the police department's senior administration to settle the lawsuit out-of-court because once the subpoenas starting flying the dirty laundry gets washed in public. Since the plaintiff, a sergeant/supervisor, is asking for "unspecified financial damages" one would think an attempt to do just that will happen. Besides, it would come out of taxpayers pockets. Should the trial go forward, here's a sampling of some of the interesting questions that could be asked in court:

(a) What did you know, when did you know it and what did you do about Chief Clunis and your senior administrators?

(b) Are officers able to freely roam police and Manitoba Public Insurance data bases willy-nilly for personal information on other offices or is there a tracking system in place?

(c) Who was the real estate agent who gave the supervisor and lower level officer with whom he was having an affair use of a high profile local official's home? Who's home was it?

(d) What were those "explicit photos" found on the female officers phone (shades of the Douglas Inquiry)?

(e) Are there any checks and balances so an officer can't go AWOL while on duty?

(f) The actions (decision making) of the plaintiff-sergeant the evening Tina Fontain was apprehended within days of her murder?

(g) Plus God knows what else would emerge if there's a trial!.

The Winnipeg Police Service brass had better hope it can contain the damage by finding a way to make the lawsuit go away. Failure to do so will take what is alleged to have happened out of their control and the realm of an internal investigation they'd be much better positioned to control. It could really rock their new over-priced police headquarters the cost of renovations to which are already under RCMP investigation.

Clare . Pieuk

Investigated cop suing police, fellow officer

Mike McIntyre
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A veteran Winnipeg police officer who is the central figure in an internal professional-standards investigation is now suing his employer along with the husband of a female officer he got caught having an affair with - who also happens to be a cop.

Court records show the supervisor has filed a statement of claim in Court of Queen's Bench, seeking unspecified financial damages from the Winnipeg Police Service, the City of Winnipeg and his male co-worker. None of his allegations has been proven, and no statements of defence have been filed.

The supervisor is claiming he was repeatedly harassed after the female officer's husband found out about the affair, which began in early 2012 and ended in late 2013. He claims the co-worker had others follow him and used police computers to search out personal information about him. He is suing the police service and the city, claiming they are liable for the actions that happened under their watch.

As the Free Press reported last week, the supervisor is currently the subject of an ongoing police probe surrounding his relationship with the female co-worker. Sources told the Free Press he has been warned he could face dozens of internal charges.

The supervisor was initially accused of sexually harassing the lower-ranked female officer over a lengthy period of time. But he has apparently taken the position it was a consensual affair.

Still, investigators are probing whether the sexual relationship occurred when the two were on duty. There are also allegations the pair left work early, without authorization, and that they failed in their duty to disclose particulars of their affair, especially when they began working together in the same unit in early 2013.

As a result, another supervising officer who oversaw the time sheets is also being investigated. That patrol sergeant may also face internal charges.

There are also claims the pair may have been allowed into the home of a high-profile local public figure - through a mutual friend who works in real estate - and that explicit photos of the woman were taken inside. The public figure would have had no knowledge of his residence being used. Those photos apparently surfaced during a forensic examination of the woman's phone as part of the harassment review.

Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis held a news conference following last week's Free Press story but wouldn't make specific comments about the internal investigation. He called it a "human resources issue."

"I will also say that with any organization with over 1,900 human beings, there will be human resource issues that are investigated or addressed appropriately," said Clunis.

Clunis also disputed links to the ongoing Tina Fontaine homicide investigation.

The same police supervisor who has now taken legal action was also on duty the night two officers had contact with Tina just hours before the at-risk missing teen was last seen alive.

Last month, Clunis announced he'd launched a formal investigation after discovering the pair - a field trainer and a recruit - had contact with the teen in the early-morning hours of August 8. Clunis said the pair had stopped a vehicle driven by a man, but Tina was allowed to go on her way despite being listed as a high-risk missing person.

Clunis said the two officers were on administrative leave. He wouldn't say whether they searched Tina's name in the computer system or knew who she was. He gave no other details.

Sources have told the Free Press the two officers identified Tina at the scene but took no action.

The implication is if they had taken her off the streets that night and returned her to a safe place, perhaps the deadly chain of events that followed might have been prevented.

As well, their only action against the driver was to ticket him for suspended driving and detain him in the drunk tank. He was not charged with impaired driving, which is viewed as another breach of procedure.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2014 A3

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

See Manitoba Law Courts what could happen if you insist on keeping cameras out of the courtroom?

Good Day Readers:

Seem to recall a case in Cleveland a couple years ago where cameras were excluded in a big, fat, juicy, salacious trial involving misappropriation of municipal funds. An enterprising court reporter obtained daily electronic transcripts and made a set of puppets to represents those appearing in court. Needless to say it was hilariously popular.

Clare L. Pieuk

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't miss "The Great Canadian Judicial Travelling Sideshow" returning to Winnipeg October 27-29 2014!

Canadian Judicial Council provides an update regarding the work of the Inquiry Committee into the conduct of the Honourable Lori Douglas

Ottawa, 20 October 2014 –The Inquiry Committee into the conduct of the Honourable Lori Douglas has scheduled two weeks of hearings beginning 24 November 2014. In preparation, the Committee comprised of the Honourable Francois Rolland (Chair), the Honourable Austin F. Cullen and Me Christa Brothers will hear preliminary motions and procedural questions on 27, 28 and 29 October 2014. These proceedings will be held at 363 Broadway, Suite 400, Winnipeg, Manitoba, starting at 9:30 a.m. The proceedings of the Committee are held in public, however, space is limited and the Committee may, in some circumstances, order than portions be held in camera.

The Inquiry Committee expects to hear submissions from Independent Counsel, Ms Suzanne Côté and from counsel for Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, Ms Sheila Block.

As directed by the Committee, submissions and other relevant information will continue to be made available to the public on the Council's website.

The mandate of Council in all judicial conduct matters, is to ensure that allegations of misconduct against any judge are reviewed in a fair and transparent manner

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 302

Good Day Readers:

Norman Sabourin stole CyberSmokeBlog's thunder! Just as it was prepared to publish an update on the Douglas Inquiry he issued this press release. If you visit the CJC's website:

the top two links provide the latest taxpayer wrangling between Sheila Block of Team Douglas
and Independent Counsel Suzanne Cote.

Long story short

Team Douglas has filed four motions:

(1) Allegation #1 (Alleged Sexual Harassment of Alex Chapman) and Allegation #2 (Alleged Failure to Disclose in the Applications Process) be summarily dismissed

(2) Allegation #3 (Alleged Incapacity as a Result of the Public Availability of the Photos) be struck from the Notice of Allegations for a lack of jurisdiction, or in the alternative summarily dismissing Allegation #3

(3) Returning Douglas ACJ's photographs and if necessary, declaring that the photographs are inadmissible

(4) Sealing the confidential private medical evidence filed by Lori Douglas in support of this motion

Previously, Team Douglas had requested a change of venue so the upcoming preliminary motions hearing take place outside Manitoba but lost. Earlier Independent Counsel was unsuccessful in her attempt to have a fifth Allegation added to the list - misuse of a Representational Allowance available to federally appointed judges.

The Inquiry per se is "supposed" to re-convene November 24 but will it? If Team Douglas loses any of its motions it could appeal the Inquiry Committee's decision(s) to the Federal Court of Appeal and you know what that could mean - more delay, delay, delay .....

So that's - and God knows what else - is what "The Taxpayers' Looney Toons Inquiry" will be arguing come October 27.

Clare L. Pieuk


You know, it's really too bad a debt clock like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation uses couldn't be installed in the courtroom so you could watch the cost of this "Inquiry from Hell" mount by the second - you'd likely be blown away!