Manitoba’s Justice System #
The world is out of joint and something is rotten in Manitoba’s insular Justice System and cursed spite, Canadian officials and politicians have wantonly failed in their responsibility to put it right. Manitoban’s are entitled to higher standards of Justice.
Despite attending the Summit for Democracy, politicians and officials don’t seem to answer to us the citizens; often failing to implement basic measures to enforce their own laws, thus demonstrating their contempt for us and the law. Negligent networks of inaction simply rely on disenfranchised populations to accept “nothing can be done”.
Abraham Lincoln feared “if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, by indifferent authorities, the alienation of their citizen’s affections from the Government is the natural consequence.”
Maybe he was parroting Thucydides who warned democracy collapses into “a state of unprecedented lawlessness, when no fear of god or law of man has a restraining influence on authorities.”
To fortify against this, Lincoln proposed that “reverence” to the laws be taught in every classroom, preached in every church, proclaimed In every legislative hall.
The basic question in each Democracy concerns the question of who has the final say. Due to the ineptitude of Border guards, Australian Courts decided Djokovic could stay, the government said no and finally the Court had to agree. What would have happened in Canada or America? Who has the supremacy?
Denial of human rights continues to happen in most democracies, including Canada’s. While we should respect our institutions, when they breach our trust by defying the Statutes of Parliament, obsequious deference is no longer an option.
Justice and Democracy are co-dependent.
We do face a real danger of moving blindly into the future; a lab rat-like submission of the people to arbitrary power, loss of freedoms to the assertive arrogant authority of unscrupulous officials, protected by the unaccountable power structures of modern government institutions.
There are many indicators of our declining democracy; abadoning the gold standard of the Westminster System, evident from the early 1990’s, is merely one. Responsible government appears to have vanished from view. Judges abusing their discretionary privileges is even more dangerous, including the CJC’s louche approach to Judicial oversight.
For some years the Canadian Judicial Council has hubristically breached a clear mandated direction to comply with a statutory requirement of its complaint’s process:
“The Executive Director must inform the complainant by letter when a matter is dismissed or concluded by the Chairperson, and indicate the basis on which it was dismissed or concluded”
Despite providing the CJC detailed, definitive and damaging concerns regarding a perceived perversion of justice in contesting a Will, after some 7 years, the only acknowledgement I received was:
Private and Confidential correspondence addressed to the Judge concerned. #
Justice Shawn Greenberg
Thank-you very much for your letters concerning complaints made by Mr. Charles Klassen.
I enclose for your information a copy of the letter I have today sent to Mr. Klassen closing the Council’s file on this matter.
Executive Director and Senior General Council ……
That was it. There was no copy of a letter sent to me. Despite many appeals at all levels of authority - nothing!
I did expect more information by providing me a window into how this publicly-funded body operates. The CJC can’t avoid public scrutiny so easily.
This failure to follow a simple directive, violates all Canadian’s sovereign right to lawfully entitled information. Lack of transparency poses a very real risk to public confidence in the administration of justice. Lack of robust judicial oversight, by governments, adds to the problem.
Sophistries, by Justice Shawn Greenberg, defying Manitoba’s Mental Health Act are not clever. Executive Secretary Norman Sabourin, ignoring clear mandates of our Parliament, does not inspire confidence or trust in the CJC. Judges flicking the bird at legislators, may give them an ego boost, but is detrimental to a fair and just society.
Norman Sabourin’s claim to fame may be his alacrity at peremptorily closing files with an air of unearned authority that brooks no questioning.
While there might be a discretionary basis for refusing to consider malicious, scurrilous or vexatious submissions, my dispassionate, evidence-based submission simply does not fall into that category. It is a rational, reasoned and well-researched submission made in good faith.
But then I would say that; wouldn’t I?
You can judge for yourself on the side bar menu: <ref “submission-to-cjc.md”>
Sabourin’s effusive thanks to Justice Greenwood’s letters justifying her lack of substantial judgments merely emboldened her to lower standards – within a year she became a serial offender.
The Jason Hyra case, 2016, has eerie similarities to the Hoffman Heinrichs case of 2012, where hard evidence was sacrificed to ulterior agendas comprising most of the usual suspects, especially Justice Shawn Greenberg, Chief Justices Richard Chartier, & Glenn Joyal, the Executive Secretary of the CJC, Norman Sabourin, plus a few more culprits in the Justice department who appeared to deny Jason Justice.
Is it rather odd that in Canada, a naive belief persists that truth comes before justice and justice will follow the truth? The deeper lesson regards the perils of deliberately interpreting evidence without a full appreciation of the context.
Jason claims Justice Greenberg ignored all of the actual facts, ignored the rule of law, and simply made up what ever she felt like saying because she could. She even gave me a stiffer sentence.
Sounds similar to her previous form - an affront to common sense. All Judges have to do is show that they acted reasonably and rationally, after having properly informed and instructed themselves, on the facts and the evidence. Shouldn’t be that difficult.
I thought rigged cases only happened in Russia or China.
All cases judged by Justice Greenberg urgently need closer scrutiny to determine whether she has the competence or qualifications required of a Judge. Indeed, given the clarity of the evidence, she seems to see only what she wants to see, as some Justices often do.
I believe there is enough evidence to investigate for possible impeachment. But what would I know? I am a mere sovereign citizen. In a real democracy that should be the most exalted position.
Former Manitoba Justice Lori Douglass, was investigated to pander to the gutter press for a personal matter totally irrelevant to her work. She felt her questioning took an unjustified prurient interest in investigating details of an event beyond her control. She resigned, while real culprits get thanked for their feeble justifications.
How can the CJC justify investigating Justice Graeme Mitchell, for visiting a Metis protester, Tristan Durocher, in his tepee, on Saskatchewan’s legislature grounds, drawing attention to the high rate of suicide among Indigenous people? Perhaps the Canadian Judicial Council prefers to perpetuate the oppressive frontier wars against Louis Riel’s descendants through outdated bigotry.
As in America, the question remains, which institutions or entities are legitimate interpreters and enforcers of the law? The real risk is a public perception that judgements are just political acts. This stench, is a by-product of the unresolved ambivalence within government, about who has the responsibility and authority to make and enforce the law of the land.
The decline of truth in American democracy can feel irreversible, Michael Luo writes. But any hope of halting that decline must include a renewal of journalism’s (and politicians and citizens) commitment to its public responsibility.
Respect for legal institutions underpins the administration of justice and the Canadian people commissioned the Canadian Judicial Council to maintain that respect. It appears to have betrayed that trust.
If the CJC tolerates a self-interested system internally, it should not be surprised that self-interested Judges, end up behaving corruptly. We live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and corruption, commonplace.
It is long past time for seriously misjudged cases to be identified, exposed and dealt with censuriously to deter others. Judges are supremely important in this mix and we can ill-afford a claque of privileged, entitled but deluded appointees making discretionary and arbitrary decisions lacking Judicial merit. To avoid this, Canada legislated one of the best safeguards in the Western democracies - the CJC. The question remains, is it an effective process for remedying complaints?
It remains an absolute gross violation of our right to information. It is the failures of politicians to enforce compliance with their own laws, that destroys our faith, confidence and trust in both the Judicial and the political system. Societies founder when conflicting values become polarised and politicians and courts align themselves with the powerful over the general welfare.
When the law is an ass — it needs its arse kicked. (An Australian crudism)
Judicial defiance does have a place in all societies. Resisting the pressure of mandatory sentencing or ill-considered legislation, violating citizen’s universal rights, is acceptable and just. Judges prerogatives do allow generous latitudes of discretionay privilege to ensure equality, liberty, or catering for mitigating circumstances.
However, in cases where Judicial defiance is only exercised to demonstrate unquestionable bulwark power, it needs to be condemned and censured by deterrent consequences. When winning is everything, the biggest losers are ordinary citizens. It may always have been thus; it doesn’t always have to be thus.
What governments fail to realise – because they don’t bother to inform themselves – is that when something crazy, like defying Parliaments happens, the quality control of the Judiciary declines. It is Parliamnent’s responsibility to fix it. As Heller pointed out: “mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.”
Dereliction of duty by our political leaders, to ensure the probity of our Justice System, undermines the safeguards of our democracy. Have Canadians become inured to lack of government responsibility? Do we expect so little of our politicians that when they fail to listen or respond, we simply offer up a collective shrug? How long did it take them to act on known issues within the Defence force? Take meaningful actions to provide justice to indigenous Canadians?
We do not need to follow America’s utter failures in providing clear clean justice resulting in the vigilantism of gun violence and a society tearing itself apart.
Improving governance, and restoring a little faith in our institutions, could be something for all politicians to be proud of.
Sometimes I am inordinately proud to be a Canadian expat; like when I consider, how courageously Lester B Pearson stood up to the British and French imperialists during the Suez Canal in 1956, LBJ over the Vietnam War in 1965 or against De-Gaulle’s call of Viva Quebec Libre - sending him packing in 1967.
Also, Pierre Trudeau in 1971, reforming the Judges Act to try to make the Judicial complaints process more transparent and accountable. Also Brian Dickson , a fellow but earlier, graduate of the University of Manitoba, later Chief Justice, for his exemplary leadership qualities, the humility of his realistic recognition and acknowledgment of the limitations of Judicial power.
Canadian’s intrinsic resistance to the seductive ruses of Lynton Crosby, renowned in Australia, America and Britain as the “Goebbels” of modern democracies; credited with winning elections for extreme right wing governments, - Howard, Bush, Cameron, Abbott - but thoroughly ridiculed by the Canadian media and soundly rejected by the Canadian people. His brand of wedge politics might work in other countries, but failed in Canada.
Despite my deep concerns of declining standards, I remain a firm, loyal and nostalgic Manitoban. “You may take the boy out of a country, but you cannot take the country out of the boy”. Back to back Grey Cup wins by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers also evoke pride, but fail to make up for the failures of Manitoba’s Justice System.
Blair, Obama, Macron and Trudeau are adept at speech making, but delivering little for the people. In 2015, Justin Trudeau, promised reforms in Justice, elections, media. He even promised to listen – all to no avail. We are forced to place his reform credentials under closer scrutiny. Just because he touted liberal reforms - “that keep the word of promise to our ear/And break it to our hope”, we have become disillusioned because the use of progressive language does not always reflect the government’s actions. It is the failure of liberalism that disillusions citizens and fuels populist leaders like Trump.
It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician wins.
Kevin Goertzen, interim Premier of Manitoba, said there is one thing he has heard over and over again, was a desire by everyone to connect better with government, “I don’t think we learned that lesson well enough in the past."
It’s in the Book of James, 1,19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
To do a good job, leaders should focus less on speaking and do more listening, “That’s the best way forward." I would add, then they need to act in the best interest of the common good.
Heather Stefanson, has been one of a few active Ministers of Justice to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Judiciary, striving to restore its reputation. Hope springs eternal; perhaps the Manitoba Government will now put pressure on the Federal Minister of Justice for CJC compliance with its statutory authority.
Manitoba, once renowned for good governance, now occupies a high order as the most racist province (MacLean’s), with increased bullying. Manitoba has the highest rate of incarceration among the provinces and is imprisoning Indigenous people in greater numbers while national incarceration rates are decreasing.
According to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Manitoba also has the worst-performing Justice System in Canada. Dan Lett and others at the Winnipeg Free Press have supplied extensive evidence of that. There is plenty of other substantial evidence that its Justice system is distrusted. Recent scandals like the John Carpay’s case, drug cartels claiming collegial conflicts and other frivilous lost causes desperate for a jack-pot win, suggest a random court system, not based on reason, but easily gamed. While just a few rogue Judges, give the rest a bad name, collusive cultures undermine credibility of the entire institution, thus eroding its legitimacy. Going to court is like playing the slot machines.
In a democracy, we are not free to ignore the truth. There appears a shoddy genre of justice running rife within some courts in Manitoba, - marshal a few witless witnesses, fall for a few fanciful claims, perform a few gravity defying leaps of logic, ignore any concrete evidence, plus your oath of office, - agree on a storyline that suits your personal agenda, (rather than a more factual, realistic and truthful narrative), then audaciously ram it home. All this, safe and secure in the knowledge that Manitoba’s Appeals court and the CJC have your back.
This unpredictability of Manitoba’s Queen’s Bench leads to many other wild ambit claims clogging its calendars. Shelly Glover’s legal challenge seeking to declare the result of the Progressive Conservative leadership vote invalid, appears as batty as Trump’s attempts to determine his loss as “stolen”. Perhaps Courts should not interfere with squabbles in badminton clubs or political parties. But if the court’s reputation trades on lies, why not take a capricious fling and flutter, to play them for ill-gotten gain?
As a Sydney barrister cynically advised me, “if it’s Justice you’re after, go to the casino; the odds are better and the payouts higher”.
The entire Glover case raises issues of conflict of interest and whether Manitoba’s judiciary is an appropriate, competent or independent forum for deciding such a case. The court could decide on the basis of which candidate posed the greater threat to its lack of accountabilty.
Perhaps another province’s Court System would be more detached and disinterested.
A clogged court means more money for the legal industry. Charles Dickens observed in 1852: “The one great principle of English law is to make business for itself." Judge Richard Posner agreed, “they secure a lustrous place in the financial and social-status sun, … intricately and ingeniously reticulated though imperfect cartel." Plato listed three classes of men; “lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain”. Geoffrey Robertson advises lawyers, if you just want to make money, go into real estate or the stock market. The law exists to make a better society.
Socrates suggested Justice implies superior character and intelligence. Injustice implies ignorance, stupidity and badness, It cannot be superior in character and intelligence. A just man is wiser because he acknowledges the principle of limit.
When lawyers do take a courageous stand by questioning judgments, as Ian Histed found, they can be charged with uncivil or professional misconduct, resulting in a six-month suspension and costs of $34,000. The self sabotaging Manitoba Law Society prefers “a deferential standard,” rather than demanding legal authorities be reasonably steeped in the orderly tenets of judicial standards of correctness and be held to account. Deficiency and deviations of expected norms need to be addressed, censured with deterrent consequenses.
And I naively thought the MLS represented its lawyers, not arbitrary, implacable Judgments by substandand legal administrators.
In simple language; Lawyers are expected to cravenly kowtow to vested, capricious authority or be damned by their own Professional body. Similar tactics in Russia also discourage dissent.
In the Hoffman/Heinrichs case, we had to put up with lies & fabricated stories, where the Judges, freed of any obligations to civility or truth, displayed more than a whiff of unreality; an utter lack of awareness of true relationships, simply guessed the facts or just whimsically made things up. The determinations were based on lies, and those who were lying, knew they were misleading the court. It was a fraud of massive proportions. And the judges should not have fallen for obvious falsehoods and we, the people, should not have to put up with substandard judgments. Damaging judgments need to be called out and denounced.
The entire judgment appears an absolute, disreputable, and purposeful sham, making a complete mockery of all official proclamations of balance, impartiality and fair play. The legal industry seems determined to deny Justice. And where was the Manitoba Law Society to ensure the court system was on the level? No family should have to watch their well documented narratives, their shared views of reality, debauched by the imposed narratives of self-serving court officials.
“What just is; is not always Justice”. Amanda Gorman
By normal judicial standards, the debased unfounded determinations that characterise such cases should be more than enough cause for investigation for possible impeachment. Managing to get five critical determinations demonstrably wrong, displayed — in the most generous possible interpretation — truly spectacular misjudgment. This was an assault on fact-based reality. Errors were compounded by an ego driven Appeals Court decision to airily proclaim five unfounded determinations as sound. The Appeals Court simply failed to challenge the fantasia of the original case. Vanity of vanities.
We are not a theocracy or a monarchy that accepts the word of the leader, the priesthood or judge as law. We are a democracy that debates facts, seeks to understand situations, and then determines conclusions on reality, all in accordance with a set of rules called procedural fairness. This court’s findings are inconsistent with the objective legal requirements.
As an English History teacher our remit was to develop student’s “abilities to use historical and scientific knowledge, understanding, and critical inquiry skills to identify questions, acquire new knowledge, through close reading and draw evidence-based conclusions to help make responsible decisions and shape our interpretations of information”.
Critical analysis is a vital historical skill. It enables investigators to interrogate historical evidence, allowing us to ask: what is this source? Where did it come from? Is it reliable? What are its motives? Does it tell the whole story?
Judges, like reputable historians, should form their views from primary sources; rather than from what others have to say. To be deliberately deaf to credible sources, risks losing your own credibility.
All assertions and conclusions need to be validated to become substantiated.
T.S. Eliot insisted “All noble human endeavor should be in pursuit of true Judgment”.
You’d think Judges could be held to those simple guidelines.
Judges are not selected for their razor-sharp acuity, extra sensory perception or the enormous intelligence of their prose, rather their capacity for scrupulous investigative skills, relying on discovering and marshalling relevant, consequential and verified facts, distiguishing between worthy evidence and self-serving claims to arrive at rational definitive final judgments, favouring a better, equitable society.
Consciously, deliberately, intentionally and purposefully skewing and distorting available evidence to reach a preferred conclusion is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of a judge’s oath of office I can imagine. It becomes an aberrant, unentitled judgment, underming the entire judicial system’s credibility, authority and legitimacy. This leads to a collapse of the whole social purpose of a court system.
Disclaimer: What follows is my impression of the decline in trust of Justice in Manitoba over the past forty years. It is a work in progress. If you find any error of fact or perception, please inform the website @ email@example.com. Thank-you.
I believe there is a direct correlation between public confidence in the Justice System and the quality of life in any society. All other professions have learned to earn their trust. It high time for us to reject the fealty still demanded by an immune Judiciary. When people lose faith in their Justice System, the fabric of society begins to fray. There can be no trust without accountability.
We live in a democracy; debate about decisions is fair and healthy. We are fully entitled to question the methods and the objectivity of the decision maker. But real care must be taken to maintain respect for the institutions charged with the responsibility of applying the law and deciding cases,
We must guard against criticising decision-making simply because we don’t like the decision, and personal attacks on judges or commissioners are never appropriate.
Did John Carpay cause the final disconnect between Justice and reality, or did it just reveal what was already broken? The Carpay brouhaha is just another manifestation of a lack of trust in Manitoba’s court system; a massive indictment of everything that is wrong - including his misguided zeal. Increasingly litigants feel they need to get outsider law firms in to contest cases to counter an apparent incestuous judicial cabal culture in Manitoba.
Manitoba appears to have a tyranny of distinguished, smug, sneering Judges who deride popular concerns as ‘populism’, or mob rule, and whose self-image is fueled by an absorbing sense of absolute superiority. Apparently, they don’t need facts to establish their assumptions. All they expect from us is abject deference to their infallible discretionary prerogatives.
Devious, contrived, treacherous and certainly fancifully crafted exhibitions of falsifications of fact and reality prevail in some courtrooms. Error-ridden conclusions drawn from baseless claims of benefitting parties fail to inspire confidence in our court system.
Official shoddy investigations, Judicial tunnel vision, obvious evidence-free determinations, bolstered by a refusal by the CJC to censor poor decision making, diminish our respect for Judicial merit. Some kind of accountability for bad judges is crucial in a democracy. One of the key reasons why the CJC has been able to escape accountability for its abuses for so long is the opacity with which it operates, despite clear mandates of the Judges Act.
What is concerning is the lack of interest poor judgments generated. They deserve far more attention than they’ve received to date.
The rectitude of taxpayer-funded independent institutions – especially those whose role is to scrutinise the operations of government – is fundamental to the maintenance of a liberal political culture in Canada. The CJC has shown contempt for accountability. It’s time more was done to safeguard uniform standards and protect the primacy of our democracy.
All power is defined by its limitations.
We should not risk our cherished norms, traditions and institutions, just so Canadian Judges can enjoy immunity.
Manitoba’s entire legal fraternity is responsible for upholding the perception of Justice so that our courts can continue to be respected. Lawyers, subjected to unfair Judicial processes, must have the courage to speak out.
By what mechanism do officials manage to keep the central message of its beliefs separate from its actions and desires? It is, as they say, a surpassing mystery, yet also sheer hypocrisy.
A visit to Manitoba #
A 2015 visit to Manitoba included a visit to the Museum of Human Rights, followed by one to the Queen’s Bench Courts. The juxtaposition proved stark.
The former, with its towering majestic architectural sweep, reaching up to the lofty eyries of Justice, evoked transcendental possibilities. Advised by friendly guards to take the elevator up to its highest point, we like Dante, slowly descended via curved ramps of exhibits to earthly reality. This proved too much for one of our group, who couldn’t cope with the humbug of failing to reflect reality, leaving early to meet us later for coffee.
As the province that hosts an institution with a website proclaiming: “Welcome to the only museum entirely devoted to human rights for all,” has it had any impact? The expectations for Manitoba are high. Namely, do the lofty ideals translate into practice? Or does the legal system simply operate outside its pious posturing rhetoric?
Shrugging off allegations of human-rights violations occurring in Manitoba, makes this province a decidedly hypocritical home for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
Contrast this with a visit to Manitoba’s Queens Bench courts to obtain oral transcripts of a trial. The low squat monolithic fortress-like structure remains a brutalist homage to law and low state order, sanctioned by unfettered power. Confronted by nine burly security guards, ordered brusquely to a complete security check, I was finally allowed to enter its hallowed domain. I always attempt to engage the austere security agents, with a cheery “good morning! how are you today?”, to ascertain whether they have managed to retain any part of their vestigial humanity. Few had.
Governments prefer to rely on state sanctioned fear and force combined with the de-personalisation of its citizens by the insolence of bureaurcrats. It doesn’t have to be that way. Under Obama, border guards were trained in civil and cordial manners, however under Trump they reverted to form. Australian public servants have finally been incentivised by KPI feedback to treat us with respect and preserve our dignity.
Civil servants should be trained to serve citizens civilly, or are they merely robotic bureaucrats?
All staff proved just as aloof and disengaging. Shuffled around to various departments, I finally talked to an officious civil servant and made a request for an oral transcript of a trial, only to be informed the government considered it their property, despite us paying $60,000 for the case.
Claiming that as a sovereign citizen, I was the government, confused her long enough to go and check with her superiors. Apparently, my status fails to meet those lofty requirements. Apparently only lawyers are allowed to apply for an oral transcript. Just another way to drum up business for your industry.
Manitoba’s Day of Reckoning #
When will It be high time for Manitoba’s Justice system’s day of reckoning?
Ian Scarf expressed it most acutely here:
“The public needs to know that when they go into a courtroom, the judge or the trier of fact … is going to be fair and not biased through any other mechanisms,”
Bradley Regehr told Canadian Lawyer. “Judges are “supposed to make decisions based on the evidence that is put in front of them, and the law”…,
The rhetoric is spot on; where is the practice?
We need rational decisions; not falsely rationalized ones.
Perhaps Manitoba’s Chief Justices, Appeals Chief Justice Richard Chartier and Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal could learn from Quebec’s Court of Appeal Justice Christine Baudouin, reprimanding, Quebec Justice Jean-Paul Braun.
“Judges have an expectation to fulfil their role with integrity and honour in their duty of discretion. Judges’ comments must not derogate from their ethical obligations and undermine public confidence in the judiciary and judicial institutions”. (adapted)
Why wasn’t that simple principle enforced in the Hoffman/Heinrichs case? Why does this not apply to Justice Shawn D. Greenberg, or the three Court of Appeal Justices: Coram: Alan D. Maclnnes, Mr. Justice Marc M . Monnin and Mr. Justice William J. Burnett? Where is the uniformity and consistency across Canada for equal and uniform standards?
I am at a loss to understand the contumely of judges who feel they can distort and manipulate the details of our family narrative for an audience intimately familiar with the facts. The community expects Appeals Judges to exhibit, and be seen to exhibit, the highest standards of integrity. Yet this Appeals Court’s determinations appear to have an ulteriour agenda, rather than reflect reality. To proclaim falsehoods, as fact, to an audience of senior family members, is an indefensibly grievous insult.
Justice Shawn D Greenberg appears to be a serial offender as demonstrated by the Jason Hyra case, where she again showed her disdain for upright Judicial fairness, the facts and a deficiency in comprehending medical evidence. It is high time her qualifications and competence were investigated for possible impeachment. More on the Jason Hyra case below.
How many times have Chartier and Joyal been the subject of investigations by the CJC? The Appeals court appears to share an echo chamber with the Queen’s Bench, if the Hoffman/Heinrichs case is any guide.
It has been obvious for some time that Judicial unaccountability is the fault of craven enablers in all governments: the Ministers of Justice, but even more the Prime Ministers’ Offices. None have demonstrated enough ticker, stomach or spine to insist on acceptable standards.
Journalism is optimized for the rapid run of short-run news cycles, not the long arc of a story like miscarriages of justice or the denial of human rights. But we should not expect journalists do all the heavy lifting. Any bad judgement must be protested by all concerned. Law and Bar Associations should be outraged. We, the people, should not accept patently absurd judgments.
Public Confidence Critical to Authority #
American Public confidence up to 1964 hit 77%. Following that, it plummeted, and since the Regan years has remained below 30%. Its entire Justice System, hanging on a dubious and fragile legitimacy, leading to vigilantism. What is Manitoba’s? Many observers feel the greatest threat to American democracy is its conflicted Supreme court delivering political judgements, defying legislatures. Is this where Canada’s is heading?
The key to success in public confidence, is public participation. Government officials and regulatory agencies aren’t an effective check on malign institutions, because they are often in bed with the players they are supposed to regulate. There is no seat at the table for the citizen, or for the people obliged to live, with perverted decision making.
We need to question not only wayward Judges, but also the government agencies assigned to oversee them. We have a moral obligation and a civic duty to speak out against injustice. With so many failed states in the world, why are Canadians not more alarmed? Judicial take-overs are less noticeble than military coups, but just as dangerous.
What is the possibility of a wholesale performance review of the CJC by outside parties? Has the CJC, its policy objectives procedures and practices, been reviewed in 50 years? Is it true that less than 4% of complaints to the CJC are responded to?
Reviewing the job, the CJC has done — or failed to do — seems entirely appropriate from time to time. Who the government appoints to the Supreme Court, and why, could also do with a little scrutiny?
Reformers need to essentially accuse the CJC of corruption. It is not enough for ministers and other officials to offer mind-numbingly empty slogans and hollow, clichéd, pre-packaged platitudes. We ought to expose and condemn the compromises and excuses that all officials make for the legal industry.
Canada has the structures and laws to keep Judges in line, but do our politicians have the stomach to enforce them with appropriate oversight?
Canadian Judicial Council #
The Canadian Judicial Council is charged by the Canadian people with the mandate to:
“promote efficiency, uniformity, and accountability, and to improve quality of judicial service in the superior courts of Canada”. The Council is also mandated to review “any complaint or allegation” against a superior court judge and respond to all complainants.”
When senior judges frolic with the law, venture beyond the judicial role or depart from orthodox legal investigations and analysis, as citizens we inevitably begin to distrust the law and the courts.
Judicial impartiality goes to the heart of citizens maintaining confidence in our legal system to avoid it falling into disrepute. People can surely disagree about how to identify and address perceptions of bias, and other matters that throw doubt on judicial impartiality.
But surely, we can all agree that it is not up to the CJC to run protection for judges, or certain judges. Not while they are being funded by taxpayers. If the CJC prefers darkness over light, by ignoring complaints it doesn’t approve of, its credibility as a serious oversight body will suffer a well-deserved hit. Information is power; therefore the denial of information can be seen as an abuse of power.
The CJC’s dubious decision, refusing to respond to my submission, necessarily raises a question as to whether other factors might have played a role in that decision. It also makes you wonder about those running the joint.
Given the CJC’s decision to hide my submission from public view, we are entitled to wonder whether the law oversight body has succumbed to a now familiar form of institutionalised capture and silencing. Do we need parliament to step in to enforce its mandated statutes on the publicly funded CJC?
The CJC should perform an important role, ergo it should hold Judges and courts to account. Alas, judges can be a precious prickly lot; protective of their liberal discretionary privilege. Bias, perceptions of bias, judges veering from orthodox legal method, judges making law – these are all matters of public importance. It’s not easy taking back power once ceded.
Scandalising the Court #
Quite apart from the CJC behaving like a gatekeeper concerning complaint submissions, judges have created a neat layer of protection for themselves, not available to any other institution. This niche little branch of contempt law is called “scandalising the court”. It’s been defined as, “any act done or writing published calculated to bring the court or a judge of the court into contempt or to lower their authority”.
In other words, if I write that a judge is biased, or there is a perception of bias, or has engaged in legal misadventure, then I can be summarily dealt with by the judge in question, and I can be found guilty of scandalising the court. Now, that makes for a useful protection racket.
My feeble efforts in that direction are nothing compared to the court’s own capacity for self-inflicted damage to its own reputation.
Scandalising the court is so vague, and carries such serious consequences including jail, that it gives rise to a deeply chilling effect on the legitimate discussion of courts and judges. And the courts used this charge to prosecute Stephen Williams, following the Bernardo – Homolka trial where, according to Christie Blanchard, he was purposely and relentlessly pursued by the state in an act of “administrative vengeance” for openly exposing the flaws in the legal system. In the end, Stephen said, “It’s very possible the government didn’t care if they won or lost, because they knew that the process alone was going to ruin us financially and psychologically.
Or Canadian Journalist and champion of free speech Ezra Levant, dragged into the police station and interrogated for hours, by veteran detectives who specialise in terrorism. His “Crime”? launching a book, during the Canadian elections, critical of the government and Justin Trudeau.
Maybe charges of scandalising the court made sense a century ago, before judges had a union, and ready access to social media, and mainstream media, to defend themselves. Canadian Judges have both the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, and the CJC acting as their protection racket.
Britain abolished this special layer of protection. So should Canada, because the best way to maintain public confidence in the legal system is to make sure that judges are held to account by the people, and not just by a higher court.
Enforceable Rights #
Jonathan Kroft, challenging a Manitoba Appeals Court decision claims:
“The public right to learn about its justice system has long been recognized as a key element of the democratic system in Canada and a core element of freedom of expression, but unfortunately, ambiguities in our rules of procedure and appeal rights have made it difficult or cost-prohibitive for the public to actually enforce their rights.”
To show they’re serious about protecting people’s human rights, governments must ensure access to real complaint processes. Unenforceable rights lead to corruption. For people whose rights are violated, it’s critical that something is done about non- compliance to deter reoccurrences.
All attempts to have legal Associations in Manitoba support my cause have failed. All attempts to have lawyers in Manitoba to assist me in obtaining oral transcripts of the case have failed.
They all appear too craven to take on the towering legal moguls. One demanded a $17,000 upfront fee, just for a letter, as he was fearful of reprisals against his practice.
This raises the question whether Canadian taxpayers get their monies worth from their court system? We pay good money for Judges’ salaries and entitlements, but do we get a good bang for our buck? If you appeal a bad judgment, you have to pay extra. It’s still a toss-up whether or not you’ll get justice. There’s no money back guarantee when they simply close ranks.
Because of fear, people become afraid to speak out. Fear, of course, is the most important reason any official of an authoritarian or totalitarian society does not protest or resign, even when their institutions commits crimes, violates their official ideology, or forces people to do things that they know to be wrong. It happens slowly; incipiently, incestuously, insidiously.
In extreme dictatorships like Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia, people fear for their lives. In softer dictatorships, like East Germany after 1950 and Putin’s Russia today, people fear losing their jobs or their apartments. Fear works as a motivation even when violence is a memory rather than a reality.
Many don’t seem to know that similar waves of fear have helped transform other democracies into dictatorships.
Through each violation of our Parliamentary laws, our civic peace gets absorbed, rationalized, accepted and ultimately debauched by people who once upon a time knew better.
The choice to become a dissident can easily be the result of a number of small decisions that you take - to object to flawed processes, resist bullies, refuse to accept corrupt conduct. And then, one day, you find yourself irrevocably on the other side. Often, this process involves role models. You see people whom you admire, and you want to be like them. It can even be “selfish.” “You want to do something for yourself, to respect yourself.”
Corrupt practices can be turned around, but it requires courage, and a true sense of justice by all to do so. We hope someone in Manitoba, or Canada, develops that courage. Ian Histed, appears to be that person. “The greater the truth, the greater the libel; the greater the libel, the greater the liability” (Lord Mansfield). We should all pitch in to support Histed.
Questionable Judicial Cases in Manitoba: #
The Queen’s Bench seems to have little or no concern for the welfare of the wider community. It appears to be mainly interested in preserving its privileged position of unfettered power to make self-serving decisions for the legal industry and preserve its own bulwark unaccountable power. Some of its outrageous abuse of discretionary privileges are unbefitting of their unentitled jurisprudence.
The Hoffman/Heinrichs 2012, case could be a bellwether one; contesting a Schizophrenic Aunt’s Will, may not be Manitoba’s most perverse obstruction of Justice, only because it has a lot of competition. John Carpay, motivated by misguided zeal, highlighted the high level of mistrust in Manitoba’s system. The Ian Histed vs MLS appears to be symptomatic of a desperate frustration with the implacable and indomitable power structures of a prickly, precious Judicial cabal.
On Nov. 15, 1985: The Winnipeg Free Press reported that a Grunthal man whose car was damaged by a jealous husband would not receive compensation for the damage, despite the fact the accused pleaded guilty of wilful damage to the vehicle and a judge sentenced him to six months' unsupervised probation. Restorative and compensatory justice could have been more satisfying for the victim and a more effective deterrent. But then what would I know - I’m a just an ordinary citizen.
Sept. 19, 1991: The Winnipeg Free Press reported that the long-awaited Ted Hughes report on the investigation into the Winnipeg Police Service’s handling of the arrest of lawyer Harvey Pollock was released. The report found the police handling of the affair bordered on the outrageous and smacked of “payback”. Any action?
2004: The Jason Hyra case comprises all the usual suspects, especially Justice Shawn Greenberg, Chief Justice Richard Chartier and the Executive Secretary of the CJC, Norman Sabourin, plus a few more alleged culprits in the Justice department who denied Jason Justice. His claims sound eerily familiar.
In 2004, Jason in confidential interview, provided damning evidence regarding an application by a former girl friend, Lana Eisbrenner, applying to become a Winnipeg Police Officer, including her involvement with the ZigZags, her steroid drug use, her buying-selling and using of drugs, her affair with married WPS Officer John McKay, her black mailing of her former boss, and their short relationship.
The Gang Unit was sent out to investigate confirming his statements.
Despite being promised protection by the WPS, John McKay, a police officer and Lana began intimidating, harassing, and threatening him when she was fired from the WPS.
They called his mother from WPS Station #6 on Pembina Highway using a City Centrex Line abusing WPS resources 204-986-2881 (now closed). This was verified by the WPS Professional Standards Unit.
He met with WPSW Professional Standards detailed all of this in 2004, 2006, and more in 2009. I gave them detailed interviews about John and Lana McKay, provided them with information about WPS Officer McKay’s illegal vehicle sales, the harassment and threats, his known drug steroid use, and whom he was purchasing his drugs from. It was even reported to the WPS as I discovered through a FIPPA request in 2007, that Officer McKay was witnessed making a drug purchase in the Shapes Gym parking lot on Pembina Highway. Professional Standards (PSU) refused to investigate.
Jason claims thaat, in March 2008 he was wrongfully arrested and in 2016, wrongfully convicted of a crime of (criminal harassment s.264). He was convicted in order to be silenced.
Jason claims Federal Court Justice Shawn Greenberg in April 2014 dismissed all of the evidence showing his innocence, ignored the rule of law, took her cues from the Crown, and tried to cover up the Crown Misconduct of Bruce Sychuk); prosecutor Rob Gosman (friend of David Rampersad); current Assistant Deputy Minister of Justice Michael Mahon; the MBCA and Chief Justice Richard Chartier, who in January 2016 ensured I would never receive a fair trial by allowing Justice Greenberg to remain the trial judge (Chartier stated that if I didn’t like the trail ruling I could appeal it later.
Does a first world country like Canada suffer a third world country’s Justice System?
This case screams out for an open inquiry by responsible authorities, - if there any left.
Dan Lett details four cases managed by former prosecutor George Dangerfield, later determined to be miscarriages of justice.
Michael McIntyre reported in December 2015, that Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal and his colleagues on the Court of Queen’s Bench were asked to step aside in a major drug case because of potential conflicts and perceptions of bias.
Wally Oppal, one of the country’s biggest legal names, has been recruited from British Columbia on behalf of 13 accused Winnipeg drug dealers to fight to have the Manitoba judges “disqualified and prohibited” from further involvement in the high-profile case due to collegial and subordinate relationships with potential affiants and witnesses.
In 2017, Dan Lett, posted that Democracy Watch filed a complaint against Vic Toews with the Canadian Judicial Council after his alleged conflict interest was raised. They expressed disappointment Thursday that the council found Toews did nothing that would call into question his integrity.
“I don’t know how they reached that finding when he was found guilty of violating a conflict of interest law," co-founder Duff Conacher said. “To face no penalty at all, or sanction, is a questionable ruling.”.
Federal conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mary Dawson found that Toews, a former Conservative cabinet minister, had violated the Conflict of Interest Act after leaving politics in 2013.
A spokesman, for the then, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said the province will monitor the CJC’s investigation, “await the result and consider whether there is an effect on the administration of justice in Manitoba."
From the bench to the hot seat, Toews can’t seem to fly straight.
Also in 2017, Mike McIntyre reported that the Canadian Judicial Council has spent the past several months investigating Manitoba’s top judges over their controversial proposal to speed up the justice system by eliminating preliminary hearings, the Free Press has learned.
“An anonymous complaint sent by a self-proclaimed “practicing lawyer” in late February accused Court of Appeal Chief Justice Richard Chartier, Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal and provincial court Chief Judge Margaret Wiebe of improper conduct by formulating a plan in conjunction with provincial Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, which seeks to improve efficiency in order to comply with tough new Supreme Court timelines that puts cases in peril if they take too long.”
The anonymous lawyer, who filed the complaint, also took issue with comments made by Joyal earlier this year, to the Globe and Mail newspaper, in which he stated defence lawyers weren’t consulted because “doing so would inevitably result in failure to achieve consensus." In his complaint, the lawyer called Joyal’s comments “frankly rather disdainful” while also questioning the perception of impartiality they create.
Is it true that Joyal and Chartier simply swapped positions? If so, doesn’t that raise any concerns of an incestuous culture - a cabal? Does the Appeals Court function as an echo chamber?
It was reported that during her tenure as the Justice Minister, Wilson-Raybould wished to appoint Manitoba judge Glenn D. Joyal to the Supreme Court of Canada but the decision came into conflict with Justin Trudeau’s own preference.
Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s decision and sources allege that this is the point where their working relationship began to suffer.
Katie May reported in May 2018, that A Winnipeg mother who abducted her own children will spend more time behind bars after a provincial court judge decided that, although she was motivated by love for her kids, she still doesn’t understand the harm she caused. The mother pleaded guilty to the abduction in July 2017, admitting she took her kids during a long custody battle with their father, who was granted full custody.
Provincial court Judge Tracey Lord decided jail time was warranted, followed by three years of supervised probation. While she’s on probation, the woman won’t be allowed to have contact with her kids or her ex-husband.
"(Her) acts, despite being motivated by love, have destroyed her relationship with her children and deprived them of a bond that they deserve to have. She continues to blame others for the situation and lacks insight into her own responsibility for where she finds herself and the damage she has done”.
What life-long traumatic damage is inflicted on children when motherhood is criminalized? I thought we had repudiated stealing children from their parents decades ago.
Katie May reported on the 09/27/2018 that lack of evidence brought to court against a Winnipeg police officer, who has been acquitted of assaulting a 12-year-old boy, is raising questions about the legal worth of a cellphone video that purported to capture the assault.
Christian Paul Guyot, 44, a 17-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service, was cleared Wednesday, when provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston decided he couldn’t be sure Guyot was the same male, uniformed officer seen in the minute-long video allegedly striking a boy.
How did George Floyd’s murderer get charged?
Five years since finding: Cora Morgan, head of the First Nations Family Advocate Office, created after the death of Tina Fontaine, says “nothing has changed” since the teen’s body was found in the Red River five years ago. 16/08/19
Hopefully a test case of Histed v. Law Society of Manitoba, will allow the Supreme Court to sort out this mess.
To pretend that Judges can fairly adjudicate family disputes is to impose an infantile logic on complex tangles of conflict, primal emotions, and money. The least Judges can do is to ascertain and genuinely establish the facts of a case to gain a coherent understanding of complex family dynamics that reflect reality. Courts should not be so easily scammed by grifters looking for ill-gotten gain.
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Take your pick: Manitoba’s Justice system is suffering an outbreak of gross incompetence or has simply lost the plot, parting ways with reality as most of us know it. Or both.
When Judges paint pictures everyone knows are fake, it is not the stuff of competent jurisprudence. It is an indication of arrogated impunity, undermining confidence in what should be our most revered institution.
Just the lack of transparency in how this game has come to light, does not build confidence in it.
The Hoffman/Heinrichs case requires that one be mindful of the difference between having a motive to fabricate versus the absence of a motive to fabricate, as a form of willful and culpable blindness. To get five basic premises wrong, against all available evidence, appears quite an outstanding achievement.
Canada’s oversight on Judges appears weak and inconsistent, allowing some Judges to become so superior, powerful and unchecked they have developed corporate cultures of total impunity. Parliament needs to oversee an effective process for remedying complaints.
Widespread media reports of lawyer’s job dissatisfaction and employees quitting for new jobs and firms, points to serious problems in the Legal industry. Did our lawyer’s leaving his indomitable law firm determine this case?
The courts might be well-intentioned, rational, and mistaken, but so much in our thinking can go wrong when ulterior agendas prevail.
What this seems to indicate is that the regulatory system for Judges is broken. Mechanisms that should ensure accountability and responsible decision making are slow and ineffective giving rise to loss of faith, causing serious harm in our community.
Trust and legitimacy are interconnected
The Executive Secretary, of the CJC, truly owns this fiasco. It is surely evident to all that his chronically poor judgment fell seriously short of what’s expected and his smug, lazy, irresponsible contumely renders him unfit for the job he holds. Failing to take action on my complaint regarding the inadequacies of Justice Shawn D. Greenberg, simply emboldened her and she appeared to go on greater, more blatant and brazen disregard for Justice in the Jason Hyra case.
Sabourin’s letter, briefly posted on the CJC site, to Ms Esther Mendelsohn, a JD Candidate Osgoode Hall Law School, warning her to fall into line, if she wished to join an exclusive club, revealed, through his paternal and patronizing tone, more than he perhaps intended. Pointing out that criticising a member of the legal coterie could adversely affect their earning capacity, demonstrates where his values lie - profit over principle.
Further its imperious attitude revealed by a distinctive dismissive, high-handed and superior tone, its total lack of professional detachment - verbal, psychological or emotional abuse –in a word - bullying. How dare she criticise a member of our club?
What is certain is that these cases represent a historic and devastating defeat for fair minded justice, for democracy, for moral decency and for universal human rights. Numerous questions about how and why this was allowed to happen require serious answers.
An audit of all complaints to the CJC, should be long, hard and uncompromising.