2% Justice At Applebaum Sentence Hearing

February 15, 2017

Montreal – Although he was convicted of  breach of trust, and sordid other charges, former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum’s sentence hearing today had a level of justice hovering around 2%. Stay with me, I’ll explain.

The day began with heart-wrenching testimony by Applebaum’s faithful son Dylan, a 23-year old Concordia student.

“My grandmother is still alive and my dad calls her every day. She’s 88 years old and we have her over for dinner almost every Friday,” said the young Applebaum, his voice cracking with emotion. The sentence hearing is to determine what punishment the former mayor is to receive, whether he goes to jail.

The young but poised Applebaum explained how his deceased grandfather had had a shoe store that his father worked at when 13 years of age. Tears well-up as he testified. And when the grandfather was dying, Michael Applebaum never left his side for days on end. Wiping away more tears, Dylan said both he and his mother depended on his father for family stability.

“Were you born?” asked Judge Louise Provost, observing that a 23 year old was not likely to witness his father working at age 13. Dylan explained that this information was relayed to him by his grandparents.

“I wanted to be here, I could not not be here” to support my father, insisted Dylan, speaking English. He told of how he went door-to-door supporting his father in the early campaign days. He spoke of how Michael and his wife adopted two girls who became Dylan’s sisters. A pattern of kindness shown by the convicted man was clearly developing.

All the while, Judge Louise Provost took copious notes. But I suspect it’s all theatre. This is the denouement to the major action, which saw Applebaum convicted by the testimony of his former aid Hugo Tremblay, an admitted thief. Maybe thief is too kind for the acknowledged bribe taker who took a plea bargain to implicate his boss.

The testimony of Tremblay had all the odour of a cattle feedlot, but was accepted virtually whole-heartedly by Judge Provost. Incomprehensible.

Although Applebaum’s supporting witnesses today were miniscule in number, the only other witness, Salvatore Sansalone, was persuasive, confident, and compelling while speaking French. The hearing was a typical bilingual smorgasboard.

With his arms outstretched like a tripod for much of his testimony, Sansalone expressed his utmost faith in Applebaum. Either Applebaum had been abandoned by his previous friends, or his lawyer chose not to call many witnesses, or a combination of both. You have to wonder why a stellar cast of witnesses was not assembled.

Similarly, the courtroom was poorly designed for a sentence hearing, with bullet-proof glass enclosures looming prominently behind the defence team.

At one point, Applebaum walked past to speak to persons sitting immediately behind me. His whisper was inaudible to my ears and reminded me of mention during the trial proper when police wiretapped a conversation between Tremblay and Applebaum. At the trial, Applebaum was suspected of trying to hide his knowledge of bribes because he whispered. I think Applebaum whispers because he doesn’t want nosy people like me eavesdropping.

As the day in court went on, I was relieved when the judge called a recess for lunch. I quickly proceeded to the cafeteria. Twenty minutes later, who shows up? Judge Provost in her civvies. As she bought her lunch, I noticed her purchase a 500 ml carton of 2% milk. That’s about the percentage of justice I feel Applebaum has received(see Applebaum Conviction A Travesty.)

I had the opportunity to speak privately with Applebaum’s lawyer Pierre Teasdale about the evidence against his client. Though he disclosed nothing new.

“Will you appeal?” I asked the dignified lawyer as he stood 3 urinals down from me at the courthouse washroom.

“Are you a journalist?” he enquired.

Yes.

“Well, I’m still looking at it,” he continued.

I had finished looking at “it.” Then he asked me what I thought. I explained I believed Applebaum had been convicted without a shred of evidence.

“There was evidence, but it came down to a question of reliability,” he said, “and the judge ruled on that.”

That’s about all I could get from Teasdale before he washed his hands of it, as I dried my own.

I stayed in court till late afternoon, as it was almost my nap time. As of blog time no sentence had been handed down. Good night for now.

Applebaum Conviction A Travesty

February 13, 2017

Montreal – It’s no surprise Montreal’s former-mayor Michael Applebaum was convicted of corruption. Everybody knows the dice are loaded, wrote Leonard Cohen.

The late Montreal songwriter knew of what he sang. But it is a surprise that the witnesses against Applebaum were the very people who admitted giving and receiving bribes, namely, Hugo Tremblay, Robert Stein, Anthony Keeler, and Patrice Laporte. The admitted guilty parties were not charged. The dice were loaded against the Jewish Anglophone Applebaum, who maintained his innocence throughout.

It’s a curious thing that Applebaum’s right-hand man Hugo Tremblay requested and then received a bribe of $30,000 from businessmen Robert Stein and his associate Anthony Keeler. Curious also that Tremblay demanded and received a $25,000 payoff from Laporte – supposedly in exchange for winning a service contract.

These were the only two occasions with which Applebaum is alleged to have participated in graft. No other occasions were alleged. In a political career that spanned a decade, these were the only two incidents of wrongdoing alleged against Applebaum. So how could it be that Tremblay was the requester and recipient of these bribes, of which Applebaum was charged?

Simple. When Tremblay got caught by the cops, he made an elaborate story to save his hide. He traded his guilt and a certain jail term for testifying against his former boss. A plea bargain made in Hell.

The one-time cocaine user, Tremblay, okay, maybe he used the stuff more than once, lived a higher than normal lifestyle with the excess salary he secured.

At trial, Tremblay claimed he turned over a portion of the illicit proceeds to Applebaum. But, alas, the cops could find not a scintilla of evidence to verify that detail. Not a scintilla.

In two days time Applebaum will be sentenced. With a career in tatters, reputation destroyed, Applebaum faces time in the bighouse. It is a travesty.

Bombardier’s Bone

February 9, 2017

canada_flag3B

When noodle threw Bombardier a bone

He called it a free free-market loan

But Brazil knew better

How scarlet the letter

And the WTO will rule if Canada must atone.

What Do You Notice?

January 6, 2017

What do you notice? In every frightful occurrence each individual person sees differently, hears differently, and analyzes sights and sounds differently. Recently, I received two incident reports from VIA Rail related to the deaths of three boys on October 31, 2010. What do YOU notice about these two incident reports?via-incident-report1

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Simon Simpleman

December 6, 2016

In the dark forest adjoining Montreal

Lived a simple ogre, chunky, but not too tall

His eyes were wide, covered by glasses

And oddly, he had not one, but two asses.

He rode them simultaneously

Like a cowboy contemporaneously

But when he fell he fell like Steven Harper

Luckily, the asses’ hooves were not sharper.

#TreatyTreachery

December 3, 2016

I thought SCC stood for Smendacious Court of Canada.

Corporate Style vis-à-vis Lac-Mégantic

October 24, 2016

“The entire community of Lac-Mégantic remains in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to recover from this tragedy.”

        – Michael J. Kasbar, chairman and chief executive officer, World Fuel Services, June 8, 2015, upon providing $110 million for settlement in the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

“CP denies liability and intends to vigorously defend against all derailment-related proceedings.”

             – CP 3rd Quarter Report, October 19, 2016. E. Hunter Harrison , CP Chief Executive Officer.

CP Rail: Incroyable – What a Shame!

October 22, 2016

from CP Third Quarter Report | 2016    (le français suit)

Legal proceedings related to Lac-Mégantic rail accident

On July 6, 2013, a train carrying crude oil operated by Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway (“MMA”) or a subsidiary, Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co. (“MMAC” and collectively the “MMA Group”) derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The accident occurred on a section of railway owned by the MMA Group. The previous day CP had interchanged the train to the MMA Group, and after the interchange, the MMA Group exclusively controlled the train.

Following this incident, Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks (the “Minister”) ordered the named parties to recover the contaminants and to clean up the derailment site. On August 14, 2013, the Minister added CP as a party (the “Amended Cleanup Order”). CP appealed the Amended Cleanup Order to the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec. Those proceedings are pending. Directly related to that matter, on July 6, 2015, the Province of Quebec sued CP in Quebec Superior Court claiming $409 million in derailment damages, including cleanup costs. The province alleges that CP exercised custody or control over the crude oil lading and that CP was otherwise negligent. Therefore, CP is said to be solidarily (joint and severally) liable with third parties responsible for the accident. The province’s lawsuit was stayed until September 12, 2016, but has since been reactivated. The province has filed a motion for leave to amend its complaint, which motion will be heard by the court on November 8, 2016. Otherwise, no timetable governing the conduct of this lawsuit has been ordered by the Quebec Superior Court. On July 5, 2016, the Minister served a Notice of Claim for nearly $95 million of compensation spent on cleanup, alleging that CP refused or neglected to undertake the work. On September 6, 2016, CP filed a contestation of the Notice of Claim with the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec. These proceedings appear to be duplicative of the administrative proceedings.

A class action lawsuit has also been filed in the Quebec Superior Court on behalf of persons and entities residing in, owning or leasing property in, operating a business in or physically present in Lac-Mégantic at the time of the derailment (the “Class Action”). That lawsuit seeks derailment damages, including for wrongful death, personal injury, and property harm. On August 16, 2013, CP was added as a defendant. On May 8, 2015, the Quebec Superior Court authorized (certified) the Class Action against CP, the shipper – Western Petroleum, and the shipper’s parent – World Fuel Services (collectively, the “World Fuel Entities”). The World Fuel Entities have since settled. The plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to amend their complaint, which motion will be heard by the court on November 10, 2016. Otherwise, the court has set no timetable to govern the conduct of this lawsuit.

On July 4, 2016, eight subrogated insurers served CP with claims of approximately $16 million. On July 11, 2016, two additional subrogated insurers served CP with claims of approximately $3 million. The lawsuits do not identify the parties to which the insurers are subrogated, and therefore the extent of claim overlap and the extent that claims will be satisfied after proof of claim review and distribution from the Plans, referred to below, is difficult to determine.

In the wake of the derailment and ensuing litigation, MMAC filed for bankruptcy in Canada (the “Canadian Proceeding”) and MMA filed for bankruptcy in the United States (the “U.S. Proceeding”). Plans of arrangement have been approved in both the Canadian Proceeding and the U.S. Proceeding (the “Plans”). These Plans provide for the distribution of a fund of approximately $440 million amongst those claiming derailment damages. The Plans also provide settling parties broadly worded third-party releases and injunctions preventing lawsuits against settlement contributors. CP has not settled and therefore will not benefit from those provisions. Both Plans do, however, contain judgment reduction provisions, affording CP a credit for the greater of (i) the settlement monies received by the plaintiff(s), or (ii) the amount, in contribution or indemnity, that CP would have been entitled to charge against third parties other than MMA and MMAC, but for the Plans’ releases and injunctions. CP may also have judgment reduction rights, as part of the contribution/indemnification credit, for the fault of the MMA Group. Finally, the Plans provide for a potential re-allocation of the MMA Group’s liability among plaintiffs and CP, the only non-settling party.

An Adversary Proceeding filed by the MMA U.S. bankruptcy trustee (now, estate representative) against CP, Irving Oil, and the World Fuel Entities accuses CP of failing to ensure that World Fuel Entities or Irving Oil properly classified the oil lading and of not refusing to ship the misclassified oil as packaged. The estate representative has since settled with the World Fuel Entities and Irving Oil and now bases CP misfeasance on the railroad’s failure to abide in North Dakota by a Canadian regulation. That regulation supposedly would have caused the railroads to not move the crude oil train because an inaccurate classification was supposedly suspected. In a recently amended complaint, the estate representative named a CP affiliate, Soo Line Railroad Company (“Soo Line”), and asserts that CP and Soo Line breached terms or warranties allegedly contained in the bill of lading.

In response to one of CP’s motions to withdraw the Adversary Proceedings bankruptcy reference, the estate representative maintained that Canadian law rather than U.S. law controlled. The Article III court that heard the motion found that if U.S. federal regulations governed, the case was not complex enough to warrant withdrawal. Before the bankruptcy court, CP moved to dismiss for want of personal jurisdiction, but the court denied the motion because CP had participated in the bankruptcy proceedings. CP and Soo Line will respond to the estate representative’s recently amended complaint during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Lac-Mégantic residents and wrongful death representatives commenced a class action and a mass action in Texas and wrongful death and personal injury actions in Illinois and Maine. CP removed all of these lawsuits to federal court, and a federal court thereafter consolidated those cases in Maine. These actions generally charge CP with misclassification and mis-packaging (that is, using inappropriate DOT-111 tank cars) negligence. On CP’s motion, made on September 28, 2016, the Maine court dismissed all wrongful death and personal injury actions on several grounds. If the ruling is upheld on any appeal that might be brought, these cases will be litigated, if anywhere, in Canada.

CP has received two damage to cargo notices of claims from the shipper of the oil, Western Petroleum. Western Petroleum submitted U.S. and Canadian notices of claims for the same damages and under the Carmack Amendment (49 U.S.C. Section 11706) Western Petroleum seeks to recover for all injuries associated with, and indemnification for, the derailment. Both jurisdictions permit a shipper to recover the value of damaged lading against any carrier in the delivery chain, subject to limitations in the carrier’s tariffs. CP’s tariffs significantly restrict shipper damage claim rights. Western Petroleum is part of the World Fuel Services Entities, and those companies settled with the trustee.

On April 12, 2016, Trustee (the “WD Trustee”) for a wrongful death trust (the “WD Trust”), as defined and established under the confirmed Plans, sued CP in North Dakota federal court, asserting Carmack Amendment claims. The WD Trustee maintains that the estate representative assigned Carmack Amendment claims to the WD Trustee. The Plan supposedly gave the estate representative Carmack Amendment assignment rights. The WD Trustee seeks to recover losses associated with the lost lading (approximately $6 million), as well as the settlement amounts the consignor (i.e, the shipper, the World Fuel Entities) and the consignee (Irving Oil) paid to the bankruptcy estates, alleged to be $110 million and $60 million, respectively. The WD Trustee maintains that Carmack Amendment liability extends beyond lading losses to cover all derailment related damages suffered by the World Fuel Entities or Irving Oil. CP disputes this interpretation of Carmack Amendment exposure and maintains that CP’s tariffs preclude anything except a minimal recovery. Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and Soo Line Corporation, both non-carriers, have moved to dismiss the Carmack Amendment claims, which only apply to common carriers.

At this early stage of the proceedings, any potential responsibility and the quantum of potential losses cannot be determined. Nevertheless, CP denies liability and intends to vigorously defend against all derailment-related proceedings.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – –

du CP Rapport du troisième trimestre | 2016
Procédures judiciaires liées à l’accident ferroviaire de Lac-Mégantic

Le 6 juillet 2013, un train exploité par la Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (« MMA ») et/ou sa filiale, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. (la « MMAC » et, collectivement avec MMA, le « groupe MMA »), transportant du pétrole brut, a déraillé et explosé à Lac-Mégantic, au Québec, sur une section de la voie ferrée détenue par le groupe MMA. La veille, le CP avait échangé le train au groupe MMA et, après cet échange, le groupe MMA avait exercé un contrôle exclusif sur le train.

À la suite de cet incident, le ministre du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec a émis une ordonnance sommant certaines parties désignées de récupérer les contaminants et de nettoyer et décontaminer le site du déraillement. Le 14 août 2013, le CP a été ajouté comme partie désignée (l’« ordonnance modifiée »). Le CP a entrepris une procédure administrative d’appel relativement à cette ordonnance modifiée auprès du Tribunal administratif du Québec. Les procédures devant le Tribunal administratif ont été suspendues jusqu’en septembre 2016. En lien direct avec cette affaire, la province de Québec a déposé devant la Cour supérieure du Québec une poursuite contre le CP, le 6 juillet 2015, dans laquelle elle réclame 409 M$ pour les dommages-intérêts qu’elle a subis en raison des charges engagées à la suite du déraillement, y compris les coûts engagés pour le travail effectué à la suite de l’ordonnance modifiée. La province allègue que le CP avait la garde ou le contrôle des contaminants déversés à Lac-Mégantic, le 6 juillet 2013, que le CP a été négligent et que, par conséquent, il est solidairement responsable (conjointement et individuellement) avec les autres parties responsables de l’accident. La poursuite de la province a été suspendue jusqu’au 12 septembre 2016. Dans le cadre de cette affaire, le ministre québécois du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques a aussi déposé, le 5 juillet 2016, un avis de réclamation auprès du CP lui demandant une compensation de près de 95 M$ pour avoir dû effectuer les tâches de récupération et de nettoyage du site qui étaient définies dans l’ordonnance modifiée, alléguant que le CP avait refusé ou négligé de les effectuer. Ces procédures se dédoublent, en tout ou en partie.

Un recours collectif a aussi été déposé devant la Cour supérieure du Québec au nom d’un groupe de personnes et d’entités résidant à Lac-Mégantic, y détenant ou y louant une propriété, y exploitant une entreprise ou y étant physiquement présentes (le « recours collectif »). Des dommages-intérêts y sont réclamés relativement au déraillement, notamment pour décès imputables à une faute et dommages corporels et matériels. Le 16 août 2013, le CP a été ajouté comme partie défenderesse. Le 8 mai 2015, la Cour supérieure du Québec a autorisé l’exercice du recours collectif contre le CP et contre l’expéditeur, Western Petroleum, et la société mère de l’expéditeur, World Fuel Services (collectivement, les « défendeurs de World Fuel»). Les défendeurs World Fuel ont depuis conclu un règlement. La Cour supérieure du Québec n’a émis aucun échéancier concernant la gouvernance de ce recours collectif.

Le 4 juillet 2016, le CP a reçu des réclamations d’assurance en subrogation de huit assureurs pour un montant réclamé d’environ 16 M$. Le 11 juillet 2016, deux autres assureurs présentaient au CP des réclamations d’assurance en subrogation pour un montant réclamé d’environ 3 M$. Ces assureurs n’ont pas déterminé dans leur poursuite respective l’identité des parties pour lesquelles ils présentent ces réclamations en subrogation; par conséquent, il est difficile de déterminer dans quelle mesure ces réclamations recoupent d’autres réclamations, dans quelle mesure ces réclamations seront satisfaites après examen de la preuve et quelle part de la distribution sera reçue conformément aux plans d’arrangement dont il est question ci-après.

À la suite du déraillement et des litiges qui ont suivi, la MMAC a demandé la protection de la loi sur les faillites au Canada (la « procédure canadienne ») et la MMA a demandé la protection de la loi sur les faillites aux États-Unis (la « procédure américaine »). Les plans d’arrangement ont été approuvés de façon conditionnelle pour la procédure canadienne et la procédure américaine (les « plans »). Ces plans prévoient la distribution d’un fonds d’environ 440 M$ parmi les parties réclamantes en raison du déraillement et permettront de libérer les parties ayant contribué au provisionnement du fonds de toute autre responsabilité. Les plans prévoient de plus des exonérations de tiers et des ordonnances en des termes généraux qui procurent aux parties prenantes au règlement une protection contre des litiges. Le CP n’a pas contribué au fonds et ne pourra profiter de ces exonérations de tiers ou ordonnances. En outre, ces plans contiennent des dispositions de réduction de jugement. Conformément à ces dispositions, dans le cas d’un jugement contre le CP dans un cas découlant du déraillement de Lac- Mégantic, le CP recevra un crédit du montant le plus élevé i) des sommes reçues par les plaignants dans le cadre de la réclamation, ii) du montant auquel, à l’exception d’ordonnances de tiers débiteurs, le CP aurait eu droit de recevoir de tiers autres que MMA et MMAC au moyen d’une contribution ou d’une indemnisation. Le CP pourrait aussi profiter d’une réduction de jugement, dans le cadre du crédit relatif à une contribution/indemnisation, pour les fautes attribuables à MMA ou à MMAC. Les dispositions des plans prévoient également la réattribution potentielle de la responsabilité du groupe MMA parmi les plaignants et le CP, la seule partie non prenante au règlement.

Une procédure contradictoire déposée par le syndic de faillite américain de la MMA contre le CP, Irving Oil et les défendeurs de World Fuel accuse le CP de ne pas s’être assuré que les défendeurs de World Fuel ou Irving Oil classent correctement le 18chargement de pétrole et de ne pas avoir refusé d’expédier le pétrole dans des wagons-citernes construits selon les spécifications DOT-111. Le syndic a depuis réglé avec les défenseurs de World Fuel et Irving Oil et soutient maintenant que l’action fautive du CP vient du fait que le chemin de fer ne s’est pas conformé à un règlement canadien au Dakota du Nord qui aurait censément amené le chemin de fer à l’origine à refuser de transporter le pétrole brut, parce qu’il aurait eu des raisons de soupçonner une mauvaise classification. En réponse à la motion du CP visant le retrait de la procédure contradictoire de la procédure américaine, le syndic a maintenu que la loi canadienne, et non la loi américaine, s’appliquait, et aux termes de l’Article III, le tribunal a jugé que, si le dossier relève de la réglementation fédérale, le cas n’était pas suffisamment complexe pour en justifier le retrait. Le CP a présenté, à la cour de faillite, une motion pour demander le rejet de l’affaire pour défaut de compétence personnelle, mais cette motion, qui a été entendue le 18 août 2015, a été rejetée. Des demandes de rejet pour des motifs d’ordre procédural sont en instance dans les litiges. Le syndic a récemment retiré son objection pour que les procédures contradictoires de faillite soient entendues dans une cour de district devant un jury aux termes de l’Article III.

Il y a aussi un recours collectif et un recours de masse au Texas et des recours pour décès imputables à une faute et pour blessures corporelles en Illinois et dans le Maine. Ces différentes poursuites ont toutes été retirées de la cour fédérale et sont maintenant consolidées dans le Maine. Ces poursuites accusent généralement le CP de négligence pour mauvaise classification et mauvais conditionnement (c’est-à-dire une utilisation inappropriée des wagons citernes DOT-111). Des requêtes en irrecevabilité ont été déposées et entendues en ce qui concerne le territoire et la compétence. Les décisions concernant les requêtes du CP et les requêtes incidentes d’autres parties sont en instances.

Le CP a reçu deux avis de réclamation pour avaries subies par la marchandise de Western Petroleum, l’expéditeur du pétrole que transportait le train qui a déraillé. Western Petroleum a émis des avis de réclamation portant sur les mêmes avaries aux États-Unis et au Canada et, en vertu de la Carmack Amendment (49 U.S.C. Section 11706), cherche à être dédommagée de toutes les blessures associées au déraillement et à être indemnisée. Les deux juridictions permettent aux expéditeurs de recouvrer la valeur des marchandises endommagées auprès des transporteurs qui sont intervenus dans la chaîne de livraison, sous réserve des clauses restrictives des tarifs des transporteurs. Les tarifs du CP restreignent considérablement les droits des expéditeurs en matière de réclamations pour dommages. Western Petroleum fait partie du groupe World Fuel Services, et ces entités ont récemment conclu un règlement avec le syndic.

Le 12 avril 2016, le syndic (le « syndic WD ») d’une fiducie pour décès imputables à une faute (la « fiducie WD »), telle qu’elle est définie et établie conformément au plan confirmé, a déposé une poursuite contre le CP devant une cour fédérale du Dakota du Nord afin d’établir une responsabilité conformément à la 49 U.S.C Section 11706 de la Carmack Amendment. La fiducie WD affirme que le syndic WD s’est vu attribuer les droits de demande de réclamation en vertu de la Carmack par le représentant du syndic de faillite. Les parties qui ont réglé la responsabilité du déraillement de Lac-Mégantic dans le plan confirmé de la MMA ont supposément donné au représentant du syndic de faillite le droit d’assigner les réclamations en vertu de la Carmack. Le syndic WD cherche à récupérer les pertes touchant le chargement (environ 6 M$) ainsi que les montants du règlement que l’expéditeur (les entités de Word Fuel) et le destinataire (Irving Oil) ont versé au syndic de faillite de la MMA en règlement des réclamations dans le déraillement de Lac-Mégantic, qui sont présumées être de 110 M$ et de 60 M$, respectivement. Le syndic WD maintient que la responsabilité au titre de la loi Carmack s’étend au-delà des pertes touchant le chargement pour couvrir tous les dommages subis par le groupe World Fuel Services ou Irving Oil associés au déraillement. Le CP conteste cette interprétation du droit sur les dommages aux chargements et maintient que ses tarifs (s’il y a lieu) empêcheraient un tel résultat.

À ce stade préliminaire des procédures, il est impossible d’évaluer toute responsabilité potentielle et de déterminer la perte pouvant en découler. Par contre, le CP nie toute responsabilité relativement au déraillement du train de la MMA et entend se défendre avec vigueur dans les procédures décrites ci-dessus et dans toute autre procédure qui pourrait être entreprise ultérieurement.

 

Alberta Courts: A Course in Coarse

September 17, 2016

by Jack Locke

I know judges are human. I’ve known that since 1989.

But the recent revelations making headlines, the Justice Denny Thomas obvious error in the Travis Vader murder case, and the Justice “why-didn’t-you-keep-your-knees-together” Robin Camp hearing at the Canadian Judicial Council, perhaps have a connection to my experience.

You see, I was a one case litigator. That should be more than enough for most people. I don’t recommend it.

I first entered court in 1989. My claim against the City of Calgary was a charter challenge to a municipal by-law. Now, I don’t claim to be a Perry Mason – Perry who? Okay, I’m showing my age. Perry Mason was a fictional television lawyer extraordinaire from 1957–63 and originally the lead character in a series of novels by Erle Stanley Gardner.

But I was just an ordinary Canadian miffed by a dumb law. So I went to court. The first thing that happened to me was my case was thrown out before trial. In a slick procedural manoeuvre, the City had the case dismissed because I was alleged not to have drafted the paperwork correctly. Of course that was horse shite.

The Alberta Court of Appeal agreed with me. But it took a year and a half of my time.

After two more years of procedural wrangling, a seven-day trial was finally held.

I knew right off the bat I was in trouble when trial judge R.A.F. Montgomery questioned my right to call certain witnesses. I felt he had obviously taken sides with the opposite side.

But the kicker came one afternoon when the learned judge began pronouncing my last name with two syllables. It was incredulous – something Perry Mason never had to deal with. Locke is pronounced “lock”, one syllable only. What prompted this new exaggerated pronunciation of my name I can only surmise. The only thing missing was a following hiccup.

The judge ruled against me on all three legal issues. Moreover, he then slapped me with costs to the maximum level. Now, in the case of public interest law, where a citizen challenges a controversial piece of legislation, it is not unusual for costs not to be levied. But under the intoxicating circumstances, when Justice Montgomery assessed costs of $35,000, I was somewhat expecting it.

To this day, there has not been a review of the decision, nor behaviour, of now dearly-departed judge Montgomery. The appellate story is another story, and a good one. But I am certain there is a plethora of delicious court stories from Alberta.

So, when I see the cases of Denny Thomas and Robin Camp, I am wholly not surprised in the least. What section of the Criminal Code did the eminent jurist cite? And what’s wrong with a misogynist comment by a judge?

There needs to be a major housecleaning. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Chief Justice talks about lack of access for ordinary Canadians to the courts. Well Beverley McLachlin, who would want to appear in court anyway? Not me.

* * * *

Jack Locke is a freelance writer/poet/editor living in Quebec.

LONG Live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.

July 11, 2016

Every now and now, I get lassoed by a subject, tied up and loosened up to write a poem. This time my object was the late Arthur Porter, former CEO of the McGill University Hospital Centre, and former Chair of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee. Here’s my latest villanelle, LONG Live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.

LONG live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.
He was the penultimate freelancer
For he who dies before trial leaves a legacy.

From Sierra Leone came a doctor only
To care for the dying, dying of cancer
LONG live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.

He learned to negotiate positively
A small payoff requires an expancer
For he who dies before trial leaves a legacy.

He was portrayed as an Englishman portly
But in boardrooms he was known as a slender dancer
LONG live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.

Accused of malfeasance malevolently
Defended by a brilliant necromancer
For he who dies before trial leaves a legacy.

To his grave he will carry secrets sanctimoniously
As hungry ants dig hopeless for an answer
LONG live King Arthur of the M.U.H.C.
For he who dies before trial leaves a legacy.