Gigantic Betrayal: the Mike Duffy Trial by Robin Mathews, May 2016, vivelecanada.ca
A very large number of Canadians have been unable to imagine the size of (even) the visible fraud perpetrated upon them under the name of The Mike Duffy Trial.
In what may fairly be called the fascist press of Canada the issue has been spray-painted “cover-up”. Mr. Duffy’s personality has been the chief subject of discussion by core writers … as a way to divert attention? Even beyond that, commentators are trapped in the almost irrelevant: Mike Duffy’s personality, media career, and Senate behaviour.
The trial was not really a result of Mike Duffy’s personality nor of the lax and permissive boundaries of personal expenditure and public action in the Canadian Senate.
The Truth About The Mike Duffy Trial
The trial was the product of the vicious, conspiratorial, vengeful, punitive nature … of what may fairly, I think, be called the criminal Conservative Party Machine seeking to dominate public consciousness.
The Machine, I allege, was headed by Stephen Harper, prime minister, and Nigel Wright, PMO chief of staff (long time advocate, friend, and supporter of Stephen Harper).
The Machine set to work to use a thoroughly corrupted RCMP force (which it may have additionally coerced and suborned) and Prosecutorial Services which may, in fact, have acted criminally in a major breach of ethical standards and, therefore, in a major Breach of Trust … and may also have been suborned.
[Refer also to The Intimidation of Ernst where Harper’s anti-terrorist (RCMP) squad arrive at Ernst’s home on February 7, 2009, unannounced and warrantless (to harass and intimidate Ernst into dropping her lawsuit against Encana, AER, and Alberta Environment?) after she served legal papers on the defendants:
Beyond the Machine, Defence lawyer Donald Bayne satisfied what is said to be the first duty of a Defence lawyer: defence of the accused. He served his client well, in defence. But that, I submit, is all he did. He did not, I believe, serve justice well nor the Canadian people – who had to be an unstated principal in the case. How did he lapse?
In the service of justice he should have elected Trial by Jury. A jury would quickly have seen through Prosecution’s deceptions and would have been – in fact – a body of representative Canadians dealing with the criminal Conservative Party Machine: shaping a much more convincing acquittal of Mike Duffy than one by a somewhat (I believe) dubious judge in the Club of Higher Court Judges in Canada (which is not a body presently in very good odour).
In the service of the Canadian people, Donald Bayne – in addition – might well have examined and cross-examined a good deal more searchingly than he did. He might – just for instance – have kept Nigel Wright on the stand for two or three days longer, grilling him closely. To this observer, Nigel Wright was given “the billionaire treatment” on the stand (and, it now seems, off the stand as well!).
The Opposition Parties in the House of Commons – all of them – failed the Canadian people monumentally. They failed to produce available information over two and a half years before the trial. They failed to tear apart the fraudulent RCMP actions and then the wholly sham Prosecution case.
They failed in the House of Commons, in the press and media, and in the streets. What Donald Bayne revealed of Conservative Party Machine dirty tricks had to be available earlier – in large part – to the Opposition Parties. Anyone who knows Ottawa knows few secrets are kept there. For nearly two and a half years in Ottawa – oozing from the PMO, leaking from the Senate, spilling from RCMP headquarters, pulsing through the Ottawa Grapevine – leads must have been available to the Opposition Parties … which they chose to ignore. Why?
The greatest failure of the Mike Duffy affair may well be the failure of the Opposition Parties to be “on” all the materials and events and to protect Canadian rule of law and democracy. Their role was a shameful, wholly inadequate role. Were they playing to new rules in Ottawa in an atmosphere of clubby entitlement and sleazy “cooperation”? Even now, with the truth about criminal action exposed (and unpunished) they are mute.
The Court, And The Proceedings There
Very serious questions must be asked about the timing and the scheduling of the trial. Was there major political manipulation on behalf of what I call the Conservative Party Criminal Machine? Somehow, the Ontario Higher Court System produced a meaningless recess – months long – in the midst of the trial. The recess just happened to permit the Federal Election to be held before the full story was told of the Conservative Machine’s vicious lawlessness.
The recess permitted the Conservative Party to return strongly to the House of Commons. If the trial had continued normally and had ended before the Federal Election, election results would likely have been very, very different.
Are we to conclude that the criminal Conservative Party Machine not only escaped from the scandal unscathed but also was permitted to shape, in part, the membership of the present House of Commons?
The Judge Without a Jury. What Happened?
The judge on such a trial is key. His (her) powers are huge. The judge becomes “seized” with the action – which means he/she becomes the exclusive power in relation to conduct and outcome. That is so for two simple reasons: first, he or she is the best and most fully informed about all spoken (and unspoken) aspects of the process. Secondly (as a result of centuries of experience) the judge cannot be moved from a trial once seized with it because the more excellent a judge’s work, the more desperate, often, are some to have the judge removed. And so the only person who can move such a judge is that judge himself or herself.
When a judge is moved in the midst of a process in Canada, for instance by promotion, reasonable and prudent Canadians may suspect the move is a combination of coercion and bribery. Judges were moved/promoted – for instance – in the midst of action in the BC Rail Scandal trial (ended 2010) and in the (Alberta) Jessica Ernst case against the Alberta government, its Regulator, and the huge oil giant Encana (still in process).
No such attempt was made to move Justice Charles Vaillancourt. I am tempted to say “there was no need to move him”; but that would probably be unfair. He did attend closely to Defence lawyer Donald Bayne’s clear and sharp depiction of the fraudulent processes used to entrap Mike Duffy. And Justice Vaillancourt cleared Mr. Duffy of all 31 charges against him.
But he stopped there – at the point he needed to go beyond merely upholding the (mostly) excellent Defence presentation.
At the point Justice Vaillancourt stopped, he had (I suggest) a major role to play, which he obviously rejected. A judge in a higher court in Canada is not just a receiver of information and a referee in a judicial combat. At crucial times he or she must insist upon the fullness of the law in the light of new events, circumstances, or conditions revealed in the community served – that expose serious criminality and serious threats to the peace, tranquility, and safety of the people. The judge doesn’t, of course, write new law, but requires action to assure that the rule of law is honoured and fully exercised in relation to the matter before the court.
Justice Vaillancourt revealed in his written judgement that he was aware of the ugly misuse of power by the RCMP and the Prosecution service, as well as the almost incredible and ugly manipulations of Nigel Wright and his cronies on behalf of (and possibly with) their direct employers, Stephen Harper and the Conservative cabinet. Justice Vaillancourt has been publicly praised for his “scathing indictment” of the PMO and Nigel Wright acting as Stephen Harper’s chief of staff.
But I believe thoughtful Canadians will conclude Justice Vaillancourt left his task dangerously incomplete [and one can only ask Why].
Justice Vaillancourt should have forcefully recommended that appropriate Law Enforcement entities review (as publicly as possible) the behaviour of RCMP actors, Prosecution Services personnel, selected Senators, as well as Nigel Wright, Stephen Harper and related personnel in the PMO – with a view to determining if criminal charges should be laid against any or many of them. Justice Vaillancourt should have made the recommendation in such a way that it could not be ignored. He could have done it in terms of genuine alarm at the apparent epidemic of criminality at highest levels in the conduct of the nation’s affairs.
The organized, pre-meditated, interwoven, relentless, and destructive intention to do deeply unlawful things by people in places of highest trust should have alarmed and outraged Justice Vaillancourt – as it must alarm and outrage every Canadian who learns of it. And Justice Vaillancourt should have acted very forcefully….
Why didn’t he?
No one could have criticized him for demanding action in that circumstance. If criminals have escaped “the Duffy Affair”, a considerable part of the reason, I suggest, must be laid at the feet of Charles Vaillancourt.
One wants to believe that – within the limits of his talent – Justice Charles Vaillancourt is an honest man and an honest judge.
But what was he doing sanctioning a recess of several months in the midst of the trial, a recess that proved advantageous to the Conservative Party?
And why did he end his judgement without directly addressing what he almost certainly believed was evidence pointing to criminal behaviour among the accusers? The questions are too important to avoid.
Just as one other inaction cannot be avoided.
The Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau has done nothing whatever about what is almost assuredly major criminal activity in the conduct of government. Surely that is a matter of the first importance. Where are the Liberal MPs in the House of Commons? Are they all (as all the Conservative government MPs were – with the exception of Brent Rathgeber) happy, well-fed, voluntarily bound-and-gagged non-entities, doing nothing but mouthing the propaganda of their “leaders”?
Why is it in the interest of the Liberal Party to shield criminal activity in the former Conservative government? Is there an alliance of the apparent foes that will only become clear with time?
The examination here looks at the public betrayal and criminal activity imbedded in the Mike Duffy Affair – betrayal and criminal activity (so far) blandly accepted in silence by every MP in the House of Commons. Perhaps things are even worse than they look. Perhaps the Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau will reveal to us an on-going intention in Ottawa to criminalize our democracy … permanently … and will make clear to us that we have – even in this column – only scratched the surface…. [Emphasis added]
Mike Duffy considers bid to have legal costs reimbursed by secret Senate fund by John Ivison and Marie-Danielle Smith, May 3, 2016, Calgary Herald
[Was this also part of the Harper-Duffy-Wright plan to destroy the Senate?]
Mike Duffy is considering a bid to have his legal costs reimbursed by a secret Senate fund that at least six other senators have used to quietly help pay their lawyers.
Donald Bayne, Duffy’s lawyer, said he is looking into whether the senator can access the Senate Legal Assistance and Indemnification policy, used by other senators including Colin Kenny and Patrick Brazeau.
“It’s highly pertinent,” said Bayne.
When it was suggested that Duffy appeared to qualify for the fund, Bayne replied: “It certainly does.”
He said he had only learned of the policy Wednesday [Really?], but it appears to provide funds without a specified limit for use in legal defence of a senator.
Bayne would not reveal how much Duffy spent on legal fees during the course of his trial but said it was a “significant monetary burden,” particularly given the senator was suspended at the time and not earning a salary.
To access the fund applicants need to apply in writing to the Senate steering committee, which is made up of three senators: Conservatives Leo Housakos and David Wells, and Liberal Jane Coady. The committee makes financial and administrative decisions related to the Senate’s internal management.
According to the Senate’s law clerk, Michel Patrice, there’s nothing to preclude Duffy from seeking reimbursement of his legal fees.
The steering committee “would have the authority to make a decision on the matter,” he said, though there is no precedent for the Senate covering legal fees related to criminal proceedings.
Five senators recently made requests for reimbursements of legal fees related to the dispute resolution process undertaken by special arbitrator Ian Binnie, Senate spokesperson Jacqui Delaney confirmed Wednesday.
The five are Colin Kenny, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, Sandra Lovelace-Nicholas, Terry Mercer and Joseph Day.
Binnie, a former Supreme Court Justice, released a report March 21 ruling how much some senators would have to repay following an Auditor General’s report last June that flagged questionable expenses.
In 10 of the 14 cases he reviewed, Binnie reduced the amounts senators would have to pay.
Senators are only eligible to get their legal fees reimbursed from the fund in cases where the decision was “favourable to the senator, in whole or in part,” said Delaney. In this case of the Binnie process, they could claim up to $25,000 each, she said.
But that appears to be a special case. Generally, there is no fixed amount designated for legal fee reimbursement, said Delaney.
Requests to access the fund need to make the case that the matter requiring legal services relates to “the carrying out of the senator’s parliamentary functions,” she said.
Funds come from the law clerk’s operational budget.
Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau was provided legal assistance in relation to the review of his housing expenditures in July 2013.
But the Senate made Brazeau pay that money back when the decision at the end of the process was found to be “unfavourable to him,” Delaney said.
Bayne said the senators who accessed legal funds in the dispute resolution process had “accorded themselves a process never accorded to Mr. Duffy.”
“There are many issues at play about the fundamental principles of fairness and decency,” he said. [Emphasis added]
Mike Duffy considers bid to have legal costs reimbursed by Senate fund by John Ivison and Marie-Danielle Smith, May 4, 2016, National Post
[Refer also to:
April 20, 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Winner: John Ibbitson’s Stephen Harper. Politics and the Pen Gala, Ottawa
2015: Lap-Dog Journalism. The Collapse of Canadian Democracy. The Mike Duffy Case. Hi-Jacking Your Head. Part Three
2015: Eating Your Soul and The Mike Duffy Case: “Beyond the realm of belief – the Canadian public is invited to believe that a bribe can be received that is not paid!”
2015: Harper’s Office hired three law firms to handle Duffy-Wirght investigation instead of using Juctice Dept lawyers that would be much more econonmical for taxpayers; In his hockey book, Harper thanks now-disgraced chief of staff for help with ethics
2013: Harper government changes to accountability rules aim to leave Harper blameless in Duffy affair
2013: Mike Duffy: 2 Cheques Were Given To Me By PMO; Harper changes his story: says chief of staff Wright ‘dismissed’ over $90,000 cheque, not resigned
2013: Stephen Harper could have avoided Mike Duffy woes by obeying the law ]