News from the Front

May 6th, 2018

The Federal Court of Appeal has yet to release the Ruling.  We’re still waiting.  In the spirit of waiting then, this week’s edutainment features a general update on litigation, punctuated here and there with comments on air travel, the joys of being CSA’s designated piñata, and other amusing irrelevancies. 

I was in Toronto again last week, this time for cross-examinations on the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s) newest, and sixth, lawsuit.  The CSA’s Counsel, Kevin Sartorio, rolled out a new argument during cross, and it’s a novel one (more on that in a moment).  The CSA’s Doug Morton was also subjected to a cross-examination from our side and, as usual, was surreal in his responses, in as much as they were responses, yet seemingly oblivious to the significance of his …um, performance. 

Morton’s cross took about ten minutes, after subtracting for a twenty-minute break in the middle.  Seriously.  My cross took about forty-five minutes.  That forty-five minutes required eight hours of air travel, two days’ of airport parking expense, and a total of thirteen hours of hanging around Pearson airport. 

On the subject of airports, I’m getting tired of them.  There is some serious wizardry on display in airport operations, and if you’re there long enough you’ll get an appreciation for it.  The scale of organization necessary to keep everything operating smoothly (more or less) is really quite impressive.  That said, after a half-dozen hours there the faults and failings tend to overshadow the some-serious-wizardry on display.

Why does airport seating face inward, for example?  There’s lots to look at on the tarmac but not so much of interest elsewhere in the waiting area.  I’d rather watch the ebb and flow of personnel on the tarmac, for instance, than the ebb and flow of patrons to the gentlemen’s toilets. 

On litigation matters, the Court Hearing for CSA’s sixth lawsuit is on May 15th.  The Ruling will come shortly thereafter.  Well, it might come thereafter, or it might not happen at all.  You see, the Federal Court of Appeal Ruling is expected sometime in May and this Ruling is likely to nullify any Ruling on the same issues in CSA’s sixth lawsuit.  So, if the Court of Appeal Ruling comes before May 15th, then there’s no legal basis for the May 15th Hearing at all, save for bloodymindedness.  CSA will likely push for a pointless Hearing on May 15th anyway but, you know, one crisis at a time.  Alright, but if the Court of Appeal Ruling arrives after May 15th it would negate any Ruling issued on that sixth lawsuit, so CSA’s sixth lawsuit is pretty pointless no matter when the Court of Appeals Ruling comes down. 

I once had a meeting with a senior partner of a major law firm, major enough that you’d recognize the name.  This was years ago, it wasn’t CSA related.  As I recall, it was a meeting on engineering partnerships.  Anyway, the senior partner was a friendly sort, and he said the firm had contracted a major rebranding and only recently cancelled it due to the economic downturn.  The rebranding would’ve featured a new slogan for the law firm; “The Counsel You Keep.”  That wouldn’t work with Gowlings.  I mean, to be effective a slogan has to be plausible.  Gowlings counsel has backed CSA into an expensive corner, and an existential risk.  That’s not the counsel you keep.  They need a different slogan.

Our legal meetings are held in downtown Toronto, either at law firms’ offices or at various arbitration houses.  These are single purpose places; lots of meeting rooms, bevies of beverages, sockets for transcriptionists -that sort of thing.  Typically, our side shows up first, then CSA shows up.  Transcriptionists, in contrast, are always early.

Once, for discoveries on CSA’s fourth lawsuit last year, the CSA side was early on the scene.  It was a bit awkward, actually.  My counsel and I were walking to the arbitration house (Atchison & Denman, if you’re interested) and, while still about a block from the front door, we noticed our opponents walking just ahead of us.  It was Wendy Wagner and her lackey-of-the-moment from Gowlings’ Ottawa office.  At a red light my Counsel and I waited, stood there all stealthy, right behind them, with Gowlings unawares.  The light changed and they charged ahead, and we held back, waited another light.  Neither I nor my Counsel wanted to share an elevator with them. 

Earlier that year I’d done some government relations work on the CSA file in Ottawa, Wagner’s home base, and my work featured her in a, shall we say, not entirely favourable light.  At some point I’ll be able to expound on that work, it’ll be entertaining.  Back on the sidewalk however, I was pretty sure she’d heard of our little advertorial on her behalf.  This is a woman whose voice, even after hours of discovery Q&A, is as monotone as her personality.  And she needs smiling lessons.  Or maybe she’s had too many botox treatments.  Either way, we waited for a bit, ensuring our own elevator.

“Gowlings.  Counsel, in Need of Counsel.”

Well, it’s more fitting than “The Counsel You Keep.”

The CSA’s fourth lawsuit finished its first big Hearing two weeks’ ago.  Well, almost finished, the Court started late and CSA Counsel still has another half hour of arguing, and our side has fifteen minutes’ of rebuttal yet to be heard.  The hearing of these last bits of the Hearing are scheduled for the fall of this year.  Yes, it’s glacial.  The Court is dragging this one out because we’re all waiting for the first anti-SLAPP Ruling elsewhere in the legal system.  This is a precedent Ruling we’re waiting for, so it’ll have big implications for CSA’s abuses of process in this fourth lawsuit. 

Alright, how about “Get the Gowlings Gongshow.”  No?

“Gowlings:  Only You’ll Know How Little You Saved.”

Maybe keep trying….

There’s this eatery at Pearson Airport called Smash Burger.  It’s ok, as eateries go, plenty of people eatering there.  Pearson has limited options just now, as the airport is being renovated.  In this, upon arrival at 6:44AM last Friday (tragically, for a meeting at 1PM), I had a delicious Smash Burger egg and bacon plus bun breakfast thing, catastrophically priced, and a Pepsi.  Then, after killing a few hours, I had a delicious Smash Burger lunch, consisting of a cheeseburger and Pepsi, in a haute cuisine monogramed take-away bag.  Upon returning from CSA’s latest pointless legal meeting, I had a delicious Smash Burger dinner, consisting of exactly the same thing I had for lunch.  My flight was at 10PM so, after a few hours of wondering at the airport wizardry, I went to Subway. 

I can only handle so much Smash Burger.  Quoting Stormy Daniels; “Ugh, here we go again…”  Well, same dread perhaps, but she’s got more cause for it.

“Gowlings: The best you’ll find in law, provided you don’t know much about law.”

“Gowlings:  I have a screw-down haircut.”

“Dainties Going Dirty”

“Shilling for a Living”

No?

Let’s talk about Doug Morton.  He’s the CSA’s Director of Life Sciences and Business Management.  Actually, let’s pause and ponder his title.  Any idea what he does?  Before his latest entitlement, Morton was Director of Government Relations, he was a GR guy.  Apparently he still is, so what’s with the new title?  It kind of looks like another CSA Gianluca moment. 

You remember Gianluca right?  He’s the CSA’s goodfella.  He was their head of Standards for a while but was so …um, capable in that role that he wasn’t even invited to China when CSA negotiated their big standards contract with the Chinese Government.  In fact, he wasn’t even included in the group photo opp.  Instead, he was quietly packaged into the meaningless non-job of “Special Advisor to the CEO”, then shuffled into something called “Home and Commercial,” a title every bit as vague as Morton’s “Director of Life Sciences and Business Management.”  Anyway….

Did you know that Doug Morton got his BA from McMaster University?  Apparently he’s got a BA in Arts & Science.  That likely prepares him well for doing whatever it is that he does, in as much as he does it, when he does it, if he does. 

I mentioned Kevin Sartorio’s new argument, freshly tried out last week at the sixth lawsuit cross examination.  Well, the new argument goes like this;  Gordon Knight (that’s me) is notorious for saying things that seem true but, when you dig into his claims, there’s nothing there to substantiate any of them.  He’s a fraud, this Knight character, not to be taken seriously.  This, folks, is what’s known as an Ad Hominem attack.

This sort of thing happens in lopsided arguments.  In our litigation, the facts are pretty plain, the arguments well substantiated, the legal basis printed in black & white, and the evidence is submitted with -literally- thousands of pages of documentation testifying in excruciating detail to the veracity of what CSA denies altogether.  Unable to argue on the evidence, CSA argues that the evidence isn’t relevant because it’s source isn’t reliable, mainly because the source isn’t CSA.  Well, alright then. 

Look folks, we’ve endured six years of CSA’s creativity with testimony, and we don’t do false filings.  Yet perjury laws are rarely enforced in Canada and CSA knows it and acts accordingly.  We’ve heard them claim for instance, that they have no costs at all in standards (BC Court, 2010), about $100k in costs (Fed Court 2017), about $1MM in costs (Fed Court 2017, two days after the $100k claim), and about $2MM in costs (Fed Court 2018).  Truth is nothing to these people.  But, my friends, they’re now arguing that our side is untrustworthy, so our evidence should be discounted. 

Oh, and it turns out that Doug Morton doesn’t actually have a BA, and he didn’t graduate from McMaster.  He did one semester there.  In public, he claims a McMaster parchment and a BA ticket but, in truth, he’s got neither.  Sort of makes Sartorio’s latest angle seem a bit silly.

“Truth is Nothing; Go with Gowlings.”

Or the CSA meaningful titles edition;  “Gowlings:  Spend Big, Send Little, So Much More.”

The flight home last week was an adventure.  We had a wind storm to deal with.  Well, “we” didn’t, Pearson did.  And by deal with it, I mean they cancelled a whole flock of flights.  I was watching the flight board, about an hour before I was scheduled wheels up, seeing the changes posted with depressing consistency;  cancelled, cancelled, cancelled…  With a flight board filling with red cancelled markers, my flight among them, I wondered how the wizards would send me home.  Turns out they’d get me there alright, in a calm, about three hours later.  Another trip to Smash Burger?

Over these last years, I’ve marvelled at the mistakes made by CSA’s cretins.  None of this was necessary, as you know.  But CSA thought they could bully a little guy out of business, letting CSA put their prices on the roof, making a mint off of all the other little guys who’d then have no choice but to pay whatever CSA wanted.  It hasn’t worked out that way, has it?  We’ve done pretty well.  The CSA has spent millions of dollars trying to destroy one plucky little family business and thus far they’ve failed.  We’ve researched them and published on their conduct, we’ve had CSA staffers send us intel, and we’ve published on that, and through it all CSA’s pigheadedly kept the same juvenile claim to own laws privately.  And Gowlings egged them on.  The millions CSA spends in killing us are millions flowing into Gowlings pockets.  They deserve each other.

“The Council You Keep?”  No.  Let’s strive for accuracy; 

“Gowlings: Your Council, You Creeps.”