Retribution

May 14th, 2018

On April 18th, during a cross-examination session for the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s) sixth lawsuit, their counsel requested a list of names and contact information of PS Knight’s customers. 

No, was the answer, absolutely no chance. 

For fairly obvious reasons, we have no intention of giving CSA the means to harm our customers merely for being our customers.  That’s why they want the list.  And I said so to their counsel, Kevin Sartorio, on transcript.

“Your client has a long record of retribution,” I said, they target those who step out of line.

“Oh, no they don’t,” said Sartorio.

“Yes they do,” said I.

“No they don’t,” said Sartorio.

“Yes they do,” said I.

Seriously, transcripts are like this.  If it weren’t such a serious matter, quite a few of them are quite entertaining.

The bottom line though, is that we’ve spoken to a lot of CSA’s victims over the last six years and we’ve heard no shortage of retribution stories, some of which have featured in RestoreCSA articles.  But the CSA’s bottom line in their statements to Court is that they absolutely do not engage in retribution against anyone.  No.  They don’t do retribution, they’ve never done this, and they never will.  That’s their claim in Court.

And that’s what they testified at the cross-examination on April 18th.

On May 9th however, one of our sources sent us an internal email from the Technical Safety BC (TSBC) that reads as follows;

“The electrical safety Management Team […] recently had discussions with CSA regarding PS Knight Electrical Code.  […]  They stated that they would view any individual or organization who actively promotes or uses this document as being complicit in the copyright infringement.” [emphasis added]

Anyone who uses our books?  Those are our customers.  What would CSA do to target customers, you ask?

Well, said CSA, “they intend to pursue legal options.” 

I see.  So CSA has privately advised the TSBC that they intent to put PS Knight customers through pointless legal hell as punishment for doing business with us.  Swell folks, aren’t they?

The internal email continues;

“The instruction we received [from Management] was the PS Knight publication has not been reviewed for errors or omissions by Technical Safety BC and safety officers [inspectors] should not be using, referring to, or promoting this publication.”

So we’ve been blacklisted by the Provincial inspection Agency on CSA’s instruction.

It’s ironic that CSA is outed for acts of retribution exactly three weeks after denying it under oath.

We thought the Court should read the retribution email, so on Friday of last week we filed the appropriate Court advisory and now the particulars of CSA’s conduct with their fellow regulators is added to the agenda for the May 15 Hearing. 

Of course, that still leaves a question mark at TSBC.  What’s their actual position?

You see folks, we know that TSBC is very divided on the matter.  The CSA has been charging for TSBC usage of “their” laws.  In the last year or so, CSA has been trying to charge TSBC even for referencing Rule numbers on forms, in correspondence, etc.  It’s a bit like trademarking the letter “E” and trying to invoice on every instance of the use of it. 

The CSA is resented in the ranks of TSBC staff, but after some grumbling CSA gets their kickbacks and TSBC gets on with their work.  That said, not all TSBC staff grumble about CSA.  Some senior figures at TSBC are acolytes of CSA.  They owe their positions to friends’ favours.  If CSA loses influence, they lose security, so they fight for CSA within TSBC.  And that’s the cause of the cleavage within.

Anyway, we wrote TSBC to gauge their official position on May 10th.  We received a disappointingly legalese response from a Ms Picotte-Li, a legal eagle of some seniority.  Her note ducked responsibility, avoided entirely the issues raised, and clung to highly technical and legally implausible defences. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to see more integrity in leadership?  I don’t know, I just find it depressing that every ethical choice is so routinely subjected to a cost-benefit analysis.  We live in an age of expediency, I suppose.

We’re still waiting on the Court of Appeal Ruling, and when that Ruling arrives it may change the legal math for TSBC.  We surely hope so.

In the interim, for those with interest, we’ll close this article with the full text of our May 10th letter to TSBC, as below:


May 10th Letter to Technical Safety BC

Ms Picotte-Li:

Kindly note that attempts were made to reach Mr. Bo Feng on Thursday but he would not take the call nor would he accept a voicemail.  We were directed to your number but you were unavailable for the call on both attempts made to reach you, hence the two voicemails.


As below, and as you can appreciate, we have concerns that the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is threatening legal action against persons for using our publications, and that Technical Safety BC (TSBC) has chosen to participate in this conduct.  

You may be aware of our inquiry of Feb 5th, 2018 to Ms Catherine Roome in response to expressions of concern from within your organization related to CSA’s cartel behaviour.  As this behaviour is very damaging in the electrical trade, and at the considerable expense of that trade, our offer expressed to Ms Roome to coordinate our efforts was a good faith inquiry based on the assumption of your reciprocal good faith in the benefit of the trade.

In this, we were surprised to receive the communication below (the Communication), versions of which have been sent by your organization across the Province.

Provincial law, including electrical law, is copyrighted Queen’s Printer.  The Queen’s Printer copyright law has not been repealed.  Our publications cite Queen’s Printer copyright in compliance with Provincial laws on reproduction of legislation.  Unless and until Queen’s Printer laws are repealed, or an injunction is issued pending Court Hearings on those laws, there is no legal basis for preventing public access to public safety laws by precluding their use, or by threatening litigation against those who use, promote or disseminate those laws, or by colluding with any entity for those purposes.

Your Communication also mentioned conversations with a different publisher of legislation, being CSA.  Your organization did not have conversations with PS Knight Co, the other publisher of electrical law.  Agreeing with one entity on a policy or program to blacklist their competitor for purposes of extracting monies through monopoly practices is, to put it mildly, illegal.

Your Communication also mentioned that Knight’s Code had not been reviewed by TSBC, but we are advised that TSBC did not review CSA’s version of electrical law either.  It appears that TSBC is applying a very different standard to exactly the same legislation, depending on the publisher of that legislation.

We believe that your Communication is a violation of the Federal Competition Act and Alberta Queen’s Printer Copyright, and is a clear instance of Interference of Trade.

We would like to avoid difficulty.  As you can appreciate however, we absolutely cannot tolerate the blacklisting of our products or the vindictive targeting of our customers.  

We acknowledge that the Communication below could be an unauthorized error, easily corrected.  As such, it may not represent the instructions of TSBC, nor its policies, nor its positions with regard to the above noted legislation.  

In this, we are requesting that TSBC immediately issue a correction, sent to the same recipients Province-wide, clearly withdrawing the instruction of the Communication and confirming that Knight’s Code, or any other reproduction of legislation, provided it complies with Queens’ Printer law, is acceptable for use by the employees and partners of, and within the authority of, the TSBC.

[signed]

___________________________________

CORRECTION

In last week’s article, we stated that Mr. Doug Morton had completed one semester of university studies at McMaster.  This is incorrect.  Mr. Morton has completed two semesters of studies at McMaster, not one semester. 

Undergraduate completion usually takes eight semesters but can be accomplished in as few as six semesters.  In this, Mr. Morton completed two semesters, being 25% - 33% of an undergraduate degree rather than 13% - 17%.  In this, our statement that Mr. Morton has falsely claimed “a McMaster parchment and a BA ticket” is accurate, whereas the extent of his false claim was incorrect.  We regret and apologize for the error.

Original Discovery reference is as follows;

“Q - Could you outline your educational background for me briefly, please?
A - I went to McMaster University, where I only attended there for a year.  And then I was in high school in Hamilton.”

[Morton transcript T-1178-12 - May 5, 2014, P.7, Line 14]