The Lean Year
In dealing with CSA’s various duplicate actions against us, we had filed a Motion in Provincial Court to throw out the third of CSA’s five actions on the basis that it was an abuse of process. It’s not supposed to be possible to sue the same defendant on the same issues multiple times simultaneously in multiple courts within the same jurisdiction. There are legal protections against this, in the US these are called “double-jeopardy laws”. We pointed this out in Court.
Early in 2016 however, we reported that Provincial Court ruled against our request to throw out the third of CSA’s five litigations. Amazingly, the judge acknowledged that it wasn’t legal to allow these duplicate processes to continue but, he said, it might be interesting to let them proceed anyway. So we were stuck with the multiple processes and the CSA was awarded costs, which meant that we had to pay them for their legal fees in trying to bankrupt us. The system is sick.
Also in January, we received another Access to Information report, this time featuring blank pieces of paper.
In the midst of this maelstrom, in April 2016, the founder of PS Knight Co Ltd, Peter Knight, passed away in British Columbia. The CSA had hounded him in his last years, denied him a retirement, sued him in his hospital bed, and then filed new legal actions against us on the morning of his funeral.
In March we lost again. This time in Federal Court, Justice Michael Manson Ruled that Canadian legislation is privately owned. Specifically, he Ruled that laws are privately owned by whomever drafted them or lobbied for them. “The Crown,” he said, “does not own copyright in legislation.” That was a bombshell.
The public nature of law is a foundational principle of democratic society, and it’s an eight-hundred year-old principle, going back to the Magna Carta. Yet Justice Manson threw out the notion of public law in order to protect CSA. In so doing of course, he also threw out the various Federal and provincial Queen’s Printer laws, all of which claim copyright on legislation.
Why Manson issued such a bizarre Ruling was, at first, a mystery. In time, and thanks to some well placed sources, Manson’s incentives became clear. But it would take another year for us to know for sure.
In the interim, we had a new legal paradigm to deal with. Privately owned laws are a new thing in democracies. Thankfully however, we had taken a precaution prior to the Manson hearing that we now could act on. What was that precaution?
Well, we’d registered our own copyright over some of Canada’s electrical laws. Let’s be clear; we definitely reject the notion of private law, but we’re definitely game to use Manson’s Ruling to demonstrate the absurdity of the whole notion of private law.
So, in April we started invoicing governments for their use of “our” laws. We had copyrighted the text and the Manson Ruling affirmed that it was privately owned. By invoicing governments, we were forcing an awkward issue onto their desks. And it was very awkward, this issue.
We had a series of discussions with different levels of government about our invoices. They were friendly talks but surreal, for both sides. In the end, the governments of Canada decided to ignore our invoices and await our appeal of the Manson Ruling. They were assuming that we would win the appeal, so that they wouldn’t have to pay our invoicing. If they were wrong in their assumptions however, then they’d be in big financial trouble. Our invoicing was pricey.
New whistleblowers arrived in the summer of 2017. From these, we reported on CSA’s new shakedown attempts, they’d been demanding protection payments from a variety of companies. We know all about these payments, the CSA had demanded protection money from us too.
In the fall we reported on our extensive conversations with CSA staff regarding their General Counsel, Mr. RJ Falconi. The article wasn’t flattering, his colleagues were notably unkind in their assessments of his character and his capabilities. Shortly thereafter, we reported that the Law Society of Upper Canada had responded to two separate filings against Falconi, one from RestoreCSA and another from a company in Saskatchewan, and that the Society was reviewing these for investigation into Falconi’s oversight of CSA’s influence peddling on legislation.
At the end of the year we re-ran CSA’s accounting data from the 2016 Annual Report to see if there had been any changes to their wild travel budget. Indeed there had been changes. In 2013, they were spending $65k / day on travel, whereas in 2016 they had increased their travel budget to $90k / day. How CSA could spend so much money on travel, enough for 75,898 return airfares to Chicago, in one year, is a mystery.
While in 2016, CSA was spending more taxpayer’s money on themselves than ever before, we had been hit with multiple and significant legal costs in that year. They were awash in our money; we were nearly out of money. But our days were about to brighten.