All the Players in One Place

November 4th, 2019

In my lifetime, I have gone fishing exactly three times.  That said, as far as the fish are concerned, I have never gone fishing.  I’m rubbish at it.  Fish everywhere are perfectly safe when I’m fishing.

Fishing is more a social thing than a purely fish thing.  One goes fishing with one’s friends.  The people who fish together almost always have some commonality, something that unites them in common outlook.  You know, buddies from work or a club or something.

Same goes everywhere; “birds of a feather…”.  People usually choose to hang out with those who are like them, with the same worldview, with the same unspoken understandings between them.  This is normal.

Court’s no different.  Judges on the bench prefer interacting with judges who share their perspectives on things.  And, if they also share stressful or dangerous experiences together, the relational connections between them are that much deeper.

This brings me to an outfit called the CBA, the Canadian Bar Association.  The CBA is a professional association of lawyers.  They do lobbying like most associations, but their big draw is networking.  In this, the CBA hosts a number of conferences each year.

One such conference took place in Ottawa on May 11, 2017.  It was interesting.

Rather, the guest list was interesting, whereas the conference itself was relentless tedium.  Unless you like hanging out with lawyers, then it was gangbusters.

The big event at the CBA conference was a 2-hour long Town Hall Meeting, notable for “substantive content,” and high-profile panelists.

It’s the panelist list at that Town Hall forum that looks a lot like a smoking gun.  You can see the list for yourself here.  Watch this….

First, we have Chris Van Barr, a partner in the law firm of Gowlings WLG, as panel moderator.  You’ll recall that Gowlings is the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA’s) outside legal counsel.

Next was Paul Crampton, Chief Justice of the Federal Court, as the highest profile panelist.  Readers will recall that name too; Crampton ensured that Michael Manson, former CSA employee, was selected to judge between ourselves and CSA.  Seems like trial rigging, folks.  As far as we’re concerned, Paul Crampton, aka Kangaroo Crampton, is a very crooked judge.

Speaking of Michael Manson, the next panelist was Michael Manson.  That’s right, somehow both Crampton and Manson, the duo who arranged the private law Ruling, ended up on the same CBA panel. 

Beside Manson sat Prothonotary, (now Justice) Roger Lafreniere.  Earlier in the CSA saga, I had the experience of dealing directly with Lafreniere during a JDR, a Judicial Dispute Resolution session with CSA (like a mediation, just run by the Court directly).  It lasted a full day, and I got a full view of Lafreniere in action.  It was revealing that Lafreniere had no interest in the laws applicable to the CSA v. PS Knight case.  Rather, his driving interest was in reaching some arrangement that would give CSA what they wanted while getting me off their backs.  Helping CSA was the priority, justice wasn’t on Lafreniere’s radar.

Next on the panel was another Prothonotary, Mireille Tabib.  She’s the Court appointed case management officer handling CSA’s various litigations against PS Knight.  She’s the Prothonotary whose been Ruling on procedure in these cases for years now, and usually in CSA’s favour.  She’s why CSA’s been allowed to bisect their individual cases into multiple procedures within multiple cases.  Each such bisection, like a summary judgement for instance, is approved by the Prothonotary.  Each one gives CSA a cost advantage.  The Court selected her for this assignment, and who runs the Court?  That would be Crampton, again.

Denis Martel is the fifth panelist worth noting.  He’s a Senior Director at Industry Canada, guiding “the development of Canada’s IP strategy.”  Uh-huh.  And among the various Agencies of Industry Canada is an outfit you may have heard of called CSA.  And the CSA v. PS Knight case deals with CSA’s (Industry Canada’s) IP / laws.

So, there were seven panelists at the CBA event (including the moderator), and six of these seven were involved in the CSA v. PS Knight case. 

Seriously folks, the panel had representation from the Department that CSA reports to, the court official managing the CSA case, the court official handling the JDRs on the case, the judge who gave CSA Manson’s Law, the Justice who orchestrated the whole thing, and all moderated by CSA’s outside law firm. 

Right now, there are forty-five judges on the Federal Court.  In addition, there are six Prothonotaries, which are judicial officers empowered as judges in certain functions.  That’s a total of fifty-one judges and judge-like officials in the Federal Court.

What are the chances that these six people, all up to their eyeballs in the fallout from Manson’s Law, made it onto the panel by pure chance, by pure happenstance, or because they really are the best and the brightest that Canada has to offer?  What is the probability that these specific persons, from a list of over fifty persons, would all somehow make the same panel?

Or it could be that these people got there together, because they chose to work closely together on files of mutual interest.  Perhaps they share a culture and worldview on things.  Perhaps they now share stressful and dangerous professional experiences, or exposures, such that the relational connections between them are that much deeper.

It smells bad, you know?  Like dead fish.