Contempt!

January 17th, 2021

Contempt, I tell you!  Not doing what the Civil Service wants is pure contempt.  That’s right Mildred, contemptuous contempt, to be sure, and worthy of a smiting.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Civil Service Agency of ill-repute, recently filed to accelerate their program to put me, Gordon Knight, in prison for five years.  We wrote a snarky article about this some time ago. 

In essence, the Civil Service wants me in prison as punishment for complying with a Court Filing.  Here’s what happened….

Right after we launched the 2018 Knight’s Code, the CSA filed for an injunction against it.  This was an odd move, as we were at that time waiting for the Federal Court of Appeals (FCA) Ruling on Manson’s Law which was expected to resolve the whole litigation.  That FCA Ruling was thought to be just days away, so CSA’s injunctive request seemed a bit silly to our side. 

It also seemed silly to the Judge.  Right at the start of the Hearing on CSA’s silly motion, the Judge went to work on them.  The Judge pointed out the coming FCA Ruling and that CSA’s demands weren’t really all that reasonable. 

One should note that by the time of this Hearing, PS Knight had just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.  Surely, if CSA could survive five decades of PS Knight publications without calamity, they would likely survive a few days further.  This was the essence of the judge’s comments.  He recommended that both parties agree to stay the proceedings until the FCA Ruling was released.

Sure, we said.  That was basically our position from the get-go.

So the Judge recessed while we met with CSA’s lawyers to reach agreement on staying the proceedings. 

We needed to draft a Stay Agreement, a type of contract, to be signed by representatives of both sides and filed with the Court.  Negotiating commenced.

It turns out that Kevin Sartorio, their lead counsel, is a rubbish negotiator.  After several hours of negotiations, what we ended up with was an agreement which stayed proceedings until the FCA Ruling but otherwise maintained the status-quo.  PS Knight could continue selling Knight’s Code, for instance, we’d just report our sales volumes to opposing counsel at regular intervals.  And once the FCA Ruling arrived, both sides were required to report their intentions, either that we’d accept the Ruling or appeal it, within a set period of time. 

To prove the point, this is exactly what the Agreement said on the matter;

“The Respondents [PS Knight] will be permitted to deliver all orders made since April 19, 2018 on May 25, 2018 and thereafter.”

In other words, from the date of the Agreement sales may continue.  And…

“Within 2 business days of the decision of the FCA, the parties shall provide their position regarding this motion and the parties will be at liberty to reschedule this motion if necessary.”

See?  Pretty clear, isn’t it?

So we signed the deal and filed it with Court.

What surprised our side was that CSA’s counsel hadn’t demanded anything of us upon receipt of the FCA Ruling beyond merely reporting our intended response to it.  It seemed an awfully weak position.

And it was. 

Well, the FCA Ruling came in, as you know, and upheld Manson’s Law, however surreal and suspect such a Ruling may have been.  As you also know, we appealed it to the Supreme Court.

What you don’t know is that we immediately advised opposing counsel of our intentions to appeal.  That is, we fully complied with the terms of the Stay Agreement.

Apparently CSA was mightily miffed at where this landed.  It appears that they thought, or perhaps were told by their counsel, that the FCA Ruling would give them everything they wanted from us.  We would have to stop selling Knight’s Code, for instance, or would have to surrender our copies of our own books to them.  Maybe more.

What we do know is that CSA was fuming for weeks after the FCA Ruling came in.  What likely got them even more cross was Sartorio’s additional request that we hold other actions until the Supreme Court Hearing on our appeal.  Apparently Sartorio wanted some face time with the top Court.

After their request and while we awaited word from the Supreme Court, the CSA filed their contempt charge.  The basis?  We had not complied with all the terms CSA wanted in the Agreement that hadn’t actually been written into that Agreement.

That is, we complied with the terms as written.

Look folks, this is so baseless it’s comic.  Any Court taking this seriously isn’t a serious Court.

On January 8, the Federal Court announced that it’s taking this seriously.  Seriously, they did.

Not only is the Court’s announcement surreal, the Court Order they used to make the announcement is pretty surreal stuff too, so surreal that it’s actually hard to interpret what’s going on over there.

For instance, the January 8 Order includes a demand by the Court “requiring a representative of […] PS Knight Americas Inc to appear.”

That’s odd, because PS Knight Americas Inc isn’t a party to this case.  And it hasn’t been served.  And it’s a US company, so the Court’s demand is in the wrong jurisdiction.

Then we get more oddities, even odder than before….

The icky defendants are “actively promoting the advance sale of a 2018 – 2021 Edition to be released in the Spring of 2021”

Really?  We’re doing advance sales of the 2018 edition?  In 2021?  Really?

Ok, then this one….

“Considering that the 2018 Knight’s Code contains a significant portion of the 2015 Knight’s Code…”

Recall that the Civil Service argument to Justice Manson -indeed, the basis for Manson’s Law, was that each iteration of the Code is unique and stand-alone.  In this, the 2018 Code is in no way related to the 2015 Code. 

Remember all our research on the differences between the iterations of electrical law?  The CSA argument that each Code was stand-alone was the reason we undertook all that research. 

Yet now the Civil Service states that all the Codes are iterations of previous Codes -exactly our argument before Manson.  Anyway, back to the Order….

“Considering,” declares the Court, “that the 2018 Knight’s Code […] is being shipped from the registered offices of the Respondent, Knight Co., located in Calgary….”

Really?  Our Calgary office is a PO Box.  We ship nothing from that address, and never have done.

“[They] have reproduced, distributed to a prejudicial extent, sold or offered for sale their Knight Code publication […] contrary to the Judgement and the rights of CSA in its 2015 Electrical Code”

Actually, no.  As readers will recall, we suspended sales of the 2015 Knight’s Code after Manson’s Law.  Critically however, the injunction portion of the Manson’s Law Ruling applied specifically, and exclusively, to the 2015 edition.  This new Court Order deals with the 2018 edition, not the 2015 edition, yet references an edition of our books that isn’t subject to injunction as it’s basis for claims of violating that same injunction.

And it goes on like this.

“[They] have failed to deliver-up to CSA all copies of their Knight Code publication entitled ‘Knight’s Canadian Electrical Code, Part One, 2018 – 2021 24th Edition’ […] contrary to the Judgement.”

Again, no.  First, the injunctive portion of the Manson’s Law Ruling applied to the 2015 Code, not the 2018 Code.  Next, the Stay Agreement filed with Court, the subject of this January 8 Court Order, contains no provision to hand over copies of anything.  It’s just pure fantasy, this bit.

“This Court orders that a representative of Knight Americas, and Mr. Gordon Knight, shall attend at the Federal Court […] to hear proof of the acts with which [they] are charged…”

Again, PS Knight Americas Inc is not a Canadian entity, is outside the jurisdiction of the Canadian Court system, is not a party to the claim and never has been, and has not been served.  Indeed, the existence of PS Knight Americas Inc was only disclosed on Oct 18 of last year and it was only founded on June 26 of last year.  If nothing else, the Court’s accusation is chronologically impossible.

It’s almost cringe-worthy, this stuff, yet the Court is deadly serious.

“Gordon Knight [should] be imprisoned” exclaims the Court.

“Knight Americas should pay a fine” and “Knight Americas [should] pay the costs of the contempt proceedings, including the costs of obtaining the Show Cause Order”

Again, PS Knight Americas is not a party of the case.  It wasn’t involved in the Show Cause Order.  It didn’t even exist at the time of the Show Cause Order.  Yet this is the entity required to pay costs?

It’s like demanding Betty Crocker pay the costs. 

Then, at the end, the Court concludes their embarrassing Order with these words;

“The requirement to personally serve this Order on Knight Co., Knight Americas, and Gordon Knight pursuant to Rule 467(4) of the Federal Court Rules is hereby dispensed with.”

Ah, alright then.  After having dispensed with so much legality in these years, dispensing with the legal requirement of service seems insignificant, doesn’t it?

This amazing piece of legal reasoning was authored by Prothonotary Sylvie Molgat.  So what’s going on with Molgat, do you think?

I mean, how does a Prothonotary of the Federal Court get so many things so spectacularly wrong in a single document?  Didn’t she proofread it first?

Seriously people, it’s only four pages long!  And she’s been in legal practice for thirty-years, so why does it read like the work of a co-op student?

We’re assured by her Federal Court webpage that Ms Molgat is “fluently bilingual,” so it’s not an ESL problem.

Could it be that they just don’t care?  They’re not even trying anymore?

You know folks, that could well be it.  The Civil Service thinks itself invulnerable and, let’s face it, there’s been no press on this issue for some time now.  They likely think they can do whatever they want and no consequences will come of it.

In this, there’s no need to do a proper job or to proofread before filing because none of it matters.  The Ruling she’s arranging has likely decided already, the “trial” is the window dressing to give an air of legitimacy to the conduct of the Civil Service.  We might be heading for another of Kangaroo Crampton’s rigged trials.

So, what happens next?

Well, we’re awaiting a trial date for the contempt charges.  We expect the trial in March / April.

We’ve also been teasing on this site with promises of coming sunlight, haven’t we? 

We’re not bluffing.  Sunlight’s coming.