Contempt, Wendy, and Filings
April 1st, 2019
The Federal civil service has, at best, a difficult relationship with truth. The last two weeks have been consistent in this regard.
As we await word from the Supreme Court on whether they’ll hear our appeal, what follows is an amusing (hopefully) recitation of recent events. Enjoy.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has filed a new Motion with the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) to have me (Gordon Knight) found in contempt of Court. Why so?
Well, because some of the requirements of the December 2018 FCA Ruling are now overdue. It seems that we’ve not complied with the Ruling. We’ve missed our deadlines. We’ve been naughty. The CSA is outraged that we should treat the rule of law so horridly, they have such high regard for it, you know. We should be smote.
There’s only one smallish defence we can offer -and it is smallish, a single point really, hardly worth mentioning. It’s that CSA requested that both parties hold all actions, including within the FCA Ruling, until we’d heard from the Supreme Court. That’s legal and normal, and we agreed to their request.
Naturally then, the civil servants are angry that we honoured the agreement that they requested we make. Obviously, we should be punished for it.
“I have Ms Wagner’s email dated March 6, 2019 requesting that two Ontario Court of Appeal decisions dated March 4, 2019 be brought to the attention of Madam Justice Brown.”
Ms Wagner is Wendy Wagner, a botox lawyer based in Gowlings’ Ottawa office. Justice Brown is the Ontario Court judge presently deliberating the CSA’s third duplicate lawsuit. The quote is from our Counsel’s letter to Ontario Court on March 7th.
“Pursuant to Rule 1.09, Ms Wagner was required to obtain my express consent before sending any communication to Madam Justice Brown.”
“Ms Wagner did not seek or obtain my express consent before communicating with Madam Justice Brown [and] in these circumstances, Ms Wagner’s conduct was highly inappropriate.”
See? They did it again. The law means nothing to the civil service.
Of course, absolutely nothing happened to Ms Wagner for this violation, nor has the Court issued even a reprimand to any of CSA’s various lawyers for flouting the law so routinely. What can be done?
The CSA also filed their submission to the Supreme Court, arguing that this Court should very definitely decline to hear our appeal.
We were expecting a concurrent Hearing with the Keatley case but that didn’t materialize. We’re unsure what that means yet, but will advise when we have a more fulsome understanding of it.
As to CSA’s Supreme Court submissions, well, they’re interesting.
For instance; Electrical laws are “developed by a voluntary committee” [para 17]. Then; “It is important for CSA to be able to use income from sales of the Code to finance further updates to the Code.” Indeed, says CSA, the Code is developed “at great expense.” [para 18]
It must be bloody expensive paying the salaries of all those unpaid volunteers.
Then, we find this lovely; “No level of Crown has claimed copyright in CSA’s Code.” [para 19]
No level of Crown (government) at all. I mean, apart from the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario and Quebec, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. And the Federal Government itself. All of these have claimed the Code under Queen’s Printer copyright. But apart from everyone, no-one’s done it. Moving on….
“Ordinary citizens have no need to access the entirety of the Code as opposed to merely those portions that concern the types of electrical maintenance and installations that they are legally permitted to perform.” [para 27]
Ah. Mere ordinary people don’t need to know all of the laws that apply to them. Civil servants can decide on our behalf what we should and shouldn’t be allowed to know.
Then we get to the fun one. Watch this; “Knight Co. has engaged in Argumentum in Terrorem.” That’s Latin; it means “appeal to fear.” The word “terrorem” is the root for the English “terror” and “terrorism”.
We’ve been accused by CSA of this sort of thing before. It’s the same silly argument, that defending one’s self is impertinent and disrespectful of their elevated persons. The proper role for a mere “ordinary citizen” is subservience and service to our betters. Anything less approaches, or is in this case, terrorism.
We replied as the adults in the room, thusly;
“The Respondent’s [CSA’s] submissions do not engage the issues of public and national importance raised by this application for leave to appeal; i.e., the subsistence of privately held copyright in the laws of Canada. Significantly, the Respondent’s submissions do not dispute that [the Code] is the law.
“Instead, the Respondent’s submissions distract the Court from genuine and substantive issues that are worthy of this Court’s consideration. The Respondent’s submissions are not supported by the record and do not address the issues of national importance raised by [the CSA] having the right to prevent the Crown from publishing the law.”
That’s it, really. There is a pretty foundational issue here. If laws themselves can be private property, then all the powers found within those laws are privately controlled. That’s about as significant a public issue as there’ll ever be.
As our Reply put it; “The [CSA’s] submission that there are no issues of national importance is contrary to the law and common sense.”
Then we hammered it:
“Canadians will be at risk if laws concerning health and safety are not readily accessible to all Canadians. Certainly, if the incorporated standards are not readily accessible, the law itself will be undermined because it can’t be read or followed, and it will be unenforceable if contravened.
“The standards are actually developed by VOLUNTEERS from the public and private sector [and] there is nothing to suggest that the benefits of the national standards system would collapse without private ownership of the laws of Canada. [emphasis in original]
“The law is sacrosanct in a democratic country and effects every Canadian on a daily basis. As such, private ownership of the law is prima facie abhorrent to the ordinary Canadian citizen.”
Yes, and it’s surely abhorrent to me. But then I’ve been saying this for years now. The big question then, is what the Supreme Court will say.
We’ll know if the Supreme Court will agree to hear our Appeal fairly soon.