Letters to Candidates
March 12th, 2017
The Court of Appeals Ruling is not in yet. We will report the Ruling when it is available. In the interim, a new article as below.
The Conservative Party is in the thrill of a leadership race.
More than a dozen contenders are vying for the chance to lead the Official Opposition party, that great powerhouse of dynamism and forward thinking, of consistency and courage, the touchstone of integrity, the party of principle. Or something.
Of course, there’s also a leadership race at the New Democratic Party too, but thus far that’s been a more low-key affair.
As a former Conservative member and a sometime campaigner, constituency board member, etc., I tend to get deluged with propagandizing emails from every candidate and everyone the candidates’ can convince to contact me on their behalf.
From this flotsam I’ve learned that Steven Blaney is an engineer, and that he’s proud of it. He also informs me that he “believes in preventing the entry of contraband” into Canada. Kellie Leitch has been sending me videos of various of her plans to make Canada grate again. And there’s been loads of others, but I’ll not bore you.
What caught my attention was this campaign statement by Maxime Bernier;
“The best way to ensure that businesses can succeed is to get needless regulation out of the way”.
That’s an odd statement, because Bernier was the Minister for Small Business when the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), an Agency of the Federal Government, launched its attacks on my small business. Getting CSA’s needless regulation out of the way would be good for all of us.
Bernier’s words however, aren’t matching his deeds.
I had contacted him by letter, back on April 18, 2013, informing him of what his Department was doing and offering to brief Bernier or his staff on the problem. Quoting from that letter;
“I understand that the Minister has limited patience for the sort predatory bureaucracy that we are dealing with. […] I feel that we are backed into a corner by a federal regulatory entity and have little choice but to defend ourselves as assertively and as loudly as possible.
“Given that this issue affects the construction industry from coast to coast and costs taxpayers in every provincial jurisdiction, and given the weight of legal precedents in play, it is politically expedient that this issue be on the Minister’s radar.”
Minister Bernier responded on April 23 to advise that he “forwards your message to Minister Christian Paradis for his consideration.” Bernier didn’t help, he just forwarded the letter, he passed the buck.
Minister Paradis responded on May 9 to advise that he earnestly plans to do nothing on the file and “extends his best wishes.”
Well, that was helpful.
Then we sent a Parliamentary Briefing doc to several MPs in the Conservative Government, including Maxime Bernier.
There was no response from any of them.
We tried Bernier again a few months later, on Oct 28, 2013, saying;
“Given that these issues are almost entirely affecting small business, it is increasingly important that Minister Bernier be well versed in the situation,” and once again we offered discussion with him or his staff.
We received no response.
Three years later, when Maxime Bernier began making noises about running for leadership, we wrote again, this time to his Director of Communications, Maxime Hupe. It was a short note, only one line. It read as follows;
“Does Maxime Bernier have a position on whether domestic laws in Canada can / should be privately owned by whomever drafted or lobbied for them?”
We received a response right away, the next day actually.
“No yet Mr. Knight [sic], Any idea?”
Indeed we did. And I sent some background.
“On March 8, 2016,” I began, “the Federal Court issued a Ruling which struck the public nature of law in Canada. Specifically, the Court Ruled that legislation is privately owned by whomever contributed the legislative text”.
That ought to be awfully worrying already.
“All the rights of private ownership are afforded to entities owning legislation. Owners can restrict public access to law, they can charge citizens for the right to read the laws that apply to them, they can charge citizens for compliance, they can even charge governments for each instance of enforcement of ‘their’ laws.”
Then I went for the big close;
“Right now, the Federal Court has already struck public law in Canada, invalidating Queen’s Printer copyright laws.
“Right now, the Federal Government is ignoring the Ruling. They’re not appealing it; they’re just ignoring it.
“Right now, people who use the law are being squeezed between a Court Ruling saying one thing and a PMO saying the opposite.
“Right now, somehow, we’re told to comply with both contradictory positions.”
In this context, I asked a single, simple question, sent in bold lettering;
“Could you please advise whether your candidate agrees that domestic laws can be privately owned?”
Should that be an easy question? What do you think, should someone running for political leadership know the answer?
Well, Maxime Bernier didn’t know the answer, his campaign’s practice of quick response became a non-response when they read the question.
So, naturally, on December 18th we sent the same, simple question, with identical wording, to every Conservative and NDP leadership campaign, and promised to report any responses received on the RestoreCSA website.
Nothing, folks. We received no responses at all, from anyone, in either party.
That’s amazing to me. On the one hand, I routinely receive from these campaigns a steady stream of haranguing complaints about unrestrained bureaucracy and their desperate desire to correct these problems on my behalf, while at the same time these same campaigns can’t find the courage to affirm even the existence of public law.
I worked hard for many years to elect Conservatives, only to find that when they got into government they had the same tin ear, and the same callousness as their predecessors.
Well, it happens that not all MP’s are going through the motions, some still believe in what they said to get elected. One such MP is willing to make waves in the Conservative caucus.
We recently gave this MP ammunition on the CSA file, and we included some comments, talking points, as well. We’d appreciate it if you’d send us your comments, and we’ll pass these along to caucus.
You see, we can bypass a lot of gatekeepers with this willing MP, and that’s an opportunity to convey one’s unvarnished views directly to those most usually deaf to them.
So, what would you like to say to the Conservative caucus? Anything perhaps on the CSA scandal? What message would you like to send?
It’s an invitation folks, to be as blunt as you like, it’s all confidential, your name won’t be public. Any messages to the caucus that we receive we’ll ensure that they receive. And any particularly entertaining comments will be featured here later this spring.
Use the Comments button below. Enjoy!