The SCC Decision

January 29th, 2018

“Dear Mr. Knight;  Thank you for your email date January 2, 2018 [sic].
“As you know, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is a federal Crown Corporation which reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada…” blah, blah, blah -ever notice how bureaucrats use their own peculiar, and tedious, language?  They must be an unbearable burden at dinner parties.

John Walter is the CEO of the Standards Council of Canada.  We had written him about the Ruling of the Federal Court, that CSA was indeed violating public review laws.  He wrote back last Friday with SCC’s response.

The “SCC is not a regulator,” he says, “and does not regulate CSA Group.  CSA Group is one of nine standards development organizations (SDOs) accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, which can be found at…” blah, blah, blah, -there he goes again.  The civil service reputation for dullness is well earned.

Then Johnny puts his foot in it;  “As a private business, and a long standing member of Canada’s standardization network, CSA Group is accredited by SCC as both a standards development organization and a conformity assessment body”. 

Well, CSA’s not a private business.  I know this because I’ve researched it.  John Walter knows it too, because he used to work there.  He was CSA’s President of Standards before being appointed to police his former employer.  Yes, I know, there’s no shortage of conflicts of interest over there. 

Anyway, the laws governing private businesses are rather different from those governing Crown Agencies.  If CSA really were private, then they’d be held to a lower standard and, most important, CSA couldn’t be called on the carpet by Parliament for their wayward conduct as a renegade regulator.  Johnny knows this, and he knows that if CSA was held accountable according to their legal status they’d be politically heaved into a gigantic stinking Smithrite.  He and his friends would likely be dumped there too, given their CSA liabilities, which might explain civil service reluctance to clean up CSA.  As said in Whitehall; “if we don’t all hang together, we’ll all be hanged separately.”

Then John Walter comes to the crux of the matter, the accreditations of CSA on the basis of their compliance with law.  “Those accreditations,” says Johnny, “are in good standing.”

And we know why they’re in good standing.  As our January 2nd letter reminded him; “I have read the documents concerning the SCC’s violation of its own accreditation process in order to protect CSA in 2010”.  The SCC has a long and shameful history of ignoring CSA’s dirty conduct, hence CSAs public claim to a clean record.  The SCC even wrote a letter to Court, cheating it within an affidavit, assuring the Court that they’re happily allowing CSA to define its own compliance with law.  Well, in fairness, if we let criminals define crimes then they’d all have clean records too.

Yet with the declarative force of a Federal Court Ruling, that “the mature Code has clearly not been available for public comment for 60 days,” the SCC was in a fix.  A big fix, as the Ruling affected three thousand CSA standards.  Worse, SCC regulations mandate immediate suspension of CSA in the presence of “one or a number of major non-compliances.”  At law, the SCC has no choice; they’re required to suspend CSA’s accreditation.

In such a fix, whatever shall the civil service do?

Well, says Johnny, the “SCC has noted the remarks made by Mr. Justice Bell in his ruling that further clarification may be required with regard to the interpretation of a ‘mature draft’.”  See?

But that’s not what the Ruling said.  The Ruling was that the document CSA is obligated at law to submit for public comment “clearly has not been available for public comment.”  The Court Ruled that CSA had violated the law, not that the law itself needed “clarification.”

So the SCC’s not going to do anything?  Oh, of course they are.  The SCC is taking this very seriously indeed, and John Walter is taking strong action on the file.

“Therefore,” he says, “we have initiated a process with [CSA] to clarify and update our requirements and guidance documents in this regard.”

Ain’t that great?  The CSA is being invited to rewrite the regulations that they were caught violating.  Presumably that’ll cut down on violations.

Look folks, the bottom line is that the SCC has chosen to ignore a Federal Court Ruling, to deliberately misread that Ruling as requiring a rewrite of SCC regulations rather than correcting the violator of those regulations, and they’ve chosen to ask the violator to redraft the violated regulations, presumably to end the evidence of violation.  Thanks to the SCC, the regs are being gutted by CSA to protect CSA.

In my view, this is exactly the kind of crooked civil service conduct that gives the whole clump of them such a horrid reputation.  The arrogance and the condescension, the contempt for the rule of law, the self-serving willingness to profit from others’ personal harm, the willingness to prey upon the people they’re supposed to be serving -to my mind, the conduct of John Walter and the SCC is a singular instance of dishonourable, disreputable and shameful conduct.  It is also, and regrettably, normal in Ottawa.

So there you have it.  The public review law was ignored, the Court Ruling is now being ignored, the civil service is hanging together, and CSA’s got away with another one. 

For all that however, it’s not gloomy at RestoreCSA.  On March 1st we have our big day at the Federal Court of Appeal.  The CSA bet everything on the discredited Manson Ruling, the one that legitimized private ownership of law.  Yet that Ruling is almost certain be overturned in the March 1st hearing, since no Court in the land is willing to strike the Queen’s Printer.  So for all CSA’s vaunted, crooked connections, for all their frantic phonecalls, for all the rigging and shunting, and the spending and suppressing, the fundamental illegitimacy of private legislation is shortly coming to an end.

The SCC notwithstanding, not all judges are bent, and not all connections can bend them.  We’re confident for 2018.