Saturday, July 31, 2010

Internet search engine tracks down three computers Wikipedia jet edits traced to CFB Cold Lake

The mystery of who at the Defence Department has been vandalizing information on a Wikipedia website critical of the Conservative government’s decision to spend billions on a new stealth jet is now centred on the busiest fighter base in the country.

Defence Department information technology specialists haven’t yet been able to determine where the computers being used to alter the Wikipedia site are located, according to department officials in Ottawa.

But using a readily available search engine on the Internet, the Citizen has tracked the locations of the three computers to CFB Cold Lake, Alta. The base is expected to be a major centre for the Joint Strike Fighter (or JSF) the Harper government wants to buy.

Nine attempts were made July 20 and 21 to alter the online encyclopedia’s entry on the Joint Strike Fighter, including the removal of any information critical of the Conservative government’s plan to spend at least $16 billion on the new fighter aircraft.

Defence Department computers were also used to insert insults, aimed at Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, into the Wikipedia Joint Strike Fighter page. Ignatieff has questioned the proposed purchase.

Quotes from news articles outlining opposition to the arms deal by University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, a former NDP candidate, were also removed.

Wikipedia recorded the alterations as having come from three computers registered to Defence Research and Development Canada’s Ottawa offices and has labelled the alterations as vandalism.

Defence Research and Development Canada spokesman Martin Champoux confirmed the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for computers used to access the Wikipedia site were registered to DRDC. But he added that other Defence Department computers are associated with those addresses as well.

Software that provides the locations of particular computers based on their IP addresses showed that the three computers in question are at CFB Cold Lake.

The attempts to change the web page, made during government work hours, stopped when Wikipedia administrators temporarily locked down the entry on the new plane. That allowed only recognized editors to work on the page. That particular Wikipedia site is popular, with more than 78,000 page views in the first three weeks of July.

On Friday night, a Defence Department spokeswoman said DND is still investigating the incident and, at this point, does not have any further details.

A DRDC spokeswoman said Friday that the organization does not have staff or computers at Cold Lake.

Meanwhile, after the Wikipedia JSF site was re-opened for editing by the wider public, new attempts were made to remove information critical of the Harper government’s decision on the fighters. Those are linked to a downtown Calgary location.

The Harper government wants to purchase 65 Joint Strike Fighters. But opposition members of Parliament point out that the military just months ago received the last of its modernized CF-18 fighters, which are supposed to keep flying until at least 2017. They question why the Harper government is rushing now to spend billions on new fighters.

The Bloc Québécois, NDP and Liberals have all voiced their concerns, noting that there was no competition for the most expensive military procurement in Canadian history.

Ignatieff has said a Liberal government would review the deal, for which a contract has yet to be signed.

On Friday, the Conservatives circulated talking points criticizing Ignatieff for his stance on the JSF.

Cold Lake expects to receive some of the new fighters, also known as the F-35.

“Alberta and Cold Lake will certainly figure prominently in the life of the F-35,” Edmonton Centre MP Laurie Hawn said shortly after Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the announcement about the proposed fighter deal.

“When we get the new fighters delivered in 2016, the first ones will probably end up going to Cold Lake, as happened with the CF-18 program. We’ll wind up with airplanes at Cold Lake — probably a couple of squadrons. All that is to be determined.”

Hawn said the aircraft will operate in the Arctic and intercept Russian airplanes.

Read more:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No charges for man arrested under G20 fence law! : Good.

TORONTO — The only person believed to have been charged under the controversial G20 five-metre rule showed up for his first court appearance Wednesday only to find that no charges existed.

Dave Vasey, a 31-year-old environmental justice organizer, was arrested on June 24 near the security perimeter downtown Toronto during the G20 summit.

Howard Morton, Vasey’s lawyer, said his case wasn’t on the court list and there was no charge provided.

“I’m wondering whether there was even a charge in the first place,” he said. Police have reportedly described the lack of a charge as an administrative error.

The summit fence rule was passed as part of the Public Works Protection Act by the provincial Liberals shortly before the G20 began and was interpreted by police to mean anyone who came within five metres of the fence was subject to arrest.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair later admitted that police had no such special powers.

Read more:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rubber bullets were fired at the crowd at G20.

Rubber bullets were fired at the crowd outside the Eastern Ave. set up during the G20 Summit, a Toronto Police spokesman said Tuesday — one day after releasing erroneous information.

Mark Pugash corrected a statement he made Monday to the Toronto Sun saying no rubber bullets were fired outside the temporary prisoner processing centre, saying he had received the wrong information.

The person who provided the mistaken information called him Tuesday and said that rubber bullets were fired outside the centre, Pugash said.

He originally said rubber bullets were only used during a heated protest at Queen’s Park.

The correction comes as a B.C. woman who claims she was injured by rubber bullets on Eastern Ave. intends to file suit against Toronto Police.

Natalie Gray, 20, of Maple Ridge, alleges she was hit twice by rubber bullets.

Her lawyer Clayton Ruby told the Sun that one of wounds became infected, but has since improved.

No legal documents have yet been filed.

Gray told the Sun outside the 1000 Finch Ave. W. court on the Monday after the summit she had been hit in the chest and arm by rubber bullets.

She was one of hundreds of people arrested during the summit.

“Canadians rightly get upset when civilians get shot,” Ruby said Monday. “It’s an abuse of police power of the worst sort.”

The Toronto Community Mobilization Network said last week some women are considering launching a class-action suit over allegations of sexual assault, including alleged strip searches and sexually charged comments by

officers at the detention centre.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Meanwhile, there will be two reviews into police procedure and activities during the summit.

One will be launched by the Toronto Police Services Board and the other by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which received about 275 complaints.

A pox on both your houses is the message Canadians are sending to both the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Harris Decima.

OTTAWA — A pox on both your houses is the message Canadians are sending to both the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Liberals, a new poll suggests.

The Tories' national lead over the Liberals slipped to five points from eight, a new Canadian Press Harris Decima survey found.

The Conservatives stand at 31 per cent, the Liberals 26 per cent, the NDP 18 per cent, the Greens 12 per cent and the BQ 10 per cent.

The biggest drop for the Tories was in the vote-rich province of Ontario, where they've lost a seven-point lead to tie with the Liberals at 34 per cent.

But both parties have lost ground to the NDP in British Columbia, while all three are far behind the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

The pollsters surveyed 2,030 people between July 15 and 25, as criticism over the Conservatives' move on the census hit its zenith with the resignation of Canada's top statistician.

Harris Decima said the results are accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In the two weeks before the latest poll, support for the Tories was at 35 per cent, while the Liberals were at 27 per cent.

It's hard to attribute the drop to the census controversy because the issue is not engaging most Canadians, said Allan Gregg, chairman of Harris Decima.

But the decline in B.C. and Quebec suggests any talk of a fall election is moot.

"That's a prescription for even a reduced minority compared to the one they have right now, so I would think if this holds over the next little while the prospect of a fall election would virtually disappear," Gregg said.

The Liberals currently have their leader, Michael Ignatieff, on a bus tour to get to know Canadians but it's not driving poll numbers, said Gregg.

"I think what you're kind of seeing is that given the extent that the Liberals aren't uniformly being advantaged by what is a slippage on the party of the Conservatives, you have voters basically saying a pox on both your houses," he said.

Another noticeable feature of the survey is that female voters appear to again be moving away from the Tories.

The gender gap had more of less disappeared over the course of the last two months, said Gregg.

"One of the reasons right of centre parties suffer from a gender gap is that right of centre parties are seen as risky, that is, that they are seen as more extremist, more likely to do something that is destabilizing or unseemly.

"Does the census fit into that? A little bit."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mount Sinai Hospital scientists uncover important clues in the biology of stem cellsDiscovery will advance stem cell technologies worldwide and promote the development of new regenerative medicines

Mount Sinai Hospital scientists uncover important clues in the biology of stem cells

Discovery will advance stem cell technologies worldwide and promote the development of new regenerative medicines

July 2, 2010 - Mount Sinai Hospital researchers including Drs. Andras Nagy and Jeff Wrana have discovered new insights into the genesis of stem cells, which will improve the efficiency of stem cell creation for use in tissue regeneration and in the development of new drugs.

The study was published today in the leading biomedical journal Cell Stem Cell.

The goal of the study was to explore the process of changing fully mature cells of the body (known as somatic cells) into a pluripotent state (i.e., cells that can develop into most other cell types), and understand the molecular and genetic changes that occur during the cells’ reprogramming. Understanding this process will help researchers identify limitations in making induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are a source of great hope for use in regenerative medicine, as well as in the development of new drugs to prevent and treat various diseases.

“Using genomic technologies, we pried open the black box of reprogramming, gaining new insight into how to make induced pluripotent stem cells faster and more efficiently,” said Payman Samavarchi-Tehrani, a PhD candidate student in Dr. Wrana’s lab.

The study represents the first research project worldwide aimed at systematically mapping the molecular events underlying a cell’s transition from a somatic state to one with pluripotent ability.

Previous attempts to understand cellular reprogramming have been typically hindered by inefficient methods of analyzing the process. In the present study, the Lunenfeld team assessed the expression pattern of thousands of genes within the genome of mice (a model system that can be applied to studies of human illnesses), and looked at how these patterns changed during the reprogramming of fibroblast cells (i.e., connective tissue cells) generated in Dr. Nagy’s lab. Using this approach, the researchers uncovered a number of genes and cellular signaling (communication) pathways that change over time, which led to the hypothesis that, through manipulation of these genes, they could improve the efficiency and speed of reprogramming.

The Lunenfeld team also conducted RNA interference screening (or RNAi, a relatively new technique that helps researchers assess the function of proteins and genes) by utilizing the Institute’s leading-edge robotics facility pioneered by Dr. Wrana. The robotics technology enables researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital and others in Ontario’s biomedical community to analyze the function of thousands of genes at a time, and rapidly identify the properties and processes important in human diseases.

“Through the use of high-throughput screening and gene expression profiling, we can gain significant insight into the underlying mechanisms of stem cell biology,” said Samavarchi-Tehrani.

The researchers found that the reprogramming process is comprised of three pivotal phases termed initiation, maturation, and stabilization. They also discovered a cellular signaling pathway that plays a critical role in the initiation phase. The pathway— mediated by a protein called BMP—enhances the reprogramming process and kick-starts the initiation phase.

“This is the first time it’s been shown that activating the BMP pathway enhances reprogramming through induction of molecular and morphological changes,” said Azadeh Golipour, a graduate student in Dr. Wrana’s lab. “Increasing the efficiency of the reprogramming process gives us new insights into the biology of iPS cells, and brings us one step closer to developing new methods in regenerative medicine.”

The findings are the first step in a new stem cell project begun earlier this year by Drs. Nagy and Wrana. In March 2009, Dr. Nagy discovered a new method to create pluripotent stem cells without disrupting healthy genes. Dr. Nagy’s method uses a novel wrapping procedure to deliver specific genes to reprogram cells into stem cells. Previous approaches required the use of viruses to deliver the required genes, a method that may damage the DNA. Dr. Nagy’s method does not require viruses, and so overcomes a major hurdle for the future of safe, personalized stem cell therapies in humans.

The present study received support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Stem Cell Network.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

65_RedRoses Monday July 26 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network.

Related Video


Watch a promo.
1:03 min 


Watch the film online.
43:14 min 

UPDATE: In September 2009 Eva began experiencing health problems and was diagnosed with chronic rejection. In February 2010, when her health was faltering, Eva sent out an online 'goodbye' message on her blog titled "I Love You All".
Since then she has had some uplifting moments. Eva recently received two special honours: she won the Donald Summerhayes Award from the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in recognition of her exceptional commitment to the CF cause. And the University of Victoria presented Eva with the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that she dreamed of finishing.
Unfortunately, Eva died in hospital on Saturday March 27. She will be missed by many.Watch a story about her death. Listen to an interview with director, Nimisha Mukerji, on As It Happens.
Visit Eva's live blog to read her final posts and watch her memorial ceremony online.
To find out more about organ donation in Canada, visit here and here.
THE FILM: A true testament of the human spirit, 65_RedRoses redefines the traditional scope of documentary film in an electronic age. This personal and touching journey takes an unflinching look into the lives of Eva Markvoort and her two online friends who are all battling Cystic Fibrosis (CF) - a fatal genetic disease affecting the lungs and digestive system.
Unable to meet in person because of the spread of infections and super bugs, the girls have become each other's lifelines through the Internet, providing unconditional love, support and understanding long after visiting hours are over. Now at a critical turning point in their lives, the film travels the distance the friends cannot go themselves, capturing the compelling and often heartbreaking realities they face, just trying to take each breath.
For 23-year-old Canadian Eva Markvoort (aka 65_RedRoses) the clock is ticking as she waits at the top of the donor list for a double lung transplant. She has been told that she will not live more than two years if she does not receive new lungs. An aspiring artist and teacher, Eva remains unwavering in her belief that her pager will go off and she will get the call letting her know a donor has been found. With no way of knowing when or if the pager will go off, her life has been put on hold as she does everything in her power to stay healthy. But with her condition deteriorating at a rapid pace, the window of opportunity is also slowly closing.
Uncensored, uninhibited, and unbreakable, 65_RedRoses explores what it means to be 23 years old and faced with the unknown fate of life or death.
65_RedRoses is a very personal film for directors Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji. The idea for the documentary came in May 2007 when Philip and Nimisha went to visit Philip's university friend Eva Markvoort, who had Cystic Fibrosis. So captivated by Eva's personality and her will to live, they began following her story as she went through the process of getting a double lung transplant.
When shooting began, British Columbia had the lowest donor rate in the country; the team had to prepare themselves for the worst possible outcome, that Eva could die on the wait list. Not knowing when Eva's pager might go off for transplant, they moved full speed ahead with production. The result is an unflinching and emotional journey that extends far beyond the big-screen.
65_Red Roses was directed by Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji for Force Four Entertainmentin association with CBC News Network.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


A majority of Canadians believe the long form census yields important data and should remain mandatory.

Many Canadians disagree with their government’s move to scrap the mandatory long form census, and are calling on the federal government to reverse its recent decision, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In previous years, the census included a short form mailed to 80 per cent of Canadian households, and a longer, more detailed form mailed to the remaining households. Last month, the federal government decided to eliminate the mandatory long form census and replace it with a voluntary survey that will be mailed to one-in-three Canadian households beginning next year.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,012 Canadians, almost half of respondents (47%) oppose the federal government’s decision to scrap the mandatory long form census, while 38 per cent support it. Opposition to the federal government’s move is highest in Ontario (54%) and British Columbia (53%).

The federal government has argued that the long form census is intrusive and Canadians should not be forced to answer it. Only one-in-four Canadians (24%) agree with this assessment, while a large majority (58%) think the long form census yields data that is important to make policy decisions in all areas of public service, and should remain mandatory.

The decision to scrap the mandatory long form census has been criticized by several provincial premiers, and ultimately led the head of Statistics Canada, Munir Sheikh, to leave his post.

More than half of Canadians (52%) believe the federal government should reverse its decision and keep the mandatory long form census. Conversely, 27 per cent of respondents want the federal government to stick by its assessment and carry on with the voluntary survey.

Political Allegiance

A large proportion of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party (72%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (71%) believe that the federal government should reverse its decision and keep the mandatory long form census. Respondents who voted for the Conservative Party are almost evenly divided on this issue, with 42 per cent wanting the government to reverse its move, and 39 per cent arguing that the decision should stand.

While respondents who voted for the Conservatives are more likely to side with the government’s argument that the long form census is intrusive (31%, compared to 19% for both Liberal and NDP voters), a majority of Tory supporters (53%) believe that the long form census yields data that is important to make policy decisions in all areas of public service, and should remain mandatory.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

CONTACT:Jodi Shanoff, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs

+416 712 5498

G 20 Policing tactics and arrests & Aftermath.


A total of 1105 people were arrested in relation to the G-20 summit protests,[72] the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.[73] Smaller-scale, non-violent protests took place the following day, June 28, during the afternoon and evening. Nearly 1000 protesters marched to Toronto City Hall and Queen's Park to protest the treatment of arrested individuals at the Eastern Avenue holding centre and demanded the release of individuals still being detained, although police had earlier released several arrested on minor charges.[74] Large numbers of Toronto Police Service officers continued to patrol the demonstrations.[75] On June 29, a group of gay activists gathered outside a community centre where Toronto Police Service chief Bill Blair was scheduled to speak to demand his resignation for the treatment of women and homophobia within the detention centre.[76]

 Policing tactics and arrests

Police said they were allowed to arrest anyone within five metres of the fence who would neither leave nor identify themselves. No such five-metre rule existed.A group of lawyers requested court injunctions against the Toronto Police Service from using newly purchased Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD), also known as sound cannons, during protests.[77] Sound cannons have been used in previous summit protests and have the ability to produce sound at ear-piercing decibels, potentially causing hearing impairment. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice later ruled that officers can use sound cannons, with a few restrictions.[78]

The Toronto Star reported that the Executive Council of Ontario had implemented a regulation under the provincial Public Works Protection Act on June 2 granting the ISU sweeping powers of arrest within a specific boundary during the summit;[79] the rule was said to designate the security fence as a public works and, as such, allow any police officer or guard to arrest any individual failing or refusing to provide identification within five metres of the security zone. The regulation was requested by Toronto Police Service chief Bill Blair and debate in the legislature was not required. Orders-in-Council such as this one are announced in the Ontario Gazette, but the next issue of that publication was to be published after the order expired on June 28, a week after the summit ended. The new law came to light after a York University graduate student, who claimed to have been simply "exploring" the security zone but who did not provide identification when confronted by police, was arrested on June 24 under the regulation.[80] He later vowed to file a lawsuit against the law once the summit ended.[81] The Cabinet later confirmed that the new laws were not "special powers" and that those who were believed to have been arrested under the Public Works and Protection Act were in fact arrested under the Criminal Code of Canada.[82] The police chief later admitted that, despite media coverage, no such five-metre rule ever existed in the law.[83]

Individuals arrested during the protests who claimed to be bystanders not taking part in protests condemned the treatment they received from police at the Eastern Avenue holding centre.[84] According to testimonials given to the Toronto Star and La Presse by a few arrestees, including university students, journalists, street medics, teachers, tourists, photographers, and a former mayoral candidate, "[individual] rights were violated" and "police brutality [was present]." The detention centre was described as "cold" with "barely any food or water," "no place in the cages to even sit," and "tantamount to torture." Other allegations included harassment, lack of medical care, verbal abuse, and strip searching of females by male officers.[85][86][87] At one point, a plain-clothed officer reportedly told a detainee that the federal government had declared martial law.[88] Blair defended the conditions in the temporary detention centre, citing the fact that every room in the centre was under video surveillance, and that to the best of the officers' abilities, occupants were read their rights.[89][90] However, a Toronto Star commentator editorialized that "some of the elements of classic authoritarian detention were there, albeit in embryonic forms".[88]

Amnesty International called for an official investigation into the police tactics used during the protests. The organization alleged that police violated civil liberties and used police brutality.[91] The Canadian Civil Liberties Association decried the arrests and alleged that they occurred without "reasonable grounds to believe that everyone they detained had committed a crime."[92]

Toronto Police Services held press conferences to speak out against inappropriate actions of protesters, including displaying items alleged to have been seized from protesters. However, when confronted, Chief Blair admitted that some of the items were unrelated to the G-20 protests.[93]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Independent Police Review Director will examine police conduct during the G20 summit in Toronto.

Watchdog will investigate G20 police

CBC News

The provincially appointed Office of the Independent Police Review Director will examine police conduct during the G20 summit in Toronto.  Ontario police forces that took part in June's G20 security operation in Toronto will be investigated by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

Gerry McNeilly, the head of the provincial agency, said Thursday the inquiry will look into the more than 275 complaints his office has received about police behaviour during the summit June 26-27.

Police have been accused of illegal searches and unlawful arrests.

McNeilly said the review will include all Ontario police forces that were involved in the summit, but not the RCMP or other outside forces.

An investigation is necessary because of the volume of complaints and the systemic issues raised since the G20 summit, he indicated.

"The review will investigate common issues arising from complaints against police during the G20 summit," McNeilly said in a statement. "I can ensure that these issues are investigated thoroughly and in a way that is accountable, transparent, efficient and fair to both the public and the police."

The investigation will also examine the detention centre in Toronto's east end where hundreds of detainees were housed.

McNeilly intends to use the powers of his office to subpoena witnesses, including front-line officers — possibly even Chief Bill Blair of the Toronto police.

The investigation will not be held in public, but McNeilly said he hopes to be able to hold at least one public session.

The OIPRD was established less than a year ago by the province to "provide an objective, impartial office to accept, process and oversee the investigation of public complaints against Ontario’s police."

Also on Thursday the Toronto Police Services Board voted to plow ahead with its own review of events surrounding the G20 summit. The board and Blair promised to co-operate in the investigation.

Read more:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

G20 sexual abuse claims “The word of the police is not reliable,” .!

Allegations of abuse by women detained during the G20 summit are included in an alternative report presented Thursday into how Toronto police investigate sexual violence against women.

“The word of the police is not reliable,” said the activist known as Jane Doe at a news conference Thursday to detail those allegations. Women “hesitate to come forward because of fear of violence.”

Doe, the pseudonym of a woman who successfully sued police in 1986 after she was raped, women’s studies professor Beverly Bain, and Toronto Rape Crisis Centre counsellor Grissel Orellana were to present their own report to Toronto Police Services this afternoon as a counterpoint to the auditor-general’s report on how police handle sexual assault cases.

Toronto police “are unfit to conduct a review against themselves. They are not equipped to investigate themselves,” said Farrah Miranda, a spokeswoman for the activist group Toronto Community Mobilization Network that organized the news conference.

“Women’s groups are connecting the G20 violence against women with the ongoing police violence against women,” she said.

Allegations of sexual abuse first surfaced as women were being released from the Eastern Ave. detention centre during the June 26-27 weekend that brought world leaders and thousands of demonstrators to Toronto.

“It is the fear of sexual assault that was much more profound for them,” said Bain of the women detailing their allegations Thursday.

The Toronto Police Services Board has appointed lawyer Doug Hunt to investigate police accountability during the summit. Toronto police have asked people with allegations against them during that weekend to file a formal complaint.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

discrimination during cadet training .

Expelled cadet wants to go back to RCMP

Wed, Jul 21 - 5:03 AM

TORONTO — An expelled RCMP cadet said Tuesday that he’s looking forward to heading back to training after winning an appeal against the Mounties in a discrimination case stretching back 11 years.

The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a finding that Ali Tahmourpour was the victim of racial discrimination during cadet training in 1999 in Regina.

"I’m going back," Tahmourpour, 37, said in a phone interview.

"I’m fit in every respect to be a policeman and I have something to contribute to the RCMP. I love the RCMP."

Tahmourpour, a Muslim of Iranian heritage, had won his case in 2008, when the Canadian Human Rights Commission ruled in his favour. The tribunal found he was verbally abused, unfairly evaluated and singled out by his instructors because of his religious belief.

The RCMP terminated his contract after completing 14 of the 22 weeks training, and prevented him from enrolling again.

The tribunal found those decisions were made "based in part on his race, religion and-or ethnic or national background," and that he "was not given an equal opportunity to develop and demonstrate his skills."

The RCMP took the case to Federal Court, where a judge set aside the commission’s findings and ordered the matter back to the tribunal.

On Monday the Federal Court of Appeal restored the commission’s 2008 ruling, except on the issue of compensation — which has been referred back to the tribunal.

MPs question public works adviser's dismissal CBC News .

MPs question public works adviser's dismissal

John Nicol CBC News

Opposition MPs want to know why the federal Conservative government fired a public works special adviser who went on to win a precedent-setting award for damages.

Douglas Tipple, a real estate expert, brought wrongful dismissal charges against the federal government. CBC) Douglas Tipple, a real estate expert hired in 2005 under the Liberal government's attempt to cut billions from the federal budget, was unceremoniously fired at the end of August 2006 after erroneously becoming the subject of a media-led scandal.

Instead of defending him, Public Works let him suffer in silence under the media storm and then said they were laying him off with fellow special adviser David Rotor.

A public service labour board adjudicator ruled, in a decision released Tuesday, that Tipple deserved $1.35 million and counting for the psychological damage, loss in reputation and wages. Rotor, who was also a victim of similar treatment, is expected to reach a similar settlement.

"I want to know why these two men were hung out to dry, why were their reputations destroyed, and why are taxpayers paying millions of dollars to cover up for the mishandling of this file by Michael Fortier and his colleagues," said NDP MP Charlie Angus, referring to the former minister for public works.

Although the adjudicator, Dan Quigley, laid much of the blame on deputy minister I. David Marshall for casting Rotor and Tipple adrift in a callous manner, he noted in his decision that Marshall had a meeting with the minister during which his thoughts "crystallized" on the need for their dismissal.

'"I want to know why these two men were hung out to dry ….'

— NDP MP Charlie AngusMarshall is traveling in Europe and unavailable for comment, but another former public works minister, Liberal MP Scott Brison, knew Marshall well and finds it shocking that Marshall would have instigated their dismissal.

"David Marshall was extremely dedicated to The Way Forward reform package and to ultimately help the Canadian taxpayers save billions of dollars," Brison told the CBC on Wednesday from Halifax. "These two gentlemen were committed to the same program and they were all part of the same team.

"I think there's a larger agenda at work here."

Quigley, upon hearing the testimony from Marshall, also found it shocking that he could fire two men who were implementing his program and about whom he gave glowing reviews. The adjudicator called Marshall's treatment of Tipple "disingenuous" and "callous."

"In all my dealings with Mr. Marshall he was fair and decent, hard-working and earnest, and focused on getting the best value for Canadian taxpayers," Brison said. For Marshall to do what he did, "I believe there was significant political pressure from either the minister's office, or perhaps even the Prime Minister's Office, to get rid of these two men."

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Harper, says the decision was made by Public Works and Government Services Canada.

"It was the Department of PWGSC who hired these individuals," he wrote in an email. "It was then PWGSC Deputy Minister David Marshall's decision to end their term.

"This had nothing to do with the Prime Minister's Office."

Reviewing decision

A Public Works Department spokesman said department officials "will review the Public Service Labour Relations Board's decision and determine its options. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment on these legal proceedings."

Angus, the NDP public works critic, doesn't believe the government has many options, especially when the adjudicator had to make five extra disclosure orders —what he called "obstruction" — when the government continuously failed to deliver information for the case that was drawn out over almost four years.

"When you read the decision, it's a staggering indictment of this government," Angus said in an interview in Ottawa. "I mean, what you're seeing is a government that allowed the reputation of two men, who suddenly became problematic, to be trashed … to see obstruction of justice.

"You know, it certainly would send a chill down the spines of anybody who has to deal with this government on any level."

Read more:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

long road to justice .... Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr's long road to justice

t was almost exactly eight years ago when a firefight broke out as U.S. forces approached a mud-walled compound in eastern Afghanistan. When the dust settled, a Green Beret was mortally wounded and four other U.S. soldiers had sustained injuries. Beneath the rubble, next to a dead body, lay Omar Khadr, a Toronto-born 15-year-old, blinded by shrapnel and bleeding from bullet wounds to his chest and shoulder. He was taken into custody and transferred to the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, accused of lobbing the grenade that killed the U.S. soldier.

All these years later, it looks as though Mr. Khadr, now 23, will have his day in court, starting on Aug. 10, before a U.S. military commission. The precedent-setting case will be the first war-crimes trial for the Obama administration, and it will involve a defendant considered by many to have been a child soldier, deserving special protection because of his age.

Key players, including the Harper government, Canada's top court, the Obama administration and Mr. Khadr himself, have all made important moves recently that could help to shape his future. Here is a look at the latest developments:

January, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama promises to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre within a year.

January, 2010 The Guantanamo Bay detention centre remains open, and Omar Khadr is the only remaining Westerner held among nearly 200 detainees. (There are 180 now.) David Hicks, known as the Australian Taliban, was repatriated in 2007. Detainees have been released to several other Western nations, including Denmark, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Britain.

Jan. 29, 2010 The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Canada has violated Mr. Khadr's rights by taking part in illegal interrogation methods, including sleep deprivation. But it says the federal government must be given an opportunity to rectify the situation.

Feb. 16, 2010 Ottawa announces it has delivered a diplomatic note to the United States in response to the Supreme Court ruling. The note asks the U.S. not to use Canadian-collected evidence in prosecutions against Mr. Khadr, a gesture observers call “inadequate and invalid.”

April, 2010 The senior U.S. special forces officer in charge of the assault in Afghanistan where Mr. Khadr was captured testifies that he was only trying to set the record straight when he changed his report of these events after the fact. He initially wrote that the person who threw the grenade was killed himself. The military official changed that report some time later to indicate that the thrower of the grenade had survived. Mr. Khadr's lawyer claimed the changed report was evidence that the “government manufactured evidence to make it look like Omar was guilty.”

May, 2010 The lead military interrogator at Bagram prison in Afghanistan testifies that he used accounts of Afghan boys being fatally gang-raped “by four big black guys” to extract Mr. Khadr's confessions.

May 25, 2010 A New York Times editorial headlined “Tainted justice” calls on the Obama administration to repatriate Mr. Khadr. It states, “The conditions of Khadr's imprisonment have been in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and international accords on the treatment of children.”

July 5, 2010 The Federal Court of Canada rules that the federal government has a week to come up with a list of remedies to its breach of Mr. Khadr's constitutional rights. “This is the time to bring Omar Khadr home,” says NDP human-rights critic Wayne Marston, who contends that Mr. Khadr was a child soldier at the time of his alleged offences.

July 7, 2010 Mr. Khadr says he wants to fire his court-appointed U.S. lawyers, saying he will defend himself before the U.S. military tribunal. “It's going to make it even more farcical if there's no defence,” says Nathan Whitling, one of Mr. Khadr's Canadian lawyers.

July 12, 2010 At a pre-trial hearing, Mr. Khadr calls the military commission process a sham. He also reveals that he was offered a deal if he pleaded guilty: a 30-year sentence, with five years to be spent at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and the rest in Canada. He rejected the deal.

“I will not willingly let the U.S. government use me to fulfill its goal,” Mr. Khadr says. “I have been used too many times when I was a child, and that's why I'm here – taking blame for things I didn't have a choice in doing, but was forced to do by elders.”

The Harper government issues a statement saying it will appeal the Federal Court decision requiring the government to determine how to safeguard Mr. Khadr's rights. The move is a bid to avoid being compelled to ask the United States to send Mr. Khadr back to Canada.

Aug. 10, 2010 Omar Khadr's trial before a U.S. military commission is scheduled to begin.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tiny bubbles cause international stir

Tiny bubbles cause international stir

'Officer Bubbles' video goes viral around the world

By DON PEAT, Toronto Sun

Last Updated: July 16, 2010 7:37am

The video, called “Booked for Bubbles?” and posted by, includes one officer stating in no uncertain terms he’ll arrest Courtney Winkels if she keeps blowing bubbles at him and a fellow officer.

In the video posted on YouTube, the officer told Winkels, if the bubble touches him, she’ll be arrested for assault.

“Do you understand me?” he asked.

“Bubbles?” Winkels asked.

“Yes, that’s right, it’s a deliberate act on your behalf, I’m going to arrest you,” the cop replies. “You either knock it off with those bubbles. If you touch me with that bubble you’re going into custody.”

In what the video describes as “moments later,” “Bubble Girl” is shown getting arrested.

The video, filmed by Nazrul Islam, was even featured on FoxNews this week followed by a lively debate around whether or not you can get arrested for blowing bubbles at police officers.

Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray declined to comment on the video.

Gray said the force hasn’t been commenting on individual photos and videos from the G20.

She pointed out with any photo or video it is hard to establish the context an event takes place in.

In a statement to the Sun, Winkels stressed she wasn’t arrested for blowing bubbles.

“The fact is that the bubbles had nothing to do with my arrest,” she said. “The reason I was arrested is because I was wearing a backpack and had a lawyer’s phone number written on my arm. This number was given out by lawyers, and they advised us to have it written somewhere on our bodies.”

The 20-year-old was a volunteer street medic at the G20 and said she “wasn’t even protesting.”

“My medical supplies were taken and suggested they could be used as evidence for my charge,” she said.

Court records show she is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mischief over $5,000.

Winkels said she was talking to another officer when “Officer Bubbles” came over and angrily told her to put her bubbles away.

“I was having a conversation with the female officer,” she said. “She asked me my name, and I preferred not to give it. If she had asked me to identify myself to the police, I would have shown them my ID which I was carrying in my pocket, however, she was talking to me person to person, not officer to civilian.”

Winkels asked the female officer if her bubbles were bothering her.

“She laughed and shrugged her shoulders, which I perceived as a ‘No big deal!’” she said. “After this point, Officer Bubbles stormed over and said what he said on the video.”

Winkels said she put the bubbles away and the officer went away.

She was later swept up with others when arrests were made at Queen St. W. and Noble St. in Parkdale.

“I was not ‘blowing them in his face’ or being rude, I was simply trying to keep the mood of the crowd light, as I figure happy people are less likely to start a violent outbreak,” Winkels said. “There was no way I could have blown them in his face because, as I said, he was nowhere near me when I was blowing them, until he came over to talk to me. He was standing roughly 20 or 30 feet away, and nowhere near the range of the bubbles.”

Winkels said she feels she was not treated fairly during the G20.

“I was denied many of my civil and human rights, and this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, no pun intended,” she said.

Warning sirens should have gone off all across Ottawa, and especially in the Prime Minister’s Office, when Stephen Harper announced last December that Toronto would host the G20 summit.!

Warning sirens should have gone off all across Ottawa, and especially in the Prime Minister’s Office, when Stephen Harper announced last December that Toronto would host the G20 summit.

The sirens should have sounded not just because of the potential for violent protests in downtown Toronto, but because of the possible damage that the riots and the subsequent official inquiries might do to Harper’s political fortunes.

Whether he likes it or not, Harper may well discover his election prospects forever entangled in the aftermath of the G20 summit.

So far, though, he has managed to escape the post-G20 fallout, which includes calls for public inquiries into police actions that weekend, the threats of lawsuits against the City of Toronto and demands for compensation for lost business and destroyed property.

Indeed, since it ended nearly three weeks ago, Harper has said nothing about the summit. Instead, he’s spent the last weeks merrily travelling across Canada, enjoying the Calgary Stampede and hitting the summer festival circuit.

He’s left it to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to take the heat for the summit while at the same time ensuring his Tory members on the Commons committee on public safety successfully blocked efforts by opposition MPs earlier this week to launch hearings into the summit policing.

Despite his silence, Harper has much to answer for about the G20 in Toronto and the G8 held a day earlier in Huntsville — from why the summit was held in downtown Toronto to the staggering $1.2 billion cost to questionable federal spending in the Muskoka area.

Such questions deserve a full airing by Harper.

Inquiries are rightly being held into police actions that resulted in some 1,000 people arrested during the two-day summit in what many contend was an unprecedented and excessive manner.

The Toronto Police Services Board and the RCMP will both look into how police performed during the summit.

Meanwhile, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin will investigate the Ontario government’s use of the Public Works Protection Act, which at first was described as giving police the power to detain and arrest anyone within five metres of the security fence surrounding the summit’s no-go zone.

But a separate inquiry is needed into the overall planning and handling of the G20 by Harper and his government.

Except for a few tourism officials thrilled with the thought of packed hotel rooms, everyone knew that sticking the summit in the middle of our largest city was a bad idea.

So, was it stupid decision-making by Harper’s advisers or simple incompetence that resulted in the summit being foisted on Toronto?

Adam Vaughan, whose city council ward was most affected by the summit, accuses the Harper government of a “cascade of failures.”

Clearly, Harper doesn’t want to be seen as bowing to public pressure to hold a full-scale inquiry, given that he is on record as opposing a public probe of the summit security.

What’s stopping him, though, from calling it a “review,” as long as the result is the same, namely a full look at all the decisions leading up to the fateful summit.

Here are some questions a review panel could examine:

• How did the costs reach $1.2 billion?

• What efforts were made to control spending?

• Did 10,000 delegates really need to be in attendance?

• Who approved more than $50 million in spending in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka for such “summit-related” items as bandshells and street paving in towns never visited by any delegate?

• Who decided to hold the summit in downtown Toronto instead of on the CNE grounds?

• Why was Toronto Mayor David Miller’s advice ignored?

• What steps were taken to ensure no security overkill?

• Who was in overall control of spending?

• Who authorized the fake lake?

The list goes on.

These questions will likely dog Harper right to the election.

And unless he answers them, no good will come out of the summit for Harper, just as nothing good has come out of it for Toronto.

G20 bubbles prompted arrest threat .... “Bubbles?”

G20 bubbles prompted arrest threat

Kenyon Wallace July 17, 2010

A soap bubble floating toward a heavily armed police line during the G20 summit was apparently dangerous enough to prompt one Toronto Police officer to threaten the playful bubble blower with arrest.

The exchange was captured on video and has become a YouTube sensation, drawing close to 100,000 views, while inspiring a charged debate on Fox News over whether one can be arrested for blowing bubbles in the direction of police.

“If a bubble touches me, you’re going to be arrested for assault. Do you understand?” says the officer in the video wearing a badge bearing the name A. Josephs.

“Bubbles?” asks Courtney Winkels, the 20-year-old bubble blower.

“Yes, that’s right, it’s a deliberate act on your behalf. I’m going to arrest you. Do you understand me?” the officer responds. “You touch me with that bubble, you’re going into custody.”

A look of shock comes over Ms. Winkels’ face as she complies with the officer’s instructions to put the bubbles away.

“I was having a conversation with a female officer and I even asked her if my bubbles bothered her. She smiled and shrugged it off so I figured it didn’t….. It’s not like I was throwing stuff at them,” Ms. Winkels told the National Post on the phone from her family’s cottage in Huntsville. “Then this big officer marches over and he’s totally in my face.”


Toronto police make two more G20-related arrests from ‘Most Wanted’ list

Toronto police release top 10 ‘most wanted’ list of G20 protesters

Video: Latest weapon of choice for G20 protesters: Bubbles

.Shortly after her exchange with the angry officer, which took place on the final day of the summit, Ms. Winkels and several others gathered near Queen Street West and Noble Street in Parkdale were arrested. She spent the next 47 hours in police custody moving from the Eastern Avenue detention centre to the Vanier detention centre for women in Milton, before being charged with conspiracy to commit mischief.

The charge is unrelated to the bubble incident, she said, and pertains to the eyewash she was carrying in her capacity as a member of the Toronto Street Medics, an independent organization of volunteers offering medical care to people injured during the G20 protests.

“The police said I could throw it in their faces and temporarily blind them. I was, like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ “

She said police had searched her bag the day before and told her she could carry her medical supplies.

Toronto Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray wouldn’t comment specifically on the bubble-blowing incident.

“A video is minutes in time that doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect all of the circumstances that were involved in that particular situation,” Ms. Gray said. “If the individual in that video feels like she was mistreated by a police officer, she should file a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.”

Ms. Winkels said it was never her intention to antagonize police by blowing bubbles.

“I realize now maybe the bubbles weren’t the greatest idea — but still, it’s bubbles,” she said. “I was just keeping the mood light.”

.Posted in: G20, Posted Toronto Tags: Toronto Police, g20, Bubbles .

Read more:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20Category:Common Interest - PoliticsDescription:

Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20Category:Common Interest - PoliticsDescription:THIS GROUP HAS REACHED OVER 5,000 MEMBERS > FACEBOOK WILL NO LONGER ALLOW US TO SEND MESSAGES OR INVITES...


This group is for respectful discussion only. We are looking for the facts by calling for a public inquiry. Without the facts blame is premature.

Please refrain from defaming or threatening any group or person. We are simply here to request an inquiry, mobilize support and inform each other of our opinions and experiences.

If you read a post that violates the code of conduct expressed on facebook please use the Flag option.

*Please share your latest stories, photos and article links on the wall.

**See the event tab for upcoming rallies.

A public inquiry is an official review, ordered by government, of important public events or issues. Its purpose is to establish the facts and causes of an event or issue, and then to make recommendations to the government. All levels of government (federal, provincial, and territorial) have the power to call public inquiries.

Several issues have been raised this weekend: Consultation with the City of Toronto and it's citizens, Security build up, the Fence, the treatment of Toronto's homeless, mass damage, no relief fund for shop owners, innocent people and journalists detained, detainee conditions and much more.

This is something that police say we have "never faced in Canada." We agree! Let's learn from this weekend instead of trying to ignore it.

To every story there are many sides, and then there is the truth. Lets get as close to the truth as we can so that protesters, police and politicians a like can answer to the weekends events.

(read less)



This group is for respectful discussion only. We are looking for the facts by calling for a public inquiry. Without the facts blame is premature.

Please refrain from defaming or threatening any group or person. We are simply here to request an inquiry,... (read more)Privacy Type:Open: All content is public..Contact Info

.Email:torontoG20Inquiry@gmail.comWebsite: News

.News:Because this group has reached over 5k members, Facebook will no longer allow us to send messages or invitations.


Please Visit Amnesty International's G20 Appeal Page TODAY! A must read for everyone!

Independent Review of G20 Security Measures Urgently Needed: An Appeal to the Government of Canada

Please visit take a moment to visit these sites that have come to our attention:

The CCLA's site to share your story with them.

This website was created by Klippensteins, a law firm based in Toronto, as a public service.

Submit Your Story
G20 Stories

This web site is collecting all testimonies, photos and video for the purpose of bringing those who broke the law to justice.

Were you a part of the mass arrests, or did you witness the mass arrests? This law firm is looking to initiate a civil law suit.

Use this web page to easily and simply send an email to all levels of government at one time. Tell them why you feel it is necessary to call a public inquiry into the G20.

Sign the CCLA petition calling for a public inquiry

Send your name and email

Comprehensive G20 related media list!/note.php?note_id=411968691305&id=864815696&ref=mf

Join the French Facebook group!/group.php?gid=109381149111679&ref=mf.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Toronto's 'Officer Bubbles' gains web notoriety Arrest threat video goes viral, spawns Queen's Park protest

Back to Toronto's 'Officer Bubbles' gains web notoriety

Toronto's 'Officer Bubbles' gains web notoriety

July 16, 2010
Wendy Gillis
Toronto police Const. Adam Josephs is now known as "Officer Bubble" after threatening to arrest a bubble-blowing protester during the G20 summit on June 27, 2010.
He's now known as “Officer Bubbles.”
Const. Adam Josephs has gained considerable notoriety after being caught on tape threatening to arrest a G20 protester for blowing bubbles.
In a viral Internet video, the 52 Division officer tells protester Courtney Winkels she will be arrested for assault because she is blowing bubbles in front of officers.
The video — shown on the website and this week on American network Fox News — shows Winkels, orange bubble wand in hand, interacting with Josephs and a female officer.
“You touch me with that bubble you're going into custody,” he tells her in a video entitled “Booked for Bubbles” that was shot June 27 near Queen St. W. and Dufferin St.
When Winkels says she doesn't feel respected by Josephs, he replies: “That's terrible. My heart bleeds.”
Winkels says she was talking with the female officer when Josephs walked over from about seven metres away — “totally out of range of the bubbles” — to stand in front of her and threaten arrest.
“I was both shocked and confused, but I complied and put the bubbles away,” Winkels said in an email. She was arrested later for an incident unrelated to the bubbles, and has been charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
“Officer Bubbles” was also the subject of a handful of blogs and Facebook groups reporting that his Facebook profile made a derogatory statement about the public he serves as a Toronto police officer.
As of Friday morning, Josephs' Facebook profile had been made private.
Insp. Anil Anand with the Toronto police public information unit said Friday he had heard rumours about offensive comments in the officer's personal profile, but said he is not aware of a formal complaint being filed.
“If someone was offended by that, they are more than welcome to file a complaint and we can have a look at it within the context of somebody filing an actual complaint,” he said.
When contacted, Josephs hung up on a Star reporter.
The G20 bubbles incident has also spurred a YouTube cartoon, called “Officer Bubbles.”
In it, a beefed-up police officer in sunglasses threatens to arrest a woman for dancing in the streets. The video ends with a joke that the next episode will feature Officer Bubbles shooting a kitten stuck in a tree.
Meanwhile, it's BYOB at Queen's Park Saturday — that is, bring your own bubbles.
A few hundred protesters are expected to blow bubbles en masse at noon to show support for a public inquiry into police actions during the G20.
Winkels hopes to attend.
“We wanted to have an event that would be fun and creative,” says Valentyna Onisko, a 21-year-old student and organizer of the event, which precedes a civil liberties rally.
Although she said a formal invitation to blow bubbles has not been extended to Josephs, he is more than welcome to attend, bubble wand in hand.

"Officer Bubbles"- From Bubbles to Bookings?

The Whole "Officer Bubbles" Story: Toronto Neighborhood Responds to G20 ...


Friday, July 16, 2010

CRTC refuses Sun TV’s bid for preferred status .

CRTC refuses Sun TV’s bid for preferred status on dial

Regulator tells Quebecor it won’t make exception on decision to hold new Category 1 licenses until October, 2011

Published on Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010 6:31PM EDT

Last updated on Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010 7:05PM EDT

.In its application to operate the Sun TV News channel, Quebecor Inc. argued its all-news specialty station was poised to create “a completely new genre in Canada.” Now, it appears the federal broadcast regulator disagrees.

In a private letter sent to Quebecor on July 5, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected Quebecor’s request for a rare must-carry license. It would have guaranteed distribution by all cable and satellite firms – and the subscriber fees that come along with that distribution.

The license Quebecor requested – known as a Category 1, soon to be Category A – is rarely granted, and in March of this year, the CRTC announced that it would not consider any new applications for those licenses before October, 2011.

Quebecor applied anyway, asking for special consideration. Its reasoning, according to the letter, was that Sun TV News would be “an Information & Analysis channel,” and therefore different than its all-news competitors.

The CRTC rebuffed that claim. In the letter, Peter Foster, the director general of television policy and applications, suggested that there was little to distinguish Sun TV from other all-news services, since “news and analysis are sub-categories of the information programming category … news would be broadcast throughout the day … [and] in promotional material, the proposed service is referred to as the Sun TV News Channel.”

Quebecor now has two options. It can apply for a standard Category 2 specialty service, which is relatively easy to obtain: it simply creates a digital specialty channel, and the onus is on the people running the channel to negotiate distribution with cable and satellite companies.

“Therefore, it would appear to be a relatively straightforward process for your proposal to be amended to be an application for a licence to operate a competitive news service, which could be considered without delay,” Mr. Foster wrote.

The other option is for Sun TV to remain an over-the-air broadcast station, and simply change its programming to the proposed all-news format. Distributors could choose to pick up that signal – the station has transmitters in London and Toronto – and potentially carry it across the country. However, it would not receive any of the fees given to specialty channels.

But Kory Teneycke, the head of the project, said Quebecor will not pursue the second option.

“We’re looking for a cable specialty license. That’s what our initial application is for, and that’s what we’re aiming for,” he said.

Quebecor will soon submit “an amended application,” Mr. Teneycke said. He would not comment on the details of that application, or whether the company would request a standard Category 2 license.

“We’re not particularly fazed by that letter. We’re focused on moving forward,” Mr. Teneycke said. “We’re confident that we’ll have a license in time for our projected launch, and one that will satisfy our needs on the business side.”

The channel is set to launch on Jan. 1, 2011

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SUPREME COURT OF CANADA Citation: R. v. Shea, 2010 SCC 26 Date: 20100715 Docket: 33466



Citation: R. v. Shea, 2010 SCC 26

Date: 20100715

Docket: 33466


Her Majesty The Queen



Thomas Robert Shea


Coram: LeBel, Deschamps and Cromwell JJ.

Reasons for judgment (application for leave to appeal):

(paras. 1 to 13)

Cromwell J. (LeBel and Deschamps JJ. concurring)

Note: This document is subject to editorial revision before its reproduction in final form in the Canada Supreme Court Reports.


The judgment of the Court was delivered by

Cromwell J. —

[1] The applicant Crown applies for leave to appeal from an order of the Ontario Court of Appeal granting the respondent an extension of time to serve and file his notice of appeal. As a question about the Court's jurisdiction to grant leave was raised, this Court ordered an oral hearing. I would dismiss the application for leave to appeal as it raises no question of sufficient importance within the meaning of s. 40(1) of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26. Our review of the jurisprudence reveals that the courts of appeal recognize that there are narrow circumstances where a court can reconsider the decision of a judge sitting alone. We are not persuaded from the record that guidance is required on this question or that the circumstances of this case warrant granting the application.

[2] The respondent was convicted of historical sexual offences. He was sentenced to imprisonment for two years less one day. Some eight and one half years later, the respondent sought from a judge of the Court of Appeal sitting alone an extension of time to serve and file a notice of appeal against conviction. His motion was dismissed. Subsequently, a three‑judge panel of the Court of Appeal granted the motion in the interests of justice. The Crown seeks leave to appeal, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision rendered by one of its judges. The question is whether this Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

[3] The relevant jurisdictional provision is s. 40(1) of the Supreme Court Act which currently reads as follows:

40. (1) Subject to subsection (3), an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from any final or other judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal or of the highest court of final resort in a province, or a judge thereof, in which judgment can be had in the particular case sought to be appealed to the Supreme Court, whether or not leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been refused by any other court, where, with respect to the particular case sought to be appealed, the Supreme Court is of the opinion that any question involved therein is, by reason of its public importance or the importance of any issue of law or any issue of mixed law and fact involved in that question, one that ought to be decided by the Supreme Court or is, for any other reason, of such a nature or significance as to warrant decision by it, and leave to appeal from that judgment is accordingly granted by the Supreme Court.

Jurisdiction to grant leave under s. 40(1) extends to any final or other judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal or of the highest court of final resort in a province in which judgment can be had in the particular case. On it face, this language is broad enough to include the order which is the subject of this leave application, subject of course to the requirement that the question involved in the case be of sufficient importance. This conclusion is reinforced by the expansive definition of “judgment” in s. 2 of the Act. I note that while s. 40(3) of the Act, read in conjunction with ss. 691-693 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, excludes many criminal appeals from the ambit of s. 40(1), the present application is not so excluded.

[4] The main authority supporting the view that the Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain this leave application is Hind v. The Queen, [1968] S.C.R. 234. In that case, a three-judge panel of this Court held that it did not have jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal from the refusal of a Court of Appeal to grant an extension of time to hear a sentence appeal. The Court relied on Goldhar v. The Queen, [1960] S.C.R. 60, Paul v. The Queen, [1960] S.C.R. 452, and R. v. J. Alepin Frères Ltée, [1965] S.C.R. 359. However, each of those cases has been overruled by subsequent decisions of the Court and, in my view, the time has come to say that Hind itself should no longer be followed.

[5] As noted in Hill v. The Queen, [1977] 1 S.C.R. 827, and subsequently in R. v. Gardiner, [1982] 2 S.C.R. 368, the changes made in 1949 to what is now s. 40 resulted in large part from the change in the role of this Court when appeals to the Privy Council were abolished. Not only was the wording of the provision changed, but the Court, in light of its role as the final court of appeal for Canada, took a broader approach to the interpretation of its appellate jurisdiction which was inconsistent with many earlier decisions, including the cases relied upon by the Court in Hind.

[6] Hill itself was a turning point. In that case, the Court granted leave to appeal to consider whether the Court of Appeal had jurisdiction to lengthen the Appellant’s sentence when there had been no cross-appeal by the Crown. As this was a sentencing issue, the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the appeal was squarely before the Court as were its earlier decisions which had taken a narrow view of its jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal from sentencing decisions. The Court in Hill specifically refused to follow Goldhar and held that s. 41(1) (now s. 40(1)) was to have a broad interpretation rather than the narrow interpretation previously attributed to it.

[7] The Court in Hill also noted that Goldhar had been followed in Paul which was in turn relied upon in J. Alepin Frères and R. v. MacDonald, [1965] S.C.R. 831. In considering the proper interpretation of s. 41(1) in light of legislative changes, the Court held at p. 850:

... the literal construction [i.e. of the words “final or other judgment”] is preferable not only because in the absence of ambiguity the literal meaning should always be adhered to despite any inconsistencies short of absurdity, but also because any assumption that Parliament did not intend to depart from the previous state of the law is unjustified. Section 41 was enacted substantially in its present form at the time when appeals to the Privy Council were being abolished and this Court was being made truly supreme. The Privy Council had enjoyed unlimited jurisdiction by special leave and it is apparent that the new provision was intended to effect the change from a limited specific jurisdiction to a broad general jurisdiction. To hold that the inconsistencies resulting from this sweeping change indicate the intention of leaving some wide gaps open is, in my view, entirely unwarranted. On the contrary, the enactment of a provision that undoubtedly confers some jurisdiction in criminal matters beyond that existing under the Criminal Code, clearly indicates Parliament’s will to remedy the omission to extend the jurisdiction of this Court in criminal cases when the Privy Council’s jurisdiction in such cases was effectively abolished after the Statute of Westminster.

Thus, while it explicitly stated that fitness of sentence should never be considered by the Court, the earlier jurisprudence indicating that the Court did not have jurisdiction to hear appeals from sentencing decisions was no longer good law. That earlier jurisprudence included the three key decisions relied upon by the Court in Hind.

[8] In 1982, in Gardiner, this Court considered once again its jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal from sentencing decisions and affirmed the breadth of its authority to grant leave under what is now s. 40(1) of the Supreme Court Act. Dickson J. (as he then was) stated at pp. 397-98:

It is incorrect, however, in my opinion, to characterize our justifiable reluctance to consider questions of fitness of sentence as lack of jurisdiction. It is to compound the error to extend the argument of lack of jurisdiction to what are clearly important questions of law arising out of the sentencing process. The function of this Court is precisely that, to settle questions of law of national importance in the interests of promoting uniformity in the application of the law across the country, especially with respect to matters of federal competence. To decline jurisdiction is to renounce the paramount responsibility of an ultimate appellate court with national authority.


It is important to remember that between Goldhamer and Goldhar significant revisions to the Supreme Court Act had intervened in 1949. The Supreme Court had replaced the Privy Council as the ultimate appeal court for Canada.

With respect to Hill, the Court in Gardiner stated at pp. 402-4:

In Hill, all nine judges joined in support of the view that s. 41 [now s. 40] of the Supreme Court Act was intended to confer a broad general jurisdiction, beyond that existing under the Criminal Code. The Court rejected as “entirely unwarranted” the notion dominating the Goldhar line of cases that possible inconsistencies arising from a broad construction of s. 41 indicated Parliamentary intention to leave some wide gaps open.


... Hill gave the quietus to Goldhar and to the abnegation which underpinned that decision and those which followed in its wake. Hill mandated an expansive reading of s. 41(1), the better to enable this Court to discharge its role at the apex of the Canadian judicial system, as the court of last resort for all Canadians.

If policy considerations are to enter the picture, as they often do, there would appear to me to be every reason why this Court should remain available to adjudicate upon difficult and important questions of law in the sentencing process, in particular where there are, as here, conflicting opinions expressed in the provinces. Indeed we are asked, in effect, in this appeal to decide between two opinions of the Ontario Court of Appeal which are in direct conflict. I can see no advantage to litigants or to the orderly administration of justice in closing doors which do not have to be closed.

[9] A similar evolution may be observed with respect to the Court’s jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal when the highest appellate tribunal in the province has refused leave to appeal to it. The Court held in Ernewein v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 639, that it did not have jurisdiction in such cases. However, in 1986, the Court revisited this question and decided in favour of its jurisdiction. In MacDonald v. City of Montreal, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 460, the Court considered its jurisdiction to consider the appellate court’s refusal to grant leave to appeal and overturned Ernewein and expanded upon its reasoning in Hill, Gardiner and subsequent cases thereby indicating that “final or other judgment” provides jurisdiction to this Court to hear any issue it deems to be of sufficient importance as long as resort to s. 40 is not excluded by s. 40(3) of the Supreme Court Act. Wilson J. discussed the question in these terms in MacDonald v. City of Montreal, at pp. 508-9:

The proposition that under s. 41(1) the Court has jurisdiction to intervene even in the case of discretionary decisions of intermediate appellate courts is supported by other provisions of the Supreme Court Act. Section 44, for example, provides that the Court has no power to hear an appeal from a judgment or order made in the exercise of judicial discretion except where leave to appeal is granted by this Court pursuant to s. 41 of the Act. The section 44 restriction on the Court’s power would clearly apply to appeals arising under s. 38 of the Act, i.e., where a provincial court of appeal had granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. It would also apply to appeals arising under s. 39 of the Act, i.e., where the parties have agreed to appeal a judgment of a lower court directly to the Supreme Court of Canada instead of to the provincial Court of Appeal. Accordingly, in the less usual situations in which leave to appeal to this Court is not granted by a panel of this Court, the statutory jurisdiction excludes appeals from the exercise of judicial discretion. On the other hand, the explicit exception of s. 41 from the s. 44 restriction serves to indicate that where the route to this Court is the more usual one, i.e., where leave to appeal is granted by this Court itself, its jurisdiction is not restricted to non‑discretionary decisions. Rather, under s. 41 of the Act the Court’s jurisdiction is confined only by its own exercise of discretion in determining which decisions of an intermediate appellate court are of sufficient national importance to warrant a grant of leave.

It was stated in R. v. Gardiner, [1982] 2 S.C.R. 368, that while there are many instances in which this Court is justifiably reluctant to intervene in decisions of the courts below, it is incorrect to confuse this attitude of reluctance with lack of jurisdiction. Dickson J. (as he then was) came to his conclusion as to the broad ambit of the Court’s jurisdiction after a thorough survey of its history and a consequent appreciation of its expanded role and increased significance since the days when most appeals were as of right and the Supreme Court of Canada was itself an intermediate appellate court. Given this expansion, the broadly phrased statutory language in which the Court’s jurisdiction was framed, and the role of the Court as the ultimate appellate tribunal, he concluded that in the absence of any irrefutable indication to the contrary, the Court’s jurisdiction should not be restrictively construed. [Emphasis added.]

As explained later in Roberge v. Bolduc, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 374, at pp. 392-93:

Any doubt on the issue of jurisdiction is, in my view, resolved by MacDonald v. City of Montreal, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 460, where, as here, the Court of Appeal refused to grant leave to appeal. Although dissenting on the constitutional issue involved, Wilson J. spoke on the issue of jurisdiction at p. 508:

Under s. 41(1) of the Supreme Court Act [now s. 40(1)] this Court retains the discretionary power to interfere with any final or other judgment of the intermediate appellate courts which raises an issue of national importance. This discretion is itself broadly phrased so as to include any case with respect to which “... the Supreme Court is of the opinion that any question involved therein is, by reason of its public importance or the importance of any issue of law or any issue of mixed law and fact involved in such question, one that ought to be decided by the Supreme Court or is, for any other reason, of such a nature or significance as to warrant decision by it ... .” While a certain amount of deference to the undoubted competence of intermediate appellate courts to control their own leave granting process is called for, it is equally evident that this Court’s jurisdiction to exercise its own discretion in intervening in such decisions is not statutorily confined. [Emphasis added.]

[10] In 1995, the Court considered R. v. Hinse, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 597. In that case, the Court of Appeal set aside the appellant’s conviction but rather than ordering a new trial, it entered a stay of proceedings. Unhappy with the lack of finality and statement of innocence, the appellant wished to appeal the order of stay of proceedings to this Court. Initially, this Court refused leave to appeal but reconsidered its decision and in doing so, discussed the jurisdiction of the Court as found in s. 40(1). The Court noted the concern that an appellate court, in making an order pursuant to s. 686(8) of the Criminal Code, could overstep its own jurisdiction and make an order in direct contradiction of the underlying judgment. It expressed the need for a broad and liberal interpretation of s. 40(1), stating at paras. 34-35:

Given this troubling concern, I am inclined to adopt a more generous interpretation of s. 40(1) (and a correspondingly more narrow interpretation of s. 40(3)) which would facilitate this Court’s supervisory role in ensuring the underlying consistency of appellate court orders rendered under the procedural regime of the Criminal Code.

For all the foregoing reasons, I am persuaded that an accused or the Crown ought to be permitted to independently seek leave to appeal the legality of an order rendered under s. 686(8) as a “final or other judgment ... of the highest court of final resort in a province” under this Court's general jurisdiction under s. 40(1) of the Supreme Court Act.

[11] I conclude my review of the cases with R. v. Mentuck, 2001 SCC 76, [2001] 3 S.C.R. 442. Although this case involved a publication ban, the Court made a general comment regarding its jurisdiction under s. 40(1) at para. 20:

The Supreme Court Act was passed to allow this Court to serve as a “general court of appeal for Canada”, and s. 40 must be read in light of the purpose of the Court’s enabling legislation. Unless the Court is specifically prohibited from entertaining appeals by s. 40(3) of the Act, it may grant leave to hear any appeal from the decision of any “court of final resort” in Canada. Parliament has seen fit to provide generally for rational routes of appeal in criminal cases. In these cases, we cannot take jurisdiction, nor would we wish to. But a purposive approach to s. 40 requires the Court to take jurisdiction where no other appellate court can do so, unless an explicit provision bars all appeals. Section 40(1) ensures that even though specific legislative provisions on jurisdiction are lacking, this Court may fill the void until Parliament devises a satisfactory solution. [Emphasis added.]

[12] I conclude that under s. 40(1) of the Act, the Court has jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal from an order “of the Federal Court of Appeal or of the highest court of final resort in a province, or a judge thereof, in which judgment can be had in the particular case” refusing or granting an extension of time to an appellant in an indictable appeal and that the order from which leave to appeal is sought is such an order. However, I would emphasize that the existence of this jurisdiction does not in any way alter the test applicable under s. 40(1), namely that the question “is, by reason of its public importance or the importance of any issue of law or any issue of mixed law and fact involved in that question, one that ought to be decided by the Supreme Court or is, for any other reasons, of such a nature or significance as to warrant decision by it”. It seems to me that only in very rare circumstances would a proposed appeal from an order granting an extension of time for appealing meet this test.

[13] While I would affirm the Court’s jurisdiction to grant leave, I would dismiss the application for leave to appeal without costs.