1 Press Clippings for the period of June 22 to 29, 2015 Revue de presse pour la période du 22 au 29 juin, 2015 Here are articles and opinion pieces that might be of interest to AJC members Voici quelques articles et textes d opinion qui pourraient intéresser les membres de l AJJ Pay Day problems: Public servants waiting months for cheques as new system stumbles Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, June Hundreds of public servants are waiting for pay because 550 overworked employees at the Conservative government s showcase pay centre in Miramichi can t keep up with the thousands of files federal departments are sending them in preparation for the rollout of a new pay system. Sick leave at the pay centre is also on the rise, according to union officials. But Public Works and Government Services Canada, the government s paymaster, insists there are no widespread problems. Several public servants, speaking on condition on anonymity because they fear repercussions at work, told the Citizen their pay has been delayed by weeks. We have taken a step backwards with this consolidated pay system, said one bureaucrat who has been waiting to be paid since early April. At the same time, many say the employees at the pay centre don t have enough experienced staff to keep up with the 72,000 files that have been transferred to the centre in Miramichi N.B. so far. One even likened conditions at the new pay centre to a sweat shop and one pay adviser who quit called her former colleagues poor souls who are on the brink of mental collapse. Those familiar with the new centre say the work is relentless, and there isn t enough support for new employees who run into problems with complicated files.
2 The Public Service Alliance of Canada says it was hit with a sudden surge of complaints from members over the last month. Many are from public servants returning to work after maternity leave, disability leave, vacation or who have been temporarily in other jobs within the bureaucracy. Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union, said he fielded hundreds of complaints, particularly among students and term employees hired for the summer. One employee who started as casual in early April described herself as an easy file with no benefits or shifts but has yet to receive a dime. Lucky for me, I have another source of income but I have a couple of office neighbours who are students (who haven t been paid.) I empathize with them as they live paycheque to paycheque. The Citizen spoke to or exchanged with a number of public servants who worked at the pay centre or who are waiting for pay. I m employed within the public service and could potentially lose my employment if it was revealed that I have spoken to a news outlet, wrote one. Public servants waiting for pay say they are unable to get anyone on the phone at the pay centre, or, if they do, they are promised return calls that never come or are even told nothing can be done. The pay centre s line warns callers about high volumes. Longtime pay advisers suspect the sudden surge of complaints over the past month was partly triggered by the flood of employees who come to work in seasonal or student jobs for the summer. Last year, the government hired nearly 10,400 students 6,200 of them for summer jobs from May to August. Some who recently began summer jobs say they haven t seen a penny since they started work in April or May. One student who has worked several years on contracts of a few hours a week during the school year said her most recent payment was still for work she did months ago. She has since been bumped up to a higher rate and is working full-time for the summer while taking summer classes. She paid her tuition upfront, thinking she would be paid regularly to cover her rent and other expenses. She finally had to turn to her parents for help. Honestly, I am so discouraged. It s difficult to motivate yourself to do work that you are not being paid for I consider myself a hard-working employee and I think I have been very patient and understanding with regards to my untimely pay, she told the Citizen. I recognize that some people have savings to fall back on in hard financial times but as a student I am not one of these people and I am certain many regular full-time employees would face some form of hardship if they missed a pay too. It s just not fair. Last week, PSAC leaders sought an emergency meeting with top Public Works officials.
3 On top of the complaints from unpaid workers, PSAC was getting an earful from the 550 pay advisers working in Miramichi. The union said it had reports that a growing number were on sick leave. As well, some were infuriated that management had ordered them to work 30 hours of mandatory overtime over two weeks to deal with a backlog of paycheques. (That order was later changed to ask for volunteers to work extra hours to help catch up.) Chris Aylward, PSAC s national vice-president, went to the emergency meeting with Associate Assistant Deputy Minister Rosanna Di Paola. He suggested more staff at the pay centre or slowing down the pace at which files are being transferred to the new centre. The government has 300,000 employee on payroll but not all their files will move to Miramichi. However, about 184,000 are to be processed there by December. In an to the Citizen, Public Works said the project will continue at the existing pace. The Public Service Pay Centre is not experiencing widespread issues in administering pay services. The consolidation and modernization of pay services is going forward as planned, said PWGSC spokeswoman Michele LaRose. Whatever Public Works has in mind to alleviate the pressure at the pay centre will be revealed in Miramichi this week: Di Paola is attending a town hall and meeting with employees, with ideas on how working conditions can be improved. I feel confident from the meetings (we ve had) that this issue will be dealt with effectively and we will see the number of complaints subside quickly, said Aylward. Public servants have had problems getting their pay right and on time for decades. The government has the biggest and most convoluted pay system in Canada. The 90,000 rules and regulations take years to master and good compensation advisers are worth their weight in gold. For years, the government was plagued by shortages of seasoned advisers and aging equipment. Employees could wait weeks, even months for payments and sometimes got cheques for the wrong amount. The government tried an overhaul of the pay system in the 1990s, but abandoned it after sinking $61 million into the project. The current Transformation of Pay Administration initiative was meant to change that. The modernization of the government s pay and pensions systems are among the Conservative government s pet projects, touted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for coming in on time and budget. It is booked to deliver $70 million in annual savings by next year.
4 Some argue the project got off on the wrong foot when Harper decided to put the longpromised pay centre in Miramichi as a political tradeoff for jobs that would disappear when he closed the gun registry. The plan was divided into two major projects. The first was to consolidate all pay services for 46 departments in Miramichi and transfer the 184,000 pay accounts by December The second project is Phoenix, a new off-the-shelf pay system that will be implemented in 102 departments with two major roll-outs: in October and December Departments used to manage their own pay with in-house compensation advisers whom managers and employees could call if they ran into problems. There were about 2,500 pay advisers working in government each typically overseeing about 200 clients when Harper announced the pay centre was going to Miramichi. Harper said the pay centre would employ 550 people which meant about 1,700 experienced advisers in Ottawa and at the regional pay centres would have to find new jobs. They got first dibs on positions at the new pay centre but few wanted to move to Miramichi. That meant most of the new advisers were green and recruited as students, or lived in Miramichi and had to be trained from scratch. They knew nothing about pay and would never have been interested in such a job if it wasn t right there (in Miramichi) and paid so well, said one pay adviser. The employees were trained in three waves of 18-month training, which was interspersed with supervised work with coaches to help them develop an intuition for managing a file. Many say it takes three to five years to learn the job. Aylward feels Public Works underestimated the amount and complexity of work that 550 newly trained advisers could handle. So far, the government has transferred 72,000 files to Miramichi and departments will send another 5,000 files by August. By December the centre will be managing its total 184,000 files while employees are learning the ropes of using Phoenix. Aylward said the government staffed the centre based on how Phoenix will reduce the number of steps in the pay process. Until then, the government figured fewer recruits could handle the consolidation phase if the files came in manageable waves rather than all at once. It never worked that way. They didn t have a backup plan when they found themselves so understaffed with newly trained people They had way more untrained than expected My trainer for 18 months was hired a year before me and had just undergone training herself. She was completely new to pay, said one of the new recruits.
5 The same recruit said the backlog started to build with the second wave of files. The stress included dealing with angry clients on the phone; management trying to hurry workers on with mandatory overtime; and overarching fear that if they failed, Miramichi would lose the only industry stabilizing the local economy. I have seen grown men and women crying at their desks left, right and centre, said one pay centre employee. Most of my colleagues and myself went on mental health medication for depression or anxiety. We have been threatened that the pay centre may fail and the much-needed Miramichi jobs be lost. There s no question this is a high stress environment and a complicated job to learn. I would like to see them slow it down, just a tad, to allow people a chance to learn the process and feel comfortable, said Donna Lackie, president of the Government Services Union, which represents the pay advisers. LaRose, from Public Works, said the department has received no formal complaints about the training and working environment at the pay centre. Nor did we notice an increase in sick leave. She said the department has offered more training and tools to deal with stress. Hundreds of prison guards waiting for pay: union A frustrated Stephen Robertson, who works as a corrections officer at the Dorchester Penitentiary, went to Miramichi, N.B., last month and stood in front of the federal government s pay centre with a giant sign that read: Please Pay Me. His case has since been resolved, but the union for federal prison guards say there are a thousand Stephen Robertsons waiting to be paid for work they did four to six months ago. Prison guards are among the hundreds of public servants who say they aren t being paid on time as the federal government approaches the next and final phase of its overhaul of the pay system at the Public Service Pay Centre in Miramichi. Doug White, president of the Union of Canadian Corrections Officers Atlantic region, said that currently 800 prison guards, most of whom work at the five federal institutions in the Atlantic Canada, have been waiting since April for the shift differential they are owed. Prison guards working in the country s other federal jails have yet to have their files moved to Miramichi; White is braced for more headaches once they are. Look, I am happy the jobs are here (in Miramichi), White said. But I don t know if the problem is there aren t enough employees (at the pay centre) or they aren t trained the way they should be trained, but we have had these issues since 2013.
6 They told me then it was growing pains and give it some time, but it is 2015 and I have the same problems but they are multiplying and they will be more them to come. The pay centre has not been good for employees so far. Prison guards work in shifts and typically log overtime, which compensation advisers say adds to the complexity of their accounts. Public Works and Government Services Canada told the Citizen in an there have been no major issues at the Miramichi pay centre Paying Public Servants: By the Numbers Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, June 23, : Number of employees working at the public service pay centre in Miramichi 46: Number of departments that are transferring their files to the pay centre to manage 184,000: Number of files that will be transferred to pay centre by December : Number of departments that will keep managing their own pay, employing 752 inhouse pay advisers 1,700: Number of compensation advisers who had to find new jobs when the pay centre was created 102: Number of departments and agencies that will be using new Phoenix pay system 300,000: Number of cases Public Works and Government Services Canada says were processed at the pay centre last year, with fewer than 200 complaints from employees 95: Percentage of cases processed within 20 days of being received at pay centre, according to Public Works
7 Pay centre workers lose bid to slow 'tsunami' of files Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, June 24, 2015 Disgruntled workers at the public service pay centre appealed to Public Works officials at a special meeting this week to slow down the tsunami of files departments are sending them in the run-up to installing a new pay system for federal employees by December. At the closed meeting, the 550 pay advisers told Public Works and Government Services Canada that slowing down the pace of the files being transferred to them or hiring more staff would help ensure that they can handle the quantity and quality of work expected of them. The meeting was held at the pay centre in Miramichi, N.B. But those who attended the meeting said Public Works all but ruled out both options and insisted the consolidation project would continue as planned. Departments are expected to transfer 184,000 files by the end of December, which also coincides with the implementation of a new pay system. Public Works thinks everything is fine, but we can only race like this for so long before the horse dies, the train derails or the tsunami comes and we go down, said one employee. Chris Aylward, national vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said union representatives attended the meeting and will be making recommendations to Public Works on how to improve working conditions and alleviate the pressures at the pay centre. PSAC, which represents the centre s 550 pay advisers, played a key role in getting the department s associate assistant deputy minister Rosanna Di Paolo to meet this week with employees in Miramichi and hear their concerns. The working conditions and backlog of files at the centre have been simmering issues for months but it came to a head with a recent surge of complaints from public servants who are waiting weeks for pay. Unions estimate that hundreds of public servants including summer students face delayed payments. The government s plan to modernize its 40-year-old pay system is divided into two major projects. The first was to consolidate all pay services for 46 departments in Miramichi and transfer the 184,000 pay accounts by December.
8 The next project is to roll out a new IT system that is will automate and streamline how cheques are processed and people are paid. For this the government bought a new off-theshelf system, known as Phoenix. Aylward said Di Paolo told employees the department felt the pay centre was doing fine and the transformation project was in very good shape. In fact, Public Works sent an late Wednesday saying the transfer of files has not negatively impacted cheques getting to employees. It said the centre is meeting the same service standards that have been in place for years. It said employees facing delays or other pay problems should contact their department s pay advisers and the pay centre and they will be addressed expeditiously. The also disputed claims of an increase in sick leave among employees, saying sick leave usage was in line with the average across the public service. But Aylward said employees told the meeting they face a litany of problems arising from overwork, burnout, poor training, lack of support, and little coaching for difficult files. He said a big concern is that the job is about numbers and pushing through files whether or not they have been verified or put through the checklist advisers have traditionally followed. According to Aylward the big worry is that if they can barely keep up now what will happen when the next big surge of files are sent by December more than 100,000 with Phoenix being rolled out at the same time. They feel like they are trying to outrun the tsunami, he said. Aylward said workers told Public Works about cases that were 79 days old, backlogs of files with mistakes that no one is trained to handle and a significant shortage of coaches, many of whom were on sick leave or busy with other work. He said the union is hopeful that the Public Works will bring in more coaches who are experienced compensation advisers. Aylward said some employees argued they wouldn t be asked to work mandatory overtime if there were enough employees. Overtime became a big issue when workers recently received a memo indicating they had to work 30 hours of overtime over the next two weeks or risk losing summer vacations. That memo was quickly retracted and replaced with one seeking volunteers to work overtime. Training is another concern. Most of the employees were hired with no experience and put through an 18-month training program. Some argued the training isn t enough to master the 70,000 or more rules while others complained training was cut short, cancelled so they could work overtime, or portions were skipped. So far, the government has transferred the files of 72,000 public servants and departments will send another 5,000 files by August.
9 Aylward said he thinks Public Works underestimated the amount and complexity of work that 550 newly-trained advisers could handle. Until the pay centre, the government had 2,500 pay advisers in departments. Few went to Miramichi and about 1,700 had to find other jobs. He said the government built its staff estimates of 550 on assumptions about the time and steps Phoenix could save. In an , Public Works said pay advisers at the centre have a lighter load of files handling an average of 150 files compared to the 185 that pay advisors in departments are handling. The files were also transferred in manageable waves rather than all at once, which should have made it easier to manage Don't blame workers for problems at pay centre, Donald Savoie says Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, June 25, 2015 The furor over the federal pay centre in Miramichi, N.B. shows how the far-reaching power of prime ministers offices has hollowed out public service planning and management skills over the past 40 years, a leading expert in public administration charges. Donald Savoie, a New Brunswick academic who spent a career studying regional development and public management, said that at one time, the public service could relocate a major department, agency or service without a hitch. But, he says, the public service is now so bogged down by rules, oversight and a controlling Prime Ministers Office (with its bureaucratic arm, the Privy Council Office) that it has lost its way and ability to manage. He said public servants now face so many constraints on their management that they have learned the art of delegating up to PMO and PCO rather than down to the front-line workers, as they did in the 1970s and 1980s, to get things done. I don t think the public service can deliver the goods and manage decentralization as well as it could 30 or 40 years ago and I think politicians, all the oversight bodies looking over their shoulders, have to shoulder much of the blame, said Savoie.
10 It s not the public service that created all the oversight, saw the merit in governing from the centre or thinks that management delegation should be managed up and not down, he said. The combination has affected their ability to manoeuvre. Unhappy workers at the public service pay centre appealed to officials from Public Works and Government Services Canada at a special meeting in Miramichi this week to slow down the tsunami of pay files federal departments are sending them in the run-up to installing a new pay system for federal employees by December. They told the officials they were overworked, stressed, risking errors and needed more training. They pleaded with the department to slow down the project or hire more workers. The working conditions and backlog of files at the centre have been simmering issues for months but there has been a recent surge of complaints from public servants waiting weeks for pay. Unions estimate that hundreds of public servants including summer students face delayed payments. Public Works officials have so far insisted the project will continue as planned. In an with no name attached to it, officials insisted the department has no evidence of public servants facing widespread pay delays, and claimed the centre is meeting the same service standards it always has. Public Works Minister Diane Finley s office referred all questions back to the department. Some argue the project got off on the wrong foot when Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to put the long-promised pay centre in Miriamichi to make up for the jobs that would disappear when he closed the gun registry. Few experienced pay advisers moved to Miramichi and the government has had to train a new crop of advisers. But Savoie bristles at suggestions that the pay centre s problems may be linked to locating in Miramichi, an economic backwater. There are many instances in recent years where units in Ottawa didn t perform up to the task and no one said it was because it is in Ottawa. So you can t say this is because it is in Miramichi and no one wants to move there, he said. Savoie said the pay centre project is similar to the dozens of federal operations that then- Treasury Board president Jean Chrétien relocated to 24 smaller communities mostly Liberal ridings across the country as part of a sweeping decentralization plan announced in The public service successfully moved tax and service centres, from Bathurst, Shediac and Matane to Rimouski, Yarmouth and Thunder Bay. The department of Veterans Affairs was part of that wave, moving in 1983 from Ottawa to Charlottetown. They took on massive decentralization and made it work, and now dealing with one centre they can t make it work. I think it speaks to the state of the public service, not to Miramichi, said Savoie.
11 And if you can pick up a whole department and move it to Charlottetown and make it work, it shows the public service worked better than it does today and you have to ask why, said Savoie. Savoie said studies showed many of those relocated operations proved more efficient and even cheaper to run than if they had remained in Ottawa. They were remarkable success stories but we had confidence in the public service then and politicians trusted them to deliver the machinery and I don t think they have that anymore, said Savoie Tory senators take unusual steps to force vote on controversial union bill Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail, June 26, 2015 Conservative senators took the highly unusual step of overruling their own Speaker Friday in an effort to fo rce a controversial union disclosure bill into law before Parliament shuts down. Conservative Senator Leo Housakos who was appointed Speaker last month ruled Friday morning that the latest tactics of the government side aimed at blocking an opposition filibuster were against the rules of the Senate. Government Senate leader Claude Carignan says the auditor general's recommendations on expense claims will be addressed swiftly. Michael Ferguson is calling for independent oversight of senators' spending. But government leader Claude Carignan challenged the ruling and won. The challenge succeeded in a 32-to-17 vote. Five Conservative Senators abstained. In our rules, the final arbitrator of the rules is the Senate, Mr. Carignan told reporters in defending his move. The senator said the step was necessary because the opposition was using archaic procedural tactics to prevent a vote. The bill is now expected to come to a final vote early next week. Mr. Carignan predicted Friday that the bill will be approved and become law. Bill C-377 is a private member s bill from Conservative MP Russ Hiebert that would force unions to publicly disclose a wide range of financial information including salaries and expenses.
12 Supporters say it addresses concerns from union members who say they face intimidation if they ask for too much information from their leadership. Unions strongly oppose the law and argue that only union members should be able to view such information. Critics of the bill warn it will place unions at an unfair disadvantage during collective bargaining because management will have new insight into the financial situation of unions. The bill was previously blocked by the Senate two years ago and had not received much attention since. However in recent weeks, the Conservatives in the Senate have indicated that passing the bill is a priority. Opposition and some Conservative senators had been trying to talk out the clock, hoping to block the bill from passing before Parliament rises. Any bills that are not passed by that point will die because of the October federal election. Conservative Senator Don Plett chided the Liberal Senators, accusing them of wanting to block the bill so that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau can promote himself as the protector of big union bosses. Several unions have indicated they will run advertising against the Conservative Party in the runup to the federal election campaign. The fact that the bill is now poised to become law came as an unpleasant shock to unions that have been following the debate closely. Christopher Smillie, a senior adviser with Canada s Building Trades Unions, said the organization plans to fight the bill in court should it become law. We are extremely disappointed the Conservative government fundamentally changed the rules of the Senate to try and pass an offensive and unconstitutional bill, said Mr. Smillie in an . The larger issue behind Friday s dust up is the future of a long standing practice in the Senate that the government is only allowed to shut down debate on government bills, not private members bills like C-377. A proposal of this type could in the long term distort the basic structure of Senate business, the Speaker said in his ruling, which warned against establishing a farreaching precedent. Liberal Senator James Cowan, the leader of the opposition in the Senate, said it is highly unusual if not unprecedented the government side in the Senate to overrule a Speaker from the same party. Mr. Cowan claimed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pushing the bill behind the scenes.
13 The last act of this Parliament was Mr. Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, directing his Senators to break the rules of the Senate, he said. That s the message: That Mr. Harper makes the rules and if he doesn t like the rules that are there, he changes them PROJET DE LOI SYNDICAL Les conservateurs défient le président du Sénat Le Devoir, La Presse canadienne, le 26 juin 2015 Le bras de fer entourant un projet de loi controversé sur la transparence syndicale se poursuivait vendredi au Sénat. Les sénateurs conservateurs sont allés jusqu à renverser une décision du président Leo Housakos qui prévoyait la poursuite du débat sur le projet de loi C-377. Ils souhaitent adopter avant la dissolution de la Chambre cette mesure législative d initiative parlementaire qui obligerait les syndicats de travailleurs à rendre publiques leurs dépenses. Le comportement des sénateurs conservateurs a subjugué le leader de l opposition libérale au Sénat, James Cowan, ainsi que son collègue Serge Joyal. Selon le sénateur libéral, la majorité conservatrice est prête «à faire fi de toutes les règles pour imposer un projet de loi [ ] anticonstitutionnel» même si cela l oblige à adopter «une motion de censure contre son propre président», a-t-il déploré. Tout cela, pour un projet de loi que «sept provinces canadiennes vont attaquer devant les tribunaux» et que «tous les syndicats au Canada dénoncent», a soutenu M. Joyal en point de presse dans le foyer du Sénat, vendredi. Dissidente, la sénatrice conservatrice Diane Bellemare a voté avec les libéraux en défaveur de la motion qui renversait la décision du président Housakos. Car il était de son «devoir» de continuer à discuter d un projet de loi avec lequel «le Québec n est pas d accord» et qui n a pas été suffisamment bien ficelé, a-t-elle plaidé. «On n est pas là pour faire de l obstruction au gouvernement», a insisté Mme Bellemare en mêlée de presse.
14 «Mais dans le contexte des projets de loi de membres individuels, ils n ont pas la même rigueur, ils n ont pas été préparés avec la même rigueur», a fait valoir celle qui a été applaudie par les libéraux lorsqu elle a voté avec eux. Réactions partagées Le leader du gouvernement au Sénat, Claude Carignan, estime pour sa part que la population appuie l idée d imposer aux syndicats davantage de transparence. «Chaque Québécois, chaque Canadien, quand je lui demande s il est en faveur que les syndicats publient leurs dépenses et qu ils démontrent plus de transparence, tout le monde me dit oui», a-t-il affirmé. Et cela est «particulièrement» vrai au Québec, a ajouté M. Carignan. La démarche des sénateurs conservateurs a été jugée nécessaire par le ministre d État à la Petite entreprise, Maxime Bernier, qui souhaite l adoption du projet de loi. Et celui-ci n est pas antisyndical, comme le soutiennent ses détracteurs, mais bien «prosyndiqué», a lancé le député beauceron en entrevue téléphonique avec La Presse canadienne. Selon M. Bernier, les travailleurs qui paient leurs cotisations l appuient, car ils veulent savoir «ce que les chefs syndicaux font avec cet argent-là». L opposition à C-377 viendrait plutôt de ces derniers, à son avis : «Moi, je trouve un peu bizarre l acharnement des chefs syndicaux contre la transparence. Ils ont certainement quelque chose à cacher.» La sénatrice Bellemare a de son côté supputé sur le réel objectif du projet de loi, qui a été déposé par Russ Hiebert, un député conservateur de la Colombie-Britannique. «Officiellement, c est la transparence [ ]», mais comme «c est trop, comme transparence, on peut se poser la question qu effectivement, c est un projet de loi antisyndical», a-t-elle laissé tomber. Les libéraux se disaient prêts à continuer à débattre de C-377 jusqu à ce que le Parlement soit dissous pour les élections générales cet automne, si nécessaire
15 Senate using strong arm of majority to pass controversial Bill C-377 Rachel Aiello, The Hill Times, June 29, 2015 An attempted Liberal filibuster in the Senate to prevent controversial union disclosure Bill C-377 from passing was shameful, the bill s sponsor, Conservative backbench MP Russ Hiebert, said last week. But the bill will likely pass anyway after the Conservative majority in the Senate muscled it through to a vote that will likely take place early this week. After a week of posturing from Senate Liberals, promising to keep the /Upper Chamber held up all summer long in an attempt to prevent the controversial bill from becoming law, all efforts were deflated after the Conservatives in the Senate made an unprecedented procedural move. They used their majority to overrule Speaker Leo Housakos and proceed with a motion to limit debate and block any further motions to be put forward on Bill C-377, a procedural tactic usually reserved for government business. Senator Housakos ruled Friday that shutting down debate on a private member s bill would violate Senate principles. But Government Leader in the Senate Claude Carignan appealed to the Senate as a whole to overrule the Speaker s decision and won by a vote. Senator Housakos and Senator Diane Bellemare voted in favour of the Speaker s ruling and five other Conservatives abstained, but the rest supported Senator Carignan. The final vote on the bill is expected to come early this week, and so far the Conservative bench has been united with the exception of Senator Bellemare in voting against any motion on the bill, indicating they have the numbers to vote and pass it. Senator Carignan denied the vote was being whipped, and said Senators would be able to vote with their consciences. But already one of the Conservative Senators who voted to amend the bill last time it was before the Senate is saying he ll vote for the bill to pass this week. Senator Stephen Green told The Hill Times that he doesn t think it s the Senate s role to deny the House s will, even though he said he thinks the concerns about the bill s constitutionality may be accurate.
16 It s on the Order Paper, it s a good bill, well, it s not a great bill, he said. But in my view and in the view of many when we sent the bill back to the House of Commons amended we were doing our sober second thought, and we ve done that now. Liberal Leader James Cowan told reporters in the Senate foyer immediately after the Conservatives moved to proceed with their motion that he s hopeful some of the same brave soul Senators that voted against the bill the first time will again, but he s convinced it s not a free vote. He was outraged with the Conservatives move. We all have political pressures on us all the time but we have rules and if we stop respecting the rules and we start changing the rules because we can t win within them then we have chaos, he said. Prior to Speaker Housakos ruling that recommended a solution that would avoid setting a far-reaching precedent, he told The Hill Times that he would be okay with sitting until all remaining bills are dealt with. He called it abominable and disrespectful to the legislative process that the House and Senate can rise before dealing with all matters, but said it s up to the will of the majority. Sen. Carignan told reporters after the decision that the rules were very clear that the Senate as whole is the last arbitrator, and it s within the government s purview to determine how to apply the rules. Conservative Senate staffers circulated a handout in the Senate foyer Friday that read: Two Senate Committees, 21 hours in front of committee, 72 witnesses, 925 days in Senate. Bill C-377 is the epitome of a bill that has received its due diligence by Senators. It is now time for a democratic vote on Bill C-377. In an interview with The Hill Times about the procedural battle that took over the Senate s deliberations ahead of Friday s developments, Mr. Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, B.C.) said the Liberal Senators shouldn t be able to kill a bill that was passed by the House of Commons. He said those opposed can use the final vote on the bill to democratically express their opinion. It deserves to get a final vote in the Senate as opposed to being obstructed to death he said. At a time when the Senate is under tremendous scrutiny and pressure and probably at a low in its history in terms of the Canadian public s view of it, to have the Liberals [try to] prevent a final vote on a piece of legislation it s shocking. Mr. Hiebert said he had been speaking with his allies in the Senate throughout the week and there was tremendous support and encouragement coming from within the Conservative caucus to have their Senators fight to push the bill to a vote. He and other Conservative Senators The Hill Times spoke with denied any influence or instruction coming from the Prime Minister s Office.
17 The private member s bill formally titled an Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations) has been back and forth between the House and Senate for four years. It was the first private member s bill to proceed to the Senate this session, and could possibly be the last. Since picking it back up in April, the bill has been slowly rolling toward Royal Assent. As it neared the last leg of the legislative process, the Senate Liberals and one dissenting Conservative Senator, Diane Bellemare, began to put forward motions to amend the bill. If one had passed, it would have forced the bill to be sent back to the House, effectively killing it with Parliament not expected to return before it s dissolved for the federal election. Ms. Bellemare told The Hill Times she didn t put forward her amendment for strategic reasons and wouldn t comment on the internal politics. She just thinks it s a bad bill that oversteps provincial jurisdiction. So far, seven provinces have spoken out against the bill. She s been the only dissenting vote on the government side. Before the Conservatives made their move Friday, the opposition was under the impression the government wouldn t have the ability to force closure on debate on private member s bill, and they were ready to sit all summer long, unless they got the Conservatives to agree to end the session without a vote on the bill. The bill will force unions to file financial statements with the Canada Revenue Agency, disclosing spending details for public expenses over $5,000 and salaries of employees earning more than $100,000. It also would require spending on political activities like lobbying to be reported and posted publicly. For the Conservatives, the measures within the bill play directly to their base, and supporters argue that it s about fairness and transparency. Opponents argue that it goes too far and that the wording is too broad, saying it could ultimately face a charter challenge because it would apply to non-union labour groups like the Writers Guild of Canada or the NHL Players Association. The bill came back to the Senate at the start of the session but had been sitting on the Order Paper for 11 months before being called forward for debate. It was the second time the Senate studied the bill. The first time, in 2013, the amendments championed by now retired Conservative Senator Hugh Segal were made redundant when Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament. According to the Library of Parliament and the Senate Journals Branch, the Senate has not in recent history sat past the House to continue to deal exclusively with private member s bills.
18 Mr. Cowan said he s sure there was some frustration about continuing to sit after passing all the bills on the government s must list but there s an understanding that they have a job to do. Our choice is do we say we re not going to do our job and go home for the summer? Or do we stay and do our job? For me and for colleagues of mine in our caucus that s an easy choice, he said. Mr. Cowan criticized the government Senators for not doing theirs. While the chamber continues to deal with Bill C-377 next week, it s unlikely there will be much time for other business. It s possible the Senate could vote on Bill C-377 and then decide to rise before Canada day Conservative Senators Just Made A Shocking Move To Allow Themselves To Break The Rules By rewriting the rules they can force passage of a controversial bill. Paul McLeod, BuzzFeed Canada, June 26, 2015 A surprising scene played out in the Canadian Senate Friday. The Speaker, essentially the referee of the Senate, told the government it was breaking the rules, so the government ignored him and wrote its own rules. A surprising scene played out in the Canadian Senate Friday. The Speaker, essentially the referee of the Senate, told the government it was breaking the rules, so the government ignored him and wrote its own rules. As BuzzFeed Canada previously reported, Liberal Senators had been filibustering what they call a union-busting bill. In response, government Senate Leader Claude Carignan pushed a motion that would give his party the power to force the Liberals to stop talking, killing the filibuster. But Speaker Leo Housakos, who is also a Conservative, rejected his own party s motion. He ruled it was against the rules and violates the long-term interests of the Senate to maintain the integrity of its traditions especially open debate. The forceful ruling stated the government plan is not consistent with the basic principles of rule.
19 Seconds after Housakos delivered his ruling, Carignan announced the government was going to overturn it. In an extremely rare move, Carignan challenged the speaker s ruling and had the Conservative majority vote it down. This opens the door for Conservatives to shut down debate as early as next week. Liberals had been filibustering Bill C-377, a heavily criticized bill that would force unions and other groups to open up their books to the public. The Liberals knew they didn t have the votes to kill the bill, so instead they just kept debating it. As long as they kept talking, the bill couldn t come to a vote. The Liberals had vowed to keep this filibuster going all summer if necessary. The government has powerful tools to push forward on government business important legislation such as budgets. But C-377 falls under other business because it is a private member s bill from a Conservative backbench MP. Carignan wanted to have C-377 declared a government bill so that he could force it to a vote. The problem is that it clearly isn t government business. The government itself introduced it as other business. A government motion would have retroactively redefined C-377 as a government bill. This was the motion Speaker Housakos declared was against the rules and undermined the traditions of the Senate. By overruling Housakos, government senators can now use tools intended for government bills to push forward a private member s bill that many have warned is unconstitutional. We have rules," Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan said about overturning the ruling. "If we stop respecting the rules, if we start changing the rules because we can t win within the rules, then we have chaos. Seven provinces representing more than four-fifths of the population oppose Bill C-377. Groups ranging from medical associations to NHL players have warned they would be unfairly swept up in the scope of the bill. Not one province has written in support of this legislation. It invades privacy in an unprecedented way. It s just a bad law, said Cowan. Carignan defended the move to reporters by saying it s within the rules to challenge a speaker s ruling. He also insisted it should be up to him to decide what is and is not government business. It s up to the leader of the government to determine what is a government (bill), he said.
20 It s a dangerous precedent to review the discretion of the leader of the government to determine what is a government (bill). Speaker Housakos expressed disappointment but said there was nothing he could do about being overruled. I wish they would have supported the ruling, he said. But it s their choice. We live in a democracy. Challenging a speaker s ruling is not unprecedented but it is normally not done on such serious matters. Cowan said he can remember a speaker being overturned twice in the 10 years he s been a senator, and both times were for much smaller matters. By forcing the motion through, Carignan can now call time allocation on debate. This means the bill will likely go to a vote next week. Despite some Conservative senators opposing C-377, there appears to be a majority willing to pass the bill. The bill was already passed by Conservatives in the House of Commons, so once it is approved by the Senate it will receive royal assent and become law Architecture, heritage groups file lawsuit over communism memorial Federal lawsuit alleges National Capital Commission violated its own consultation process CBC News Ottawa, June 26, 2015 Heritage and architecture supporters have banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the proposed memorial to victims of communism, one day after the National Capital Commission unveiled plans for a smaller, less-intrusive version of the controversial monument. The lawsuit is being sought by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, who had previously spoken out against the monument, as well as local group Heritage Ottawa and architects Barry Padolsky and Shirley Blumberg. In a statement, the groups allege the NCC violated its own public consultation procedures as well as the National Capital Act in its "hasty" decision to begin preparations to decontaminate the memorial's site despite not having a finalized design in place.
21 They are asking that Thursday's decision by the NCC to decontaminate the proposed site of the memorial, located between the Supreme Court of Canada and Library and Archives Canada, be quashed, and that the NCC be temporarily prevented from breaking ground at the site. They add that they "do not oppose the commemorative intent of the memorial." The revamped memorial design, also unveiled Thursday by the NCC, would reduce the size of the memorial from covering 60 percent of the approved site to only 37 percent. As well, the height of the memorial would shrink from metres to eight metres Monument aux victimes du communisme: la CCN traînée en cour Julien Paquette, Le Droit, le 26 juin, 2015 La saga entourant le futur Monument aux victimes du communisme vient de prendre un nouveau tournant. Un groupe composé notamment d'architectes et de l'organisation Patrimoine Ottawa entame un recours en justice contre la Commission de la capitale nationale (CCN). Les plaignants dans cette affaire - les architectes Barry Padolsky et Shirley Blumberg, Patrimoine Ottawa et l'institut royal d'architecture du Canada - estiment que la CCN contrevient à la Loi sur la capitale nationale en préparant le site du monument avant que le design de celui-ci soit complété. Rappelons que le Monument aux victimes du communisme serait construit dans la cité judiciaire, soit sur le terrain de la Cour suprême du Canada, au nord de la rue Wellington. La Loi sur la capitale nationale forcerait la CCN à tenir des consultations publiques et obtenir des appuis importants pour le design du monument avant que le choix de l'emplacement ne soit officialisé, selon les plaignants. «On ne parle pas d'un sondage ou d'un concours de popularité. C'est vraiment une question de procédures, on veut que de réelles consultations aient lieu.» David Jeanes, président de Patrimoine Ottawa Selon M. Jeanes, construire le monument dans la cité judiciaire irait à l'encontre du plan de développement adopté par la CCN et le fédéral au cours des dernières années, un plan adopté à l'issue de nombreuses consultations.
22 «On espère que les tribunaux forceront la CCN à tenir ces consultations, mais surtout, nous croyons que ça donne une opportunité de reconsidérer la décision», soutient David Jeanes. Un peu comme la position adoptée par le conseil municipal de la Ville d'ottawa, les plaignants ne dénoncent pas la signification du monument, mais plutôt son emplacement. Patrimoine Ottawa propose notamment de construire le monument commémoratif aux victimes du communisme dans le Jardin des provinces et des territoires (situé à quelques pas de la cité judiciaire). «Nous n'avons rien contre le monument», insiste M. Jeanes. Ce dernier indique que Patrimoine Ottawa s'est joint aux actions de l'institut royal d'architecture du Canada et d'architectes de la capitale pour faire respecter la Loi sur la capitale nationale. Il soutient aussi que son organisation discute régulièrement avec ces partenaires, ce qui a facilité le regroupement dans ce dossier NCC reveals design for smaller Memorial to Victims of Communism Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, June 25, 2015 Work on the Memorial to the Victims of Communism will begin this summer only site decontamination for now, but a symbolic first shovel in the ground for a project with a lot of opponents. But the memorial that emerged Thursday is much smaller than the 14-metre-high work that was condemned as too big. The details: The new proposal covers 37 per cent of the site west of the Supreme Court of Canada, down from 60 per cent. It is likely to shrink a bit more, to about 33 per cent; There will be five folded sheets of steel called Memory Folds, down from seven; and they will reach a height of eight metres, not 14.3 m. The foot bridge (Bridge of Hope) will be five metres high, down from 11. The proposed elevator inside it is gone.
23 The whole project will be farther back from Wellington Street, nestled behind a natural earth berm that will reduce its impact on the street view, National Capital officials said at their board meeting Thursday. Extra trees will soften a view a bit more. Images will tell the story of people finding safety in Canada rather than portraying the Katyn Forest, where Soviet troops murdered thousands of Polish soldiers. But the basic shape and theme remain the same. So too does the disputed site, because the NCC says it was asked by Canadian Heritage to oversee a design for that location, not to choose a site. It s very customary to go through multiple iterations of a design for a monument, said NCC chief executive Mark Kristmanson, adding that the Memorial to the Victims of Communisn is still very much a work in progress. In 2013, federal officials announced the choice of this site, NCC chair Russell Mills said, though he said there was little controversy at the time. The government ultimately has the right to decide where these monuments go. They can overrule the NCC if it comes to that. Mills called it a better design, much less intrusive, adding, I voted against it primarily because I think it s premature to start the decontamination before we have an actual approved design. The final design is expected this summer. New Democratic MP Paul Dewar accused the Conservatives of adding five Tory-friendly directors to the NCC board. The new appointments were announced Wednesday three taking effect now and two more on July 1. Last night they decided to play the old game of stuffing their friends into a Crown corporation to get their way, Dewar said. He said this looks especially bad after the Senate scandal. It s old patronage politics, he said. He called the decontamination work the first step toward having this monument put in place. Dewar said the long-range vision plan passed by Parliament doesn t have room for this monument. The plan calls for another building in what is known as the Parliamentary and judicial precinct. And he called the memorial a monument to irony because the government is using heavy-handed tactics to remember the victims of totalitarian states. Catherine McKenna, the Liberal candidate in Ottawa Centre, attended the meeting and said that they are still going forward with the memorial in a location that people don t want, and as for the smaller size, I don t know that that changes anything.
24 She blames the federal government for not leaving the NCC the option of choosing a different site. It (the NCC) is not able to act in an independent way. She said there has been no consultation with the public, and even the agenda for Thursday s meeting was kept secret until this week. New National Capital Commission board member, Brian Coburn, a former cabinet minister with the Ontario Progressive Conservatives talks to an attendee of a public meeting at the HQ in Ottawa Thursday June 25, (Darren Brown/Ottawa Citizen) Kristmanson vigorously rejected suggestions of packing the board with Tories. We re in an election season and many things are being said that defy reality, he said. Mr. Mills and I had met with Minister (Pierre) Poilièvre about three months ago to say that we have had members in over-hold on our board (i.e., serving past their terms end) for more than a year, in some cases more than two years. There were also gaps in expertise, gender and language. There s no stacking of the board. When the chair and the CEO don t vote the same way on a motion, it shows we have a healthy organization, he said. (Mills voted against starting site remediation; Kristmanson voted for it.) The NCC s annual public meeting later on Thursday evening provided a forum where members of the public weighed in on a number of NCC matters, though numerous questions and statements surrounded the contentious memorial, including representatives from two Canadian veterans groups. If the national capital is for the enjoyment of all Canadians, why was there no meaningful public debate or consultation process with input from veterans and veterans organizations? said Jerry Kovacs, the Ottawa director of Canadian Veterans Advocacy. John Jewitt, an aboriginal veteran and Ontario director of the national Aboriginal Veterans organization, said the Memorial to the Victims of Communism will overshadow the National War Memorial. The National War Memorial should be the de facto monument, said Jewitt. Everything should be of a smaller size. I would like that to remain as the standard. The original Memorial to the Victims of Communism was larger than the National War Memorial, but the new proposal announced Thursday afternoon make it roughly threequarters the size of the war monument. Other speakers, including Dewar and McKenna, questioned the NCC s consultation process, including how it appears to have ignored its own internal advisory board, which recommended not using the land for any type of memorial, but for a new judicial building.
25 Kristmanson reaffirmed that the NCC did consult with the public throughout the memorial s planning process, citing Thursday evening s meeting as an example. The victims of communism memorial, wherever it may be, whatever it ends up looking like, will represent a dynamic and vibrant public debate, he said Thursday night. Left unresolved is the question of what happens if a future government wants to put a building on the memorial site. The NCC s planners have already been looking at this. One option, they said at the meeting, is to wrap the new building around the east side of the memorial, so that the footbridge of the monument would form a terrace adjoining the new building. But they say that the scaled-down plan unveiled Thursday is also small enough to fit on a smaller piece of land a little to the west of the currently planned site. One NCC director spoke out against the choice of memorial site. There must be a building built on this some day, said Norman Hotson, an architect from Vancouver. He said the whole memorial feels as if it were plopped into a convenient location. The three newest board members Basil Stewart of Summerside, PEI; Victor Brunette of Gatineau; and former Cumberland Mayor Brian Coburn all voted to go ahead with site decontamination Le monument rétrécit, la controverse gonfle Paul Gaboury, Le Droit, le 25 juin 2015 Loin de s'estomper, la controverse entourant le projet de Monument aux victimes du communisme a monté d'un autre cran, jeudi, lorsque le conseil d'administration de la Commission de la capitale nationale (CCN) - changé avec l'arrivée de trois nouveaux directeurs nommés la veille par le gouvernement Harper - a approuvé la décontamination du site situé non loin de la Cour suprême du Canada. Le président de la CCN, Russell Mills, a voté contre, tout comme deux autres directeurs. «Je pense que le vote sur la décontamination aurait pu attendre après l'été parce que nous n'avons pas encore approuvé le projet final», a expliqué le président Mills. Juste avant le vote, la direction de la CCN a présenté de nombreuses modifications au projet, dont l'ampleur a été passablement réduite. Le monument occupera 37% du site,
26 comparativement à 60% dans le concept d'origine, tandis que sa hauteur globale sera réduite de moitié. Les membres du conseil d'administration devraient se prononcer sur un projet final plus tard, possiblement lors d'une réunion spéciale cet été. Pendant les discussions, certains ont avancé l'hypothèse qu'un site plus à l'ouest, adjacent à Bibliothèque et Archives canada, soit plutôt retenu. Mais la discussion n'a pas été vraiment plus loin lors des débats. Le premier dirigeant de la CCN, Mark Kristmanson, a expliqué que les promoteurs, de même que les ministères impliqués dans le projet, n'avaient pas demandé de changement de site, si bien que la société d'état devait poursuivre le processus d'approbation afin de respecter l'échéancier prévu. Vive opposition La présentation a eu lieu devant une salle comble, incluant plusieurs opposants au projet, dont un groupe de vétérans. Dès la fin de la réunion du conseil, le député néo-démocrate Paul Dewar et son collègue libéral Mauril Bélanger ont dénoncé le vote sur la décontamination, de même que la décision du gouvernement Harper de nommer cinq nouveaux directeurs à la veille de cette réunion. «C'est une décision inacceptable» a lancé le député d'ottawa-vanier, Mauril Bélanger. Il va falloir que les gens parlent plus fort pour exprimer leur désaccord avec le site. Dans ma circonscription, 90% des gens sont en désaccord.» «Après la controverse avec le Sénat, on aurait pu s'attendre à des changements, a poursuivi le député d'ottawa-centre, Paul Dewar. Mais avec les conservateurs, c'est toujours le même vieux patronage. Ils nomment des gens qui défendent leur agenda politique à des conseils d'administration comme celui de la CCN. Ces gens-là devraient plutôt défendre les intérêts de tous les Canadiens.» Parmi les nouveaux venus: Victor Brunette, de Gatineau; Brian Coburn, de Navan; et Basil Stewart, de Summerside. Ils ont tous été nommés pour quatre ans. Arrivés à la fin de leur mandat, Richard Jennings et Jacquelin Holzman ont quitté la table du conseil. Ces nominations surviennent le jour même où la CCN doit présenter une mise à jour dans le controversé dossier du monument qui doit être érigé sur la rue Wellington, non loin de la Cour suprême. Une décision doit également être prise au sujet de la décontamination du site devant l'accueillir. L'emplacement suscite la controverse dans la capitale depuis déjà plusieurs mois. Plusieurs groupes doivent d'ailleurs participer à l'assemblée publique du conseil de la CCN, jeudi après-midi.
27 Consultations sur les commémorations La Commission de la capitale nationale (CCN) a donné son aval à la tenue consultations publiques pour un plan visant l'aménagement et le choix des emplacements pour les commémorations militaires à Ottawa. Les consultations devraient débuter prochainement. Ce plan est le premier de trois plans de commémoration que la CCN souhaite élaborer en consultation avec le public. Un deuxième plan portera sur les commémorations sociales, culturelles et scientifiques, alors que le troisième regroupera les commémorations historiques et politiques. «Ce plan donne une vision à long terme des monuments commémoratifs militaires de la capitale du Canada, ancrée par le parcours commémoratif d'importance symbolique et historique», a expliqué le premier dirigeant de la CCN, Mark Kristmanson. Le c.a. de la CCN a aussi donné son accord de principe à l'agrandissement du 22e étage de l'hôtel Westin, situé dans le centre-ville d'ottawa. Même s'il reste encore plusieurs détails à régler, l'agrandissement permettra à l'hôte de 25 étages de procéder aux travaux en prévision des célébrations du 150e anniversaire de la Confédération, en Fonctionnaires fédéraux: des millions en heures supplémentaires Annabelle Blais, La Presse, le 28 juin, 2015 Ces dernières années, les 20 fonctionnaires cumulant le plus grand nombre d'heures supplémentaires ont coûté plus de 2 millions par année à l'état, selon des données obtenues par La Presse grâce à la Loi sur accès à l'information. En , les 20 fonctionnaires ayant réclamé le plus d'heures supplémentaires ont coûté près de 2,3 millions au trésor public et 2,7 millions l'année suivante. Les données, encore partielles, allant d'avril 2014 à janvier 2015 font état de 2,1 millions. Certains cas précis font sourciller Aaron Wudrick, directeur de la Fédération canadienne des contribuables. «Certains de ces chiffres sont énormes et tout simplement scandaleux», dit-il. Les documents obtenus par La Presse permettent notamment de constater qu'un employé de la Défense nationale, dont le salaire était de $, a déclaré 2249 heures supplémentaires. En argent, cela représente une somme de $, à laquelle s'ajoute un paiement «autre» de $. Cet employé a donc empoché $ pour l'année
28 Selon le Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor du Canada (SCT), ces paiements «autres» comprennent les indemnités, les primes, la rémunération au rendement, la rémunération d'intérim, les arriérés de paiement et tout autre paiement forfaitaire. Toujours en , un employé de Santé Canada a travaillé 2674 heures en plus de ses heures régulières. Il a ainsi touché $ en plus de $ en paiement «autre», soit presque autant que son salaire de $. Cet employé a donc gagné $, cette année-là. «Certains de ces coûts sont extrêmement élevés. Cet employé a fait presque autant que le premier ministre», ajoute Aaron Wudrick. Le premier ministre Stephen Harper a gagné environ $ l'an dernier. «Gestion minutieuse» Le gouvernement assure faire une «gestion minutieuse» des heures supplémentaires. «On n'encourage généralement pas les employés à faire des heures supplémentaires, dans la fonction publique fédérale», a expliqué par courriel Mike Gosselin, porte-parole du SCT. La plupart des employés sont en mesure de terminer leur travail durant les heures normales de travail. Toutefois, à l'occasion, et au besoin, il faut faire des heures supplémentaires.» M. Gosselin explique que le personnel infirmier représente environ 30 % des employés qui effectuent le plus d'heures supplémentaires. Ce sont par exemple des infirmières qui travaillent en régions éloignées dans les villages autochtones. Chaque année depuis 2006, Santé Canada verse d'ailleurs près de 20 millions, en moyenne, en heures supplémentaires pour tous ces employés. Plusieurs employés de La Garde côtière effectuent également des heures supplémentaires, tout comme ceux des Services partagés, qui travaillent dans les centres de données et de télécommunications. Ces employés doivent souvent être disponibles sur appel. «Les inspecteurs de grains peuvent faire des heures supplémentaires pendant les périodes de pointe pour assurer le transport des grains et le soutien de l'économie du Canada», ajoute M. Gosselin. Le Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor a refusé de confirmer à La Presse si le plan d'action économique pour la réduction du déficit, qui s'est traduit par des compressions dans les effectifs de la fonction publique, a eu une influence sur les heures supplémentaires réclamées. Des exceptions, selon le syndicat L'Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada, le syndicat représentant les fonctionnaires, n'a pas d'information à ce sujet, mais elle souligne que l'abolition de postes a certainement eu un impact sur le moral des employés. «On a aboli des postes, mais la charge de travail n'a pas été réduite, explique le vice-président du syndicat, Chris Aylward. Le moral est au plus bas, et même si certains employés sont bien payés en
29 heures supplémentaires, l'argent ne remplace pas une vie équilibrée ou le temps en famille.» Il ajoute que les employés qui gagnent $ en une année ne sont certainement pas représentatifs des employés de la fonction publique. «Ce sont des anomalies. Nos études démontrent que le salaire de la plupart des employés de la fonction publique, particulièrement les techniciens, est bien plus bas que dans le secteur privé.» Letter to The Windler Morden Voice, Winkler Manitoba, June 2015
30 Éditorial : La grisaille est finie Pierre Jury, Le Droit, le 23 juin 2015 Les dernières années ont été difficiles pour la fonction publique fédérale. Dans les tours à bureau à Ottawa et à Gatineau, c'était la grisaille. Dans une atmosphère de réduction des effectifs de l'état basé sur le mérite plus que l'ancienneté, c'était chacun pour soi. Menacés de perdre leur emploi, les fonctionnaires se sont collectivement mis en mode «prudence». L'effet combiné de tout cela s'est fait sentir dans tous les secteurs de l'économie. On arrête d'acheter des maisons parce qu'on ne sait pas si on aura un emploi dans six mois ou un an. On espère que les pneus de l'auto feront une saison de plus, et changer le pare-brise fendu attendra l'année prochaine. Même chose à la maison : la cure de Jouvence du salon, la salle de bain dont l'on rêve, tout cela peut être mis sur la glace. C'est ainsi que se bâtissent des récessions. Les leaders politiques envoient des messages d'austérité et des communautés entières sombrent dans une spirale descendante qui commence par la prudence et finit par une crise économique. Cet amaigrissement de l'état fédéral, ce n'était pas un rêve. Les statistiques sont là pour le démontrer, noir sur blanc. Il y avait fonctionnaires lorsque Stephen Harper a formé son premier gouvernement, en janvier Cela a gonflé à en 2010 ; il n'y en a plus que en Ce sont des données du Conseil du Trésor. Mais est-ce vraiment le cas? Et si on avait confondu État fédéral et Ottawa-Gatineau? De nouvelles données émanant de l'enquête sur la population active, par Statistique Canada, peignent un portrait bien plus optimiste. À Ottawa-Gatineau, personnes travaillaient pour le fédéral en Aujourd'hui, ils sont Du côté d'ottawa, ils étaient en 2005, ils sont maintenant Du côté de Gatineau, ils étaient en 2005 ; ils sont maintenant (Au-delà de ces questions démographiques, les observateurs ont traditionnellement été plus intéressés à une statistique beaucoup plus politique. Il s'agit de la proportion d'emplois entre Ottawa et Gatineau, le fameux quotient que le fédéral n'a jamais
31 réussi à respecter. Les dernières données de Statistique Canada, datant de 2014, estimaient le ratio à 79,4-20,6.) Si les emplois du fédéral à Ottawa-Gatineau ont crû de à en une décennie, comment justifie-t-on alors tout le discours alarmiste que la population locale a enduré pendant cinq ans? Comment accepter le fait que les pouvoirs publics ont jeté Ottawa-Gatineau dans les bras d'une récession? Oh, il y a bel et bien eu des coupures dans l'administration fédérale. Mais les plus récents chiffres de Statistique Canada indiquent bien que l'emploi au fédéral a redémarré. Et qu'il atteint aujourd'hui des niveaux supérieurs à ce qu'ils étaient avant la grande récession de Il est donc temps de réaliser que nous avons définitivement tourné la page sur cette récession et sur la cure d'amaigrissement du fédéral. Mais voilà, il faut toujours plus de temps pour sortir d'une récession que pour s'y plonger. Il est temps de reprendre le discours de la croissance et de la prospérité. À l'instar d'un Gilles Desjardins, par exemple, avec son ambitieux mais controversé projet de tours dans le quartier du Musée ; il a sans doute mieux lu le marché que bien des prophètes de malheur. Il est temps de dire de bonnes choses sur l'économie d'ottawa-gatineau et se sortir de cette spirale de prudence Conservative backbencher s Reform Act passed by Senate despite objections by some Tory senators Joan Bryden, Canadian Press, The Globe and Mail, June 23, 2015 A Conservative backbencher s controversial effort to rebalance power between MPs and party leaders is on its way to becoming law after surviving a stiff challenge in the Senate. Michael Chong s Reform Act passed in the upper house late Monday by a vote of 38-14, with four abstentions. Chong sat in the gallery to watch the nerve-wracking finale to his 19-month crusade to empower MPs and dilute the power of party leaders.
32 It was surreal, I couldn t believe that it was actually taking place, he said in an interview moments after the final vote. We weren t sure when the vote was going to take place... or if at all. There was a real risk that the bill was going to be filibustered out and that didn t happen. Chong was thrilled with the outcome and predicted it will mean MPs will be able to do a better job representing their constituents. It will lead to freer votes in the House of Commons, where members of Parliament can, on occasion, break ranks with their party to represent their constituents views and that is a significant change from the status quo. Among other things, the act is designed to give MPs in a party caucus the power to trigger a leadership review, and to subsequently vote to oust their leader. Two Conservative senators, David Wells backed by Denise Batters, introduced an amendment last week that would have neutered that specific part of the private member s bill. Passing the amendment would have effectively killed the bill, since it would have forced it back to the House of Commons, which adjourned last week in advance of an anticipated October election. Wells amendment was rejected Monday by a vote of But about a dozen Conservative senators who strenuously opposed the bill continued to try several more procedural manoeuvres to block it. Sen. Yonah Martin moved to adjourn final debate on the bill until Tuesday. That motion was defeated by a vote of Then Batters moved another amendment. After brief, acrimonious debate, that amendment was also defeated by a vote of Finally, opponents allowed the bill to be put to a vote. In addition to giving MPs control over their leader s fate, Chong s bill will give them the power to expel and reinstate colleagues from their caucus, currently the preserve of party leaders. It will also give them the power to select their caucus chairperson. In a bid to win all-party support in the House of Commons, Chong watered down some elements of his original bill. He agreed, for instance, to drop a proposal to strip leaders of their power to determine who can run as a candidate for their parties. Instead, the bill now requires each party to designate a person or entity to approve nominations, leaving the possibility that the leader will continue to call the shots.
33 He also agreed to subject all elements of the bill to a vote by each party s caucus after each election. They could choose to adopt the rules, modify them, or go with the status quo. Chong said the bill would not have passed either the Commons or the Senate without the changes, some of which he insisted actually strengthened the legislation. It demonstrates that multi-party support can be built to reform Parliament, he said. But while Chong was celebrating, a fellow Conservative backbencher, Russ Hiebert, was expressing outrage that his own private member s bill appears doomed in the Senate. Hiebert sent an to his caucus colleagues, obtained by The Canadian Press, in which he said he s learned that Conservative senators have decided to adjourn the Senate on Tuesday without voting on his bill. This is outrageous!, Hiebert wrote. To walk away now is inexcusable. Hiebert s bill would require labour unions to publicly disclose how they spend their money. The bill, which has been widely denounced as unconstitutional, has been stalled for days during third reading debate as Liberal senators attempt to run out the clock Lac-Mégantic: le fédéral dépose de nouvelles accusations Hugo de Granpré, La Presse, le 22 juin 2015 (Ottawa) De nouvelles accusations ont été déposées contre des individus et des compagnies impliqués dans le déraillement meurtrier de Lac-Mégantic, dont l'exprésident de la Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA), Robert Grindrod. Ces accusations ont été portées en vertu de la Loi sur la sécurité ferroviaire et de la Loi sur les pêches, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement fédéral par voie de communiqué. Une enquête menée par Transports Canada en vertu de la Loi sur la sécurité ferroviaire a conclu que le nombre de freins à main serrés pour immobiliser le train était insuffisant et que la résistance des freins à main au déplacement du train n'avait pas été vérifiée convenablement.
34 Une autre enquête, menée par Environnement Canada, portait sur la violation de l'interdiction d'immerger ou de rejeter une substance nocive - ou d'en permettre l'immersion ou le rejet - dans des eaux où vivent des poissons. Deux chefs d'accusation ont été déposées en vertu de la Loi sur la sécurité ferroviaire contre chacun des individus ou groupes suivants : Montréal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co., Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Railway Ltd, Robert C. Grindrod, Lynne Ellen I. Labonté, Kenneth I. Strout, Thomas Harding, Jean Demaître et Mike Horan. Des accusations ont aussi été déposées contre neuf personnes en vertu de la Loi sur les pêches. L'ensemble de ces accusations pourrait entraîner l'imposition d'amendes pouvant atteindre un million de dollars et des peines d'emprisonnement maximales de six mois. Les accusés doivent comparaître devant le tribunal de Lac-Mégantic le 12 novembre Ces dernières accusations s'ajoutent aux autres chefs de négligence criminelle causant la mort qui avaient été déposés en mai 2014 contre trois employés de la MMA, Thomas Harding, Richard Labrie et Jean Demaître. M. Harding était l'ingénieur de la locomotive, M. Labrie était le contrôleur ferroviaire et M. Demaître, le contrôleur de l'exploitation. L'accident ferroviaire survenu à Lac-Mégantic le 6 juillet 2013 a fait 47 victimes lorsqu'un convoi rempli de pétrole brut exploité par la MMA a explosé en plein coeur du centre-ville. La compagnie a depuis fait faillite. - Avec Jasmin Lavoie et la Presse canadienne Ottawa lays new charges in Lac-Mégantic disaster Eric Atkins, The Globe and Mail, June 22, 2015 The federal government has laid new charges over the 2013 oil-train explosion in Lac- Mégantic, Que., that killed 47 people. Transport Canada and Environment Canada did not immediately name the people or parties charged, nor provide details on the alleged violations of the Railway Safety Act and the Fisheries Act.
35 The actions taken by the government of Canada in response to this tragedy is a testament to its efforts to continually improve both environmental security and rail safety for all Canadians, the government said in a statement on Monday. The government said its probe under the Fisheries Act was related to the release of a deleterious substance into fish-bearing waters of Lac-Mégantic and the Chaudière River. In July, 2013, an unattended Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway oil train rolled into the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic and exploded, levelling much of the downtown. An investigation by Transport Canada found not enough hand brakes were set on the train, which was parked on a grade. According to a public-health report on the disaster, the explosion of the 72-tank-car train released 5.5 million litres of crude and contaminated 560,000 tonnes of soil, in addition to destroying 44 buildings. The train s engineer, Tom Harding, and two other railway employees, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, were charged last year with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death. The Canadian subsidiary of bankrupt MM&A faces similar charges. The U.S. railway quickly went bankrupt. A $430-million settlement for victims families is currently before Quebec courts for approval. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., which hauled the oil from North Dakota to Montreal before handing it over to MM&A, is the lone party to refuse to contribute to the fund. Calgary-based CP argued in a Quebec court last week it played no part in the disaster, and that the provincial court has no jurisdiction on the matter. If CP is successful, the payouts to victims families could be delayed by years. Governments and transport regulators in Canada and the United States responded to the disaster by implementing tougher safety regulations for dangerous goods trains, including phasing out older tank cars and speed limits. Since Lac-Mégantic, there have been several other explosions of oil trains, raising concerns the fast-paced rise in oil moving by rail cannot be managed safely
36 Feds' VoIP phone plan could have security holes, says expert Government hopes to save $29M by getting rid of landlines CBC News Ottawa, June 23, 2015 Last week's cyberattack on federal government websites is raising concerns about the government's plan to switch many of its landlines over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones. According to Shared Services Canada, more than 120,000 traditional landlines have already been removed or replaced with VoIP technology, which uses a high-speed internet connection as a phone line instead of a regular analog line. Shared Services says the government hopes to save $29 million this year by making the switch. But those savings come with a potential cost, according to David Skillicorn with the School of Computing at Queen's University. "(VoIP) is, at this moment, a little bit easier to hack. If you want to hack somebody's local telephone call you have to climb up a pole and clip things onto the wire," said Skillicorn. "The security technology is catching up, but slowly." Because of those potential security weaknesses, federal departments where secure communication is a high priority won't be ditching their landlines any time soon, Skillicorn added. Hacker collective Anonymous has claimed responsibility for last week's attacks, which briefly blacked out websites belonging to the Senate, the Department of Justice and Canada's spy agencies, CSEC and CSIS. Anonymous claimed the attack was launched to protest Bill C-51, the government's recently passed anti-terror bill. No personal information or sensitive government was compromised by the hack, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said shortly afterwards
37 Another critic of gay marriage ascends to Ontario s highest court Sean Fine, The Globe and Mail, June 24, 2015 A critic of gay marriage has been promoted to Ontario s highest court the third such judge chosen by the Conservative government since December for the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Conservative government chose Justice Bradley Miller, a former University of Western Ontario law professor, for the Ontario Court of Appeal after he spent just six months on the province s Superior Court. During that time, he has written no published rulings by which to appraise his abilities as a judge, according to a Globe and Mail search of the legal websites CanLII and Quicklaw. Justice Minister Peter MacKay has not publicly announced Justice Miller s appointment, but the appeal court confirmed for The Globe it happened last Friday. Justice Miller is the court s second adherent of a legal doctrine known as originalism, a view associated with conservative judges Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court, which says constitutions should be interpreted according to how their founders intended. The appeal court s other supporter of originalism is Justice Grant Huscroft, another Western law professor appointed directly to the appeal court last December, at the same time that Justice Miller was named to the Superior Court. Both Justice Miller and Justice Huscroft have made the originalist argument in their published work that the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not explicitly protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, and that therefore the Supreme Court of Canada was wrong to have read such protection into the document. When he was in opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made that same argument. The Supreme Court has expressly rejected such use of originalism in favour of the living tree view that the law changes with the times. There are 21 judges on the court of appeal; they usually sit in panels of three. Another judge appointed to the appeal court at the same time as Justice Huscroft in December David Brown represented a traditional-family group arguing against gay marriage in the 2003 case in which the Ontario Court of Appeal legalized gay marriage in the province. (Justice Miller also represented a religious group arguing against gay marriage in that case.) Grégoire Webber, the Canada Research Chair in public law and philosophy of law at Queen s University, co-edited a book of essays with Justices Huscroft and Miller. For a
38 government not unjustifiably sometimes said to be anti-intellectual, it is noteworthy that it has appointed two academics to the Ontario Court of Appeal, he said. But some observers say leading academics who support the protection of civil liberties using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have no chance at being appointed. It is crazy that commitment to values that are central to the Canadian legal order is considered a disqualification for judicial appointment by this government, said David Dyzenhaus, a University of Toronto professor of law and philosophy who is currently the Arthur Goodhart visiting professor in legal science at Cambridge University in England. Clarissa Lamb, a spokesperson for Mr. MacKay, said in an All judicial appointments are based on merit and legal excellence and on recommendations made by the 17 Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada. In published essays when he was still a professor, Justice Miller said gay marriage in Canada is a new orthodoxy, and anyone who disagrees is treated as a bigot. He also said the only parental defence to public school curricula full of positive references to same-sex marriage is to pull children out of the public system. He also wrote in his conclusion to a 2011 essay on gay marriage: To the extent that the conception of marriage that is reflected in the law is morally defective, it makes it more difficult for people to understand genuine marriage and to develop the dispositions and character necessary to participate in it. In the sentence immediately before the conclusion, he lumped gay marriage in with polygamy: It only makes sense that policies that tend to undermine the norms of marital permanence and exclusivity as same-sex marriage, polygamous marriage, and polyamorous unions arguably do ought to be avoided. Prof. Dyzenhaus is familiar with Justice Miller s writings. The real argument is that same-sex sexual relationships are unnatural, i.e., immoral or sinful, he said. Prof. Webber disagreed with Prof. Dyzenhaus s interpretation. I think the passage unobjectionable and easily agreed to by all: We need the right conception of marriage to provide each one of us with the right choices. Those who fought for same-sex marriage employed this very argument Controversial judicial appointment in Ontario By Gail J. Cohen, Legal Feeds Blog, Canadian Lawyer, June 24, 2015
39 The Federal government has elevated Justice Bradley Miller to the Ontario Court of Appeal after only six months on the Superior Court bench. Newly appointed Ontario appeal court Justice Bradley Miller has some controversial views on same-sex marriage. While there s no official press release of the controversial appointment, Clarissa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the minister of justice, confirmed the appointment effective immediately. Lamb said Miller is replacing Justice Gloria Epstein, who became a supernumerary judge on Jan. 1. Miller, a former law professor at Western University, has been vocal about what he perceives as an attack on those who reject same-sex marriage in Canada. Last year, while he was still a law professor, he wrote to the Law Society of Upper Canada in support of Trinity Western University s bid for accreditation. If LSUC determines that the acceptance of a particular form of marriage is in fact a precondition to participation in public life, we must consider what consequences there will be for those existing member of LSUC who cannot, in good conscience, affirm that conception, Miller wrote. Is LSUC prepared to impose statements of belief on its membership? The condemnation of TWU s code of conduct would end, logically, in the code of belief to be imposed on the LSUC membership, he added. The LSUC voted not to accredit TWU due to its community covenant that effectively bans sexual intimacy between same sex couples. The university is challenging that decision at the Divisional Court. Miller has written in other places saying the rejection of same-sex marriage has been likened to bigotry, which he said harms freedom of expression. The formal effect of the judicial decisions (and subsequent legislation) establishing same-sex civil marriage in Canada was simply that persons of the same-sex could now have the government recognize their relationships as marriages. But the legal and cultural effect was much broader, he wrote in a 2012 essay. What transpired was the adoption of a new orthodoxy: that same-sex relationships are, in every way, the equivalent of traditional marriage, and that same-sex marriage must therefore be treated identically to traditional marriage in law and public life. Although Miller has spoken out in this area, Toronto appellate lawyer Allan Rouben says there s nothing to suggest the appointment was ideologically motivated. The assumption appears to be that the appointment is ideologically motivated, Rouben says. There are a whole range of factors that go into the judicial appointment process. He had an impressive academic career and there s nothing to say that isn t the predominant factor in the first place, he adds.
40 In Quebec, Superior Court Justice Jacques Fournier, who has been the court s associate chief justice has been appointed its chief justice. Fournier, who became associate chief justice in 2013, is replacing Justice François Rolland. He was appointed as puisne judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in 2011 and judge of the Superior Court of Quebec in Fournier was also an instructor at Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Montréal. Justice Eva Petras becomes the new associate chief justice, effective June 30. She was first appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec in Before becoming a judge, Petras practised family law and litigation at Eva Petras law firm. Prior to launching her own firm, she practised at MacKenzie Gervais from 1981 to 1986 and Lapointe Rosenstein from 1986 to She has also been a lecturer in family law at McGill University s Faculty of Law. Earlier in the month, New Brunswick Justice Raymond French, a judge of the Court of Queen s Bench was appointed to the province s court of appeal, He replaces Justice B. R. Bell, who was appointed to the Federal Court. French was first appointed to the Court of Queen s Bench in Before his appointment, he was a lawyer with Patterson Palmer in Saint John. Replacing French on the Court of Queen s Bench Trial Division is Richard Petrie. Prior to his appointment, Petrie worked as a lawyer with Stewart McKelvey in Fredericton SCC strikes down feds law on marijuana By Cristin Schmitz, The Lawyers Weekly, June 26, 2015 issue The Supreme Court s invalidation of medicinal marijuana regulations marks the court s latest refusal to uphold measures that reflect a total disconnect between a law s professed positive aims and its Charter-violating effects. According to the top court s Charter jurisprudence, judges may strike down laws as arbitrary if the law s impugned measures limit life, liberty or security of the person protected by s. 7 of the Charter in a way that has no connection to, or contradicts, the laws purposes.
41 A recent example was Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society  S.C.J. No. 44, which invalidated the Harper government s refusal to exempt a Vancouver safe injection site from drug possession laws. In another drug law ruling June 11 in R. v. Smith  S.C.J. No. 34, the Supreme Court held 7-0 that part of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations which restrict sick people to using medical marijuana in its dried form (which can only be smoked or vaporized) contradicted the law s objectives of promoting Canadians health and safety. According to evidence, some of it from Health Canada itself, forms of marijuana or its derivatives that can be eaten or applied topically are as medically beneficial as dried marihuana, and sometimes more beneficial. Dried cannabis, when smoked, can lead to bronchitis and cancer. We are left with a total disconnect between the limit on liberty and security of the person imposed by the [law s] prohibition and its object, the court held in a per curiam judgment. This renders it arbitrary. The court went on to declare that the too narrow, or under-inclusive regulations, which only exempt from prosecution possession of dried marijuana, are of no force or effect to the extent that they prohibit a person with a medical authorization for marijuana from possessing cannabis derivatives for medical purposes. The Supreme Court s rejection of Ottawa s request to suspend the declaration of invalidity to give Parliament time to come up with a legislative response is a welcome development in the area of Charter remedies, said Nader Hasan of Toronto s Ruby Shiller, co-counsel with Gerald Chan for the intervener Criminal Lawyers Association. Over the years, the Supreme Court has strayed somewhat from the leading Charter remedies case of Schachter v. Canada  S.C.J. No. 68, which identified three types of cases for which suspended declarations are appropriate, Hasan said. An additional rationale seems to have emerged, although the court has not acknowledged it explicitly, and that was a doctrine of deference to Parliament to the effect that declarations of invalidity should be suspended to give legislators time to act. That rationale and justification for suspended declarations in the area of criminal law in my view, is particularly weak, Hasan said. He added it is unfair to continue to prosecute and punish people pursuant to constitutionally defective laws. Smith also sends a strong message that the government has really got to stop legislating solutions in search of a problem, he said. There is no problem with medicinal marijuana and there is no problem with people who are in need of medical help using non-dried marijuana. So to legislate this distinction between dried and non-dried smacks of ideology-driven policy-making, and it is not rooted in the evidence.
42 The key to the successful s. 7 Charter challenge was that the defence built a strong evidentiary record to show that marijuana derivatives have medical benefits, Hasan noted. Constitutional litigation is not simply built on soaring rhetorical principles. It s built on evidence, he said. Government cannot brazenly assert that a given measure has a beneficial purpose. If it is going to make that assertion, it has to back it up with evidence, and the evidence was lacking in this case. Counsel for the intervener British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Jason Gratl of Vancouver s Gratl & Company, said the Conservative government, like its Liberal predecessor, has been hanging on to the residual sensibility that marijuana should be as illegal as possible, thus prompting an unreasonable and parsimonious approach to what constitutes reasonable access to medical marijuana. (The blanket ban against medical use of marijuana was struck down by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in R. v. Parker  O.J. No ) In Smith, the Supreme Court ruled that people with medical authorizations can use marijuana derivatives. So that opens up the supply question, Gratl said. It occurs to me that there are three potential sources of supply: (1) authorized users can bake their own goods or derive their own derivatives; (2) the government can enact regulations to provide reasonable access to marijuana derivatives in addition to dried marihuana; or (3) a niche gray market for marijuana derivatives would be created that is, practically speaking, difficult to prosecute because there is no lawful supply, and there is always a potential that persons who unlawfully supply people who are lawfully entitled to possess marijuana may have a good defence to criminal charges. He noted the regulations the court struck down were replaced in 2013 by a mail-order licensing and prescription regime which has yet to be modified to allow for home delivery of marijuana derivatives. It s entirely irrational not to extend the regime to allow doctors to decide what type of marijuana will be medicinal, Gratl argued. It s perfectly predictable that police forces will be less likely to take an interest in investigating marijuana-derivative suppliers, and prosecutors will be less enthusiastic about prosecuting the cases, and judges may have a reasonable basis to declare invalid the trafficking provisions of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) as they apply to medical marijuana supply. The federal government did not provide evidence or arguments that convinced the court, pursuant to s. 1 of the Charter, to uphold the s. 7 Charter violation as reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. The Supreme Court concluded the same disconnect between the law s effects and its objective frustrated the s. 1 requirement that a limit on a Charter right must be rationally connected to a pressing objective before it can be upheld.
43 The court affirmed the acquittal of respondent Owen Smith on charges of possession of cannabis, and possession of THC for the purposes of trafficking, contrary to ss. 4(1) and 5(2) of the CDSA. Smith was a baker with the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada on Vancouver Island. The club sold marijuana and cannabis-derived products such as cookies, gel capsules, rubbing oil, topical patches, butters and lip balms to people with medical conditions for which the club believed marijuana might provide relief. In response to a complaint of an offensive odour in 2009, police went to Smith s Victoria apartment where they seized 211 cannabis cookies, a bag of dried marijuana, and 26 jars of liquids whose labels included massage oil and lip balm. The liquids contained THC, the main active compound in cannabis. Smith successfully challenged the constitutionality of the regulations in the B.C. courts. Based on the evidence, the trial judge found that cannabis has established medical benefits and that different methods of administering it have different benefits. The Supreme Court held that the dried-marijuana restriction deprived medical marijuana users of their liberty by imposing a threat of prosecution and incarceration for possessing the active compounds in cannabis, and also by foreclosing their reasonable medical choices via that threat. Moreover, by forcing a person to choose between a legal, but inadequate treatment and an illegal but more effective treatment, the law also infringed security of the person. Those limits were arbitrary, and thus contrary to the s. 7 principles of fundamental justice, because there is no connection between the prohibition on non-dried forms of medical marihuana and the health and safety of the patients who qualify for legal access to medical marihuana, the court held Irwin Cotler s perfect ending Liberal MP Irwin Cotler uses his second last day in the House of Commons to uphold the the vitality of our democracy By Aaron Wherry, Maclean s, June 23, 2015 As the House of Commons proceeded on Thursday with the taking of the last recorded division of the session, departing members were each cheered as they cast their last vote. When it came around to Irwin Cotler, MPs from all parties stood to applaud.
44 With the votes over, MPs conveyed best wishes to each and the House mostly emptied. Cotler was not yet done though. Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege out of respect for the integrity of Parliament, as you yourself have put it, he said. I am rising, I must say, somewhat hesitantly because of the lateness of the period, but I am doing so in the hope, as even the House leader mentioned, of the enhancement of the democratic process. This was not quite Cotler s last intervention in the House of Commons. On Friday, he would make a statement about Iran, table a bill to create a commissioner for children and young people (quoting his daughter in the process), and ask for the House s unanimous consent to designate November as Jewish Heritage Month (he did not receive it). But, with all due respect to those interventions, this was the perfect ending. Earlier in the spring, Cotler, the reigning parliamentarian of the year, had filed another of his copious, multi-part, order paper questions the written enquiries that MPs can submit through the House to the government. In this particular case, the Liberal MP used 819 words to ask various questions about the government s funding for Circles of Support and Accountability, a program that aims to help reintegrate back into society individuals imprisoned for sexual offences. Last year, the federal government decided to end most of its support for the CoSA programs in Canada. Filed with the House on June 15, the government s response to Cotler s question amounted to four sentences, only one of which was obviously applicable to the queries posed. In general, the government s responses to order paper questions have been something of a going concern, but the Speaker has ruled that the quality of responses is beyond his purview. But, standing in the House last Thursday, Cotler argued a fine point not that the response was insufficiently detailed or not applicable, but that it included a phrase that specifically violated the standing order that governs order paper questions. According to standing order 39(1), in putting any such question or in replying to the same no argument or opinion is to be offered. And here is where Cotler, the lawyer and former law professor, found grounds for a complaint. The government s response, which, as I say, hardly deals with the question at all, begins, Mr. Speaker, the government believes. This construction necessarily leads to a statement of opinion, and the very inclusion of the government s beliefs in response to a written question contravenes the Standing Order. Therefore, the Standing Orders have been violated five words into the response. This was, at the very least, a novel gambit. Responding for the government awhile later, House leader Peter Van Loan argued that, because Cotler had sought information on outcomes and objectives, the government s belief was less an opinion that a relevant statement of fact. This too was novel. The outcomes and objectives Cotler sought were related to the funding of CoSAs, evaluations
45 of the program and meetings about the program. How, one might ask, would the government s statement of belief cover any (or all?) of those questions? How, for instance, does the government s belief that dangerous sex offenders belong behind bars respond to the question of what objectives was the government seeking to achieve by providing funding for CoSA through CSC prior to March 31, 2015 or how will the objectives in be achieved following the cut to CSC funding for CoSA effective March 31, 2015? It might ve been fun to hear the government try to argue that case, but the House adjourned for the summer without further arguments or a ruling from the Speaker. With Parliament sure to be dissolved before the House reconvenes again, Cotler s plea will go unanswered. (Regardless, reform of order paper questions and responses might be something to include in a new deal for Parliament.) In saying his official goodbyes to the House two weeks ago, Cotler had enumerated the numerous roles and responsibilities of an MP, from the constituency to the legislature and beyond. As an opposition MP, as we have all done, I have sought to make use of the parliamentary instruments at our disposal, such as private members bills, motions, petitions, order paper questions and the like to help advance the public good, he said. The MP as overseer reflects our responsibility as representatives of the public trust and overseers of the public purse to help secure the public good. To review and demand explanations for the government s decisions on the spending of public funds is something like the primary reason for having a Parliament, the principle around which this system of responsible government has developed over the last 800 years. So while Cotler s question of privilege might be a footnote on the 41st Parliament, it is also the essential thing. His order paper question likely will not factor significantly into the cacophony of this fall s election, but it is precisely why we elect representatives to the House. I know, and with this I close, that at this late date in the parliamentary calendar, there may not be time for a prima facie finding of contempt to be referred to committee and for such a referral to proceed according to usual practice. However, I raise this matter out of concern for the health of our parliamentary process, out of respect for the Standing Orders of this House, and out of concern for, as you yourself have put it, the integrity of the written question process, which is an essential tool for us as parliamentarians, Cotler explained. I ask that you protect the integrity of this process by finding that the government s response to Question No is in breach of Standing Order 39(1), and I hope that when the House returns in the fall, honourable members from all parties will work together to strengthen parliamentary processes, such as the written question system, which underpin the vitality of our democracy. All MPs should hope to go out on a note of such principles
46 All charges dropped against lawyer arrested at Brampton courthouse The Federal Crown withdrew all charges against defence lawyer Laura Liscio today Toronto Star, June 25, 2015 More than four months after being led out of the Brampton courthouse in handcuffs and in her court attire, accused of smuggling drugs to an inmate, the Federal Crown today withdrew all charges against defence lawyer Laura Liscio. When innocent people get arrested, that is a scary thing for the person and for the justice system, said her lawyer, Stephen Bernstein, outside the courthouse today after Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss accepted the Crown's request that charges be withdrawn. The justice system here responded right. The Crown did the right thing. Liscio, 32, of Toronto, was arrested at the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse on Feb. 12 after Peel police allegedly found a quantity of drugs hidden in items being given to a client set to appear in Superior court that day for a trial. Bernstein maintained from day one his client was innocent and would be exonerated. That was a horrible day for her, that's obvious, and it's been a devastating experience for Laura, Bernstein said. She is without a doubt one of the finest young counsel in Canada. Neither Bernstein nor Liscio would comment on whether they would be seeking an apology from Peel Regional Police or whether they are considering a lawsuit. Peel Staff Sgt. Dan Richardson said the matter is still before the courts as another person is currently facing charges in relation to the investigation and as such Peel Police will not be commenting on the case. Charges of obstructing justice and breach of trust had already been withdrawn against Liscio earlier this year. Today, court heard from the Federal Crown that the prosecution reviewed the file and found there to be no reasonable project of conviction and as a result, dropped the three remaining drug-related charges including possession of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. The Mississauga News has learned through multiple court sources that Desron Phillips, 19, also faces three charges - drug trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a controlled substance in connection with the case. He returns to court July 24.
47 Bernstein said in an earlier interview that Liscio has been cooperative in the investigation and has helped police make an arrest in the case. He didn't elaborate further. It's not known whether Phillips is accused of supplying the drugs or whether he has been charged with being the intended receiver. Liscio's arrest caused an uproar among the legal community after it was reported she had been handcuffed and escorted to a marked police cruiser by uniformed and plain-clothed officers while still in her court attire. Police initially took the unusual step of issuing a press release to refute the allegation but later admitted their original account, which had stated Liscio had been allowed to change into street clothes prior to her arrest, was wrong. Police conceded she was indeed handcuffed in her court attire and escorted by both uniform and plainclothes officers to a marked cruiser. Bernstein, said at the time, the admission wasn't enough. This does not erase the devastation and embarrassment of how she, an officer of the court, an ethical person and, above all, a human being was treated, Bernstein said. Bernstein said he has received more than 150 letters of support for his client from the legal community across the country. Peel defence lawyer Christine Lund said she wasn't surprised to hear the charges were dropped and Liscio was vindicated. She is one of the finest, most ethical and dedicated lawyers in the defence bar and not for one moment did I or the rest of the bar think she had or would participate in any criminal or unethical activity, she said. I only hope and trust she can continue to move forward with her head held high and that the allegations and circumstances surrounding her arrest are given the utmost scrutiny Facebook evidence access delaying Nova Scotia court cases Legal aid lawyer says it takes months to get evidence from social media giant By David Burke, CBC News Nova Scotia, June 23, 2015 Facebook is all about instantly sharing your experiences, but one lawyer says the company isn't as quick to share evidence for court cases.
48 Legal aid lawyer Megan Longley says many of her cases involve comments or messages made on social media, but recovering that information from Facebook can be difficult. "The only way to access that would be through Facebook headquarters in California, which involves a court order at the national level in Canada that then gets sent to the States for disclosure orders," says Longley, the managing lawyer of Nova Scotia Legal Aid's youth justice office. That can take months, even up to a year, she says. "Trials can simply not be delayed indefinitely while we wait to get this kind of information," she says. "I think the more prevalent social media is and becomes as evidence in cases, the more of that we're going to see." Longley said in some cases trial dates are pushed back and people have wait to have their day in court. She said sometimes information can be printed off Facebook and presented to the court. However, anything that's been removed or deleted from Facebook needs to be sought from the company. Police say social media sites cooperative Halifax police, however, say they have a good relationship with social media sites. "There is a process in place, it does take time unfortunately and it's just the way the business goes," Sgt. Pierre Bourdages said. "We're talking eight to 10 weeks before getting information back." That evidence is then passed to the defence, which needs time to review it. Boudages wouldn't say if he believes the process should be sped up. "I don't think it's our position to comment on that. There is a process in place, the main thing here is that it involves two countries, two different legal systems," Bourdages said. "Thankfully, with our allies in the United States, we do have some reciprocal agreements in place which allow U.S. law enforcement and Canadian law enforcement to cooperate together and obtain information from both sides of the border." Facebook says it responds to valid court orders A Facebook spokesperson said the company is committed to helping law enforcement, but it rejects any requests it deems too broad or vague. The company will also only provide information if there is a valid court order. The spokesperson said it's unusual for the company to take months to provide information and Facebook usually responds very quickly once it has a court order.
49 The company does not release details on how long it takes to provide information to investigators. But it says between July 2014 and December 2014 it received 279 requests for information from Canadian law enforcement. Some data was handed over to Canadian authorities in per cent of those cases Speaker's Corner: Surprise copyright changes have no place in omnibus budget bill By J. Aidan O Neill and Ariel Thomas, Law Times, June 22, 2015 J. Aidan O Neill and Ariel Thomas, both of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP s Ottawa office, practise primarily in the fields of intellectual property, communications, and media law with a focus on tariff proceedings before the Copyright Board and related judicial review applications to the Federal Court of Appeal. There was great surprise in the Canadian copyright community when lawyers discovered, hidden away in the omnibus federal budget legislation tabled in the House of Commons on April 21, a provision proposing to amend the Copyright Act to extend the current term of copyright protection afforded to sound recordings and musical performances to 70 from 50 years. If, as is all but certain, Parliament adopts the budget, record labels and musical performers will benefit from an additional 20 years of copyright protection. As such, sound recordings released in the mid-1960s will have another 20 years of existence during which their exclusive copyrights will continue. According to the explanation provided by the government in its budget proposal, this 20-year term extension approximates the term of protection afforded to other copyright owners who benefit from copyright protection throughout their lives plus a period of 50 years following their deaths. Whatever the merits of this proposal, it came as a surprise as there had never been any public discussion of such an idea and the recording industry does not appear to have ever publicly promoted it. In 2012, after seven long years of effort and following extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholder groups, the government substantially revised the Copyright Act pursuant to the Copyright Modernization Act.
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