Ontario Judicial Council Gives Crime A New Name! By Tom Thompson, Justice Reporter
May 26, 2007 On Thursday May 23, 2007 The Ontario Judicial Council renamed one form of criminal activity. According to the chairman of the ‘Ontario Judicial Council (OJC), Justice Robert Blair, surrounded and supported in council by the peer group and fawning, eager- to- please lawyers, “Obstruction of Justice” can now be referred to as “Judicial Misconduct”
This offence is now apparently no longer an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada but rather is punishable with a warning and an order that a written apology be issued to your victim. Well at least that’s the way it is for judges.
Justice Zuker has obstructed Justice, tampered with evidence and trampled all over the constitutional rights of a female litigant in his courtroom. What is worse is that this absolute recorded fact is being ignored and brushed under the rug in typical family justice fashion here in Ontario.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms supposedly guarantees every citizen of Canada the right to fair and equal treatment under our law. Yet it would seem that the Judicial Officers in this Province enjoy their own separate “Judges Charter of Rights and Freedoms” which grants them immunity from criminal prosecution when they commit indictable offences.
I ask you this: Why has Justice Marvin Zuker not been charged and tried for his crimes against not only this one unfortunate litigant but also society in general? Why is Justice Marvin Zuker, now to all intents and purposes a criminal, allowed to remain on the bench and do so with impunity despite the fact that he has admittedly broken the law? After all he has stood before the OJC on this indictment even if it is a paper one. It is of course a process with conditions not unlike a “Get out of Jail Free” card from the game so intriguingly called “Monopoly”.
Can anyone just imagine what treatment any one of us would receive from this same judge were we to stand before him on similar charges? I urge you dear readers to list those possibilities on a piece of paper. I do suggest you make several sheets available.
In 2006 the Ontario Judicial Council released their annual report. Section 1 is titled “Integrity” and reads as follows.
“In Canada, our sense of fairness depends on more than judges’ decisions—it depends on their behaviour and attitudes as well. Judges must ensure that their conduct, both inside and outside the courtroom, enhances Canadians’ sense of fairness and trust in their judiciary.
As a society which insists on judicial integrity, Canada provides a mechanism and a process for ensuring that Canadians have a means to challenge judicial conduct..”
The above is an insult to us all. In theory Canada may indeed provide a way and a means to challenge judicial conduct. However do not expect much of a positive outcome to your challenge of unsavoury judicial conduct. It will fail miserably.
Clearly there is one standard of behaviour-and justice-for Judges and another for the Citizenry. But then we Canadian Men and Fathers have known that for some time.
Family Court Judge Bias
There has got to be a better way than funding new court houses and clogging existing courtrooms with family related issues that are financially and emotionally devastating to families. What is the sense of wasteful court appearances that fail to deal adequately with the need in the first place?
Judges are mandated within the court system to interpret laws (not invent them) and make decisions for families of divorce.
Each visit to court a different judge presides and the entire history must be documented and positions argued. How do you expect justice to be served for a family in a 40 minute court hearing? Can you imagine the outrage if criminals were treated in this manner? Yet this is the method of choice dictated by the government to guide families through the crises. With an approximate 50% divorce rate is it any wonder the state of our families is constantly eroding while the size of the divorce industry ever expanding.
Who are these Judges?
There are approximately 2500 Judges in Canada with 50% appointed by the Federal Government and 50% within Provincial jurisdiction.
A prerequisite to becoming a Judge as stated by the JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: To qualify for consideration, applicants must have at least 10 years membership at the Bar in one of the provinces or territories of Canada.
Translation: Judicial appointments are limited to lawyers who are promoted to become judges as a career path entitlement. They are the highest paid of all civil servants including the Prime Minister at $250,000 per annum which equates to taxpayer cost of their salaries alone at $625 million per year.
Is there any wonder they perpetuate the status quo, are out of touch with reality and see that progress is minimized to ensure benefits to their industry???
This is a major limitation of justice and fairness as it prevents broader representation of all people. The laws have become so complex and convoluted the job is more in the administration of process than one of administration of justice. Isn’t it ironic that judges who are mandated to uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are its biggest violators?
Supreme Court Judges
In November of 2006, Justice Minister Vic Toews recommended changes to the advisory committees for judges including the addition of police representation. Supreme court judge Bev McLachlin called a public news conference to protest as she didn’t like the Minister of Justice medaling in the process.
McLachlin was quoted in the Canadian Council release as demanding that Minister Toews immediately consult with judges and the CBA on the issue “to protect the interests of all Canadians in an independent advisory process for judicial appointments”.
So the Minister of Justice is trying to broaden the representation of the people on the committees but the Judicial Council objects as it doesn’t like changes that would disrupt their cozy monopoly, especially the addition of police who are not part of the club.
Within days of Minister Toews being replaced by the new Minister of Justice, the lawyers were at it again trying to reverse the decision to open the committee to representation by the people. They’ll do anything protect their comfortable lair even arguing that the government’s motive is for partisan political purposes. Nice try.
In early 2006, the Government also wanted a review of the process of appointing Supreme Court of Canada judges. When asked if Parliament should be given a more active role, Mclachlin answered no, that the process is working and should be left alone. She further commented that Parliament could undermine Canadians’ confidence in the country’s top court if it decides to tinker with the appointment process. “Canadian’s confidence” in the court!!! How’s that for being out of touch.
How can Judge McLachlin simply ignore the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice? They were elected to represent “the people” in a nationwide election. To simply dismiss their inclusion from court discussions is totally inappropriate and shows what extent the justice system is out of control, even at the top.
In the real world, Ms McLachlin would be dismissed with cause. Except of course in Ontario where a chief executive who embezzles money from the public is given a hand shake and $3 million.
As far as confidence in the courts….In an April 2007 Globe and Mail / CTV poll…. Two-Thirds of Canadians supported the idea of elected judges.
Gender Bais in Family Court
There seems to be a perception that expecting equal rights for parents is akin to being against mothers and women. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Divorce is not a woman vs man issue. In fact many women have been done a disservice by a gender biased court. I also suspect this minefield is the reason politicians don’t tread.
In my opinion this bias has the following serious negative affects on the family and kids specifically….
It encourages separation of parents rather than reconciliation.
It sabotages the possibility for successful mediation.
It provides incentive to the custodial spouse not become self sufficient.
It heightens tension between spouses further dividing the family.
It alienates fathers from their children and family responsibilities (other than financial)
It increases the likelihood of costly (both financial and emotional) court disputes.
It reduces the probability that parents will have a working relationship after divorce “for the kids best interest”.
It increases the likelihood of a lower standard of living for all family members which in many cases includes child poverty and bankruptcy.
In 2006, we have seen numerous media reports where Judges (not the Ministry of Justice) are demanding increased judicial appointments. In August 2006,Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin urged the federal government ease the judge shortage by adding 43 judges. She went on to say judges are struggling and working under very stressful conditions to do the work that has to be done to bring justice.
In the 2006 Ontario Report of the Superior Court of Justice, judge Smith states without significant increase in 2006, the court will be severely handicapped in maintaining access to justice for members of the public. At the year’s Opening of the Courts, he states that for the Ontario Superior Court alone 12 Family Court judges must be added to fulfill its obligations and to maintain its standards of excellence. He further states that even with best practices, new Rules, technology and scheduling initiatives, the Court is buckling under the strain of our mounting responsibilities to the people and families. His closing remark; We all take pride in our justice system, it is truly a national treasure….Before I make comments from my 13 years experience …..could somebody pass me the PEPTO
I believe both Justice McLachlin and Judge Smith both make an excellent case to get families out of court.
Can you imagine the number of divorced people that lose or change jobs every year or that need to change their court orders. Then multiple this by the number of court visits which in my case was 6, add the legal fees and overhead. The cost to taxpayers and families in crises is enormous.
If Chief Justice McLachlin is really concerned about judicial workload, she may want to look at how to get these useless actions out of court?
Following is a letter to the editor written by an honest lawyer not afraid of standing up for truth who relates to the bias against men in family court.
From: Grant A. Brown
To: Letters to the Editor National Post
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:04 AM
⦁ Subject: Conrad Black vs..the common man
⦁ To the Editor,
Nobody should think that the legal travails of Conrad Black are anything out of the ordinary. As a former professor of business and professional ethics, an author of peer-reviewed research in the field, and a current practitioner of family law, I can say without fear of contradiction that the common man frequently receives treatment much worse than Lord Black’s from our dysfunctional family-dispute system.
There is no “presumption of innocence” for men. They are routinely evicted from their own homes by ex parte restraining orders, on the basis of false or completely uncorroborated allegations of abuse or even merely the “fear” of abuse. They are consequently denied access to their assets, especially the equity in their homes, while paying the mortgage and credit cards for the benefit of the estranged partners and their alienated children. They may have to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves against criminal charges of assault, over ridiculously minor incidents in which the woman was equally a participant, if not a deliberate provocateur. They may have to spend thousands more to have a home study done to prove their innocence and their competence as a parent. Rarely is a woman legally sanctioned in any way for false or exaggerated allegations of abuse, or self- serving slander of fathers.
Private lawyers in family disputes often behave no better than the public prosecutor in Lord Black’s case. They encourage clients to take uncompromising positions, to swear questionable affidavits, and to rebuff reasonable settlement offers. They speak out of turn and tell judges irrelevant and misleading half-truths in Court, to slant the proceedings in their client’s favour and put the other side off their message. They delay, play procedural games, obstruct the other side from getting at the information they are entitled to, and run up the cost of litigation until it becomes unaffordable to continue. They do all this with the blessing of the Courts and the Law Societies.
Lord Black can fend for himself, with the able assistance of Eddie Greenspan. The common man is the more to be pitied.
Grant A. Brown, DPhil (Oxon), LL.B.
This blog post includes an excerpt from the 2006 book Courts From Hell by Frank Simons
About Courts from Hell by Frank Simons
This blog post is an excerpt from his book Courts From Hell – Family InJustice in Canada. Frank Simons tells us since the introduction of the so-called “No-Fault Divorce” in Canada, the divorce industry has evidenced unprecedented growth estimated at $10 billion per year. The problem is that the Legal / Court industry thrives off the $B’s generated by Taxpayers and Families in crises. For this, they provide no value and in fact cause destruction of families by unnecessarily removing fathers from children’s lives and lowering the standard of living for all family members. This is done through unnecessary litigation, biased decisions and unreasonable support orders which escalate the conflict to perpetuate the status quo in support of their self-serving business. The Solution is to update divorce laws to reflect parental equality and get families out of court eliminating significant grief and $’s wasted by families and taxpayers.