One of Canada’s best known journalists credits independent CJC watchdog Chris Budgell with breaking a story about the personal conflicts of interest of a member of the Canadian Judicial Council committee investigating Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould.
Christie Blatchford wrote in the National Post “The first to notice these (conflict of interest) connections was Chris Budgell, a self-appointed citizen watchdog of the judicial council.”
Blatchford’s article Spotlight falls on panel probing conduct of judge who spoke against land claim details a CJC panel member’s conflicts:
A lawyer hand-picked by federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to serve on the committee probing the conduct of Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould hails from a Vancouver law firm with long-standing connections to the organization that complained about the judge.
On March 31, Wilson-Raybould announced that Clarine (Clo) Ostrove, a partner at Mandell Pinder, a Vancouver firm that focuses exclusively on First Nation work, is her designate on the three-person inquiry. (snip)
One of Ostrove’s associates at Mandell Pinder, Stephen Mussel, is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association.
A former Mandell Pinder associate, and former Chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, B.C., Douglas S. White, was also an Indigenous Bar Association director.
Another of the firm’s former lawyers, Angela Cousins, was a board member of the association.
Most, including Ostrove herself, have spoken on Aboriginal law issues at various conferences, including two where either Wilson-Raybould, a lawyer, former prosecutor and former regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations before her election as MP for Vancouver Grenville, or her husband, Tim Raybould, were also speakers.
Budgell did the digging and sent Blatchford a well researched article that provided the foundation for her National Post story. Budgell also sent the article to DonaldBest.CA as we were prepared to publish if the National Post ignored Budgell’s work.
Christie Blatchford’s excellent article contains much more about the conflicts of interest – including that both federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and the president of the Association of Superior Court Judges, Justice Susan G. Himel, are weighing in on the situation in what some are saying appear to be attempts to influence the Canadian Judicial Council and the Inquiry Panel convened into Justice Newbould’s conduct.
National Post still censors news about CJC and Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy
Lawyer Peter Wardle – Justice Shaughnessy
Blatchford’s employer though, the National Post, still refuses to cover stories about the ongoing Judicial Review of the Canadian Judicial Council’s handling of a misconduct complaint against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, including:
- A Federal Court refused to dismiss Shaughnessy’s application to remove his name as a party to the judicial review.
- The unprecedented January 17, 2017 Federal Court decision also ordered Justice Shaughnessy to personally pay the legal costs of Donald Best, a self-represented litigant that the Ontario Superior Court Justice sent to prison for contempt of court.
- No other judge in Canadian history has been ordered to pay legal costs.
- Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General had been acting as the judge’s personal lawyer for almost a year but parted ways with Justice Shaughnessy a week after DonaldBest.CA published an article describing how, with the AGO acting as the judge’s personal attorney, nobody was acting for the public interest at the Judicial Review.
- Justice Shaughnessy’s new lawyer Peter C. Wardle has multiple conflicts of interest. In a closely related matter, Wardle represented two lawyers who are almost certain to be called as witnesses in a CJC investigation or public inquiry into misconduct allegations against Justice Shaughnessy.
- Questions are also being asked about the propriety of Wardle, a Law Society of Upper Canada senior bencher, representing a Federally appointed judge accused of serious, premeditated misconduct.
- Justice Shaughnessy’s latest choice of lawyer only ramps up questions about conflicts of interest and the optics of the apparent relationships between big law firms, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Attorney General of Canada – when nobody is representing the public interest during the judicial review.
For more details and supporting court documents, read: Justice Bryan Shaughnessy chooses Conflicted Lawyer as personal counsel in Judicial Review.