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Alleged PMO obstruction in SNC Lavalin case

brihard

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So a bit of a catch up and summary, as best as I can tell, on this latest branch of the ongoing SNC drama:

In 2013, Michael Chong introduced the Reform Act. It passed in the summer of 2015, and amended the Parliament of Canada Act. It included a provision (S.49.2 of said act) to the effect that to expel a member, a caucus chair must receive requests from 20% of the caucus that a member's membership be reviewed, with a 50%+ secret ballot vote to pull the trigger on an expulsion. This is the provision underlying Philpott's complaint that she may have been illegally kicked out of caucus.

But... Chong's law was somewhat toothless in that it left it to each caucus to independently decide if that particular provision (and a few others) applied. After the previous election, each party caucus was to vote on this matter, per S.49.8 of the Act as amended by Chong's bill. The Liberals say they did, and elected not to invoke it. I'm not surprised- the party leadership would not want to hamstring themselves, and the affairs of caucus are quite rightly their own business. They would resist imposition, however well intended, by the broader parliament in how they run their show. I don't know that any party actually voted to apply this section?

So, if the Liberal party caucus voted on this and elected not to impose that section of the Reform Act upon themselves, then they are not bound by it, and then there is no breaking of the law in the party leader expelling someone from caucus unilaterally.The LPC claim that they did vote to this effect after the election, and I don't really see a matter to doubt that- it would be extremely easy to disprove such a claim, and of course both Parliamentarians affected would have been privy to said vote and would no doubt quickly cry foul were that to be lied about. I note that JWR, a lawyer herself, has not spoken up about being illegitimately removed- and she was quite clear that her intent was to remain a liberal. If she had that tool in her toolbox, I have no doubt she would use it.

So, all said and done, it looks like everything that was done was, at least, legal.

Philpott's complaint went to the Speaker of the house of Commons. The speaker quite rightly found that he has no jurisdiction over the interpretation or application of law. That's appropriate, and correct. It would have been the height of irony had he stepped outside of his roles both legal and conventional to make a finding otherwise on this matter.

All hysterics notwithstanding, it appears this remains a matter to be dealt with by the voters, and not the police or courts. And if any credit is to be given to opinion polling whatsoever, it's damned clear that the voters very much intend to show their opinion of this, and that it will not be to the LPC's favour.
 

The Bread Guy

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Brihard said:
... if the Liberal party caucus voted on this and elected not to impose that section of the Reform Act upon themselves, then they are not bound by it, and then there is no breaking of the law in the party leader expelling someone from caucus unilaterally ...
Unless someone's read something different I haven't seen (more than likely, given the speed of events unfolding), that's still an IF if we believe what The Canadian Press wrote:
... Those votes never occurred in the Liberal caucus following Trudeau's victory in 2015. Rather, the newly elected MPs — presumably including Philpott and Wilson-Raybould — voted unanimously to defer the matter to the Liberal party's next convention. Chong's reforms were never discussed at two subsequent Liberal conventions ...
We know from the Speaker's decision that ...
... the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader informed the House that the Chair of the National Liberal Caucus had indeed sent the requisite letter to the Speaker, specifying that the provisions of the Act regarding the expulsion and readmission of caucus members would not apply for the 42nd Parliament. This, in his view, makes this question of privilege moot and removes any confusion as to which rules apply. Furthermore, he argued that it is not the role of the Speaker to adjudicate such matters ... It is the caucus of each recognized party, not the Speaker, which bears the responsibility for ensuring that these votes are held ...
So, as Colin P said, $5 and a form may free up that tidbit of information ...
 

Journeyman

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Furniture said:
Not the reply you expected, was it?
I think it was a good reply.  Thank you.  :salute:

Actually though, I wasn't really expecting any response as these threads serve overwhelmingly as fora for single-minded people to beat dead horses, rather than to facilitate informed discussion.  As such, I try to avoid getting dragged into the mud...but somethings are just so mind-numbingly stupid, I stumble and comment (although I did hold my tongue when Trudeau was accused of "lies, outright arrogance, and aristocratic scorn" -- behaviours that are apparently unseen south of the border).
      :not-again:

I now return to radio silence.  Enjoy.  :deadhorse:
 

Remius

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milnews.ca said:
$5 and a form may free up that tidbit of information ...

Parliament (HofC and Senate) is exempt from ATIP I believe.  So not likely...
 

Navy_Pete

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Remius said:
Parliament (HofC and Senate) is exempt from ATIP I believe.  So not likely...

There isn't a blanket ATIP exemption for all parliamentary business, just cabinet confidence things that apply to decisions taken.  You can read it for yourself here;

https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/A-1/page-1.html

Also you can find the list of all completed ATIPs here; https://open.canada.ca/en/access-to-information

Funnily enough, there was one for a 'risk assessment if SNC had been convicted of bribery' with zero returns (ie record didn't exist). So either one was never done under due diligence, it didn't ever get to the correct person to find the record, or someone lied and said they didn't have one. Don't envy the person that got the ATIP request to process this one; that could have been any number of departments that would have gotten tagged with that one(PSPC? Finance? ISED?). But something should have come back, if they are pushing PPSC to look at the deffered prosecution option due to job impacts.

Sometimes people get greasy and try and lawyer their way out of them too (they asked for a risk assessment, but maybe it was called an impact assessment or something). That always kind of annoyed me, but would be interested to see the other side and how they go about putting together their information requests. Sometimes they are shotgun fishing expeditions, but othertimes they ask for very specific documents.

Used to joke about submitting an ATIP on the files I was working on to see if it ever got to me, but that would be a pretty good way to ruin a coworkers day.
 

Remius

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Navy_Pete said:
There isn't a blanket ATIP exemption for all parliamentary business, just cabinet confidence things that apply to decisions taken.  You can read it for yourself here;

https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/A-1/page-1.html

Also you can find the list of all completed ATIPs here; https://open.canada.ca/en/access-to-information

Funnily enough, there was one for a 'risk assessment if SNC had been convicted of bribery' with zero returns (ie record didn't exist). So either one was never done under due diligence, it didn't ever get to the correct person to find the record, or someone lied and said they didn't have one. Don't envy the person that got the ATIP request to process this one; that could have been any number of departments that would have gotten tagged with that one(PSPC? Finance? ISED?). But something should have come back, if they are pushing PPSC to look at the deffered prosecution option due to job impacts.

Sometimes people get greasy and try and lawyer their way out of them too (they asked for a risk assessment, but maybe it was called an impact assessment or something). That always kind of annoyed me, but would be interested to see the other side and how they go about putting together their information requests. Sometimes they are shotgun fishing expeditions, but othertimes they ask for very specific documents.

Used to joke about submitting an ATIP on the files I was working on to see if it ever got to me, but that would be a pretty good way to ruin a coworkers day.

And only those departments listed in schedule 1 of the act are subject to the ATI Act.

Found here:  https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/A-1/page-12.html#h-31


government institution means

(a) any department or ministry of state of the Government of Canada, or any body or office, listed in Schedule I, and


(b) any parent Crown corporation, and any wholly-owned subsidiary of such a corporation, within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act; (institution fédérale)


Political parties, caucus, HofC and the Senate are not in that list.  So no.

 

Fishbone Jones

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Journeyman said:
-- behaviours that are apparently unseen south of the border).
      :not-again:

This story is in Canadian politics. Why would you bring up the US? You've chided others, here and elsewhere for mentioning the US and Trump in Canadian politics, more than once.

Has something changed to make you change your way of thinking? Or is it only you that gets to place America here?

Just wondering. :pop:
 

Jarnhamar

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Lumber said:
Lots of reasons, but it mostly  boils down to that I like filling out the census.
Party aninal ;D

Just kidding. On the bright side if you change your mind and don't want to fill out the census anymore it's only up to a $500 instead of 3 months in jail. My only point of contention was the government forcing people to fill it out.  You mention it's a way to get the best data on your population, we've seen how biased the government can be with data- using it only when it suits them. That's off topic though.



 

Lumber

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Jarnhamar said:
You must be an animal at parties  ;D

Just kidding. On the bright side if you change your mind and don't want to fill out the census anymore it's only up to a $500 instead of 3 months in jail. My only point of contention was the government forcing people to fill it out.  You mention it's a way to get the best data on your population, we've seen how biased the government can be with data- using it only when it suits them. That's off topic though.

The data is available to everyone. Regardless of what the government does with it, I want history to have access to it.
 

Journeyman

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Fishbone Jones said:
This story is in Canadian politics. Why would you bring up the US?
It's a simple comparison;  you're torn apart by periodic behaviours in our Prime Minister that are the foundational bedrock of Trump's personality.... a political leader you clearly worship.

The chiding occurred because that occurrence wasn't a comparison between the two leaders, but a question asked (in typical handwringing fashion) specifically about why Trudeau wasn't being treated the same (not about Trudeau's behaviour specifically)... in the US President thread... therefore, off topic.  And yes, I fully expect that difference to continue eluding you.

Regardless, expecting your response, I let it go.... until your dizzying intellect went that extra step to proclaim your belief in a Liberal policy of an "overwhelming desire to kill Canada," which drew me back into the inevitable train-wreck.
      ::)

Back to IGNORE
 

Colin Parkinson

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Remius said:
FOIA is an American thing. 

In Canada it is ATIP.

I stopped using ATIP outside of government because no one knew what I was talking about. I have done many both asking and providing.
 

brihard

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Colin P said:
The law is explicit, they must vote.

The law says they must vote. It doesn’t explicitly state what the question must be. 49.8(1) says they “shall conduct a separate vote among the caucus members in respect of each of the following questions:”

So it does not say they must yes/no it at that time. If they voted and the result was to defer the matter to a party convention to put the question to the party more broadly, I don’t see that the law as written prohibits that. A vote was held ‘in respect of’ the question. Not liking the answer doesn’t make it illegitimate.

It’s helpful when considering questions of law to read the law in question, and to do it with an eye to detail and precision of meaning. While Chong’s Reform Act seemed like a political silver bullet for the opposition when Philpott filed her question on the matter, it doesn’t look like the facts are matching the wants on this once scrutinized.

October isn’t far. Patience.
 

The Bread Guy

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Brihard said:
The law says they must vote. It doesn’t explicitly state what the question must be. 49.8(1) says they “shall conduct a separate vote among the caucus members in respect of each of the following questions:”
On the "what they're voting on", you're right.  On the how, though, the law says (49.8 (3)), "The vote of each caucus member, in each vote, is to be recorded"  so the record must be SOMEWHERE.
Brihard said:
October isn’t far. Patience.
Tick, tick, tick, indeed ...
 

brihard

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milnews.ca said:
On the "what they're voting on", you're right.  On the how, though, the law says (49.8 (3)), "The vote of each caucus member, in each vote, is to be recorded"  so the record must be SOMEWHERE.Tick, tick, tick, indeed ...

Oh, absolutely. But as I mentioned a couple posts back, if the vote had simply not been hell, JP or JWR would likely have hauled that fact out by now. The statement to the speaker that it was voted to be deferred to the party convention is both completely plausible, and easily refutable had that not been the case. By all means ask for receipts, but I don't see any room for deception on that particular point. It would be absurd to even try.
 

Remius

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Colin P said:
I stopped using ATIP outside of government because no one knew what I was talking about. I have done many both asking and providing.

Fair enough.  In a past life I was a an information officer at the privacy commission.  A small stint but very eye opening.
 

The Bread Guy

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Colin P said:
Back in the day, ATIPs cost $800 per hour of mainframe use......
And now, some are told to ONLY include time spent searching hard-copy files in the "time needed" box, not searching electronic files.
 

mariomike

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
And if SNC goes, the good people of Toronto can kiss goodbye to the maintenance of highway 407-ETR for awhile until the situation is resolved, because it is owned and operated by SNC.

Regarding the 407, received this in my pension plan news,

OMERS Announces Signing of Agreement for Acquisition of Stake in 407 International Inc.

April 05, 2019

OMERS Infrastructure today announced that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. for the acquisition of a 10.01% stake in 407 International Inc., which holds a concession over 407 Express Toll Route (“407 ETR”).  The purchase price consists of an upfront payment of C$3.0 billion. The sale is subject to certain shareholders’ rights, including rights-of-first refusal.
https://www.omers.com/News/Investing-News/2019/OMERS-stake-407-international-inc


 
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