Before I type another word:
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT.
We NEVER raise nearly enough money to cover our costs, but we do raise enough to help. But it’s also a morale booster when you know that you’re not fighting alone.
For you Americans, think Spanish and Activist Courts when reading this editorial. Also, I am impressed more than just somewhat by people who care enough about the fight for FREEDOM that they contribute from as far away as the UK and Belgium.
I NEVER expected to walk out of a courtroom in Canada feeling as though I was in “ALICE’S Wonderland”. I’m a pretty tough guy who’s never worn rose-colored glasses, who understands that in any fight, you’ve got to be prepared to get as good as you give. But, even I was not prepared for what happened in court.
YOU BE THE JUDGE:
The following is a blow-by-blow description of how the events of our court date had unfolded. I give you my word that in the following paragraphs there are no embellishments whatsoever. It happened EXACTLY as it is written.
If anything, I am leaving things out since I’m writing a Blog – NOT a book.
I also want to put into the “record”, that I have NEVER conferred with our lawyer (Ken Bickley) about anything that has ever been written or said, in or on galganov.com, including this editorial. What follows are strictly my PERSONAL observations.
Our day in Court should have been TWO DAYS according to EVERYONE’S agreed upon allotment of time.
The schedule was supposed to be FOUR hours for our side to present, TWO hours for an intervener representing a collective of French Language Communities, and ONE FULL DAY for Ron Caza representing the Township of Russell.
It NEVER came close to happening as agreed upon.
ABOUT THE JUDGE:
Ontario Superior Court Judge Monique Metivier sat in judgment of the CLF (Canadians For Language Fairness) several years ago when they challenged the City of Ottawa’s law that closed the door to the hiring of non-Bilingual civil servants, giving an ENORMOUS advantage to French speakers from across the Provincial Border in Quebec, to secure jobs that were virtually closed to ALL English speaking Ontario Tax Payers.
It is important to note that the VAST majority of people living in the City of Ottawa are English speaking (83.4%), most of whom are NOT bilingual, with the French population numbering 16.6%, of whom for all intents and purposes are all bilingual.
The City of Ottawa engaged French Activist lawyer Ron Caza of Heenan Blaikie, one of Canada’s largest and most prestigious law firms to represent them.
The judgment rendered by Metivier was a scolding condemnation of the CLF who she described as BUSYBODIES, while at the same time hammering them with costs of $50,000.
When Ron Caza responded to my lawyer’s demand-letter challenging the Township’s FORCED Bilingual Sign Law, he INCLUDED in his response as a DIRECT threat to me, the judgment of Monique Metivier against the CLF, SPELLING-OUT the consequence of costs that will be imposed upon me if I lose.
Upon learning who the judge was in my case, I had to wonder the following:
Isn’t there some kind of conflict of interest on the part of Metivier hearing this case, since she has already demonstrated her bias on a SIMILAR issue vis a vis Ottawa?
We were supposed to begin our opening remarks at 10:00 o’clock.
At 4:45 the day before, we were informed by the Court that they have NOT received any of our documents, and as such, without them, there will be serious consequences, least of all that the judge will not be able to pre-read anything we are including as part of our argument.
At about 9:30 court-day, we received another call from the Court that the documents were in fact at the courthouse, but were “somehow” misplaced, which still meant that Metivier NEVER read them.
The documents in question were sent to the courthouse and filed in March 2010, about TWO months before the hearing. So where were they?
By 10:00 o’clock, Bickley began our presentation, but before he could really get into it, Metivier stopped him dead in his tracks to declare that my AFFIDAVIT as an expert witness is INADMISSIBLE, since in her opinion, I am NOT an expert on language and culture, I was perhaps an EXPERT on POLITICAL ACTIVISM, but not on language, which was STRANGE to say the least.
One would expect the OPPOSING lawyer would be the one to object to the Affidavit declaring my expertise. BUT NOT THE JUDGE.
Why would Metivier OBJECT to my expertise if the opposing lawyer didn’t? And why wouldn’t she even wait until it came up during the hearing? Where’s the impartiality?
But, here is where it gets REALLY weird:
Metivier said that she didn’t have a chance to read any of our material. So how would she know anything about my expertise, especially if she never gave us any opportunity to prove or disprove my expertise on the issue of language rights vis a vis French and English.
From there it got worse – MUCH WORSE.
Caza sent Bickley what Bickley considered to be a JOINT BOOK OF AUTHORITIES, which is customary between lawyers where a great deal of common evidence and jurisprudence will be used by both sides.
While Bickley was delivering his opening remarks, laying out our case and the path he was going to take to illustrate our argument, Metivier immediately went to our record on Section 2b (Freedom of Expression) and article 1 (a Notwithstanding Clause to abrogate 2B), demanding that Bickley substantiate his 2b and Article 1 determinations, all of which is strange, since Bickley wasn’t yet prepared to begin arguing the meat and potatoes of our case.
But, every time Bickley responded to the judge, another demand for proof and clarification was forthcoming, to the point where Bickley wasn’t able to develop any flow of information. AND THEN THE ROOF FELL-IN.
To respond to the demands for clarification from Metivier, Bickley went to Caza’s Joint Book of Authorities, which under normal circumstances should be structured by Book Number, since there are MANY books, Tab Number in the appropriate Book, Page Number, and then Paragraph, NONE OF WHICH corresponded to the way all of the evidence and jurisprudence was produced by our side, making it nearly impossible for Bickley to make heads or tails of the information that should have been easily available.
When Bickley made it clear that he couldn’t find the information that should have been included in the Joint Book of Authorities, Caza’s response was unbefitting a professional.
Caza declared that the Joint Book of Authorities WAS NOT a joint BOOK between lawyers. But actually, it was a JOINT BOOK between myself and co-litigant Jean-Serge Brisson, AND it wasn’t complete.
So, why did Caza send this to Bickley’s office, giving the “impression” that it was a JOINT BOOK OF AUTHORITIES as is customary between lawyers?
I was so upset with the way we were treated by the court, that when we broke for lunch, the best I could do was drink a diet cola, since, had I eaten anything, I doubt if I could have kept it down.
After lunch, Bickley delivered a good argument of our case based on FACTS, which the judge continued to question.
THEN IT WAS CAZA’S TURN:
As I wrote at the outset, Bickley was given 4 hours to present. If you subtract all the time Bickley spent responding to the interruptions of Metivier, and searching feverishly for documents in the non-existing Joint Book of Authorities, I doubt if he presented for 2 hours.
Caza was given 1 day – TWO AND A HALF DAYS LATER he was still going strong.
Before I continue, here are several pertinent PERSONAL observations:
1 – During Caza’s diatribe over 2 and one half days, he was interrupted ONLY once, to be corrected by Metivier, and several times where Metivier actually helped him clarify his sources of information.
2 – Every time Caza made a point, Metivier smiled, shook her head in agreement, and highlighted the point he made with a marker.
3 – Whenever Caza decided that he spoke enough, he asked for a break or lunch, which was immediately agreed upon by Metivier. At one point, I had to go to the bathroom and hoped Caza would recess the court.
During the proceedings, I asked several of the attending journalists, French and English alike, if they saw a problem in the way this trial was being run, and whether they thought it was fair. I promised all the journalists who responded to my question that I WOULD NOT publish their names or who they worked for, so I won’t.
IT WAS UNANIMOUS – They too were blown away by the proceedings.
Right after we ended our presentation on the first day, and Caza began his delivery, one of the first affidavits he referred to was MY AFFIDAVIT WHICH THE JUDGE RULED INADMISSIBLE.
If an affidavit is ruled inadmissible, it is the ENTIRE affidavit, not bits and pieces. Either it’s all in. Or none of it is in. As I understand it, it really doesn’t get more or less complicated than that.
But, Metivier took Bickley’s objection under advisement, and agreed to continue hearing the evidence from the affidavit she supposedly didn’t read, which she had taken upon herself, without any objections from Caza to rule inadmissible.
From the very beginning, Metivier made it ABSOLUTELY clear to us that we had the BURDEN OF PROOF vis a vis our standing, to even bring this issue to court, as if this was the most important aspect of the Hearing.
When Caza delivered, I do not recall any mention or hint whatsoever that he had any BURDEN OF PROOF to explain why it was absolutely necessary to ABROGATE our Charter of Rights and Freedoms to SAVE the French language, SINCE THIS IS WHAT THE ARGUMENT IS ALL ABOUT.
Should the verdict be in favor of the Township of Russell’s FORCED Bilingual Sign Law, it will because without it, the French Language would face severe injury.
That’s the case Caza MUST make – The ONLY Case.
For two and a half days, we listened to Caza go on and on gesticulating like a Television Pitchman. He continuously raised and lowered his voice from normal to a crescendo, as if there was an audience he had to impress.
And what did he speak about with so much DRAMA for two and one half days? He spoke about UNFOUNDED and contradictory studies done by several OVER-THE-HILL Franco Activist Professors who claim with ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY that seeing one’s language is VITAL to the survival of that language.
That said: Caza also included, that according to the conclusions of his OWN experts, French-speaking people who work in English tend to use English in the privacy of their homes.
Imagine that? . . . So, the essence of Caza’s argument is that I and everyone else should have our FREEDOM of Expression STRIPPED away because Ontario “Francophones” choose to speak English in their homes.
Not only that – Caza conveniently “forgot” to mention that his OWN expert witnesses have also testified under oath in other court challenges that Bilingualism leads to assimilation and the DEATH of the French language.
But why let a little thing like that stand in the way of the bizarre theatre of Ron Caza?
Do not take this lightly – This is the WHOLE jist of Caza’s VERBIAGE in 2 and a half days. But, what Caza NEVER once covered was Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In reality, we have no burden of proof in terms of the violation of Russell’s FORCED Bilingual Sign Law, since Caza asked this rhetorical question as part of his “command” performance.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from his own lips.
He asked: “Does the Russell Sign Bylaw violate Section 2b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?”
“YES IT DOES” he answered.
“But”, he continued. “We are not taking away anyone’s RIGHT to Freedom of Expression, since we make no demands upon what people can say or write, ONLY THAT THEY HAVE TO WRITE IT IN BOTH LANGUAGES.”
“In fact, we’re ADDING a RIGHT.”
How twisted and perverted is that?
The Russell law, as it stands, makes the stand-alone use of French on commercial signs ILLEGAL. Yet, somehow, we’re to believe that making the use of French alone ILLEGAL, will make French speakers feel better about themselves and encourage the use and growth of the French language.
How stupid does Caza believe everyone is, INCLUDING the judge?
For the FIRST and ONLY time that I can recall, Metivier corrected Caza:
She reminded him while she read from either the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or from Supreme Court Jurisprudence that:
“Forcing someone to communicate in any language other than their OWN, is the SAME as denying a person the RIGHT to communicate in his or her OWN language.”
As for PROVING the vulnerability of the French language in Ontario, here are vital statistics from Stats-Canada.
In 2001, the population of Ontario was 11,410,046 people, of which 548,940 were French, representing 4.8%.
In 2006, the population of Ontario was 12,028,895 people, of which 582,855 were French, representing the SAME 4.8%.
In reality, the increase of the French population between the 2001 and 2006 census in Ontario was 33,915.
So, where’s the COMPELLING evidence to END Civil Rights and Liberties to SAVE the French language in Ontario, but specifically in Russell Township where French is ascending even more so than the Ontario and national average?
As it turned out, 2 and one half days of pontificating from on high was not enough for Caza. He NEEDS even MORE time. So, from what was agreed to by everyone to be a two-day Hearing, here we are going into our FOURTH day on June 15, 2010.
From everything I’ve seen and heard during the THREE days of what was supposed to be our TWO-day Hearing, from the demagoguery of me, the diminishing of my co-litigant (Brisson), the preemptive refusal of the judge (Metivier) to even consider my expertise BEFORE Caza even had the opportunity to object, and everything else:
I DOUBT VERY MUCH IF WE HAVE A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HELL OF WINNING IN THIS COURT.
I might be wrong – But I doubt it.
In Caza’s attack upon me and my intentions at the outset of his presentation, in a BOOMING voice, he REPEATEDLY quoted Judge Metivier’s finding against the CLF by calling me a BUSYBODY.
This was not lost on the media who were quick to notice and report it.
He also EMPHASIZED over and over again that I had NO STANDING to even be there, and as such, I was WASTING valuable court time and costs and should be STRUCK-DOWN as a litigant on STANDING ALONE.
What Caza failed to mention during this “noble” crusade upon saving the court time and money, is that he could have challenged my standing from DAY ONE, saving not just the courts, but the Town-Folk of Russell as much as, and probably MORE than ONE QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS in his fees and costs alone.
I’ve often written of Caza as being a BULLY. I’ll now add HYPOCRITE.
But, we don’t have to win in this court.
Where we have to win, is in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada, and THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION.
Caza read several paragraphs from of my Blog to establish that I am a Francophobe and worse. It was a tactic I fully expected. But he ended his reading of selected portions of my Editorials by a sentence that essentially said:
The majority can take ONLY so much until there is blowback.
I’m pleased that this message was NOT lost on him and everyone else.
To know more about how I feel now that we’re really into this Hearing, Click on the Radio Icon at the Top of this Page to Listen to a 20-Minute Audio Editorial.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov