Thursday, 24 May 2012

Persecution of Charles Leblanc

Persecution of Charles Leblanc

The latest attempt by a coalition of Fredericton’s security forces to silence Charles Leblanc marks another milestone in his accidental mission as a crusader for press freedom.  This effort will prove to be as ill-fated as the one recently concluded and for the same fundamental reasons: it is ill-motivated, unsupportable in law, and essentially contrary to democratic principles and the public interest.

To recap:

  • A week after the Atlantica conference, Charles was banned from the legislature buildings and grounds and served with an unsigned “Barring Notice”.  The exact grounds for the ban have never been publicly disclosed.
  • In April, 2009 Charles was arrested for being on the legislature grounds while covering a protest and given a court date to face charges.  No charges were ever laid.  Before and after the incident, Charles continued his journalistic coverage of events at the Legislature, and has been on the Legislature grounds hundreds s of times since 2006 without incident.
  • During the summer of 2011, Charles was repeatedly accosted and ticketed by Fredericton Police for minor by-law offenses which are routinely ignored by police and citizens.  The incidents all originated from Daniel Bussières, Sergeant-at-arms for the Legislature, and Const. Fred L’Oiseau of the Fredericton Police Force, both of whom have been frequently vilified in Charles’ blog.
  • On January 19, 2012 the Fredericton police arrested Charles and seized his computer on a search warrant based on defamatory libel under section 301 of the Criminal code, an obsolete offence already deemed unconstitutional by Courts in four other provinces as contrary to the right to free speech under the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • On May 16, 2012 Charles was arrested on the grounds of the legislature by the Fredericton Police on a complaint of assault, while waiting to take a picture of Energy Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney as she left the legislature upon resigning for personal reasons.
Although there has been no official explanation of the event, the arrest appears to be based on the 2006 Barring Notice which banned Charles from the “legislative precinct” indefinitely, on pain of a charge of assault for trespass.  According to his blog, Charles received a tip that Blaney was resigning her position and seat, and went to the Legislature early to photograph her.  While waiting outside the building, two security guards from the Legislature, accompanied by a non-uniformed Fredericton police officer, grabbed Charles by the shoulder and pushed him against the wall.  Daniel Bussières approached and shouted that Charles would be charged with assault.

The current campaign to put Charles behind bars is fraught with constitutional, legal and political difficulties which render its chance of success no greater than past efforts.

The Legislative Ban

The Legislature “Barring Notice” was issued under an ancient constitutional principle by which the Legislative Assembly has the power to control its own processes free from Court oversight even under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This includes the right to exclude “strangers” i.e. non-members from the legislative precinct:

Given that legislatures are representative and deliberative institutions, those privileges ultimately serve to protect the democratic nature of those bodies.  (Ref re Remuneration of Judges of the Prov. Court of P.E.I. [1997] 3 SCR 3 at para.101)

The legislative body needs this legal protection or immunity to perform its function and to defend and vindicate its authority and dignity.  The Members of the legislative body enjoy these rights and immunities because the legislature cannot act or perform without the unimpeded use of the services of its Members.  (Maingot, Joseph.  Parliamentary Privilege in Canada.  2d ed. (House of Commons and McGill-Queens University Press, 1997) at 12)

In issuing the Barring Notice, the Legislature of New Brunswick has taken an expansive view of its constitutional privilege.  However, the exercise of a power as draconian as excluding a voting citizen from the House of Assembly must be carefully crafted to remain consistent with the authority granted by the unwritten principles on which it is based.  AS stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia (Speaker of the House of Assembly), [1993] 1 SCR 319):

I conclude that the exercise of their inherent privileges by members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly is not subject to Charter review....It should be noted here that this does not mean that the members of legislative assemblies can exercise parliamentary privileges with absolute immunity.  First, the courts can still review the validity of claims of privilege to the same degree they have always done.  That is, they can pronounce upon the existence or extent of a particular privilege.  Second, even if the members are not accountable to the judiciary with respect to the exercise of parliamentary privileges, they are, obviously, still accountable to the electorate.

The interpretation and adaptation to modern realities of unwritten constitutional principles is a subtle task with many possible pitfalls.  Without attempting to be exhaustive or claiming to be learned in the matter, a few potential problems come to mind.

The power resides in the Legislative Assembly, not in the Government.  It is exercised by the Speaker on behalf of the Legislature.  It is my understanding that the Speaker does not consult the Assembly, but follows the recommendation of the Legislative Administration Committee.  On the surface, this seems to be a reasonable means by which the Legislature can act through a representative, namely, the Speaker.

However, the Speaker did not himself issue the Barring Notice.  That was apparently done by Sergeant-at-Arms Dan Bussières.  This apparently minor act of delegation or sub-delegation of authority may be excusable as merely administrative in nature, although it would be far preferable from the point of view of a concerned observer that the authority of the Speaker himself appeared on an official act of the Legislature, particularly where an arcane and exceptional parliamentary privilege is being exercised.

A real problem presents itself where the Barring Notice goes beyond a mere ban and invests wide discretion in the Sergeant-at-Arms in the invocation and enforcement of the ban.  Such delegation of a constitutional power may itself invalidate the Barring Notice and will certainly bring into question the particular events that led up to the arrest of Charles on May 16.

The issue of delegation of such important discretion is coloured by the many contextual aspects of the Barring Notice that have been questioned.  The Legislature claims the privilege of secrecy in the issuance of the Barring Notice, yet has from time to time issued various explanations none of which amounts to support for a clear principle which would justify the permanent exclusion of a citizen from the Legislature and the widest possible geographic territory. 

The most commonly cited reason is that Charles is noisy and harasses employees, absent any specific allegations to which Charles could respond.  Is the Barring Notice merely a roundabout means to control an alleged harasser by selectively invoking the criminal law of trespass and assault?  Unfortunately, the Sergeant-at-arms himself has become personally and emotionally involved in the allegations of harassment against Charles bringing into question his impartiality in enforcing the Barring Notice on oddly timed and very infrequent occasions.

Trespass and Assault Charges

The enforcement of the Legislative ban is contained in the closing words of the document as follows:

If you choose to disregard the directives and authority of House officials, I will have no alternative but to but to seek your removal by the police authorities from Parliament Square grounds.  Your refusal to comply forthwith may be deemed to be an assault, contrary to and in violation of Subsection 41 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Section 41 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:

41.(1) Every one who is in peaceable possession of a dwelling-house or real property, and every one lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority, is justified in using force to prevent any person from trespassing on the dwelling-house or real property, or to remove a trespasser therefrom, if he uses no more force than is necessary.

(2) A trespasser who resists an attempt by a person who is in peaceable possession of a dwelling-house or real property, or a person lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority to prevent his entry or to remove him, shall be deemed to commit an assault without justification or provocation.

The validity of the Barring Notice is a necessary element of establishing that Charles is a trespasser at on the legislative precinct.  Assuming that to be the case, the evidence known to date is unlikely to support a conviction against Charles.

Dan Bussières and his staff would have been well-advised to follow scrupulously the procedure set out in the Barring Notice.  Instead of giving Charles an opportunity to leave, he was grabbed and manhandled and had to visit the hospital.  That action cannot support a charge against Charles of assault, nor could it be said that the security corps used no more force than is necessary to remove Charles so there is a possibility that a charge of assault could lie against them.

No evidence has or is likely to be disclosed of the Legislature version of events.  Of course, Dan Bussières will likely have a different version of facts which will accord with what is found to be captured on the Legislature’s video surveillance tapes.  For his part, Charles’ camera was taken from him along with any evidence it contained, a repeat of police misconduct in the 2006 Saint John arrest that was specifically disapproved by in the judicial decision acquitting Charles:

...from a personal standpoint I can understand Sergeant Parks’ actions in deleting the picture.  From a legal standpoint however it is unacceptable.  The camera was never seized as access to the contents of the camera would be permitted only through a search warrant.  No warrant was ever obtained by Sergeant Parks, so he had no legal right to erase a picture from Mr. LeBlanc’s camera.  R. v. LeBlanc, 2006 NBPC 37 (CanLII)

Having violated Charles’ civil rights in taking his camera, assaulting him without provocation, and arresting him without justification, it is unlikely a Court would convict Charles for his actions at the Legislature on May 16.

Conflicts of Interest ad Bad Faith

A troubling aspect of the latest action against Charles Leblanc arises from questions about the ability of all key figures to act impartially in executing their constitutional responsibilities.  Perceptions of conflict of interest and bad faith are greatly exacerbated by circumstances:  the timing of this action immediately after the Attorney General concluded the  ill-conceived Fredericton Police action against Charles; the close relationship between the Legislature security corps and the Fredericton Police together with evident coordination of roles in accosting and arresting Charles; and the well-known personal antagonism between Charles and Dan Bussières.

The actions of Dan Bussières in this matter place the Attorney General and the Premier in an untenable position.  They have already issued lukewarm affirmations that the Fredericton Police’s criminal libel actions require close, impartial scrutiny by a provincially appointed inquiry.  Can members of the Legislature honestly pretend that this current action is distinguishable in its malevolent intent? 

Hopefully, they will not attempt to emulate Mayor Brad Woodside who disingenuously and inaccurately disclaimed any responsibility for the actions of his Chief of Police.  By a similar stratagem, Blais and Alward could invoke the constitutional distinction between the Legislative Assembly and the Government, and disclaim formal authority over The Legislative ban and resulting fiasco on May 16.  The catch is that both are leading members of a majority government, and influential members of the Legislative Assembly.  The proposition that political leaders who purport to effectively govern the Province are incapable of crafting a more practical, flexible solution other than resort to a criminal process fraught with constitutional difficulties challenges our confidence in the delicate balance that characterizes our system of government.

If they do not, Blais will have a more difficult decision as she is responsible for the administration of justice in the Province while also being a member of the Legislative Assembly.  Can Blais in her role as Attorney General of the Province impartially decide whether to lay and prosecute charges which have been brought against Charles by a body of which she is a member?  It is difficult to conceive how the Attorney-General can escape this conflict of interest or resort to an available alternative solution.

The practical reality is that constitutional principles which govern the delicate internal balances of our form of government are ill-suited to adjudicate disputes which import wholesale complexities of contested facts, conflicting principles and questions of motive, all of which figure prominently here.  Adjudication of such matters in a criminal court proceeding would become an absurdity, giving short shrift to important matters of state in the interstices of adjudicating minute factual issues relating to the liberty of a citizen.

Political Considerations

Concerted official actions against individuals who have not actually committed a wrong seldom fuel the public respect for their public officials.  The most significant consequence of the Legislature action, as was the case with the previous City action, is the political fallout for New Brunswick politicians and officials.

Charles Leblanc is no saint.  He can be self-serving, loud, crude and pushy.  However, he has never during the time period in question been credibly accused of any action that would merit legal sanction.  This is the weak point in the Legislature’s campaign since 2006.  It has taken refuge behind an obscure constitutional immunity to avoid stating a case.  Instead of articulating clear, comprehensible grounds for the ban, it has resorted to generalizations, innuendo and rumour, hardly an approach calculated to reassure the public.

On the other side of the equation, Charles is a capable and committed amateur journalist.  He has recorded thousands of interviews with public officials, including most members of the legislature over several years.  All of his interviews are readily available for public viewing and are widely viewed.  Charles’ interviews are typically civil, relevant and revealing, often probing into controversial issues.  A great many citizens of Fredericton and elsewhere watch Charles’ blog for breaking news not available anywhere, including the police, politicians and mainstream media.

The persistent and obvious irony in all of Charles’ dealings with enforcement officials is that he can only benefit from the attention.  To lose face in the court of public opinion, Charles would have to be seen to commit a wrong that substantially exceeded the official wrongs perpetrated against him, an outcome he has avoided to date.

The big losers in this court are the well-paid staff including Sergeant-at-arms Dan Bussières, Legislature Clerk Loredana Catalli Sonier, Constable Fred L’Oiseau and Police Chief Barry MacKnight.  All are at risk of being perceived of one or more of the following: conspiring on a bungled scheme to get rid of a troublesome pest once and for all; acting in furtherance of a private interest rather than the public interest; failing to discharge their duties to act impartially in the public interest; trying to use black letter law for a purpose that was never intended; and consequently being unfit for the important official positions they hold.

Charles’ role in as a vocal critic of successive government agendas leads to an unsettling suspicion.  Almost universally MLAs and Ministers appear to embrace encounters with Charles and even to like him, but do they?  One may wonder if it was the politicians who secretly wanted Charles permanently silenced all along, accepting the ban in their name while the staff took the heat.  The continuation of the ban, and the latest proceedings that have been put in motion, can only further lessen any remaining fragments of public trust in our elected representatives.

An appropriate political response to the legislative ban was articulated by MLA Abel Leblanc who stated:

Specifically barring someone from the legislature is totally, totally wrong as far as I am concerned. I am here. I got elected by the people and you know he’s a person. If he comes here and asks me for anything, I do it for him.

The Government of New Brunswick should realize that it is not in the public interest, nor in keeping with modern reality, to ban from the Legislature citizen journalists who serve a valid public need in reporting and questioning the workings of the house of assembly where very few bother to venture.  The Legislature is not so solemn, nor so riveting, that it cannot handle a greater range of normal human behaviour than now seems to be tolerated in the ranks of visitors.

The Attorney General should put an immediate end to this destructive cycle and revert to the plan to investigate the controversial issues surrounding the activities of Charles Leblanc by a public inquiry.  Such a body would be a far more appropriate venue to delve into the thicket of issues brought about by modern technology and a pressing need to revitalize our democratic institutions.


This issue has festered for six years.  The invocation of the Legislative privilege against a law-abiding citizen, who exercises his constitutional right to participate in the democratic process as fully and enthusiastically as does Charles Leblanc, is repugnant to democracy.  The constitution is in place for the protection of the people against arbitrary actions of government.  The aggressive use of an obscure constitutional provision to exclude Charles from the legislative precinct taints rather than protects the dignity of the Legislative Assembly, a result directly contrary to the rationale for the privilege.


The message here is politicians have to stop lying, and police have to stop lying and brutalizing the people.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Charest's Recipe for Revolution

 If you aren't in Quebec, or following this on twitter, you probably aren't getting a balanced picture of what is going on there.  This is from Facebook.
An open letter to my English-Canadian friends. Please circulate in your networks as you see fit.

You may have heard that there has been some turmoil in Quebec in recent weeks. There have been demonstrations in the streets of Montreal every night for almost a month now, and a massive demonstration will be happening tomorrow, which I will be attending, along with my wife, Elizabeth Elbourne, and my eldest daughter Emma.

Reading the Anglo-Canadian press, it strikes me that you have been getting a very fragmented and biased picture of what is going on. Given the gulf that has already emerged between Quebec and the rest of Canada in the wake of the 2011 election, it is important that the issues under discussion here at least be represented clearly. You may decide at the end of the day that we are crazy, but at least you should reach that decision on the basis of the facts, rather than of the distortions that have been served up by the G&M and other outlets.

First, the matter of the tuition hikes, which touched off this mess. The rest of the country seems to have reached the conclusion that the students are spoiled, selfish brats, who would still be paying the lowest tuition fees even if the whole of the proposed increase went through.

The first thing to say is that this is an odd conception of selfishness. Students have been sticking with the strikes even knowing that they may suffer deleterious consequences, both financial and academic. They have been marching every night despite the threat of beatings, tear-gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. It is, of course, easier for the right-wing media to dismiss them if they can be portrayed as selfish kids to whom no -one has ever said "no". But there is clearly an issue of principle here.

OK, then. But maybe the principle is the wrong one. Free tuition may just be a pie-in-the sky idea that mature people give up on when they put away childish things. And besides, why should other people pay for the students' "free" tuition? There is no such thing as "free" education. Someone, somewhere, has to pay. And the students, the criticism continues, are simply refusing to pay their "fair share".

Why is that criticism simplistic? Because the students' claim has never been that they should not pay for education. The question is whether they should do so up front, before they have income, or later, as taxpayers in a progressive taxation scheme. Another question has to do with the degree to which Universities should be funded by everyone, or primarily by those who attend them. So the issue of how to fund Universities justly is complicated. We have to figure out at what point in people's lives they should be paying for their education, and we also have to figure out how much of the bill should be footed by those who do not attend, but who benefit from a University-educated work force of doctors, lawyers, etc. The students' answer to this question may not be the best, but then it does not strike me that the government's is all that thought out either.

And at least the students have been trying to make ARGUMENTS and to engage the government and the rest of society in debate, whereas the government's attitude, other than to invoke the in-this-context-meaningless "everyone pays their faire share" argument like a mantra, has been to say "Shut up, and obey".

What strikes the balance in the students' favour in the Quebec context is that the ideal of no up-front financial hurdles to University access is enshrined in some of the most foundational documents of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, in particular the Parent Commission Report, which wrested control of schools from the Church and created the modern Quebec education system, a cornerstone of the kind of society that many Quebeckers see themselves as aspiring to. Now, it could be that that ideal is no longer viable, or that we may no longer want to subscribe to it. But moving away from it, as Charest's measures have done, at least requires a debate, analogous to the debate that would have to be had if the Feds proposed to scrap the Canada Health Act. It is clearly not just an administrative measure. It is political through and through. Indeed it strikes at fundamental questions about the kind of society we want to live in. If this isn't the sort of thing that requires democratic debate, I don't know what is.

The government has met the very reasonable request that this issue, and broader issues of University governance, be at least addressed in some suitably open and democratic manner with silence, then derision, then injunctions, and now, with the most odious "law" that I have seen voted by the Quebec National Assembly in my adult memory. It places the right of all Quebec citizens to assemble, but also to talk and discuss about these issues, under severe limitations. It includes that most odious of categories: crimes of omission, as in, you can get fined for omitting to attempt to prevent someone from taking part in an act judged illegal by the law. In principle, the simple wearing of the by-now iconic red square can be subject to a fine. The government has also made the student leaders absurdly and ruinously responsible for any action that is ostensibly carried out under the banners of their organizations. The students groups can be fined $125000 whenever someone claiming to be "part" of the movement throws a rock through a window. And so on. It is truly a thing to behold.

The government is clearly aware that this "law" would not withstand a millisecond of Charter scrutiny. It actually expires in July 2013, well before challenges could actually wind their way through the Courts. The intention is thus clearly just to bring down the hammer on this particular movement by using methods that the government knows to be contrary to basic liberal-democratic rule-of-law principles. The cynicism is jaw-dropping. It is beneath contempt for the government to play fast and loose with our civil rights and liberties in order to deal with the results of its own abject failure to govern.So that is why tomorrow I will be taking a walk in downtown Montreal with (hopefully!) hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens. Again, you are all free to disagree, but at least don't let it be because of the completely distorted picture of what is going on here that you have been getting from media outlets, including some from which we might have expected more.

 It seems the practice of illegal government action is catching on.  Obviously, there are some sharp lawyers advising these governments on ways to ignore the constitution by building in an escape hatch down the road so they end up never facing Court sanction.  Sounds like a recipe for a revolution.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Canada's Shameful Human Rights Record

Dear Yoonie,

As a citizen of Canada, I wish to convey my thanks to Dr. Schutter and the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for visiting Canada and for his extremely insightful report on the plight of many thousands of Canadians in all parts of the country that do not have enough to eat. I hope he will return to continue this work.

I am deeply ashamed at the inaction of our governments on this issue, not to mention the lack of respect for the United Nations and Dr. Schutter in failing to meet with him and discuss the grave conditions he has observed.  Please be assured that this attitude is not representative of Canadians who have historically been strong supporters of the United Nations and it's work on human rights issues worldwide,  and appreciate the spotlight that an objective observer shines on an atrocious and completely unnecessary human rights violation.



On 03/05/2012 5:21 PM, Yoonie Kim wrote:

Dear Mr. Dauphinee,

Many thanks for your message. We very much appreciate you interest in the visit. The itinerary of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, was set between a process of consultation between the Government of Canada, Canadian non-governmental organizations and aboriginal groups and the Special Rapporteur himself. Unfortunately, as this is a short visit of only 10 days it was not possible for the Special Rapporteur to visit all priority areas of the country. Your advice, however, on the relevance of these additional locations on questions of poverty and the right to food is of interest to us. In addition to the first-hand information he gains, the Special Rapporteur relies on various information sources. Therefore, if you would like to submit any written information for the Special Rapporteur's consideration we would certainly welcome this. Please see below further information on how to do so.
    The right to food is a human right recognized under international law, which protects the rights of human beings to feed themselves in dignity, either by producing their food or purchasing it. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food is seeking written submission on the realization of the right to food for communities across Canada. Written submissions can be in many formats from documents prepared specifically for the Mission to inform the Special Rapporteur about problems identified and their structural underpinnings, to reports, documents and articles prepared for other purposes but relevant to the Mission. Written submissions should identify particular issues or challenges in the realization of the right to food and should describe how these issues or challenges demonstrate the failure of the State (federal, provincial, municipal) to "respect, protect and/or fulfil" the right to food. They should thus identify a problem and explain the structural issues underpinning the problem. Any sources used in the written submission should be identified, and where possible links to key documents, reports and papers should be provided. All submissions should be sent to (it is best to send submissions as soon as possible, but we will be accepting them through the end of the May). 

    The obligation to respect existing access to adequate food requires State parties not to take any measures that result in preventing such access. The obligation to protect requires measures by the State to ensure that enterprises or individuals do not deprive other individuals of their access to adequate food. The obligation to fulfil means the State must pro-actively engage in activities intended to strengthen people's access to and utilization of resources and means to ensure their livelihood, including food security. 
Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

With kind regards, Yoonie

Ms. Yoonie KIM

Human Rights Officer

Special Procedures Branch

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mailing address: UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10

Physical address: Palais Wilson, 52 Rue des Pâquis, office 3-010

Tel: +41 (0)22 917 9643 | Fax: +41 (0)22 917 9006


-----Peter Dauphinee <> wrote: -----

From: Peter Dauphinee <>
Date: 03/05/2012 21:38
Subject: Visit to Canada by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter


Can you please explain to me why the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter is visiting various parts of Canada from May 6 to 16 but is not visiting the poorest provinces of Canada, namely Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick?  That appears to be a very strange plan for the United Nations.


Peter Dauphinee
506 866-2571
 Mr. Olivier De Schutter, (Belgium), Special Rapporteur on the right to food, since May 2008

Ottawa Citizen, May 16, 2012: UN food envoy decries 'shocking' conditions in Canada  

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Fightin' Words

Here is an interesting point of view from Charles' blog. I like Anonymous' succinct and direct way of stating the matter:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Reasonably good interview but it still falls short of real issues - the City of Fredericton as the employer of the Fredericton City police farce is legally responsible for every Tort involving the police - i.e all legal actions and repercussions so why are these professors not telling us like it is? This is the Mayor's responsibility - he is in charge if this rogue and defective Chief of Police and his rotten officers. And David Alward - the law professors have confirmed you can just decide to do the right thing and have a public inquiry so ... are you going to do it? If you don't that tells us all you are just going to keep hiding the rot and corruption to hide the rotten Crown Prosecution Service, rotten police, rotten City council and rotten Justice Department. Do you have any balls or have they rolled off to the same place as Shawn Grahams? It's time for justice and time for change.
6:56 PM, May 11, 2012
It would be great if Anonymous had the balls to put his name behind his words and let us know what information has to support his opinion.

It does look like the Province is working hard to create it's own commotion with the angry Frederictonians.  What began as a magnanimous offer from Premier Alward is looking to get all wrapped up in red tape in the capable hands of Attorney General Blais in the hopes of whittling it down to nothing.  

Here is another silver-tongued orator commenting on Charles' blog:

Anyone who votes for Woodside is an idiot. Look at his track record. He has spent tax payer money like a drunker sailor and raised our property taxes to pay for it.

Further he is responsible for the City buying the old North Star Sports Bar location and selling it at a substantial loss.

Just last week the city sold York House to ADI for $500,000 after paying $1 million.

This is despicable business practices of the City. Buying property with taxpayer money and then taking a wicked loss selling it to developers.

I hear him justifying it by saying that they will make the money back over time through property tax.

What about all of the years of lost revenue until the city reaches break even?

This is a scandal just like the PAC is a scandal. Developers on the PAC endorsing development at the expense of the environment.

There should be a criminal investigation of the process to see if there has been any shenanigans!

Luck the City conned the Province to buy the Convention Centre. It remains empty as there is a glut of rental office space in the downtown.

Lastly, developers are building condos like there is no tomorrow. There is a growing over-capacity of residential property and this is all going to crash.

A lot of it is being financed by the contractors using bank money. Someone is going to get burned and it will be us when the banks scream for money because mortgages are defaulted on.

BTW Charles is only endorsing Woodside because he made a bunch of YouTubes with him.
10:30 PM, May 12, 2012

Again, it would give Anyone but Woodside's opinion more force if he had the courage to put his name to it.

And more tough talk from Anonymous... Ouch! This is the fear that dare not speak its name:

Post a Comment On: Charles Leblanc's Other Blog

1 – 1 of 1
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Matthew. This smacks of rushing through a deal that is not in the interests of the public - more about cutting some business buddy a lucrative deal and the public purse covers the pre-ordained losses. So, did the City Council also do a favour to the owners when they bought the building by paying an over-inflated price for this property? How many people might be getting financial perks or backhanders in this deal? Why are such issues in a closed council meeting when it is our money they are playing with? Outrageous - Matthew, if you don't win it's 'cos it was rigged but Brad is obviously rushing this deal through in case he is ousted as mayor.
3:10 PM, May 14, 2012

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The War for Democracy


Published on Jun 5, 2012 by
A terrifying war is being fought in the digital second world of modern life. Technology designed to soak up individual's private communications is in constant development. In the age of cyber surveillance where does the boundary between private and public fall -- if it still exists at all?

On the front line of this digital conflict are the Cypherpunks, the focus of a two part special of The World Tomorrow beginning with part one this week. Andy Muller Maguhn, Jeremie Zimmerman, and Jacob Appelbaum are all prominent web activists advocating the free circulation of data and knowledge on the web. They are all key figures in the Cypherpunks movement -- a movement dedicated to keeping your private data private. In this eye-opening encounter, Julian Assange discusses with them the technical challenge posed by government snooping on personal data, the democratisation of essential encryption technology, and the importance of web activism. As Jacob Applebaum points out, "Now we take our personal lives and we put it all on Facebook. We communicate using the Internet or mobile phones, which are now meshed to the Internet. And military or intelligence agencies have control of that data and are studying it. So this is some kind of militarization of civilian life."

Conspiracies.. Updated

Using the Earth as a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Something is up

Icing on the cake

Published on May 27, 2012 by
Anonymous vidéo :
Infos et débats rejoignez-nous sur :
Identification (n'hésitez pas à nous envoyer vos requête d'identification par MP)
Lucien Bouchard @ 13:50, 16:15, 18:13, 1:40:05, 1:40:36, 1:40:54
Brian Mulroney @ 14:10, 15:29, 19:25, 1:36:25, 1:38:49, 1:41:13, 1:42:50
Jean Charest, semi caché @ 14:29, 15:52, 19:35, 20:07, 43:48
Jean Chrétien @ 15:00, 43:15, 43:35, 1:40:19, 1:40:36, 1:40:41
George H. W. Bush @ vers 19:32
Liza Frulla a 14:55
Marc Hervieux à 35:30
Yannick Nezet-Seguin à 41:30 (chef d'orchestre)
Adrienne Clarkson @ 16:15, 18:20, 1:40:38
Couple Desmarais @ 16:23, 38:54, 43:07, 43:58, 44:18, 44:25, 44:50, 42:20, 1:38:58
Jean Charest et sa femme @ 18:00
Desmarais @ 18:35, 19:08, 19:25, 19:55, 43:50, 1:40:09, 1:40:30, 1:40:46, 1:40:51
Robert Charlebois @ 19:20, 1:38:46, 1:39:11, 1:40:00, 1:41:16, 1:44:30, 1:44:40, 1:45:08
Luc Plamondon @ 42:59, 43:35, 1:35:58, 1:37:05, 1:38:58, 1:39:14

Version non corrigée: «Voici un Dvd donné à l'occasion de l'anniversaire de Mme Desmarais.Paul Desmarais est son marie et est le grand patron de la Power Corps.Dans ce DVD vous verrez qui sont les invités...Pour cette occasion.Réunissant presque tout les chefs politiques de la Gauche et de la Droite,du fédéral et du provincial.Entre autre vous verrez bien des Gens dont moi-même je ne peu tous les nommés...Mais entre-autre Jean Charest,Lucien Bouchard,Bryan Mulroney,Jean Chrétien.Le DVD a été gardé dans toutes son intégrité afin que vous puissiez vous aussi vous mettre en ambience avec ce jour merveilleu que fût la fête à Mme Desmarais.Maintenant je vous laisses tous imaginés qui est invité et pourquoi quand ce n'est pas fête et pourquoi.Les médias nous cachent au peuple bien des choses,à vous de vous faire une opinion...La mienne est déjà faite,la privatisation des entreprise publique québécoises aux intérêts d'un seul homme,me démontre une forme de profit pyramidale et tout en haut...pas besoin de vous dire c'est qui,bon visionnement.»

Version corrigée et remaniée: « Voici un DVD remis à l'occasion de l'anniversaire de Mme Desmarais. Paul Desmarais est son mari et est le grand patron de la Power Corporation. Dans ce DVD, vous aurez l'occasion de voir les invité(e)s à cette fête... Réunissant presque tous les chefs politiques de la gauche comme de la droite, du fédéral comme du provincial. Entre autres, vous verrez bien des gens dont moi-même, je ne peux tous les nommés... Mais entre autres: Jean Charest, Lucien Bouchard, Bryan Mulroney et Jean Chrétien. Le DVD vous est montré dans toutes son intégralité, afin que vous puissiez vous aussi vous mettre dans l'ambiance de ce jour merveilleux que fût la fête donnée en l'honneur de Madame Desmarais. Je vous laisse tous imaginer les liens qui se tissent entre ces différents tenants du pouvoir en d'autres temps... Les médias cachent au peuple bien des choses, à vous de juger les liens indécents qui peuvent en découler... Les miens sont faits, la privatisation des entreprises publiques québécoises aux intérêts d'un seul homme, me démontre une forme de pouvoir pyramidal, et tout en haut... je vous laisse deviner qui s'y trouve. Bon visionnement! »

The clincher

Friday, 11 May 2012

About Charles Leblanc's Endorsement for Mayor

Dear Charles,

I supported you in your battle against police action since the beginning of the section 301 arrest and search. As you know, I supported you from principle, knowing virtually nothing about you before.  You have now been vindicated, the police action universally condemned, and I am pleased at the outcome.
As I looked into the past actions against you by public officials, I believed that in those dealings with the governments and police, you acted upon sound principles such as environmental protection, decent social assistance, and fair and equal justice.

Your recent endorsement of Mayor Woodside for another term of office seems based entirely on unsubstantial grounds and even contrary to principles you claim to stand for.

Brad Woodside has been Mayor of Fredericton for 28 years.  He has obviously done a lot for the City, and has many accomplishments to be proud of.  However, the world has changed quite dramatically in recent years and Mayor Woodside is n longer the most appropriate candidate for the job.  There are a number of serious missteps recently that can be traced to Mayor Woodside’s inabilities.

First, it is clear that Woodside neither understands nor properly executes his role in supervising the Fredericton Police Force.  He has a legal responsibility to ensure that Council establishes and supervises the operations of the Police Force.  Council has failed in this, and that failing falls principally on Woodside.  Worse, Woodside has seriously equivocated, on one hand affirming a close relationship with the Police Chief, on the other hand distancing himself from police actions when they turn out to be unpopular.

Second, Woodside has shown a lack of understanding of and disdain for the law.  Again, he wishes to flout the law when it is popular to do so, yet tacitly appeal to law against an unpopular cause.  In a nutshell, Woodside flouted the law in evicting the Occupy protestors without proper legal authority or Court sanction.  Yet, because the eviction of Occupy was popular, he acts as if they are miscreants, whereas the best advice that has been presented to the public is that the Occupiers broke no laws at all.  They were acting within their rights as citizens.

Third, Woodside effectively stood by while your rights were blatantly abused by the Fredericton Police.  He hid behind legality where common sense and a small bit of courage may have enhanced his reputation and saved a great deal of grief and expense for the City of Fredericton, not to mention your dignity and peace of mind.  Who would have complained had he intervened to end a reckless and illegal action by police against a citizen of the City? 

Finally and more generally, Woodside is clearly out of touch with the expectations of accountability and transparency that suit the current age.  He has equivocated on shale gas and on providing decent care to the disadvantaged in the City.  He has engaged in real estate adventures of debatable merit or worse without sufficient, disinterested citizen engagement to enable public assessment of merit.

In conclusion, Charles, it looks to me like you have supported the Mayor based mainly on your personal interests and contrary to principles that I thought we hold in common.  Of course it is your absolute right to have and share your own opinions regardless of any cost in esteem from me and any others that may find the reasons you give for your endorsement to be trivial and essentially self serving.


Peter Dauphinee
May 11, 2012

Public Inquiry for Charles Leblanc's Case

Dear Professor Hughes and Professor Boudreau,

Thank you for your invaluable learned contributions to the public understanding of the Charles Leblanc case.  Your example in speaking out on important public issues, and that of Professor Mathew Hayes, show how relevant the University has become to upholding the values of our civilization in changing and confusing times.

There remains quite a bit of uncertainty round the issue of an inquiry.  These are very complicated processes which need to be very carefully established to achieve specific ends.  The present circumstances are particularly challenging involving a particular case of police singling out an individual for extraordinary treatment, but with very far-reaching implications for the public interest – freedom of expression, the status of bloggers and the confidentiality of their personal files, and treatment of the vulnerable- to name a few.

While it has been a very difficult experience for Charles LeBlanc, arguably it is primarily the public interest aspect primarily that motivates the need for an inquiry under provincial law.  For this reason, the mandate and scope of the public inquiry should be determined by the Attorney General taking into consideration a diversity of representative views, not only those of the aggrieved party.  I am not suggesting a formal process, but there should be some opening for comment and critique before the key parameters of an inquiry are set.

I do not speak for Charles Leblanc.  However, I believe his objective is not so much personal redress other than recognition that a wrong was done to him and possibly some reasonable restitution.  I believe Charles’ objective in his dealings with the police have been consistently to further the public interest in, among other positive goals, the proper use of police power particularly as it affects disadvantaged groups in society.

As a starting point, I would like to see something along the following lines:

The coming provincial inquiry into the Charles Leblanc case should be structured and mandated broadly to address all facets of our criminal justice system to ensure it will in future deliver justice according to the constitution, individual rights, and the needs and expectations of the broader community.  The instinct is often to limit an inquiry in process and scope, particularly where individual culpability may be in issue.  I suggest this would be a mistake and detract from the proper objective f the inquiry.  The inquiry should be established to find solutions, not to assign actionable fault.  The inquiry should act as a truth and reconciliation commission to dig deeply into all facts related to Charles’ and similar experiences of abuse of police power and miscarriages of justice, and to propose whatever changes are needed to create a justice system that is as fair, equitable and effective as it possibly can be.

I realize that this would be a large undertaking, particularly where the specific issues of the Section 301 event are already complex.  However, all of Charles' actions take place, and can only be understood, in the  broader context in which he places himself: his political activism (Saint John 2006 arrest and trial), his political reporting (2009 arrest and non-trial), his citizen reporting (Stafford case 2008), and his status as and advocacy for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society.

An issue that is certain to be addressed in an inquiry, which has been almost ignored to date, is the role of Fredericton City Council in the governance of the Fredericton Police Force.  Council took the position early on in the Section 301 incident that it could not interfere with the actions of the Police, relying upon the Police Act.  This position ignored several realities.  First, Council does have positive duties set out clearly in the Police Act to ensure the proper functioning of the Police Force.  Second, it is well known that the Section 301 incident was only the latest in a series of altercations between Charles and the Police stretching back for years.  Well before the raid on Charles apartment in January, 2012, it was clear that the Police were singling out Charles for extraordinary treatment.  There was clearly a failure of police governance in the events leading up to the Section 301 arrest.

The question of police governance in New Brunswick was the subject of study by a committee struck in September 2009 reporting in April 2011:

The objective of these guidelines is to assist board members to better understand their role and responsibilities, and also assist boards by identifying areas in which policy should be developed and providing suggestions for the content and wording of the policy. The guidelines represent the minimum standard of policy development for boards within New Brunswick and should be referred to as best practices.  Police Governance & Oversight in New Brunswick- Policy Guidelines.

Unless I am mistaken, the “board members” referenced here are, in Fredericton, the members of City Council, but there is no indication in the document that Fredericton was represented on the committee, and no mention throughout the events involving Charles Leblanc that Fredericton City Council has any knowledge of the Policy Guidelines established by the committee.


Peter Dauphinee

cc Attorney General Marie-Claude Blais
    General Counsel Nathalie DesRosiers, CCLA

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Emperor's New Clothes

We’ve had the Arab Spring, the American Spring (Chomsky), the Maple Spring (Quebec students), and now the New Brunswick Spring, as always just a bit behind the rest of the world.  Even in New Brunswick the old ways of doing things are coming to an end.
Disgust for the wars, turmoil and rapacious greed of past decades has revived the yearning for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in populations worldwide subdued by oppression.  We are at the beginning of a political revolution fueled by new found knowledge and awareness enabled by social media and the technology that has connected the world. Historians and sociologists will ponder these events for decades to come.  For now, we marvel at the astonishing revelations and reversals as events unfold. 

Fittingly, the New Brunswick spring was ignited by attacks in Saint John and Fredericton on the very freedom of speech that is opening our eyes to the reckless deeds of those that purport to govern and control.  Arrogance and folly dogs every step that has been taken by the aggressors in these two defamation cases which are linked only by their lack of substance.  Among dozens of poignant instances, a delightful example of collective hubris in timing the denouement of these cases just before province wide municipal elections.

The outrage of citizens who objectively examine the facts of these cases is palpable.  While comments on news reports, videos and blogs are neither representative nor particularly accurate, they generally represent heartfelt views and reflect grains of truth among murky facts.  This is a favourite from Charles Leblanc’s blog:

Anonymous said...
So,Barry is looking for a buddy of his to investigate independently and say exactly what he wants! We still need to know how the police even got a court date without charges being laid - in this Province you have to lay an information for a Criminal Code offence, so we have a Crown and judge who signed a warrant and the court arranged a date when no charge was even laid. This is such a huge conspiracy of wrong-doing it is unbelieveable - and yes BM does talk a load of crap. He knows he is safe 'cos everyone else in the City, NBPC and GNB are right up to their necks in the dirt with him. Now we know why the mayor went on holiday - again at a crucual time!

7:40 PM, May 08, 2012

While one may incline more toward the following two comments from the same blog post...:

AnonymousAnonymous said...
You know, maybe it's me who's crazy, but I watched MacKnight today, and just read these comments tonight, and you commenters are the ones who frighten me!

You don't just sympathize with Charles -- FPF is "government sponsored killers", communists, part of a mass conspiracy, they planted child porn on Charles' computer?! wtf??

Anonymous said...

We're still here, we just can't be heard over the crinkling of tin foil.

The police did nothing wrong here. The recieved a complaint, investigated, noted a crime had been committed, had a judge sign a warrant, then arrested Charles, and sent the file to the crown. Everything they did was above board.

6:57 AM, May 09, 2012

... It is difficult to take issue with a Daily Gleaner editorial, quoted in Charles’ blog, as being representative of widespread sentiment and journalistic fact-checking:



08 May 2012 03:31AM

The last time we wrote an editorial about local blogger Charles LeBlanc, we pondered who was the victim and who was the aggressor in the libel case against him.

And we asked readers to stay tuned, because it might be the courts that eventually answered that question.

But it turns out the court won’t be touching that question with a 10-foot pole.

On Friday we learned the Department of Justice would not proceed with the charge of criminal libel under section 301 of the Criminal Code of Canada, mainly because section 301 has been deemed unconstitutional in three provinces.

But the real issue is why there was a case in the first place. Was it revenge, incompetence, a lack of professionalism?

The Fredericton Police Force arrested Mr. LeBlanc and investigated him under section 301 back in January. A search warrant brought several officers to Mr. LeBlanc’s apartment, where they seized his computer, and handcuffed, arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and jailed him for about six hours.

It was big news, although the force and its chief, Barry MacKnight, barely uttered a public word about the very public search and seizure.

They withstood backlash from Mr. LeBlanc himself, plus questions and harsh criticism from legal experts, one city councillor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The fact that Mr. LeBlanc does not always know when to use discretion, or turn off his computer, gets under some people’s skin, and we can probably include the Fredericton Police Force in that group.

The force and Mr. LeBlanc have a history of mutual dislike. Last summer Mr. LeBlanc used a megaphone on the street outside the police station to badmouth the police, and he is alleged to have called a police officer a sex pervert in his blog — and those are just two among many other issues.

It was the sex accusation that led to the criminal libel case, just dismissed last week.

No doubt the officer in question was angry and wanted a solution. Who wouldn’t?

But when a person is suspected to have libeled another, the usual action is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal libel charge.

But suing Charles LeBlanc certainly wouldn’t have amounted to much in the way of vindication and punitive damages, since he has no fortune with which to part.

This whole case has a legal stench about it. We can’t help but pose a few questions to the Fredericton Police Force related to the conduct of its members and leadership:

• Why choose a section of the Criminal Code on which to base your case that has three times been flagged as unconstitutional?

• Was your thinking clear and unbiased when you made the decision to seek a search warrant?

• Did you go ahead with it, not because it was legally sound and justifiable, but because you could use your power to intimidate a man who slammed one of your police officers and who regularly pushes your buttons?

• Was the negative attention you’ve received for an obviously flawed decision worth the trouble you’ve caused Mr. LeBlanc?

• How much time and taxpayer money was spent on this fruitless case?

• How much communication was there between police and the Crown prosecutor’s office?

• How do you defend your reputation as a police force that is doomed without the public’s co-operation and respect?

The mayor has called for an independent review of the case, and to his credit, Chief MacKnight has agreed. We look forward to it.

We know Charles LeBlanc is no saint, but a review might elevate him from blogger to victim-turned-folk hero — surely not the desired outcome the Fredericton Police Force was seeking.

We are in the first stages of a peaceful, democratic revolution with two broad goals.  First is to breathe life into the democratic rights and freedoms that are promised but not yet delivered by our various constitutional charters.  Second is to rescue our planet from wholesale devastation that will likely, within a few generations, cause massive, widespread suffering and depopulation if we do not quickly change our ways.  

The next steps in this revolution are critical and will be difficult as old school governments everywhere, backed by vast accumulations of private wealth, are vigorously building their arsenals for a violent defense of privilege, wealth and power as seen in Libya, Syria, Bahrain, the 2010 Toronto G10 and the 2007 Montebello summit.  In putative democracies everywhere, legislation cancelling our most basic freedoms is being pushed forward right now in the name of phony wars, crises and epidemics.

The Spring Revolutions are likely to be messy and long, but they cannot be stopped.  Pandora’s box has been opened and citizens now have access to knowledge that was previously denied.  Legislative attempts to control the Internet and to violently subdue expressions of protest only fuel the desire for change.  Our civil rights and freedoms are being strangled but the forms of democracy are deeply ingrained in western cultures, and the days of oppressive governments are numbered.

Going forward, we must insist that our governments deliver the promise of open and transparent government in all their dealings.  We must not elect anyone to public office that does not adhere to ethical and democratic principles in substance and not merely in form.

We must carefully rebuild our essential institutions of public service to be fair, equitable and effective in meeting their proper objectives.  For example, the coming provincial inquiry into the Charles Leblanc case should be structured and mandated broadly to address all facets of our criminal justice system to guarantee substantive justice according to the constitution, individual rights, and the needs and expectations of the broader community.  The instinct of government and the legal community will be to place as many restrictions as possible on the inquiry, as was attempted by the Woodside/MacKnight scheme that was roundly ridiculed.  The inquiry should be established to find solutions, not to assign actionable fault.  The inquiry should act as a truth and reconciliation commission to dig deeply into all facts related to Charles’ and similar experiences of abuse of police power and miscarriages of justice, and to propose whatever changes are needed to create a justice system that is as fair, equitable and effective as it possibly can be.

Barry MacKnight sparked outrage when he characterized the current Police Force problem as one of optics.  The FPF problem is one of grave substance, not optics.  What causes a widespread negative perception, not easily dispelled, is the arrogant expectation by public officials of secrecy and immunity even after their misdeeds have been universally condemned.  Founded or not, the anonymous blog comment quoted above illustrates the depth of that mistrust.

The current government in New Brunswick , half way through its first mandate, teeters on a precipice between lackluster performance and bold action to embrace the new realities and find actual solutions.  The proposed Charles LeBlanc inquiry is a wide open invitation to Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais to initiate a far reaching process to review and thoroughly renovate our system of justice and thereby restore the public confidence.  The type of tinkering and cosmetic efforts that have come to characterize our revolving door governments in New Brunswick will not do it.