Law Times

March 17, 2008

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unprecedent- ed notice of libel against Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is an example of the "bullying" tactics Harper has relied on since winning power in 2006, says a Quebec lawyer who is now a prominent Liberal MP from Montreal. And, says an Ottawa lawyer who has crossed swords with Harper's libel lawyer in court, the prime minister's legal action against Dion and two other Liberal MPs is "ironic" because Harper himself claimed parliamentary immunity to defend himself against a libel suit last year. Montreal Liberal Marlene Jennings says Harper's lawsuit may be a surprise to the public and the legal community, but she believes MPs from all three opposition parties see it as an attempt to use the threat of legal action to get out of a tight political corner. Harper launched his surprising legal action after the Liberal party posted allegations that he knew of Conservative party attempts to "bribe" the late Independent MP Chuck Cadman into voting down the Liberal minority government in 2005. The term was used in a headline on a Liberal web site article about Harper's taped statement to a B.C. author that he was aware two Conservative party representatives approached Cadman, dying of cancer, to convince him to help defeat the government and force an election. Cadman's wife told the author her husband said the Tories had offered him a $1-million life insurance policy if he voted against the Liberals in a confidence motion. Harper said on the tape the offer was "only to replace financial consider- ations he might lose due to an election" and that he told the Conservatives to make their case about "financial insecurity" but also told them "don't press him." The government denies the Conservatives offered Cadman a financial inducement to change his voting intentions. He later cast a ballot in favour of the government that resulted in a tie, forcing Speaker Peter Milliken to follow parliamentary McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. 1-800-265-8381 ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 1/8/08 3:03:02 PM TitlePLUStitleinsuranceandyou, togetherwemakerealestate realsimple. 416-598-5899 1-800-410-1013 Law Times Earlug Ad 1/16/08 4:06 P $3.55 • Vol. 19, No. 9 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene March 17/24, 2008 1.866.804.3112 Take the risk-free FIRST step and call us for coverage information or for unique ideas on how you can structure the next commercial deal that comes your way. We won't leave you hanging. CALL FIRST Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd., with the exception of commercial policies by First American Title Insurance Company. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. This material is intended to provide general information only. 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"It reinforces the importance to counsel to conduct themselves and remind their clients that mat- ters that are learned during the examination for discovery process . . . must be kept confidential in the action and not leaked to third parties, which could result in some serious consequences," says Miller Thomson LLP lawyer Brian Ross, who along with colleague Karen Weslowski represented appellant Suzette Juman in case Juman v. Doucette. The case involves Juman, who runs a daycare service from her Vancouver home. A negligence claim was filed against her after 16-month-old Jade Doucette suf- fered a brain injury and seizure while in her care, according to the unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision written by Jus- tice Ian Binnie. Doucette's parents sued Ju- man, alleging negligence, while a Vancouver police investigation is ongoing. Juman argued that the child's injuries resulted from pre- vious injuries suffered while not in her care. Juman presented a motion be- fore discovery in the case to stop the authorities from obtaining her discovery without a further court order, while the attorney general of British Columbia presented a cross-motion that would allow the authorities to use transcripts of the discovery. Juman, who relied on an implied undertaking for the information to be used only for the civil case, claimed protec- tion from the Canadian and B.C. Evidence Acts and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms at discovery, wrote Binnie. But the claim was settled be- fore Juman's discovery was entered into trial evidence. While the chambers judge de- cided that the implied undertak- ing could not be seized by the police via a search warrant, the B.C. Court of Appeal overturned that decision, finding that the im- Harper's unprecedented notice 'ironic' Libel threats have become a practice Liberal MP Marlene Jennings believes MPs from all three opposition parties see Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lawsuit as an attempt to use the threat of legal action to get out of a tight political corner. Inside This Issue Women's Court 5 More Access 8 Focus On Litigation 9 Quote of the week "There seems to be a regres- sion of the equality rights in terms of the Charter of Rights jurisprudence.The courts seem to be showing more and more deference to the government of Canada; they are allowing some questionable laws to be left unchallenged." — Avvy Go bencher, Law Society of Upper Canada see Women's, page 5 Karen Weslowski says she's not aware of other cases that exam- ine the issue of protection of discovery information during par- allel civil-criminal proceedings. BY TIM NAUMETZ For Law Times See Lawyers, page 2 See Complex, page 2 BY ROBERT TODD Law Times

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