Monday, January 11, 2016

Seeking Revenge Through The Courts


If you're wondering why the Liberals haven't cancelled the armoured cars deal with Saudi Arabia and why they haven't simply dismissed Stephen Harper's raft of future appointments, think the courts and think money. Michael Harris writes:

So here is Trudeau’s dilemma. His preoccupation these days seems to be avoiding costly lawsuits. He is refusing to cancel the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which I am certain offends every bone in his body. There was a contract involved and cancellation would have certainly led to a major court battle.

So far, he has not moved precipitously on Harper’s conniving and reprehensible “future appointments” because that too would almost certainly lead to major lawsuits. He is hoping at least the honourable ones might step aside without having to be forced out. But let’s face it, the Harper Conservatives and honourable behaviour are not often found in the same area code.

It's all about honouring contracts and paying when you don't honour them. The same principle applies to Harper's appointments to the National Energy Board:

One of the people appointed to the NEB was Steven Kelly, a Calgary oil executive. Kelly was a former consultant on contract to Kinder Morgan. According to Mychaylo Prystupa writing in the National Observer, Kelly authored Kinder Morgan’s report to the NEB justifying the $5.4 billion Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion.

Unless Kelly voluntarily steps down from this misbegotten appointment, he will be advising the Trudeau government on the same project he was paid to promote. Thanks to Harper’s devious and unethical appointments, the NEB is now fossil-fuelled for years to come. Harper has appointed all but one of the Board’s members.

It will cost a lot of money to negate the contracts Mr. Harper signed. And, when it comes to wasting money in court, the Harper government has an unenviable reputation. The CBC reported back in April that the Conservatives spent $4.7 million losing 15 court cases.

It appears that  Mr. Harper will use the courts to even up the costs of his legal battles.


Lorne said...

The Harper 'legacy' is a costly one, indeed, Owen. However, I am not certain that, at the very least, the Liberals cannot release the human rights assessment done for the Saudi arms deal. I can't help but wonder whether it is for legal or for domestic political reasons that this information is being withheld from the public.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. I suspect that, if the information behind the deal leaks, there will be a lot of egg on a lot of faces.

ron wilton said...

The NEB should be dissolved and replaced by a citizen's forum. Their role is too important to be in the hands of oil company connected partisans.

Perhaps of interest and very telling,I had occasion to be the very last speaker at the NEB Northern Gateway hearing in Kelowna and as a long time Kelowna resident, upon arrival I was taken aback by the appearance and demeanour of the NEB facilitators (door people, identification checkers, direction givers and so on} because I did not recognize any of them of whom there were twenty or more.

I did observe that they were all late thirties to mid forties in age, mostly large as in tall, physically fit males. They were polite but terse and politely declined to respond to my queries about where they were from.
When I asked one about wearing sunglasses indoors and his jarhead haircut he feigned confusion about my interest.

Of course as you have gleaned by now that I have no doubt they were all either RCMP or CSIS agents and their duties involved much more than just opening doors, directing and vetting persons like me.

During the session there was apparently a FN's protest outside the building and all of these gents in the room left together for a period of time.

After the session was over they were all back and hovered near to various conversations between persons who had spoken at the hearing.

Ironically, even though I vehemently oppose Northern Gateway for many reasons, the NEB in their published events of the hearing named me as one of the two people out of fifteen hundred speakers who supported the NG proposal.

This is not true of course but I suspect because I worked in the oil and gas business for most of my working life, this information somehow became known to them and I guess that qualified me as a supporter.

Of course even though 1499 speakers opposed the plan, NEB approved it anyway.

Of course the NEB has yet to refuse any oil or gas related project.

If that is reason enough to disband and dissolve the current edition of the NEB then I don't know what is.

Scotian said...

For what its worth, we might also want to keep in mind the foreign policy considerations which might be driving this, especially given the increased instability in the region and our complete lack of influence in Iran anymore thanks to Harper. Same with that assessment being kept quiet. Not saying that it is, or even that I believe that it is, just that this may also be a component of the Trudeau decision to date, and we should not forget to include its possibility into our considerations on this one. So we could well have domestic political considerations, legal in both domestic and international courts, and foreign policy/security policy considerations involved here. IOW not an easy nor quick solution arena in all likelihood.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I think Owen the recognition and support of people who are the victims of the Saudi regime, including those who are the victims of the barbaric act of beheading and the Yemen citizens now being killed supersedes trudeaus reasons for approving a military arms deal previously signed by Harper. Being sued and going to court? So what. I am aware of course of the politics in all of this. For once though I would like to see a a country challenge the Saudi's on their complete lack of human rights and refuse any further business dealings with them, let alone being their ally. Canada could have been that country.Today practical consequences of business dealings between countries seem to dominate decision making. Human rights mean nothing and when human rights mean nothing,the world becomes, well... you know the rest.

Owen Gray said...

Harper set out to make his decisions irreversible, Scotian. Untangling the mess he left behind will be difficult and it will take a lot of time.

Owen Gray said...

Your story is very revealing, ron. Because of your background, they'll make you fit their agenda. The present NEB has absolutely no credibility.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that the majority of Canadians agree with you, Pam. But, as Lorne suggests, there could be some kind of poison pill in the deal which could make things very difficult. When it came to business, Harper never saw two sides to an issue.

the salamander said...

.. the 'dirt' tends to move, just before the zombies arise.. I'm having trouble finding references to the phenomena in the Holy Bible, The Charter or Farmer's Almanac. Those 'transport vehicles' or 'just jeeps' seem to have a clever turret mounted, but no surprise really, the LAV lll armored fighting vehicle & the 15 million deal with our friends the Saudis is a perfect mirror of our previous aw shucks PM Harper who never saw a horde of thousands of tax payer paid lawyers he didn't love. He just forgot to mention to voters that in his myopic view, litigation was part n parcel of good governance & slick Economics.

Under the drippy tip of the Harper Reformatives lurks the majority of the rotted iceberg.. It drifted ashore some dark rancid night & parts of what melted released creatures from some dark lagoon, originally dug from political graveyards or Poli Sci faculties no doubt.. and they sought shelter in new homes via OpEd opportunities via the Sun chain or patronage positions among unwitting but high paying bureaucracies or 'the horror' .. in government - provincial or federal

Somewhere, somehow a patriot will surface - perhaps a 'deep throat' .. somebody aggrieved or mistreated.. and the Harper Novak Myth will take serious additional broadsides from out of the blue. The recent revelations that the Harper Government tried to quash reports on homeless Veterans is close to taking the lid off.. or does so. If you were full of shite regarding the reality of military Vets, your 'standing' re Foreign Affairs, War and Arms Deals or Defense Procurement is baseless. Yes Baseless.. and if the vaunted 'conservative' Base can suck up to this, well. they're a modern miracle of bloviation and bluster .. meaning they suck and blow eggs .. synchronized - simultaneously - but they're the Dead.. so its all OK .. twould seem

Owen Gray said...

After ten years, salamander, there must be a Deep Throat somewhere who will eventually come out of the dark.

Scotian said...

Owen Gray:

I didn't label Harper the Destroyer and Salter of the Scorched Earth without reasons, and this would be one of them.

The Mound of Sound said...

Assuming Harris is right, it's a damned cowardly "out" for Trudeau. He may duck a lawsuit but his government, Canada and the Canadian people could wind up with blood on their hands. He's not afraid of the Saudis. It's General Dynamics, an American top-drawer death merchant, that has Trudeau cowed. I suppose we should be relieved it was an order for war wagons, not Zyklon-B.

Owen Gray said...

Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex over fifty years ago, Mound. And nobody has had the courage to take it on.

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure Harper left a lot of booby traps in the Ottawa machinery, Scotian.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right, Owen, nobody has "the courage to take it on." Certainly not Trudeau nor his legion of fawning apologists. We knew, in the wake of 9/11, that there were links between the Saudis and al Qaeda. I'm sure the West's intelligence agencies knew far more than was ever circulated among the public. It was only a leaked diplomatic cable from then state secretary Hillary Clinton that revealed the duplicity of the Saudis and Gulf State emirs, princes and sheikhs in supporting ISIS. That cable revealed these feudal nations to be state sponsors of terrorism. Now we have to add war criminals to the Saudi ledger for their relentless cluster-bombing of Houthi towns in Yemen.

I'm sure Harper knew most, probably all of this but a $15-billion weapons deal, the biggest in Canada's history, was just too good to pass up. Sure, we'd sanction Iran as a supposed state sponsor of terrorism even though it's had nothing to do with all the terrorist attacks since the embassy bombings but we would never do that to the real terror backers, the Saudis.

Canada's back alright. Right back in Harper's lap.

Scotian said...


Zyklon-B? Really???

Look, I get you're upset, and it isn't like I do not see the reasoning for it, but using a backhanded Nazi concentration camp reference like this seems a bit out of line. Comparing LAVs and Zyklon-B is not apple to apples or even oranges, LAVs can have purposes other than simply death/murder vehicles, that gas has no other practical military application I am aware of, and most certainly not by that name.

I'm really disappointed by this from you Mound, I really am. This is the sort of hysterical over comparison I expect from Harperites or hard core Dippers, I'm used to better than this from you. You could have well made your point without Godwinning here. This is far too disproportionate to be a fair use of the toxic Nazi comparison, and I know you know how to do so without going to this well so easily.

Please note my argument now is with your choice of examples/comparisons, not your overall point/argument. I think you did yourself and your argument a disservice when you went there, and as I sad before, it is not what I have come to expect from you argumentatively. You have managed as a rule to stay above that kind of cheap seat comparisons as a rule, and you should have kept to it here IMHO, there were much less toxic ways of making the point you were without going to that extreme.

Anonymous said...

Trudeau might not have a choice at all if the ISDS mechanisms do what they are suppose to do. You will understand why he has no choice - Check out this German Documentary on the ISDS. It is in English subtitles -

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Anon. The International Trade Dispute Mechanism -- as pioneered in NAFTA -- is a threat to democracy everywhere.

Anonymous said...

If the financial cost of cancelling the weapons contract with the terrorist Saudi oppressors is the reason why the pro-corporate Liberals refuse to do the right thing, then they should say so, loud and clear. It should not be up to columnists, pundits and bloggers to make up excuses for them.