Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas Jean Chretien

Continuing on in the festive spirit around here today, it's another pre-Christmas story to note:
Ottawa has to pay $200,000 in legal costs incurred by Jean Chrétien in his fight to restore his name after being blamed for the sponsorship scandal by the Gomery inquiry in 2005.

However, the Prime Minister’s Office called the ruling “disappointing,” and said the money rightly belongs to taxpayers.
Mr. Chrétien’s reputation was clearly tarnished by the final report of the Gomery inquiry, which stated he created a program that was secretive and circumvented normal administrative safeguards.

However, the former prime minister convinced the Federal Court in 2008 to strike out the negative findings against him, arguing that Mr. Gomery, through a series of public comments during the hearings, showed a clear bias. The Federal Court of Appeal later upheld the ruling, and last week, the Federal Court ruled in Mr. Chrétien’s favour on the issue of legal costs.
That's not so surprising at all and is a correct legal result. When you win in court in Canada, you win your costs too, generally speaking. The courts have discretion but this was a clear win for Chretien in the Federal Courts. So the griping from the PMO is not so classy, of course, but it's also off base on that count.

We also want our public figures, particularly those on the national stage, to have such legal protections given the nature of the business and what happened here with Chretien. 

And I don't know what Mr. Harper et al. are complaining about. They extensively partake in taxpayer funds to litigate. They're the most litigious of the lot in recent years. Cadman, In-and-Out that is on its way to the Supreme Court, the Khadr litigation that went to the Supreme Court...and so on. Hopefully some day we have a total of their litigation costs paid for via the taxpayer, just for comparison's sake of course.