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Judicial subversion?

by Jeff Goodall

August 18, 2003

In my August 4th column, "Onslaught of tyranny," I referred to the racial discrimination practised by the federal government in the provision of services such as Employment Insurance, and in its hiring and promotion policies. Despite the removal of legislation requiring such practices in Ontario, the City of Toronto still continues to use racially discriminatory policies, as there is no legislation in place to prevent them from doing so.

Against that background, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) recently issued an appeal with the slogan "Taxation according to race?" asking for funds to continue their so-far successful legal battle against what they perceive as a dangerous court ruling by Federal Court Judge Douglas Campbell. According to the CTF, "In March of 2002, trial judge Douglas Campbell declared that descendants of Treaty 8 Indians (covering northern Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and the NWT) do not have to pay any tax at any time for any reason, anywhere in Canada."

The implications of this decision are sufficiently far-reaching as to have earned hostility even from the federal government, whose lawyers are quoted as saying that it could "impact federal revenues, create an administrative nightmare for business, and open the door to extensive manipulation, market distortion, and smuggling."

The CTF has been an intervenor in this case since 1999, and feels that its involvement helped to result in Judge Campbell’s ruling being overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal. However, "Treaty 8" will now be making an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, hence the CTF’s request for donations to their legal fund. As they point out, Treaty 8’s appeal to the Supreme Court will be substantially funded by federal, i.e. taxpayers money. "Some Treaty 8 Indians expect to be reimbursed for back taxes--with your tax dollars--while other native groups across the country gear up--with your tax dollars--to seek their own all-inclusive tax exemption."

The basis for Judge Campbell’s disputed ruling would be absolutely stunning in any other country except Canada. According to the CTF, "Even though Justice Campbell himself found that treaty negotiators did not promise the Indians a tax exemption in 1899, he nevertheless ruled that because the Indians believed that such a promise was made, that the federal government (read taxpayers) must accept responsibility for any misunderstanding."

In my August, 1999 column, "Triumph of Anarchy?," speaking of the Law Union of Ontario, I had this to say: "There are termites gnawing away at the fabric of freedom where one would least expect to find them, hiding behind trusted and respected office in the corridors of power and influence… Virtually unknown, the Law Union of Ontario is an association of political activists employed in the legal field, the members of which seek to change society by favouring selected social and political policies. To quote from the Law Union News issue of January 1978, ‘The Law Union, as a forum for political discussion and debate, provides us with a potential vehicle to break out of our role as intellect workers, and to develop our intellectual powers in Baran’s sense of developing an historical analysis which can lead to basic social change and the overthrow of Capitalism." The membership of the Law Union of Ontario includes judges, lawyers, clerks, secretaries, and quite possibly Crown Attorneys.

There are other Law Unions elsewhere in Canada. In its July, 1994 paper, "The Law Union of Ontario--An Inquiry," the MacKenzie Institute refers to the British Columbia Law Union as follows: "The Law Union has for years been jealous of the more overtly Marxist British Columbia Law Union that requires its members to subscribe to a ‘minimum basis of unity’ (MBU) which not only governs their membership, but is intended to govern their behaviour in the practise of law…" The MBU is quoted as saying "We realize that the state and law will only serve the working class when that class is the ruling class…" Of the B.C. Law Union constitution, the Mackenzie Institute quotes the Ontario Law Union News as reporting: "In its essence, it defines the organization as ‘an association of legal workers who share an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist political analysis".

Is Justice Douglas Campbell a member of a Law Union or other similar organization? I have no idea, but his racially divisive ruling, and the surprisingly accommodating rationale behind it, would not be inconsistent with such a notion.

Issues as important as the subversion of the law for the advancement of revolutionary political goals are far too important to be ignored. In Britain, judges have to disclose membership in organizations, such as the Freemasons. Is it too much to ask that judges here in Canada declare any political agenda to which they have committed themselves, and which may affect the quality and impartiality of the rulings that they make?

Visit The Canadian Taxpayers Federation for contact information for most provinces, as well as the national office.

Jeff Goodall worked for the Metro Treasury and City Finance Departments for 25 years, and served as a member of the CUPE Local 79 Executive Board for 14 of those years.