U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crass language opportunism at uOttawa?

This recent media article, uOttawa cuts fees for international students studying in French, has two Francophone administrators of "Canada's university" -- Belgian Francophone Christian Detellier (VP-Academic) and Quebecois Francophone Gary Slater (Associate VP-International) -- explaining how the University of Ottawa has a statutory duty to help the Franco Ontarian population...

An Act respecting Université d'Ottawa: "to further bilingualism and biculturalism and to preserve and develop French culture in Ontario"

... and how the institution will accomplish this by lowering tuition fees to boost its numbers of international Francophone students... Which, we note, fits nicely into president Allan Rock's steadfast agenda to globalize the institution's mission, without doing anything for Franco Ontarians.

Meanwhile, there are virtually no professors of Franco Ontarian origin among the academic ranks, which the University has historically done little about. The institution has always chosen to import its French, rather than preserve and develop the French culture of Ontario, as it is mandated by the government to do.

The ideal policy assimilation tool of course is "official bilingualism", as is well understood in Quebec, and which has been another Allan Rock initiative for the University -- over which the former VP-Academic appears to have left the ship.

Then again, the Statute also directs "to further, in accordance with Christian principles, the intellectual, spiritual, moral, physical and social development of, as well as a community spirit among its undergraduates, graduates and teaching staff, and to promote the betterment of society."

Christian principles would have the University reduce tuition fees in accordance with financial need, not language or academic achievements, and certainly not to feed geoeconomic ambitions in Africa or elsewhere.

Such is the status of the assimilate (and globalize) versus protect debate at "Canada's university". It's a good name after all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Rancourt files Factum and Motion Record to appeal costs in the champerty motion

Rancourt has filed his Factum and Motion Record to the Court of Appeal for Ontario for a motion for leave to appeal the costs in the champerty motion.

Rancourt's arguments that the $105,700.00 costs should be dismissed or reduced and/or delayed are (from the Factum):

10. The Appellant submits that the test of fairness and reasonableness for leave to appeal costs is amply satisfied, and that the impugned costs decision contains palpable and overriding errors of fact and law, including:

(a) the motions judge exceeded his jurisdiction by awarding costs to the University, which does not have party status, although given leave to file material but not to be awarded costs;

(b) costs for preparation of and attendance at five case conferences were awarded, contrary to binding case law;

(c) partial indemnity costs were awarded to the Plaintiff, in the absence of a need to indemnify, and raising the prospect of double recovery of costs;

(d) the motions judge did not recognize and did not consider ample evidence for the Defendant’s impecuniosity;

(e) in the circumstances of the defamation action, the awarded costs are inconsistent with Charter principles regarding the right to free expression, and definitively restrict the Defendant’s access to justice; and

(f) the quantum of costs ($105,700.00) for the one-day motion is excessive and contrary to the policy of partial indemnity.

Background documents:::

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Ottawa Citizen characterizes champerty motion as an "attempt to derail the lawsuit"

In its latest of many articles about the St. Lewis v. Rancourt lawsuit, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper has characterized Rancourt's champerty motion as an "attempt to derail the lawsuit", without reporting any of the arguments made by Rancourt in the champerty motion, or in the appeal of the champerty motion to the Court of Appeal for Ontario: LINK-to-Citizen-article.

The courts made no finding whatsoever that Rancourt's champerty motion was "an attempt to derail the lawsuit". Furthermore, the action is in case management by consent, which means that any unworthy motion is blocked from ever being filed.

The Ottawa Citizen has ventured into hyperbole based on a curt judgement by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, without reporting any of the facts or arguments, and without playing its role of critically assessing the court process. When this kind of media superficiality becomes the norm, there is no point having an open court system in Canada.

Background documents:::
  • 2013-05-09 Rancourt serves and files appeal to ONCA, to appeal the decision on the champerty motion: Factum and Appeal Book, HERE.
  • 2013-07-05 St. Lewis FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: StL-Factum-ONCA.
  • 2013-07-05 U of O FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: UofO-Factum-ONCA.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Court of Appeal for Ontario finds no champerty: St. Lewis v. Rancourt

Osgoode Hall -- Court of Appeal for Ontario
The Court of Appeal for Ontario heard and decided the appeal of the champerty motion in the St. Lewis v. Rancourt case on November 8, 2013.

The Court dismissed the appeal without wanting to hear the responding parties (St. Lewis and University of Ottawa), and ordered costs against the Appellant (Rancourt).

The responding parties asked for "partial indemnity" costs of $29,950.66 (St. Lewis) and $19,890.75 (U of O), almost $50,000.00. They got $20,000.00 and $15,000.00, respectively. The costs decision was made immediately after the endorsement (i.e., written decision/reasons) for dismissing the appeal was read by Justice Alexandra Hoy, Associate Chief Justice of Ontario.

Rancourt spoke in French, which was translated for the two responding lawyers, Richard Dearden (representing St. Lewis) and Peter Doody (representing the University of Ottawa).

During Rancourt's presentation to the Court, which lasted approximately 35 minutes, he made the following arguments, and other points.

A.    The University and St. Lewis have a champertous agreement, which is against the law in Ontario

[A champertous agreement is one where the maintaining party pays the legal costs of the plaintiff in order to share in the proceeds of the action.]

Key and undisputed facts are:
  1. The University is paying all the legal costs of the Plaintiff (St. Lewis).
  2. The Plaintiff has the written intention to give half of the punitive damages obtained from the action to the University.
 The Ontario statute An Act Respecting Champerty prescribes:
"All champertous agreements are forbidden, and invalid."

Therefore, lower court Justice Smith made an error contradicting the law, in being silent on Rancourt's request that the champertous maintenance be ordered terminated.

COURT: The Court found that there was not a champertous agreement since (the uncontradicted sworn evidence of the Plaintiff and of university president Allan Rock is that) the Plaintiff unilaterally decided to give punitive damages proceeds to the University.

B.    A lower court judicial bias complaint was never heard on its merits and is a ground for appeal

Rancourt sought to have a motion for reasonable apprehension of bias of lower court Justice Beaudoin judicially determined on its merits. The lower court circumvented this motion from ever being heard. A lower court leave to appeal to the Divisional Court was denied by leave judge Justice Annis.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that a bias complaint is heard either at the lower court when it is made, or on appeal, and since the champerty motion is tainted with bias, the reasonable apprehension of bias of Justice Beaudoin is a ground for appeal.

The enumerated evidence for reasonable apprehension of bias of Justice Beaudoin included (see affidavit of evidence HERE-LINK):
  1. A terms of reference contract between the judge and the University of Ottawa, for a scholarship fund in the name of the judge's son.
  2. A boardroom named after the judge's son at the BLG lawfirm, which represents the University.
  3. A media article, recognized by the judge on the court record, in which the judge expresses the personal and emotional importance that he attributes to the scholarship fund, and to the boardroom at BLG.
  4. The fact that the judge recused himself rather than accept his responsibility to determine the reasonable apprehension of bias question, by alleging bad behaviour of the Defendant (Rancourt), in the way the request to bring the bias complaint was made, without taking action to correct the alleged bad behaviour.
  5. The fact that the judge threatened the Defendant (Rancourt) with contempt of court (a criminal charge), if Rancourt continued to advance his request, his argument.
  6. The fact that at no time prior to the hearing at which the judge recused himself did the judge mention his ties to the University of Ottawa or the BLG lawfirm.
  7. Other affidavit evidence (LINK).
Therefore, Rancourt argued to the Court of Appeal: If it is permitted for a judge hearing a request for determination of a reasonable apprehension of bias to recuse himself without making the determination, and for the given reason of the behaviour of the requester in making the request, then we have crossed a line into a new and dangerous territory where the integrity of the court is threatened.

COURT: The Court of Appeal found that since the lower court leave judge, Justice Annis, had denied leave by finding in his reasons that this was not a case where reasonable apprehension of bias could possibly arise, the Court did not need to consider the ground of reasonable apprehension of bias.

C.    The Plaintiff decided to sue after she was granted the University's funding of her lawsuit

Rancourt presented several streams of evidence, which the lower court had denied as not admissible on incorrect technical grounds (and/or apparently ignored), showing, he argued, that the Plaintiff (St. Lewis) decided to sue only after the University funding was granted without limit and without conditions.

This is vital because, in establishing the abuse of maintenance, prior intent to sue is determinative, Rancourt argued, based on case law.

For example, Rancourt read a February 14, 2011 email from St. Lewis to university president Allan Rock, about the February 11, 2011 blogpost that is at the center of the defamation lawsuit (see Factum HERE-LINK):

Hi there Allan,
I make it a practice to delete the communications from Mr. Rancourt and have done that in this case. It has spared me a great deal of aggravation in the past.
Do let me know if you want me to do anything. I will happy to fit into whatever strategy you decide but until then I intend to make no comment.
Do take care,

COURT: The Court of Appeal found that the lower court judge had plenty/sufficient evidence to conclude that there was no maintenance and champerty. The Court did not state whether or not the denied evidence would have made a difference.

For more links to background documents (e.g., all Facta) go HERE-LINK.
For all the court-filed documents in the whole case go HERE-LINK.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Court of Appeal for Ontario November 8, 2013 hearing: St. Lewis v. Rancourt

Courtroom at the Court of Appeal for Ontario

The appeal hearing of Defendant/Appellant Denis Rancourt's "champerty motion" will be heard:

  • Starting at 10:30 am, scheduled for 50 minutes.
  • Friday, November 8, 2013
  • Court of Appeal for Ontario (Osgoode Hall), 130 Queen Street West, Toronto
  • Courtroom #1 (or as indicates under "St.Lewis v. Rancourt" on the bulletin board in the main entrance)

The three-judge panel will be composed of:
Justice Robert A. Blair
Justice Alexandra Hoy, Associate Chief Justice of Ontario
Justice Robert J. Sharpe

The "champerty motion" was a motion to end the $1 million private defamation lawsuit, on the grounds of abuse of process because the University of Ottawa is funding the Plaintiff/Respondent's private defamation lawsuit, while the Plaintiff plans to give half of any punitive damages awarded in the defamation lawsuit to a scholarship fund of the University of Ottawa.

The "champerty motion" was dismissed by the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario (lower court) in this judgement: 2013 ONSC 1564

The latter lower court judgement is now being appealed.

Court documents for the appeal are here:
  • 2013-05-09::: Rancourt serves and files appeal to ONCA, to appeal the decision on the champerty motion: Factum and Appeal Book, HERE.
  • 2013-07-05::: St. Lewis FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: StL-Factum-ONCA.
  • 2013-07-05::: U of O FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: UofO-Factum-ONCA.

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) objects to the funding by the University of Ottawa of the Plaintiff's private defamation lawsuit using public money: LINK-OCLA-page: "Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics".

Main AF.ca page about the St. Lewis v. Rancourt case: HERE.