Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gratitude for Canadian Judges

I have been fortunate to work in the courts in Canada and the United States. In both countries I have been very impressed with the knowledge and character of the judges who I have observed. There have been rare exceptions to this. Overall my experience has been exceedingly positive.
I had a moment to reflect on this when a middle eastern man reminded me that we are truly  fortunate in Canada to have judges who are experienced, trained, honest and just.
“In the middle east my business covered several countries and the nature of my business meant I was involved with the courts, legitimately, not criminally.   The courts and the judges there are are generally corrupt.  I’ve had a chance to compare. It’s a bit like hockey and soccer.  Soccer, you know the game is fixed.  Maybe not as bad as wrestling but fixed nonetheless. Alll those players falling down is just too convenient.  If hockey is fixed it’s not so apparent. Not with the players anyway. Maybe occasionally the refs."
He went on to say,"In the middle east, if you want to murder someone and you don’t involve the judge in your plan he’s likely to  consider it a personal affront. You see you’re supposed to speak to him first.  He’ll tell you how much he will need to get you off.  He’ll then say it’s okay to murder.  The police will catch you.  You will appear in court. But then the judge, if he’s been paid off properly, will find some way to let you go free.  If you don’t include him at the outset and just murder someone and show up in court, well, that’s just inconsiderate. You can still go free, if you pay the judge.  But the cost will be double or triple what it would have been.  That’s for disrespecting the judge.  Disrespect is the most serious crime. That’s what I mean when I say the middle east is corrupt."
I personally don't know if this is 'true'. It's certainly reflects what so many have told me.
I remember an experience when I was sailing along the coastal towns in Mexico.   I had to pay for a local license and visited the judge in his office.  The license was only a matter of a few hundred dollars but I’d brought a wad of pesos.  When I pulled it out of my jean pocket, the judge literally jumped out of his chair and began closing the blinds so no one could see in.
“I’m sorry about this,” he said, taking the money.”  “My predecessor was totally corrupt and wouldn’t do anything without his palm being greased. I took this position on the basis of cleaning up the corruption.  You can’t imagine how bad it would look for me if someone looked in and saw a gringo giving me this great wad of cash.  I’m sure you understand."
I thought him a brave man knowing how many people of integrity are killed in government position by drug and arms traffickers.
I laughed though and said I did understand. But really I didn’t.  Canada just never was that corrupt in my experience. Perhaps my concern is that when I was growing up we could leave our houses unlocked.  I lock everything in Canada today.
I knew that if I wanted anything to be done in Asia when I was there I had to give a little ‘incentive’ to the person serving me. It was like the hotel staff in New York City and Paris.  Hong Kong, Tokyo, and LA, this 'tip' thing may well be just 'big city' .  Hotel staff  stand  and wait clearing their throats until I pay them, leaving me feeling somehow 'unsophisticated' because I don't know the latest 'palm greasing percentage' or situations where this is warranted.  
A supervisor in provincial government services told me how frustrating it was these days constantly watching the new immigrant employees. “They simply can’t believe that we don’t get money on the side for every government transaction that we do. I’ve had to stop them repeatedly and even get them to give back money. They’ve actually complained that they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of getting a government job if they’d known how little it was going to pay. “In our country,” they say, "the salary is just the base pay. All the real money is made in the  extras"  I have to tell them over and over again that’s called ‘extortion’ in this country. Of course Trudeau’s ‘pay for access’ makes them not believe me.  They tell me that Canada is multi cultural and wink. It’s  becoming a problem but only for me."
A professor of political science explained to me that we don’t have ‘baksheesh’ in the west like they do in the east but “institutional backsheesh’ is alive and well.  Our taxations schemes and various other formulas are used to reward or punish industries or companies. That’s what all the ‘lobbies’ are for, regulations that favour their clients. It's the foundation of the corruption in Ottawa and Washington and all government cities in Europe. Brussels is the absolute ground zero of this explosion in corruption.
In Communist Countries  judges routinely convicted prisoners of conscience and sent them to the Gulag or the Psychiatric wards.  As a member of the Psychiatrists against Political Abuse of Psychiatry and Human Rights Associations it's always amazing to see the endemic corruption in communist countries that seem to glossed over or completely ignored by the our mainstream media.   The 'missing persons of Argentinia' were a fraction of the numbers that still go missing in China.
You are considered a criminal or psychotic if you question government or say anything against Marx.  As a godless political system it takes as much offence to any questioning of Marx as the Muslims do when you question Mohammed or state the simple truths about Islam.  The judges in communist countries were all corrupt, individually and collectively.  Communism, a committee dictatorship, was like other dictatorships, corrupt to the very core.
I did pro bono work with Mr. Dugald Christie, the amazing lawyer who set up the pro bono services in the British Columbia. We attended church together and he really was a hard man to say no to considering his impeccable character. Indeed I never did say no to him.   But all the pro bono work I’ve done has sure got me in a lot of hot water with government.  There’s usually an unspoken and often political reason for a person being without support.  Dugald Christie argued that the cost of legal matters in Canada was such that the middle and lower classes simply couldn’t afford the process.  This was outside the domain of the judges and more a reflection of the political system.
The judges in Canada, as I’ve already said, have all individually with rare exception been stirling characters.  We are very fortunate and I do hope that we can remain so with all the pressures on them these days from the Dark Side.  I don’t think we appreciate the judges as much as we deserve because Canadians compare them in general against some ‘idealized’ standard.
I’d not exchange our Canadian or the American judges I've known for any judges in other parts of the world even the little I do know of them.  Certainly I'd not want to face judges in dictatorships like most of the UN member countries or  the communist countries, or South  Americas, and definitely not most of Africa and  increasingly in more countries in Europe where corruption stories are rife.   Definitely I don't want to face judges in the middle east.  This may be in part because I've seen first hand and heard first hand the stories of rank abuse physically and sexually from patients who've had that misfortune.
We simply are very fortunate in Canada to have the judges we have.  We really should acknowledge it .

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