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     January  2014        

Latest Leak
Released on January 02, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT
Tag #: 664
Lack of Accountability: "Gravy train" all over again

City hired private lawyer to cover-up for their assistant solicitor, Kristen Newman
City’s "cover-up" lawyer Khoraych, had her request denied in the Toronto case

(from left) Canapini - "Bad legal advice",
Khoraych - City's "cover-up" lawyer 

WikiLeaks Sudbury has learned that the City hired a private lawyer to cover-up for their assistant solicitor, Kristen Newman. Newman is facing allegations of violations of human rights. The human rights case is scheduled to be heard before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and more information will available to the public thereafter. Newman’s controversial practices are highlighted by the the information and privacy commissioner’s office of Ontario. Newman is also facing allegations regarding violation of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, with an attempt at preventing the public access to the information. 

Nick Benkovich, Director of Water and Wastewater Services; and Kevin Fowke, Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development are facing the allegations along with Newman. According to the sources available to the WikiLeaks Sudbury team, seven human rights complaints were filed against the bureaucrats in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal within the last few years. A large amount of tax dollars were unnecessarily wasted on legal fees to defend bureaucrats, as the City`s legal service department consists of 11 full time staff with lawyers. All this and Newman continues to rake in thousands of tax dollars towards her salary and benefits each month. Despite this, she never even appeared before the Tribunal to represent the City’s top bureaucrats.

Most Human Rights Tribunal cases were continually assigned to the City’s “cover-up” lawyer, Mireille Khoraych. This provides clear evidence of secrecy behind the external legal service contract and the City. There are many qualified lawyers within the Greater Sudbury district that are perfectly able to handle any labour or employment related issue. City’s “gravy obsessed” bureaucrats however did not even think about the value of tax dollars, continually hiring out-of- town lawyers to defend them. This resulted in paying additional air fares and hotel fees. It was estimated that there was a 30% legal fee increase on the final bill that the burden of its payment was passed to the tax payers.  

Khoraych’s request is denied in Toronto case
Recently, the City’s “cover-up” lawyer, Mireille Khoraych attempted to dismiss another Human Rights application submitted by an employee of Ryerson University, Toronto, using her same old tactics as those in the Sudbury cases.  She requested that the Tribunal remove the personal respondents and dismiss the application.  

The applicant however, filed a reply in response to the submissions to the Request for Order During Proceedings (RFOP) submitted by Khoraych. While the applicant disputes Khoraychs’ various requests, the applicant agrees to defer the Application pending the completion of the arbitration.

The tribunal granted the applicant`s request. Khoraych`s same old habitual tactics failed. Unbelievably, the City is continually seeking her advice, as if it were a game, and allow her to play with her infamous, questionable, habitual tactics at the cost of tax payers.

Most of the disputes raised in the workplace can be resolved very quickly with no cost to tax payers. But “gravy obsessed" bureaucrats continually hired private lawyers. WikiLeaks Sudbury also uncovered that tax dollars amounting to $ 717,123.22 were being pumped to Khoraych’s legal firm in Toronto within last few years, and that this amount has now already reached over one million dollars.  

WikiLeaks Sudbury will not disclose the name of the private legal firm in order to protect third party economic interests.

Jamie Canapini, leading the Legal Service department and Kevin Fowke, leading the Human Resources department must be held accountable for spending vast amounts of tax dollars on legal proceedings. This is a waste of tax dollars and their "gravy train" must be stopped immediately. Not only that but they should also provide tax payers with some answers.

The clock is ticking


Related Documents
Toronto Case - 2012 HRTO 1719

Related articles:

An outrageous spending practice found for Labour and Employment matters  
City’s labour and employment legal expenses on the rise  
City Spent $ 86,142.00 tax dollars to defend the misconduct of bureaucrats’ in Human Rights legal proceedings from 2009 to 2012


Released on January 02, 2014 at 11:30 PM EDT

The article initially published on International Journal, 53(1), 94 – 116. Excerpts from the article as follows.

Human rights and the culture wars: Globalization and the universality of human rights

Westerners can sympathize with the feeling of being culturally besieged. The danger is that such sympathy might result in the belief that culture should override universal human rights. Cultures are not the highest ethical value; there is no intrinsic moral reason to assume that a cultural practice bears a higher ethical value than, for example, equality between honoured and despised ethnic groups or castes. Cultures can also change, as much through cultural diffusion (voluntarily borrowing a practice) as through cultural compulsion (having a cultural practice forced on you). In any case, a change in one aspect of a culture does not bring down the entire cultural edifice. And there are disputes among individuals within a 'culture' about its meaning and its value. Powerful people can impose customs on others, yet they are the ones usually acting as spokespersons for the culture as a whole.

There are certain criteria that can be used to determine when a practice that violates human rights is cultural: strong popular support for the violation, based in religion or custom; the government does not promote the violation; and the government has tried to eradicate the violation, only to find that there is too much popular support for it to be able to do so. But if it is a gross violation, one might not wish to permit a custom, even if it is rooted in culture. Thus, for example, one might tolerate child betrothal (engaging children to be married) on the grounds that it is an important part of traditional culture not promoted by the state: for example, in a very isolated tribal group in Papua New Guinea or the Amazon rain forest. But one might not wish to permit female genital mutilation, on the grounds that even though it is a cultural practice, it is a gross violation of children's and women's right to health. It is extremely important to respect the cultures of nonWestern peoples, especially given that European imperialists were busy until the 1960s trying to destroy those cultures by imposing 'Christianity, commerce, and civilization.' But it is equally important to remember that all cultures are composed of individuals who often exploit or oppress each other and who often wish for freedom from that oppression.

There is a real danger that culturalist social movements will have increasing influence in the twenty-first century. They may well join with authoritarian governments of various kinds to suppress the human rights movement as an inauthentic, non-indigenous, 'Western' cultural imposition. To argue this point, it is necessary to review a series of debates about human rights that have been occurring since the 1970s. In discussing these debates, I will refer to culturalist reaction because it is a more descriptive and less polemical term than fundamentalism or Barber's jihad. In the end, the culturalist reaction against the West could be one factor in a 21st-century war.

A standard definition of human rights is that they are rights possessed by all biological human beings, merely by virtue of being human. They are equal for all: all human beings are of equal moral worth and deserve the same protections. Human rights do not depend upon a particular social status (such as male or female, upper or lower caste). They are individual rights, independent of group membership and held primarily against the state. But they are also held against society or even against the family, as in the case of women's and children's rights. Nor do they have to be earned, although they can be limited under certain legally defined circumstances (for example, if the country in which the rights' holder lives is at war). Human rights are a 'trump': they trump any other claims that can be made.

Human rights are often described as belonging to three 'generations.' The first generation includes civil and political rights such as the right to a fair trial or the right to vote. The second generation includes economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the right to work or the right to eat. The third generation is dubbed 'collective' rights and includes, inter alia, the right to self-determination and the right to development; bothrights, it is thought, that can be enjoyed only by groups, not by individuals.

The three-generation division of rights is dangerously facile. It makes, roughly, the following equivalencies. Civil-political rights are rooted in Western history and are based on claims by the selfish individual against the community. Furthermore, they are 'negative': all they require is state abstinence from certain actions (such as torturing citizens) to be implemented. Economic, social, and cultural rights were introduced by the socialist world and require positive action to be implemented; for example, the redistribution of food. Collective rights were introduced by the developing world; they also require positive state action. Economic, social, and cultural rights and collective rights both show a respect for the collectivity and community not found in the individualist Western approach to rights.

Human rights do reflect one particular philosophy: liberalism. Liberalism may have originated in the West, but it can be applied elsewhere. And it is increasingly attractive to many people who do not live in the West, including many who, for reasons of cultural pride, simultaneously criticize human rights as Western yet try to find the same principles of justice in their own cultures and religions. To mask the anti-liberal reaction as anti-Western permits a political disagreement to be masked as a nationalist one. Thus the Chinese commentator cited above can hide his country's interest in maintaining an authoritarian political system behind a stance of being insulted by Western cultural arrogance.

Human rights are a particular way of looking at questions of justice that is suitable to the modern world in which everyone everywhere lives, including the most remote tribes in Papua New Guinea or the Amazon rain forest. The philosophy of human rights is suitable in the modern world given the ubiquity of the state, the ubiquity of pressures to conform to social norms or rules, and the near-ubiquity of racism, religious prejudice, patriarchal institutions, and homophobia. Liberalism as it has developed over the twentieth century protects individuals from all forms of rights abuse, and it also -- at least in its social democratic variant -- focusses heavily on economic and social as well as civil and political rights. The assertion that 'Western' human rights ignore economic rights, or would ignore development, is false.

The universalism originally intended by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights implies that what humanity shares is greater than the cultures that divide humanity into groups. There are universal causes of human rights violations; every society is capable of cruelty. The notion of an unbridgeable gulf between 'us' and 'them,' between the formerly dominant white world and the rising world of the coloured, as promoted especially by postmodernist identity politics, obscures the universality of human suffering. Human suffering becomes localized in a peculiar way: if Westerners notice and criticize human suffering elsewhere they are imperialists, except when they blame their own institutions and policies for that suffering.

Reference and excerpts from 
Howard, R. E. (1998). Human rights and the culture wars:
Globalization and the universality of human rights. International Journal, 53 (1),
94 – 116.  

WikiLeaks Sudbury
January 02, 2014


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