Freedom of Information

The following document is a Memorandum from Howard Migie to Jon Dyck regarding a meeting held in Ottawa with Revenue Canada, Justice Canada and the CWB.  This document was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and has not been altered in any way.  The material to be posted here is quite long, therefore, we encourage you to return to this portion of the website often, as we will be posting this material in its entirety.


  

Government
of Canada
Gouvernement
du Canada
MEMORANDUM MEMORANDUM
To
A
Howard Migie
Security Classification - Classification de securite
  
Our File - Notre reference
  
Your File - Votre reference
  
Date
       June 26, 1997
From
De
Jon Dyck
Subject
Objct
June 23, 1997 meeting in Ottawa with Revenue Canada, Justice Canada and the CWB regarding illegal grain export cases and the upcoming Andy 500

The meeting was called to order and chaired by Jeanne Flemming, Director General, Investigations Directorate, Verification, Enforcement & Compliance Research Branch, Revenue Canada.  A majority of the participants seemed to from Revenue Canada with Justice Canada represented by Clyde Bond, the Canadian Wheat Board by Cathy Pitfield and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada represented by Don Adnam, Jane Armstrong, David Byer and Jon Dyck.

Following introductions around the table, Ms. Flemming asked Clyde Bond to give an overview of the status of the criminal cases currently underway.  Clyde noted that in Manitoba, 63 people had been charged with offences related to illegal export of grain while in Saskatchewan, 123 individuals had been charged in eight separate incidents.  In Alberta, a total of 30 individuals had been charged in two separate incidents.  Of these 30, 4 pleaded guilty and the other 26 were convicted.  25 of those convicted have since appealed.  Clyde noted, as well, that in some instances, there was overlap between incidents insofar as some of the same people were involved in more than one incident.  Consequently, the number of individuals actually involved would be less than the sum of the individuals charged in individual incidents.

In connection with the charges laid in the Saskatchewan demonstrations, which occurred in April and May of 1996, and which involved some 60 individuals, Clyde indicated that there will be four "test" cases occurring this fall and winter.  Originally this group was to be tried together, but because defense counsels were unable to agree to a statement of facts for the entire group, the charges were severed.  The test cases will occur in Estevan on November 5 and 6, 1996 and in Regina in January and February, 1997.

Clyde also mentioned the fact that the criminal charge against Tom Jackson had been stayed and that the Harley Frank case involved native issues and was therefore more complicated.

Mike Hadley of Revenue Canada provided a summary of the civil actions being taken by Customs and Revenue Canada at this point.  Of the 211 cases currently under appeal approximately 170 involve criminal charges under the Customs Act of exporting without a licence (s.5) and failure to make a report in writing (s.3).  The s.5 charge of exporting without a licence is, as a result of the Sawatzky decision, no longer valid.  This is problematic because the s.3 (failure to report in writing) actions were added as an afterthought and have in many cases not been pursued, i.e., the defendants have not been given an opportunity to respond to these charges.  Additionally, warning letters by Customs had not specifically referred to a requirement to report in writing.  Consequently, there is now some question as to whether the s.3 charge will stand up to a court challenge.  The difficulty with the s.3 charge is that exactly what constitutes a report in writing has never been Gazetted or specified.  The Department of Justice acknowledges that although the courts have commented favourable to the effect that there is clearly a s.3 offence (in the Sawatzky case) the charge has never been the actual focus of a trial and there is the possibility that it will not stand up to a court challenge.  Chris Mainella (Justice Canada) is apparently optimistic, and Clyde Bond advised the meeting that he would be reviewing Chris' approach in advance of this issue going to trial.

In addition tot he s.3 and 2.5 criminal charges, many of the cases have also involved the laying of civil charges (ie. fines) under the Customs Act.  There was some discussion that Revenue Canada might have to discontinue these civil proceedings, either because the defendants had had no chance to respond to the s.3 charge, or on the basis that the s.3 was not valid in law.