bully noun (pl. bullies) a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. New Oxford American Dictionary
- “By standing up against bullying, we send a powerful message – bullying has to stop, period,” said Premier [Christy] Clark. “We can make this happen if we act together. [British Columbia government news release March 1, 2013]
- OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau says he was striking a blow against bullying …. “I have been absolutely consistent that I will not accept bullying on my watch as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada …,” Trudeau says. [Susan Delacourt, thestar.com, March 26, 2014]
Actions speak louder than words
If only Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Clark truly meant these words.
Instead, their governments are using, misusing and abusing taxpayer dollars to bully Vancouver orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Day and his co-plaintiffs into financial submission and capitulation in what the Globe and Mail’s British Columbia correspondent, Gary Mason, has described as “one of the most important trials in recent Canadian history.”
Dr. Day and the six co-plaintiffs launched the potentially landmark constitutional challenge seven years ago. Sadly, two of the co-plaintiffs have since died. Now, after spending more than $2 million in legal fees and costs, they’ve been forced to adjoin because they’ve run out of money.
On the other hand, Canadians “may never know how much taxpayer money” the governments have spent to prolong the case, but “a conservative estimate would be $20 million,” according to Mr. Mason.
Of course, neither Prime Minister Trudeau nor Premier Clark are on the hook for one nickel personally. They’re spending your money to bully ordinary citizens in order to potentially sabotage their ability to seek recourse through the courts. Moreover, it sends an ominous threat to the rest of us: Don’t Mess with Big Brother.
The federal and BC governments may detest the energy sector’s oil-and-gas pipelines. On the other hand, they have no hesitation in having their own financial pipeline through which taxpayer dollars flow freely and unabated to drown Dr. Day’s legal team with motions, objections, interjections, legal machinations and commentary.
Consider this observation by Mr. Mason in his April 13, 2017, column:
“While on many days in the courtroom the plaintiffs have been represented by one lonely lawyer, those fighting him – including the BC and federal governments, various health authorities and intervenors such as unions who oppose private clinics – have been represented by 20 or more. Needless to say, with that many lawyers in the room, almost every word uttered by Dr. Day’s side has been objected to. These people have to demonstrate their worth, after all.”
Two recent examples, as reported by the Vancouver Sun’s Ian Mulgrew:
- Government lawyer Jonathan Penner dissing the testimony of former Cabinet minister Dr. Pat McGeer as “irrelevant” and second hand, obtained through “discussions at the cabinet level” and hearsay. Dr. McGeer just happens to be a world-renown researcher and physician, and a former Olympian.
- Government lawyers insisting that Health Minister Terry Lake [who is not running for re-election] be prevented from testifying about how BC’s health care system functions and operates because Mr. Lake has nothing relevant to offer.
Then, there was the egregious maneuver by the government lawyers several years ago. Just hours before the trial was initially scheduled to begin the government lawyers discovered 300,000 new documents. [No, it’s not a typo: 300,000]. As a result, the trial was delayed by a year.
Governmental audacity, however, sometimes knows no bounds. How else could you explain this comment from the BC Ministry of Health? “We have been concerned with the conduct of the plaintiffs at this trial, which we believe to be an abuse of the court’s process.” You’ll note it’s anonymous, the person being too embarrassed to make her or his name public.
BC and Canadian taxpayers could easily respond: “We have been concerned with the conduct of the federal and BC governments and their legal counsel at this trial, which we believe to be abuse not only of the court’s process but also a demonstration of imperious disdain for hard-working Canadians.”
Bullying takes many forms, and legal bulling by governments can be most pernicious. Dr. Day’s situation illustrates how financially prohibitive it can be if Big Brother Government and its confederates decide to gang up and bully patients, taxpayers, physicians, etc. But then, ganging up is the modus operandi of bullies, whether in the school yard or in the courtroom.
In addition to their own financial resources, Dr. Day and his co-plaintiffs have relied upon the generosity and support of strangers. The Canadian Constitution Foundation has been a major benefactor. To offer your support, go to www.yourhealthcarecantwait.ca