Appleby law firm had strong Canadian, ties

It was to be a little tax haven in Nova Scotia.

The idea was simple: The companies would be registered in Bermuda but the people processing the paperwork would be in Halifax.

Appleby, the leading offshore law firm in the Paradise Papers leak, explored this vision for outsourcing its back office administrative functions in 2007.

With direct Bermuda to Halifax flights, “very reasonable operating costs” and “very significant payroll tax rebates,” the case for Halifax was strong.

But Appleby needed assurances that its clients, who had incorporated in a zero-tax jurisdiction, wouldn’t have to pay tax to Canada.

No problem, wrote Halifax lawyer Jim Cruickshank, who was hired to analyze the legal issues.

“We do not believe the activities of (Appleby) could in any way constitute your clients ‘carrying on business in Nova Scotia,’” Cruickshank wrote in a memo to Appleby.

What about extending offshore financial secrecy to the new office in Canada? For this, Cruickshank had a creative solution.

“We believe a ‘paperless office’ and ‘dummy terminals’ for (Appleby) would provide significant but not complete practical immunity from search and seizure by Canadian authorities.”

While the Halifax outsourcing project would never come to fruition, Appleby’s internal records reveal a preoccupation with secrecy that pervades tax havens. For this reason, governments around the world are targeting the law firms that operate in tax havens, to force them to reveal the hidden transactions that deprive public coffers of trillions of dollars each year.

Estimates put Canada’s own losses to offshore activity at $6 billion to $7.8 billion each year.

But tax haven secrecy has, once again, been pierced by a massive leak.

Unlike last year’s Panama Papers leak, which exposed Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a firm that has been criticized as a bad apple in the offshore world, the Paradise Papers leak reveals the business of one of the world’s most prestigious blue-chip law firms, Appleby, which caters to the world’s biggest multinational corporations and the wealthiest families on the planet.

Appearing in Appleby’s files are:

Two generations of Liberal Party chief fundraisers, Leo Kolber and Stephen Bronfman, linked through a Cayman Islands trust fund. Through a lawyer, Kolber and Bronfman said they always acted “properly and

ethically, including fully complying with all applicable laws.”

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who sat on the board of Said Holdings, a Bermuda company controlled by Syrian-Saudi businessman Wafic Said. Said was a key intermediary in a British-Saudi oil-for-arms deal that led to a US$400-million criminal fine for bribery in 2010 against British airplane manufacturer BAE. Mulroney’s lawyer said he is “proud” to have served on the board and considers Said “a good friend.” Said said he is “proud of the role I played” in the arms deal.

Former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien, who is listed as having received options in a Madagascar oil venture registered in Bermuda. He confirmed he consulted for the company in 2007 but says he never received any options.

Paul Martin’s former company, Canada Steamship Lines, which was one of Appleby’s “biggest clients.” CSL said it “uphold(s) the highest ethical and business standards,” while a spokesperson for Martin said he “has not been involved in CSL in over a quarter century.”

Much of the activity in tax havens is legal, and Appleby considers itself an ethical leader in the offshore industry. Documents found in the 6.8 million internal Appleby files in the leak show the firm was aware of multiple cases where it accepted dirty money.

The emails, client records, bank applications, court papers and other files were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Star and CBC/Radio-Canada. They represent the inner workings of Appleby from the 1950s until 2016.

Canada is a big part of Appleby’s business. With more than 2,700 Canadians and 560 Canadian businesses named in the Appleby database — five times more Canadians than were in the Panama Papers — Canada is the firm’s fourth-biggest market behind the U.S., the U.K. and China.

Appleby has administered 1,450 offshore corporations and trusts with Canadian owners, officers or addresses, mostly in Bermuda. Its lawyers made regular trips to Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to drum up business, meeting with accountants and lawyers.

Appleby billed Canadian clients and law firms at least $12 million from 2009 to 2013, documents show.

Canada has a long history of working closely with Caribbean tax havens, said Université de Quebec à Montreal Prof. Alain Deneault, who has written extensively on the subject. “We’re so connected to tax havens they’ve become an integral part of our economy. In the end, all the large Canadian companies and family fortunes are structured to circumvent Canadian laws in such a way to allow the owners to avoid taxes.”

Among the Canadian companies who hired Appleby to set up offshore businesses are:

The Montreal Canadiens set up two trusts in Bermuda, including an employee benefit fund that was shut down in 2010. The organization says its offshore business was “in full compliance with the existing Canadian tax legislation.”

Food giant Loblaw says it paid all appropriate taxes on the two subsidiaries it set up with Appleby’s help in Barbados and Bermuda in 2005. They were used to insure cardholder balances from its President’s Choice Financial MasterCard, according to leaked documents.

Hydro-Quebec incorporated an offshore company in Bermuda to invest in power generation projects in China, even though the company is exempt from income tax in Canada. A representative for the utility said the company was dissolved in 2007 and capital gains taxes were paid.

Brookfield, a Canadian investment giant, set up Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) in Bermuda to hold international investments. Documents show how the company set up 29 corporations and limited partnerships in nine jurisdictions in a 48-step “specific sequencing” to “ensure” that units of BIP “are not taxable Canadian property.” A company spokesperson said “the tax treatment of partnerships like BIP . . . is the same whether they are domiciled in Bermuda, Canada or the U.S.”

Appleby also performed offshore services for many regular Canadians, including doctors, engineers, geologists, housewives, a police officer, a speech pathologist and a retired admiral in the Canadian navy.

The database also contains a Bermudan company incorporated by Gerald Bull, the late Quebec engineer who attempted to develop a supergun to shoot satellites into space but ended up working on a massive cannon for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Also in Appleby’s files is online gambling baron Isai Scheinberg, who started the online gambling site PokerStars but ran afoul of U.S. authorities and is now actively wanted by the FBI.

While Appleby prides itself on its high ethical standards and has been named “offshore law firm of the year,” internal documents reveal that it hasn’t always succeeded in keeping out questionable clients.

“Some of the crap we accept is amazing totally amazing,” state presentation notes prepared by Appleby’s director of compliance in 2011. “We have a current case where we are sitting on about 400K that is definitely tainted and it is not easy to deal with.”

“MONEY LAUNDERING IS A DIRTY CRIME,” screamed notes accompanying the PowerPoint presentation. “THERE IS USUALLY ALWAYS A VICTIM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PILE AND A RICH PERSON AT THE TOP.”

The firm did not answer detailed questions from the ICIJ and the Star.

“We are an offshore law firm who advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We do not tolerate illegal behaviour. It is true that we are not infallible. Where we find that mistakes have happened we act quickly to put things right and we make the necessary notifications to the relevant authorities,” Appleby stated after it was contacted about the leak.

Appleby is already publicly associated with the Bermuda Longtail Trust, one of the biggest tax scams in recent Canadian history.

The scam, originally revealed by a Star investigation in 2007, duped almost 10,000 people, including nurses, teachers and at least one police officer, into making donations to bogus charities in order to receive a tax receipt worth four times more. Appleby administered the trust for Canadian businessman Edward Furtak. The trust had collected more than $100 million by the time the Canada Revenue Agency got wise to the scheme, and a group of clients sued. Appleby settled the class action for $17.5 million last summer. The firm admitted no wrongdoing.

As governments around the world have turned their attention to cracking down on offshore tax evasion — including almost $1 billion pledged to the CRA in the last two years — Appleby has publicly defended the use of tax havens (also known as “offshore financial centres” or OFCs).

“The myth perpetuated by the OECD and G-20 nations is that OFCs encourage tax evasion,” wrote two Appleby lawyers in the Cayman Islands Journal. “In reality, excessive tax burdens in welfare states encourage tax evasion, leading to capital flight to OFCs. Logic dictates that if politicians wish to eliminate capital flight, they should lower their country’s oppressive taxes.”

Appleby’s Canadian lawyers practised what they preached.

All of them left the country to avoid paying Canadian taxes, according to an email sent by the firm’s managing partner in the BVI, Michael Burns.

Twenty-one of Appleby’s 182 lawyers spread out across the globe were educated in Canada, one indication of the surprisingly strong Canadian presence in Caribbean tax havens.

Burns, who declined to comment for this article, worried that a Halifax branch would draw these tax expats back into the reach of the CRA.

“Are you able to provide us with any general guidance as to any possible concerns that might arise, such as a liability to Canadian tax?” Burns inquired of his contacts in Halifax.

The CRA returned to Appleby with warm reassurances that no taxes in Canada would be owing if the firm decided to come. An advanced tax ruling in 2008 guaranteed Appleby that any future business in Halifax would not require staff — or its clients — to pay Canadian taxes.

Despite that green light, the firm ultimately bailed on the plan to bring a little piece of Bermudan tax haven to Halifax.

“With regret, we are not now likely to take up the opportunity at this time of proceeding with the Halifax Outsourcing Platform,” Burns wrote in 2009. “Isle of Man was already our top choice for outsourcing, for many reasons, although Halifax was a very close second.”

With files from Will Fitzgibbon, ICIJ. Data analysis by Andrew Bailey and Valerie Ouellet.

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Canadian government facing resistance from Senate over pot law

The Canadian government’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana by next July could be in jeopardy, with opposition brewing among some in the Senate and concerns that the deadline to pass the bill is rapidly approaching.

The Senate’s approval is needed to pass laws though it does not often block bills passed by the elected House of Commons. Some senators say police need more time to prepare and also oppose setting the federal age of legal use at 18.

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use was part of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 election campaign and the government has set a relatively quick deadline to put it in place. Canada would be the first Group of Seven country to allow the drug nationally.

The legislation is not expected to reach the upper house until December and some senators have said they will take as long as they need to review it.

That could put Trudeau and the upper house of parliament at loggerheads again. Senators, who are not elected, recently delayed the government’s budget bill before ultimately passing it.

Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu said he expects implementation will need to be delayed until December 2018 or early 2019 to give police forces enough time to prepare for widespread use of the drug.

“I think it’s too early,” Boisvenu said on Friday by phone.”What they’ve (the police) told us until today is they will not be prepared next July.”

Boisvenu said Conservative senators will meet to discuss strategy about delaying the bill if necessary.

Member of Parliament Bill Blair, a former police chief and the government’s point person on the legislation, said added delays in regulation will put more underage users at risk.

“By all means, take the time to do it right, but unnecessary delay is unacceptable,” Blair said by phone.

The potential clash highlights a hurdle Trudeau has partly set up for himself after he expelled all Liberal senators from the party’s caucus in 2014 amid an expenses scandal and to curb partisanship.

Although Trudeau has appointed independent senators since then, he has no formal leverage to get the government’s legislation passed.

“The government, if it had a clear majority in the Senate, could at one point impose party discipline and have its bill voted on. It’s not in that situation now,” said Senator Andre Pratte, an independent who was appointed by Trudeau in 2016.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017.

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Canadian Court Says Law Enforcement Doesn’t Have To Hand Over Info On Stingray Devices

from the go-ahead-and-stack-the-deck dept

A Canadian court has ruled information about law enforcement’s not-all-that-secret cell tower spoofers can stay secret. An ongoing attempted murder trial has implicated the use of Stingray devices. Prosecutors have refused to turn over information about the devices to the defendants — something that at first provoked some consternation from the presiding judge. (via Slashdot)

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman initially agreed with defence lawyers Kelsey Sitar and Clayton Rice and granted them the right to question the CPS officer involved in using the MDI regarding its make, model, features and the circumstances that may or may not affect its use.

Unfortunately, prosecutors were able to sway the judge’s opinion during an in camera briefing. The government invoked part of the Canada Evidence Act, granting it an apparent disclosure exemption on the theory handing over make and model information would be “contrary to the public interest.”

Poelman has ruled the police investigative techniques are privileged, and he prohibited the release of the make, model and software of the MDI as well as “any further information which would have the effect of disclosing the technique by which MDI obtains cellphone identifier information.”

This may end the line of discovery as it relates to law enforcement’s IMSI catchers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the prosecution will be able to move forward. The defense plans to challenge the lawfulness of the prosecution itself. Withholding evidence possibly crucial to the defense doesn’t make for a fair trial and it appears the defense will argue charges should be dropped if information isn’t going to be produced. It’s not like there isn’t any precedent to work with. Earlier this year, the government chose to let 35 accused Mafia members go free rather than discuss Stingray use in court.

Clayton Rice, who is representing one of the accused in this case, has graciously sent over a copy of the court’s ruling [PDF] on the issue. (This ruling was under a publication ban until mid-morning Tuesday.) Rice points out this is only an interim ruling and doesn’t necessarily represent the final word on the subject. The court has granted the government the (possibly temporary) right to withhold certain information about its cell tower spoofers, which includes its make and model. The order is heavily redacted, which is one of the reasons it’s only now being released despite having been decided back in August.

What can be sussed out from the redacted discussion is that the Calgary Police do not possess an actual Stingray — the sort made by Harris Corp. That much is made clear in the ruling. The method used for tracking phones is also withheld, even though the technique used by the CPS has apparently been discussed publicly before. But you won’t be able to find that information in the court’s decision.

[I]t could be argued that all elements of CPS’s MDI investigative techinique are publicly known. However, the Crown argues that it is not known that the CPS’s MDI uses the [redacted] method, and the fact that information about the [redacted] procedure may be publicly accessilbe is not the same (especially in the internet age) as a police service verifying is accuracy or confirming publicly that this is the procedure they use. It is not necessarily well-known. The only public information about which Sgt. Campbell is aware that discussed the [redacted] technique is the [very lengthy redaction to end of paragraph.]

For the time being, however, the Calgary Police’s cellphone interception hardware will remain a mystery. The question now is whether that desire for secrecy will cost the Crown its prosecution.

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Canadian Law Firm Chooses BigHand Scrub to Manage Legal Document Metadata Following Microsoft Office Upgrade






Hughes Amys, a firm listed in the Canadian Lawyer Top 10 Insurance Defense Boutiques for 2017/18, has used third-party metadata technology to manage their document metadata for years. Sean Farrell, the firms Network Administrator comments: Managing our clients document metadata is of the utmost importance to ensure integrity of data and confidentiality. Its also important, as one of Canadas leading Insurance law firms, that we safeguard the firms reputation. When we learned that our previous metadata solution wasnt compatible with Microsoft Office 2013 or later, we started looking for an alternative before completing the upgrade.

During the selection process, Hughes Amys analyzed three different metadata management solutions. Sean comments: It quickly became apparent that BigHand Scrub was the best fit for our firm. It does everything that our old software did, and more, and has the significant advantage of working much faster.

The rollout of BigHand Scrub to 115 of Hughes Amys lawyers and support staff took only 2 weeks to complete. Sean adds,I was pleased with how simple the BigHand install was. I refer to it as a fire and forget rollout because once the users were set up and trained, we didnt experience any issues at all.

For more information about BigHand Scrub metadata management, or to arrange a free trial, please contact inquiry[.]bighand.com, or call (951) 506-5641

About Hughes Amys

Hughes Amys, LLP (hughesamys.com) is a team of experienced and dedicated lawyers practicing in all areas of insurance litigation. In operation almost 100 years, the firm has grown to be one of the largest insurance firms across Canada with offices in Toronto and Hamilton serving insurers and the risk management industry. Hughes Amys is proud to be at the forefront of legal technology, committed to embracing new and innovative ways to practice law, while serving clients rapidly changing business models.

About BigHand Scrub

BigHand Scrub is the premier enterprise metadata removal and management solution which is currently used by over 48,000 professionals across the US and Canada. With this tool, firms can automate the complete removal or configure intuitive metadata management levels to ensure all documents are secured before leaving an organization.

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Marital rape myths have no place in Canadian law

Jennifer Koshan and Melanie Randall, law professors at the University of Calgary and Western University, are co-editors of The Right to Say No: Marital Rape and Law Reform in Canada, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Elizabeth Sheehy is a professor of law at the University of Ottawa.

Since 1983, it has been a crime in Canada to sexually assault one’s spouse. Yet marital rape too often remains effectively decriminalized, as shown in a recent Ontario decision. In R. v. H.E., an Ottawa man was acquitted of sexually assaulting his wife. Justice Robert J. Smith found that “the accused probably had sex with his wife on many occasions without her specific consent, as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so.” With respect to the incident that led to criminal charges, however, the complainant testified she had told the accused to stop several times, and the judge found her to be credible. It is difficult to see how the accused could have honestly believed that his wife was consenting in these circumstances. It appears the accused was acquitted because he did not understand the law of consent, despite the fact that ignorance of the law is no defence.

Many of the myths that were used to justify the historical immunity for marital rape continue to pervade the prosecution of these kinds of cases. Marital rape myths include the beliefs that women live in a state of continuous consent to sexual activity within spousal relationships, that women cannot credibly claim rape if they have had consensual sex with their partner following the assault, and that women may fabricate stories of spousal sexual assault to gain an upper hand in custody and access disputes. These myths have been denounced as the product of a time when women were the property of men, and have no place in a society where we constitutionally protect women’s rights to equality, security of the person and sexual autonomy.

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Justice Smith seems to have relied on several marital rape myths in his judgment. He noted that the complainant “did not make any complaint until the parties had a dispute involving access,” thereby adopting the myth that women may cry rape to bolster their position in family-law disputes. This myth fails to account for the fact that the law was changed in 1983, such that we no longer require women to “raise a hue and cry” immediately following a sexual assault. It also fails to acknowledge that women may be in relationships of dependency with their spouses, often making it unsafe to complain about sexual violence until they separate. Women’s dependency on their partners also refutes another myth that Justice Smith seemed to rely on, evident in his comment that the complainant “continued to have sex with the accused” following the alleged incident in 2002 for “a period of approximately 11 years.” The myth that women cannot be believed if they have had consensual sex with the accused following the alleged sexual assault also belies Canada’s definition of consent, which is specific to each incident of sexual activity.

In addition, Justice Smith noted that the parties were Palestinian and in an arranged marriage, and that the wife seemed to believe in her husband’s right to sexual access as much as he did. However, cultural norms cannot overtake legal norms, and women such as this complainant are entitled to the benefit of the same criminal law as are other women in Canada.

Justice Smith’s statement that “marriage is not a shield for sexual assault” therefore rings hollow in light of his actual decision. If this statement is to have any meaning, judicial education on sexual assault must include material on marital rape myths, why they are false and why they violate women’s human rights. Let us hope a Crown appeal will set the record straight for others who labour under these mistaken beliefs – be they judges, other legal professionals or spouses.

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First Bitcoin Capital Corp. (BITCF: Grey Market) | First Bitcoin Capital Corp Retains Top Canadian Law firm, SEC, FINRA Legal Specialist

Oct 27, 2017

OTC Disclosure & News Service

Vancouver, BC, Canada

October 27, 2017, Tel Aviv, Israel, First Bitcoin Capital Corp (OTC: BITCF) (the “Company”) announced today that it retained two top law firms, including a securities industry expert, to assist the Company in its efforts to return to the OTCQB market and to minimize the recurrence of any future regulatory concerns.

Being incorporated in British Columbia, Canada, the Company chose McMillan LLP based on their international expertise as a top Canadian firm specializing in areas most suitable in assisting the Company in its effort to move First Bitcoin Capital forward in the capital markets.

The Company chose Sylvia Scott of Holmes, Taylor, Scott & Jones LLP due to her extensive experience as former senior counsel with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA,” then known as the National Association of Securities Dealers) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in order to meet the regulatory challenges facing small cap companies such as BITCF.

About Sylvia Scott

Ms. Scott has successfully represented clients in numerous securities cases and investigations drawing from her 18 years of experience as a former enforcement attorney with the SEC and FINRA. 

Ms. Scott’s practice focuses on all aspects of securities regulation and litigation. She represents members in the investment advisory and brokerage industry in private litigation, regulatory investigations and examinations, and regulatory enforcement actions. She has successfully represented numerous brokers and investment advisers in enforcement matters before the SEC, FINRA and state regulatory agencies. She has also successfully represented companies under regulatory scrutiny by the SEC and state regulators. Another aspect of Ms. Scott’s practice includes advising companies regarding private placements, drawing from expertise gained while she served on a “regulatory expert group” at FINRA with regard to private placements and underwritings.

As a former prosecutor and manager with both the FINRA and SEC, Ms. Scott has specialized knowledge of the challenging regulatory environment in which securities professionals must operate. During her 12-year career with the NASD, Ms. Scott developed a reputation as a top notch securities litigator and expert in the broker-dealer industry. A Former FINRA Enforcement official stated in her departure announcement, “Without doubt, Sylvia has been one of the finest attorneys and litigators ever in this Enforcement Department. During her 12 years with us, we have come to respect her formidable litigation abilities and to count on those talents in a number of high visibility cases.”

Ms. Scott has been a frequent speaker at securities conferences, an author of numerous industry articles and is frequently engaged to testify and/or consult as an expert on securities matters.  From 2013 through 2017, she has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, a designation bestowed on only the top 5% of lawyers in this region.

About McMillan LLP

McMillan is a leading business law firm serving public, private and not-for-profit clients across key industries in Canada, the United States and internationally. With recognized expertise and acknowledged leadership in major business sectors, the firm provides solutions-oriented legal advice through their offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montral and Hong Kong. The firm values respect, teamwork, commitment, client service and professional excellence are at the heart of McMillans commitment to serve its clients, its local communities and the legal profession.

About First Bitcoin Capital Corp.

First Bitcoin Capital Corp. is engaged in developing digital currencies, proprietary Blockchain technologies, and the digital currency exchange – www.CoinQX.com (in Beta). We see this step as a tremendous opportunity to create further shareholder value by leveraging management’s experience in developing and managing complex Blockchain technologies and in developing new types of digital assets. Being the first publicly-traded cryptocurrency and blockchain-centered company, we want to provide our shareholders with diversified exposure to digital cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. 

Cautionary Note to Investors

Investors and potential shareholders in the Company should carefully consider the high risks involved in speculating in our common stock both in the OTC markets as well as in the cryptocurrency markets and should be aware that the inventory of altcoins developed or maintained by the Company, while showing significant potential, is highly speculative and that such cryptocurrencies are extremely illiquid and only trade sporadically on small, foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors as may be disclosed in company’s filings. In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic conditions, and governmental and public policy changes. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of the press release. Such forward-looking statements are risks that are detailed in the Company’s filings, which are on file at www.OTCMarkets.com.

SOURCE: First Bitcoin Capital Corp.

Contact us via: info@bitcoincapitalcorp.com  or visit http://www.bitcoincapitalcorp.com

Copyright © 2017 OTC Markets. All Rights Reserved

The above news release has been provided by the above company via the OTC Disclosure and News Service. Issuers of news releases and not OTC Markets Group Inc. are solely responsible for the accuracy of such news releases.

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Canadian Province of Quebec Pushing Ahead with Law Banning Face Coverings

Muslim Women protest in front of Montreal City Hall against new law. – Photo Peter McCabe

MONTREAL, Quebec – In the Canadian province of Quebec lawmakers have adopted a law that will force people to show their faces when taking the bus or borrowing a book from the library, pushing ahead with legislation that is being criticized for targeting Muslim Canadian women.

Bill 62, which the Justice Minister described as a North American first, requires one’s face to be uncovered when giving or receiving public services. The law marks the outcome of a contentious, decade-long debate about the place of religious minorities in Quebec.

Details of how the law would apply have yet to be worked out, but critics are concerned it will empower civil servants such as front-line hospital workers to refuse service to a woman in a niqab or burka.

The Justice Minister, Stéphanie Vallée (above), confirmed that the law would apply to anyone taking a city bus. “To take public transit, you have to have your face uncovered. All through the ride,” Ms. Vallée said on Wednesday.

The Liberals used their majority in the Quebec National Assembly to adopt the law on Wednesday, 66 to 51. The opposition parties voted against it, with the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec saying it didn’t go far enough.

The legislation is already being criticized by Muslim organizations, civil-rights groups and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, whose city will bear the brunt of the law’s provisions as home to most of Quebec’s immigrants. He called the idea of a city librarian turning away a woman in a face covering “totally unacceptable.”

Legal experts say they expect the law to be challenged in court.

“I have never seen a more flagrantly unconstitutional law,” Montreal human-rights lawyer Julius Grey said in an interview. “The law scandalizes me. The possibility that somebody could be refused service at a hospital or be thrown off a bus [because of a face veil] is scandalous.”

Bill 62 is presented as a state religious neutrality law and sets out to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests. However, it’s the requirement to uncover one’s face, which effectively targets Muslim women, that has stirred the greatest disagreements.

The law doesn’t identify specific types of garb that would be forbidden, although the Justice Minister suggested it could extend to bandanas and even dark glasses. Still, the fact the rule is contained within a religious neutrality law suggests the legislation is aimed at articles of faith.

Ihsaan Gardee , executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims

The executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ihsaan Gardee, said the legislation targets a religious minority already facing a significant spike in hate crimes in Canada, one still recovering from the mass shooting of six worshipers in a Quebec City mosque this year.

“It allows voices to marginalize and vilify the Muslim community even further,” Mr. Gardee said in an interview from Ottawa. “What it does is serve to further target a tiny minority of the population for political gain.”

He added: “It’s not the business of the state to be in the wardrobes of the nation.”

The government first tabled Bill 62 in 2015. Initially aimed at services at provincial bodies and institutions, it was later amended to extend to municipalities and transit authorities. Its reach would spread to schools, health institutions and daycares.

Premier Philippe Couillard, who faces an election in less than a year, has been under political pressure amid perceptions of being weak on identity issues. He portrayed the new law as being about communications.

“A covered face isn’t only about religion,” he said.

“You speak to me, I speak to you, I see your face, you see mine. It’s part of communications. It’s a question in my mind that is not solely religious, it’s human,” the Premier said in Quebec City.

The law lets someone with a face covering ask for a religious accommodation, but it can be refused for reasons of security, communications or identification. And the law appears to leave the initial decision to grant or deny a service with front-line public employees.

“That’s the nightmare aspect of it,” Robert Leckey, dean of law at McGill University in Montreal, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I have no doubt that a lot of good-faith public servants will feel pressure to deny service.”

He said Quebec was a pioneering jurisdiction decades ago in bringing in equality measures in its own Charter of Rights, and it was “a shame” it was moving forward with Bill 62.

The Quebec government’s Bill 62 banning face coverings applies to municipal services, including public transit

“It feels sad that it’s pioneering now by stigmatizing a religious minority and trying to restrict their sense of being welcomed into public space, the public sphere and getting public services,” Mr. Leckey said.

Mr. Grey said Quebec didn’t provide evidence that veiled women posed a threat that required legislative action.

“This is an example of people trying to solve problems that don’t exist,” Mr. Grey said. “It’s pure theory and doesn’t answer any social problem or address any definable question. It’s only being done because these things are popular.”

In fact, Ms. Vallée has repeatedly invoked the popularity of Bill 62 to defend it. An Angus Reid poll released this month found that an overwhelming 87 per cent of Quebeckers back the legislation, with francophone respondents particularly supportive. The online survey of 609 Quebeckers was conducted last month. A sample of that size carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s a bill of consensus, that rallies the great majority of Quebeckers,” Ms. Vallée said this month. She insists the law respects the Quebec and Canadian charters.

Ms. Vallée’s office said the guidelines on addressing religious accommodations will be phased in by July 1.

There are already signs of confusion and push-back about applying the law. The union representing Montreal bus drivers said on Wednesday it’s not their members’ job to decide who can board a bus.

“We don’t want bus drivers to become referees and have the responsibility of who gets on or doesn’t get on the bus,” said Ronald Boisrond, a spokesman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

While the legislation is said to be about state religious neutrality, the entire debate and vote over the bill unfolded in a legislature where a large crucifix hangs over the Speaker’s chair. Bill 62 specifically protects “elements of Quebec’s cultural heritage, in particular its religious cultural heritage,” meaning that the crucifix will be allowed to remain in place.

By Ryan Remiorz
THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Signs Exclusive Agreement with Canadian Tactical Officers Association on Less Lethal Munitions and Device Purchases for Law Enforcement Training to Canadian, U.S. and Other NATO Agencies

(GlobeNewswire) – Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI), an innovation leader and manufacturer of advanced security solutions,has signed a new agreement with the Canadian Tactical Officers Association (CTOA) for the exclusive use of Lamperd grenades, ammunition and other products inthe training of law enforcement officers from Canada, theUnited States and other NATO countries.This agreement involves the directpurchase of Lamperd products tobe used in CTOA training courses on an ongoing basis, beginning immediately.This agreementalso has the additional benefit ofhelping to introduce Lamperdand its products to many new law enforcement, military, correctional agencies and other users ofsecurity products allowing us to address their specificsituations and meet their supply needs.

Barry Lamperd, CEO of Lamperd Less Lethal, stated, “We wereextremely pleased that representatives of theCanadian Tactical Officers Association could attend our company showcase event, along with many visitors from Canadian and international law enforcement associations.The showcase was very successful, overall.

The CTOA is a non-profit, fraternal organization directed by the needs of Canadian tactical officers and law enforcement. Their goal is to develop a professional network, committed to promoting and coordinating the sharing of information and best practice guidelines amongst law enforcement, corrections, military and security providers, to meet the needs of these organizations and provide access for consultation, expert testimony and tofacilitate effective practical training, based upon the most recent, realistic and relevant skills in crisis and risk management.See more information here:http://www.ctoa.ca.

About the CompanyLamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI) is a developer, manufacturer and international sales company for advanced less lethal weapons, ammunition and other security products marketed to police, correctional, military and private security forces. The company sells over 300 different products including small & large caliber projectile guns, flash grenades, pepper spray grenades, 37mm & 40mm launching systems and interlocking riot shields. Lamperd also offers advisory services and hands-on training classes run by highly accredited instructors.

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements:This press release includes forward-looking statements. While these statements are made to convey to the public the company`s progress, business opportunities and growth prospects, readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements represent management`s opinion. Whereas management believes such representations to be true and accurate based on information and data available to the company at this time, actual results may differ materially from those described. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in future operating results.Important factors that may cause actual results to differ are and will be set forth in the company`s periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Contact: Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc.Barry Lamperd, President & CEO(519) 344-4445www.lamperdlesslethal.com

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Lamperd Less Lethal Signs Exclusive Agreement with Canadian Tactical Officers Association on Less Lethal Munitions and Device Purchases for Law Enforcement Training to Canadian, U.S. and Other NATO Agencies

SARNIA, Ontario, Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI), an innovation leader and manufacturer of advanced security solutions, has signed a new agreement with the Canadian Tactical Officers Association (CTOA) for the exclusive use of Lamperd grenades, ammunition and other products in the training of law enforcement officers from Canada, the United States and other NATO countries. This agreement involves the direct purchase of Lamperd products to be used in CTOA training courses on an ongoing basis, beginning immediately.   This agreement also has the additional benefit of helping to introduce Lamperd and its products to many new law enforcement, military, correctional agencies and other users of security products allowing us to address their specific situations and meet their supply needs.  

Barry Lamperd, CEO of Lamperd Less Lethal, stated, “We were extremely pleased that representatives of the Canadian Tactical Officers Association could attend our company showcase event, along with many visitors from Canadian and international law enforcement associations. The showcase was very successful, overall.”

The CTOA is a non-profit, fraternal organization directed by the needs of Canadian tactical officers and law enforcement. Their goal is to develop a professional network, committed to promoting and coordinating the sharing of information and best practice guidelines amongst law enforcement, corrections, military and security providers, to meet the needs of these organizations and provide access for consultation, expert testimony and to facilitate effective practical training, based upon the most recent, realistic and relevant skills in crisis and risk management.  See more information here: http://www.ctoa.ca.

About the Company 

Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. (LLLI) is a developer, manufacturer and international sales company for advanced less lethal weapons, ammunition and other security products marketed to police, correctional, military and private security forces. The company sells over 300 different products including small & large caliber projectile guns, flash grenades, pepper spray grenades, 37mm & 40mm launching systems and interlocking riot shields. Lamperd also offers advisory services and hands-on training classes run by highly accredited instructors. 

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements: 

This press release includes forward-looking statements. While these statements are made to convey to the public the company’s progress, business opportunities and growth prospects, readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements represent management’s opinion. Whereas management believes such representations to be true and accurate based on information and data available to the company at this time, actual results may differ materially from those described. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes in future operating results. Important factors that may cause actual results to differ are and will be set forth in the company’s periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Contact: Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. 

Barry Lamperd, President & CEO 
(519) 344-4445 
www.lamperdlesslethal.com 

/EIN News/ —


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