Media Beat: July 05, 2017
Shoan Fights Back Over 2nd Dismissal From CRTC: Court Doc Alleges Outrageous Behaviour At Gatineau Tower
Ousted CRTC Ontario commissioner Raj Shoan has stepped up his fight for reinstatement with a meticulously detailed affidavit filed this week in federal court that calls into question governance compliance at the regulatory body and suggests a disturbing “witch hunt” was conducted to remove him from the post.
The filing is made following a court ruling in favour of his reinstatement, a decision the CRTC both accepted and then immediately rejected as he was fired again on his first day back in May of this year.
As with his first dismissal, Shoan vowed to challenge his getting the boot and have the government and the Commission stand in front of the bench to gain satisfaction, and his professional status reinstated.
Shoan was hired for a five-year term in 2013 and almost immediately clashed with chairman Jean-Pierre Blais.
Cabinet first dismissed him in June 2016 after a series of legal battles that stemmed from Shoan challenging Blais’ authority and an investigation into Shoan for workplace harassment. But a judge ruled in September that the process was unfair and amounted to a “witch hunt” against Shoan. The judge called Blais’ role in the investigation “quite troubling.”
With the backing of Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, Shoan was shown the door for the second time for “inappropriate contact with CRTC stakeholders and his lack of recognition and disregard for the impact of that contact on the reputation and the integrity of the CRTC.”
It also cited his “refusal to respect internal CRTC processes and practices” and negative public statements about the institution.
The long-standing civil servant contests the allegations and submits a brief of documents to upend them.
The 159-page affidavit offers a curious view of the inner procedural workings of the regulator and contains some damning allegations of a quasi-judicial government org gone awry.
As part of the evidentiary filing, Shoan alleges that one former commissioner exhibited a pattern of wanton harassment of colleagues.
At various times he cites the former peer describing colleagues as ‘a scraggly hag,' and a ‘maggot.' He further suggests this person had complained after meeting with ethnic broadcasters that the office ‘smelled like curry,' sought new hotel accommodations because ‘there were 'too many black people’ in the one assigned and, allegedly, characterized Shoan as a ‘spoiled rich brown kid who probably grew up with servants.'
The document also argues that former Chairman JP Blais acted more like an overlord who grabbed more executive authority than was vested in the position "intended by Parliament.”
He also alleges that due process was bypassed to terminate his position as a dissenting commissioner, in what some might conclude had become an autocracy after reading the file.
The allegations are not proven in court, but the evidence submitted is unlikely something that the government, Joly or the commission wants to have scrutinized in court.
Whatever the outcome, Shoan’s 14 years at the commission — under three Chairpersons, as a policy analyst, legal counsel to, and finally Ontario Commissioner for — gives him an advantage in understanding the inner workings and practices of the regulatory body.
His meticulous detail in the legal brief offers a look under the hood of how the Gatineau headquarters conducts business, albeit from his side of the street.
It is not an attractive picture he paints of the House of Gatineau, but that’s what lawyers do when they are pushed into a corner, and dismissed twice by a boss painted as having the appearance of showing indifference to a judgement handed down by judicial review. — Federal Court File No.: T-796-17