Date - May 2, 2023
Good day Members of Parliament and the Saskatchewan Legislature,
400 of you will receive this letter, on a good day perhaps 10 will read it. During the past eight years, many of you have heard from us, few have responded.
We are Busted Trust Working Group, a creation of your behaviour.
Let us get straight to the point. We find ourselves in circumstances so desperate that we must now do the unthinkable. We are asking everyday citizens of Canada to give us money for legal fees so that in a court of law, we can attempt to protect ourselves from you, you who are supposed to help citizens.
The Story In a Nutshell
Here is the short story. A Regional Park Authority in Saskatchewan is a creature of Government that enjoys the benefit of Government funding. Through a convoluted bureaucratic process, they have direct influence on property taxes. Provincial and Municipal. A group of cottage owners in a Park identified a tax dodging scheme administered by the Park Authority. The scheme shortchanged the Government of Education Property taxes due. The offending Park Authority sued the cottage owners in a contrived process designed to hide an incompetent and dishonest administration.
The amount at issue used to launch the initial suit was a only a few hundred dollars. Prior to the first Queen’s Bench action even making it to court it was shown that claims of tax irregularities by the group were correct. The action went forward anyway.
Seven lawsuits and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the battle continues. Cottage owners have been self-representing in every case. To date the Applicant has won nothing. After they tried seven times, using same law firm, we are now seeing the beginnings of related actions number eight and nine. The law firm spearheading the efforts is proud of their tactics; they created handbook (available online) that explains how to defeat financial weaklings in the courts.
Minor Local Argument?
While SaskGov has consistently tried to paint this as a minor local argument, the Premier of Saskatchewan accidently informed us that he knew we were being sued before we did. This was after an agency of his own government had already corrected the specific tax problem at the heart of the issue.
Respondents to the most recent lawsuits are three pensioners and a grandmother not yet of pension age. A fifth Respondent also a senior, dropped out and moved away. After Queen’s Bench efforts and Provincial Court actions against him (none were successful) he had enough and left his home of over 20 years. It remains unoccupied and is now in a state of disrepair.
Three different Justice Ministers in Saskatchewan have ignored the fundamentals of Justice: the wife of one of those Ministers worked as a legal assistant for the law firm behind every court action taken thus far; the second , after we advised him that an agent of his government was cheating them on taxes, told us to get a lawyer; and the third has not even acknowledged receipt of our information.
After receiving a very complete description of events dating back to 2016, The Minister of Justice for Canada informed us he could not interfere. He recommended we contact the Saskatchewan Ombudsman. We did that, had a nice chat and we’ve not heard from them since. The Federal Justice Critic for the NDP did not bother acknowledging receipt of the same documents. The Committee Chairman (Liberal) for the Justice and Human Rights House of Commons (Bill C9) has ignored the information. An independent member of the Senate has also ignored correspondence. In Saskatchewan, the Official Opposition accepted our information, then ceased communications twice, once in 2018, then again under new leadership in 2022.
The Federal Conservatives ranks were bolstered when two SaskParty MLAs moved from Premier Moe’s government over to Mr. Poilievre’s federal camp in time to get their pictures taken with people on the wrong side of an attempted insurrection. Then we saw video from Commons hearings regarding Bill C9 where Conservative MP Larry Brock thought it was a good idea to intimidate invited witnesses before they had a chance to speak; we haven’t received any help from that quarter and have no reason to expect any.
While all this was going on and we were predisposed by court actions, the Government of Saskatchewan was working to clean up the very mess we had identified regarding tax irregularities. What we learned one day before Justice Lyle Zuk delivered his decisions was the mess was at least 20 times the size of what had been discovered initially. In the court decisions delivered a day later, however, it said our allegations (about tax irregularities) were based on the weakest of circumstantial evidence…ooops, that was wrong.
It should be noted that since 2016 Respondents have tried several different times to initiate mediation or open discussions to resolve this matter long before it got to court and again after the first two rounds of lawsuits. Every effort was denied.
Honest Public Servant Tells the Truth – Tax System Had Loophole
It all sounds preposterous, doesn’t it? It would be a hard sell had if not for the integrity of a senior civil servant who happened to be the Chief Executive Officer for Saskatchewan Assessments Management Agency (SAMA). He thanked us for exposing a weakness in their system (that had allowed tax dodging). He also lamented how unfortunate it was that we were subsequently treated the way we have been because we exposed the truth. There were over 200 email exchanges between our working group and SAMA regarding this series of events yet our claims were discarded out of hand by Government and the courts. One Deputy Minister called us vexatious and frivolous, and keep in mind it was the agency under her oversight that sued us seven times.
We know Premier Moe and his Ministers of the day were aware of the weakness that allowed tax dodging and who exposed it; they were included on the mailing list when the CEO thanked us. Just for the record, after 40 years of service, he doesn’t work there anymore.
If these circumstances are not bungled enough, consider this: Regional Parks in Saskatchewan are governed under the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Act; the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association gets a sizeable amount of direct funding from SaskGov to provide guidance and distribute grant funding to individual Parks.
Central Role of Suffern Lake Regional Park Authority in Scam
Suffern Lake Regional Park is central to concerns stated in this paper. During the past decade, three of the four Chairmen have been Alberta residents. As of April 1, 2023, of the administration team of seven members and a secretary, five were residents of Alberta. A Saskatchewan agency made up of a majority of Alberta residents is directing lawsuits, setting mil rates and imposing subleases that contravene the Bill of Rights. Adding to this highly questionable situation, administrative meetings of a Saskatchewan Regional Park are being held across the border in Alberta. The lawsuits failed financially in every way. This whole disaster has been subsidized both financially and politically by SaskGov and nobody cares. As we write, lawyers are teeing up again.
When we first identified the scam, we only knew of one location with a total stated property value at the time of just over $2 million. That has grown to multiple locations involving several hundred dwellings and in the order of $50 million in total values. The vast majority of owners paying no tax or significantly lower than correct taxes held these properties as seasonal residential or recreational second homes; these are people who shouldn’t be short of tax money. The tax at issue is Education Property Tax. Education funding was and is a contentious issue in the province and it is apparent that it is the well-to-do who were deliberately avoiding paying their share. Behind-the-scenes, while we were being sued, the Saskatchewan government was busy correcting inappropriate tax scenarios across the province. Hardly a local issue.
Prime Minister Trudeau has commented that Justice Ministers are not really politicians, they are more servants of the people. It would be good if the Prime Minster would tell us when that process is set to begin because that has certainly not been our experience.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Wagner often speaks about the need to restore trust in the Canadian Justice system. That doesn’t seem to be trending in the right direction. Defenders of the system comment on how busy the courts are and how judges are stressed to the limits. That could be reduced considerably if the sport of suing financial weaklings experienced a dramatic rule change.
Our legal adventures resulted in us filing four complaints with the Canadian Judicial Council (two of which were reviewed by BC Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson). We have filed four ethics complaints with the Saskatchewan Law Society: one of which is very recent; the other three were reviewed without outcomes by the mutual admiration protective society.
In our collective Queen’s Bench court cases each was a Summary process – no mediation, examinations or disputed payments in trust were ever allowed. None of this information is new or secret. The truth is that it doesn’t matter because you don’t care.
In 2021 a Saskatchewan judge in two cases heard simultaneously, said a trial would be too expensive, essentially saying Respondents could not afford justice. He proceeded with Summary hearings. The result was a contrived paper argument prepared by the rented bully who started it all. We presented examples of perjury and forgery along with an offer from the CEO of the Saskatchewan Assessments Management Agency (a $2 billion per year organization) to appear were either ignored or considered irrelevant.
That all led to the judge’s decision giving Respondents a six-month timeline in which to sell their properties or they would be subject to a Writ of Possession granting them to the Applicant. One was a bought and paid for primary (only) residence of nine years, the other an attractive recreational property owned for over thirty years. The properties were sold for $1501 each in October 2022 prior to the judge’s deadline. The Applicant has now reintroduced the same law firm implying the sales were not valid and therefore the Park should still be entitled to ownership through a writ action.
Justice for Regular Folk? Not without a Fight
What a surprise, regular folk in Canada can’t afford justice! That becomes truer when the applicant is an agent of government spending your money to defeat you no matter how many tries it takes, while you spend your own money to defend yourself. The grossly unbalanced scales of justice have an awful lot of public money on one side and a few pension cheques on the other. The game appears tilted just a bit further when the judge is being paid by the same crew that is paying for the Applicant.
Arrogance, distorted political loyalty, incompetence, and dishonesty get the governments’ blind eye in the protection of privilege at the expense of ordinary citizens. We have learned that speaking truth to power is a dangerous proposition because the cruelty of political preservation in Canada is widespread. It is profoundly disappointing, and you have breached our trust in so many ways.
It is time to quit merely defending ourselves and start fighting back. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we will be asking everyday citizens of Canada to support our efforts. We need a real day in court. We need the chance to give live testimony, the opportunity to question evidence, the opportunity to present witnesses and to demand accountability. Ideally, there would be a jury of everyday citizens. What we don’t need is another drive-thru justice event called a Summary hearing where soon they will be saying “here is your decision, would you like fries with that?”
Rather than dealing with genuine concerns of citizens or taking the time to at least answer a letter, our elected officials seemingly prefer being seen on TV in Question Period, a show where gangs of narcissists pound on a table and hurl insults at each other.
If this blatant abuse of the justice system can happen at the Provincial level and the Federal level doesn’t care, it can happen anywhere and apparently go on as if it should be considered normal. We’ve not seen an ounce of protection from any elected or appointed body.
A recent Canadian opinion poll measuring trust by citizens in over 20 professions show judges to be in the middle of the pack. Politicians, lawyers and used car salesmen are all well into the bottom half of the chart. A normal person would think when the backbone of our society has lost the trust of the majority, someone would step up and say this needs to be fixed but no, they don’t care.
For further information regarding:
- Communications with Governments – local, municipal, provincial, federal
- Court related documents, CJC submissions and reviews, Law Society submissions and responses
- Expanded description of taxation manipulation including locations
Contact Busted Trust Working Group