Omar Khadr’s lawyer Nathan Whitling allegedly leaves First Nation women in the lurch
“We would like to get Omar’s clock ticking again. We want this sentence to actually start ticking, so it will expire.”
These were the words spoken by lawyer Nathan Whitling about his client Omar Khadr’s sentence earlier this month.
While these words may raise the eyebrows of some Canadians, as they remember back the $10.5 million payout Khadr received from the Trudeau government in 2017, for some First Nation women fighting for transparency and accountability from their leadership, these words are incredibly frustrating.
Looking for answers
After months of dealing with alleged corruption and transparency issues with the Chief and Council of Tallcree First Nation, Renee Higa-Brown has just about had enough.
Higa-Brown, along with four other women from her band, launched a court case aimed at getting some answers from their leadership as to why 400 Tallcree members were disenfranchised and unable to vote in the last election.
Originally, the women were represented by Jeffery Rath of Rath & Co. but, due to a conflict of interest on Rath’s part, he was unable to continue representing them and recommended they take up the legal counsel of Nathan Whitling.
Rath had previously represented the Tallcree leadership during their negotiations with the federal government around the Agricultural Settlement Agreement (Cows and Ploughs) but had fallen out of favour with them and had taken them to court to receive payment for his work.
Rath ended up winning his case and received twenty percent of the $57 million dollar deal he brokered plus the interest on the ten percent that is held in the children’s trusts fund.
Whitling agrees to help
According to email records obtained by The Post Millennial, Whitling originally agreed to do the case pro bono, however, no formal documentation was ever drafted. Higa-Brown and the other women gratefully accepted his offer via email and looked forward to continuing with their case.
However, after months of delayed email responses, rescheduled meetings and missed teleconferences, the women were getting quite fed-up. They had been asking for a meeting with Whitling to discuss having Judge Mandamin removed from their case because of a conflict of interest on his part (he wrote the original Tallcree election code) but were unable to get Whitling to talk to them on the phone or in person.
Frustrated by all this, the women decided to boycott the case until Whitling would listen to their request to have Judge Mandamin removed. On February 1, Whitling responded via email by dropping the case and advising the women to seek out new counsel.
At this point, it appeared that their dealings with Whitling were complete. However, this was not so. On February 7, Whitling unexpectedly reached out to them letting them know that Judge Manadamin had agreed to step off the case and that if they were still interested, he could continue to represent them.
Four out of the five women agreed to chat with Whitling via teleconference later that week to discuss continuing with his legal counsel but none of them received a response back from him in time for the teleconference.
Then, on February 13, according to court documents obtained by The Post Millennial, Whitling filed a motion with the federal court saying that he was removing himself from the case, saying that he had given notice to his clients on February 9th.
However, according to email records between the women and Whitling, this claim does not appear to be accurate. Whitling originally said he would stop acting as their legal counsel on February 1st, but then on February 7th he re-offered his services.
All of this left the women very confused and unsure of who their legal counsel was and whether or not they would be able to go through with their case.
No real interest in helping
Doris Champagne, one of the women involved in the case, said that Whitling’s involvement was “inconsistent” and that “he came across as not having an interest in the case.”
I feel that Nathan Whitling did this as favour to his lawyer friend [Jeffery Rath] and Judge Mandamin. I felt right from the beginning that I and the group were not being taken seriously, to him we were Indigenous women to be hushed up and not make waves,” Champagne said.
Wanita Mitchell, another one of the applicants on the case, told The Post Millennial that Whitling “did not want to have a discussion with us.”
“I have not met Nathan but since he is the lawyer, I felt that he was going to represent me and go over the case – “How will I know if this is a weak case or or a strong case?” I didn’t get the chance to talk to him by teleconference, because he cancelled. He was supposed to be our saviour and the expert on The Charter of Right & Freedoms. I was not looking for money, I just wanted all of our disenfranchised members the right to vote like we did with the cow and ploughs.”Wanita Mitchell
Higa-Brown went even further telling The Post Millennial that by the end of the case they “had zero confidence” in Whitling and wanted him out.
“We felt that Nathan didn’t want anything to do with our case because he kept ignoring our emails for extended periods of time and quit on us twice. I was confused about Nathan quitting on us twice, because Nathan never confirmed that he was taking our case on ‘pro bono’ officially by having us sign to an agreement. The last time that Nathan discussed plans for the case was on February 08, 2019 when he cancelled the teleconference meeting and quit on us a second time. Nathan never did give us the chance to be heard, we had to issue boycotts in order for him to understand that we meant business. We honestly thought that Jeff Rath was referring the best to us, I guess Jeff just wanted to move on fast after being ruled a conflict of interest. We really have no idea why Nathan took our case on. We feel that Nathan has destroyed any chance of us making headway.”Renee Higa-Brown
All of this leaves a sour taste in the mouths of these women. They feel slighted and disrespected by a lawyer who was able to find plenty of time to represent a convicted terrorist but can’t find a spot in his schedule to meet with some First Nations women fighting alleged corruption in their own community.
For his part, Whitling denies the women’s charges, saying there was “no lack of professionalism” on his part. He refused to meet their demands to remove Judge Mandamin from the case because “there was no basis for doing so.”
While Whitling did acknowledge that he cancelled the teleconference because he thought that some of the women were planning on boycotting it, he maintains that he was clear in his communications “at all times.”
“My involvement and motion to be removed from the record have had no effect on the Applicants’ ability to pursue their claim which remains before the Court. I hope that they are able to find alternative counsel willing to act for them and to pursue their claim.”Nathan Whitling
A raccoon was spotted on a city bus in London, Ontario last night around 8 pm. One passenger was able to snap a picture of the along route 19 in the Masonville area, tweeting.
The LTC replied to the tweet saying,
No one quite knows how the little guy managed to board the bus and the LTC has yet to comment.
Word on the street is after failing to present a valid ticket he was asked to leave, begrudgingly he waddled off muttering something about the LTC.
Multiple charges were laid against Andrij Olesiuk after he claimed to have handed over $4,100 to a door-to-door canvasser to give to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Olesiuk claimed that he did not know the name of the woman he gave the money to. He also said that the receipt she gave him was burned in a house fire.
Over a year ago, Olesiuk had multiple charges laid against him involved with using the Humboldt Broncos’ fundraiser for his own benefit.
According to evidence and documents from the case, close to $3,700 was deposited into 33-year-old Olesiuk’s account. Prosecutor Darren Howarth told the court that the money was never sent to the Saskatchewan hockey team. The money was raised using the #PrayForHumboldt GoFundMe page.
The trial took place at the Saskatoon provincial court on Wednesday. When Olesiuk testified he said, “My intention was to raise funds for the families affected by the tragedy.”
According to the Olesiuk, he gave away the money on April 24, 2018. He claimed in court that the money totaled $4,100.
Olesiuk claimed that he gave away the money in $100 bills and that his family donated about $700 to the cause themselves.
He was charged and arrested in November 2018.
Olesiuk claimed that he sent the money with the canvasser because it would be easier than traveling to Humboldt. He also said that she seemed to be legitimate.
The GoFundMe page specified that Olesiuk was supposed to give the money directly to the team. He was unsure where the money he handed over to the woman had ended up.
His prosecutor said, “You gave it to someone you didn’t know… You didn’t even know if she was representing the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.”
Olesiuk responded, “I don’t know for sure.”
He also said that the house fire took place three months after the incident destroying his receipt which was delivered to him a couple of days after handing over the money.
According to the police, there were 35 people who contributed to the GoFundMe page before it was closed a few weeks after the accident.
Olesiuk was charges included:
- Fraud over $5,000
- Fraud under $5,000
- Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000
- Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000
- Laundering proceeds of crime
According to RCMP Cpl. Craig Hall, most of the money was spent at Canadian Tire, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants.
Closing arguments are taking place Thursday morning.
A former government employee told HuffPost Canada she was punished for giving comment to the news outlet on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of blackface when it became an international story during the 2019 federal election.
39-year-old Manjot Bains told HuffPo she was reprimanded and commanded to not speak about racism publicly after she spoke to a HuffPo reporter in a September story where she wasn’t identified as a federal employee. Bains faced a lot of backlash at work where she was a senior program adviser, which led to her quitting her job at the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives program that’s part of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“The prime minister is the one who performed blackface, not me. But somehow I faced repercussions for his actions,” Bains said to HuffPost.
Bains was hired last May and was cleared by her new employer to still continue contributing to her media website, Jugni Style, that covers South Asian culture, so she thought it wouldn’t be a problem to comment on Trudeau’s history of blackface.
Bains told HuffPo she passed along the story to her manager when it was published and was swiftly told she shouldn’t have spoken to the media and had lost her manager’s trust.
Bains then had a meeting with her superiors and was told that public servants aren’t allowed to speak critically of Trudeau publicly, and would have to do “loyalty training” and redo ethics training.
Bains cited her union actually promotes political activity and her contract stated, “the right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principles of political impartiality in the public service.”
Public servants are expected to show a “duty of loyalty” to the Canadian government.
In a much more clear cut case of political activism, a federal public servant was put on leave from his job after releasing an anti-Harper folk song during the 2015 election.
Bains also wrote her own personal account of the ordeal she faced after speaking about her thoughts on Trudeau’s blackface incidents publicly, published by HuffPo as well on Thursday.
The leader of the Conservative party of Canada has resigned after a disappointing election loss where he took the popular vote but lost the path to victory, allowing another Trudeau government.
Andrew Scheer will be resigning from the Conservative leadership role after intense internal party division largely made his position impossible, according to sources that have spoken to the Globe and Mail.
According to Global News, the resignation also came after it was revealed that party funds were used to send Andrew Scheer’s children to private school.
Mr. Scheer announced the decision at a special caucus meeting on Thursday morning.
The decision comes after former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird published his autopsy of the election which was highly critical.
According to Sun Journalist Brian Lilley, the decision will become public once a new leader is selected by the party.
With Scheer out, many have begun to wonder who will be the interim leader and who will run in the following leadership race.
With interim leaders normally staying out of leadership races, multiple high ranking officials will have to weigh their options and decide if they would rather keep the party united, or choose to run as Andrew’s potential replacement. Some pundits believe Conservative insiders such as Erin O’Toole or Peter Mackay could be gunning for that position, due to their brand power and instances which have occurred since the election of Trudeau.
For example, Peter Mackay has harshly criticized the party’s campaign, comparing it to missing on an open net, while O’Toole has voiced his disappointment with results in Ontario, especially with the loss of key figures such as Lisa Raitt.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.