Investigation into Toews Conduct...

Investigation into Toews conduct waits for federal court decision

Justice Toews challenges ruling by federal ethics commissioner

By Sean Kavanagh, CBC News Posted: Sep 06, 2017 1:22 PM CT Last Updated: Sep 06, 2017 1:22 PM CT

A review of Justice Vic Toews conduct by Canada's judicial watchdog won't proceed until after a federal court ruling.

A review of Justice Vic Toews conduct by Canada's judicial watchdog won't proceed until after a federal court ruling. (CBC News )

A review of Manitoba Justice Vic Toews conduct by the Canadian Judicial Council will have to wait until a federal court rules on a challenge made by Toews himself.

In April Canada's federal ethics commissioner ruled Toews breached the Conflict of Interest Act. Commissioner Mary Dawson determined Toews broke the rules by doing consulting work for two Manitoba First Nations after he left politics in 2013. He was appointed a Queens Bench Justice in March of 2014.

Toews wants to have the Federal Court of Canada throw out Dawson's ruling.

Winnipeg lawyer Robert Tapper, who represents Toews, says he will file legal arguments with the court in the next several weeks and doesn't expect a hearing to be scheduled until at least January.

Tapper says "his [Toew's] right to defend himself was denied."

Robert Tapper

Toew's lawyer Robert Tapper says his client's "right to defend himself was compromised" by ethics commissioner's review. (CBC News )

"We have to show that she [Dawson] denied my client basic civil rights or rights under what lawyers call natural justice laws," Tapper says.

Tapper says the ethics review did not allow Toews or his lawyer to interview witnesses who testified to the commissioner.

"He has a right to defend and ascertain what he was facing," Tapper says.

Toews was a federal cabinet minister in successive Conservative governments. He was president of the treasury board, public safety minister, and also served as Canada's justice minister.

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has the responsibility to review the conduct of judges across the country. It launched an investigation in April into Toews's conduct as a result of a complaint filed by a private citizen.

In an email to CBC News, CJC spokesperson Johana Laporte says Toew's challenge in Federal Court must be dealt with before any review is initiated.

"It is standard practice for the CJC to put a file in abeyance when the subject-matter of a complaint is the subject of a court proceeding. We will await the outcome of the court proceedings before finalizing the matter," wrote Laporte.

In the meantime Toews continues to sit as a Manitoba Justice and hear cases.There have been calls for his removal from the bench.