About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Commissions of Inquiry Determining History

A few days ago I put up a post on the Dominion Voting Systems v. Powell defamation case. In the action, commenced a week ago today, Dominion claims Powell, with malice, damaged the business and its reputation through wild accusations of misconduct in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. I believe they have a strong case.

I have been unable to find a public response or even determine if she has hired a lawyer. The Washington Post has reported that neither Powell nor Rudy Guiliani have appeared on a Fox news program in a month which is fairly close to when Dominion sent a letter to Fox News about its coverage.

I believe the Dominion case, if it reaches trial, has the chance to be the definitive statement on what happened in the election.  I expect Dominion can prove there was no fraud by its machines.

In my last post (a link is below) I put up a letter I wrote 18 years ago to the author, D.D. Guttenplan, on his book, The Holocaust on Trial. It was a libel action by the English author, claiming American author, Deborah Lipstadt, and Penguin books had defamed him concerning the Holocaust. As part of their defence Lipstadt and Penguin put forth evidence proving the Holocaust occurred. I anticipate that, in the future, the evidence used in this case and its acceptance by an English court will be used to challenge Holocaust deniers.

The letter also provided examples of libel cases in Canada, Germany and Israel where the facts of history were determined in court.

My overall conclusion was that the “establishment” view of history won the challenges of historical determination and interpretation. The establishment position may have been right or it may have been wrong but it would win.

I no longer accept my conclusion that the "establishment" will prevail. In the past 25 years I have had the opportunity to participate in two Canadian Government Commissions of Inquiry that reached conclusions on major historical issues contrary to the “establishment” position.

The first was the 4 year inquiry during the 1990’s into the Canadian Blood System. During the 1980’s thousands of Canadians were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C through our blood system. I represented a group of hemophiliacs and blood transfused from all 10 Canadian provinces who did not want to be represented at the Inquiry by their official organization, the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

The operator of the blood system, the Canadian Red Cross, asserted it had acted promptly and properly in dealing with these infectious diseases. After reviewing thousands of documents and hearing dozens of witnesses who faced cross-examination and receiving submissions from numerous lawyers the Commissioner, Justice Krever, issued a report that was devastating to the Red Cross. After the Inquiry the Red Cross was removed as the operator of the system.

My good friend, Doug Elliott, was the leader of a team that represented the Canadian Aids Society at the Commission.

In addition, we represented our clients in the judicial review process in which the Red Cross and governments and governmental agencies and doctors unsuccessfully sought to limit the Commissioner from assigning responsibility for the public health disaster.

It was a powerful experience advocating on behalf of victims.

I appreciated getting to know and learn from Doug as we sought to help the Commissioner determine what happened and why it happened.

At the time of the release of the report in 1997 I was glad to see a successful challenge to the “establishment” but thought the success was an aberration.

More recently I have represented First Nations (Indian bands) near Melfort at Fort a la Corne who have challenged how their reserves were established and how portions of their reserves were surrendered to the Government of Canada. The Government asserted all actions had been lawfully conducted. In Inquiries before the Indian Claims Commission it was proven there was massive fraud and corruption within the Department of Indian Affairs in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

As an example, before I became involved, my clients had retained an ex-RCMP document examiner who proved by typewriter analysis and hand writing analysis 100 years later that tender bids purportedly from Iowa had been typed up in the Indian Affairs headquarters in Ottawa and signed in Toronto.

The combined effects of participating in the search for the truth at those Inquires has led me to believe in Canada the “establishment” is no longer bound to win in the writing of history.

I do not believe the full facts and reasons for the tainted blood scandal, a huge public health disaster, would have ever been determined without the Inquiry Into the Blood System.

As we endure the pandemic of Covid 19 I am anticipating there will be another great Commission of Inquiry to delve into why the pandemic happened and how governments dealt with the pandemic. 

It will take the victims and their families to press for such an Inquiry. Governments will seek to minimize investigations of the pandemic and avoid a national Inquiry.

If the victims of the pandemic, as did the victims of the Blood Commission of Inquiry and more recently in Nova Scotia concerning the mass killing this spring by Gabriel Wortman, demand an Inquiry public pressure will force an Inquiry.

I also expect Governments will be compelled by the public to set broad parameters to a new Inquiry.

If sufficient public funds are provided for lawyers to represent the victims I believe the facts of and reasons for the Covid 19 pandemic will be determined.

A Covid 19 Inquiry will be fascinating.


Dominion Voting v. Powell - Defamation Action to Set History

Court Cases to Determine the Truth About Historical Events


  1. Thank you, Bill, for sharing your Commission experiences. I think you're right that the facts might not have come out but for those Commissions. That's why I believe in convening such hearings when they are necessary. As for Dominion, I can't speak as an expert, of course, but I think Dominion really does have a strong case. I've not heard much about it lately, and in a way, that's good. I'd rather have their attorneys working on the case than spending too much time talking to the media. Some of that is inevitable, and can even be a positive thing. But I'd rather the attorneys focus on the case, if that makes any sense.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Commissions can draw forth a lot of different witnesses and perspectives and ultimately facts. On Dominion the silence from those who criticized them is deafening. The critics are contemplating the possibility of hundreds of millions in damages. Their lawyers are letting their actions do the talking at this time. Those who recklessly accused them are about to face the consequences of their words.

  2. I agree about Dominion. Every state election official said there was no fraud. I believe it.
    How is the pandemic going in Canada? Is there enough vaccine?

    1. Kathy D.: You raise a good point. It is a rare day "every" official agrees. That alone should have settled the issue.

      On the pandemic on a per capital basis has about 2.5 as many cases per day.

      We are well behind the U.S. in vaccinations mainly because we do not make any covid vaccines. We have to rely on vaccine doses from Europe. England and the U.S. at this point are not selling any to other countries.

    2. Should have said:

      On the pandemic the U.S. on a per capita basis has about 2.5 as many cases as Canada per day. Overall such sites as Worldometer can provide national comparisons.

  3. Oh, Worldometers, I check it daily, have for months. I just saw in the Guardian that EU countries are mad at Britain because of inability to get vaccines. Britain has vaccinated 12% of their population, while EU countries it's 2%.
    This is not a good situation. There aren't even enough vaccines in the U.S. and the distribution system is awful. The new head of the CDC said she does not know how much vaccine the U.S. has nor where it is.
    And then as WHO says, the poorer countries have none.

    1. Kathy D.: Its going to be a long few months waiting for a vaccine dose to be available. I hope you are able to get vaccinated soon.