Column

For this is the law— and the profits

Allan Fotheringham April 7 1980
Column

For this is the law— and the profits

Allan Fotheringham April 7 1980

For this is the lawand the profits

Column

Allan Fotheringham

There is not a little to be learned from a studious observation of how a society treats different men in court. White-collar crime still pays. If you’re going to break the law, for heaven’s sake wear your best suit (not to mention your best lawyer) to court. The jails are full of grubby little men who do stupid things. They seldom are overflowing with those who do extremely

clever, illegal things. Fid_

dling with large amounts of money is one thing, but if you really want to stay out of trouble don’t get caught stealing hubcaps.

Our illustrated manual on the matter features two men, both prominent in Canadian life. One is Clarence Campbell. The other is Jean-Claude Parrot.

They have been caught in a blur of headlines, their troubles, with the law spread over years of carefully worded newspaper stories. They went through the painfully slow legal system and emerged in ways that are quite interesting. It is useful — to detail their experiences.

Clarence Campbell in his youth was a Rhodes Scholar. A lawyer, he was a special prosecutor of Nazi criminals at the war trials. He was, of course, president of the National Hockey League, for 31 years in fact, finally giving up the post in 1977 but still retaining a connection with the NHL in an undefined “consultant” role. In 1975 the crusading Tory MP from Nova Scotia, Elmer MacKay, began asking questions in the House of Commons about the “Sky Shops affair.” Sky Shops Export Ltd. had the lease on a duty-free shop at Montreal’s Dorval Airport, where travellers buy all that cut-rate liquor, cigarettes and perfume.

MacKay had uncovered an inordinate amount of Liberal party attention paid to the question of whether Sky Shops was going to have its lease extended. Marc Lalonde, while a nonelected member of Prime Minister Trudeau’s staff, took an interest in the matter. Jean Allan Fotheringham is a columnist for the FP News Service.

Marchand, then a cabinet minister, supported the lease extension. The central figure was Senator Louis de Gonzague Giguère, known to his friends as Bobby. He was the first Quebec appointment to the Senate made by the new prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, in 1968. He had been the Liberal party’s chief organizer and fund-raiser in Quebec from 1963 to 1973.

While still NHL president in 1976, Clarence Campbell was charged—along

with a businessman from Montreal and another from Freeport, Bahamas—,with “illegally giving or agreeing to give” benefits to Senator Giguère in return for his influence with the ministry of transport in trying to get a lease extension at Dorval. Maximum penalty under the law was five years. Campbell and the other men, it turned out (one died before trial), had arranged a nice persuader for Senator Giguère. As officers and shareholders of Sky Shops, they sold the senator 5,000 shares for $1 each. (Pierre Legrand, the former secretary and legal counsel of the company, said at the time of the deal: “It stinks.”) It certainly did, as Senator Giguère in a few months sold the same shares for $20 apiece. He bought for $5,000 and sold for $100,000. Not bad.

Clarence Campbell was found guilty in February. Mr. Justice Melvin Rothman of the Quebec Superior Court said: “An agreement to bribe a member of the Senate of Canada in return for assistance on a government contract is an

affront to the fundamental values of Canadian society. It must be denounced in strong terms.” Campbell received a token one day in jail and a $25,000 fine. He served five hours in jail and—he is 74 and in poor health—was allowed to go. The NHL, it has been learned, gave him $50,000 even before his conviction to help with his legal fees. Senator Giguère, it turned out, was acquitted in another court of accepting the “benefit” Campbell was found guilty of giving.

There is then JeanClaude Parrot, probably the most unpopular labor leader in Canada as head of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the most hated union. His father spent 29 years in the Montreal post office. His grandfather worked there too. Parrot sorted mail at 18. He is an old-style socialist who believes in inevitable class struggle. He is stubborn but sincere and has tried to put a modern face on his tumultuous o union, beefing up the regi search end. Thanks to the Ï poisonous relationship o with a series of incompeœ tent governments, CUPW has been fighting the post office management for a collective agreement since 1977. Parrot led a legal strike which started on Oct.16,1978.Parliament passed back-to-work legislation Oct. 19, and he sent his people back on Oct. 25. He and four other union officers were charged under Section 115 of the Criminal Code for defying an act of Parliament. Maximum penalty is two years. Ten days ago Jean-Claude Parrot emerged from jail after serving tw*o months of a three-month sentence.

It’s instructive to observe how society treats the Campbells as opposed to the Parrots. Parrot, in breaking the law, was doing what he did for his 23,000 union workers (Chief Justice Gregory Evans of the Ontario Supreme Court called him “an honest and dedicated man”). Campbell was merely lining his own pockets. One defied the government. The other bribed a member of the government system, the government party. Different strokes for different folks.