OTTAWA, Jan, 8, Reuter: Two Senior Canadian government ministers were convicted ‘on contempt of court charges on Friday because of the conduct of subordinates in an immigration case.
The Federal Court of Appeal found External Affairs Minister Joe Clark and Communications Minister Flora MacDonald, at the time Immigration Minister, responsible for the failure of officials in their departments to produce a visa file in a 1985 immigration case.
The case involved an attempt by a Canadian woman, Debora Bhatager, to bring her husband, Ajay Kant Bhatnager, to Canada from India.
The government said it might appeal against the court of appeal’s decision, which overturned a lower court ruling.
The two Cabinet Ministers could face fines or be ordered to apologize, according to lawyers.
Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, who represented the Bhatnagers, Said the case was a major victory for citizens who wanted to take on the government in court.
He maintained that the case meant government ministers would now be held responsible for the conduct of their subordinates.
“If the minister chooses to act by agent, he can’t insulate himself from their refusal to comply with a court order”, Ruby told the Canadian press, the National News Agency.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 15, 1988