Thursday, August 21, 2008


Heenan Blaikie with "no way of knowing what the actual facts are", filed complaint against its employee, Marli Rusen, in the Battershill affair


Rob Shaw,
Victoria Times Colonist
- August 21, 2008

The Law Society of B.C. is investigating a complaint against Victoria labour lawyer Marli Rusen, who allegedly had a sexual relationship with former Victoria police chief Paul Battershill while she was hired by the police force to negotiate severance packages for employees under Battershill's command.

The allegations are central to Battershill's resignation, the "loss of confidence" the Victoria Police Board publicly cited in his leadership, and the RCMP Police Act investigation, the Times Colonist has learned.

Rusen's former employer, national law firm Heenan Blaikie, confirmed it had filed the complaint against her in an interview with the Times Colonist yesterday, and then issued a press release on the subject for other media.

{Snip} ..

As chief, Battershill had the ability to hire legal counsel to advise him on human resources issues, such as firing and dispute resolution, for the 222 people in his police force. He then took his recommendations, and legal opinion, to the police board for approval.

{Snip} ...

Rusen, who clerked with the B.C. Supreme Court and Federal Department of Justice in Vancouver, specialized in labour relations, employment law, sexual harassment cases and mediation. A biography on the Lancaster House online labour law website says she also helps companies diagnose, prevent and eliminate workplace conflict.


Mary I have followed your website and your defence of Paul Battershill.

I believe that your defence of him was without the benefit of the full disclosure regarding how the Victoria Police Board had lost confidence in his abilities.

As someone who has felt the betrayal of a partner, these types of actions are not the values that I would instill in a police chief.

Anyone who would "cheat" is not worth my vote.

Check the facts about this scandal. There is more information that the public needs to know.

My sympathies go out to the real Mrs Battershill.
It sounds like he told the truth, how refreshing.
Anonymous 8:00,

My sympathies, too, go to Battershill, to Mrs Battershill, the Battershill family, and to the lady named.

But let me assure you and all my valued commentors: this site is not going to become the Monica Lewinski News of the North.

I have no idea what happened between Battershill and Marli Rusen. Neither do you.

In a few hours, the whole story is expected to be told.

Let's do our best to understand it in context without these awful "rules" in play.

Having a sexual affair, that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with his job, is grounds for 'discipline'?

My God, did we just begin the 21st century or the 19th?

This is truly bizarre. Marriages fail for all kinds of reasons; two thirds of couples co-habit for years without benefit of marriage - most don't even bother.

Excuse me, but was he hired to run a church or a police force?

Someone, in a highly influential law firm with strong political connections, had a reason to get Battershill.

The real question is WHY?
It is well known in the department that the Chief was separated for a period of time but got back together and is fine now.
Anonymous 10.09,

That's especially welcome news.

Thank you.

G. West is right, the real scandal is the conspiracy that led to this, that's what really needs to be investigated.
Its been known for quite awhile in the department that the RCMP investigated the "relationship" and concluded that no actual wrongdoing took place and that it was at best a reprimand. The other allegations were untue or made up. He got set up.
I also agree with G West. And as an aside I have only read that this "affair" was alledged. No one has all the facts. The Lawyer is even suing her former employer.
As per the Times Colonist article, Battersill admitted the affair to the RCMP. The inference is that he let his secretary go and paid her an excessive severance package as "hush" money to not disclose the affair. Rusen allegedly drafted the severance package.

Times Colonist article: "As part of her work at the police department, Rusen helped draft a settlement agreement for Battershill's former executive assistant, Jo-Anne Zimmerman, Lowe said publicly earlier this year.

Zimmerman had been executive secretary to Victoria police chiefs for 18 years. Battershill took the job in 1999. As part of her duties, she read Battershill's e-mail, organized his calendar, booked his travel arrangements and managed his office during the period in which the affair was alleged.

Zimmerman agreed to the severance in early 2007. The board is still unsure what prompted her abrupt departure, said the source. Battershill had told the board he could manage his job without an executive secretary and Zimmerman did not want to move jobs. Zimmerman was widely respected among officers, including previous police chiefs who have praised her professionalism.

Lowe signed the agreement June 12, 2007. The agreement allowed Zimmerman to remain on sick leave, with benefits, until Aug. 1, 2007, then receive 18 additional months full pay. She was also paid 170 hours of holiday time.

However, the agreement included a clause preventing Zimmerman from speaking to the Victoria Police Board about why she left.
Anonymous 8:22,

You are under the impression, I think, that I did not see those two articles in this morning's Times Colonist, including the one you quote.

Well, I saw them first thing this morning and even after 3 years of starting each day by reading all 3 of BC's CanWest daily newspapers, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the HEADLINES over those latest two TC stories.

The first headline screamed about the Law Society being ready to disbar the lawyer "if allegations are proven". The article itself doesn't go to such a toxic extreme. But apparently in upper management where headlines are created, they are fixed on auto-pilot.

So I made a decision right then and there, to step over those steaming heaps and wait until the official report comes out with logical details.

The trumpeting of selective bits of allegations is no way to run an investigation, a city, a police personnel matter, a provincial government, or the Law Society.

My Lord, how often have we had to endure the Attorney-General and the premier telling British Columbians that they can tell us nothing ... NOTHING ... about Basi, Virk and BCRail because it is before the court.

This whole attack upon a much-admired Chief of Police stinks so badly, I want no part of this modern-day stoning. This is all the more imperative because there appears to be a connection between Battershill's police work and the raids on the B.C. Legislature.

I'll let your comment stand as it may help to explaining why. But if you're in a really investigative mode, why not look into the "fishing" expedition conducted by David S. Malone on behalf of Gerald H. Hartwig. What was that all about? And why is HE never mentioned these days?

Anon-0-Morality Judge at 8:00 PM sez:

"Anyone who would "cheat" is not worth my vote."

For starters, perhaps you should remind yourself that, unless you are on the Police Board or Commission, you don't "vote" for the police chief of anywhere. I find it amazing that public officials like John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Gordon Wilson and now Paul Battershill are crucified by the press and the public for what are personal failings affecting no one but themselves and those close to them, while other public officials who engage in war crimes (the RePuke Administration to the south) or outright theft of public assets (our glorious BC liaRs)seem to get a free pass.

Is Campbell a “made man”?

subtitle: With enough rumours to end his career, how come the media leave him alone?

Perhaps Mr/Ms 8:00 PM should read this before casting his vote next spring. I know the Republic of East Van isn't as non-biased as say, the Canned West bird cage liners (choke, choke), but this article was published in May of 2005. I can only assume there is some substance in what it claims, as in this day of Libel Chill with lawsuits and threats of lawsuits being an everyday tactic, almost as often used as "it's before the courts," not only have I not heard any retractions, but it is still posted at the above link.

If the link above doesn't work just Google - Is Campbell a “made man”?
The police commissioner has said he will bring out the facts because the specuulation is worse than the reality or something like that. There are too many people involved with an agenda. If 7:06 is right and it was only a reprimand a real travesty has happened.
Gotta say it, I wouldn't want to work for a firm like Heenan Blaikie.

Pretty much puts their level of employment standards on the scale.

And finds it wanting.

Very professional and ethical to handle an issue the way they appear to have handled this one.

By the way, the idea that Battershill should dump and executive secretary with the job duties described in the Times Colonist sounds like a great idea to me.

It isn't as if she couldn't have gone elsewhere in the organization.

I'd say having a police chief handle his own gopher work (for no extra pay) should have appealed to every Victorian worried about his taxes.

I think you said it all, kootcoot.

It is the disproportionate amount of media interest and public focus applied/engineered to some while certain "special" others are allowed to escape unscathed. (Even a small deck that gained titanic proportions comes to mind.)

Again we must ask (from the smearing and toppling of Gordon Wilson onwards): "Who benefits?"

Also, is this constant "smearing" of individuals a characteristic approach that could be seen as an identifying mark of the "benefiting" source from which the calculated defaming of individuals springs?
A side bar as to the sneaky back room Liberal games again. Letters to the editor in the Vancouver Province Friday August 15/08 and the Vancouver Sun Monday August 18/08. The letter writer singing the praises of Gordon Campbell and his stance on Human Rights is non other than ANN MAYO. Ann was previously John Nuraney's constituency assistant for Burnaby Willingdon, worked on one of Gordon Hoggs campaigns and was the volunteer chair for Miichael Ignatieff's leadership campaign.

What makes Ann more interesting is her other career. The abuse of children, in this province, is absolutely disgusting and where Ann worked was considered one of the worst, long time examples of this. It's an ugly story that many, many politicians turned their backs on. A lot of serious concerns were swept under the carpet.

So, once again, more sneaky back room manipulation whether through the press or simply covering up some incredibly serious incidents.
There are different layers to this Battershill story. I doubt if we will ever find out the whole thing.

1. Ms. Rusen was alleged to have been hired to draft severance and settlement agreement for several employees in the Victoria PD, not just one. When there is a housecleaning like that, there must have been some interesting things going on. It's expensive to get rid of a lot of folks.

"Further Freedom of Information releases revealed that the departures of senior officers at the police department, under Battershill's tenure, have cost taxpayers more than $600,000 in severance packages since 2002."

2. This does smack of Liberal backbiting and character assassination. That kind of thing has flourished under Campbell's leadership. I guess time will tell, but someone wants to trash Ms. Rusen but good. If I were in her shoes, I would pull out all the "goods" on HB and co. She doesn't have much to lose from a nice big whistleblow.

I doubt if we will ever know if Battershill was going to be called as a witness in the Leg raids case. He was the police chief of Victoria, how the hell could he _not_ known some of the muck they've been up to over there. It is a small, rather boring place, I'd say he knows too much for his own good, so the Boyz went digging.

Maybe someone blew the whistle on suspicions of an affair, enough for them to go after his daytimer records and expenses etc. though Freedom of Information. It would make sense for the Liberals to have plants/ operatives in the VPD to keep an eye on things and an ear to the ground.

3. Heenie Blaikie has to go on the offensive, Ms. Rusen is suing them, we don't know what for yet. I think we should. Lawyers suing lawyers, ick, this will be nasty.

I guess time will tell, but someone wants to trash Ms. Rusen but good. If I were in her shoes, I would pull out all the "goods" on HB and co. and whoever else she has stuff on. She doesn't have much to lose from a nice big whistleblow. Client stuff will be covered by solicitor-client privilege, but I bet there are "operational things" that aren't covered. Bet there will be a settlement and another non-disclosure agreement down the road.

4. People have affairs every day, if these two did, we don't know. However, smart people, and professionals with a lot to lose, should not have relationships with people they are engaged in this type of professional work with, before, during, or even perhaps after their work concludes. The optics are just terrible and are connected to confidence in one's ethical and moral conduct on the job. I hope we all still agree that a police chief should have some moral and ethical integrity.

Whether anything happened or not, this has caused them both significant personal and professional harm and involved family. If anything did happen, I bet they're wishing they did "keep it in their pants" for everyone's sake.

5. Sources have told me that the rank & file in the VPD have been very unhappy with the leadership for a while. There is a real morale problem over the culture inside and it's even impacting their ability to recruit.

Will be interesting to see what more comes out.

Many thanks indeed for your shared thoughts.

I'd just like to reiterate that former Chief Battershill had been leading the complex investigations into drugs trafficking which eventually resulted in 8 arrests arising out of the raids on the BC Legislature. He was also co-leader of the raid itself.

You say you "doubt if we will ever know if he will be called as a witness ..." He will be.

Battershill will be one of the earliest and most significant Crown witnesses when the Basi-Virk trial gets under way. It's a certainty.

Also, I can't help but think that it would be an advantage to "somebody" (I don't know who) to find a little tarnish (real or not) on Battershill's shining reputation. A discredited witness sounds a lot like one of those legal tactics such as "refusal to disclose documents".

I think there's a very clouded "underside" to the Basi-Virk / BCRail story and will mention only one of the disturbing elements, as follows:

There were three (3) Break-and-Enter crimes committed against 3 offices with clear connections to these matters:

* home-office of the Liberal lawyer, Bruce Torrie, who was advising the BC Liberals on two criminal elements which were competing within the Liberal Party of B.C. Torrie's office was broken into while he was advising Liberals elsewhere. Nothing stolen, documents and papers ransacked. Not reported in any CanWest newspaper.

* office of Bill Tieleman, the West Coast's only working journalist and broadcaster with an NDP affiliation. His office was broken into while he was attending a Basi-Virk hearing in Supreme Court. Nothing stolen, papers ransacked, and a clue left to indicate a Basi-Virk connection. Not reported in any CanWest newspaper.

* office of Heenan Blaikie within days of Battershill being placed on leave. Nothing stolen but very little was said by the law firm. After initial report, no further mention in CanWest newspapers.

All three crimes are available to read by Google searches.

With professional crooks obviously involved in this story, aren't we naive to be talking about what perfect levels of integrity we'll allow in the victims in this deadly game?

Especially when the victim is Paul Battershill, one of the cops most likely to protect Victoria from crooks.

The break in at Heenan Blaikie takes on a whole new meaning now. Has this ever been solved, and if not, why not. Does anybody have the pictures that were shown ?
Anonymous 5:05,

Like you and many others, I wonder if the Heenan Blaikie break-in has ever been solved. In the unlikely event that the culprits have been identified, and charged, there's still the disturbing B.C. question of why it hasn't been reported in the daily newspapers.

Same with the Torrie and Tieleman invasions.

As for photos, the only one I recall seeing is the one showing the damage at West Star's office with a devastated Mr T. slumped at the centre. That photo is still on the Bill Tieleman blog ...

You might find more online with a diligent search. It would be much appreciated if you'd let us know any results.

Here is the URL for the first announcement of a break-in at Heenan Blaikie:

And here, from the Benchers' Bulletin of the B.C. Law Society, is this:

Law Society gold medal

At the June Benchers' meeting, Treasurer Brian Wallace, Q.C. congratulated Marli Faye Rusen, 1993 Law Society gold medal winner from the University of Victoria, for having achieved the highest cumulative standing over her three years at the UVic law school. Janine Benedet is the 1993 gold medalist from UBC.

"David Mulroney ran as a Federal Liberal in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in 2004. Managing his campaign was Jamie Elmhirst. Mulroney would later run for the Federal Liberals in Victoria in 2006. Mulroney supported Stephane Dion in the Liberal leadership race. ( Mark Marrissen ran Dion's campaign).

In 1995, even though he had little drug prosecution experience, Mulroney's law firm was awarded federal drug prosecution. At this time Mulroney was vice president of MP David Anderson's constituency association. Between 1996 and 2004, his firm billed the federal government $5.26 million dollars for its services."
David S. Mulroney did at least one ethical deed recently, in my view.

He declared that his client's probing for misdeeds couldn't be called anything but "fishing" and I thought that admission was decent of him.

It's still amazing that his client, Gerald Hans Hartwig gets to skate off happily into the sunset, making no amends for the damage caused or for the large legal bill which the public will end up paying.

Couldn't he, the BC Liberals' Election Readiness Chairman, be charged with public mischief?

Note Victoria Police Chief has been fired with no explanation.

No explanation given for deputy fire chief's dismissal
Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008

Victoria's deputy fire chief has been fired, but the department isn't saying why.

Vern Starling, who was in charge of operations, left his job effectively last Friday, said Victoria fire Chief Doug Angrove.

Starling's departure was leaked to the media via a series of anonymous voice messages suggesting Starling had been fired for hiring labour lawyer Marli Rusen to give harassment lessons to firefighters in September. Rusen had an affair with former Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill while accepting contract work from the police board. The affair ultimately contributed to Battershill losing his job.

However, the mayor and the fire chief were quick to downplay any link. Lowe called it "totally incorrect" and Angrove said there was "absolutely no truth" to the suggestion Starling was fired for hiring Rusen.

sorry Mary I don't know how to contact you through email.
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