THE HONOURABLE MADAM JUSTICE McFADYEN THE HONOURABLE MADAM JUSTICE HUNT THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BERGER ____________________________________________________
IN THE MATTER of the Labour Relations Code, Chapter L-1.2 of the Statutes of Alberta, as amended;
AND IN THE MATTER of the Public Service Employee Relations Act, Chapter P-33 of the Statutes of Alberta, 1994 as amended;
AND IN THE MATTER of a Directive of the Labour Relations Board issued pursuant to Sections 69, 94(2), 84 and 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code and 72.1, 75(5.1)(a) and 93 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act;
AND IN THE MATTER of a request to file Directive pursuant to Section 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code;
CONTINUING CARE EMPLOYERS' BARGAINING ASSOCIATION, CAPITAL HEALTH AUTHORITY, ALBERTA MENTAL HEALTH BOARD, PROVINCIAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES OF ALBERTA Respondents (Applicants) - and -
ALBERTA UNION OF PROVINCIAL EMPLOYEES and DAN MACLENNAN Appellants (Respondents)
Appeal from the Order of THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE E.S. LEFSRUD Dated the 26th day of May, 2000 Entered the 6th day of June, 2000
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MADAM JUSTICE McFADYEN CONCURRED IN BY THE HONOURABLE MADAM JUSTICE HUNT
DISSENTING REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BERGER
W.J. Armstrong, Q.C. R.O. Neuman, Q.C. C.W. Neuman For the Respondents (Applicants)
S.M. Renouf, Q.C. S.A. Beaver For the Appellants (Respondents)
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MADAM JUSTICE McFADYEN ____________________________________________________
 The Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE) and its president, Dan MacLennan, (the "appellants") appeal the finding of contempt of court made against them. They ask that the judgment be set aside on grounds which can be summarized as bias or apprehended bias, lack of a fair hearing, inadmissible evidence and denial of the right to cross-examine on affidavits. The appellants argue that the chambers judge prejudged or gave the impression that he had prejudged essential issues. The appellants also submit that the chambers judge took into account inadmissible evidence and that the admissible evidence did not disclose facts sufficient to support a finding of contempt. As well, they assert that the penalty imposed by the chambers judge was too high.
 I have concluded that the appeal from the finding of contempt should be dismissed. When statements made by the chambers judge are considered in context, they do not disclose prejudgment or lack of impartiality, but rather, that prior to the commencement of the hearing, the chambers judge had reviewed the evidence filed and found it to be overwhelming. He was especially concerned about video tapes of statements made by MacLennan. He sought, but did not receive, explanations from the appellants on the main issues relevant to the contempt proceedings. While the chambers judge engaged in vigorous debate with counsel and made some pointed comments about the evidence, those comments did not indicate a closed mind. Instead, they disclosed that the chambers judge was seeking an explanation or refutation from the appellants. While the chambers judge heard some factual submissions and may have referred to media reports which were not proven by affidavit, when the whole of the evidence is considered nothing turns on such evidence. I will deal with other specific grounds during and following a detailed review of the hearing.
 On May 20, 2000, AUPE served strike notices on the Continuing Care Employers' Bargaining Association, Capital Health Authority, Alberta Mental Health Board, and Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta (the "respondents"). The strike was to commence at 7:00 a.m. on May 24, 2000. Strikes by the members of AUPE involved in the dispute were prohibited by the Labour Relations Act. On May 22, 2000, the Labour Relations Board (the "Board") issued Findings and Directives which directed AUPE, its officials, employees and members to cease threatening a strike and prohibited them from causing a strike. The Board also directed:
The Labour Relations Board directs, under section 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code that the Findings and Directives be filed in Court as soon as possible. Once filed, these Findings and Directives are enforceable as an Order of the Court and, if violated, may result in civil or criminal penalties, including contempt of Court.
The original directive was filed in Court of Queen's Bench on May 23 and served on MacLennan and other AUPE officials on May 23 and early in the morning of May 24, 2000. On May 25, the Labour Relations Board amended the May 22 directive to clarify its applicability to certain facilities and included the following sentence: "For the purposes of these directives, "to strike or cause a strike" includes, but is not limited to, encouraging, participating or otherwise engaging in a strike." The amended directive was filed in Queen's Bench on May 25.
 Between May 20 and May 24, MacLennan made a number of televised statements indicating that the failure to resolve the issues in dispute by Wednesday, May 24 would result in a strike. Similar information was found on the AUPE website. Those statements disclosed an intent to proceed with the strike despite the Board directive. In the statements, MacLennan acknowledged an awareness of the illegality of the proposed strike but indicated that AUPE and its members had no other choice.
 The strike commenced on the morning of May 24, 2000, after the original Board directive had been filed in Queen's Bench and served on the appellants. Following service, MacLennan made additional statements confirming the intent of AUPE to continue with the strike. The respondents commenced contempt of court proceedings against AUPE and MacLennan on May 25, 2000. A hearing date was scheduled for May 26.
 In accordance with the usual practice of the Court of Queen's Bench in long chambers applications, the filed materials were provided to the chambers judge in advance of the hearing. He familiarized himself with the evidence and other materials filed.
 Following the hearing, the chambers judge held that the appellants caused the strike which commenced on May 24, subsequent to the service on them of the original Board directive filed in Court. He found that the appellants were in contempt of court and imposed a fine of $400,000.
 Shortly before the hearing commenced on May 26, the strike was settled with the assistance of a mediator. Counsel for the appellants asked the chambers judge to take judicial notice of the notorious fact that the strike had been settled.
 The parties agreed that to prove contempt of court the respondents had the onus of establishing that:
(1) the Board directive prohibiting AUPE and its officers from causing a strike had been filed in the Court of Queen's Bench,
(2) that the filed directive had been served on the appellants, and
(3) that the appellants breached the directive by causing a strike after service of the filed directive upon them.
ARGUMENT AND DISCUSSION  To deal with the issues raised and place in context the statements made by the chambers judge, it is necessary to summarize the argument and discussion in a hearing which lasted for some hours and fills some 140 pages of transcript.
 The chambers judge commenced by stating that he had read the filed materials and had knowledge of the filed evidence. There was a notice of motion before him containing the following: the respondents' application for contempt; the appellants' applications for a stay of execution of the directives, and a constitutional challenge to the legislation which permitted the filing of Board directives and their enforcement as orders of the Court. The evidence included a number of affidavits and their exhibits. One exhibit was a videotape of statements made by MacLennan to the media in the days preceding, and subsequent to, the filing of the May 22 Board directive with the Court. That videotape included statements made by reporters and representatives of the respondents, which the respondents conceded were inadmissible.
 In affidavits, administrators or human resources officers of the University Hospital and a number of care facilities deposed that staff members who had been scheduled to report for work on May 24 at 8:00 a.m. had failed to do so. Several deponents indicated that they had personally observed and photographed some of these employees on the picket lines in front of various facilities. The deponents of the affidavits which dealt with the strike issue all indicated that they had personal knowledge of the facts deposed to except where stated to be on information and belief. Most statements in the affidavits relating to the strike issue appear on their face to be statements based on personal knowledge of the administrators, and are facts of the nature which would be within the knowledge of an administrator, or readily available from records in their possession (such as which employees were scheduled to work and which did not report for work). The deponents stated that they observed the picketers carrying signs indicating they were on strike. Photographs were provided.
 The following videotaped statements were made by MacLennan before the filing of the original Board directive in Court:
• "I would like to have anything happen but a strike, but unfortunately we've been more than patient." (ITV Afternoon News - Saturday, May 20, 2000)
• "I feel angry, upset, the last thing I want to do is break the law, but unfortunately to get the contract, even a fair contract, have a hope at it, there's no other way." (ITV Afternoon News - Saturday, May 20, 2000)
• "These guys can issue all the legal rulings and they can all be across the street having lunch together, but at the end of the day we're going to do whatever we have to do to get a better contract." (A-Channel News at Six - Monday, May 22, 2000)
 He made the following statements after the original Board directive was filed in Court and notices posted at various workplaces: • "We are not going to comply where it compromises our abilities to bargain. We still have a .... The only reason these folks are bargaining is because there is a deadline. If we complied with that order and went back bargaining would end immediately." (CBC Edmonton Evening News - Tuesday, May 23, 2000)
• "It's my call, but I'll be supporting them and a job action tomorrow morning." (CBC Edmonton Evening News - Tuesday, May 23, 2000)
 On May 24, after the commencement of the province-wide strike and after the original filed Board directive and notice of contempt proceedings had been served personally on MacLennan, ITV News Reporter Graham Richardson asked him:
• "... Dan, can you just tell us how you're feeling today, why you think you have to be here?":
• "I'm tired, but we have to be here because we didn't get a collective agreement over night. Our Union, that was our goal to get a contract by 7 o'clock this morning. That didn't arrive. The last offer that arrived from the employer included taking severance away from long term mental health workers, so that's not working towards the collective agreement. We need ... These people need not only a raise, but they need to know that they're not going to contract out their work and that's the type of language we're looking for. This Capital Health Authority, they arrived at bargaining at 9 o'clock last night which didn't bode well and not much happened through the night." (7.15am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
 In response to the question, "Tell me about what impact you think your members being out will have inside?", MacLennan replied:
"A dramatic impact. One of the things we wanted to do and these folks have done is have essential services. We have made sure there's LPN's to do things like the dialysis units. There's other people who are doing jobs that will keep the hospital running. We don't want it to be business as usual, it's not in our best interests and it's not business as usual. But certainly the patients aren't the enemy. We want to insure patient safety. We talk about it year round. The Capital Health Authority only seems to talk about it during bargaining, but we talk about all year." (7.16am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000) (Emphasis added)
 Richardson: "You were served with some sort of contempt of court this morning?"
MacLennan: "Yes, there's a legal summons in regards to the decision in court. I got served with that this morning about 5 [illegible]." (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
 Richardson: "Does it matter that it's illegal for you right now?": MacLennan: "No it doesn't, I wish it did. But no these folks don't have the legal right to strike or they would be on it." (7.16am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000) (Emphasis added)
 Holding the directive which had been filed in Court, Dan MacLennan stated:
"It's an order, it's the order that was filed from the Labour Relations Board with Queen's Bench. They served me this morning with it about 6 o'clock." (8.01am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
"It means our lawyer, I believe, will be appearing in Queen's Bench to represent us this morning at 10 o'clock to deal with a civil action or whatever form the action takes today." (8.01am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
 Richardson questioned: "Could they force you back in that hearing? Could the judge say you've got to go back to work?" MacLennan replied:
"I don't believe so. They could threaten us. There is a number things they can do. We are hoping, we have all the respect for the courts in the world, but we are hoping they will allow us to bargain. It is unfortunate that it's in front of the courts. We've done things like provide essential services that we thought would keep it out of the courts but nonetheless that's where the employers have taken it." (8.02am broadcast) (ITV First News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
 Dan MacLennan addressed the striking workers earlier in the day:
"So, my message today is thank you for coming out. We are committed to go as long as it takes. March, have fun, you know it could end today so make the best of it." (ITV Afternoon News - Wednesday May 24, 2000)
 In its directive of May 22, the Board ordered that the directive be filed in Queen's Bench as soon as possible. The AUPE website disclosed knowledge of the directive and AUPE's concern about the immediate filing direction, which was contrary to the Board's usual practice.
"Edmonton - The Alberta Labour Relations Board has taken an extraordinary step with plans to immediately file a "cease and desist" Order with the Courts. It is common practice and common courtesy for the Board to issue its Order, then wait to see if the party complies before it becomes court-sanctioned. Once the Order is filed with Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday morning, it will have the same force and effect as an Order of the Court.
This LRB tactic is unprecedented in Alberta labour history and is condemned by Alberta's largest union. AUPE plans to file an appeal of this quasi-judicial body's order."
... More than 10,000 AUPE Health Sector members at 159 Alberta facilities remain poised to walk off the job on Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m."
(Issued Monday, May 22, 2000) (Emphasis added)
"On Monday, May 22, the Labour Relations Board convened a special Hearing to grant Health Care Employers the Cease-and-Desist Order they were seeking. This happened on a Statutory Holiday, only one day after the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees served Strike Notice on these Employers.
After twenty years of frustration and unfulfilled promises for health care workers, it took only a few hours for the LRB to grant the Employers' wishes.
If this decision is filed with the Court of Queen's Bench today, as expected, it will establish a precedent. This step is normally taken only after Board Orders have been actually violated.
With no disrespect to the Courts, AUPE will continue to take direction from its members. They have told us what they want, and what they are prepared to do to achieve it, and the Union will stand behind them."
(Issued Monday, May 22, 2000)
"With no disrespect to the Courts, AUPE will continue to take direction from its members. You have told us what you want, and what you are prepared to do to achieve it, and the Union will stand with the members."
(Issued Tuesday, May 23, 2000)
 Affidavits of AUPE representatives, Carl Soderstrom and Scott McCormack, spoke of arrangements made by AUPE and the hospital and care facilities to ensure that patients were not endangered during the strike, and of the fact that picketers had not interfered with substitute workers and administrative personnel who wished to enter the hospital. They did not deny that a strike took place, but rather provided evidence supporting the conclusion that a strike was in progress on May 24 and 25.
 The chambers judge advised the parties that he had read relevant provisions of the statutes and had familiarized himself with the law regarding contempt of court. He stated that he knew that, in order to prove contempt, the respondents had to establish that the appellants breached the directive after it had been filed in court. The chambers judge added:
The effect of the directive is binding and can be filed, as has been done in this case; and now, of course, I'm sitting here with what amounts to a Court order. Once it was filed, it becomes an order of this Court and becomes the concern of this Court.
(A.B. p. 42, l.25 - p. 43, l.2)
 Statements subsequently made by the chambers judge must be considered in this context.
 The practice followed by the chambers judge in this case does not differ from that followed by other judges of the Court of Queen's Bench who hear long chambers' applications. The material filed in many of these applications is voluminous. It is essential that the chambers judge have knowledge of the materials before the commencement of the hearing. Chambers judges could not deal with the long chambers' workload without advance review of the file. This practice assumes that the judge is thus familiar with the evidence and other written materials and, generally, will direct argument to matters which he or she considers relevant and in issue.
 In concluding his opening remarks, the chambers judge advised that he knew that the strike had been settled. He suggested that a number of matters in the appellants' applications might now be unnecessary. The chambers judge stated that he was particularly concerned about statements made by MacLennan. Noting that he had viewed the video, he observed:
... and I have heard what Mr. MacLennan said on several occasions, including his understanding of what the law is and being prepared to do what he felt he had to do. Is that a fair comment? (A.B. p. 44, l. 2-5)
 Counsel for the appellants did not respond directly to this query. He advised the Court that his copy of the video was defective and that he had not been able to view some portions of it. He did not request that this defect be remedied. He asked the chambers judge to disregard the affidavit of Jon Wright, who prepared the video and attested to its accuracy, because there was an inconsistency in the date on which some of the segments had been recorded. This later proved to be an obvious "slip" of no importance.
 Counsel for the appellants also said that he wished to make a summary dismissal application. He suggested that statements made by MacLennan before the May 22 directive was filed in court were inadmissible and that the MacLennan statements referred only to disrespect of the law which prohibited strikes and the Board directive, not an order of the Court. (A.B. p. 47, l. 8-24)
 The chambers judge asked counsel whether he was suggesting that MacLennan did not know what he was doing or had no knowledge of the law. He continued that, while he could not force MacLennan to testify, he expected that "your friends can bring in lots of people who heard Mr. MacLennan say I'm sorry that we had to breach the law to reach a settlement." (A.B. p. 48, l. 4-6)
 Counsel repeated his submission that the chambers judge was not dealing with contempt of a Board directive but of a court order. He indicated that the chambers judge could not consider any statements made prior to the filing of the Board directive in Queen's Bench, although he conceded that statements made by MacLennan after the directive was filed in court were admissible. Although the chambers judge had clearly indicated that he understood the issue, counsel for the appellants persisted in his submission that contempt did not apply to breach of Board directives or the statute. The chambers judge responded:
...the day that the Board's order is filed in the Court of Queen's Bench, that's us. (A.B. p. 48, l. 14-16)
 After hearing further submissions from counsel for the appellants indicating that nothing stated by MacLennan prior to the filing of the original Board directive in court could be considered, the chambers judge asked counsel for the respondents to make their submissions on this point. They asserted that what had occurred prior to the filing of the Board directive was part of a pattern of conduct and admissible. While the chambers judge made no specific ruling at this time, it was clear that he accepted those submissions.
 In concluding his submissions, Armstrong, counsel for one of the respondents, stated (at A.B. p. 52, l. 17-23):
Finally, I cannot help but note the irony that Mr. MacLennan who, as Your Lordship alluded to, apologized last night on television for having caused the strike and indicated that he was prepared to take responsibility for his actions is now suggesting to you that somehow those responsibilities should not flow from his actions.
 Counsel for the appellants objected because the statement referred to by the respondents' counsel was not in evidence. He advised that he had confined his preparation to the affidavits which had been filed. "If Mr. Armstrong wants to lead some additional evidence, then he should do so in a proper fashion and not give it from counsel table, sir." (A.B. p. 53, l. 6-9)
 In response to that statement, the chambers judge stated:
Let me put this to you, Mr. Renouf, I'm going to consider everything surrounding this situation, and those are the things that have happened this week. There are lots of people that can be called on this, and surely we shouldn't be naive enough for you to say to me, well, because there's no Affidavit in here you shouldn't be looking at Mr. MacLennan. I can tell you–I'll tell you at this point that I'm looking at Mr. MacLennan.
(A.B. p. 53, l. 10-19)
Appellants' counsel submitted before us that the chambers judge's statement suggested that evidence did not matter, and that he could consider everything that happened whether in evidence or not. I do not agree. In my view the chambers judge was attempting to discourage technical objections to affidavits which could lead to an unnecessary and lengthy viva voce hearing.  Counsel for the appellants acknowledged that it was proper for the chambers judge to look at MacLennan because of the exhibits filed. He objected to respondents' counsel referring to statements of MacLennan not included in the video, statements made before the filing of the original Board directive and all statements on the video by representatives of the respondents. He then sought to draw a distinction between the notorious fact that the strike had been settled (which he wanted the chambers judge to consider) and statements allegedly made by MacLennan following the settlement.
 Following this discussion, the chambers judge acknowledged his labour law background, the flexibility of evidence rules in that context, and stated:
I recognize that now I'm in the Courts there's a little bit of a different set of rules. ...But the fact remains that its – I can probably take judicial notice of everything that happened because Mr. MacLennan has been very vocal, and Mr. MacLennan, who is obviously intelligent, has said on more than once he's prepared to take the penalty for the gain. (A.B. p. 54, l. 13-14, 16-21)
 When appellants' counsel submitted that this was not a proper case for judicial notice, the chambers judge agreed that might not be the appropriate term but again indicated that everything that occurred in connection with the matter was common knowledge in the city. The chambers judge added:
And he managed to attain the success that he speaks of is the best agreement that we've been able to get for a long time, but this question of what the law is and Mr. MacLennan looking the law straight in the eye is what bothers me.
(A.B. p. 55, l. 2-7)
 No statement to the effect that "this is the best agreement we've been able to get for a long time" is found in the videotaped evidence, and it may be that the chambers judge here referred to something he heard on the news or in pre-hearing discussions with counsel.
 Counsel for the appellants indicated that he wished to make his application for summary dismissal "when permitted to do so". The chambers judge responded "Well, you can make your application now, and I can tell you the result." (A.B. p. 55, l. 14-15) The chambers judge invited counsel to make the application. On appeal, counsel for the appellants submitted that this statement suggested that the chambers judge had prejudged his application. However, that is not the only possible interpretation. Another interpretation is that the chambers judge was directing counsel to proceed with his application.
 Before commencing argument on the summary dismissal application, counsel for the appellants outlined what he saw as the issues, should this matter proceed. He again referred to his application attacking the constitutional validity of the legislation that permitted the filing of the document as a court order. He set out the essentials of his argument, indicating that such an application could not proceed for some time as the requisite notices had just been served on the provincial and federal Attorneys General. The legislation requiring such service did not permit shortening of the notice period. He observed that "it would be essential for the Court to consider the constitutionality of that section." In that connection, he referred to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in United Nurses of Alberta v. Alberta (Attorney General) (1992), 89 D.L.R. (4th) 609 and suggested that, because the strike had ended, the judge should, if not must, hear the constitutional argument before hearing the contempt application. Counsel outlined the basis of his argument on the constitutional issue and concluded with the statement, "So that's essentially the argument." (A.B. p. 60, l. 14)
 He identified the second issue as the admissibility of evidence, suggesting that much of the evidence filed by the respondents was inadmissible hearsay or irrelevant. He submitted that there was no evidence before the Court until the respondents had tendered the affidavits and obtained a ruling on admissibility. He also suggested that AUPE was entitled to cross- examine the deponents of the affidavits filed in support of the contempt proceeding.  Returning to his application for summary dismissal, appellants' counsel repeated that the chambers judge could have regard to notorious facts, such as the fact that the strike had ended. He submitted that the Court should not consider the matter as one of contempt of court, but as a disobedience of a Board directive which is enforceable by other means under the Labour Relations Code, including the levy of fines against the union and its officers. Counsel was reviewing various other enforcement sections of the Labour Relations Code when the chambers judge again referred to s. 86(2):
But moving right along to Section 86(2), I'm looking you in the eye and saying we're in the Court of Queen's Bench now.
(A.B. p. 62, l. 18-20)
 The discussion returned to the meaning of s. 86(2) and its validity:
The Court: ... In this particular situation, they elected to do what they could do under 86(2), bring it to this courthouse, register it. It then becomes our order, and it is an order of this Court.
Mr. Renouf: Right, and I'm going to come to that.
The Court: Unless there is something wrong with that statute.
Mr. Renouf: Yes.
The Court: Which I don't – you'll find that I don't agree with your represent..."
Mr. Renouf: Well, I haven't made that argument yet, Sir.
The Court: Well, you've made it along that line so - - but what I'm saying to you is that I'm sitting here today respecting the Labour Act and respecting the fact that the Board, knowing there were problems, said we better put this thing under 86(2), get it over there, get it filed, get it served; and then when somebody like me comes along, I look at that as an order as if I had given it myself. That's what this section says, Mr. Renouf.
(A.B. p. 63, l. 3-24)
 Counsel for the appellants argued before us that the chambers judge's statement that he did not agree with counsel's representations indicated a prejudgment of the constitutional issue. I do not agree. Having regard to the discussion which followed, it is more likely that the chambers judge was referring to issues relating to the effect of s. 86(2) rather than its constitutional validity. In any event, the chambers judge was not hearing the constitutional argument at the time. He was hearing an application for summary dismissal of the contempt proceedings.
 In chambers, counsel for the appellants returned to a discussion of the May 22 directive, the amended directive, and the distinction between disobedience of a Court order and disobedience of a Board directive. The argument was to the following effect:
(1) That the first Board directive, filed on May 22, did not prohibit strike activity and should be disregarded because the Board subsequently amended that directive;
(2) As a result, the only directive prohibiting striking was the amended Board directive which was filed on May 25;
(3) Within hours of that filing, the strike was settled.
 Counsel for the appellants submitted that the appellants took steps to settle the strike shortly after the amended directive had been served upon them and therefore were not guilty of contempt. The chambers judge indicated that the duration of the strike was not important, the issue was whether there had been a strike after the filing of the Board directive. He continued:
THE COURT: No, no. But, Mr. Renouf, the problem with [sic] is if they didn't get a settlement yesterday, we'd be sitting here and everybody would still be out on strike.
MR. RENOUF: I have no idea, Sir.
THE COURT: Well, let's not be naive about this.
MR. RENOUF: I don't think that's a question of naivete, Sir. We have to base this on the facts.
THE COURT: But you can rest assured you're not going to get any comfort from me by saying, well, we struck, but we got it over with in a hurry. I mean, come on.
MR. RENOUF: Well, I'm hoping that that will be comfort, Sir.
THE COURT: Well, it isn't going to be comfort because the question that I'm addressing is that Mr. MacLennan and the union have been around a long time. They know what's in these statutes, and they know and Mr. MacLennan – and whether you like me going back to this, Mr. MacLennan has said, well, I'll do what I have to do to get this done, and I'll take the consequences. (A.B. p. 67, l. 5-27)
 Appellants' counsel submitted to us that the chambers judge improperly assumed that the strike would not have ended without a settlement. However, the evidence discloses that MacLennan indicated to the striking workers that they would go "for as long as it takes", providing a basis for the comment made by the chambers judge.
 When counsel again suggested that the chambers judge was intent on imposing sanctions in breach of the statute, the chambers judge replied that he considered the Board's directives as if they were his own order. He continued:
And when I give an order and it's not complied with, then I get unhappy; and I'm saying in this situation that you have an intelligent client who said I'm willing to pay the price. I'm willing to flaunt the law, and that's what bothers me as a judge; and you say, well, there's not enough in front of you. Well, I say there is enough in front of me. (A.B. p. 68, l. 11-17)
 When appellants' counsel repeated that the evidence did not disclose that MacLennan made such statements, the chambers judge indicated he had seen the video and other material. "I've got the Board's directives but I keep coming back to this, the Board's directives are an order of this Court. They're in existence today." (A.B. p. 69, l. 1-3)
 Counsel for the appellants agreed that the chambers judge was correct in assuming that the legislation was valid until he decided otherwise on an application dealing with constitutional validity (A.B. p. 69). He read a statement from the appellants:
"Mr. MacLennan personally, ... and AUPE, wish to advise the Court that they have the utmost respect for the dignity and authority of the Court and of the rule of law and that the fact that the Labour Relations Board's decision was filed with the Court yesterday, the one that actually prohibited striking, was a key factor in motivating a speedy end to the strike last night." (A.B. p. 69, l.26 to p. 70, l.7)
 After a short discussion regarding the effect of the amended Board directive, the chambers judge repeated his concern about the strike which commenced on Wednesday, May 24. Appellants' counsel again suggested that the relevant directive was the amended directive which was not in existence on May 24.
 The discussion turned to the effect of the first directive, filed in Court on May 22, which provided:
AUPE, its officials, representatives, employees and other persons acting on its behalf and all affected employees are prohibited from causing a strike scheduled for May 24, 2000, or otherwise.
(A.B. p. 72, l. 9-13)
 Discussion continued for some time as to the effect of the amended Board directive and the validity and meaning of the May 22 Board directive. The chambers judge concluded that the first Board directive, which had been filed on May 23, adequately dealt with the situation. In his view, the amendment added nothing of significance. Before this Court, the parties did not argue the amendment had any substantive effect on the original directive.
 After counsel for the appellants again cautioned the chambers judge against using contempt to enforce Board directives, or breaches of the statute, the chambers judge commented (A.B. p. 75, l. 18-20):
Mr. Renouf, Mr. MacLennan and the union have succeeded in getting a settlement. I note that Mr. MacLennan doesn't like binding arbitration.
 Counsel for the appellants repeated that the contempt sanctions should not be used to enforce legislation. The chambers judge replied:
Your clients have said this is what we have to do to get a settlement. We are prepared - - and Mr. MacLennan stood up all by himself and said I'm prepared to take the consequences. You say, well, maybe I shouldn't know that. I do know that; and if that's an error in law, well, so be it, but the position of your clients is I know what the law is. It's too bad I've had to flaunt it, but we're doing it, and we'll take the consequences.
(A.B. p. 76, l. 15-23)
 Following this statement, the chambers judge reiterated that he was aware of the position taken by the appellants but disagreed with it. Counsel for the appellants recognized that the Court was unimpressed with his summary disposition argument and advised the Court that if the matter was to proceed on its merits, he was going to contest the evidence, cross- examine the respondents' witnesses and would be offering evidence. He stated:
...and I suppose that as an officer of the Court I have an obligation to ask Your Lordship to consider whether you have made your mind up about those facts, subject to having heard the evidence on this, because there's going to be evidence, and there's going to be contested evidence with respect to those matters, Sir.
(A.B. p. 77, l. 15-20)
 The chambers judge indicated that he did not need to call on respondents' counsel. He dismissed the application for summary dismissal. He stated: "I'm going to dismiss the application and we are going to go on with it. It seems to me it's time we get on with it. We'll get on with it today." He dealt with the suggestion of prejudgment bias by again referring to MacLennan's attitude. He discussed compulsory arbitration and said he was pleased that the employees got the settlement they deserved. In concluding his remarks, he stated: (A.B. p. 78, l. 10-21):
...but my whole problem with this and my feeling and my thoughts are that, yes, they've accomplished what they set out to do, and the employees are entitled to the settlement that they've reached, but the union and Mr. MacLennan and the attitude that's been displayed is improper, and it has to be dealt with, and I intend to deal with it; and, you know, I don't have to tell you what your further remedies are if you're not happy with dealing with this situation, but out of the mouth of your own client, and you say, well, it's not in front of me. I'm not so sure it's not in front of me. Anyway - -
 Counsel then suggested that the chambers judge had reached a conclusion without hearing the evidence. The chambers judge replied that what happened during the week was common knowledge and indicated that it ( the evidence) was before him. He repeated that he intended to proceed with the matter that day.
 Counsel for the appellants asks us to conclude that the chambers judge had prejudged the issues in the contempt application. In the context, it is equally reasonable to conclude that the chambers judge was repeating that he intended to deal with the contempt application without further delay. His references to the improper attitude express his concern that the contempt application had to be dealt with promptly because of the televised statements and the public nature of the disobedience. It is wrong to say he had no evidence before him. The affidavits and exhibits filed by both sides were in evidence. The appellants could have presented further evidence had they wished to do so. The chambers judge did not need to resort to judicial notice or common knowledge and did not do so. The chambers judge subsequently heard full argument from the respondents and the appellants on the contempt issues.
 In relation to the issue of constitutionality, the appellants' counsel asserted that the Court could not decide whether the union disobeyed a court order "until we find out whether it is a court order," which required consideration of constitutionality. The chambers judge replied that he did not see the relevance of the constitutional question to the contempt proceedings. He repeated that he intended to act on the basis that the legislation was valid. At p. 80, he stated, "so as far as I say, I don't know that this question we're dealing with today, has a whole lot to do with the Judicature Act. I hear your pitch on it, but I'm not buying it." Counsel for the appellants suggest that the chambers judge prejudged the constitutional issue before hearing argument on it. I do not agree. The chambers judge simply declined to hear the constitutional argument at that time.
 Notice had been served on the Attorney General of Alberta under the Constitutional Questions Act. Mr. Maybank, counsel for the Government of Alberta, advised that the constitutional question could not be disposed of immediately because notice requirements could not be waived. However, he submitted that the Court had a discretion to adjourn the contempt application to await the judicial review disposition, or to proceed with the contempt matter and defer any collateral attacks on the validity of the legislation. (See United Nurses of Alberta, supra, at p. 639.)
 The chambers judge properly exercised his discretion to proceed with the contempt application.
 Counsel for the appellants raised another preliminary matter. As MacLennan had never been named as a party to the Labour Relations Board proceedings, the contempt application could not proceed against him. After hearing from counsel for the respondents, the chambers judge accepted the respondents' position. Whether MacLennan had been named as a party to the Board proceedings or not, the original Board directive was directed against him as an officer of AUPE. Following service, he was bound to obey.
 The chambers judge requested Mr. Armstrong, counsel for the respondent Provincial Health Authority, to proceed with the contempt application. Mr. Armstrong outlined the evidence, concentrating on MacLennan's videotaped statements and statements on the AUPE website. When he commenced a review of the affidavits, counsel for the appellants asked for a ruling on his submissions regarding cross-examination on the affidavits and irrelevant and hearsay statements in the affidavits.
 The chambers judge heard argument and indicated that he would disregard any hearsay in the affidavits. He concluded that cross-examination on the affidavits was unnecessary. Counsel responded that hearsay could not be identified without cross-examination. After hearing further argument, the chambers judge again concluded that cross-examination would accomplish nothing and was unnecessary. It is clear that the chambers judge considered that the key issue was the deliberate and public defiance of the law and disobedience of the directive which had been filed in the Court of Queen's Bench. In his view, the determination of the appellants to proceed with the illegal strike was demonstrated by MacLennan's statements indicating that the appellants would do what they had to do to get a fair settlement. While the chambers judge would not agree to disregard the respondents' affidavits, he again advised that he would disregard any hearsay in the affidavits. Counsel for the appellants conceded that he did not intend to call any evidence dealing with MacLennan's attitude or statements and would not make any comments on that matter.
 After respondents' counsel completed his submission on the contempt question, the appellants had an opportunity to present evidence and argument on the issue of contempt. Counsel for the appellants did not seek to call any evidence in addition to that filed prior to the hearing. Although invited to do so by the chambers judge, counsel for the appellants did not deal with issues concerning a finding of contempt. Rather, he turned to evidence in mitigation of penalty.
GROUNDS OF APPEAL
1. The chambers judge erred in law in failing to distinguish between contempt of court and disrespect for a statute and a directive of the Board.
2. He erred in failing to disqualify himself from hearing the matter after a reasonable apprehension of bias arose from his comments on the actions of the appellants, on the admissibility of evidence, and the validity of s. 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code.
3. The chambers judge erred in refusing to hear arguments related to the validity of the legislation and the Labour Relations Board directive.
4. He erred in improperly taking judicial notice of media reports of comments attributed by the media as having been made by or on behalf of the appellants.
5. He erred in refusing to permit counsel for the appellants to cross-examine the affiants of affidavits filed in support of the contempt application.
6. The amount of the fine was excessive and unreasonable.
GROUND 1 - That the chambers judge erred in law in failing to distinguish between contempt of court and disrespect for a statute and a directive of the Board.
 The appellants are wrong to assert that disobedience of a Board directive and disrespect for the law are not punishable by contempt. Board directives are not converted to court orders when filed in Court. They continue to be directives of the Board but, upon filing in the Court of Queen's Bench, are enforceable as judgments or orders of the Court.
 While there can be no contempt unless a breach occurs after a Board directive is filed in Court and the filing comes to the attention of the persons charged, the disrespect shown for the law is a relevant consideration. In United Nurses of Alberta, supra, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of s. 142(7) of the Alberta Labour Relations Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. L1.1, a section similar to s. 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code. That decision dealt with the use of criminal contempt powers to enforce public defiance of Labour Relations Board orders. Writing for the majority, McLachlin J. set out the rationale for such legislation (at 640):
In fact, resort to courts of inherent jurisdiction to assist in the enforcement of orders of inferior tribunals has a long and respectable history. It has been held that a superior court can protect the inferior court against ex facie contempt:...
...In the present instance, s. 142(7) of the Labour Relations Act provides a special mechanism for engaging the court process when the provincial law is administered primarily by an inferior tribunal, rather than by the courts. But the provision does not itself create the criminal (or civil) contempt power, any more than does a provincial law which is administered primarily by the courts. It simply engages the jurisdiction of the superior court (as modified by any provincial law respecting civil contempt and by any federal law regarding criminal contempt) to control the administration of justice through civil and criminal contempt proceedings, as may be required, as well as the court's jurisdiction to lend its authority to support that of inferior courts and other bodies subject to its supervision and control. ... ... Against the argument that the contempt power is so serious that it should only be available for breaches of orders actually made by s. 96 judges, can be raised the argument that in reality important portions of our law are administered not by s. 96 judges but by inferior tribunals, and that these decisions, like court decisions, form part of the law and deserve respect and consequently the support of the contempt power. Similarly, against the argument that labour disputes should be settled by civil remedies, can be raised the argument that these disputes, when they threaten public respect for orders of law, transcend private concerns and properly become the subject of criminal remedies, as this court has held in Poje, supra, and B.C.G.E.U. v. British Columbia (Attorney General), supra.
 Considering whether the power to punish for criminal contempt should be limited to actual court orders and whether orders of tribunals were enforceable by civil contempt only, at p. 642 McLachlin J. cited with approval the decision of Blair J.A. of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Re Ajax & Pickering General Hospital and Canadian Union of Public Employees (1981), 132 D.L.R. (3d) 270:
I agree with Blair J.A's analysis and his conclusions. With regard to the first argument, the case law led him to the following conclusion, at p. 286:
" These and similar cases simply demonstrate that Board orders are not the same as Court orders; they do not establish that Board orders are any less enforceable by the Court.
On the contrary, all the decisions dealing with similar provisions in labour legislation in Canada establish that where such Board orders are filed with the Court, they have the same force and effect as orders of the Court and disobedience can be punished by contempt and other similar proceedings."  Counsel for the appellants relies on the decision of this Court in Edmonton General Hospital v. United Nurses of Alberta, Local 79 , 104 A.R. 394 as authority for the proposition that the Court cannot consider any events prior to the filing of the court order. I do not agree with that interpretation. In that case, the Court had been asked to decide whether proof that the alleged contemnors knew that the Board directive had been filed in the Court of Queen's Bench was essential to establish contempt. The Court held that such proof was essential. At p. 396, writing for the Court, Stevenson, J.A. examined the effect and rationale of the legislation:
Upon filing, the directive will be enforced "as a court order". Someone who has notice of it and fails to comply will then be subject to civil contempt sanctions. The question then becomes whether alleged contemnors must know that they are subject to filed directives.
Once the directive is filed, those subject to it realize that enforcement proceedings by way of the contempt process may be available and act at their peril. Persons affected will appreciate that obedience is necessary unless and until that directive is successfully attacked by appropriate proceedings.
....Disobedience of an administrative tribunal may be an offence under its constituent statutes, but it is not the wrong of contempt. I conclude that contemnors must know they are disobeying a court order, and therefore must have notice that the order has been filed. Generally speaking, contempt of an order can only be established by proof that the alleged contemnor had notice of the order and its substance.
 In my view, Stevenson J.A. did not say that judges hearing contempt applications should not consider what occurred prior to the filing of the directive with the Court. He said that resort could not be had to contempt powers until the directive had been filed and served.
 The appellants say that statements made by MacLennan prior to the filing of the original Board directive were irrelevant and inadmissible. On the contrary, the evidence of the service of a strike notice, and statements made prior to the commencement of the strike, are evidence of a course of planned conduct which culminated in a prohibited strike. The notice, the AUPE website comments, and MacLennan's videotaped comments prior to the strike disclose the appellants' intent to cause a strike if a satisfactory settlement was not reached by May 24. Combined with the earlier statements, the commencement of the strike on May 24, after the issuance of the original Board directive and the filing of that directive in Court, show the continuation of that intent. The statements made prior to the filing of the Board directive in Court were admissible to establish that the strike was planned, authorized and caused by the appellants.
 The chambers judge knew that contempt did not apply to breach of a Board directive which had not been filed in Court but emphasized on several occasions that the relevant directive had been filed before the strike commenced. I have made reference to some of his statements above. I have quoted what he said in his opening remarks, and will now cite what he said in his reasons for judgment:
This brings me to a consideration of the actions of Mr. MacLennan both personally and as the authorized spokesman on behalf of the union. I find it appalling that with his admitted knowledge of the law, he deliberately flaunted same and counselled, procured, supported and encouraged an unlawful strike while being well aware of the fact that, as a probable and reasonable consequence of his acts, other persons would engage in unlawful activity. These actions not only ignored and disobeyed the findings and directives of the Board but also, as a result of the filing of the findings and directives with the court, constituted an act of contempt of this court. This contempt was premeditated...
(A.B. p. 182, l. 17 - p. 183, l. 3)
 Appellants' counsel suggests that MacLennan's statements indicated only a disrespect for a Board directive and a willingness to disregard the provisions of the statute, not any disrespect for the Court. This submission disregards the facts established in this case. The directive issued by the Board on May 22nd ordered that the directive be filed in Court as soon as possible. That directive was filed and served before the strike commenced on May 24, the deadline fixed in the strike notices. While, arguably, statements made on May 22 could be considered as referring only to the legislation and the directive of the Board, this explanation was no longer available once the directive was filed in Court and served. The strike commenced after filing and service and continued until it was settled two days later. Statements such as "we will go as long as it takes" clearly show the intent that the strike continue despite the filing of the Board directive in Court. Statements published on the AUPE website also indicate a determination to proceed in the face of a court order. This ground fails.
GROUND 2 - That the learned chambers judge erred in failing to disqualify himself from hearing the matter after a reasonable apprehension of bias arose from his comments on the actions of the appellants, on the admissibility of evidence, and the validity of s. 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code.
 The test to be applied in determining bias or reasonable apprehension of bias has been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. R.D.S.  3 S.C.R. 484. Cory J. stated:
111 The manner in which the test for bias should be applied was set out with great clarity by de Grandpre J. in his dissenting reasons in Committee for Justice and Liberty v. National Energy Board,  1 S.C.R. 369, at p. 394:
"[T]he apprehension of bias must be a reasonable one, held by reasonable and right-minded persons, applying themselves to the question and obtaining thereon the required information....[The] test is "what would an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically -- and having thought the matter through -- conclude.."
This test has been adopted and applied for the past two decades. It contains a two-fold objective element: the person considering the alleged bias must be reasonable, and the apprehension of bias itself must also be reasonable in the circumstances of the case. See Bertram, supra, at pp. 54-55; Gushman, supra, at para. 31. Further the reasonable person must be an informed person, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances, including "the traditions of integrity and impartiality that form a part of the background and apprised also of the fact that impartiality is one of the duties the judges swear to uphold": R. v Elrick,  O.J. No. 515 (H.C.), at para. 14. See also Stark, supra, at para. 74; R. v. Lin,  B.C.J. No. 982 (S.C.), at para. 34. To that I would add that the reasonable person should also be taken to be aware of the social reality that forms the background to a particular case, such as societal awareness and acknowledgement of the prevalence of racism or gender bias in a particular community.
Nonetheless, the English and Canadian case law does properly support the appellant's contention that a real likelihood or probability of bias must be demonstrated, and that a mere suspicion is not enough. ...
113 Regardless of the precise words used to describe the test, the object of the different formulations is to emphasize that the threshold for a finding of real or perceived bias is high. It is a finding that must be carefully considered since it calls into question an element of judicial integrity. Indeed an allegation of reasonable apprehension of bias calls into question not simply the personal integrity of the judge, but the integrity of the entire administration of justice. ...
114 The onus of demonstrating bias lies with the person who is alleging its existence: Bertram, supra, at p. 28; Lin, supra, at para. 30. Further, whether a reasonable apprehension of bias arises will depend entirely on the facts of the case. ...
117 Courts have rightly recognized that there is a presumption that judges will carry out their oath of office. ...
 The appellants have not discharged the onus of establishing a real likelihood or probability of bias or a reasonable apprehension of bias. The threshold for finding real or apprehended bias is high.
 Two general principles apply. First, there is a presumption that judges will act impartially in accordance with their oath of office. Second, judges do not give their judgments in the course of argument. Comments during argument are made with a view to obtaining a response to the position stated, the concern raised, or the question asked. Such comments are rarely intended by judges to be their final word or decision on a matter. (See R.v. Hodson (2001), 281 A.R. 76 at 83, and R.v. W.F.M. (1995), 169 A.R. 222.)
 Counsel for the appellants cited a number of examples to show that the chambers judge prejudged certain issues, made decisions which were not properly founded on evidence, and lacked impartiality. I have set these out in detail in reviewing the hearing and have commented on most of them.  Counsel for the appellants submits that the chambers judge had decided the issue of contempt before coming into the court room and was only interested in hearing submissions as to penalty. He adds that the chambers judge relied on his personal experience in labour relations matters, his views of how disputes should be solved, and other material not established by the evidence. The comments on which the appellants rely were made in the course of argument and discussion with counsel.
 The chambers judge was familiar with the filed evidence. Early in the proceedings he set out his views and sought comments on conclusions arising from MacLennan's videotaped statements. That aspect of the evidence was not directly addressed by the appellants by calling their own evidence or in argument.
 As discussed earlier, some of the comments by the chambers judge, taken alone and out of context, might raise concerns. But when considered in the context of the argument, some of the comments take on a different light. In respect of other comments, the interpretations which counsel for the appellants asks us to accept are incorrect or probably not the meaning intended by the chambers judge.
 Throughout the hearing, the chambers judge persistently returned to two issues, the videotape of MacLennan's statements to the media and the filing of the original Board directive on May 23. Counsel for the appellants argued that comments made prior to May 23 were not admissible and did not establish contempt of court. For reasons set out in para. 75, those statements were admissible. The chambers judge reminded counsel that the threat to strike did not end with the filing of the directive in Court. The strike commenced after the Board directive was filed in Court. Before the Board issued its directive, the appellants expressed a determination to proceed with an illegal strike. That determination continued until the settlement was concluded. The filing of the Board's directive in Court and the fact that the directive was enforceable as an order of the Court made no difference to the appellants' determination to proceed with the strike. There was no evidence or submission which provided a basis for any other rational conclusion.
 On the filing, the directive was enforceable as an order of the Court, the breach of which constituted contempt. The appellants' counsel submitted that the respondents had not established that the appellants caused a strike after the Board directive was filed in Court. Counsel suggested that the respondents' affidavits should be disregarded because they contained, or potentially contained, some hearsay. Even if the chambers judge had disregarded those affidavits, the remaining evidence was sufficient to establish that a strike, and thus contempt, had occurred. Counsel's request that the chambers judge take into account the "notorious fact" of the settlement of the strike was sufficient to conclude that there had been a strike. Affidavits filed by the appellants did not deny the strike, rather they confirmed it but sought to establish that arrangements were in place during the strike to ensure that patients were not in danger. The videotaped statements by MacLennan are powerful evidence establishing the intent to strike despite the filing of the directive in Court and its service on the appellants. How else can one interpret MacLennan's response, " No it doesn't. I wish it did," to a reporter's query after service of the directive and the notice of the contempt proceedings, "Does it matter to you that it's illegal now?" or his statement to the striking members, "We are committed to go as long as it takes."?
 The term ‘bias' is well understood as indicating a lack of impartiality, a closed mind or a predisposition to favour one party to the proceeding, or to favour a specific result. Bias and a reasonable apprehension thereof do not arise from comments in this case by the chambers judge on the evidence before him and a discussion of that evidence.
 Rather, the chambers judge's statements reflected his preliminary views that the evidence established contempt. He summarized the evidence which he found to be most harmful to the appellants' position, and sought their comments. He invited argument on matters in issue in the contempt proceedings, but counsel for the appellants neither offered any argument nor explained the statements made by MacLennan on any of the numerous occasions on which the chambers judge raised the issue. The chambers judge listened to argument on a variety of issues. He made rulings as required.
 Other statements referred to the chambers judge's intent to proceed with the contempt application without further delay, a decision within his discretion. Even if the chambers judge erred in resisting efforts to delay the contempt proceedings, that alone would not necessarily indicate bias. The order in which he heard the applications, as well as the control of the proceeding, were matters within his discretion.
 After reviewing the entire transcript with care, I conclude that a reasonable person, having knowledge of the evidence, the conduct of the hearing, the usual practice of the Court and the tradition of integrity and impartiality, would not conclude that the chambers judge had conducted himself in a manner which raised a reasonable apprehension of bias. Rather, that person would conclude that the chambers judge was familiar with the evidence and sought to direct argument to it and the matters in issue in the contempt proceedings.
GROUND 3 -That the chambers judge erred in refusing to hear arguments related to the validity of the legislation and the Labour Relations Board directive.
 The validity of the Board directives was not in issue in the contempt proceedings. Unless the directives had been set aside in separate review proceedings, the judge hearing the contempt motion was required to accept their validity. Counsel submitted that the chambers judge erred in proceeding with the contempt application before the review proceedings were concluded because this insulated the Board decision from review. Such an argument was rejected by McLachlin J.in United Nurses of Alberta, supra, at p. 639:
The union's suggestion that s. 142(7) might insulate the decision of the inferior tribunal from review does not withstand scrutiny. It is true that a directive made without jurisdiction could be registered in the court and a motion for contempt made on the basis of the unrectified order. But this would not insulate the Board which made the order from review.
 When review proceedings have been commenced, the judge has the discretion to adjourn the contempt proceedings pending the disposition of the review proceedings. (See United Nurses case, McLachlin J., p. 639). This Court will not interfere unless the decision was patently unreasonable. Appellants' counsel suggested to us that the settlement of the strike removed any urgency. But the notoriety of the events preceding the strike and of the strike, the public nature of the defiance of the law and the directives which were enforceable as court orders, and the public interest and concern which arose from the strike at hospitals and care facilities, justified the chambers judge's concern about the urgency of the matter.
 Further, no assurance could be given to the chambers judge that the constitutional challenge would be disposed of quickly. Because of the notice requirements, the constitutional argument would not be heard for some time and likely would remain unresolved until the Supreme Court of Canada finally pronounced on the issues. In the United Nurses case, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld similar Alberta legislation, making it unlikely that the appellants could succeed before Alberta courts bound by that decision. The chambers judge made no reversible error in failing to adjourn the contempt proceedings to await the results of the constitutional attack on the legislation.
GROUND 4 - That the learned chambers judge erred in improperly taking judicial notice of media reports of comments attributed by the media as having been made by, or on behalf of, the appellants.
 The appellants refer to the repeated comments by the chambers judge that MacLennan had told the media that he was "willing to suffer the consequences". While the videotaped statements made by MacLennan do not disclose that MacLennan said these exact words, that inference can be drawn from what he stated and from the comments which appeared on the website. Statements disclosing a willingness to commence and continue a prohibited strike despite the filing of the Board directive in Court, and the commencement of the strike after the service of the filed directive, lead to only one inference: the willingness to accept the consequences of such action.
 Counsel for the appellants submit that a judge cannot rely on information he has learned from personal perusal of news media. For the most part, I agree. However, there is no evidence to support the allegation that the chambers judge relied on such information. Examples cited by counsel are inferences which the judge drew from proven facts or are irrelevant.
 The following are inconsequential comments made by the chambers judge during argument which were irrelevant to the proceedings: that the chambers judge knew the names of other people who were involved in the union's leadership. (A.B. p. 129, l. 26; p. 130, l. 1); that some negotiations take this long: "In my experience in some of these negotiations that went on through the years, this period is not unduly long and is usually taken care of by retroactivity." (A.B. p. 181, l. 21-24); and the incorrect observation that an inquiry board resolved this dispute. (A.B. p. 78, l. 5-6)
 For the following reasons, other passages cited by counsel were inferences which arose from the evidence. These include:
(a) "The suggestion that it is a fact that the Labour Relations Board knew that there would be problems in enforcing their directive, and therefore filed it with the Court of Queen's Bench." (A.B. p. 63, l. 16-24)
The statement is a reasonable inference from the wording of the Board's directives. Further, it is difficult to see what relevance this had to the contempt issue.
(b) "An apparent assumption that management moved substantially in their wage offers to settle the dispute, again obviously coming from media reports." (A.B. p. 71, l. 11-14)
The chambers judge made the statement complained of in response to the appellants' suggestion that the filing of the amended Board directive in Court was a key motivating factor for AUPE in pushing to get the matter resolved. The context of this discussion is important. Appellants' counsel stated that the filing of the Board directive had a positive effect in bringing the matter to an end. This statement was not supported by any evidence. In response to the statement, the chambers judge asked whether the employer should get any credit for the settlement. He said he understood that the employer had moved substantially. Counsel for the appellants agreed with that statement. This discussion concluded with the chambers judge bringing the discussion back to the key issue (A.B. p. 71, l. 21-23):
"But see, where my problem is not from the point of the settlement. My problem is Wednesday morning when the strike..."
In any event, as indicated by the chambers judge, the question of who was more instrumental in settling the strike was not relevant on the contempt issue.
(c) That "on Wednesday morning a considered decision was made at the directive or procurement . . . of Mr. MacLennan" (A.B. p. 101, l. 16-19)
This conclusion is clearly supported by the videotaped statements made by MacLennan and found on the AUPE website.
(d) That "the learned chambers judge had no problem imagining what kind of effect the job action had on patients." (A.B. p. 140, l. 27; p. 141, l. 10).
The chambers judge made a similar reference in his reasons for judgment. Rather than taking judicial notice of the effect of the job action on patients, the chambers judge was drawing a reasonable inference from the existence of the strike. As indicated by Mr. MacLennan in one of his statements, it clearly was not "business as usual" at the care facilities and the hospitals. The affidavits of Sonenburg and McCormack established that the AUPE made efforts to ensure patient safety by the provision of "life and limb services". It is clear from these affidavits that services other than these essential services were not provided during the strike. The AUPE website mentioned that 11,000 workers were poised to go on strike province- wide. The effects on patients, such as early discharge and delays in admitting patients, were also set out in the affidavits filed in support of the application. Only a small number of staff scheduled to work actually reported on May 24 and 25. That patients and residents in hospitals and care facilities were adversely affected was the only reasonable inference that could be drawn from these facts.
 In conclusion, I am not persuaded that the chambers judge improperly took judicial notice of any relevant facts. While he made comments about his own experience in labour relations matters and his views that compulsory arbitration provided by the statute was an appropriate and effective method of resolving disputes in essential services areas, none of these comments affected his decision on the issue of contempt. He made no reversible error.
GROUND 5 - That the learned chambers judge erred in refusing to permit counsel for the appellants to cross-examine the affiants of affidavits filed in support of the contempt application.
 The appellants submit that the chambers judge erred in finding that cross-examination in this case was unnecessary and irrelevant. The appellants wished to cross-examine deponents for the purpose of establishing (1) that some of the statements were hearsay; (2) that the affidavits did not comply with Rule 305; and (3) to demonstrate the inadequacy of claims of curtailment of hospital services. The appellants claim to be entitled to cross-examination as of right.
 Alberta law with respect to cross-examination on affidavits in summary civil contempt proceedings is not clear. In the United Nurses case, McLachlin J. at p. 643 commented:
The contempt proceeding is a criminal proceeding, and the full protections availing an accused on a criminal trial are available. This includes the right of cross-examination. However, the right of cross-examination is not unlimited. All cross-examination is subject to the discretion of the judge to refuse irrelevant cross-examination.
 McLachlin J. did not decide whether counsel had to explain the relevance of his cross- examination in advance. However, she agreed that cross-examination would not have made a difference to the verdict and applied the proviso in s. 686(1)(b) (iii) of the Criminal Code.
 While Cory J. (in dissent) agreed that the judge has the right to limit cross- examination on grounds of irrelevance, he was of the view that the trial judge erred in requiring counsel to explain in advance the relevance of the proposed examination. He recognized that criminal contempt applications frequently were dealt with summarily because of urgency, but considered that urgency could not supplant the right to cross-examine.
 The Ontario courts appear to insist on some formality in contempt cases. In R. v. B.E.S.T. Plating Shoppe Ltd and Siapas (1987), 59 O.R. (2d) 145, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed a finding of contempt made against the sole shareholder of a corporation. Goodman J.A., giving the judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal, recognized that the individual's liberty was at stake, and stated at p. 150:
Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that a person shall not be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with fundamental justice. It is settled law that resort may be had to summary proceedings in contempt proceedings. But it is also settled law that in the conduct of those proceedings, it is incumbent on the court to ensure that the offender has a fair trial in accordance with principles of fundamental justice. Those principles include, amongst other rights, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and to have a reasonable time to prepare a defence and to call witnesses. In so far as that right to have a reasonable time to prepare a defence is concerned it may be somewhat circumscribed in exceptional cases where there is a compelling or urgent need for immediate action.
 Whether these principles apply with equal force to contempt proceedings which are characterized by the parties from the outset as civil proceedings, where applicants are not seeking a penalty of imprisonment, has not been decided. I do not find it necessary to deal with those issues here.
 While I am of the view that cross-examination should generally be permitted in civil contempt cases, that right is not absolute. One of the considerations in determining the extent of examination which will be permitted is urgency. Whether the failure to grant an opportunity to cross-examine results in a new hearing must be determined by asking whether the cross- examination would have made a difference to the decision or verdict. Considerable deference should be given to a chambers judge's assessment on this point.
 No affidavit evidence was filed by the appellants suggesting that there was no strike or that the strike had no effect on the services provided by hospitals or care facilities. On the contrary, the affidavits filed by the appellants, statements by MacLennan and statements on the AUPE website supported rather than denied such allegations. Counsel for the appellants did not seek cross-examination for the purpose of questioning the credibility of any deponent. Instead, he wanted to cross-examine to pinpoint hearsay in portions of the affidavits dealing with the strike and to test assertions that the strike resulted in the curtailment of hospital services to the public. But none of that would have resulted in a reversal of the finding of contempt of court. The commencement of the strike and its continuation to the time of the settlement of the dispute was established by a plethora of other evidence. Therefore, I am not persuaded that the chambers judge made a reversible error in failing to permit an adjournment for the purpose of cross-examination on the affidavits.
GROUND 6. The amount of the fine was excessive and unreasonable.
 The appellants appeal the fine of $400,000. They submit that the chambers judge failed to distinguish between civil and criminal contempt and that the fine was excessive.
 In United Nurses v. Alberta (Attorney General) (1992), 6 Alta L.R. (3d) 10, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that, absent manifest error, the Court will not interfere with the penalty imposed for contempt.
 In imposing the penalty, the chambers judge focussed on deterrence. He emphasized the role which the appellants had played in counselling and causing some 11,000 members to commence and continue a strike after the Board's directives had been filed in Court. Members who participated in the illegal strike not only would be breaching the provisions of the Labour Relations Code but would also be in contempt of court. The workers all were employed in the health care sector. While arrangements had been made to deal with life-threatening emergencies and the continued uninterrupted provision of some services such as dialysis, other medical and care services were not being provided. The strike lasted for two days, ending when the dispute was settled.
 In the United Nurses case, McLachlin J. discussed the contempt power and the difference between civil and criminal contempt at p. 636:
... The distinction between civil and criminal contempt rests in the concept of public defiance that accompanies criminal contempt.
Both civil and criminal contempt of court rest on the power of the court to uphold its dignity and process. The rule of law is at the heart of our society; without it there can be neither peace, nor order nor good government. The rule of law is directly dependent on the ability of the courts to enforce their process and maintain their dignity and respect. To maintain their process and respect, the courts since the 12th century have exercised the power to punish for contempt of court.
... [W]hen the element of public defiance of the court's process in a way calculated to lessen societal respect for the courts is added to the breach, it becomes criminal.
 The element of deliberate public defiance calculated or intended to lessen respect for the Court converts what would otherwise be civil contempt to criminal contempt.
 In this case, the respondents did not seek to prove criminal contempt. Nevertheless, they submit that the public nature of the defiance, combined with the seriousness of a strike in the health care sector, justified the imposition of substantial fines exceeding those imposed in other cases. The chambers judge clearly took these factors into consideration in imposing the penalty in this case.
 In International Forest Products v. Kern, [2000 ] B.C.J. No. 2086, the British Columbia Court of Appeal discussed the principles to be applied in a civil contempt case. The Attorney General of British Columbia commenced criminal contempt proceedings against a large number of individuals who continued protests despite injunctions forbidding them from doing so. Four of the individuals who were permitted to plead guilty to civil contempt were dealt with separately from the other twelve charged with criminal contempt. On appeal, the Crown conceded that, although the appellants had entered a guilty plea to wilful disobedience of a court order, their plea did not include an admission that the disobedience was done in a manner which deprecated the authority in a public way and undermined the authority of the Court.
 Esson J.A., writing for the Court, found that the trial judge erred in failing to give consideration to the distinction between criminal and civil contempt. Based on the decision of McLachlin J. in the United Nurses case, he held that the trial judge erred in imposing a sentence for civil contempt on a basis which included consideration of the intent to breach a court order with a view to undermining the authority of the Court. That element, which distinguishes criminal from civil contempt, was not a factor to be considered in imposing a sentence for civil contempt.
 The chambers judge committed a manifest error by considering the fact that the disobedience was public and had the effect of undermining the authority of the court. International Forest Products, supra, establishes that such factors are not to be considered when determining a penalty for civil contempt.
 In Health Care Corp. of St. John's v. Newfoundland and Labrador Assn. of Public and Private Employees,  N.J. No. 344, Greene, C.J.T.D. provided a summary of the basis for sentencing in contempt matters:
A court decision inevitably produces winners and losers. The unsuccessful litigant may well feel that the decision is wrong or even unjust. His or her remedy is to appeal according to law. While the original decision exists, the rule of law requires that the court order must be observed. It does not countenance defiance or non-acceptance, no matter how genuine may be the belief that it is wrong.
 Had this case been one of criminal contempt, the sentence imposed may well have been justifiable. However, this is a case of civil contempt. Counsel for the appellants has provided a comprehensive review of penalties imposed in contempt cases and asks us to conclude that the penalty of a $400,000. fine is clearly excessive. It is the largest fine imposed in Canada for a single instance of contempt, whether civil or criminal.
 The highest monetary penalty imposed in respect of a single instance of civil contempt is $100,000: R. v. B.E.S.T. Plating Shoppe Ltd. and Siapas, supra, Apotex Fermentation Inc. v. Novopharm Ltd. (1998), 162 D.L.R. (4th) 111 (Man. C.A.). The highest monetary penalty imposed in respect of a single instance of criminal contempt is $250,000: U.N.A. v. Alberta (Attorney General) (1992), 6 Alta. L.R. (3d) 10 (C.A.). Since 1980, the range of fines imposed in respect of a single instance of contempt by a union, either civil or criminal, is between $500 and $250,000: Brunswick Bottling Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale & Department Stores Union, Local 1065 (1987), 81 N.B.R. (2d) 264 (Q.B.); St. John's (City) v. O'Leary (1981), 44 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 177 (Nfld. T.D.); U.N.A. v. Alberta (Attorney General).
 The chambers judge committed no error in considering the number of members involved in the striking group. Although some continued to provide services as arranged and may not have participated in the strike, AUPE represented all of these individuals. He properly considered as aggravating the fact that the appellants counselled and caused such a large number of individuals to participate in the strike in defiance of the authority of the court.
 However, his failure to distinguish between civil and criminal intent led to the imposition of a penalty which was excessive. The appeal against penalty is allowed and a penalty of $200,000 is substituted.
 The respondents' cross appeal the chambers judges' direction that costs awarded to them be on a party/party basis. They seek solicitor/client indemnity costs. Costs are entirely within the discretion of the chambers judge, who committed no error. This Court will not interfere.
 The respondents also cross appeal the penalty imposed. That cross-appeal is dismissed as well.
APPEAL HEARD on SEPTEMBER 4/5, 2001.
REASONS FILED at EDMONTON, Alberta, this 10th day of JUNE, 2002.
__________________________________________ McFADYEN, J.A.
I CONCUR: ________________________________________ HUNT, J.A.
DISSENTING REASONS FOR JUDGMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BERGER ____________________________________________________
 I regret that I am unable to concur in the majority opinion. I am respectfully of the view that the Appellants were denied a procedurally fair hearing and precluded from making full answer and defence in the court below by virtue of the following:
1. The learned chambers judge relied upon evidence that had not been furnished to counsel for the Appellants.
2. The Appellants were deprived of the right to cross-examine pursuant to Rule 314.(1) of the Rules of Court.
3. The Appellants were not afforded a meaningful opportunity to adduce evidence in response to the Applicants' case.
 The Continuing Care Employers' Bargaining Association, the Capital Health Authority, the Alberta Mental Health Board and the Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta filed a notice of motion in the Court of Queen's Bench seeking the following relief (at A.B. Digest, P2):
"1. Declaring the Respondents, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees ("AUPE") and Dan MacLennan [its President] to be in civil contempt of this Honourable Court for having failed, without adequate excuse, to obey a Directive of the Labour Relations Board of Alberta, dated May 22nd, 2000, and filed with the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta on May 23rd, 2000;
2. Directing Dan MacLennan to appear before or to be taken into custody and brought before the Court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for failure, without adequate excuse, to obey a Directive of the Labour Relations Board of Alberta, dated May 22nd, 2000, and filed with the Court of Queen's Bench on May 23rd, 2000;"
 The contention of the Respondents (the Applicants in the Court of Queen's Bench) was that the alleged contemnors, on May 24, 2000, did breach the provisions of the Directive by calling and authorizing unlawful strike action and by engaging in activity in furtherance of an unlawful strike.
 The contempt motion was heard a mere two days following the alleged contempt. The chronology of events was as follows:
1. The Directive was obtained from the Labour Relations Board on May 22, 2000.
2. The Directive was filed in the Court of Queen's Bench on May 23, 2000 (s. 86(2) of the Labour Relations Code states: "... on filing, the directive is enforceable as a judgment or order of the Court").
3. The Appellants are said to have been in contempt on May 24, 2000.
4. The contempt motion was filed in the Court of Queen's Bench on May 25, 2000.
5. The alleged "illegal strike" was settled later in the day on May 25, 2000.
6. The contempt motion was returnable in the Court of Queen's Bench on May 26, 2000.
 Mr. Renouf, assisted by Mr. Beaver, appeared before Mr. Justice Lefsrud on behalf of AUPE and Mr. MacLennan on May 26, 2000. Mr. Maybank, who appeared on behalf of the Attorney General of Alberta advised the Court that he anticipated "receiving Section 25 Judicature Act notice from Mr. Renouf." (A.B. Digest 39/8-9). Mr. Renouf advised the Court that there were two extant originating notices of motion not before the Court which raised jurisdictional issues with respect to the Alberta Labour Relations Board and challenged its findings and directives relative to the alleged "illegal strike".
 The Court was also advised that although the contempt motion, when filed on May 25, 2000, was said by the Applicants to be "an urgent and pressing matter", the alleged "illegal strike" had now been settled.
 Nine affidavits were filed by the Applicants in the Court of Queen's Bench in support of their motion seeking declarations of civil contempt. One referred to a "compilation tape of television news items from the evening of May 23, 2000 and the day of May 24, 2000." (A.B. Vol. II, p. 23).
 The chambers judge acknowledged that he had viewed the video. (A.B. Digest 44/1). Mr. Renouf immediately advised the Court that he had not received a proper copy of the video. He stated (at A.B. Digest 44/6-8):
"You've got the advantage over me, My Lord. As I advised my friend Mr. Neuman this morning, I did not get a proper dubbing of that video."
 Mr. Renouf objected to the admissibility of the affidavit to which the video was attached noting that (at A.B. Digest 45/22-27 - 46/1):
"... there are supposed to be six clips on that tape that are listed in Exhibit ‘B' [to the affidavit]. The copy I had - - getting back to the defect for a moment - - the copy I had had 1, 2 and 3, and it looked like about the first minute of Number 4. I have no idea how long Number 4 is supposed to go on for, and then it went blank.  Mr. Renouf further explained (at A.B. Digest 46/1-13):
"... if you go back now to paragraph 3 of that Affidavit, you'll see that Mr. Wright swore on May 25th, 2000, which was yesterday:
‘I personally provided a compilation tape of television news items from the evening of May 23rd, 2000 ...'
of which there are none on the tape and none listed on Exhibit ‘B':
‘... and of the day of May 24th, 2000.'
of which there are supposed to be three; but in my case, there was only about one minute of one of them, and the other two were absent."
 Mr. Renouf articulated certain procedural and substantive issues which he suggested the Court would have to address "if the matter does proceed":
1. The constitutionality of the provision in the Labour Relations Act that permitted the Board to file its directive in the Court of Queen's Bench.
2. The admissibility of some of the evidence filed on behalf of the Applicants ("evidence on information and belief, hearsay evidence, is not admissible for the purpose of proving any fact in issue;") (A.B. Digest 56/27 - 57/1-3)
3. "The third issue that the Court would have to consider is whether the affiants should be subject to cross-examination." (A.B. Digest 57/13-15)
Accordingly, it is patent on the face of the record that almost from the outset, Mr. Renouf made clear that some of the critical evidence to be adduced in support of the contempt motion had not been furnished to him. He also made it abundantly clear that he wished to cross-examine the affiants.
 Indeed, Mr. Renouf reiterated his desire to cross-examine the affiants on numerous occasions and made clear throughout that "if any of the material that the applicants have put before the Court is ultimately ruled to be admissible, then there will be some evidence from the respondents, either viva voce evidence or Affidavit if Affidavit evidence is permitted by the Court." (A.B. Digest 58/3-8). At no time did he abandon that position.
 Mr. Renouf proposed that the following procedure could be invoked to facilitate cross- examination of the affiants (at A.B. Digest 57/15-27 - 58/1-3):
"There's two ways that they could be cross-examined. One would be in the ordinary fashion in a civil interlocutory proceeding which would be that they would be cross- examined outside of court and their transcripts simply filed with the Court; or alternatively, as is sometimes done in contempt proceedings, I understand, that they could simply be called to the stand to be subjected to viva voce cross-examination on their evidence; and then finally, of course, Sir, once the case for the applicants is - - once the proper case, that is less inadmissible evidence and including proper cross-examination is before the Court, then it will be necessary for the respondents to determine what evidence they wish to place before the Court on this question, ..." [Emphasis added]
 In other words, Mr. Renouf, on behalf of his clients, expressed the need to discern the evidentiary case to be met in order to make full answer and defence. He reserved his clients' right to lead evidence pending cross-examination and evidentiary rulings.
 The desire to cross-examine took on, in my opinion, even greater importance having regard to the position adopted by the trial judge with respect to matters that Mr. Renouf plainly and clearly confirmed were very much in dispute. Before the Applicants were called upon to speak to the merits of their motion, the chambers judge framed the issue in the following terms (A.B. Digest, 67 - 68):
"... the question that I'm addressing is that Mr. MacLennan and the union have been around a long time. They know what's in these statutes, and they know and Mr. MacLennan - - and whether you like me going back to this, Mr. MacLennan has said, well, I'll do what I have to do to get this done, and I'll take the consequences. (A.B. Digest 67/21-27)
. . .
... you have an intelligent client who said I'm willing to pay the price. I'm willing to flaunt the law, and that's what bothers me as a judge; and you say, well, there's not enough in front of you. Well, I say there is enough in front of me." (A.B. Digest 68/13-17)
 Mr. Renouf objected. He stated (at A.B. Digest 68/23-26):
"If this goes to a full hearing, maybe they'll have an opportunity to put that before you, but I don't believe it's before you now."
 The transcript reveals that the chambers judge was of the view that the evidence adduced was sufficient to establish the following facts (at A.B. Digest 76/15-27 - 77/1-2):
"THE COURT: Your clients have said this is what we have to do to get a settlement. We are prepared - - and Mr. MacLennan stood up all by himself and said I'm prepared to take the consequences. You say, well, maybe I shouldn't know that. I do know that; and if that's an error in law, well, so be it, but the position of your clients is I know what the law is. It's too bad I've had to flaunt it, but we're doing it, and we'll take the consequences.
Mr. RENOUF: Well, I've tried to communicate to Your Lordship what the position of my client is with respect to the - -
THE COURT: Well, you have. You've communicated it, and I guess I've communicated how I feel about this."
 Mr. Renouf, however, persisted in his desire to question the evidence, cross-examine the Applicants' witnesses and adduce evidence in response. He stated (at A.B. Digest 77/8-20):
"... but if the matter is going to proceed on the merits, there are going to be contests on the evidence. There is going to be cross-examination of the applicant's witnesses. The respondent will be offering evidence. The facts in this dispute are not going to be conceded by my clients, at least the facts that are alleged by the applicants are not going to be conceded by my clients; and I suppose that as an officer of the Court I have an obligation to ask Your Lordship to consider whether you have made your mind up about those facts, subject to having heard the evidence on this, because there's going to be evidence, and there's going to be contested evidence with respect to those matters, Sir." [Emphasis added]
 The response of the Court, having regard to its significance for procedural fairness, is reproduced in its entirety (at A.B. Digest 77/21-27 - 78/1-21):
"Well, Mr. Renouf, first of all, I don't need to call on your counsel. I'm going to dismiss the application, and we're going to go on with it. It seems to me it's time we get on with it. We'll get on with it today. So I'm going to deal with this question. Have I made up my mind? What I have in mind here and the way I feel, and I want it clearly on the record, the union and Mr. MacLennan were well aware of the law. They're well aware of the sections of the statute that we're dealing with. They were frustrated, I'll give them that. They weren't getting very far. Fortunately the Inquiry Board this time succeeded. Compulsory arbitration is the answer to this, and it's not enough for somebody to say, well, we're never successful in arbitration. I don't know if they've ever tried it, at least in the years that I've been at the Bench; but my whole problem with this and my feeling and my thoughts are that, yes, they've accomplished what they set out to do, and the employees are entitled to the settlement that they've reached, but the union and Mr. MacLennan and the attitude that's been displayed is improper, and it has to be dealt with, and I intend to deal with it; and, you know, I don't have to tell you what your further remedies are if you're not happy with dealing with this situation, but out of the mouth of your own client, and you say, well, it's not in front of me. I'm not so sure it's not in from of me."
 Mr. Renouf replied as follows (at A.B. Digest 78/22-26):
"Well, I am distressed, My Lord, that Your Lordship appears to have made a finding that the conduct of my clients have been improper vis-a-vis the order of the Court without having heard the evidence on that... ."
 The judge, however, insisted that the matter would proceed that day, stating: "As far as I'm concerned, it is in front of me, so I intend to deal with this matter today." (A.B. Digest 79/9-10).
 The affidavits, however, remained a live issue (mindful of Mr. Renouf's persistence in communicating his desire to cross-examine). The following exchange occurred (at A.B. Digest 104/12-18):
"MR. RENOUF: Well, as I said five minutes ago, Sir, if Your Lordship is telling me you're going to disregard these Affidavits, I don't have a problem.
THE COURT: No, I'm not going to disregard. I'm not going to disregard anything in front of me, but I'm concerned, as I say, of the statements made on the video. ..."
 The reference to "statements made on the video" includes, as I have already explained, clips and dubbings not yet received or seen by Mr. Renouf.
 The Court then heard from counsel for the Applicants on the merits, on penalty and on the issue of costs, Mr. Renouf was then called upon. He again sought direction from the Court as to whether cross-examination on the affidavits would be permitted (A.B. Digest 131/23-27). After some discussion, the learned chambers judge's ruling was eventually forthcoming (at A.B. Digest 137/13-16):
"THE COURT: You want my answer to this?
MR. RENOUF: Well, that's why I'm making the argument, Sir.
THE COURT: You don't need to examine.
 Mr. Renouf was then called upon to argue in response to the representations of counsel for the Applicants who, in turn, were given an opportunity to reply. The Court then adjourned to 2.00 o'clock that afternoon, at which time the learned chambers judge found the Appellants in contempt. In the course of doing so, the learned chambers judge echoed many of the comments that he had made during the course of the chambers hearing. He stated, in part, (at A.B. Digest 182/17-27 - 183/1-4):
"This brings me to a consideration of the actions of Mr. MacLennan both personally and as the authorized spokesman on behalf of the union. I find it appalling that with his admitted knowledge of the law, he deliberately flaunted same and counselled, procured, supported, and encouraged an unlawful strike while being well aware of the fact that, as a probable and reasonable consequence of his acts, other persons would engage in the unlawful activity. These actions not only ignored and disobeyed the findings and directives of the Board but also, as a result of the filing of the findings and directives with the court, constituted an act of contempt of this court. This contempt was premeditated and clearly sought publicity, which makes the action more aggravating."
 An allegation of civil contempt of court is criminal (or at least quasi-criminal) in character. Tony Poje & Others v. Attorney General for British Columbia,  1 S.C.R. 516. The Supreme Court of Canada in Bhatnager v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  2 S.C.R. 217 has made clear that the constituent elements of contempt must be proved by the party alleging contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. See also Vidéotron Ltée v. Industries Microlec Produits Électroniques Inc.,  2 S.C.R. 1065.
 Indeed, in Vidéotron Ltée, Lamer, C.J. opined that "having regard to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a person cited for contempt of court is a person charged with an offence within the meaning of s. 11 of the Charter ..." In Vidéotron Ltée, Gonthier, J. stated (at p. 1077):
"Rules specific to contempt have been developed by the courts to supplement the exceptional rules created by the Code of Civil Procedure itself. The best known and most important of these rules is undoubtedly the requirement that contempt of court be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, an exceptional burden in civil law (Imperial Oil Ltd. v. Tanguay,  C.A. 109, followed in subsequent judgments). In cases of failure to obey an order, when there is a doubt as to the legal effect of the order which has allegedly been violated, the respondent is to be given the benefit of that doubt (Toupin v. Longchamps, C.A. Montréal, Nos. 500-09-001674-860, 500-09-001675-867, 500-09-001676-865, April 11, 1990, J.E. 90-818). The judge must allow the respondent a certain degree of latitude in respect of the relevance of the evidence presented in attempting to justify himself or herself (Simard v. Pavillon Charleroi Royer Inc., C.A. Montréal, No. 500-09-000310-789, February 9, 1979, J.E. 79-188)."
 It follows that the law of contempt of court is governed by the following principle: contempt of court is strictissimi juris and quasi-penal in nature, given the possible consequences. Vidéotron Ltée, supra, at p. 1078. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Quebec Police Commission,  2 S.C.R. 618; Comet Products U.K. Ltd. v. Hawkex Plastics Ltd.,  2 Q.B. 67 (C.A.); MacNeil v. MacNeil (1975), 67 D.L.R. (3d) 114 (N.S.C.A.) and Apple Computer, Inc. v. Mackintosh Computer Ltd.,  3 F.C. 277 (C.A.); Stupple v. Quinn,  B.C.J. No. 2565 (B.C.C.A) and Glazer v. Union Contractors Ltd. and Thornton, (1960) 25 D.L.R. (2d) 653.
 In the light of all of the foregoing, and having regard to counsel's timely advice at the outset of the proceedings that he wished to cross-examine the affiants, that he did not have in hand all of the evidence relied upon by the Applicants (and by the judge), and that he intended to call evidence after he discerned the case his clients had to meet, the relevant inquiry is whether the learned chambers judge afforded to the Appellants a procedurally fair hearing to which they were entitled in law.
 In Selection Testing Consultations International Ltd. v. Humanex et al. (1987), 14 C.P.R. (3d) 234 at 238, Rouleau, J. of the Federal Court of Canada stated:
"... Whether contempt of court proceedings are characterized as criminal or civil, the person charged shall always be entitled to the unassailable bastion of common law, that is the right to know the particulars of the accusation and the right to remain silent until the accusor has met and discharged the onus."
 The Federal Court of Appeal in Apple Computer, Inc. v. Mackintosh Computer Ltd., supra, in approving that statement, added (at p. 283): "The contemner [sic] has the right to know, specifically, the case he has to meet."
 While resort may be had to summary proceedings in contempt matters, they must be conducted so as to ensure that the alleged offender has a fair trial in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. As the Ontario Court of Appeal stated in R. v. B.E.S.T. Plating Shoppe Ltd. and Siapas (1987), 59 O.R. (2d) 145, this includes a reasonable opportunity to prepare a defence and to call witnesses. The right to have a reasonable time to prepare a defence may, in exceptional cases only, be somewhat circumscribed where there is a compelling or urgent need for immediate action. Moreover, if the trial or chambers judge intends to decide the contempt application on the basis of affidavits and documentary material filed, a reasonable adjournment must be allowed to permit counsel to cross-examine on the affidavits. A judge ought not to embark on the hearing until such cross-examination has been completed.
 Rule 314.(1) of the Rules of Court provides as follow:
"A person who has made an affidavit including an affidavit of documents, filed in any action or proceedings, may be cross-examined on the affidavit without order."
 Madam Justice Veit of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta addressed the right to cross-examine pursuant to Rule 314.(1) in R.O.M. Construction Ltd. v. Heeley, et al. (1982), 20 Alta. L.R. (2d) 200 at 204. She wrote (at p. 204):
"Rule 314(1) states that a person who has made an affidavit filed in any action or proceedings may be cross-examined on the affidavit without order. Such an examination, given as of right in the Rules, should be denied only in unusual circumstances. No such circumstances have been alleged by Northwestern. The court should not impose its judgment on that of the opposite party as to whether an examination would be valuable or would necessarily advance the positions of the party opposite." [Emphasis added]
 In Canada (Attorney General) v. Sanford (1996), 34 Alta. L.R. (3rd) 170 (Q.B.), Miller, J. said (at p. 174):
"The operative word in s. 314(1) is ‘may' and there are some decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada construing the use of the word ‘may' in the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act which confer a discretion upon the court to allow or disallow an action or a step in an action. See R. v. Potvin (1989), 47 C.C.C. (3d) 289 at 304-306; R. v. Corbett (1988), 41 C.C.C. (3d) 385 at 428-29 ...
I can foresee some extreme sets of facts which would still give a court the discretion to refuse the right to cross-examine on an affidavit but I accept the proposition that this discretion should be exercised sparingly and only in clearest of situations. In the case at bar I am not prepared to hold, at this stage of the proceedings, that the defendant's requested examination on the affidavit is totally frivolous or designed only to stall the resolution of the matter. ..."
 Stevenson & Côté, in Alberta Civil Procedure Handbook, (Edmonton: Juriliber, 1999) at p. 226, opined as follows:
"An opposing party has an almost absolute right to cross-examine on an affidavit, and to get an adjournment for that if he or she seeks it promptly, even if the affidavit is unnecessary or irrelevant, or the party filing it seeks to withdraw it." [Footnote omitted]
 In Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.) (1999), 228 A.R. 35 (C.A.), this Court, referring with approval to Veit, J.'s decision in R.O.M. Construction Ltd. v. Heeley, supra, stated (at p. 38):
"... Although the rule requiring cross-examination may not be absolute, it does provide that a party is entitled to cross-examination ‘as of course' ...
. . .
No unusual circumstances exist in this Reference sufficient to deny Alberta the opportunity to cross-examine Professor Killias on his affidavit. ..."
 In my opinion, no unusual circumstances existed in this case sufficient to deny the Appellants the opportunity to cross-examine the affiants on their affidavits. No extreme set of facts presented that justified the exercise of a sparingly employed discretion limited to only the clearest of situations. Moreover, although the contempt motion was filed on May 25, 2000 and was returnable the following day, the "illegal strike" had settled. There was no urgency whatsoever.
 For these reasons, I would allow the appeal on the following grounds:
1. The Appellants were denied a fair hearing and an opportunity to make full answer and defence in that the learned chambers judge relied upon evidence that had not been furnished to counsel for the Appellants.
2. The Appellants were denied a fair hearing and an opportunity to make full answer and defence having been deprived of the right to cross-examine pursuant to Rule 314.(1) of the Rules of Court.
3. The Appellants were denied a fair hearing and an opportunity to make full answer and defence by virtue of the failure to afford to the Appellants a meaningful opportunity to adduce evidence in response to the Applicants' case.
APPREHENSION OF BIAS
 There is yet a further ground of appeal advanced by the Appellants that must be considered. I have already referred to the video tendered by the Respondents in support of their contempt motion. One video contained six separate clips that emanated from the broadcast media in the City of Edmonton and highlighted certain comments allegedly made by Mr. MacLennan at various times. As already indicated in this judgment, Mr. Renouf made clear that "[he] did not get a proper dubbing of that video." (A.B. Digest 44/8) Mr. Renouf also took exception to the affidavit of Jon Wright which, in his submission, suffered from a plethora of hearsay evidence and focussed upon events that transpired prior to the filing of the Board's directive with the Court.
 In response to the latter objection, the learned chambers judge stated (at A.B. Digest 47-48):
"Are you looking me in the eye and telling me that in any way Mr. MacLennan didn't know what he was doing, didn't profess to know what he was doing, that he knew what the law was and is? (A.B. 47/25 - 48/1)
. . .
I can't force him to testify, but I expect that your friends can bring in lots of people who heard Mr. MacLennan say I'm sorry that we had to breach the law to reach a settlement." (A.B. 48/3-6)
 The Court also dealt with Mr. Renouf's objection in the following fashion (at A.B. Digest 53/11-18):
"Mr. Renouf, I'm going to consider everything surrounding this situation, and those are the things that have happened this week. There are lots of people that can be called on this, and surely we shouldn't be naive enough for you to say to me, well, because there's no Affidavit in here you shouldn't be looking at Mr. MacLennan. I can tell you -- I'll tell you at this point that I'm looking at Mr. McLennan."
 It is important to note that all of the foregoing, as well as the interventions of the chambers judge set out in paragraphs ,  and  of this judgment and those which follow below, occurred prior to the Court embarking upon a consideration of the merits of the contempt application.
 The learned chambers judge, noting his own involvement "in the labour business for a long time" stated (at A.B. Digest 54/16-21):
"But the fact remains that it's -- I can probably take some judicial notice of everything that happened because Mr. MacLennan has been very vocal, and Mr. MacLennan, who is obviously intelligent, has said more than once he's prepared to take the penalty for the gain."
 Mr. Renouf objected most strongly (at A.B. Digest 54/22-24):
"My Lord, I disagree that that would be a proper matter for the Court to take judicial notice of."
 Somewhat later, but prior to adjudication, the Court stated (at A.B. Digest 68/11-17):
"And when I give an order and it's not complied with, then I get unhappy; and I'm saying in this situation that you have an intelligent client who said I'm willing to pay the price. I'm willing to flaunt the law, and that's what bothers me as a judge; and you say, well, there's not enough in front of you. Well, I say there is enough in front of me." [Emphasis added]
 The Court added (at A.B. Digest 76/15 - 77/2):
"THE COURT: Your clients have said this is what we have to do to get a settlement. We are prepared -- and Mr. MacLennan stood up all by himself and said I'm prepared to take the consequences. You say, well, maybe I shouldn't know that. I do know that; and if that's an error in law, well, so be it, but the position of your clients is I know what the law is. It's too bad I've had to flaunt it, but we're doing it, and we'll take the consequences.
MR. RENOUF: Well, I've tried to communicate to Your Lordship what the position of my client is with respect to the - -
THE COURT: Well, you have. You've communicated it, and I guess I've communicated how I feel about this."
 It was at this point that Mr. Renouf considered, to use his language, that he had an "obligation" to ask the learned chambers judge to recuse himself. (A.B. Digest 77-78).
 The following exchange also occurred prior to adjudication (at A.B. Digest 79 and 80):
"THE COURT: It's common knowledge, Mr. Renouf, what has happened this week, and I'm sure Mr. MacLennan will -- he's an intelligent man. He said more than once how he feels about what he had to do, and he says, well, I respect the law, but I'm not going to bother to obey the law. Well, you know, it creates a problem for someone who thinks like I do, and you say maybe that's in front of me, maybe it isn't. As far as I'm concerned, it is in front of me, so I intend to deal with this matter today." (A.B. Digest 79/1-10)
. . . . MR. RENOUF: Well, you haven't heard my argument, My Lord, and that's my concern, ..." (A.B. Digest 80/9-10)
 The Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. S. (R.D.),  3 S.C.R. 484 has made clear that if actual or apprehended bias arises from a judge's words or conduct, then the judge has exceeded his or her jurisdiction. That is because a reasonable apprehension of bias colours the entire proceedings and cannot be cured by the correctness of the subsequent decision. That which is in issue is adjudicative fairness which is of particular importance in the context of contempt proceedings. Such proceedings must be conducted in a manner that "respects principles of natural and fundamental justice." (J. Miller, The Law of Contempt in Canada (Toronto: Carswell, 1997) at p. 50).
 It is, of course, anticipated that judges charged with the onerous responsibility of hearing complex chambers matters will read the materials in advance of the hearing and reach preliminary conclusions which are reassessed as the narrative and argument unfolds. The process of accepting, weighing and rejecting evidence is a continual one: Matthew v. Accent Lines (1988) Ltd.  A.J. No. 1436 at para. 25.
 The Court of Queen's Bench is not a firehall. Judges do not preside in response to 911 calls. Special chambers applications, designated as such on account of their length and complexity, require the judge to read in advance of the return date records that are replete with affidavits on production, transcripts of examinations, exhibits and memoranda of argument.
 The resources of the Court of Queen's Bench are not inexhaustible. Thorough preparation for hearing by chambers judges permits motions that would otherwise consume two or three days of court time to be completed in half a day. This frees up time for other litigants who patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) occupy their places in the queue.
 It follows that special chambers motions are not argued in a vacuum. The presiding judge, to use the legal vernacular, constitutes a "hot court", familiar with the issues in dispute and alive to the competing positions. Indeed, judges being human beings, it should come as no surprise to anyone that a judge who has properly prepared for hearing may have formed some tentative preliminary impressions of the evidence and its legal import. Musings and questions during the course of argument by the presiding judge would, understandably, reflect that. No experienced lawyer would encourage a judge to stand mute and not express his reservations or concerns about the case being made. Every lawyer would prefer an opportunity to address those concerns head-on and persuade the judge to adopt his client's position. The operative and critical considerations are that the judge have an open mind and that the comments and interventions made by the judge not convey pre-judgment or bias in the mind of the reasonable, informed person.
 Nor can it be expected that judges will purge from their minds the wealth of knowledge and experience that they bring to and acquire on the bench. Again, it is surely to be preferred that judges, while vigilant to decide cases on the basis of the evidentiary record, do so with the wisdom and common sense so necessary to fairly and impartially adjudicate disputes between the citizens of this Province.
 Impartiality, prejudgment and bias are definitionally linked. The Supreme Court of Canada has taken great pains to describe the notion of impartiality. The headnote in R. v. S. (R.D)., supra, accurately reflects the views of the Court with respect to the meaning of impartiality and, in contrast, bias (at p. 486):
"Impartiality can be described as a state of mind in which the adjudicator is disinterested in the outcome and is open to persuasion by the evidence and submissions. In contrast, bias denotes a state of mind that is in some way predisposed to a particular result or that is closed with regard to particular issues. Whether a decision-maker is impartial depends on whether the impugned conduct gives rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias. Actual bias need not be established because it is usually impossible to determine whether the decision- maker approached the matter with a truly biased state of mind."
 In R. v. Bertram,  O.J. No. 2123 (H.C.), Watt, J. suggested the following definition of bias (at pp. 51-52):
"In common usage bias describes a leaning, inclination, bent or predisposition towards one side or another or a particular result. In its application to legal proceedings, it represents a predisposition to decide an issue or cause in a certain way which does not leave the judicial mind perfectly open to conviction. Bias is a condition or state of mind which sways judgment and renders a judicial officer unable to exercise his or her functions impartially in a particular case. ..."
 The headnote in R. v. S. (R.D.), supra, accurately articulates the test for apprehension of bias endorsed by the majority of the Court (at pp. 486-487):
"The apprehension of bias must be a reasonable one held by reasonable and right- minded persons, applying themselves to the question and obtaining thereon the required information. The test is what would an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically — and having thought the matter through — conclude. This test contains a two-fold objective element: the person considering the alleged bias must be reasonable and the apprehension of bias itself must also be reasonable in the circumstances of the case. Further the reasonable person must be an informed person, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances, including the traditions of integrity and impartiality that form a part of the background and apprised also of the fact that impartiality is one of the duties the judges swear to uphold. ..."
See also R. v. Elrick,  O.J. No. 515 (H.C.) at para. 14, R. v. Stark,  O.J. No. 406 at para. 74 and R. v. Lin,  B.C.J. No. 982 (S.C.) at para. 34. As Cory, J. said in R. v. S. (R.D.), supra: "... the reasonable person should also be taken to be aware of the social reality that forms the background to a particular case, ..." (at p. 531).
 Procedural fairness, the Supreme Court of Canada held in Newfoundland Telephone Co. v. Newfoundland (Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities),  1 S.C.R. 623 is an essential aspect of any hearing before a tribunal. "The damage created by apprehension of bias cannot be remedied. The hearing, and any subsequent order resulting from it, is void." (at p. 645). Cory, J., speaking for a unanimous Court in the Newfoundland Telephone case, reaffirmed the following statement of Le Dain, J. in Real Cardinal and Eric Oswald v. Director of Kent Institution,  2 S.C.R. 643 at p. 661:
"... I find it necessary to affirm that the denial of a right to a fair hearing must always render a decision invalid, whether or not it may appear to a reviewing court that the hearing would likely have resulted in a different decision. The right to a fair hearing must be regarded as an independent, unqualified right which finds its essential justification in the sense of procedural justice which any person affected by an administrative decision is entitled to have. It is not for a court to deny that right and sense of justice on the basis of speculation as to what the result might have been had there been a hearing."
See also R. v. Curragh Inc.,  1 S.C.R. 537.
 I have most reluctantly come to the conclusion that in the case at bar the chambers judge, though motivated only by a sincere and commendable desire to move the proceedings along, inadvertently and uncharacteristically conveyed the mistaken impression that he had made up his mind on certain contested issues before argument had been heard. R. v. S. (R.D.), supra, and Newfoundland Telephone Co., supra, leaves me no alternative. I would allow the appeal on this ground (in addition to the grounds set out in paragraph  of this judgment), quash the disposition in the Court of Queen's Bench and order a new hearing.
APPEAL HEARD on SEPTEMBER 4/5, 2001
REASONS FILED at EDMONTON, Alberta, this 10th day of JUNE, 2002
______________________________ BERGER, J.A.