Monday, April 21, 2008

The air needs to be cleared

Yesterday's bizarre spectacle (as reported by MSM) of the CPC giving only certain members of the media an advanced briefing on the contents of the Elections Canada warrant, and then escaping down the fire stairway to avoid others, is not likely to help further the Conservatives' case in the court of public opinion.

However, there are still a few lingering questions that need to be answered honestly, and without spin from either side:

1. Did the CPC comply with all documentation requests from Elections Canada or not? If the latter, then let's see the evidence. EC should be able to demonstrate exactly which requests went unanswered. If the former, then the 'raid' on Conservative HQ looks very suspect - especially in view of the civil suit launched by the CPC against EC.

The Star reports that "the Conservatives insist they have done nothing wrong and say they were taken aback at the raid last week because they have complied with all requests to turn over documents."

But in the affidavit, Lamothe alleges the federal Conservatives embarked on a deliberate strategy to thwart election financing laws – and the party's spending limits – and to claim $700,000 in rebates for advertising expenses to which local candidates were not entitled.

Lamothe sought hard-copy and electronic copies of correspondence, emails, invoices, accounting records and other documents that would outline discussions between Conservative officials and its media production and buying agencies Retail Media, Yield or Yield Integrated, Republic Publicité + Design Inc.


2. Did EC cart away documentation from the civil case or not? There are conflicting reports. If so, why?

Investigators lined 16 or 18 people up along a hallway, one party official said, "like we were going to shoot back? I mean they had ... unfettered access to every single thing in Conservative party headquarters. They removed 17 boxes of material specific to our lawsuit, all the background stuff."

"They took away our tactics and our strategy" for the court case, said the official.

He also said the raid went well beyond the scope of the warrant, with investigators gathering information that had nothing to do with the issue.

"What does my computer and what's on there about the next campaign strategy, the next platform, the next ad campaign, and everything else, what the hell has that got to do with Elections Canada?" another official said.

"This is absolutely over the top."

Much of the seized material is likely to be the subject of legal arguments over whether it is subject to solicitor-client privilege.


3. Who tipped off the CBC (and likely the LPC) about the RCMP 'raid'? Why?


One thing for sure. Nobody's going to come out smelling sweet on this one.


* * * *
Update: Oh-oh! Somebody's nose must be out of joint (via Kady O'Malley):

...I can confirm that macleans.ca was most emphatically not welcome on the voyage. However, being unable to take a hint, we wound up hanging out in the hallway outside the backup briefing room - hastily arranged after word of the first meeting was leaked - with various other uninvited media guests: CBC, Canadian Press, and the Halifax Chronicle Herald and CanWest News, which had, in fact, originally been on the list, but was abruptly disinvited when the Conservatives realized who had been sent to cover the story...

Now I wonder who that could have been?

More sour grapes here.


Also, please check out Peter Csillag's excellent post - Don't read the MSM lips, no new election over RCMP raids.


Sandy has a great post here - Communications 101 for the Conservative Party.

Trusty Tory wants to go on the offensive - Where's the counter attack??

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guess what? I don't care. This isn't an issue that's going to change my vote one bit...should be have a federal election any time soon.

No doubt the spinners on all sides will be working over-time this week.

Odd re: the selection of media, but, guess what? I don't care.

None of this helps pay my bills or gets food on my table.

I do however care if we have an allegedly incompetent and skewered elections Canada running the show.

Much more interested in that in fact than the who did what of the kind of "gotcha" politics we've been treated to of late.

Anonymous said...

maybe the choice of media is a diversion by the CPC?

I mean what better than to get the media talking about why they were or weren't selected rather than the actual story.

No accident here folks.

rubberneckers move on.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I do however care if we have an allegedly incompetent and skewered elections Canada running the show.

That brings up another question: Who does Elections Canada answer to?

Greg said...

That brings up another question: Who does Elections Canada answer to?

Elections Canada is answerable to Parliament.

http://tinyurl.com/4xsb7e

Anonymous said...

True blue conservatives keep a brave face but more allegations of corruption surrounding what was supposed to be a squeaky clean government must be troubling.

Gayle said...

Joanne

Of course I cannot answer your questions, but I can speculate:

1. It appears the warrant was not limited to documents, in the traditional sense of the word. They appeared to have been looking for emails and memos. I looked at the Elections Act to see what kind of documents may be requested by the commissioner however the Act does not refer to requests for disclosure of documents. I would suggest it is standard procedure when investigating an offence that a search warrant be issued without notice, lest the temptation to dispose of incriminating evidence be too great.

2. They may very well have taken documents related to the court case. I do not know for certain, but I believe when solicitor/client material is seized during a search warrant it must be sealed. Maybe someone with some education in this area can help you out.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

True blue conservatives keep a brave face but more allegations of corruption surrounding what was supposed to be a squeaky clean government must be troubling.

It does fuel cynicism about politicians in general, I'll give you that.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Elections Canada is answerable to Parliament.

Thanks, Greg.

Gabby in QC said...

You ask some very legitimate questions, Joanne, which definitely need to be answered.

Unfortunately, this advance briefing will do absolutely nothing for the Conservatives to advance their case.

As a matter of fact, it makes them look worse. Look, even the media invited to the briefing (CTV) are calling it "secret." Very poor optics, IMO.

Roy Eappen said...

So let's have parliamentary hearings into Elections canada bias. Also there should be a leak inquiry and an inquiry into grit links at elections Canada.
The grits subverted election aftyer election with stolen money. yet elections Canada did and said nothing. Martin returned 1.1 million , yet didn't say how the grits used that money to subvery democracy. Dithers never said who got the dirty money.
One wonders if this raid was done to do an endrun around the lawsuit.
When the Tories win the lawsuit can they sue Elections canad for libel and slander? There needs to be a big housecleaning at elections canda and I suspect the entire civil service , which has been corrupted by the grits for far too long.
remmeber Corbeil said that lawyers and other people who wanted to become judges etc had to work for the grits and pay them kickbacks.
let the gruits bring down parliament and run a campaign on grit honesty. They will lose.

300baud said...

You can't extrapolate and find a bias from a single data point. Making the accusation w/out supplying additional data is pointless.

wilson said...

Nowhere is it reported that the CPC refused EC requests.
But that a few Cons refused an interview with EC without legal council.
And that justifies an EC raid on CPC HQ's ??

EC is not an investigative body, due to the Privacy Act, would have to obtain a warrant to get personal info.

maryT said...

Did the judge/jp who signed the warrant have to read all the info or just take someones word that it asked for certain info. 700 pages at at least 1 minute/page would take at least 11 hours. If the judge had to see the evidence it had to get to Toronto, read, and returned to Ottawa for the early morning raid.
What if the raiders took evidence that was not included in the warrant. If it was for the 2006 election spending, then nothing past that date should have been taken. Taking a computer would have current stuff on it.
Voters should ask this question:
If elections canada are capable of this kind of stuff, what have they not acted on re liberals. If the media is so anti CPC, and pro liberal, what have they covered up for the past number of years. If both these groups are so pro liberal, and think this will cause an election or tarnish PMSH, and bring liberals back to power, do we really want a government capable of such corruption, with a willing media to cover it up. Gee, what some will do for a senate seat or some lifetime appointment.
What would this group do if they got power again, certainly not pay back the million stolen via ADSCAM, but think of all the terrorists they would let into Canada. Think of the taxes that would ruin the economy. But, think of Canada without AB and Quebec.
Queberta sounds like a good name for a country.
Think of a liberal government taking order from the Arabs, muslims and Tamil Tigers.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Roger Smith was just on CTV, and he said he didn't think there was much there in the warrant for the Conservatives to be worried about - a couple of emails that might be of some concern, but not a big deal.

Anonymous said...

hi Joanne ...its hard to say whats going on and what might come about it ...this article http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8647
was a little troubling to read I am not sure I live in a sovereign country or not ...katou

frmgrl said...

I was listening to Dave Rutherford show on QR77 Calgary a little while ago. He had on Peter Van Loan who clarified some things. Was a good interview.
You can listen to the interview go to audiovault at
http://www.am770chqr.com/StationShared/Audiovault.aspx

Scroll down click on Monday April 21 then click on 10:00 AM. You'll get a little news first but slide through until you find the beginning at about oh, 10:05 or so.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Frmgrl. I'll check that out.

maryT said...

This too will pass, and next Monday another scandal/scam/ whatever will emerge.
How many predictions were there last week that another attempt to smear would come out.
Any coverage of the liberal who was arrested. Is KB upset he was not invited to the arrest.
I now have a name for KB's smile, via a commentator on another blog.
-Keith Boag with his alligator smile- said No I don't know --- when asked why he wasn't invited.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Dan Cook has the warrant available online now.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

So let's have parliamentary hearings into Elections canada bias. Also there should be a leak inquiry and an inquiry into grit links at elections Canada.

Good point, Dr. Roy.

After this court issue is settled one way or the other, all parties should decide if they want this whole thing clarified by Parliament. Perhaps some changes are needed in the Election Act. (I'm assuming that would be the process.)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

But that a few Cons refused an interview with EC without legal council.

Wilson, where did you hear that?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Frmgrl - Just listening to that Dave Rutherford clip now. It's amazing. Thanks so much.

jad said...

I find this whole situation extremely troubling. To try and take down the rhetoric a couple of points, imagine a similar scenario:

John Smith files his tax return and Revenue Canada (a similar arms length organization) disallows some expenses he claimed. Smith feels that he has a legitimate case, and so he takes Revenue Canada to court to get his money back. This is not an unusual situation by any means, and is the recognized mechanism for settling this kind of dispute.

Revenue Canada, who first of all simply disallowed the expenses, are now being sued in civil court, so they turn round and sue Smith in criminal court for falsifying his tax return, although at this point nothing has been settled in the civil suit. It is still a difference of interpretation between Revenue Canada and Smith, and has not even got as far as the courts. Revenue Canada then enter Smith's office/home with a search warrant, assisted by the RCMP, and proceed to cart off any and all information that they can carry, including incidentally all the information Smith had pertaining to his lawyers' examination of Revenue Canada scheduled for the next day, which falls under lawyer/client privilege.

So is this the sort of thing that could happen in Canada, or only in a police state ?

I see Ralph Goodale (who else) is out there today saying this could have made the difference between a Conservative minority and a Liberal minority in the last election, and we should question the legitimacy of the Government. Hey, if you don’t like it, Ralph, there's an easy solution.

jad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roy Eappen said...

Excellent point Jad. One wonders why Elections Canada does not first defend their position in the civil suit, before trying to prove it with the much higher level of beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court.
I wonder if the civil suit will be allowed to continue, as elections Canad seems hell bent on stopping it.

Gayle said...

jad - the problem with your scenario is that it implies that anyone who sues someone should never be investigated for an offence related to the lawsuit.

Try it this way:

A child discloses to a parent she has been sexually abused. The parent publicly confronts the alleged offender. The alleged offender immediately runs off and files a civil suit.

Does this mean the police may not investigate the offence? Does it prevent the parent from even reporting it to the police?

You cannot prevent a criminal investigation by filing a lawsuit. To do so would bring our entire justice system to a standstill.

Gayle said...

Joanne

Thanks for the link. It appears your question regarding priviledged documents is answered in the warrant application. S. 488.1 of the Criminal Code mandates the documents be sealed of the sheriff (a court official) until such time as the court may, or may not, order it disclosed.

Gayle said...

"But that a few Cons refused an interview with EC without legal council."

It was in the application for the warrant. Some refused, some did not.

Ruth said...

To me the worse crime of all in this mess is the taking of the files that were to be used the next day in court. Is this not a serious offence.

Ruth said...

Maybe Ralphie will be hoarse from talking to the media all day so we won't have to listen to him on MDL tonight. Just a hopeful thought.

Gabby in QC said...

Katou, re: your link to Global Research.

It is always advisable to find out about who's behind certain websites. For example, you may be interested in these two web pages that Global Research is connected to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vive_le_Canada
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Canadians

Of course, it's up to you to decide whether you believe the information those three organizations are putting out.

PS to Frmgrl: thanks for that link to Rutherford.

frmgrl said...

I was glad to provide the link to Rutherford. I thought everyone should listen to the Van Loan interview because it puts things into perspective.
Also go over to Stephen Taylor's blog. His post also brings some sanity to this whole thing.
http://www.stephentaylor.ca/archives/000985.htm
And sanity is what we need in this mess right now.

jad said...

"jad - the problem with your scenario is that it implies that anyone who sues someone should never be investigated for an offence related to the lawsuit."

Gayle, that is no at all the point I am trying to make. The problem I have here is this:

1) EC disallows the Conservative spending
2) the Conservatives take them to court because they don't agree with the ruling
3) EC files charges a considerable time after the civil lawsuit is commenced.

Now if the crime was so egregious, why was there no lawsuit filed at the outset ? Or do you really think that EC were being soft with the Conservatives as long as they rolled over and played along, and it was only when they decided to play hardball that EC brought out the big guns, i.e. it wasn't a crime if the CPC knuckled under, but if they wanted to dispute this, all of a sudden it becomes a crime. The point is not that anyone who sues should not be investigated for an offence related to the lawsuit, the point is that it looks very much like don't dare argue with EC, or else. We've been down this road before with the RCMP, M. Baudoin and the Business Development Bank loan for the Grand'mere Inn, and its disturbing to see something similar happening again.

"A child discloses to a parent she has been sexually abused. The parent publicly confronts the alleged offender. The alleged offender immediately runs off and files a civil suit."

Your example, while completely irrelevant, is nevertheless interesting. If there was a case of sexual abuse, the criminal case would likely be heard before the civil case. Are you insinuating that the CPC's civil case should be postponed until after the criminal case is settled ?

Gayle said...

jad - EC has not filed charges against the CPC, and possibly may not do so.

As I understand it the investigation commenced either shortly before or shortly after the lawsuit was filed (I have heard two versions). Either way, this is a complex investigation done by an agency that general does not have to involve itself with complex investigations. Even police agencies take a long time to investigate fraud, so it is not at all surprising it took this long.

I would think you have a point if not for the fact the SW application discloses a number of troubling - though yet unproven - allegations. I do not think any agency should be expected to ignore such facts simply because of a lawsuit.

In answer to your question - yes.

Alberta Girl said...

So now that the air has cleared, we have the media announcing that the RCMP are investigating the Tories. Doesn't matter that that is FALSE, they just have to say it.

We have the media who were not invited saying that the secrecy means they have something to hide.

We have the media who were invited saying laughing at the Tories.

We have the Liberals and the NDP saying the Tories stole the last election, they cheated.

Joanne - you are so right - the air - and Conservative Party HQ. needs to be cleared. Whoever decided to pull the idiotic stunt of having an "invitee" only meeting should be fired.

While I truly believe this is a set up to smear the Tories, the optics of this shout corruption loud and clear.

Wilson is right - the angry rats are attacking - but sometimes the angry rats bring disease that is potentially fatal.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Alberta Girl - Very well said indeed.

The Uninvited are very hostile.

It was stupid, stupid, stupid of Sparrow and Finely to think that members of the press wouldn't talk to each other.

This little farce has detracted from the real story which is that we need to know first of all, is Elections Canada truly biased, and who did the leaking on the 'raid'?

The courts will decide the allegations against the Conservatives and vice versa, but it leaves an uneasy feeling to think that our democratic process may be tainted by partisanship.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Then again, perhaps we shouldn't put all the blame on Ryan Sparrow.

The Trusty Tory said...

Hey, you forgot me Joanne! ;)

The Trusty Tory said...

I suggest a full scale counter attack ending this nonsense once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else hear the one reporter in the last segment of MDL say that they were invited, but they didn't their e-mail in time. Then Gloria Galloway said they too were invited from the Globe, but at a later time.
I don't think the media has been telling us the whole story about who was there and who wasn't.