The headlines from yesterday's story have run the gamut from RCMP called in to help search Tory offices, all the way to RCMP raids Tory office in election probe.
Never mind that the RCMP clarified the situation as follows (RCMP raid a 'PR stunt', Tories claim):
...RCMP commissioner Bill Elliott said the RCMP has a "longstanding memorandum of understanding" to assist Elections Canada, and insisted his officers were simply complying with a request...
Whatever that means. However, it wasn't a 'raid' by the RCMP. But as noted in the previous post, the hyperbole and torqued headlines are spinning around the world.
The political rhetoric is also astounding. From the Liberal website:
The RCMP raid of Conservative Party headquarters is proof that Prime Minister Stephen Harper must explain to Canadians about his party’s alleged involvement in deceptive financing practices during the 2006 federal election, the Liberal Opposition said today.
Aha. They learned from the last time and added the word 'alleged'. But if this was only some assistance that the RCMP was providing to their old buddies, Elections Canada, then the preceding paragraph seems a bit contrived, n'est-pas?
And Michael Ignatieff self-righteously proclaims:
“How did it get to this? An RCMP squad raiding the offices of the Conservative Party - spinners in frantic damage control,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “I mean, how did we get here? Why did Elections Canada have to get a search warrant and the help of the RCMP in the first place? Why did they have to pry information from this government's clenched fist?”
Mmmm.... How did it get to this, Michael?
Do you think those camera-toting colleagues of yours who were descending like hungry vultures and greedily snapping photos for future ads have any idea either?
Anyway, don't rush back, Brenda. It isn't a whole lot better here either.
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Cherniak - In and Out of the printing press. In his dreams.
I left a comment. Wonder if he'll publish it.
Tories say Liberals were tipped to raid - Star:
...A videographer hired by the Liberals was present as the raid was carried out...
But CBC's Newman said just before QP today, that they must have seen it on the news, and decided to drop by? C'mon.
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Update: Don Martin - Elections Canada brings out the sledgehammer:
...with footage in the can and a campaign script that writes itself, this is no longer an issue of guilt or Conservative innocence in the showdown with election officials.
That's the beauty of securing a conviction in the court of public opinion -- optics, hearsay and circumstantial evidence can instantly gas chamber the innocent with no avenue of appeal.
And on this particular count, shots of warrant-bearing cops wandering the headquarters of the allegedly clean Conservatives are Tory tarnish and Grit gold.
This is why I find Election Canada's behaviour somewhat squeamish. Nobody can recall such heavy handed behaviour before and there's no explanation why police were required when a phone call might have sufficed.
The Conservatives insist they'll have their day in court and argue convincingly that Elections Canada will be proven wrong. There's documentation suggesting the other three parties are not without sin at the ins and outs of creative campaign financing...