Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blame the Refs

Boy, it must be tough to be a Tory. I mean, they have the Senate, the entire judiciary, the civil service, the CBC, the media, and now, the officials at Elections Canada appointed by Harper himself all working against them.

It’s amazing they ever won an election in the face of all this adversity! Just imagine the kind of trouble they'd be in if the official opposition ever joined in opposing them...


  • Could it be the final days of the harper regime? It sounds like Hitler in his bunker in the final days. Out of touch with the situation and reality.

    Look at the polls! The LPC under dion could take the government. How much sorrier can the harperites be? And, Chucker wants us to vote for harper?

    The problem is that the LPC under dion can’t take a solid minority government. It could be weaker (numerically) than harper’s government. Interesting days ahead.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:07 AM  

  • That's probably right, JimTan, but Harper's grip on the party would vanish in a heartbeat following an election loss, assuming he even stuck around. He has no obvious successor, and the CPC's front-bench "talent" is rather lacking, to say the least.

    While Liberal infighting has been front and centre of late, no party does it better and more publicly than the Tories. Even if Harper is simply held to another minority (even if somewhat stronger), that is no more than the worst case scenario, and would leave him in charge of a more restless caucus for whom the fabled majority seems even farther from reach. Harper may currently be lauded as a "strategic genius" and a master of "leadership discipline", but this personality cult lasts only so long as it's associated with success.

    By Blogger Josh G, at 1:14 AM  

  • Liberal schemes again?

    Seems the CBC, Liberals and a varied motley crew appeared and waited well in advance of the [secret] CPC elections raid.

    The Liberals had media cameras on hand for the [secret] raid for maximum public relations effect.

    Did the Liberals expose their pre-determined plot?

    We the public will carefully consider the worth of a judiciary that may turn a blind eye to a blatant breach of the public trust. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 2:50 AM  

  • “Did the Liberals expose their pre-determined plot?”

    Dear Tony,

    I see that you’re still into half-baked theories.

    FYI, the harperites have made a lot of enemies among the lawyers and civil servants. The leak could have come from anywhere. Payback time.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:30 AM  

  • Just imagine is certainly the correct terminology. Since the Liberals don't have the jam to pull the plug on this government, that's all their supporters can do...imagine. Don't be too disheartened though, October 2009 is only 18 months away.

    By Blogger Powell lucas, at 12:00 PM  

  • On the Liberal Party video conspiracy theory point, has anyone taken into consideration that the LPC offices are in a building down the street from the building the CPC offices are in? It would probably take 3 minutes to walk over...

    By Blogger daveberta, at 12:18 PM  

  • "It sounds like Hitler in his bunker in the final days."

    Yes, that's EXACTLY what it's like ... /sarc

    "FYI, the harperites have made a lot of enemies among the lawyers and civil servants. The leak could have come from anywhere. Payback time."

    So, that makes it alright then?

    "It would probably take 3 minutes to walk over..."

    Great point! It takes 3 minutes to walk over so they should have arrived at least 3 minutes after the cops arrived.

    Camera crews, including one from the Liberal party, were on hand as police arrived at the downtown building.

    So either the Liberals were tipped off, developed some way of traveling back in time or the CBC story about camera crews from the Liberal Party being there when the cops arrived is inaccurate. Which one is it? And if the Liberals were tipped off, who's the source?

    Surely, you would agree that it is in the best interest of all Canadians that any possible leaks for partisan purposes from our public agencies be investigated.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:40 PM  

  • "So, that makes it alright then?"

    No it doesn't. Same with the NAFTAgate leak and smear!

    The point I was making to Tony was that it isn't a Liberal plot. Rather, the grapevine must already be burning if a full press contingent was ahead of the cops.

    And, the Liberal crew was ambulance chasing the press. No doubt, they were tipped by their press contacts.

    Think of all the people involved in a warrant. There’s the cops, the lawyers, the civil servants, the court in Toronto, etc. Why was the warrant taken out in Toronto? It was to avoid tipping off the AG in Ottawa. So, the CPC was the last to find out.

    Finally, whose fault was it? It was the stupid CPC who launched a lawsuit. In their affidavit, they must have said that they knowingly did the in-out in order to claim benefits from Elections Canada.

    How stupid can they be? They just admitted under oath to fraud. This is better than the PMSH utterance in the Cadman affair.

    HaHaHa! I wonder when dion is going to pull the plug? It would be a laugh if dion won. That’s the little guy that you people have been mocking. Serves you right for creating so many enemies.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:08 PM  

  • "The point I was making to Tony was that it isn't a Liberal plot."

    I think your explanation is the most likely scenario. However, if someone tipped off the Liberals then they should have no problem releasing the name of that person since they themselves did nothing wrong. Remember, political parties don't have the same rights to protect their sources as the press do.

    "Finally, whose fault was it? It was the stupid CPC who launched a lawsuit."

    If they didn't launch the lawsuit they would be basically admitting they were guilty of fraud by all but acknowledging that they weren't entitled to make those expenses in the first place. Not exactly a stupid lawsuit.

    "I wonder when dion is going to pull the plug?"

    He's not. If the Liberals don't reveal how they knew about the search before the police arrived this is going to turn into a Liberal scandal because the Conservatives will accuse them of protecting partisans within the public service. If the Liberals stay quiet after that, the public will draw their own conclusions, probably with the help of a nice Conservative ad laying it out nicely for them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:52 PM  

  • Conservative talking points are awesome.

    I miss the old Librano, ADSCAM, Brown Paper Bags, etc...etc... posts.

    I really do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:26 PM  

  • hold your breath for October 2009.

    Nothing matters till then.

    By Blogger art, at 3:31 PM  

  • ummm, Liberals found out the same way most of the country found out about this story - on the CBC.

    It is a 30 second walk from one office to the other.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:20 PM  

  • This is how the Liberal staff was tipped off by the media. The media stupidly put the news up on their web site:

    RCMP raid Tory headquarters
    Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | 11:14 AM ET CBC News

    RCMP are conducting a raid on Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday in connection with an investigation into spending on election advertising.
    The Mounties, who have a search warrant, say they are assisting Elections Canada.
    Conservative party spokesman Ryan Sparrow had no comment as he entered headquarters.
    The issue involves party spending during the campaign for the 2006 parliamentary election.
    The party gave $1.2 million to local candidates who hadn't reached their spending limits. That money was then returned to the party, which spent it on regional television and radio ads.
    Elections Canada alleges that money drove the party over the $18.3-million spending limit for federal elections.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:39 PM  

  • See Anonymous, the great conspiracy wants us to think that. That's why they planted that obviously fake story on the CBC web site. The Liberals promised the CBC that they would make Wendy Mesley the next Governor General if they cooperated. Elections Canada meanwhile was busy getting the secret microfilm of the Tories' election strategy, ready for transport out of the country. And is it a coincidence that the Parliamentary cafeteria was out of bagels when Harper showed up for work yesterday? I tell you, they are all in on it.

    By Blogger Greg, at 6:12 PM  

  • “ummm, Liberals found out the same way most of the country found out about this story - on the CBC.”

    Hang on a minute. The problem was caused by the CBC report on Tuesday 12:09 EST.

    “Camera crews, including one from the Liberal party, were on hand as police arrived at the downtown building.”

    However, the Wednesday report added this

    “The Liberals said they saw the raid unfold on television and rushed over to capture the event.”

    From Globe and Mail on Wednesday

    “News of the raid first broke on CBC Newsworld Tuesday and other media quickly arrived on the scene. Liberal staffers from the Liberal research bureau, which is one block away from the Conservative party headquarters, then followed with a video camera to record the event.”

    So, I’ll accept the Liberal version if Anonymous 4:20 has the inside info. I hope no one was hurt in the rush for the door.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:20 PM  

  • “If they didn't launch the lawsuit they would be basically admitting they were guilty of fraud by all but acknowledging that they weren't entitled to make those expenses in the first place. Not exactly a stupid lawsuit.”

    That wasn’t my point.

    The other political parties are going to act dumb. They will claim that they made a mistake, when Elections Canada queries them about illegal practices. EC will likely disallow the transactions, order refunds and slap the organizations on the wrist.

    The CPC are so righteous that they began a civil lawsuit. They filed an affidavit and allowed EC lawyers to question them. Somewhere in the process, the EC must have acquired enough evidence for a criminal investigation and search warrant.

    “Oh Yeah! The lawyers said that it was illegal. But, we did it because the others are doing it. Give me my money, you weasel!” signed CPC Executive.

    From Tuesday’s raid, the EC will be trying to identify who knew, and who authorized. The case gets referred to the RCMP once the complaint has been formalized. A criminal investigation will proceed to its logical conclusion.

    The RCMP will likely seize documents and computers from senior party leaders, including PMSH. The CPC guys won’t be able to claim ignorance since they have been babbling about it in public.

    As I said many moons ago. Neither party will get a majority government as long as harper and dion are in charge. The winner will be the guy who makes the second-last mistake. Is this harper’s big mistake?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:52 PM  

  • What problem?

    The story moved at 11:14.

    The Liberal camera crew moved at about 11:15.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:05 PM  

  • Well, it might be tough to be a tory, but no other party has Rob Anders. Forget the police raid, forget Cadman, and all the other stuff (including that emerging U of Calgary thing). Anders and a group of eminent persons called Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet is taking on China. I wouldn't want to be China right now--pretty soon they're going to know how Stéphane Dion feels. Ask Nelson Mandela.

    By Anonymous ace, at 11:30 PM  

  • Hi Bart,

    I think you and your friends are barking up the wrong tree here. From listening to Fife and McCharles on MDL the other day, it seems to be common knowledge around the PPG that the CBC was tipped off about the raid beforehand. I'm inclined to think that the source came from inside Elections Canada given the way most of the Mounties behaved when the cameras showed up (like vampires at sun-up). Does that mean it was a conspiracy? No, more likely unprofessional behaviour on the part of someone who took the civil service oath. That, more than anything, reflects very badly on an organization that a lot of people claim is impartial and professional. However, that's my beef.

    Most seem to have missed a fairly obvious point, if the search was just to collect some documents that the Tories had failed (or refused) to hand over, why is the warrant under seal? After all, if the Tories knew what EC was interested in, it makes no sense (and is against legal practice) to keep that secret. This would indicate that EC is clearly pursuing some other investigation, and is pursuing it in a very curious manner. Someone made reference to EC pursuing a criminal investigation but that clearly is not the case, EC can't pursue criminal investigations because the Elections Act isn't criminal law. If EC officials discover apparent criminal activity, they are required to call the RCMP just like the rest of us. As EC was the agency that sought the warrant, there is little change that anything criminal will emerge.

    Which seques nicely into the key point. A sealed warrant is an unusual document, relegated almost exclusively to criminal, drug and national security offences. Warrants are sealed to protect the identities of witnesses or confidential informants (has anyone seen Stevie Cameron recently) or, more ominously, agents working undercover. They are sometimes used in tax cases, generally to protect information about third parties. Outside these circumstances, sealing warrants occurs very rarely (publication bans are a different matter). In essence, EC has asked the court to keep all its evidence under wraps (even from the subject of the warrant) because its concerned that disclosure, including the section of the law being investigated, would have dire consequences. Which makes perfect sense until you wake up and realize that we're talking about the Elections Act and not the Official Secrets Act. It's hard to imagine that witnesses will start disappearing before trial if their names get out.

    Given the above I'm inclined to think, barring any evidence of any sort, that EC has managed to dig itself in way over its head with this search warrant. This may very well be a complaint from a former campaign worker about something she sort of remembers seeing back in 2006, or a party official who thinks he was shorted on some expense claims. EC probaly thinks keeping names secret is a good idea, hence the sealed warrant. I doubt a federal judge will agree. Had the Mounties applied for the warrant, I'd be singing a different tune. Since it was Elections Canada, I'm reminded of the time that the RCMP did a favour for the BDC back in 2000. I think the judge awarded the fellow who had his life turned upside down an extra helping of taxpayer's cash as compensation.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 12:33 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:51 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:54 AM  

  • “Someone made reference to EC pursuing a criminal investigation but that clearly is not the case, EC can't pursue criminal investigations because the Elections Act isn't criminal law.”

    Good point. The EC administers the Elections Act. The Criminal Code 380(1)(a) deals with ‘Fraud over $5000’. However, the Elections Act does also allow for prosecution and imprisonment.

    From Elections Canada Online:

    “If the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds that an offence under the Act has been committed, the Commissioner may refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who decides whether to initiate a prosecution… If the Director of Public Prosecutions decides to initiate a prosecution, the Director asks the Commissioner to lay sworn information in writing before a justice, as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code.”

    Seems to me that EC is empowered to carry out investigations.

    “Offences requiring intent – dual procedure
    (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who, being a third party, wilfully contravenes
     (a) any of subsections 350(1) to (3) or section 351 (exceeding or circumventing election advertising expense limits);”

    Without intent, it is a mere summary conviction on a strict liability basis. A conviction with intent would have higher penalties.

    “If a judge finds a person guilty of an offence, the person may receive a fine or a period of imprisonment, or both. Under section 501 of the Act, the Court may also impose additional penalties, such as:
     performing community service
     performing the obligation that gave rise to the offence
     compensating for damages, or any other reasonable measure the Court considers appropriate
     a fine of up to five times the election advertising expenses limit exceeded by a third party
     with respect to certain offences, the deregistration of a party and liquidation of its assets, and the liquidation of the assets of the party's registered associations

    The Act stipulates that certain offences are illegal practices (such as taking a false oath) or corrupt practices (such as offering a bribe). In addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, a person found guilty of one of these offences loses the right to be a candidate in a federal election, to sit as a member in the House of Commons and to hold any office to which the incumbent is appointed by the Crown or by Governor in Council – for five years in the case of an illegal act, and for seven years in the case of corrupt practices.”

    Curiously, the judge issued the warrant to the EC. I wonder what justification the EC lawyers gave?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:09 AM  

  • Always interesting to see who believes that local campaigns are legally barred from carrying any mention of the Federal campaign issues, policies, and the like.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 3:30 AM  

  • Let assume the liberal party gone.

    By Anonymous satin shirt, at 7:45 AM  

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