Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maybe they were searching for the hidden agenda...

The RCMP were in and out of Conservative HQ today, helping Elections Canada obtain documents one assumes were related to the most-complicated-scandal-in-the-history-of-politics (also known as the catchier "in and out scandal", explained here in 30 seconds). We still don't know much about this raid or the status of the investigation but it looks like this story will be lingering around a bit longer.

Toss in Cadscam, Mulroney-Schreiber, don't-call-it-NAFTAgate, and a few other scandlettes floating around, and it's a safe bet that "ethics" is off the table as an issue for the Tories next campaign.



  • Adscam...
    Liberal Crooks...




    It's sad that the 2 biggest political parties in the country are so caught up in playing "gotchya" politics, trying to find scandals and reasons to tell the voters not to vote for "the other guy" that they can't find the time to... you know... make policy suggestions and govern us in a responsible manner.

    Makes you proud to send in your tax return, doesn't it?

    No wonder we're losing confidence in the system. The system needs an enema - and the hose should be stuck right in the middle of downtown Ottawa.

    By Blogger Enlightened Savage, at 5:44 PM  

  • "Maybe they were searching for the hidden agenda" (snort)

    This has to be for more than the lawsuit. The only way the Commissioner can obtain a warrant is if he convinces a justice that grounds exist to believe there is evidence relating to an offence under the Elections Act at the place in question.

    It may relate to the same subject of the lawsuit, but the Commissioner is obviously contemplating charges. Whether there is evidence to support charges is another matter.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 6:27 PM  

  • just like any accounting......

    it depends where it's posted.

    that simple.

    in-out scandal?

    risque label.

    NAFTA-gate doesn't cut it.

    By Blogger art, at 6:37 PM  

  • Dear "enlightened":
    While no-one likes to play "tit-for-tat", the Liberals were creating sound policy (Kelowna, Kyoto, Cities, National Childcare Plan, etc., etc.) back when the Cons spent a major part of 3 to 5 years talking about nothing BUT, "Liberal crook, this, and Liberal crook that...". Even in this session, and the past year, while we talked about Kyoto, Cities, Afghanistan, etc., it was the CONSERVATIVES who - very surprisingly - decided to attack the Opposition (Dion, more adscam bs, etc.) - rather than govern.

    I would say that it was just "back and forth" as you say, except that this government has done little to govern, and in a tactic that is odd and irksome, has decided instead to attack the Official Opposition - along with their NDP "friends".

    I agree with you, on this point though: when will this government just start to "govern"? Seems that after almost 14yrs in Opposition opposing is all they know how to do...

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 6:40 PM  

  • westerngrit: Points well made. I'd submit that while the current government (thankfully, we can stop calling them "Canada's New Government" now) has made a lot of small moves, and made them reasonably well, they have also spent at least half of their time posturing for the next election rather than actually doing what they're paid to: governing.

    The sad reality, I'm afraid, of the polarization that has resulted in consecutive minority governments and, barring a miracle or major scandal, will probably do so again.

    And I'm a self-admitted policy wonk. I actually liked a few of the Liberal policies you mentioned. Where the rubber hits the road, though, there was little substance. Great ideas are one thing - we out here in the blogosphere can come up with those. For a government - of ANY political stripe - to earn my confidence, it needs to turn great ideas into great REALITIES... something neither party has done in quite some time.

    Unfortunately, the Tory strategy of "attack and scandalize" worked well enough to get them into (sorta) power, so that seems to be how the parties are going to go forward - "vote for me, the other guy sucks". But while the Tories are attacking the Libs, the Libs are attacking each other, and Layton is attacking reality and everything that moves... who is actually going to be working to govern?

    By Blogger Enlightened Savage, at 7:57 PM  

  • Oh! Rick Hillier finally bites the dust. Even the conservatives had enough of him.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:02 AM  

  • In for a penny, in for a pound...

    A. CG:

    1. The parties are in court. There is a discovery process - you ask, they give, or give reasons why they can't or shouldn't give. A raid occurs when you are able to convince a judge that there is the probability that evidence will be destroyed. This is either very big, or very stupid.

    2. You may have a point re ethics on this alone, and perhaps Cadman (so very curious/confused there), but I don't think that Obamarama and M/S stick to the Tories.


    1. You kinda had an "I invented the internet moment" there. Seriously. To Fisk the "sound policy" measures you cite (some of which I really like, but that's besides the point):
    -Kelowna (1. um, Libs didn't actually *do* it, because your last month in government doesn't count and, in any event, how does its policy stand up to the killed First Nations Governance Act upon whose grave it danced?)
    -Kyoto (um, 1., Libs didn't actually *do* it, 2. it was someone else's idea),
    -Cities (Layton as president of CMA has a far more credible claim here)
    -National Childcare Plan (1. um, Libs didn't actually *do* it, 2. it was designed to be national in name only - there never would have been a coherent system with common standards - you would have invented a crappy slow internet full of spam on that count)
    2. The Tories ran a positive campaign in 2006. Are you suggesting that an opposition party should have done something other than deplore the findings of the Gomery inquiry? Are you suggesting that the Gomery inquiry had no relevant purpose?

    By Blogger matt, at 1:21 AM  

  • Did everyone miss this part of the story:


    "RCMP Cpl. Jean Hainey said the RCMP was only assisting.

    "It is not an RCMP investigation. We're there to assist, but that's it."

    By Anonymous James Goneaux, at 9:53 AM  

  • james; Presumably the RCMP only assists if there's a lack of co-operation (see above comments about destroying files) and the matter is of some seriousness. I'll admit I'm not an expert in this but I don't think you can just ask the RCMP to help unless there's some sort of police investigation going on.

    Regardless, the optics are bad. I'm willing to give the Tories the benefit of the doubt here because the appeal is still pending but you can't deny an "RCMP raid" doesn't sound good.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:08 AM  

  • Election laws are a terrible liberal scourge. Harper should not consider himself bound by them. I am proud that Harper screwed the lelection laws, then sued the election commission and is deny he did any of it. He plays chess while everyone one else plays tiddlywinks.

    P.S. Its not about the names on the signs. Its about the crooked double book accounting and the flow of money in and out of CPC HQ and the constituency campaigns.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:09 AM  

  • The RCMP were there assisting because the CPC wasn't. They didn't cooperate with the guys with pencils, so they needed guys with sidearms to drive the point home.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:20 PM  

  • or maybe they were looking for all the ADSCAM $$$millions still missing, money stolen from taxpayers, money that disappeared into the Liberal Party of Canada never to be seen from again or accounted for Elections Canada.

    Just curious.

    Canadians are still hoping that Liberals will all chip in and raise enough money to pay Canadian taxpayers back for the greatest political boondoggle in Canadian history.

    By Blogger Fred, at 2:38 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:22 PM  

  • Ohhh! So it's a criminal investigation. It's not about the civil suit filed by the CPC.

    That creep Van Loan keeps saying that the CPC is being singled out. Elections Canada is working for the Liberals?

    And, Van Loan refuses to publish the search warrant. That would give a lie to the Conservative spin.

    This is the New Government?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:58 PM  

  • Fred adds a little balance with..

    ** Canadians are still hoping that Liberals will all chip in and raise enough money to pay Canadian taxpayers back for the greatest political boondoggle in Canadian history. * *

    [remember, just google *Scamslist*]

    And please allow me to add a few polite words of balance as well. .

    The 15 year old Karl Scheiber fiasco amounted to nothing because it was lobby money from a German business who wanted to build a armoured car plant in Quebec.

    Get it? Germen promo money. Not Canadian tax money at all.

    The Cadman affair was nothing compared to giving Belinda Stronach a Ministry that directly had a bearing on the family auto-plants businesses. [re: part time employees - no benefits.]

    Now we have a tempest in a teapot that should have been checked into two years ago.

    C*mon, you guys, the timing is so fishy it stinks. Any judge who fails to toss this has got to be a Liberal operative.

    Just a little realism. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 7:24 PM  

  • Yeah, Fred adds a little balance.

    Though, actually, as a Canadian, I'm waiting for someone in a position of leadership in the government to act or speak like a grown-up.

    I'm also hoping to never see "ADSCAM $$$millions" written anywhere ever again, but that might just be me.

    By Anonymous Frustrated/Cynical, at 8:06 PM  

  • matt said...

    1. The parties are in court. There is a discovery process - you ask, they give, or give reasons why they can't or shouldn't give. A raid occurs when you are able to convince a judge that there is the probability that evidence will be destroyed. This is either very big, or very stupid.

    You're mixing up criminal and civil procedure.

    In a civil proceeding, you often get fights about what documents have to be produced, but if a party refuses to produce in the face of a court order for production, the typical remedy is to find the party in contempt or dismiss the proceeding if they started it.

    The court does have jurisdiction to make an Anton Piller order (sometime erroneously referred to as a civil search warrant), but that's an extraordinary remedy that's given at the outset of litigation on an ex parte basis when there's a risk that the opposite litigant will fire up the shredders as soon as they're served with process. I am not aware of any case where a party got an Anton Piller order in the middle of a proceeding - it goes against the whole rationale for Anton Pillers because if you're in the middle of the proceeding, the other side has likely already shredded the docs if there was ever a risk of shredding.

    Now, under the Elections Act, the court can grant a search warrant to further an investigation of violations under that Act. This is completely different from a civil proceeding. The news reports have been very clear that the Tories were served with a search warrant, not an Anton Piller order. Besides, private litigants with an Anton Piller order can't just rustle up a few on-duty RCMP officers to enforce the order. You only get that with a true search warrant. So this was a search warrant granted by the court as part of an investigation under the Elections Act, not as part of the Tories' judicial review application pending before the Federal Court.

    Anyway, it seems the Tories are trying to conflate the judicial review with what appears to be an investigation of violations under the Elections Act. Obviously the subject matter of the two proceedings may overlap, but they are separate proceedings.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 PM  

  • I think there are ethical differences between the two parties, however, they are differences of style, not degree. Conservative ethical failings are the ethical failings of a party that is not usually in power, and which has a minority government. Hence, they play fast and loose with spending limits, bribe Cadman and so on. A government like the Conservatives, however, is very unlikely to steal or abuse the public trust. Because re-election is not certain, they realize that doing so would be an absolute death knell.

    Liberal scandals and "gates" have tended to involve abuses of the public trust that have public policy consequences. This is more the case in the income trust leak, adscam, the billion dollar boondoggle, Art Eggleton's girlfriend and the gun registry blowout. Many of the above are more the result of lax management of the civil service by a party that is complacent after years without electoral competition.

    That doesn't mean Tories never commit incompetence/complacency type crimes (and provincially in Ontario, it is the PC party that is more corrupt). For instance, the Munsinger affair occurred under Diefenbaker's watch. The Airbus scandal doesn't fit either, but do note that it happened towards the end of Mulroney's term, when he was pretty sure he was not going to serve a third term. Nonetheless there are other historical examples, like Meighen's actions in the King-Byng affair (it probably does not work out prior to 1921, when the Tories were the natural party of government).

    So the choice Canadians have isn't between corruption and clean government, it is between rent-seeking and cheating in elections.

    Secondly, I would argue that Canadians like corruption and have often chosen to re-elect corrupt governments against squeaky clean alternatives. Those who assume adscam made Harper Prime Minister forget that he lost in 2004, running almost exclusively on adscam. 2006 was won by tight messaging, daily policy announcements, Liberal mistakes and the income trust scandal. However the impact of the latter was largely felt in Quebec, without which Harper still would have won the election.

    Canadians re-elected the corrupt Mulroney and Chretien administrations, and snubbed relatively squeaky clean alternatives like Joe Clark and Preston Manning (and hey, John Turner may be a drunk and a moron, but he is not a crook). William Lyon Mackenzie King won out over Arthur Meighen in 1926, although he was caught up in a customs scandal at the time.

    The times when governments have been replaced post-scandal, moreover, are something of the exception that proves the rule. Diefenbaker managed to get a very weak minority government out of the Alberta pipeline scandal (it was his campaigning style that won in '58). Alexander Mackenzie beat John A. in 1873 over the Pacific rail scandal but was happily turfed by the voters as John A. came back in 1878.

    Do we have corruption? Sure. But at least we aren't British Columbia.

    Hey, that might be a new contest for you, CG, "Canada's greatest scandal" or Canada's most corrupt politician/administration.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:25 PM  

  • “Secondly, I would argue that Canadians like corruption and have often chosen to re-elect corrupt governments against squeaky clean alternatives.”

    Huh? Could it be that the elected politicians were better at winning the confidence of voters? Could you explain why us voters ‘like corruption’?

    Are you building a mountain out of a molehill?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:58 PM  

  • Dunno how "secret that agenda is when our party keeps helping Harper implement it.

    Time for Dion to tell Senator Smith to retire and his MPs to grow a spine.

    This abstaining business is hurting us. Big time. The Liberal Party is becoming a laughing stock.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:51 PM  

  • Let's just clear this up a bit...

    Some of these were NOT Liberal scandals, AND some of this is just plain repeating yourself (hosertohoosier):

    income trust leak - not only was Mr. Goodale's good name dragged through the mud wrongly, but the leak was a civil servant in the department - NOTHING to do with the government, and certainly not something that could have been prevented, if you know how depts work.

    adscam - Was not a party-directed thing at all. It was some members doing shady things. Very comparable to the CPC election financing issue - EXCEPT - it seems the CPC is aware of the issue, and is openly flaunting the regulations.

    the billion dollar boondoggle - This is what the Cons/Reform were calling the gun-registry cost overruns, so you're repeating yourself further down the list...

    Art Eggleton's girlfriend - Care to know who works in Conservative offices on the Hill? How about some of the new ministry officials.

    the gun registry blowout - While there were cost overruns that have to be corrected the Police have accessed the registry several million times, and it has saved officers' lives. It is a good measure that was not finished efficiently. Remember too, that the TOTAL costs were running around the Billion mark - you have to subtract what the actual operating costs should have been from that figure - if anyone can say what the figures should be. Compounding the problem were gun nuts purposely "overloading" the system (admittedly, and in public).

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 8:12 PM  

  • Westerngrit, the original billion dollar boon-doggle was this (which was wrongly pinned on Jane Steward, when it is her predecessor that deserves most of the blame):

    I also left out Shawinigate.

    The income trust report fond no wrongdoing on the part of the RCMP. As for Goodale, sure they didn't have definitive proof but something was clearly up. eg. "u will be very happy." Even if Goodale was not criminally negligible, it certainly casts doubts on his ability to control his department. Could it have been prevented? Well yes, but minimizing the number of people that know about it, such that you can easily narrow down who is responsible in the case of a leak.

    As to the distinction between the "party" and people within a political party you are splitting hairs. No, the Liberal party probably didn't say "lets secretly scheme to give Art Eggleton's girlfriend a job, MUHAHAHAHA." (that is the only mischaracterization I will admit to - it was Eggleton's ex-girlfriend, something that shows even worse judgment, since he wasn't even getting any sex for his favoritism). My point is that the kind of party that the Liberals are, and the position they are used to being in (Canada's natural government) encourages a sort of corruption, wherein ministers are more likely to take potentially politically damaging risks (and the party is more likely to stick by them too). As a result of that you get shoddy government at the margins, and a number of scandals that violate the public trust.

    The Conservatives are more Nixon-y. They are paranoid about losing the next election, because losing elections is something they have a history of doing. As a result Harper has made it quite clear that he will allow corrupt or stupid ministers to twist in the wind. His main concern is winning elections and holding onto power, so you can look for scandals of that nature (Cadmangate or the advertising spending).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:45 PM  

  • "As a result Harper has made it quite clear that he will allow corrupt or stupid ministers to twist in the wind."

    Huh! Can you provide any examples? Is Gordon O'Conner still a minister? Is harper's chief of staff still employed?

    You haven't explained why us voters ‘like corruption’?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:52 PM  

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