Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Good Question

You know something is fishy, when The National Post's Don Martin questions the government. If you look at the pattern, you would almost think the Tories have something to hide:
RCMP whistle-blowers had been trying since the fall to drop their bombshell on the public record, but the public accounts committee voted repeatedly to keep them off the witness stand and their documents suppressed from the public record...

And if you’re looking for the most bizarre acts of obstruction and interference, look no further than Conservative MPs, possibly acting under orders from above, who voted as a block to sweep the accusations under the rug.

It’s incredible and inexplicable why a government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which wraps itself in the uniform of aggressive law and order, would vote repeatedly to deny RCMP officers...

His motion was rejected by all five Conservative members. He asked to take the matter behind closed doors. He was voted down again.

After hearing from a number of witnesses previewing the allegations in mid-February, he put forward a motion to grant the whistle-blowers parliamentary immunity to testify. He was voted down by the Conservative members and a lone New Democrat.

Mr. Wrzesnewskyj felt he had enough evidence to secure unanimous support to call in the whistleblowers. Even so, it only squeaked by on a single vote with all five Tories voting against the motion.


I don't understand why the Conservatives were deliberately trying to bury this information. Afterall, the Liberals were in power when the allegations took place, you would think the Tories would be excited to bring it all to light. Martin's article doesn't provide any answers, calling Conservative excuses "lame". From everything we know, there was no political reason for the Tories to consistently thwart the "whistle-blowers", which begs the question- are there things we don't know?

Conservative MP's don't act as individuals. If all of them repeatedly voted against airing this scandal, it clearly suggests a directive from the PMO. Why? The confusion makes me think we need a public inquiry, as the Liberals have argued. Something doesn't pass the smell test here.

17 comments:

Scotian said...

Agreed!

I have long had nasty suspicions about the contacts between the highest levels of the RCMP and the CA/CPC leadership ever since the Arar leaks. Why were Harper and Day and Ablonski so willing to throw a Canadian under the bus like that, was it really just from the paper reports or did they have their own private RCMP leaks? While I never had proof of such show up it is a suspicion I have never been able to shake, and when that happens to me I am loathe to ignore it completely, even when no good reason exists that I can find for it at the time. I also have had serious questions about why the Harper CPC protected Zaccardelli the way that they did last fall after the O'Connor report came out, and why it took his making a liar out of himself in public to finally get his resignation.

When you combine that with what has been emerging here, about the suppression of whistleblowers both within the RCMP and with the Parliamentary committee responsible for the oversight of the RCMP by its CPC MPs acting as a bloc, that really raises some very serious questions for me and I should think most people when they think about it for a moment. I was already inclined to think that the RCMP needed a full public inquiry given the track record of the past several years by last fall. With the latest revelations that has only intensified. Yet I think the investigation the CPC want is as much for political ammunition hopes against the Libs as I also think it is to try and bury this for the most part, and that makes no sense unless they are protecting something that they are terrified if known publicly would do them much damage.

The interactions between the top level of the RCMP and Harper since he won the election have been very disturbing also. Indeed, while it was the NDP that launched the RCMP on their IT investigation in the election, is it possible that the idea to go public with it in the manner they did originated from the top of the RCMP via suggestion from CPC friends? I do not know, but the very fact that I am worried that this was there is a very bad sign indeed.

One of the two women Saundrie is named for was also the first woman in Canada to be retired into the RCMP veterans association. I have a very strong personal family connection to the RCMP and a profound respect of it because of that. Including in how they are supposed to stay out of political investigations and how they are not supposed to be involved in partisan politics, especially at the senior levels. What we have seen in the last several years has shredded that faith in me, and if it has done so in someone like me I strongly suspect the credibility damage is much worse in those with less inherent respect/deference to the RCMP to begin with. There has been a very bad odour coming from the RCMP senior levels for some time now, and it is poisoning the credibility of the entire force, and it is the bulk of the hardworking force that is getting it at both ends given what we know about the pension issue. They first get shafted by their bosses and then get their professional credibility damaged with the public because their bosses are finally slowly getting caught/exposed slightly/somewhat for screwing the average Mountie.

On top of that Day should not be appointing any investigation on the RCMP while he is under any RCMP investigation himself. Indeed, by rights he should temporarily step aside from the portfolio until his investigation is cleared up because of the clear conflict of interest involved in having the minister responsible for appointing the person to investigate the same police force that is currently investigating the minister on another matter. That is not the appearance of conflict, it is a conflict and why any ethical person or government would have acted by now IMHO. I am very cautious where even the appearance of conflict is concerned where officials with power over the police and judicial aspects of our society are concerned, let alone actual examples of it like this one.

If Harper truly respected the RCMP and police services he would be more interested in clearing out the rot at the top and restoring the honour and good name of the RCMP than anything else. Yet his actions are that of someone clearly more interested in how he can use this to advance his own partisan agenda of majority government than in doing the right thing by the average RCMP officer and what a PM should do in this situation. Again we see the true Harper here and not the sham that is his public persona/image as claimed by he, his party and their supporters. No, this is the Harper his opponents and critics have said was the real Harper and that his defenders deny exists.

Well, it has been a long day and I suspect this is my last comment here of the night, so have a good evening and see you around.

Gayle said...

What Scotian said :)! And...

This cozy relationship between Harper and the RCMP is quite disturbing. Scotian is dead on re: the investigation into Day. How is this not a conflict?

The best part of this story is that, hopefully, it means the cracks are starting to show - the media have been more and more critical of Harper over the past couple of weeks.

As an aside, if I were one of the media types who was given a tour of the conservative war room, I would have been more than a little insulted by the fact the conservatives want to restrict the media access to their message. I am not sure that move is going to win them any friends amongst the media.

rockfish said...

The CONs would want people to believe that its merely opportunism, that Harpor wants to time this bomb for an election. Why? Perhaps because his goal is to use it in some slimey way to dig up past investigations, the ol' shadow chaser scheme. Of course, that chase would certainly not want to talk about wads of cash being handed to an ex-PM by a German business man.

Anonymous said...

No wonder the reporters at the "War Room" media walk-through/ showcasing burst out laughing when a Harper minion restated the party line: "We don't want an election."

The Cons are becoming quite ridiculous lately... or has it been happening for some while?

Anonymous said...

I'm suspicious as to why it took so long for Zaccardelli to resign. He used the same communications firm as Harper used to get ready for the committee hearings and still made that error that forced him to resign. Harper didn't appear too happy about it either.

I also wonder why police are publicizing the investigation into the sponsorship issue. Reading the Globe and Mail article this morning I realized there are no new names - it's the same people Gomery report brought up.

Something smells in Tory land, that's for sure.

Mark Dowling said...

What was the Dipper thinking when he voted against it the first time I wonder?

wilson61 said...

Timing is everything. Waaaaay better to have an investigation into Liberal coverups (poor Anne) on the eve of an election.

RCMP continues investigating Liberal organizers re Gomery. Sweet.
There's still a chance we will find out which 12 Liberal candidates Cote slipped the $125,000 in $100 bills, of stolen taxpayers money.
Is it possible the Minister of Canadian Unity (at the time) was a one of the 12 lucky fellas?

Steve V said...

wilson

I know it's hard, but please refrain from the dodge and weave, it doesn't work anymore. You realize you didn't even acknowledge the post, but then that is hardly surprising. Thanks for consistently offering nothing but diversions to the conversation, at least you are consistent.

Anonymous said...

Wilson61 seems to get his jollies being a sh**t disturber - the guy needs to get a life.

I do hope he doesn't believe he's impressive.

canuckistanian said...

this is disturbing. i tried googling who the members are but lost patience. i am particularly curious as to who the ndp member on the committee is that voted against allowing the whistleblowers to testify. it is amazing that this is not still frontpage news...i guess the announcements on the harper war-room, aerospace initiative etc are more important issues for the public to know about??? hello media, where are you???

Anonymous said...

Garth Turner probably knows who the committee members were.

Isn't Joe Comartin usually involved with this sort of stuff?

knb said...

Here is the list of members, so I guess Christopherson is the NDP member who voted against.

I can't find the record of votes though. Geez, that site is difficult to navigate.

Steve V said...

It's a nightmare!

knb said...

Steve, did you hear Duffy refer to this incident as a "conservative cover-up"? It was right at the end of the broadcast.

I suppose it's finally getting covered because of Martin's story, (or maybe your blog:), but it sure has taken time.

Meanwhile, I don't think there was anything on the other Brooaaaaaadcast.

Steve V said...

knb

And Fife used the word "hypocrisy" more than once, which was quite surprising. This story might have legs, particularly because the unusual suspects seem interested.

Anonymous said...

The Connection is obvious.
The RCMP top Brass was pivotal in the last election with the announcement of the investigations at the start of the election campaign . the "scandal " was dropped like a “ roadside bomb “ and the shift was crucial to get a minority government for the Tories..
Harper was forever thankful for the crucial ' help ' and was trying to save the skin of Giuliano Zaccardelli
The Connection is glaringly obvious .

We have to strip the VEIL off from the great Phantom of the House ....the Neanderthal philosopher Goon' the ever shifting pretentious Sneaky Morph...
/sorry For not keeping my temper /

marta

knb said...

marta, what you are saying is true, but something is telling me it goes deeper than that. I'm not clear though how even the issues you raised, can be investigated. Oh, wait, perhaps if there was full enquiry as the opposition parties are calling for, the scope of the investigation could be broadened?

Does anyone know if the AG has a responsiblity to follow up on her reports? I know she's the patron saint of Canada and no one should ask questions of her, but I have a few.

marta, losing your temper in a case like this, is a good thing, imo.