Monday, March 03, 2008

Defiant

The two offending articles are still available on the Liberal website. I'm no expert on libel law, but I'm pretty good with common sense. The fact the links are still available suggests that the case against the Liberals maybe more theater than the biggest regret Liberals will ever know (somebody has seen the Godfather once too many times). Ignatieff confirmed that the Liberal hierarchy met with lawyers earlier today.

Obviously, the legal advice to the Liberals was such that they feel comfortable leaving the offending articles online. These aren't stupid people, if this was a clearcut case, the articles would be removed, promptly. I've heard two seperate libel experts today, both of which reacted with hesitation, very unclear if there was a case here. The media can repeat statements made in parliament, is a party website different? That point seems confusing. The basic gist of what I heard, the cases against Dion, Goodale and Ignatieff are flimsly, to the point of being a non-starter. What remains, the website, seems a gray area on certain levels, and the Liberal lawyers must agree, hence the articles stay online. I'm not suggesting there is nothing here, others can speak to that, but all the ejaculate from Conservative supporters today maybe a tad premature ;)

Dion and Dryden both took up the Conservative dare, both spoke outside of the House, both used language that was clear, if careful. It was quite obvious today, Liberals were speaking through the sift of legal editing. The fact the tone remained defiant is another indication that the legal team doesn't see the minefield the Harper bluster argues. If there is a libel chill, the Liberals have yet to catch a cold.

24 comments:

Kai Wolf said...

Distracted by this whole "Cadscam" fiasco from the other occurrences in Parliament is the Liberals defeating their own budgent amendment.

Usually the correct term is that "the government has lost the moral authority to govern". In this case the Liberals have lost the moral authority to be the Official Opposition. And they want to be the GOVERNMENT? Feh! Defeating your own amendment. What a disgraceful, shell of a Party these Liberals have become.

A View From The Left said...

Steve, don't you just love the desperate scrambling of not only Harper but his supporters?

Kai Wolf said...

Well seeing as recent as last week how Steve was decrying the lack of leadership that Dion and the Liberals were exhibing with abstensions, walkouts, supporting the Government, etc, my post above can be hardly described as "scambling."

So what has changed with the Liberal Party since then? Absolutley nothing; in fact, they worked to defeat their own amendment?! Just because there is another high profile story in the news, Liberal supporters can suddenly forget about the massive problems within their own Party? Sorry "A View From The Left", I relly don't think so. "Cadscam" is NOT going to fix what is wrong with the Liberal Party. Using "Cadscam" is only a bandaid solution that is going to hurt like hell when its ripped off only to find the wound underneath is still festering.

wilson said...

Steve, it's all about 'discovery', not about winning a libel suit.

Steve Janke explains it.

Gayle said...

wilson - I am not sure I would take Janke's word on legal matters, but in any event, as I explained to you elsewhere, it is the Conservatives who should be afraid of discovery. They cannot "discover" anything from the liberals that is not relevant to this case, and I should think there would be precious little there.

Harper, on the other hand, will have to testify under oath about these dealings and his knowledge. He will not be able to control the message as he will be subject to cross examination by the liberals' lawyers. He will also have to disclose the names of the people involved, who will then also be cross examined.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I bet Mr. Harper is real scared. Afraid his top-notch libel lawyer is wrong this one time in the last 20 years.(source:Kinsella)
Dream on boys and girls!!!
Those brave Liberals...
oh so daring...
So afraid of an election they didn't support their own budget amendment tonight.
That's leadership...
That's a government in waiting...NOT
I don't know much...
But I do know from what I have seen the last couple of years Mr. Harper is not a stupid man. Only a stupid man would have initiated a libel suit against the Leader of the Opposition party if he had no case.
The lawyer's fees along are going to bury the Lberals.
Me...
I am going to sit back...
Drink some beer...
Eat some popcorn...
Enjoy the show!!!

Gayle said...

Anonies are so cute when they are desperate.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lawyer, but if I were, I might advise a client accused of libel to leave the website up, because removing it might be seen as an admission of guilt...

Cyberwanderer said...

This libel suit have the potential to backfire on Harper. Now all the details will be even more carefully scrutinized under the microscope. It's pretty obvious from the tape that Harper knew financial offer was being made to entice Cadman to vote against Paul Martin's government.

Question pose by Zytaruk was:
Zytaruk: "I mean, there was an insurance policy for a million dollars. Do you know anything about that?" and Harper did not deny it and even confirm the guys are from his party.

I think it's an "offense is best defense" attempt by Harper because such conduct could result in prison sentence.

Steve V said...

"Steve, it's all about 'discovery',"

Learned a new word today I see. That's good.

kai

You've been blind as a bat since this thing started, my apologies if I don't take your pearls of partisan wisdom to heart.


The Cons have finally found their talking point. It's nice to see all the Blogging Tories wake from their self-imposed coma today. I'm willing to lay a bet, when the dust settles on this one, there will be one party with egg on it's face, it won't be the Liberals. Feel free to save this comment for future reference.

Anonymous said...

"The Conservatives challenged the Liberals to make their allegations of bribery outside the Commons, where they are not protected by parliamentary immunity.

Liberal MP Ken Dryden, a lawyer, obliged. He reread his charges to reporters after question period, essentially challenging Harper to add his name to the list of Liberals he has threatened to sue."

wilson said...

My new word has a definition:

'[n] (law) compulsory pretrial disclosure of documents relevant to a case;
enables one side in a litigation to elicit information from the other side concerning the facts in the case.'

Gayle, you don't think Lib's discussed Chuck's bio, amongst themselves, emails, phone calls, QP notes,
after Paul Martin got an advanced copy 12 months ago?
You don't think there might be a paper trail, or maybe that fabled mole has afew goodies.

Do you honestly think that Liberal hands are clean ?
Perhaps Cons have something they WANT to bring out in discovery.
Dippers cleared the decks for it, when they said no to the ethics committee looking into Cadscam.

Something is coming.
And it ain't about winning a libel suit Gayle.

Steve V said...

"Something is coming.
And it ain't about winning a libel suit Gayle."

I love how you spin this whole affair into a potentially damaging one for the Liberals. Hello, hello in there...What a joke.

Gayle said...

"Gayle, you don't think Lib's discussed Chuck's bio, amongst themselves, emails, phone calls, QP notes,
after Paul Martin got an advanced copy 12 months ago?
You don't think there might be a paper trail, or maybe that fabled mole has afew goodies."

No, I don't.

I think the conservatives never intended this go any further than today. Based on past experience, they expected the liberals to back down when confronted with this law suit and Mrs. Cadman's statement. They did not expect an apology or admission of wrongdoing. They just wanted this issue to go away.

What I am trying to explain to you Wilson is that discovery goes both ways. Part of discovery is something called "examinations", where the plaintiff has to be subjected to cross-examination under oath. That means Harper will have to face liberal lawyers, who can ask about all kinds of things.

Gayle said...

So I finally wandered over to Janke's site. He is crowing about how a demand for all the electronic communications will hurt the liberals.

Obviously he does not know the liberals can make the same demand of Harper.

Tomm said...

Steve & Gayle,

The 9:42 Anon is right, this is fine theatre.

Harper is a little too thin skinned for my taste and not open enough to admitting when he or his party may have pushed the envelope. However he is one tough SOB and although he may lose this thing in the court of public opinion, he won't care because he will be walking away from a Knight without arms and legs.

Remember Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

Harper clearly knows that he can't be implicated and he will force the LPC to back down from their personal attacks, even if he takes a few in the process.

Remember, when the LPC tags up, the next into the ring is Bob Rae.

Tomm

Miles Lunn said...

This is all political posturing on Harper's part. He is generally a bully who wants to silence anyone who gets in his way. Considering no PM has ever successfully done this and never mind how politically stupid it will look even if Harper did have a strong case, I suspect negative public reaction will cause him to drop it before it even gets to court.

Anonymous said...

Gayle,

Actually I don't think the Liberals can demand the Conservatives turn anything over. The Liberals have made accusations, Harper denies them and demands the Liberals prove their allegations. The Liberals must back up their assertions with evidence in a court of law. I'm sure all participants will have a chance to testify under oath. Should be interesting.

Jeff said...

Seven Liberals supported THEIR OWN BUDGET AMENDMENT!!!!Hahahahaha

Tomm said...

Jeff,

I know, I know. The LPC does not want people talking about their performance in the House but Harper being such a bad man that he would dare to stand up to the Liberal bullies. How dare he!

I saw the news article, that the LPC wanted to be sure that the NDP didn't back stab them by voting FOR their motion, they decided to ensure it couldn't make it through themselves. Strange way to behave.

Back on topic, we'll be watching this Cadman thing for awhile. I understand that the Ethics Committee has decided not to touch it.

There must be good opposition reasons because you would think they would want to prolong the theatre. Something is going on.

Tomm

Gayle said...

Anon - you are wrong. Civil lawsuits have mutual disclosure rules. The cons will have to comply.

If Harper were charged with a criminal offence what you say is true.

Tomm - we shall see if this thing ever leaves the starting gate. You may not be aware of this, but these letters of intent have been flying around fast and furious from both the liberals and the conservatives. In each case prior to this they have had the intended result - the offending party has toned it down. I believe that is what Harper thought would happen here, and it backfired in spectacular fashion.

Joseph said...

The one thing that did concern me about the website articles has been resolved . . . in my mind at least.

It wasn't the body of the articles at all, particularly the second one which essentially just demands the charges be investigated. If that's libel, I guess we might as well all - regardless of political persuasion - just surgically sew our lips shut ; ).

No, the only part that bugged me at all was the title of the one that simply read "Harper knew of conservative bribery."

And then today I woke up and thought instantly. Well, yes, even with Dona's rather awkward statement yesterday, she did state that she asked Harper about it . . . 2 1/2 years later.

The headline didn't read, "Harper knew about this on X date," or ". . . in specific detail" or any other qualification.

I think Harper would be hard-pressed at this point to say he didn't know about the offer. He may say he didn't believe it, or that he didn't think it constituted bribery, or any number of things. But I think the liberals should be very comfortable with that article, headline and all.

I would think they'd be very pleased that Dona's statement, despite the "backing Harper" because she likes his eyes (now that's definitive, just ask Bush), essentially reinforces that Harper knew.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Personally, I look forward to hearing all about Harper's exhaustive quest to delve into any inappropriate offers from two legitimate representatives of the Conservative party - particularly if under oath.

RuralSandi said...

Actally bullies act like bullies because they don't feel manly and are insecure.

Don't you just love this mature attitude of the CPC MP's - step outside stuff like punks in a sleazy honky tonk bar after they've had a few too many. Class act.

Wouldn't Harper have to prove that Dion, Goodale or Ignatieff wrote the stuff and set it up on the website?

Is Dion so weak? He's taking a lot of punches - waiting for Harper to hang himself. I'd say that was brave to take all the criticisms out there.

Moral authority to be the official opposition? They haven't done anything immoral - what a stupid argument.

Ti-Guy said...

Distracted by this whole "Cadscam" fiasco from the other occurrences in Parliament is the Liberals defeating their own budgent amendment.

He tries to change the channel right off the bat by asserting "distraction."

Oh, you're so adorable, Kai. Can I get you mad enough to send you into a spittle-flecked rage today, or are you back on your meds?