Thursday, March 13, 2008

"This will become the biggest error in judgment in Mr.Dion's career"

What might be getting lost in Harper's statement of claim today, it would appear that the wounded duck has backed down to an extent, or at least that was the characterization of the apolitical, noted Canadian libel lawyer, Peter Jacobsen today:
"This statement of claim does not include them as defendents. So obviously the Conservatives are backing off the allegation that Mr. Dion, or Mr. Ignatieff, or Mr. Goodale knew what was on the website."

"And, that is significant, because it leaves open the question, why did they include them in the notice of libel in the first place, if they didn't have the goods"


Jacobsen also doesn't seem to think this matter belongs in the courts, and offers Harper a suggestion:
"One thing to remember is Mr. Harper has said, one of the reason they are doing this is so Mr. Dion can find out what the truth is at trial. It seems to be that the PM, of all people, has a very large pulpit to tell people what happened, what Mr. Cadman was offered or wasn't in some detail, and that would go a long way to resolving the matter. Once that was in the open, then the Liberal Party could come a long and say, "okay now that you've explained it, we're no longer asserting that you're involved in bribery, and that's the end of it"...it would be better for the Canadian people I would suggest"

"Legal Eagle", Joe Comartin of the NDP sees the same thing:
"I must admit, it's very surprising, and maybe a good sign in terms of lowering the temperature, that Mr.Dion, Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Goodale who had been named in the notice, haven't been named in the lawsuit...So, they're not on the hook personally, so maybe that's a sign that the Prime Minister is backing off"

So, now that we start to peel the banana here, it would seem this isn't the "biggest error in judgement" Mr. Dion has made, in fact he isn't even part of the suit. Quite a different circumstance, compared to Harper's posturing a couple weeks ago. And, to all those Con apologists, just itching to watch the Liberals get their's, get comfy:
Jacobsen:

"The thing to remember, a libel suit is going to take MANY YEARS to come to fruition, likely one election, maybe two before this gets heard in a court of law, so one wonders if this was the best to deal with this dilemna"

One other thing to keep in mind, someone like Duffy (who has tried to ignore this story) was forced to devote 15 minutes of his program to discuss the matter, because of the legal case. This case (which will probably never see a courtroom, or when it does it will be so old nobody will care) keeps the Cadman story in the news, more headlines, without giving the Conservatives any positive development. The Liberals are not backing down, the website remains, they rise everyday in QP, so the legal threat does nothing, nobody has the "chill". I suppose people can take some comfort in the unknown, years away, but this lawsuit hurts the Conservatives when it matters, today, tomorrow, a few weeks, a few months. The libel case adds oxygen to a story that has nothing but bad news for the Conservatives.

43 comments:

No whore like an old tory whore said...

Precedents are a big deal in law.

There is the precedent of Brian Mulroney, who in 1993 and 1994 was on the receiving end of three envelopes containing many thousands of dollars, and who in 1995 started a libel action, and who in 1996 gave sworn testimony that he only had a couple cups of coffees with Schreiber.

So there is the precedent of "When seriously compromised, attack."

Kai Wolf said...

I look forward to the proceedings. This will be easy enough for the Liberals to defend against. All they have to do is provide some evidence to back up their claims. Well, good luck with that. Liberal voters will no doubt thank the Liberal fundraising canvassers for helping them donate tons of their cash to Harper that the Liberals so desperatley need.

Paladiea said...

Clearly Kai Wolf does not understand law.

If they want to go for the truth defence, then yes they need to back up their claims with evidence.

However, if they want to argue fair comment (which they ARE) they just have to argue that the comments were relevant to the subject at hand. Cash stuffed envelopes? Sounds like bribery. And THAT'S

Paladiea said...

... fair comment.

Steve V said...

"I look forward to the proceedings."

LOL.

Steve V said...

This is just a pathetic part of the story, that a PM would sanction this kind of disinformation:

The lawsuit alleges that the digital copy of that tape “is incomplete with the result that Mr. Harper's answers as reflected on the digital recording are not provided in their entire context.”

But the statement of claim does not explain what was missing from the recording. The publisher of Mr. Zytaruk's book, Like a Rock, The Chuck Cadman Story, said again yesterday that the tape is complete. And the Conservatives will not say if they have their own copy of the interview or a transcript.


They have no credibility, that they can't accept the tape, speaks volumes about its content. To put that tape into the suit, it actually admits that they have to discredit it. Nothing incriminating, then what's THE BIG DEAL? They can't handle the words, so they have to rough up the source.

Kai Wolf said...

However, if they want to argue fair comment (which they ARE) they just have to argue that the comments were relevant to the subject at hand.

So accusing the Prime Minister of actively committing a crime, when the Liberals don't have a shred of credible evidence, is "relevant to the subject at hand"? Its "fair comment?" LMAO.

Good Lord the Tories are going to have fun taking the Liberal's money. :D

Paladiea said...

The Liberals said that Harper offered financial considerations in exchange for a vote. Something Harper HAS NOT DENIED. He says he acted ethically but has not clarified. Harper is also on tape saying that considerations were made. I'm no lawyer but speculation on what Harper might have done does sound like fair comment.

I hope reality doesn't sting too hard Kai.

Kai Wolf said...

I hope reality doesn't sting too hard Kai.

I bet you do, Pal. I bet you do.

Paladiea said...

Oh clever. Gold star for you.

Kai Wolf said...

Oh clever. Gold star for you.

Heh.

knb said...

Thanks for that clip Steve, I didn't catch all of Duff or Newman tonight.

We're agreed on what flimsy ground the PM now walks. I'm especially grateful that the Lib's have not backed down.

Kai, the Con's have yet to provide a shred of evidence that it didn't happen. I'm not speaking about the inane responses in the House, I'm speaking to evidence. If you can prove what you suggest Cadman said, can you also prove what his widow, daughter and son in law said is untrue?

phil said...

paladia,

go read the statement of claim,

which includes the actual statements made on the Liberal website.

Sorry, but its worse than you think.

Much.

Much.

Worse.

I too will enjoy watching all of those liberal donor checks go directly into Harper's hands for the foreseeable future.

harold said...

KNB,

All the Cons have to prove is:

1)that the statements were made,

and

2) they were harmful.

The Libs have to prove truth.

He who asserts must prove. Although I can understand that you think "the Libs can assert, and it is the truth until disproven" that only exists in you comfy liberal cocoon. Here in the real world, the liberal are in real trouble with this claim.

Tomm said...

Steve,

Kai Wolf is wise beyond his years.

I also saw Duffy and thought Peterson and Comartin's comments were both good ones.
Dominic was clearly over his head. "school yard bullying?" the CPC "backing down" and "indimidating people".

LeBlanc is a petty thug.

Harper has a case. The Liberal's have to defend themselves. Hopefully this will stop the low blows from the Liberal Party.

The "higher road" that Dion is clearly taking. I love it when LPC supporters and the MSM try to spin the Liberal's as the hurt party.

Tomm

Paladiea said...

I read the statement of claim. What they're hinging all of this on is the phrase "Harper Knew of Conservative Bribery"

A fairly flimsy case for defamation to begin with even when fair comment is NOT invoked.

"much much worse" indeed! LOL

The rest of the statement reads like a typical SLAPP.

Paladiea said...

The Libs have to prove truth.

No they don't. They can also prove fair comment, as I've been trying to explain to other people here.

Tomm said...

paladiea,

If that's the case, then why did Peterson say that the CPC has a decent case?

Doesn't the LPC have to show that there is evidence that Harper was part of a criminal enterprise? And if they can't, that they have libeled him?

I think I'm missing your point.

Tomm

Kai Wolf said...

Kai, the Con's have yet to provide a shred of evidence that it didn't happen. I'm not speaking about the inane responses in the House, I'm speaking to evidence.

See KNB, the beauty of a libel case is that the burden of proof is on the defendant (Liberals) to prove the statements they uttered were true; which is the most likeliest defense. The veracity of which, by the way, will inevitably come out in discovery anyway, to which BOTH parties will have to comply to. I hardly think that Harper, knowing this, is going to risk going this drastic route if he didn't seriously think that the risk was not worth taking.

If you can prove what you suggest Cadman said, can you also prove what his widow, daughter and son in law said is untrue?

As for what Cadman stated, well, that is first hand information that we've all seen with our own eyes; nothing has to be "suggested
about it. As for what Cadman's widow, daughter and son in law have stated what Cadman told them, they may or may not be mistaken about what Cadman told them. However, that hardly matters. In court, second hand information like that just isn't going to measure up to what Cadman himself has proven to have stated first hand.

Simply put, the Liberals have severly overreached here. They are going to pay a hefty price for that presumptive arrogance when they can hardly afford to; seeing as one Liberal official has stated that they are considering asking the Commons to pay for their legal fees.

Paladiea said...

Doesn't the LPC have to show that there is evidence that Harper was part of a criminal enterprise? And if they can't, that they have libeled him?

You clearly are missing my point. From a standpoint of "truth" the conservative have a case, but the Libs are arguing FAIR COMMENT as in, that line of discussion is reasonable given the circumstances.

In that case, the Libs have a stronger case than the Conservatives.

Kai Wolf said...

"Fair comment". Heh. So accusing the Prime Minister of a crime, with absolutley no first hand evidence or information to back that up is........"fair comment".

Good Lord I hope the Liberals try that.

Paladiea said...

But they didn't directly accuse him of a crime. They said he knew of the bribery. Knowing something happened is not necessarily a crime.

Koby said...

It does not take long to search the headlines in google news to see that such titles abound.

What you do not see every day is headlines such these

"The NDP Caucus Supports Child Pornography?"

"Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography?"

and in the body of the text this

"Today, Martin says he's against child pornography. But his voting record proves otherwise,"

And what did Harper say when asked about the headline.

Oh yeah, he said this. "Asked about the 'taste' of the headline, Harper said: "What's in bad taste is the Liberal Party's record on child pornography.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1087594937300_83004137/?hub=TopStories

I think the Liberals would have better case if the decide to sue.

Kai Wolf said...

But they didn't directly accuse him of a crime. They said he knew of the bribery. Knowing something happened is not necessarily a crime.

"Not necessarily", eh? All we've heard over the past month is Liberals blathering about a tape that "proves" Harper is complicit in bribery because Tory officals were sent to bribe Cadman. Now we have you saying that what Harper knew about Tories bribing an MP for his vote is "not necessarily a crime". Well pardon me Pal, but being accused of being complicit in trying to bribe an MP for his vote IS being accused of having committing a crime.

Nice try Pal, but the Liberals aren't going to be backpeddling out of THAT one so easily. Harper was absolutley correct - Dion made the biggest mistake of his political life. And now he is going to drag the Liberals down with him. That is, if the Liberals don't get rid of their deadweight leader first.

Paladiea said...

"Not necessarily", eh? All we've heard over the past month is Liberals blathering about a tape that "proves" Harper is complicit in bribery because Tory officals were sent to bribe Cadman. Now we have you saying that what Harper knew about Tories bribing an MP for his vote is "not necessarily a crime"

So if all those accusations were so blatant, why didn't Harper cite them in the lawsuit? No one said anything about proving anything. If you stick to the allegations outlined in the statement of claim, the conservatives do not have a leg to stand on.

Paladiea said...

Also, Dion WAS NOT NAMED in the suit. So how was this a mistake for Dion?

Gayle said...

"All the Cons have to prove is:

1)that the statements were made,

and

2) they were harmful."

Nice try, but no.

They also have to prove the statements were not protected. Kai and Tomm can go on and on about all the nasty things said in the House, but the liberals are not liable for those (as Harper well knows, considering the lies about the tape he told in the House today). So they are left with a headline.

As for the second point, hard to see what kind of damages are available when Harper's reputation proceeds him...:).

By the way, when Stockwell Day committed actual libel by calling a defence lawyer a pedophile, all he had to pay was $60 thousand. I would guess if the liberals are found liable for this nasty, horrible headline, they may have to pay $100. I wonder what charity Harper will choose.

burlivespipe said...

What a bunch of pinhead CONs. Talking points ad nauseum. It's their new lullabies, with Easter Bunnies and cows jumping over the moon.
I completely concur with Paladiea and note that his statement: "But they didn't directly accuse him of a crime. They said he knew of the bribery. Knowing something happened is not necessarily a crime."
... can also be confirmed by Dona Cadman's press release where she said that Harper was not involved. She went to him TWO YEARS AGO with this information, and he 'investigated it' nudge-nudge but failed to report it to the police. So he knew of it indeed.

clh said...

I agree with Steve's comments discrediting the incomplete tape statement.

I recall when the book was up on the web, it contained the taped interview and said something about Harper going to his car after the driveway interview, then coming back to say something more. I don't recall the details. Does anyone else?? It might have been his final statement about "to replace financial considerations", but when I listened to the tape I couldn't detect any break. One possibility is that there was some final exchange (after Harper reconsidered what he said) which is not on the tape. It wouldn't change the content of the tape, but it would give Harper an excuse to say the tape was incomplete.

My point is, it is certainly possible that there is some (irrelevant) grain of "truth" to the incomplete tape talk, but it doesn't change the fact that Harper has to answer to what is on the tape.

Joseph said...

We must all remember to be kind to Kai, who is obviously suffering from, "I need desperately for it to be true that the liberals are horrible so if I yell, counter, crow, argue, snap at anyone who opposed me in addition to stretching the facts to fit my imaginings of what I want this to be about then maybe I can squint and believe it to be true."

This, as you know, is a psychosis in which actual reality is malleable to whatever you wish to believe intensely.

No matter what rational argument you may have, it will not change the "reality" in which the sufferers live. So be kind. And if all fails, simply reassure the sufferer by saying something like, "You're totally right. I'm shaking in my boots at the truth you've uncovered. Obviously everyone will soon understand the situation just as you do."

It eases their pain.

ALW said...

Fair comment would have been “Harper must come clean on what he knew about Cadman offer”

Fair comment would have been “Did Harper know about the offer to Chuck Cadman?”

Fair comment would have been “Why won’t Harper tell us what he knew?”

Saying “Stephen Harper knew about a bribe to Chuck Cadman” is explicitly stating that he personally had knowledged of a criminal act being undertaken. That’s not quite the same thing.
When “questions are raised” about XYZ, it doesn’t give license to make very serious allegations, without any proof at all, under the rubric of fair comment.

Joseph said...

The moment Dona Cadman asked Harper about the million dollar insurance policy offered by legitimate conservative representatives prior to the confidence vote, he knew something, didn't he?

The key question in my mind is why are the conservatives always keying in on the May 19 meeting just prior to the vote itself? I find that very suspicious since it is very clear from Dona Cadman's earlier statements on this (prior to her being moved to a secured location apparently since she doesn't speak at all now) that the conversation must have happened earlier.

In one of the initial conversations she had with reporters, she indicated that at the time Cadman told her at their home of the insurance offer that insulted him she was not sure how he planned to vote on the confidence measure.

But if the conversation he conveyed to her had occurred on May 19, there would be no mystery. She would KNOW how he voted because the vote would have already taken place.

That is such an obvious incongruity that I am really surprised the media are letting it slide. It is clear the conservatives are trying to downplay - or erase - the notion that any earlier meetings with Cadman took place.

I believe they are simply hoping to focus on the one meeting in which they know they did no wrong, hoping to bury any earlier meetings in which there actions were highly questionable if not illegal.

RuralSandi said...

Apparently the Libs have 20 days to respond.

Harper claims to have proof for court - really, why doesn't he prove it now and clear his name?

It just doesn't smell right.

So, sue - perhaps, if for any reason Harper wins, we could take up a collection for the Liberal party to pay. I'm willing.

Too bad they couldn't go back in time and bring up all the tapes/videos, etc. of interviews of the CPC MP's and scrums when Harper was in opposition and during the last campaign - lots of material there I'll bet. Someone should try it - it would be interesting.

Steve V said...

The Con supporters don't seem to want to address the comments made by the libel lawyer. One quote I left out, was the part where he said these type of things are a drain on both sides, rarely worth the cost. So, people can go ON and ON, grasp at straws about how this will hurt the Liberals, but according to an expert, who isn't sloshed on Con-aid, it's a no win for everyone.

As for Kai, it has proven itself delusional from the beginning, so to be frank, I don't even bother to read the comments for the most part. Who cares, what else are they going to say, it's just mindless nonsense.

clh said...

The only poll I saw showed that 44% of Canadians thought this should be investigated and I suspect that number has increased, rather than decreased. Harper missed his window of opportunity to explain himself to Canadians who have heard his own words on tape and cannot fathom any reason why the Cadman family would fabricate such charges. Mulroney won a libel suit, but how many Canadians believe Mulroney did not do something corrupt?

Harper has pulled a lot of stops to squelch and silence this matter, and for some reason, the NDP has done their part too. However, Harper didn't do what a completely innocent person would do, simply tell a full and detailed truth immediately, explaining his own past words. That window is gone now, Harper's reputation is tarnished, and even if he is able to dodge all legal bullets, many Canadians will view him as guilty. All this bluster about evidence will be revealed. Harper is a politician who understands it is not the legal challenges you need to win, it is the minds of voters. Unless, of course, he really is scared about prison -- then, I could understand the legalities taking priority over winning votes. The Liberals are right to let Harper sue away.

Steve V said...

clh

"The only poll I saw showed that 44% of Canadians thought this should be investigated"

Actually 44% thought the allegations true, 35% didn't, and the rest didn't respond. The majority of people that answered believe the allegations.

Interestingly, when you ask if Harper should sue, the numbers erode further, even some that don't believe the allegations, still don't think Harper should sue-62% against, only 29% in favor.

Steve V said...

kai

If you find that your comments aren't getting posted, it's because I put on the IQ filter. I set it as low as I could, 90, for your benefit. Keep trying, something is bound to make it. Fingers crossed. If it's any consolation, I once had a ape make a comment, so that should give you a reasonble goal.

Calgary Junkie said...

The strategic mistake the Liberals made was in playing this "Cadman" card before a general election. You guys should have been a bit more patient, and sprung this surprise in the middle of a campaign, preferably in the final week. Kind of like how you sprung the Randy White quotes in the last days of the 2004 campaign.

Steve V said...

junkie

Wasn't it the media who broke the story?? Dion and Ignatieff are both on record saying they learned about it when it broke, nobody was sitting on anything.

I do however think "what if", because had the Liberals committed to voting down the budget, this would all be happening during the campaign, probably a worse environment, because of the feeding frenzy a campaign brings. Bad kharma.

clh said...

Calgary junkie, I disagree. When this story first broke, I thought it sounded too fantastical. Then the tape came out, and I knew this was very serious. But, it has only been watching the Conservatives' actions and statements over time, that has convinced me how damaging they realize this is, and so all this taken together has convinced me Harper is guilty. A week during an election, with all the hype surrounding that, would not have been good enough. Once voters think a sitting PM is personally corrupt, rather than just irresponsible so that corruption goes on, that just doesn't go away.

Calgary Junkie said...

Steve V: Dion and Ignatieff are both on record saying they learned about it when it broke, nobody was sitting on anything.

Paul Martin and (supposedly) Mark Marrisen and others had copies of a draft of the book for over a year.

You guys just needed to co-ordinate this whole thing better. Defeat the budget, bring out the book and tape, and sit back as Harper struggles to deal with it in the middle of a campaign.

clh said...

That is a good question, who had copies of the book. When this story first broke and the fact that Paul Martin wrote an introduction came out, the NDP wanted the Ethics Committee to investigate (as did the Liberals) and they wanted it to include questioning Paul Martin about exactly what he knew when. Then, within a week that just died and the NDP changed to not wanting any investigations except for the RCMP and Martin was no longer mentioned. Why? Did he write an intro without actually ever getting the book? Did he only get part of the book? Did he read what he got? Who else got it? I agree these are all valid questions and the fact that the NDP just dropped them and they barely get mentioned anymore, leaves me puzzled.

Steve V said...

junkie

I appeal to your common sense. If the Liberals sat on this for a year, if it was widely known, do you actually believe nobody would leak it? Remember who were are talking about here ;)