The Conservative government came under fire yesterday for its decision to censor passages of the Arar commission report that many believe were merely embarrassing to the U.S. and Canadian security officials, and not vital to national security...
ministers" approved the words to be censored.
The government refused to say yesterday which ministers made the decision, although it is likely that Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, in charge of CSIS and the RCMP, was one.
Vic Toews, who was justice minister and attorney-general when the commission's report was drafted, was legally responsible for the decision, but it is unclear if his successor, Rob Nicholson, had a role as the case was argued in court after he entered the post in January.
"The Prime Minister was not involved," Sandra Buckler, Mr. Harper's communications director, said in an e-mail.
Mr. Cavalluzzo said that he did not know precisely who in government ordered the passages censored, but he was told it was approved at the highest levels. "I don't know if the cabinet would be, but the Prime Minister and the relevant ministers would be involved.
The fact that Buckler finds it necessary to immediately distance the Prime Minister from the emerging controversy speaks volumes. Me thinks thou dost protest too much Sandra. If Harper didn't know what was happening, on the censorship front, to my mind it will represent the first occasion during his tenure where he was out of the loop on anything. I am willing to take wagers, with generous odds.
You know that Harper doesn't take responsibility - it's the Liberals' fault, his ministers' fault - never his.
He's a very weak man.
Yeah, I read that this morning and laughed. I wonder if Sandra goes home at night and cries?
And this is where Harper's media control obsession comes back to bite him in the rear, because as you so rightly said Steve V "The same PMO that demands everything pass Harper's desk for approval, prior to any public disclosure. And yet, on a highly sensitive issue, with international ramifications, we are to believe that Stephen Harper was out of the loop. Please:" AND how well this is known out in the wider electorate thanks to Harper actions like making when Cabinet meets secret and most recently using the RCMP to protect the CPC caucus retreat from the media even in the public places like the hotel lobby while leaving all other members of the public alone, despite this *NOT* being a normal function of the RCMP pre-Harper.
You are right Steve V that the speed that Buckler is trying to distance the PMO from this matter despite the clear absurdity of her claim indicates that they were involved and are now worried that will cause them political damage. It is not like they have clean hands regarding Arar given the willingness of Harper, Day, and Ablonski to assume he was a terrorist while in Syrian hands and indeed used the Liberals trying to get him returned to Canadian custody as "proof" of how "soft on terrorism" the Libs supposedly truly were as recorded in Hansard. This is something the CPC leadership has been repeatedly wrong about and appears to be so yet again, and worse may have placed partisan political considerations as "national security" simply to hide the fact his govenrment was acting first partisanly instead of responsibly. Not that this would surprise me, as I have said many times before anyone that could at the minimum cover-up the Grewal recordings fraud (giving the benefit of the doubt that Harper was not involved from the first editing onwards since that unlike his covering it up has yet to be proven, but he surely knew the editing was done by CPC hands since they had control the whole time despite his subsequent denials of any CPC wrongdoing in this matter) especially after using it for weeks ot make partisan hay out of is able to do pretty much anything IMHO.
I am sure everything goes through the Prime Minister as he demands that everything that is done, has to be okayed by him. It is the same with the Air India case.
Remember, he is a one- man show.
The latest blame-speech - regarding the Vancouver shootings Harper says it's because the Liberal senate haven't passed the minimum sentence bill - huh?
We already have a minimum sentence for pre-meditated murder - "life" without eligibility to apply for parole for 25 years - how much longer than life does Harper think would end this kind of crime?
In denying, the PMO will just give the story more legs, as reporters try to sniff out the truth. This might turn out to be another self-inflicted wound, akin to the detainee issue.
I am certain those Conservatives who claimed Paul Martin must have been involved up to his neck in the Quebec Sponsorship Program will be trotting out all of the arguments Liberals made to deny such assertion when they try to deny Mr. Harper's involvement in this situation.
I am always amazed at how repetitive is politics. It is always the same old story, just different players.
In fairness, it cannot be proven that Mr. Harper had a hand in the blacking out of sections of the Arar Report.
To claim his style as some kind of proof is as valid as saying Mr. Martin being a senior cabinet minister and a senior minister from Quebec is proof of his involvement in Sponsorship.
More likely, Mr. Harper gave his ministers their marching orders and left it up to them to implement them. Or for that matter, Mr. Harper has created such an atmosphere of secrecy within his government, whenever it involves issues that may embarrass it, that he did not need to give specific instructions.
Which of course still does not speak well to Mr. Harper or his government.
Then again, we cannot ignore the perception that his style has created, which could give any assertions of his personal involvement legs, even if it is probably not true.
Regardless of whether it actually passed by Harper's desk, I think that Steve's point in the subsequent commentary is bang on:
In denying, the PMO will just give the story more legs, as reporters try to sniff out the truth.
It is very repetitive, but it is more striking when you have a government that is so pius in claiming the moral high ground. Conservatives, both here and in American, tend to fall farther, because they look down on others, as though they don't share common human failings.
I agree, that this may never be proven, I'm just not buying, based on my own intuition.
Be careful what you wish for.
The evil PMHarper may be persuaded to release more info, later.
Dion was Chretiens minister of federal/provincial relations at the time.
"Let's be clear: We're talking about events that occurred under the previous government. So I would suggest to you that in terms of asking what actually happened, those questions would be best directed to Mr. Dion," he said.
"Be careful what you wish for.
The evil PMHarper may be persuaded to release more info, later.
Dion was Chretiens minister of federal/provincial relations at the time."
If you don't think Conservative minions have been pouring over the entire file for months, you live in a dream world. If Stephen Harper is sitting on one sentence that damages the former Liberal government, I'll stop blogging.
Now we know why we haven't seen Rona for months. In Harper's government, the minister responsible for federal/provincial relations is just a cover for minister for cia relations...
Yeah, I thought that was kind of funny when I read it this morning. I distinctly remember furrowing my brow. The PM unaware of something like this? The micromanaging Steve Harper nodding off for a nanosecond? Like hell.
Now both he and Martin look like unindicted co-conspirators.
I wonder if Sandra goes home at night and cries? from abcer in toronto
How can she cry? You need a heart and feelings to be able to weep.
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