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Thursday, February 15, 2007

RCMP Get Their Man - But Only One!

I see the RCMP have laid one solitary charge out of a 14 month criminal investigation around allegations of leaks from the Liberal government Income Trust initiative.

The investigation was announced during the last election by the RCMP and had an obvious negative impact on Paul Martin’s support and some argue changed the outcome of the election. Interesting allegation and hard to prove but serious questions still remain about the judgment of the RCMP around the launching of this investigation. Not that they did it but how they did it.

The RCMP confirmed today that no politicians were involved or facing any charges. No Liberal government political staff was involved or facing any charges. Just a single bureaucrat in Finance is now accused of breach of trust.

Almost makes you want to reinstate the former RCMP Commissioner who resigned over his incompetence on the Maher Arar affair just so you could fire him again for this fiasco.

I know the official line of the RCMP will be they were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t pursue a criminal investigation in the middle of an election. The tragedy is they rarely ever let it be known publicly that they are launching such an investigation in the first place. But to not follow the usual procedure and do a public announcement of a criminal investigation right in the middle of an election is too coincidental for my “sniff test.”

This is not a Catch 22 for the RCMP – it was poor judgment at best and political interference at worst. And I don’t care which it is, either one is reprehensible.

And Prime Minister wants the police to have representation on the committees to make recommendations for political appointments as to who is qualified to be judges now too!

8 comments:

  1. Please see Cherniak's blog for a discussion of this.

    Yes, no liberals were found LEGALLY CULPABLE during the income trust leak (note that it is almost impossible to prove leaks). However, there is a thing called ministerial responsibility. Goodale claimed, despite obvious evidence that a leak occured (i.e. a drastic spike before the announcement) that there was no leak. Goodale should apologize to Cdns for not resigning and allowing the investigation to occur. Better yet, he should have initiated his own internal investigation rather than having it forced upon him by the RCMP.

    The Liberals should learn from how the CPC announced their income trust decision. No leaks.

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  2. ken chapman9:09 am

    eric - you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own FACTS. The RCMP said there is no evidence that a leak occured and it is hard to content as you do "despite obvious evidence that a leak occured."

    The charge laid is againt one (1) department official using information about pending income trust changes for PERSONAL gain.

    RCMP found no leaks after 14 months of investigation. There is no Ministerial responsibility. Surely you can't hold a Minister responsible for alleged criminal activity of departmental bureaucrats.

    For Goodale to instigate an internal departmental investigation concurrent with the RCMP would have done nothing but confuse the situation.

    The RCMP have discretion as to what and when they will engage...as they clearly showed DURING the last electon. I have no quarrel with the RCMP timing or decision to proceed...I do wonder why they made it public during an election - or at anytime for that matter until it is done.

    Announcing such an investigation just warns the culpable and that makes no sense.

    eric - the CPC brain trust has to park the partisanship and live with the facts. It is this kind of wilful blindness to the facts that "justified" Bush invading Iraq.

    BTW - please use your influence with the CPC powers that be and pull the French Attack Ads that misrepresnet the facts as to Goodale's role in this now closed issue.

    To keep those ads going now is not only misleading it is defamatory.

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  3. "The RCMP said there is no evidence that a leak occured and it is hard to content as you do "despite obvious evidence that a leak occured."

    The evidence IS obvious. Anyone with any type of financial background knows there was a leak. Again, there WAS A LEAK. Leaks occur very often in the private sector so it's not unexpected in government.

    The fact that the RCMP cannot prove that a leak occured beyond a reasonable doubt in order to justify a criminal charge is NOT stating that a leak DID NOT occur. To prove that specific persons leaked information is almost impossible. We both know even Brison communicated the information and even apologized for doing so!

    "There is no Ministerial responsibility. Surely you can't hold a Minister responsible for alleged criminal activity of departmental bureaucrats."

    Ah, yes there is. As a Minister, it is your job to have procedure and control in place to ensure that there is no opportunities for fraudsters - this is exactly the plan of action the CPC had when they made their announcement.

    I think the French ads state that there was an RCMP investigation of Goodale regarding the income trust leak. That did occur; maybe there should be a note that there was not enough evidence to justify a criminal conviction.

    The French ads are proving VERY effective and will not be taken down.

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  4. See the bottom of this article for a great discussion on the topic:http://www.macleans.ca/canada/national/article.jsp?content=20070215_134912_10588#commentcommentcomment

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  5. ken chapman10:10 am

    All the systems in the world will not stop a fraudster but they can make it easier to catch them and prove the offence. That is what happened here.

    The RCMP charges proves the procedure and control systems work. Now lets remember the presumption of innocence for this person who has been charged and let the justice system do it job too.

    Is the ecoTrust announcement saying it will be in the March budget but will only happen if the budget passes equivalent to a leak? Based on the fact the Prime Minister has already said how the Quebec money is going to be spent means any person can anticipate the consequences and make a business or investment decision according.

    That seems to amount to a leak by your definition.

    Canadians will see through the spin and politicians should be sure to stop any further misrepresentations of the facts. The damage has been done and people need to move on.

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  6. Anonymous10:14 am

    Eric, the kind of smear that is being applied to Ralph Goodale is entirely unwarranted. It destroys the reputation of all politicians and damages our political system when personal attacks are made that are unjustified. Harper appears to be a hyper-partisan without regard to reality.

    Of course personal attacks are "very effective", as you put it. But where the facts do not justify the attack it is an evil tactic and a dirty trick.

    Harper is at risk for being the kind of guy that looks for the belt and then punches beneath it.

    I am sure you would be apoplectic if Harper's reputation was attacked over a lie. Surely, you are not so partisan to say that it is acceptable if it is effective.

    As an aside, the RCMP do not need to be satisfied "beyond a reasonable doubt" to lay a charge. They need only reasonable and probable grounds. The RCMP cannot even get to that low threshold.

    Harper and the CPC should apologize to Goodale. He is entitled to have his good name back.

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  7. No, the announcement of the EcoTrust is NOT a leak as it is made publicly to EVERYONE. I think you fundamentally misunderstand what insider trading or leaks are. It is where select few people use information that is not publicly known for financial benefit.

    I agree that this issue will not be a big one in the next election.

    Anon, I've stated that Goodale should have intiated his own investigation without being forced to comply with the RCMP order. I have not commented on his mens rea. I believe he should however own up to the fact that there was a leak - as he continually denied the fact even with investors and financial analysts almost unanimously stating that it must have been leaked. He should have sought out those responsible without the NDP going to the RCMP. At best, Goodale can claim mere incompetence.

    Goodale does not need an apology. The CPC claimed there was a leak and, if the charges stick, then it will prove there was in fact a leak and Goodale should have done everything possible to get to the bottom of it.

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  8. ken chapman4:15 pm

    ERIC!!! THERE WAS NO LEAK. There is a criminal breach of trust charge laid against a departmental employee THAT IS ALL.

    You have to accept the facts outlined by the RCMP unless you have personal knowledge to the contrary without real proof to substantiate your statements - you are out of line perpetuating the line there was a "leak."

    I am not going to respond to any misstatement about a "leak" any more. There was no leak and no inappropriate behaviour by any politicos according to the RCMP!

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