Little Fish in a Giant pond

Friday, March 28, 2008

Could Stephen Harper go to prison?

Introduction:
I think my partisan affiliations are pretty well known by those in the blogging community that already know me, and are already posted on this blog, but given the important nature of what I want to write about in today’s post, I feel morally bound to declare that I am writing from a position of bias. I am a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, I have worked on Parliament Hill for a liberal MP, and have volunteered to help liberal candidates campaign at both the federal and provincial levels. I have also left comments on other people’s blogs in which I state that I believe Stephen Harper to be guilty of an offence under Section 119 of the Criminal Code. I think that sums it up pretty clearly.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I will do my best to perform an objective legal analysis of the case. Because I come from a position of bias, I have decided to write this post kind of as if I was writing a legal memo to the assistant crown attorney who was in charge of prosecuting this case. Just the same, I will also try to write this post so that anyone without a legal education can understand it.
Criminal law is one of my favourite domains of law. As a third year law student, I look forward to someday practicing in this area of law, and for this reason I’ve made a point of taking as many classes that relate to criminal law as possible. As such, I’d like to take the occasion to analyze the evidence and the facts that have come out during the whole Cadman scandal, to ultimately determine whether or not criminal charges could be brought against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
It should be noted that any evidence or facts referred to in this post are drawn entirely from reports published by the media. We don’t know what other evidence for or against the Prime Minister may be in the hands of the RCMP officers that are currently investigating the matter, nor do we know what other evidence has yet to be uncovered.

*****************************************************
The facts:
A few weeks ago, a biography of the late Chuck Cadman, a former Reform, Canadian Alliance, and Independent MP was released. According to the book, shortly before he died, Cadman revealed to his wife Dona (who is a candidate for the Conservative party in her husband’s former riding of Surrey North, B.C.) that members of the Conservative Party had offered him a one million dollar life insurance policy, in exchange for voting to bring down the Martin government by voting against a budget bill on May 19th of 2005. These claims were later backed up by Cadman’s daughter and son-in-law. Cadman rejected the alleged offer and the Martin government survived for a few more months.
The whole thing would not likely have gone any further except that the book’s author, Tom Zytaruk, also produced a tape of a recorded conversation between himself and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in which the PM admitted to having had knowledge of an offer for “financial considerations”. I found a portion of the transcript of the tape online here. Shortly after that, another tape surfaced, in which Chuck Cadman himself was giving an interview for a radio show and stated that the Conservatives made him a financial offer of some kind (See the full story here).

Admissibility of evidence:

Let’s start with the alleged statement made by Mr. Cadman to his wife. In order to determine that evidence is admissible, it must first be proven to be relevant to the matter at hand. There is no doubt that the alleged statement would be relevant in a trial against the two Conservative Party officials, who are accused of having delivered the offer to Mr. Cadman, but Prime Minister Harper is not directly implicated by this evidence, there may be some question as to whether or not it can be used against him because it does not prove that he had knowledge of the alleged offer. If all three are being tried at once, this won’t be a problem, but the defence is almost certain to request that the trials be severed for exactly this reason, and they are likely to get it, so I will assume as much. The Crown could counter the defence’s argument by reminding the court that the tape proves beyond a doubt that the PM knew of an offer, and the only purpose of the statements are to prove the details of that offer.
Assuming that the Crown is able to convince the court that this evidence is relevant, they will also have to overcome the fact that this is a textbook example of hearsay evidence. The general rule is that hearsay evidence must be excluded, but this is not a strict rule. Hearsay evidence can either be admitted through one of the existing exceptions that have been recognized by the courts over the years, or on a case-by-case basis according to necessity and reliability (See: R.v. Khan (1990), 59 C.C.C. (3d) 92 (S.C.C.)). The only existing exception that even comes close to this case is that of the dying declaration, but this is limited to statements made regarding the circumstances that lead to the person who allegedly made the declaration’s death (For example: If A tells B that he was shot in the chest by C, then B can testify to this in court). That is not the case in this matter.
So if the Crown wants to use the testimony of Mr Cadman’s family, they will have to satisfy the court that this evidence meets the necessity and reliability test. I think that the hearsay evidence in this case has a good chance of meeting the criteria for necessity. The Supreme Court, in R. v. Smith, listed the unavailability of the person who allegedly made the statement in question due to their having either gone missing or died as one of the possible factors that could be used in determining whether or not hearsay evidence is necessary. It is also important to take into account that a trial judge has a lot of discretion based on the facts of each individual case to determine whether or not the hearsay evidence is necessary (See: R. v. Parrott). In this case, the tape of Stephen Harper’s voice is a double edged sword, because the presence of other strong evidence means that the hearsay evidence may not be necessary, however the defence cannot really make this argument without conceding that the statements made by Harper put him on the hook.
As far as reliability of the hearsay evidence in this case is concerned, the court can consider just about anything, such as any factors that could negate the accuracy of the alleged statement, and whether there are any substitutes that might make up for the fact that it was not made under oath, and that the accused could not cross-examine the person who is alleged to have made the statement. This aspect of the test is going to be much trickier for the Crown. The defence may raise the argument that because the statements allegedly occurred shortly before Mr. Cadman died of cancer, a time in which he would very likely have been suffering a great deal, he may have been on heavy doses of painkillers. It’s not clear what kind of effect this might have had on his ability to recall the alleged bribery offer. If the Crown is to have any chance of introducing this evidence they will have to demonstrate that Mr. Cadman was of sound mind when he is alleged to have made these statements. As for the lack of oath or cross-examination, the Crown could argue that Mr. Cadman was near death when he is alleged to have made the statements in question, and had absolutely no reason to lie. Furthermore, as a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, Dona Cadman has every reason in the world not to want to make up stories that could incriminate members of her party. All in all, I think that the statements have about a 50/50 chance of passing the test for admissible hearsay evidence.
If the court chooses to exclude the testimony of Mr. Cadman’s family, all is not lost for the Crown, as they still have the tapes. Since Prime Minister Harper was caught on tape admitting that he had knowledge of an offer for “financial considerations” to encourage Cadman to vote against the budget bill, counsel for the defence will have a pretty tough time convincing the court that it is not relevant, so it will almost definitely be admissible.
The defence may attempt to exclude the tape based on the grounds that it violates Prime Minister Harper’s right against self-incrimination, which is recognized by the Supreme Court as a principle of fundamental justice for the purposes of Section 7 of the Charter. I don’t see much of an argument in this case, since the right against self-incrimination exists for two reasons: 1) to protect against unreliable confessions; and 2) to protect against abuses by the state (See: R.v. Fitzpatrick, para 43). Since there was no coercion here, it is doubtful the PM could claim that his “confession” is unreliable. And of course since he was being interviewed by a journalist, there is no concern of there being any kind of abuse by the state, unless the defence can show that Zytaruk was in some way acting on behalf of the state, which is doubtful. It looks to me like the tape will not be excluded.
I will now turn to the second tape, the one containing Mr. Cadman’s statements that the Conservatives made him an offer. This too is hearsay evidence because it is “an out of court statement that is offered to prove the truth of its contents”. That is to say, it is being introduced to prove that members of the Conservative party made an offer of a financial nature to Chuck Cadman in an attempt to buy his vote. The court will have to take into consideration that it does not allow the accused to confront his accuser by means of cross-examination. In this case, I think it is much more likely that it will be admitted under the general rule of flexibility. Like the statements made by Mr. Cadman to his wife and daughter, the tape of the radio show interview is necessary because Mr. Cadman is no-longer alive to testify in court, but the tape is also very likely to pass the reliability test as well, because there can be no doubt that he made the statements since they were captured on tape, and because once again, Mr. Cadman had no reason to lie.

Is there sufficient evidence for a conviction?

If this matter went to trial, Prime Minister Harper would be charged under Section 119 of the Criminal Code, which reads as follows:
119. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence
and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who
(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of
Parliament or of the
legislature of a province, directly or indirectly,
corruptly accepts, obtains,
agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for
themselves or another person, any
money, valuable consideration, office,
place or employment in respect of
anything done or omitted or to be done or
omitted by them in their official
capacity, or
(b) directly or
indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a
person mentioned in paragraph
(a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person,
any money, valuable
consideration, office, place or employment in respect of
anything done or
omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their
official capacity.

It would not matter if the defence was able to prove that the Prime Minister did not actively participate in the offence because he would still be considered a party to the offence under Section 21 of the Criminal Code, which states the following:

21. (1) Every one is a party to an offence who
(a) actually commits it;
(b) does or omits to do anything for the purpose
of aiding any person to commit it; or
(c) abets any person in committing
it.
Common intention
(2) Where two or more persons form an intention in common to
carry out an unlawful purpose and to assist each other therein and any one of
them, in carrying out the common purpose, commits an offence, each of them who
knew or ought to have known that the commission of the offence would be a
probable consequence of carrying out the common purpose is a party to that
offence.

Section 119 is very clear. It is illegal to offer money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment to a member of parliament in respect of anything done in their official capacity. The tapes in this case are pretty damning evidence.
It should be noted that under Section 11(d) of the Charter and S.6(1)a) of the Criminal Code, the accused in any criminal trial is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. For almost every criminal offence, it is necessary to prove two elements, the Actus Reus (guilty act), and the Mens Rea (Guilty mind, or guilty spirit). For this case, the Crown must therefore prove that an offer to pay money or other valuable consideration was made to Chuck Cadman for the purpose of securing his vote against the budget bill, and that Prime Minister Harper was aware of this plan. The following is a portion of the Zytaruk interview, and in my opinion is the meat of the Crown’s case:

Zytaruk: "You said (inaudible) beforehand and stuff? It wasn't even a party guy,
or maybe some friends, if it was people actually in the party?"
Harper: "No,
no, they were legitimately representing the party. I said don't press him. I
mean, you have this theory that it's, you know, financial insecurity and, you
know, just, you know, if that's what you're saying, make that case but don't
press it. I don't think, my view was, my view had been for two or three weeks
preceding it, was that Chuck was not going to force an election. I just, we had
all kinds of our guys were calling him, and trying to persuade him, I mean, but
I just had concluded that's where he stood and respected that."
Zytaruk:
"Thank you for that. And when (inaudible)."
Harper: "But the, uh, the offer
to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose
due to an election."

In the above statement, the Prime Minister makes it clear that he not only knew of an offer, but that he authorized it. While he denies having any knowledge of the exact details of the offer, he does state that the offer was to replace financial considerations that he might lose in the event of another federal election. It doesn’t really matter whether the PM intended to offer Cadman a life insurance policy or funds to cover his electoral expenses. The fact remains that he was aware that two of his representatives were trying to offer money to Cadman, a member of parliament, in order to get him to vote with them.
All of the other evidence just drives more nails into the defence’s coffin. The statements made to Dona Cadman, her daughter and son-in-law, all suggest that an offer was made, and that it included a million dollar life insurance policy. If their testimony is excluded it is no great loss to the Crown, but if it is not excluded, it will likely hurt the defence. Like the testimony of his family, the taped radio interview of Chuck Cadman will also likely hurt the defence, but it should be noted that during the interview Cadman himself seemed to trivialize the gravity of the offer, when he stated the following: "There was certainly some, you know, some offers made and some things along those lines about not opposing me and helping out with the finances of the campaign and that sort of thing. But, again, you know, that's all part of the deal that goes on. It's what happens, especially in a minority situation,". You never know what kind of impact a statement like this might have on a jury. The Crown may want to consider not introducing it.

Conclusion

In my humble opinion, and based solely on what I know about the laws of evidence, criminal procedure, and the facts of this case that have been published by the media, sufficient evidence exists for Stephen Harper to be convicted under Section 119 of the Criminal Code. I would like to remind anyone who reads this that the Prime Minister, like all Canadians is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that it’s still early in the RCMP’s investigation, so it’s quite possible that additional evidence may exist that can either prove his innocence, or at least bring his guilt into doubt. Until I am made aware of any such evidence, I do believe that a guilty verdict is likely if he were to be tried in a court of law.

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28 Comments:

  • Interesting analysis Fish. I think the basis exists to charge Harper but I'm less certain about a conviction. Just what was the offer? Surely that has to be made clear. Were there any conditions attached to it? Presumably the defendants would be able to allege just about anything in that regard.

    I'm unclear as to why the Crown should automatically bear some onus of proving Cadman competent when he made his statements to his wife, daughter and son in law. I've seen nothing to suggest he was anything but competent. His appearance in the Commons and the interview he gave certainly give no cause for concern.

    I'm still having a bit of trouble with your s. 21 argument. I assume the argument would have to be that Harper was approached in advance because it was necessary to get his approval before making the overture and that, by not directing them otherwise, Harper has authorizing the offer.

    Given that H is such a control freak it's hard not to think he was approached for approval but that's a long haul from being able to prove that.

    I expect one of the defence arguments would be that it was impossible to get an insurance policy on a terminal patient in any case so they might as well have been promising Cadman a first-class trip to the moon. In other words, it would be preposterous to offer such a thing. Hmmm?

    I think someone needs to do a lot of digging around on this one to get to the bottom of just what was offered, by whom and when.

    Cheers

    MoS

    By Blogger The Mound of Sound, at 5:45 PM  

  • Definitely an interesting read, however I personally believe you're flirting with libel...

    A few things are missing for this "case" to move forward. One, there is no real proof that Harper intended on committing a criminal offense.

    The transcript of the tape is not particularly damning, not anywhere near what the media has suggested. Yes, Harper talks about a certain deal having been proposed, but he doesn't say for what. If it can be proved that it was to buy Cadman's vote, then you might have a case. However, I believe that a decent attorney would be able to demonstrate that the "offer" could have been for any number of things such as to entice Cadman to return within the Conservative Party, which in itself is not an offense (otherwise a political party couldn't offer anyone a job). That creates reasonable doubt. Case thrown out.

    Furthermore, there is no form of concrete proof to show that a life-insurance policy could have been offered, no papers, no brokers to testify that this is true, no reasonable grounds to believe anyone could have secured a 1 million dollar life-insurance policy for a dying man...

    What I think happened was that they asked him to join the ranks of the party, which by extension, would have led him to vote with caucus. But no criminal activity occurred as far as I know.

    By Blogger Luc Schulz, B.A., at 6:34 PM  

  • Well Fish, I don't know what legal acumen M. Schulz brings to the discussion other than as a Blogging Tory but I think, compared to Rick Mercer's excoriation of Harper you're on safe ground. After all, do you think he's going to sue half of Canada? Of course not. Perhaps Luc should check that out on YouTube. Mercer makes a compelling case.

    I write again to give you a couple of tips. You write your argument as one would expect of a law student answering an exam question.

    If you intend to make a career in litigation you need to make a couple of mental adjustments. First work out your argument. Then work out the other side's argument. Do it as though you were representing the other side. Research their case, anticipate their points and be as familiar with their authorities as you are with your own. Then, having done that, use their case and their authorities to attack your own. That allows you to hone your argument to the most defensible, cogent points while abandoning vulnerabilities. That, in turn, allows you to concentrate your remaining resources on undermining your opponent's case and his attack on your own.

    It's a lot of work but a great many cases are won by the counsel who simply outworks his opponent.

    And that bit of advice is - why, it's free!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 PM  

  • A few things:

    -Chuck Cadman thought he was in remission. (read that somewhere, in the leaked bio I think)

    -Jodi said her Dad was VERY sick when he told her of a $1m life insurance policy.
    Chuck gave no names, no witnesses to the offer, but a date 2 days before the vote (which has since been changed in the bio to 'sometime').
    Did Chuck even know who the 'visitors' were?
    If he didn't (couldn't) name them, what evidence is there (did Chuck have) that the 'visitors' were Conservative reps?.

    -Cons insist that the 'offer' they made was on the day of the vote (and have proof of that visit) and know nothing about the alleged offer 2 days earlier.
    Is there reason to not believe them?

    -Why did Jodi and Dona not quiz Chuck further, get names and details of the alleged offer?
    Were Jodi and Dona ever asked if they questioned Chuck on the details?
    The first question asked by anyone hearing a story that enrages, is, WHO DID THAT!
    Were they a bit sceptical, but did not want to press a very sick man (he had just had a treatment)?

    -Dona has publicly stated she believed Chuck's story,
    but also stated she believes PMSH did not know anything about an alleged $1m life insurance policy.
    If one is the truth, both statements are truths.

    -EVERYONE alive, to tell their side of the story, says there was no $1m life insurance offer,
    or,
    PMSH had no knowledge of a $1m life insurance policy,
    or,
    they just simply don't know anymore than they have already stated.

    -The bio is meant for reader enjoyment, it is not a school text book.
    Since the date of the alleged offer has been changed since the 'leaked' version, to 'sometime before...',
    is it still evidence, or will it be thrown out?

    -The alleged offer has no definite date, no names, no paper trail, and no witnesses, only hearsay and a taped interview, where PMSH truthfully admits to attempts to get Chuck back into the Conservative party.
    Just a tape that the Liberals 'desire' to be interpreted as a $1m illegal offer.

    My Dad called such things, 'trying to make honey out of horse s***'.

    By Blogger wilson, at 10:06 AM  

  • ps. If the Cons can prove the tape has been altered in ANY way. case closed.

    By Blogger wilson, at 10:20 AM  

  • Thanks for all of the great comments everybody!

    Mound, I probably could have expressed myself a little better, but I was suggesting that depending on when cadman is alleged to have made the statements to his family members it is possible that he may have been heavily medicated. The defence would likely request to have access to Cadman's medical records, which would allow them to tell exactly how much medication he was on at the time that he is alleged to have made the statements. If the records revealed a high enough dose (naturally they would need an expert witness to confirm this), they could use this information, to attempt to convince the judge that there is a possibility that he may have been suffering from hallucinations, and therefore his testimony does not meet the standard for reliability and must be excluded.

    Obviously the Crown could try to counter with its own expert witness, and in the end it all comes down to what a judge believes.

    As for section 21, you make an excellent point. I should have included the fact that when he was caught on tape, the PM talked about the conversations he had with the party members who made the offer before it was made. He stated as follows: "No, no, they were legitimately representing the party. I said don't press him. I mean, you have this theory that it's, you know, financial insecurity and, you know, just, you know, if that's what you're saying, make that case but don't press it. I don't think, my view was, my view had been for two or three weeks preceding it, was that Chuck was not going to force an election. I just, we had all kinds of our guys were calling him, and trying to persuade him, I mean, but I just had concluded that's where he stood and respected that." I think that proves pretty solidly that he had knowledge that an offer was going to be made.

    Whether it was an insurance policy or not, is not really important. In fact, I think just the offer to replace financial consideration for an election is pretty incriminating.

    Luc, thanks for your concern, but I'm feeling pretty safe from libel here. Besides, even if I had crossed the lines, the PM would have a Hell of a time collecting anything from me. He is however, welcome to my OSAP debt!

    Thanks for the free advice Anonymous! You're right. You might have noticed that I did ocaisionally write about potential arguments the defence might have used to counter the Crown's arguments, but it would have been a good idea to have anticipated a full blown defence as well. I was actually half-heartedly hoping that there might be a blogging tory out there with a legal background who might provide that service...

    Wilson, thanks for your comments as well. I don't think that the precise date really matters at this time, so long as it was before the vote actually happened. So long as it is not in doubt (and as I described above in my comments to MOS, Harper himself has admitted that he authorized the offer before the vote)it will not be excluded. BUt you're right about one thing, if it does turn out that the tape has been altered then it is game over.

    By Blogger Fish, at 9:27 PM  

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    By Blogger barb michelen, at 11:11 PM  

  • Fish, since when is hearsay considered evidence? Cadman's wife says her conveniently dead husband told her something about an impossible insurance policy.

    This is a court case? God I hope not. More like something one would expect from the CHRC.

    Say, maybe you should get a job with them! You'd fit right in.

    By Blogger The Phantom, at 8:47 AM  

  • Interesting how CLAIMS of influence peddling, with no proof of a criminal act holds more water with liberals and Liberals, than the outright PURCHASE of Belinda Stronach with a Cabinet post for her vote. Maybe the question should be "Could Paul Martin go to prison?"
    But keep digging and make false allegations, it does show who liberals and Liberals really are.

    By the way when is your party going to start paying back the 40 million they stole from the taxpayers?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:54 AM  

  • Phantom, hearsay is evidence. As I explained in my post, this kind of evidence is generally excluded from a trial, but there are many exceptions.

    I can assure you, Chuck Cadman's death was probably anything but "convenient" to Dona Cadman.

    As foul smelling as the Stronach deal was, Paul Martin was not caught on tape saying that he gave Stronach the job in order to secure her vote. Stronach has always claimed that she left the Conservatives because she had grown dilliusioned with the party. The story is not terribly believeable, but there is nowhere near enough evidence for a criminal conviction.

    Furthermore, what allegations? I haven't alleged anything. Harper was caught on tape, this is a fact. Cadman's family members are claiming that he told them of an offer for a million dollar life insurance policy, this is a fact.The only question is dispute here, is whether or not the offer was of a criminal nature. I merely offered an opinion based on the evidence available to me.

    By Blogger Fish, at 9:20 AM  

  • Oh, and one more thing, one of the reasons that the federal liberals are having so much difficulty right now, is because they have begun paying back the money Gomery says was received through the sponsorship scandal.

    A scandal in which not a single Liberal MP was found to have received a dollar. Not a single member of the liberal party was charged. A bureaucrat that was appointed by Brian Mulroney was went to jail and a former PC riding association president went to jail. So don't take that high and mighty tone with me Anonymous.

    By Blogger Fish, at 9:29 AM  

  • "A scandal in which not a single Liberal MP was found to have received a dollar. Not a single member of the liberal party was charged. A bureaucrat that was appointed by Brian Mulroney was went to jail and a former PC riding association president went to jail. So don't take that high and mighty tone with me Anonymous."

    Well, let's take your legal argument one step further. Guite, Brault, Lefleur, Wiseman, and others gave testimony at Gomery that Martin and Chretien were aware of the kickbacks scheme. Are you willing to have these former PM's jailed because of the sworn legal testimony of those living witnesses?

    "Oh, and one more thing, one of the reasons that the federal liberals are having so much difficulty right now, is because they have begun paying back the money Gomery says was received through the sponsorship scandal."


    Now that's funny. The Liberal's suposedly, according to them, paid back roughly $1million last year. The missing $40 million, which Gomery stated as being untraceable in his final report, will never be repaid by the Liberal Party.

    The real reason your party is in it's current state is the fact you elected a boob for a leader, and just got a bigger potential boob for a leader in Bob Rae. Once the people of Ontario are reminded daily in an election campaign Rae was going to declare bankruptcy for Ontario due to his disastorous leadership as premier, it will be lights out.

    And hey, you guys have the costing done yet for Dion's promises?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:01 AM  

  • It's lawyers like you that have brought the justice system into disrepute.

    By Blogger Sean, at 10:55 AM  

  • Are you another fine product of Osgood Hall? You seem to confuse 'Liberal mud-slinging' with 'practicing law'. I hope your family never has to rely on your LEGAL skills for their sustenance, but, since you by your own admission are connected to Gliberal Party, 'legal' probably has very little to do with your activities.

    By Anonymous Enkidu, at 11:48 AM  

  • Much has been made of the claim that the CPC offered Cadman a $1M life insurance policy. A man certified by his doctors to have at most a couple of months to live!

    I asked my insurance agent whether he could find a company who would issue a dying man a million dollar insurance policy. He assured me it was possible.

    I asked what the insurance premiums (payments) would be. He replied it would take "A one-time payment of one million dollars" to get such an insurance policy drawn up.

    This help your argument any?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 PM  

  • "As foul smelling as the Stronach deal was, Paul Martin was not caught on tape saying that he gave Stronach the job in order to secure her vote. Stronach has always claimed that she left the Conservatives because she had grown dilliusioned with the party. The story is not terribly believeable, but there is nowhere near enough evidence for a criminal conviction."

    Two days before a confidence vote
    CPC MP Belinda Stronach- a nobody

    Day before confidence vote
    LPC MP Belinda Stronach- cabinet minister

    Reality- not innuendo, not hearsay, to quote old Jean "da proof is da proof when it haz been proven"

    Oh yes, the tape recording was when your criminal party tried to buy Gurmant and Nina Grewal for some "big fuzzy carpet" by buddy Ujal.

    I'd be happy to list ALL of the criminal charges against the Liberal party over the past several years, but I imagine your comment posting is limited to a couple of thousand words.

    By the way have you found an insurance company willing to under write a policy for a million dollars for a man who is on his death bed with cancer yet..... might actually add some credibilty to your "lawsuit".
    No? surprise, surprise

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:05 PM  

  • I'm not sure why this hasn't been mentioned yet but if Chuck Cadman returned to the fold he would have been automatically covered under the Conservatives group life insurance policy, which happens to be worth one million dollars.

    By Anonymous jgriffin316, at 1:48 PM  

  • If sufficient evidence exists to prove that ANY PM, former or current, has been involved in criminal activity, then yes criminal charges should be brought against them. Corruption is not something that should be tolerated, no matter which party is in power, though it is especially vile when it comes from someone who came to power with a "Mr Clean" image (i.e. Eliot Spitzer). Please do not think that I am so blind as to believe any one party has a monopoly on either corruption or virtue. We are talking about individuals here, and in my opinion, there is sufficient evidence for a criminal conviction. You don't have to agree with me, and I rather enjoy hearing opinions from people who disagree!

    In the example you mentioned, it would still be the word of a few people against that of the accused. There is reasonable doubt written all over it. Now if either Martin or Chrétien was caught on tape admitting that they knew about the kickbacks and did nothing to stop it, then yes, that would be different. Are you aware of any such tape?

    Dion is a damn good leader if you ask me. Just ask Stephen Harper. Why else would the PM be so anxious to force an early election? He knows that Dion would be a serious threat if he had enough time to organize.

    Should I also remind you that Harper did not even acknowledge that global warming existed until Dion made it a major issue in his leadership bid. So yeah, not only is Dion a leader, but Harper is probably his most devoted follower/convert. And the last time I checked, Bob Rae is not the leader of the Liberal Party. He's a smart enough guy, but there's no geting around the fact that he was at the helm in Ontario when things went wrong. In all fairness to him, he came in just as a rough recession hit, but that doesn't resonate much with voters. I think he'll make a fine cabinet minister, but once Dion retires (after several majority governments), I hope and expect Mr Ignatieff will be taking over.

    As I've stated before, it doesn't matter whether the offer took the form of an insurance policy or not. So no, it doesn't really hurt my argument at all.

    And by the way, what lawsuit? I wrote about a possible criminal case, that may or may not happen. Harper is the one suing the Liberals, a groundless lawsuit that will surely backfire on him if it ever makes it to court and he has to answer questions under oath about his role in this scandal.

    Finally, the Grewal affair was a terrible humiliation... for the Conservatives! Remember, the tapes revealed that it was Grewal himself who was asking for patronage positions for himself and his wife. Nice try though.

    By Blogger Fish, at 1:52 PM  

  • "I can assure you, Chuck Cadman's death was probably anything but "convenient" to Dona Cadman."

    So, HOW can you assure us?

    Horny Toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 PM  

  • "but once Dion retires (after several majority governments), I hope and expect Mr Ignatieff will be taking over."

    I can't get over the absurdity of your comments.
    Several majority governments would take you 12 or 15 year out. Ignatieff would be what -75 years old?

    Horny Toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:38 PM  

  • You know bub, if that's all you got, ie, idiotic musings about sending Harper to jail, then it would appear we will be under his wise governance for many years to come.
    I'll sleep better knowing that.
    Dion/Borat will finally get dumped by the Libranos. Then after a leadership race they will be too broke to run an election unless the Member From Power Corp, Boob Rae, can swing a loan from Power Corp.
    I wonder how they'll hide that?
    Maybe Joe Volpe can come up with a believable story for them.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 PM  

  • "Dion is a damn good leader if you ask me. Just ask Stephen Harper. Why else would the PM be so anxious to force an early election? He knows that Dion would be a serious threat if he had enough time to organize.

    Should I also remind you that Harper did not even acknowledge that global warming existed until Dion made it a major issue in his leadership bid. So yeah, not only is Dion a leader, but Harper is probably his most devoted follower/convert. And the last time I checked, Bob Rae is not the leader of the Liberal Party. He's a smart enough guy, but there's no geting around the fact that he was at the helm in Ontario when things went wrong. In all fairness to him, he came in just as a rough recession hit, but that doesn't resonate much with voters. I think he'll make a fine cabinet minister, but once Dion retires (after several majority governments), I hope and expect Mr Ignatieff will be taking over."

    Now that qualifies as the quote of the month.

    BAAAAAAAAAH

    Tied for LAST place (with the NDP) in Quebec.....BAAAAAAH

    Dion stamps his feet " But , but I AM your leader"

    "It's rare that the population wants an election, but we can feel it when the fruit is ripe. And at that time - it's not up to me to tell you when; it's part of the strategy that we keep close to our chest - there will be an election."" - Stephane Dion

    ROTFLMAO

    Yes please keep that twit as your "leader" eventually they will have to stop abstaining from votes and vote no confidence. The CPC has been patiently waiting to be defeated in parliament by your bunch of bafoons. We have given them so many opportunities, but they just keep running scared.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:40 PM  

  • Well Fish, you sure led with your jaw on this one. You put forward an interesting legal issue which was bound soon enough to bring out the tory wingnuts. They don't like the sleazy face of their boss so they plunge into Gomery and scurrilous claims against Martin and Chretien to change the topic. That's about all you could expect.

    By Blogger The Mound of Sound, at 4:48 PM  

  • Power Corp won't let the liberals force an election just yet, they want to get their own guy farther up the ladder first.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

  • "Well Fish, you sure led with your jaw on this one. You put forward an interesting legal issue which was bound soon enough to bring out the tory wingnuts. They don't like the sleazy face of their boss so they plunge into Gomery and scurrilous claims against Martin and Chretien to change the topic. That's about all you could expect."

    I would gladly put Stephen Harpers morality up against the Adscam Libranos Jean Mere- Cretien or CSL-Power Corp Martin, anytime.

    Your "they are just as bad as us" meme is left wanting

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:26 PM  

  • Yeah Mound, this was pretty much the reaction I was expecting, and (in all honesty) trying to provoke. Except for that one really mean guy who accused me of going to Osgoode Hall. That one just plain hurt my feelings!

    (For those of you who don't know me, I go to Ottawa U)

    The sad thing is that a couple of people from the right had some really good points to make, but the "wingnuts" kind of get in the way, though I do my best to ignore anyone who hasn't got anything intelligent to add to the debate.

    Oddly enough, some of the more intelligent comments came from annonymous contributors, but then it also makes sense that an intelligent Conservative would not want to use his or her real name while defending Stephen Harper.

    By Blogger Fish, at 9:10 PM  

  • Brian I don't think you quite understood the argument I was putting forward.

    The extract of the tape that is available to the public does not specifically point to a financial offer being made, or any offer of any kind for that matter.

    1. Haper says that his operatives had a "theory" that it was "financial insecurity".
    Not that I want to sound like Bill Clinton, but define what "it" is. The tape doesn't make that clear, and that would be necessary in court. We can speculate all we want, and say that common sense would lead us to suppose that "it" is Cadman voting against the Liberals, but the tape doesn't make it clear. For all we know, Cadman's qualms about financial insecurity could have resulted from the possibility that he would no longer have a job should the government fall, and therefore lose his MP's salary while at the same time being very sick.

    If I had been in Cadman's position, I would have been concerned about losing my position as an MP as well knowing I only had a few months to live. Voting against the government would have put him in an unpleasant financial situation for a short while until he could start collecting his retirement, a period of time in which he would most likely no longer have been of this Earth.

    2. Harper clearly says "Don't press him" and "make that case but don't press it." I think we could agree that attempting to bribe him would be considered "pressing" Cadman.

    "Making the case" for Cadman to vote against the Liberals however, doesn't have to include any form of deal. You should take a look at the column Ezra Levant wrote on this affair where he speaks of the time when Harper tried to convince him to vacate his seat so he could enter Parliament after being elected leader of the Canadian Alliance. Ezra ended up giving up his seat without anything in return. Harper had refused to offer him anything when he could have easily given him a job or paid for his campaign expenses.

    As I've said before, I strongly believe that the Conservatives simply tried to convince Cadman to join the ranks of the party once again. There is nothing illegal with that. Yes, had Cadman joined the CPC, it would have led to him voting against the government de facto. However the offer would not have been to "purchase" his vote in some way, but to bring him back into the fold. If the party offers its MP's a life-insurance policy, that just happens to be an incentive for Cadman to join, which is likely what he was talking about to his wife and his daughter. It still remains perfectly legal.

    Or are you going to suggest that it was illegal for Harper to bring Emmerson into the party after the 2006 election; or for Matin to bring Stronach into the Liberal party; or Brison, or Keith Martin, or any other number of MP's who have switched allegiances in the past?


    P.-S. I don't think Harper will track you down and sue you for libel, but I do think that your case is pretty shaky and closer to slander than it is to anything solid enough for charges to be laid.

    That being said, while we have differing views, I much appreciate being able to discuss them in a civil manner in spite of some wingnuts, which I must say, are present in all political parties.

    By Blogger Luc Schulz, B.A., at 3:28 PM  

  • Luc, as usual you make some pretty solid points. I do not doubt that offering Cadman membership in the Conserative party was probably the first offer Harper would have made. I mean, let's just assume for one second that we were both in agreement that a criminal offer was made. If you were Harper, wouldn't you want to at least make sure that there was a legitimate way of getting what you want before taking a risk like this? I for one do not doubt that an offer for party membership was made, but I don't think it would qualify uner any of the categories under s. 119.

    I suppose it's possible that the Crown Attorney might argue that membership in the Conservative Party could be considered "valuable consideration" because of it's particular value to Cadman. If what jgriffin316 says is true, it would have meant a one million dollar payout for Cadman. This could be interpreted as valuable consideration, especially if it was mentioned during the negotiations. But even then it's stretching things.

    No, I think that when Harper talks about financial considerations for electoral expenses, this is the incriminating part. At this point, I don't think he was referring to any kind of offer to bring him back into the Conservative fold simply because Harper said that they were to "replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election", it is the word "replace" that has the most value here. He was talking about re-imbursing the man's electoral expenses or giving him money to run his campaign. If the PM had been talking about bringing him back into the Conservative fold he would more likely have used the word "cover", or soething like that.

    Your second point doesn't hold much water at all, good sir. It is perfectly possible to attempt to bribe someone without pressing them. If you press someone, you are "pressuring" them. So of course you can simply make an offer to bribe someone, and so long as you are not persistently insisting, and getting in their face about it, it is perfectly possible to offer to bribe them without pressing them.

    As for the interesting points you bring up regarding what kind of promises are acceptable, frankly it's hard to know where to draw the line. I'm willing to stick my hand into the fire and say that I don't think it's illegal to offer someone membership in a party in order to secure their vote (though there MAY be an exception in the circumstances described above). Now in Stonach's case, there was a cabinet position involved, which I would think qualifies as either "office" or "employment" as mentioned in s. 119. But in that case, you would actually have to prove that it was to secure the MPs vote. Then again, the courts may interpret it differently.

    You're entitled to your opinion, but I feel like I'm pretty safe as far as libel is concerned. And besides, like you say, I don't think it would be worth the time and effort it would take to track me down and sue me. If by some miracle he won the suit, he is more than welcome to everything I own... but he has to get behind OSAP!

    We can at least agree on one thing. I love the blogosphere for the simple reason that it allows people to discuss ideas, the way we have been. And yes, you are quite right, no party has cornered the wingnut market!

    By Blogger Fish, at 5:20 PM  

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