"Fair to assume" naming ex-finance minister influenced election: Complaints commissioner
March 31, 2008
OTTAWA ˜ It is fair to assume the RCMP's decision to name former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale in criminal investigation influenced the outcome of the 2006 federal election, the chair of the RCMP public complaints commission says.
While Goodale was cleared in the income trust investigation, Paul Kennedy said the damage was already done when the RCMP, at the direction of former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, breached the police force's past practice and released Goodale's name to the media.
The Liberals were defeated in the Jan. 23 election, making way for a Conservative minority government.
Goodale was accused by the New Democratic Party of leaking sensitive financial information about income trusts and many believe that the controversy contributed to the Liberals' election loss.
Kennedy said it was "credible to assume" that Zacardelli's decision to write a letter on Dec. 23, 2005 to the complainant New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North) confirming that a criminal investigation had been launched and then a Dec. 28 press release naming him negatively influenced the election.
"It is credible to assume that it may have been (a factor)," he told reporters.
Kennedy has recommended the RCMP adopt strict guideline, with few exceptions, that information of this nature not be released during an election.
"In this particular case providing information to someone in the midst of an election, who is the finance critic, you know it is going to be used for a particular purpose ... and the RCMP knew that," he said.
The market value for many income trusts soared after Goodale, then Liberal finance minister, announced late on Nov. 23, 2005, that he would not impose a tax on the popular investment vehicles. Instead he proposed tax changes for corporate dividends that would create a more level playing field with the trust units.
In February, 50-year-old Serge Nadeau, director general for tax policy analysis at the finance department, was charged with breach of trust. It is alleged Nadeau made about $7,000 on deals, according to court record.
Kennedy noted that Zacardelli, who took a hands-on approach to the Goodale information release, and other senior officers, refused to co-operate with the public complaints commissioner's investigation into the RCMP's handling of the income trust matter.
Monday, March 31, 2008
RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli’s income trust election manipulation ranks with Stephen Harper’s income trust election lie.
Posted by Fillibluster at 3:21 PM