Tuesday, February 10, 2009

As Canadians, are we willing to accept high crimes and misdemeanors by our elected officials?

Libel suit settled, not Cadman affair

Feb 10, 2009
Toronto Star

Harsh words are often exchanged back and forth between our political leaders. Opposition parties accuse governments of scandalous behaviour. Governments call the opposition ignorant.

While one can lament such exchanges, they are part and parcel of our political arena, and that is where they should remain.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Stephen Harper last year hoisted debate from that arena to the courts when he filed a $3.5 million libel suit against the opposition Liberals in the so-called Cadman affair.

The lawsuit sprang from sensational allegations in a book last year that two Conservative officials offered a million-dollar life insurance policy to an independent MP, Chuck Cadman (since deceased), in an attempt to influence his vote in an upcoming non-confidence motion back in 2005.

When the Liberals, both inside and outside Parliament, accused Harper of having knowledge of "Conservative bribery," he responded by suing. It was an unprecedented legal action for a prime minister.

Harper justified the lawsuit on personal grounds, saying he and his family had the right to sue "to defend our reputation." But the effect of the suit was political, not personal. It silenced debate on the Cadman affair in the run-up to and during last fall's election. Conservatives, including Cadman's widow, Dona (now an MP herself), could deflect any questions on the affair by simply saying it was "before the courts."

Now the case has been quietly settled out of court. As part of the settlement terms, both sides have agreed to make no further comment.

That may settle the matter as far as Harper is concerned. And the debt-ridden Liberals may be happy to get out from under further legal costs.

But MPs from the Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party are not bound by this out-of-court pledge of silence. Nor, for that matter, are individual Liberal MPs. They could get together on a parliamentary committee and summon witnesses to testify as to who said what to whom in return for a vote in the House of Commons.

That would return this matter to the political arena, where it always belonged.


Dr Mike said...

How much longer should we put up with this crap as the public is treated like the sheep that we are fast becoming.

When we have law makers & the judicial system complicit in undermining democracy to any extent , we are in serious trouble.

Maybe we should sue them all for misrepresentation.

I hate deals , they just take the edge off the truth.

Of course maybe Happy Jack or Uncle Gilles will come to the rescue & make the guilty pay.

Dr Mike.

Anonymous said...

This loophole is actually really encouraging ...

Hmm, if the Bloc & NDP are the working class parties they claim to be, they will have the decency to do an ad campaign informing the public about this matter. Doesn't have to cost much to get the word out there ... so for this one money is no excuse. They won't even have to support CON media to get the message out there, as the big guns will have to pick this story up from smaller sources. CON mainstream media do consistently print crap that sells. Once in awhile they will provide an illusion of fair reporting. This issue could be financially lucrative for media .... so there is a small chance something will be done.
Canadians have the right to know and only these parties can legally do so. If both parties choose to do nothing about this ... this will prove that neither have the sophistocation to deal with Harper. Very much like the way they allowed Harper and Flaherty to steal from Canadian Income Trust investors.