April 05, 2005

Canada's Political Scandal. The Gomery inquiry has received some testimony alleging massive corruption directed by the Liberal Party. The only thing is, the judge slapped us Canadians with a publication ban. Our lips cannot flap over this flap. But hey, call me stoopid, but everyone should know what's going on .

So Canadians who reveal details of the testimony can be charged with contempt of court. Does posting this count?

  • I'd guess so. But subponeaing an amateur NZ webmaster would be taking it a little bit far.
  • I think they'd be more interested in going after the owner of the linked blog than you. This "scandal" looks pretty bad, but there are a few points I'd like to make: 1. The PC's were charged with the same stuff when Mulroney quit. Nothing would stick. 2. This was done by Chretien's Liberals, and we all hated Chretien by the end of his run. Everything smelled rotten by the end. Paul Martin cleaned up a _lot_ of stuff. Really the lesson is that we can't let any one PM stick around for too damn long. 3. A scandal will not make the opposition parties win. They still need, y'know like, viable platforms!
  • This sounds huge. I saw this story earlier today somewhere and they had a link to this article in a Canadian newspaper. The newspaper was apparently afraid to even link to the Captain's Quarters blog, but they did provide a nice search term.
  • i swear, anytime i read anything about canada its national anthem starts running through my head. the only words of which i know are, "ohhhhh canadaaaaaah." arg.
  • Well, SB, you didn't reveal it so much as link it. On that score, I wouldn't see it as breaking the ban -- you only pointed out that someone else did. You'd be, what, the third generation of this leak? However, we could make an analogy to libel, that reprinting libel is itself libel. It could be said that linking to forbidden material is analogous to reprinting, and as such, you were breaking the ban as much as the original person. So to give the standard lawyer's answer, "it depends." It would depend on whether this is breaking the ban, and if this breaking can be shown to have an adverse effect on the delivery of a fair trial.
  • But thanks for the link, SB -- everything makes a lot more sense now. That so much money was funnelled to these firms for little or no work, why the Grits are tempting the Tories to force a snap election, why the Grits are trying to lure the RCMP in to make it seem as though they were the victims in all this... Nothing like a little GroupAction in the morning to start my day off right.
  • Anybody got a good summary of this info at a blog with less American wingnuts?
  • Canada's law in this matter reminds me of some east Asian dictatorship. It's time for Civil Disobedience, methinks. Were I a Canuck, I would be blabbing until they threatened to jail me. Then I would go into exile and write books and news articles.
  • O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. short and to the point. good national anthem. /salutes/
  • Skrik, keep it in perspective, the basis for the publication ban is to ensure that those who are testifying at the commission can be taken to trial later for their crimes and not have the jury pool tainted. As much as conspiracy theorists woulk like to belive, it's not to hide the facts and protect the government. Almost all of these bans are lifted after the trial is concluded. I'd rather have that then a system where the lawyers try the case (and build support) on Larry King or Dateline before they go to court. In the east Asian dictatorship model, guilty parties are jailed for long terms without trial. Often on islands offshore. Away from prying eyes.
  • ...and not have the jury pool tainted. Thats what irks me - that (canadian/american/et al) jurors are "tainted" unless they're kept in a closet deaf, dumb and blind to the world. I think the judicial systems should view their jurors with less scepticism in the juror's ability to pass fair judgment. IMO, the canadian publication bans insults the intellect and integrity of every canadian citizen.
  • Tainted jury pool or not, I think the voters would like some of this information when deciding who to throw out of office. Dirty politicians are the scum of the Earth, regardless of their party affiliation, politics or any good deeds. They deserve to be removed from office, and then jailed. Despite this leaking out I am sure that 12 jurors, or however many it be in Canada, can be found to impartially decide guilt or innocence.
  • IMO, the canadian publication bans insults the intellect and integrity of every canadian citizen Some things to keep in mind. 1) Past publication bans, in very similar cases, have usually been lifted after the testimony was judged not to affect the accuseds' chances of a fair trial, and have also been lifted after 6 months or so has passed, enough time for the news to be reported without linking too firmly in people's minds to individual witnesses. I believe they have also been lifted when the news has been assumed to have leaked widely anyway. In other words, there is no good reason to expect that this is an attempt by the judge to shove things under the table. The Canadian judiciary does appear to err on the side of caution, but they give weight to the rights of both the public and the accused, IMHO. 2) There are a lot of stupid people out there. To expect everyone to be as impartial and objective as the best possible case is ridiculous, which is why these measures are required.
  • Reasons I haven't made up my mind about how serious this scandal really is... 1) It has to be viewed through the lens of Quebec sovereignty. If you felt that Quebec splitting from Canada was a really bad idea, and splashing this money around was what the Liberals truly felt necessary to kill the movement for a generation, as appears to be the case, then $100 million seems a relatively small price to pay. Certainly, if you give Chretien any credence at all, it's quite likely that was the strategy behind this scandal. Of course, it could also be good old fashioned political corruption. 2) Generous political donations from companies with government contracts are simply commonplace, as is hiring party loyalists. Both are simply the way business is done, and there's no way around it without eliminating corporate donations to political parties, which I don't see happening. However, that does not excuse hiring professional party activists simply to do party work on a private salary, with the full knowledge of the company. That's pure corruption. 3) This seems so far to be a fairly localized affair, not indicative of endemic corruption throughout the Liberal Party and their operation of the government. In contrast, the leaks out of the end of the late Progressive Conservative federal government suggested the exact opposite. then the reek of corruption goes through all levels of the Liberal party and may explain their ability to out-campaign the Conservatives The money was spent in Quebec. The current Conservative Alliance party is never going to do well in Quebec, even if they had a blank check. To pretend otherwise is ridiculous, though I expect the Conservatives to try, given their recent track record. This might well have given the Liberals a leg up against the Bloc Quebecois, but in addition to how it undermines democracy, also has to be viewed in the context of reason 1. 4) The most disturbing revelations out of this whole affair concern personalities, IMHO. Both AndrĂ© Ouellet and Jean Pelletier appear to be moronic asshats, and these guys were at the very top. These were the consiglieris, and from their behaviour I wouldn't trust either to run a corner store. 4) We've got three choices come election time. One party appears to be 'slightly' politically corrupt, but appears to be making serious efforts to get to the bottom of it. One party is morally corrupt, and given to demogoguery. One party is managerially incompetent. One is stricly local and wants to break up the country anyways. Which do you vote for?
  • I was aware of this scandal, but never got around to learning more. Thanks for the links and discussion. It's nice to know there are bobbleheaded beaurocrats in places other than the U.S.A. Oh, and exactly what is barred from publication? The Wikipedia summary contained names, accusations, and summary of testimony. Does the prohibited stuff concern depositions or privileged information?
  • three choices me count good. Use all remaining fingers!
  • exactly what is barred from publication The most recent testimony that's been going on for the last week and a half (roughly?). These are witnesses who might have criminal charges laid against them, so their testimony has been banned from publication to potentially ensure a fair trial.
  • To expect everyone to be as impartial and objective as the best possible case is ridiculous, which is why these measures are required. Do you need the "best possible case?" Does striving for the best possible case deny the voters valuable information? If it does how well did the judiciary give weight to the rights of the public? Are these measure really "required?" I am not saying that the judiciary is protecting the politicians here. What I am saying is that that, in my opinion, the public's right to know about potential corruption is more important than theoretical jury pool tainting. I give jurors more credit than to be swayed by news stories to such a degree that when presented with all of the evidence in court they are unable to render a fair decision.
  • What I am saying is that...the public's right to know about potential corruption is more important than theoretical jury pool tainting I don't think we're really disagreeing here. I agree that the public's right to know about political corruption within the time frame of relevancy outweighs potential jury pool tainting. However, I also believe in individual rights, and that 'time frame' gives the judiciary some time to work with, and the track record suggests they will balance the issues. Unfortunately we won't know for sure unless the publication ban is lifted while the news is still reasonably current, or before an election, whichever comes first. If it's not, you're right and I'm unhappy (about being wrong).
  • People's reactions to this show exactly why the ban is a good thing in the context of the trial -- the opposition wants to force an election after the ban is lifted but before the trial is over. They hope, with good reason, that people will be swayed by the unproven testimony of one man.
  • 3 possibilities? You could vote NDP. The spending was unconstitutional. It was used to promote a partisan agenda. You can't use taxpayer money to do that. But then, the Bloc isn't crying out too lood because they were only signs.. like people would change their vote because they saw a lot of maple leafs.
  • Nal that was a good breakdown on the political choices! And the irony is that the Fractured Opposition may (as 6.0.6 said) be forced into calling an election that they can't win. (Although i suppose the Bloc might possibly gain some seats).
  • Nal's analysis is a good one, although I think Richer's point is well taken. You might believe that the prospect of Quebec's separation was a bad thing, but it's hard to deny that the way the Libs went about combatting it was illegal, at least from the information we have now. Utilitarianism aside, this should concern those of us who rather like the idea of the rule of law.
  • The separatist angle is just a lame excuse they're using now that they got caught. That money (my money, dammit) was funneled back to the Liberal party to campaign in Quebec for election...not to promote federalism. It's criminal.
  • What's the specifics on the gag order? Some talking about the case must be allowed, otherwise it'd be impossible to inform people that they can't talk about the case. I'm sure the papers must be allowed to say there's an investigation, without giving details about it.
  • From what I've seen, the press is allowed to report that very damaging (to the Libs) testimony was given, and that a US blogger has details on his website. They can't give details of the testimony or point readers to the blog.
  • Yes, I much prefer when provincial governments use government funds directly to pay for advertising promoting their party.