Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why I'm So Intolerant

NOTE: It has been pointed out to me by the estimable Alison at Creekside, that the target of my ire in this post; retired parliamentary law clerk Rob Walsh, is a stand-up guy. She provides evidence of this in her comments. I still find his statement:  "It's just self-serving politics." to be inexplicable. I also find his claim that Wright's hush-money to Duffy was more like "settling a lawsuit" to be completely wrong. I don't deny the evidence that Alison presented and I don't rule-out that Walsh has sounded intelligent on other matters, in other places, or that I might be misinterpreting him here. But I still vehemently disagree with his analysis in this context.

And let the above stand as proof that I can dispute with or disagree with a person without believing that they're an idiot!


There's something about me that rubs some people the wrong way. I do NOT believe that anyone who disagrees with me is stupid. I think it's more the case that when I write about people I disagree with, I make damn sure that I'm confident that I'm right on the subject of our disagreement and that what my adversary thinks is clearly wrong. On top of that, there ARE a lot of stupid people in the world and you can't blame me for disagreeing with some of them.

One example of this is my disagreement with the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada in their asinine (and possibly treasonous) ruling allowing Ted Opitz to keep his stolen federal seat in Etobicoke-Centre. Who am I to disagree with the learned Supreme Court Justices? A citizen of Canada with his own brain. That's who. Any ruling that says that glaring clerical errors shouldn't nullify an election won by a plurality of .001% of the vote and who cares if we don't know who really won, is a piece-of-shit ruling. Plus, the minority opinion demonstrates the lunacy of the majority decision.

Here's another example. The CBC is tying itself in knots trying to figure our how the RCMP can be investigating Mike Duffy for a pay-off that was found to have been totally innocent when Nigel Wright's neck was on the line:
On the face of it, it seems at odds with basic logic.

How did a payment seemingly deemed perfectly legal while in the hands of the giver — in this case, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, who lost his job over the controversy — turn into an alleged bribe the instant it found its way to the recipient, Senator Mike Duffy?
Apparently, retired parliamentary law clerk Rob Walsh took a whack at explaining this to the CBC in Fall 2013:
"What benefit did Duffy give to Wright in exchange for the $90,000?  That Duffy make no further media comments? This is not a benefit to Wright," he pointed out via email.

"The funds were given to Duffy to bring the Duffy expenses controversy to an end, like settling a lawsuit. This is not fraud, nor is it breach of trust."

"I don't see any of this supporting criminal charges," Walsh concluded. 

"It's just self-serving politics."
Rob, you miserable, ignorant slut. stephen harper made Mike Duffy the Senator for Prince Edward Island (even though Duffy wasn't a citizen of that province, possessing, as he did, and Ontario health card, and was therefore not constitutionally allowed to represent hem) so that he could fund-raise for the Conservative Party of Canada on the taxpayers' dime. When it turned out that Duffy's claims for his Ottawa residence were rejected and his travel expenses were audited and found to be unrelated to his Senate duties (since he was fund-raising for the Conservatives), Duffy was told to pay them back. Not being a wealthy man, Duffy balked at the idea of being out of pocket because of harper's fuck-up and he kicked up a fuss, threatening to expose the whole scam. (Alison at Creekside does a better job than I'm capable of in describing this fiasco.) Suffice to say, it eventually came to super-rich harpercon cheif-of-staff Nigel Wright to pay Duffy's debt, in return for his silence. In a farrago of lying, first it was Duffy paid the money back himself with a loan from the Royal Bank. Then it was "good friend" (they weren't) Nigel Wright paying it to save the taxpayers' money (who would never have seen that $90,000 otherwise or some such stupid thing.

Again, go read the posts by Alison at Creekside to get a firm grasp on this cover-up. It was political power, class privilege and RCMP corruption that saved Nigel Wright from the consequences of his actions. Duffy is already on the hot-seat and threatening to squeal, so harper is trying to destroy him now.

So, to revisit Rob Walsh's stupid question:
"What benefit did Duffy give to Wright in exchange for the $90,000?  That Duffy make no further media comments? This is not a benefit to Wright," he pointed out via email.

"The funds were given to Duffy to bring the Duffy expenses controversy to an end, like settling a lawsuit. This is not fraud, nor is it breach of trust."
The "benefit" in question is Duffy's silence, which would "benefit" the Conservative Party of Canada, which is the political party that Wright nominally worked for and the party which (more importantly) works for Nigel Wright's political class.  Any honest person looking at this fiasco could see that.

Interestingly enough, the CBC story quotes Section 119 (1) of the Criminal Code in a discussion about whether Wright's $90,000 to Duffy was a "gift":
A gift, after all, is freely given, with no strings — or, to use the parlance of Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code, no requirement that something that has or is to be "done or omitted by that person in their official capacity."
Wright's hush money was definitely NOT a "gift." A more relevant piece of legislation to have looked at would be the Parliament of Canada Act; more specifically:
Parliament of Canada Act
Part II - Senate

16. (1) No member of the Senate shall receive or agree to receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, for services rendered or to be rendered to any person, either by the member or another person,

(a) in relation to any bill, proceeding, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest or other matter before the Senate or the House of Commons or a committee of either House; or

(b) for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence any member of either House.

Offence and punishment

(2) Every member of the Senate who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than four thousand dollars.

Offering prohibited compensation

(3) Every person who gives, offers or promises to any member of the Senate any compensation for services described in subsection (1), rendered or to be rendered, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars. 
Now, I'd say that abusing taxpayers' dollars for the specific benefit of the government party is a pretty grievous crime. I'd say that paying a Senator's legal bills for him to get him out of an audit and to buy his silence about who thought up the plan to steal taxpayers' money to benefit the Conservative Party of Canada is clearly in violation of the Parliament of Canada Act.

Let's not kid ourselves here. This farce is a mockery of the rule of law in Canada, despite what fools such as Mr. Walsh or the corrupt RCMP say or do. 

And it's shit like this that makes me so intolerant of the stupidity that passes for politics in this country.


Anonymous said...

Nigel Wright did aid, abet, covered-up and paid the bill for a corrupt Senator, who was stealing our tax dollars. The PMO also *sanitized* Senators expense claims.

Now Wright is in Harper's favorite dumping ground, for his degenerates. Harper had already sent his favorite henchman Gordon Campbell to the UK. Although the degenerate witness for Harper's robo-call cheat was sent to a different country.

Duffy and Wallin will not serve prison time. Wright has already got away with his crimes and has been sent to Harper's dumping ground in the UK. Harb and Brazeau will likely go to prison.

Harper is a Neo-Nazi from way back. Harper had even hired Wolfgang Droege and his Heritage Front as, security for Preston Manning.

Harper's henchman Gordon Campbell is a Bilderberger. So is Harper a member. Jason Kenny too, attended the Bilderberg meeting. Kenny immediately turned A.H. Kenny has out and out blatantly lied regarding, the shortage of labor in Canada and the TFW.

Conrad Black was a member of Harper's Northern Foundation of 1989. Black was on the steering committee, of the Bilderberg Group. That is likely all why, Harper permitted Black back into Canada.

There is dirty, dirty work afloat.

Alison said...

Hi Thwap.

The problem here seems to be that in deciding whether they had a case against Wright, the RCMP only chose to consider laying charges under the Criminal Code and not under the more easily prosecuted Sec. 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act you mention above. In January, Walsh argued that the RCMP should have chosen charges under the Parl Act because then the issue of whether Wright stood to gain personally would be irrelevant:

"Walsh said he believes it would be easier to secure a conviction under the act than under any of the Criminal Code provisions cited thus far by the RCMP. Indeed, he doubts criminal charges could be made to stick in relation to the Wright-Duffy deal.

“The evidentiary burden I think is less (under the act) and, to that extent, it ought to be an easier task to prosecute,” Walsh said in an interview.

While criminal charges would require proof of intent to act corruptly, the act is more straightforward in stipulating that it’s illegal to give money to a senator or for a senator to take it.

“Under Sec. 16, it doesn’t matter where the money came from or why,” Walsh said."

The RCMP's decision to stick with the Criminal Code is tantamount to that story about the drunk looking for his lost car keys way down the street under a streetlamp because the light is better there and there's a lamp post to hang onto.

thwap said...


Walsh's "It's just self-serving politics" line makes it sound like those harpercon hacks who imagine that abusing prorogation, torturing people, denying people's representatives to know anything about what the government is doing, pushing that to the point of contempt of Parliament, altering public documents and lying about it o Parliament, appointing Senators as full-time party fund-raisers, and etc., etc., ... are all just non-scandals, and that Wright was a straight-up guy in his actions.

If I hear he meant differently I'll amend this post.

greg said...

I think that sometimes people think you're really depressed and are trying to cheer you up. They'll say "Come on now, it's not that bad."

I just prey that you have pants on when you write.

When you leave a comment, you can wear what you want. I'm at Starbucks in my red Hawkeye bathrobe.

thwap said...

Prey tell, why?

"Come on now, it's not that bad." .. in certain circumstances is a ridiculous thing to say.

I'm wearing my tighty-whiteys right now. It's hot.

Alison said...

And very nice you look in them too!

I don't disagree with the main thrust of your post - it's just I don't think your beef is actually with Walsh, who is merely pointing out the weakness of the RCMP's case given they have chosen the wrong set of rules under which to lay charges. Notable also is his opinion that criminal charges under Section 121 "involves the PM potentially" and so is likely to be plea-bargained away before we ever get to trial.

Re your reply to me above about "harpercon hacks", you'll perhaps recall it was Walsh who provided Parliament with the legal opinion that
1)the PM does not have the authority to prevent short pantsers from appearing before committees to account for their actions, and
2)the Afghan docs must be released to Parliament :
“No part of the Government’s responsibilities can by law be categorically excluded or removed from its constitutional accountability to the House and its committees, otherwise it would soon become only partial accountability and perhaps after some years no accountability at all”.

Walsh's more recent brief opinions on various subjects are available here, starting with "Conservatives [are] driven by ignorance and undue self-regard."

P.S. And I'm only wearing my usual insufferability.

thwap said...

Hot in B.C. too 'eh?

I've added an intro to the post.

I wasn't saying he's a hack. But when it sounded like he was belittling the suspicions against Wright, he reminded me of the harpercon hacks who treat every complaint against harper's abuse of our democracy as "leftard conspiracy theories."

Alison said...

I'm guessing we both wish more former public servants would speak out strongly about HarperCon abuses from the relative safety of their retirement. Why the hell don't they?

Anyway, agree Walsh is not that guy. He defends the law and dismisses all else as "self-serving politics".
Pretty sure his prediction that the RCMP's decision to go with the criminal code instead of the Parl of Canada Act will keep the PMO out of court is going to bear out unfortunately.

Tah for the debate. Might still turn out "to be an idiot" ;-)

thwap said...

Oh G'wan! ;)