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Harper’s audio expert: Cadman Tape NOT altered.

Remember Harper’s claim that the Cadman tape was altered – presumably by the author who taped it, Tom Zytaruk? Well, Harper was full of it, and guess what?

His own expert he hired to prove that it was altered is the one who said this!

A tape recording at the centre of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s $3.5-million defamation suit against the Liberal party was not altered as the prime minister has claimed, a court-ordered analysis of the tape by Harper’s own audio expert has found…former FBI agent Bruce Koenig, the sound expert Harper hired to prove his allegations, submitted a report dated Friday to Harper’s lawyer, which also had […]

Testifying through a blog

I guess if Sam Goldstein – he being the Conservative candidate for Trinity-Spadina who stormed in to the Ethics Committee demanding to be heard on Thursday rather then his scheduled day, and then stormed right out – won’t testify to the Ethics Committee,  they can at least take a look at his blog comments left over at Kady O’ Malley’s blog, as he’s felt compelled to leave some defence of his actions over there. There have been some other commenters asking him pointed questions about his behaviour and his antics and if anyone in the Conservative party put him up to it, which he’s yet to answer. It will be interesting to see what (if anything) his reply is to those.

More Conservative stunt attempts at Ethics Committee “In and out” hearing

Apparently,  the Conservatives getting bad publicity over Doug Finley’s stunt on Monday (trying to invite himself to speak to the Ethics Committee and then leaving in a huff having to be removed by security officials and leaving in a huff when they refused to allow him to do so and to not butt in front of everyone else who was scheduled that day) didn’t deter the Conservative strategists geniuses from trying it again today with another of their sympathetic candidates. Problem is, the Committee didn’t bite, and the guy blew up, which I don’t think the Conservatives had in mind – at least not without the opposition members goading him or something. Cue Kady O’Malley:

Goldstein, formerly the Conservative candidate in Trinity Spadina, who was one of the no-show witnesses from Tuesday’s session, turned up this morning in true Doug Finleyian fashion, demanding to be heard, despite the fact that he wasn’t on the schedule. Literally demanding – as in, yelling from his seat in the audience, after unsuccessfully attempting to buttonhole the chair during the opening moments of the meeting. Instead, the committee voted to hear him after the committee had finished with the witnesses who were on the schedule – the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and the Chief Electoral Officer. It quickly became apparent, however, was not what he – or the government – had in mind. They had visions of him being hauled out by security – again, in instant classic Finley style – to a waiting scrum, which would have nicely stomped on any coverage of the hearing itself, and would – in the minds of whoever came up with this stunt, that is – underscore the Conservative claim that the committee is a farce, a debacle and a partisan witchhunt.

So the opposition wouldn’t play along, but voted to hear him after the other witnesses were finished testifying, and even decided to let him stay and watch the proceedings. Pretty reasonable, but the guy was obviously looking for an excuse to cause an uproar, and he found one. Problem is, he might have gone over the top with his antics:

When the committee began debating whether to bring Mayrand back after the lunch break, however, it apparently pushed him over the brink: He began screaming at the chair, accusing him of making allowances for other witnesses – witnesses who were there, it’s worth noting, on the day that they had been invited to appear…He then conducted a running scrum from the hallway, out the front door, and down the front drive, yelling the whole way, with a retinue of reporters in tow. Faced with similarly spirited questioning from reporters, he attempted to storm off, perhaps unaware that journalists – as individuals, or in the collective known as the scrum, do have the power of movement. At one point, he seemed to have escaped, but then realized that he had forgotten his companion along the side of the road, so was forced to go back and rescue her, as Conservative staffers looked on in horror.

It’s rather obvious what the Conservatives are trying to do here (note I said TRYING).  They’re attempting to turn the Ethics Committee hearings into a sideshow to distract from the media reporting all the juicy details of the “In and out” electoral financing scheme and instead focus on the circus, in the hopes that the media will just point to this and say this is another example of partisan bickering.

The problem is that they’re screwing even that part up when their sympathetic witnesses start going off on rants and tangents. All this is doing is making a) the Conservatives look real bad in that its rather obvious they’re trying to short-circuit this, and b) I predict he public is oging to take a look at this and wonder why all the stunts if they have nothing to hide?

B-Team redux

If these allegations from yesterday about the Conservatives telling potential witnesses to stay away from coming to the Ethics Committee to testify about the “In and out” electoral financing scandal are true (which left the Conservative B-Team on the committee basically accusing the clerk of the Ethics Committee of lying), someone is a) stupid, and b) in deep trouble:

You know, it’s worth pausing for a moment here to really appreciate the magnitude of what’s being alleged here. If these mystery witnesses – and the clerk – are telling the truth, then *someone*, at least, did something very, very, very wrong – and if it was the Conservative Party, or someone acting on its behalf, the political consequences could be immense. Fiddling with expenses is one thing; witness intimidation is quite another.

I don’t know if this fits the phrase “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup”, but it’s pretty similar:

There’s also the small matter of that letter from the clerk – you know, the one in which he said that one person on the witness list told his staff that the Conservative Party had instructed them not to show up, which the Tories have categorically denied. Given the incendiary nature of that particular allegation – and the possibility that other witnesses might have received similar warnings – they may end up making more news by their absence than they would if they just showed up. Which is sort of symbolic of this whole scandal, really.

Not quite Watergate Nixonian stuff, but if this keeps up, we’re getting there.

UPDATE: Steve is right. If you have nothing to hide as you proclaim, Conservative Party, then why are you hiding?

“In and out” electoral scheme explained easily.

Just a little follow up to my last blogpost done very early this AM: I sometime have gotten frustrated at the media explaining the Conservatives “in and out” electoral scheme as being “complex”.  This is the media narrative the Conservatives want and have been pushing themselves (in addition of course to the false statement that “other parties do it too”) in order to confuse the public.

Over at Impolitical, she explains very clearly in 2 sentences or less what the “In and Out” scheme is about:

…the federal Conservatives targeting unused local budgets across the country by moving funds in-and-out leads to additional untold millions in a national spending advantage for Conservatives. And that’s a violation of the equal playing field electoral rules we have.

That’s all there is to it. Very simple, and one the other parties should be pushing over and over again to the public. I believe one would call this the KISS explanation of “in and out”.

(The link inside her explanation, if you’re wondering, shows how they get that spending advantage. A tad longer, but worth reading).

The B-Team

I’ve been kind of incognito today (yesterday) so I didn’t get a chance to immediately pen my thoughts on the day’s events, but all I can say is this  to the Conservatives:

Please, PLEASE keep having Gary Goodyear, Dean Del Maestro, Mike Wallace and all the rest of that B-Team bunch spout off at the Ethics Committee at witnesses from your own party, and in general.

The reasons?

– You’re giving us bloggers over here on the Progressive and Liberal blogosphere lots of great entertainment at reading Kady O’Malley’s liveblogging of the event

– You’re giving us lots of great blogging material when its usually pretty quiet in the summer.

– Most importantly, you’re giving Canadians a chance to see how you knowingly bent the election financing rules and cheated, and that your former candidates who are here at the Committee testifying are far more competent and  honest then your Conservative guys are. (And the Doug Finley attempt at intimidation or trying to distract from the testimony or whatever the PMO master strategists were trying to gain from him being there  with his little stunt today was an added bonus of bone-headedness.)

Please, as someone who wants the nation to see you for what you really are, carry on as you were.

More Ethics Committee entertainment..

.. by our Conservative mole Maclean’s Kady O’Mally as she liveblogs Day 2 of the Ethics Committee.  Some of the highlights so far appear to be the Cons. claiming this is all a big fishing expedition — but then proceeding to try and delay and filibuster this Committee with inane notions. Fortunately, the chairperson Paul Szabo isn’t a Conservative, so it only gets them so far.  It does look like all in attendance – Kady included – are a bit irritated today. Must be the humidity or something.

[email protected]:10 pm: The afternoon sesssion of the Ethics committee is liveblogged here by Kady, whose fingers and will to blog this griping (mostly by the Cons. unsurprisingly) appears to be fading fast.

In-And-Out returns once again

I kind of like how we seem to lurch from one scandal the Conservatives have on their hands to another different one on a seemingly weekly basis – it keep the news fresh and the discussion interesting, if you know what I mean. It also lets the public see how much crap this Conservative government has gotten into in the time it’s been in power.

Anyhow, I know there is a lot going on elsewhere today, but if you want to get yourself re-acquainted with the “In and Out” election financing problems the Cons. have with Elections Canada, Kady O’Malley of Macleans is live-blogging the proceedings at the Ethics Committee here. The Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, has been testifying so far, and it seems he’s aiming squarely at the Cons. claims of persecution:

Looks like the Conservatives aren’t the only ones on the offensive — Mayrand just took on the “But every party does it; why is Elections Canada picking on us?” argument that Pierre Poilievre, among others, brings out so often. He asked the agency to look into that claim by examining all party returns for the last few election cycles. His conclusion? No, they don’t.

Should be a fun day up there at the Hill 🙂

[email protected]:05 pm: Part 2 of Kady’s Liveblogging is here, where among other things, you’ll see Pierre Poilievre’s conspiracy theory claims on parade.

Some questions for James Moore.

– Why are you and the Conservatives waiting till September to have this application for an injunction on stopping the Liberals from using the Harper interview on Cadman, if it’s “doctored” and false? (A related question that the Jurist asks: “How can Harper try to argue that an injunction is needed to prevent irreparable harm three months from now if the lack of one isn’t a problem in the meantime?”)

– Why in your injunction are you asking the courts to only prevent the Liberals from not using the tape? Why aren’t the NDP, the BQ, the Greens, the publisher of Zytaruk’s book, and the media also listed in this […]

More Conservative amateur hour on Cadman-Gate.

The Cadman-Gate affair has been a bit out of the news of late, what with “Nafta-Gate” (the leak from someone in the PMO of notes questioning Obama’s sincerity in overturning NAFTA), as well as “Maxime Bernier-Gate” (I’m sure I don’t need to explain what that is) dominating the news of late.

You’d think this was a dormant issue, what with all the successful filibustering the Conservatives are doing in Committee to prevent it from being investigated, but it appears the Conservatives are still very worried about Harper being caught on tape saying what he did about “financial considerations”, because they’ve just held a press conference this morning where they claim they have experts saying that the tape in question was “doctored” by the Liberals, and that they’ve filed an injunction request, asking the courts to order the Liberals to stop playing the tape, because of their doctored claim.

That’s what they’d like everyone to believe, but as Kady O’Malley blogged this morning, they didn’t do a very good job of convincing any of the assembled media of the merits of their case:

———————————————

Questions! First, from a French reporter: Did they use the original tape? They used the tape provided by Zytaruk, Moore says.

How did the tape change the meaning of what the PM said? Hm, not really an answer there—reporters pressing him on it. The gist: it was a longer conversation, and the tape was doctored. Doctored!

Oh dear, this isn’t a good sign for the Conservative spin factory: “Are you calling ‘white noise’ a fabricated soundbite?” That doesn’t sound like quite the revelation that the news release promised, and Moore seems to be getting a little frantic. Will there be action against Zytaruk? Sounds like not.

More questions. The Toronto Star wants to clarify whether the words “financial consideration” occurred—no yes or no answer, just that “the tape was doctored.” That’s the line they want us to leave with—not how, or why, or what it changes as far as the actual conversation.

In other, worse news for Moore, someone—Graham Richardson, to be precise—managed to read one of the affidavits, and confronts him with the observation that the expert doesn’t say the tape can’t be trusted at all.

————————————

Interesting – so the tape is “doctored”, but they’re taking no action against the person who taped it – and he has been on record in the past as standing up for its accuracy. This apparently is just aimed at stopping the meanie Liberals from continuing to embarrass them about this affair – talk about libel chill.  An impartial judge will see this for what it is and throw this injunction out without looking at it too long, I predict.

If Moore is holding a press conference on an issue that has largely sunk into the background while Nafta-Gate and Bernier-Gate has overshadowed it, the Cons. obviously are worried about it enough to try and discredit it – too bad for them that it appears they are still engaging in Inspector Gadget-type news conferences – this one following up on their highly embarrassing attempt at contacting select media to preempt the release of the affidavit Elections Canada used to explain the raid on Conservative Party Headquarters.

Maybe they should hire Buckets to listen to the tape – he has experience after all listening to Gurmant Grewal’s attempts to doctor tapes. I’m sure he could tell James Moore as well as anyone whether a tape has been “doctored” or not.

[email protected]:28pm: Kady expands on her liveblogging with another entry, explaining why she thinks the Cons. bringing this up again was a big mistake, and how they seem to be stretching their case here.

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