Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Let's go discovering

It seems like Stephen Harper plans to go ahead with its libel lawsuit against Stephane Dion et al. Or at least he says he does, he hasn't filed anything yet. But I believe him. I looked straight into his eyes and I saw he was telling the truth. So to court we go, some time in the next few years anyway.

The Conservative bloggers and commenters have been all a twitter since the libel gauntlet was dropped about the discovery process, where they expect to subpoena all kinds of juicy stuff from the Liberals. Like Pierre Trudeau's little black book. We also know who was behind the grassy knoll and trust me, you'll be surprised.

They forget though that discovery goes both ways.

For example, if this case proceeds I'll be very interested to see all e-mails, faxes, phone records and other corespondence between Ottawa and Surrey, as well as the sworn testimony of all parties involved, that led up to the issuance of this statement:

March 3, 2008
Personal Statement by Dona Cadman

I’m a little bit surprised at the level of reaction to the disclosures in Tom Zytaruk’s book and I guess that’s probably because it was put to rest in my mind, when I discussed the matter with Stephen Harper, 2 ½ years ago. At that time, I recall specifically asking him if he was aware of a million dollar insurance policy offer, that upset Chuck so much.

He looked me straight in the eyes and told me he had no knowledge of an insurance policy offer. I knew he was telling me the truth; I could see it in his eyes. He said, yes he’d had some discussions with two individuals about asking Chuck to rejoin the party, but he’d told them they were wasting their time trying to convince Chuck.

From that point forward…. I didn’t regard it as a “Party” initiative, but rather; the overzealous indiscretion of a couple of individuals…. whose identity, Chuck never revealed to me.

It all comes back to my conversation with the Prime Minister…. 2 ½ years ago. I want to be perfectly clear in that regard. Chuck liked, respected and trusted Stephen Harper. I like, respect and trust Stephen Harper. If I didn’t believe in my heart, that he was telling me the truth…. I wouldn’t be running as the Conservative Candidate for Surrey North.

Dona Cadman

Dido all e-mail, corespondance, fax, phone records and sworm testimony of those involved in the lead-up to this statement (H/T Quito):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement from Mr. Dan Wallace

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 2, 2008

Today Mr. Wallace issued the following statement:


“The May meeting date included in a soon to be released book about Chuck Cadman is inaccurate. Unfortunately, because of that error, some media are now reporting that there were two meetings, one on May 17 and another on May 19, 2005, between party officials - Doug Finley and Tom Flanagan - and Chuck Cadman. For the record, there was only the one meeting between my former employer, Chuck Cadman, with Doug Finley and Tom Flanagan and it took place in his private office on May 19th. As I have stated publicly last week, I was outside that room and not privy to the details.”

Were the issuers of these statements contacted by the PMO or a CPC official prior to the issuance of these statements? If so, who? What did they discuss? Where were these statements drafted? By whom? Were revisions suggeted? By whom? What were they? And so on. All perfectly valid questions for discovery, and answers will be legally required and compelled, and given under oath.

I think it might be very interesting to hear the answers. If this thing ever does go to court, that is...

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13 comments:

Mark Francis said...

In the meantime, is it safe for any of us to quote Hansard?

A BCer in Toronto said...

A very interesting question, Mark. I don't know.

If we do get sued for it though, I trust Ezra Levant and his blogger defence force will represent us pro bono.

Jason Hickman said...

All perfectly valid questions for discovery

Hm. Maybe, but I wouldn't bet money on a Court agreeing. Of course I wouldn't bet *against* it, either - but I can tell you, what constitutes a "valid question" on discovery may not be as broad as you think. At least in Ontario, it's not an "any question goes" kind of environment.

It'll depend on (among other things) the content of the actual pleadings, if & when they're issued & served.

Gayle said...

I suspect Harper will file a statement of claim. I do not think that was his original intention, but when Dion did not back down Harper realized he had to follow through.

Whether or not he files, it looks bad on him.

Though I am not a civil lawyer, it seems to me there is probably a way to get a summary judgement if the Statement of Claim does not disclose libel. Perhaps the liberals' lawyer can argue the statements were clearly quoted from Hansard and therefore exempt. No libel disclosed, no cause of action, no lawsuit, and no discovery.

Although personally I hope the liberals arrange to examine Harper for discovery first before they seek summary judgment.

biff said...

Harper is well aware that discovery goes both ways, as is his world class libel lawyer.

Those who are in the right, who know they have nothing to hide, and who know the allegations against them are untrue, generally don't concern themselves with discovery.

You know, because there is nothing to discover.

The notion that Harper is telling the truth runs so counter to your hyper partisanship, that no matter what objective facts are in your face, you'll carry on as if those facts don't exist.

I look forward to the contortions of logic and reason, justifying the inevitable Dion apology/Harper victory.

Steve V said...

"I look forward to the contortions of logic and reason, justifying the inevitable Dion apology/Harper victory."

You better get comfy then.

wilson said...

Let me recap.
Libs are accusing PMSH of knowing about an alledged bribe,
given to Chuck Cadman by,
unknown 'overzealous individuals'
on a date 'sometime'
before May 19, 2005.
The evidence:
a taped interview, where PMSH DIDN'T answer a question
(on a driveway)
'what insurance policy?'

Sure is curious how the Dippers have backed away from the Cadman affair, leaving the Libs front and center (like a dog with a porkchop).

A BCer in Toronto said...

Jason, I'm far from an expert on libel law, but given that should it come down to the Liberals having to defend the libel charge on a truth defence trying to prove the bribery allegation was true, and what Harper knew and when, and his public statements regarding the affair over the years and now. That would seem to open up quite a bit of areas for exploration.

The point being, anyways, that, like Ontario, it will be ours to discover. And, depending on how strong they feel their case actually is, the potentially for embarassing but tangential thing to come up in discovery may well weigh into any Conservative decision to actually proceed legally or not.

Gayle, if the parliamentary privlege argument is strong it could well lead to a summary judgemement, for sure I think that issue would need to be ruled on before things got too far down the road, as it would pre-empt the need for further action if upheld, case dismissed. As you say, a little discovery would be fun though.

Biff, if the Conservatives had nothing to hide they wouldn't have offered what is it now, maybe five different explinations for this whole thing. Nobody's buying it mon ami.

burlivespipe said...

Maybe we can supoena Alan Riddell to provide some background info on our so-called Prime minister and his 'financial considerations' habits...

MAW said...

Seems the she said, he said scandal surrounding Chuck Cadman has become the red herring of the century.

If the thought of some insurance underwriter giving a life insurance policy to a man with terminal cancer sounds ridiculous it probably is.

And all the statements attributed in the book, which I have read, are third party hearsay statements that would never stand up in court, or anywhere else for that matter.

Even the author in an interview couldn’t even corroborate the allegations other than to say that is what Mrs. Cadman told him and she wasn’t in the room either. No doubt the conservatives would offer to help Cadman with an election since his riding association was broke and unable to finance a campaign.

All other political party’s including the Liberals bolster riding associations this way. And according to the author, nobody except his legislative assistant Dan Wallace was in the room with Cadman and the representatives from the conservatives so any information flowing from that is mere speculation, or a fabrication since Wallace refuses to say what was said.

According to the author he deferred to Dona as to what was said. If anyone knows a first-hand account, instead of the heresy of others, it would be Dan Wallace and no other since Mr. Cadman is deceased.

As to Mrs. Cadman running for the conservatives, good luck with that.

Seems this whole scandal is designed to pump up book sales for the author and increase the dividend paid to the Cadman family for their unsubstantiated statements in the book.

What I find most amusing is how the media ran with the story before getting all the facts. Now that down-right irresponsible journalism.

Shameful.

RuralSandi said...

Intersting twist - this Wallace now works for Sorenson - a Calgary MP.

Too, too many coinidences.

Steve V said...

"And all the statements attributed in the book, which I have read, are third party hearsay statements that would never stand up in court, or anywhere else for that matter."

Not so quick, Con apologist

a bit of this a bit of that said...

maw
"Seems this whole scandal is designed to pump up book sales for the author and increase the dividend paid to the Cadman family for their unsubstantiated statements in the book."

This statement is such a red herring that it stinks. The Cadman family hasn't written the book and won't get dividends. The author, Tom Zytaruck, interviewed Dona Cadman as well as a few other folks. Zytaruk will get royalties for his efforts.

You also state:

"If the thought of some insurance underwriter giving a life insurance policy to a man with terminal cancer sounds ridiculous it probably is."

Just cause the Tories offered such a "financial consideration" doesn't actually mean they ever intended to fork over $1 million dollar life insurance policy. After all, they reneged giving Allan Riddell, the candidate for Ottawa South, the $50,000 they said they'd give him to cover his expenses. Riddell took Harper et al to court and a judge ruled they had been an agreement.
If Harper and his ilk can renege on this kind of deal it wouldn't surprise me if they dangled $1 million life insurance in front of Cadman and never expected to deliver. After all, Cadman would be dead. And there'd only be his family to claim that such an agreement had been in place.