Tuesday, April 15, 2008

There's courts of law, and there’s the people's court

Lower case. Not the one with Judge Marilyn.

The word goes crazy and I’m out of the country. Still in Boston, at Logan Airport enjoying cheese and crackers in the United Lounge and waiting for my flight to San Francisco. But thanks to the wonders of PDAs, and Facebook, as I strolled (ironically enough) through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum I was made aware of this cheery news:

Mounties raid Tory HQ
The Canadian Press with Globe and Mail Update

April 15, 2008 at 12:28 PM EDT

OTTAWA — The RCMP raided Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday at the request of Elections Canada.

A spokesman said elections commissioner William Corbett had asked the assistance of the Mounties to execute a search warrant, but he would not say why.


Needless to say, everyone here and here is going bananas. Paul Wells is one of the rare voices of caution, reminding us of the presumption of innocence in our legal system and what not. Fair enough, but no matter what happens in the court of law, the more important verdict will be that from the court of public opinion. And there, the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply so much, and the burden of proof is a very different thing.

These headlines are going to be splashed all over the airwaves tonight, and all over the newspapers tomorrow. A raid on a political party HQ? It’s unprecedented. And if there’s good film to be had, then it’s the makings of some devastating campaign. Remember how much mileage the Cons got from Dingwall’s entitled to his entitled footage, even though it turns out he actually was entitled? A crapload.

The public doesn’t pay much attention to the ins and outs, if you will, of the day to day political goings-on. But this one will get their attention. And no matter what happens down the road, this is what they’ll remember. That’s politics. And that’s the people’s court. It’s their verdict that will count.

I need to pack-up and catch my plane, so I’ll refer you to my past blogging on the in-and-out scheme for more on the scandal behind the headlines.

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ottlib said...

News storied are permeating the media with the words "Conservative Party HQ", "search warrant". "RCMP raid" all in the same sentence.

Yes, I would say that such a situation would have an impact on the court of public opinion.

It remains to be seen how much.

Budd Campbell said...

I guess this leaves voters with one of three choices. Either bring back the Sponsorship Party, or stick with the In and Out Gang, or else vote for Jack Layton and the NDP.

As a BCer in Toronto, I am sure you must be following the Basi-Virk trial with considerable interest. After all, its explosive potential for Liberals both federal and provincial is well known, and the Mark Marissen crowd running Dion is well represented on the witness list.