Sunday, July 20, 2008

What CTV didn't tell you about Scott Newark

On CTV's Question Period program this afternoon, Craig Oliver moderated a discussion on Omar Kadhar and his ongoing “trial” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by a U.S. Military court. Discussing the situation were Khadr's U.S. Navy JAG lawyer, Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler arguing for, naturally, the pro-Khadr side. And to argue the opposing viewpoint there was one Scott Newark.

Here's how Craig Oliver introduced Scott Newark:

...a former crown prosecutor and now a security analyst.

Both of those things are true. But there's a lot that CTV didn't bother to tell you about Newark's credentials that certainly seem germane to the discussion, and his objectivity.

For example, in February of 2006, Newark joined the office of the Conservative Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Stockwell Day, as senior policy advisor. He served in the position for three months before joining the famed “revolving door” and going back to his consulting group, Northgate Group, just in time to begin work on a $312,400 contract awarded by Day's department. In fact, Newark was still working for Day when the bidding closed on the contract.

And how did Newark get around the code that “prohibits a public office holder from accepting employment for one year from a firm ''with which they had direct and significant official dealings'' with during the year before they left public office”? Easier than you might think:
But Newark said he avoided contravening the code by simply declining to sign government papers that would have made him a public office holder during his three-month contract as an adviser to Day.

The code defines a public office holder as ''a person, other than a public servant, who works on behalf of a minister of the Crown or a minister of state.''

Newark refused to specify exactly his services to the ministers while under contract as an adviser.

Now that's a helluva loophole in the Conservatives' vaunted Accountability Act. Just don't sign the papers, and refuse to say what you did. Problem solved.

That's just Newark's recent history though, and his strong and ongoing ties to the Conservative government. Before his stint in Day's office one of his past positions was as executive director of the Canadian Police Association. In an essay he wrote in that position for Alberta Report in January 1998, here's what he had to say about charter rights. Somewhat germane, given that much of the discussion was about the rights of a Canadian citizen, Omar Kadhar:
Anything effective in law enforcement will inevitably be forbidden under the Charter [the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms]. As we always say, the charter helps only murderers, pedophiles and judges. This year the Supreme Court decreed, on the authority of the Charter, that the provinces must give their judges pay raises.

[Judicial activism and judge-made law] What we have now in Canada is a supposedly enlightened despotism--rule by people who think they know so much better than everybody else. Well, no thanks. I'm in favour of anything that brings [judges] back under the rule of law--public reviews of candidates, public petitions to force performance reviews of sitting judges, and Section 33 [the "notwithstanding clause"]--every time they do something crazy.

Scott Newark is much more than a “security expert”, Mr. Oliver. And you'll forgive me if I don't give much credence to the views on the Khadr case and his rights as a Canadian citizen of a guy who thinks the charter helps only murderers, pedophiles and judges.

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JimBobby said...

Whooee! Dang liberal media! Always providing a soapbox for bleeding heart left wing lawyers.

Erik said...

I'm sure if CTV had known what we all now know (thanks to BCer in Toronto), they would NEVER have invited Scott Newark.

Stop blaming the corporate media for little mistakes like these, and show some compassion for this wonderful former prosecutor: he's only human!

skdadl said...

Well done, BCer.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Great catch, BCer.

Beijing York said...

Amazing catch. So much for "accountability" when it comes to Conservatives lining up to the trough.

As for the corporate media, they seem to prove day after day that they are either totally lazy, incompetent or dishonest.

zasu said...

Scott Newark sounded like a heartless, right-wing, law&order conservative, who believes in the U.S. system under the Republican administration of everyone is guilty until we find them even more guilty of additional charges.

The Bush administration has trampled all over the U.S. constitution and legal system, and Harper is Bush's tool under any and all circumstances. Newark has a personal connection with this government and should be ashamed of himself for the way he dismisses the fact that Kadhar was a child soldier.

RuralSandi said...

I suggest we all bombard CTV - emails with complaints about misleading us about this man. This is a serious issue and yet they put on a guy connected to Stockwell Day without mentioning it?

Sloppy, partison or lazy journalism and Jane Taber wasn't even there.

They, the media, will only perk up if we keep at them.

The Mound of Sound said...

Terrific post BCT

Somena Woman said...

Excellent Sleuthing and Reporting BCerin To

Saskboy said...

Well, isn't that inconvenient for Mr. Newark that you can do more investigating than CTV.

Red Tory said...


Red Tory said...

By the way, what's the "National Security Group"? I can't seem to find any information on it. Does it even exist as an incorporated business?

Unknown said...

This would be the same Scott Newark who was the prosecutor in the wrongful conviction of Wilson Nepoose in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.