Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Reports that reports of Lisa Raitt's death was premature may be premature

All morning the speculation has been will Lisa Raitt resign/be fired for leaving a binder full of secret documents on the Chalk River file at CTV, and not noticing it was missing for a week, or will the Conservatives try to blame it all on some poor staffer (who I'm sure will be rewarded with a nice private sector gig for taking the fall).

Well, unsurprisingly, with accountability being just a buzzword for the Stephen Harper Conservatives, just after lunchtime they opted for door B: let the staffer take the fall. Harper spokesperson (I'm assuming he's on the PMO payroll today) Kory Teneycke went on CTV (hey, why not them?) to break the news:

Well, let me first start by saying that this is obviously a very serious incident. Our government takes the handling of confidential documents very seriously and we have very clear and very firm procedures in place to prevent these sorts of incidents from happening. That being said, an incident obviously did occur where some documents were left at the ctv studio here in Ottawa. And as alt, the prime minister and our office have taken a very careful look at what did occur. It's our assessment that while this was a serious breach, it was not breach by the minister herself. And as such, we expect the minister to continue the good work she's doing on behalf of the government.


The minister did offer her resignation if the prime minister felt it appropriate. For her to step down. He obviously did not. And as such, she's staying on. However, I would like to point out that the staff person responsible did offer their resignation and it was accepted.

So, Raitt offered her resignation but Harper said no, some poor staffer resigned instead, and this is different from the Maxime Bernier cause because it just is so leave me alone. And with that, the Conservatives seemed content to ride this thing out.

But then, mere minutes later on that same CTV, reporter Bob Fife reports:
I can report, dan, ctv news has learned that the aide who was walking the plank for the minister is Jasmine McDonell who I think we have a picture of her going in with the minister this morning in from the back way of the house of commons. She's a young aide, press secretary. I can also report sources telling CTV that that briefing document actually was the minister's document. Now, they're going blame this aide for having it. But there's going to be a lot of questions that will be asked here, dan. The minister -- if it was the minister's briefing document, which is what I am told it is, the question would be why wasn't the minister -- why'd the minister ask, hey, where's my briefing document? Why is it missing? In and the same thing would apply to the aides. Any of these documents, they're supposed to be under lock and key because they are marked " and when they are brought out of the office they're supposed to be in a briefcase under lock and key and taken out with somebody watching. When it goes back into the evening it it is supposed to be put back into a safe in the minister's office or at a safe in the minister's home. So there's a lot of unanswered questions here. It's fine and dandy for the prime minister's office to try to have some young 26-year-old walk the plank for this, but the buck stops with the minister.


I'm getting this from sources, dan, that i believe to be reliable, who have talked to me in the last little bit. And who say that not only were -- that is the minister's briefing book, but there is essential active commercial information -- sensitive commercial information in that document which we have not reported that would be very advantageous to some of the people bidding on some of our reactors in ontario, and in fact the information that the ontario government would not be very pleased with if it got out. The issue here is the government trying to deflect the blame by blaming some young 26-year-old girl. Other issue, this is we're told the minister's document. And the other factor is sensitive commercial information which ctv has not reported that somebody has to take account for. And it certainly can't be some young kid.


The duments that the ctv had and which graham richardson reported on last night were " and they were numbered. And so they are very sensitive documents and these are the kind documents that are traceable. If they're not reported immediately, there should be an automatic trace of what happened those documents. Ctv got these documents late thursday evening. We've had them since tuesday until graham reported on the national last night. So we understand there is an investigation going on now from the privy council office, but every rule in the book was broken as far as I can see in terms of security.

Question period starts in a few minutes and its going to be a doozy. Fife's report kills any chance Teneyck's interview had of ending this thing with the staffer's resignation. This is bigger now, with the commercial aspects, and with the revelation these actually were the minister's own personal briefing books, the PMO and Raitt look like heartless, unprincipled tools for trying to blame this on some young staffer.

What's more, by releasing that Raitt offered her resignation and HARPER refused, this is now bigger than Raitt. Harper gets to wear this now. This whole sorry episode, from the firing of Linda Keen to the complete inaction on the Chalk River file over 18 months to the lack of an isotope backup plan to this pathetic attempt to save the hide of Raitt and not Bernier for the EXACT SAME OFFENSE because he likes Raitt while Bernier was an embarrassment to trying to blame it all on some young kid, it all comes back to the incompetence of this government and Stephen Harper's lack of leadership.

Lisa Raitt's resignation, which is even more necessary now that it was, will be all the more embarassing and painful for this government now because of this pathetic manuvering.

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MississaugaPeter said...

Last night, at about 6:15 p.m., I made my first visit inside the Parliament Buildings. Waiting for the 2 fine fellows (MPs) who were taking me up for dinner in the Parliamentary Cafeteria, I saw the aforementioned KORY TENEYCKE.

A fiftiesh man was coming through the doors and KORY told security that the man was going up to the Prime Minister's Office. He seemed to want to wisk the guy straight up the elevator, but security sent the fiftiesh man over to go through the metal detector.

Of course KORY had him "bud in" in front of a group of school children. But what he did next really shocked me. He took the fiftiesh guy's bag (about laptop size) and put it over his shoulder so it would not have to go through the metal detector. When I went through security, they had me turn on both my laptop and cell phone to make sure they were working. Security was busy and missed the exchange.

I stopped security and mentioned it to them. KORY and the fiftiesh aged man were out of sight, but the security guy did bring them back and had the bag go through the metal detector. But unlike me, the fiftiesh man never had to show his ID or to get an ID badge.

Can someone tell me if this proper and if this is acceptable?

dije said...

good post and thanks for posting this. best summary of this issue i have found

linked from blogs

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Well, PeterFeller, if King Steve sez it's proper and acceptable, then it's proper and acceptable. If he decides tomorrow that it ain't proper and acceptable, then it ain't proper and acceptable.

If a minister is responsible for secret documents when their name is Bernier, that don't mean a minister is responsible for secret papers if their name is Raitt.

If a reactor is unsafe and is taken offline by a Liberal appointee, it's not really unsafe and cancer patients come before public safety so the reactor goes back online and the watchdog gets fired. If a reactor is taken offline for 3 months plus by a Conservative appointee, safety is public paramount and patients will have to wait until it's fixed.

Accountability, consistency, fairness in the application of rules are all at the whim of King Steve. Remember his quote: "There will be no nuclear accidents." That bigass leak at Chalk River mustn't have been an accident, I reckon.