Saturday, September 02, 2006

Did Stephen Harper lie?

A follow-up to Thursday’s post on Alan Riddell, the former Conservative nomination candidate for Ottawa South that is suing the CPC for the compensation he was promised in exchange for stepping aside in the last election in favour of a star candidate.

You’ll recall that in the linked Canadian Press story, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) acknowledged they agreed to pay Riddell an unspecified amount of compensation, but claim since he breached an agreement to keep it quiet the deal was now invalid (emphasis mine):

Riddell claims the party agreed to pay him up to $150,000 in campaign expenses and legal fees in return for stepping aside but then reneged on the deal.

Conservatives don't deny they agreed to some sort of financial arrangement with Riddell
. But the party claims Riddell breached the deal by going public about it and consequently is owed nothing.

The key thing there is that they acknowledge there was a financial arrangement to pay Riddell for stepping aside.

But here’s what Stephen Harper said last December on the campaign trail, when allegations of a compensation arrangement for Riddell first came to the pubic eye and Harper was asked if what Riddell was claiming was true (emphasis mine) :

But Harper sharply denied the suggestion.

"The party does not have an agreement to pay Mr. Riddell these expenses, and Mr. Riddell has not been paid anything to date," he said, explaining that the party's national council had decided Riddell was not an "acceptable'' candidate.

As we see, last December, while running for election, Harper said there was no deal. Now, however, that legal proceedings are underway against them the CPC admits there actually WAS a deal. I see two possible scenarios here:

1) Harper knew there was a deal and also knew that admitting it would seriously torpedo his plan to campaign on being a new clean and ethical government, just as the election was getting underway, so he lied to the media and the Canadian people, or

2) Harper was kept in the dark about the deal and therefore told the truth as he knew it, which means his staffers and/or party executives hid this damaging information from him and set him up to the microphones in December to unknowingly lie to the Canadian people

Either possibility is quite serious. Either Harper blatantly lied to the Canadian people to win an election, or members of the CPC campaign team/inner circle lied to their leader and made him look a liar and a fool.

One thing is clear though: Stephen Harper and the CPC owe an explanation to the Canadian people.

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Anonymous said...

Do ya think this one'll be as big as the Jason Kenney supports terrorist group story? Do ya? Do ya?? Yawwwhhhnnn...

Eric said...

Agreed. It may not generate massive headlines.. but i am curious to find out which case it really is...

Erik said...

"The party does not have an agreement to pay Mr. Riddell these expenses, and Mr. Riddell has not been paid anything to date,"

It's not really clear what Harper means with "these expenses". Even the slightest difference in deciding the exact magnitude of the expenses makes the statement valid (i.o.w. not a lie).

Maybe they have an agreement to pay "some" expenses?

wilson said...

So Mr. Riddell will not get his shut up money,

unlike David (I'm entitled to my entitlemnents) Dingwall, who the taxpayers of Canada generously gave him $418,000 (Liberals shut up money re: his part in Adscam)

Anonymous said...

Canadians can't let this slide under the rug.
It will get very few headlines, if any.
Let the courts decide. They are duty bound to report.
Perhaps the journos and press folk who are not on the approved Harper List will find the time to follow this story.

Karen said...

Isn't it funny. Whenever something untoward is revealed about the Conservatives, all the apologists come out with the same chorus, "no big thing, yawn," etc. Or worse, "you guy's did it for years", which of course is such an intelligent defense.

Is there no Conservative member out there with ethics? Is there no one on in that party who can actually say, "I still support the CPC, but this is wrong"?

No matter, your polls numbers are dropping. Whether or not you want to see the truth, most Canadians seem to be opening their eyes to it.

Richard said...

["The party does not have an agreement to pay Mr. Riddell these expenses,]

Harper was speaking in the present tense. As the deal had already been broken, he was completely right to use the phrase "does not". Had he said "did not" at that time you would have a case. Unethical, perhaps but not a lie...

Anonymous said...

That's the one thing Harper does well. He "very carefully" words things. That doesn't make him innocent though.

The whole Liberal thing is "OVER" and the conservatives can't lean on that forever. You see, there are new kids on the block who had absolutely nothing to do with issues that happende 11 years ago. So this argument is redundant and desperate.

The Tories caused Dingwall to lose his job - they should be paying up. Entitled to entitlements - yes anyone is entitled to what is owed them.

I think this is a good approach to the blogging - checking on the Conservative government. It's not just because one is Liberal or NDP or Green. It's because as taxpayers we are "entitled" to our entitlement of the truth. Harper made his campaign of honesty and transparancy - he put himself on this shelf.

There is also the issue about the whistleblower - did he get his money? Should check this out as well.

Another issue - the Canadian Taxpayer Federation are questioning some expenses of Rona Ambrose regarding a trading conference last March. Willams of the Federation is not getting any responses from the Ambrose people. This expense issue is even bigger than the Volpe pizz issue.

To keep saying these things are nothing is a joke?

Darren McEwen said...

Is it human nature or just stupidity that causes us to always compare scandals and stories to others?

A lie is a lie.

Jeff said...

Erik, Richard, I'm sorry but that has got to the the lamest justification for unethical behaviour I've heard in some time. Essentially, you're saying he didn't tehnically lie, he just deliberately mislead the Canadian people.

If I were a parent I wouldn't accept such nonesense from my five-year-old, I'm sure not going to accept it from the Prime Minister.

Maybe such parsing of words would be relevant in a court of law. But we're not in court. The Canadian people deserve better then "it depends on your definition of..."

Erik said...

Iit's about the word "lie". It's too strong; the question "Did Stephen Harper Lie" is wrong.

Did he lie? I'm afraid not really (see my earlier post). Is the Riddell issue another example of his deceptive governing? Indeed, it is.

He can not be trusted.

catnip said...

Good catch, BCer.

Is there no Conservative member out there with ethics? Is there no one on in that party who can actually say, "I still support the CPC, but this is wrong"?

If you find such a beast, let me know. ;)

Scotian said...

Gee, it would not be the first time Harper knowingly lied to Canadians, remember his cover-up of the editing of the Grewal tapes to make false criminal allegations against the government of the day? I sure do, and this by comparison is a much less dangerous lie for him to have made.

As to this particular case, I love this reasoning by the CPC. Yes, we had a deal to pay this man for expenses for stepping aside as the CPC nominee, but since he went public with it he broke the secrecy clause we had in place and therefore owe him nothing. Interestingly, why did the CPC need a secrecy clause in the first place? Could it be because there is something if not illegal certainly highly immoral in this action by the CPC in buying out one candidate so as to emplace another? Could it be because they realized that this would taint their image of the clean cut party they had been telling Canadians they were? Surely not...(for the sarcasm challenged the preceding was intensely sarcastic).

Good catch BCer, good catch indeed. This is something that Harper and the CPC needs to come clean on, and Harper is damned as a liar yet again or his party is now, either way it speaks yet again to the many hypocrisies/double standards that the CPC from the leader on down have shown themselves willing to perpetuate to gain/hold power. Which is exactly the sort of party they claimed they were not, a party that placed expediency before virtue was what they were supposedly replacing, not actually what they were/are themselves. Not that this was a shock to those of us that actually have been watching closely the CPC since it's creation in betrayal and treachery.

Anonymous said...

Semantics, semantics. Good catch. It is aggravating that politicians, of today, of all stripes believe that they can feed swill, as the farmers do to pigs, and the voters will be lulled to overeat and snooze and vote for the party that gave them the swill. This is the party of honesty, ethics and transparency that is supposed to make government more accountable? So much for Harper's integrity and moral rectitude. Sad isn't it.
Another one bites the dust.
Say what you will about Joe Clark - he was an honest, decent man who cared for his country - something that the CPC lacks.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Harper lies like a sidewalk.

Oh, right. Stephen Harper lies like a speed bumb on a sidewalk.

wilson said...

Dingwall pleads ignorance on Adscam

''OTTAWA -- Former public works minister David Dingwall said he saw nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing about the man at the centre of Adscam bending rules in doling out advertising contracts to win the war against Quebec separatism

Dingwall, who headed the Public Works Department from 1993 to 1996, denied he was aware of how his former sponsorship program head Chuck Guite was doing business, although battling the 1995 Quebec referendum was a key priority for the government.

wilson said...

Dingwall said to Guite:
“You won’t rat on them, you won’t rat on us.”

Mr. Chretien was so concerned to remove any partisan taint from federal advertising practices that he assigned the task to David Dingwall, his first Public Works minister; and that Mr. Dingwall and his executive assistant, Warren Kinsella, were so seized with non-partisan zeal that they went to unusual lengths to ensure Chuck Guité was put in charge of the program. Mr. Guité has testified that Mr. Dingwall explained his decision to keep him on, notwithstanding similar activities on behalf of the previous Conservative government, with the words: “You won’t rat on them, you won’t rat on us.”

Jeff said...

Wilson that's really, really lame. Instead of addressing the issue at hand, you try to distract with notes from things that took place 10 years ago, have been made public, examined by a judicial inquiry, an rcmp investigation, and that the Canadian people have had their say on in a general election. Arguably, two elections.

Would you care to address at all the fact that it appears that Stephen Harper either lied, or at best deliberately mislead, the Canadian people a scant few months ago? Or is Stephen Harper entitled to his entitlements?

Anonymous said...

This is just another step in the slimy refraction of Harpor's agenda... Remember the deal made of the gov't's (harpor) decision to close the repatriation of Canadian soldiers? Both he and minister for lobbying military stepped forward and said it was 'for the family's sakes' and that there was no backtracking on it. They emphasized that point (along with the flag issue, despite having spoken out in the house the year before demanding the flags fly at half mast!) to all and sundry. When their in-house polling (and paid by us, despite that harpor is not one governed by polls - perhaps they meant 'poles') said that this decision stunk and people all over, including much of Alberta, wished this to be wiped away, Harpor stepped forward and said that it had been a misunderstanding, that it always was to be up to the families -- the families were never consulted on the original decision!... He went on to take a backhanded slap at the mourning father of the female soldier in the process.
He is not worthy of leading this country. Harpor is smarm wrapped up in deceit twisted into arrogance. One commenter said it all -- Joe Clark, where have you gone?!