Friday, May 08, 2009

Ruby Dhalla fires back

I didn't get to watch Ruby Dhalla's press conference this afternoon, being at work at what not. I did, however, read the closed-captioning transcript.

Many of the media reports I've read so far seem to just say she denied the allegations and leave it at that. I gather the labour lawyer rubbed the media the wrong way by not wanting Dhalla to take questions. I can't imagine why they might be concerned about the media.

Over at Macleans, they seem to be focused on the slight to the media and the style of the press conference. Reading the transcript though, it seems there was substantial substance presented by Dhalla and the lawyer as well that seems to raise questions about many of the allegations that have been raised against her.

I've pasted the relevant portion of the transcript below; the speaker is the labour lawyer. As I said, it's a closed captioning transcript so excuse the typos and what not.

As I've said before, the allegations raised in this case are very serious, and need to be investigated fully. I'm withholding judgment until all the facts are in, and this matter has been fully explored.

I just hope the media will give the same attention to investigating the responses and evidence detailed below as they did the initial allegations. Because, at first blush, they would seem to raise some serious doubts about the picture that has been painted so far.

I note that these allegations, which have been broadcast broadly in the media, have become more expansive, more egregious, and interestingly, more similar to each other with every passing day. Let me delineate the instances of what I've referred to.

The first example, ms. Gordo alleges, she was not paid for her work. Let me read you the receipt that she hand wrote and signed when she was paid. A full reconciliation is made, what she had been paid initially, the days that she worked by the day, the amounts that are owing, and what is owed to her now. She writes... "received from tavindewrchld, dhalla, not ruby dhalla, the amount of canadian $400 before 150 was paid. They don't owe me anything, signed by her. And now a year later all of a sudden the press is reporting she wasn't paid, and it's signed mag da len-len . This allegation is belied by her own document, her own signature.

Second point, ms. Gordo alleges she worked for three weeks and that ruby held her passport for two weeks. You look at the same reconciliation, it shows that she only worked for 11 days.

Thirdly. The allegations been made that ruby dhalla had regular contacts with mrs. Gordo. Well, I wish I could be this careful. She keeps her boarding passes from 14, 15, months ago, and if you look at them, she's in vancouver, she's in ottawa, she's -- there's only theoretical possibility from these boarding passes handed to her as she goes on to the airplane, not something prebooked, is that at most she could have been in the G.T.A. For three days in the whole time mrs. Gordo worked. And in those three days, her calendar indicates, as well as all of the objective evidence, the people that were there, that she attended a long series of community and constituency events and was virtually never at her mother's home.

Fourth, the allegations made that one or more of these nannies shoveled the snow at her mother's house. Well, i obtained this witness statement yesterday from a person who actually did, and he's been doing it for five years, and he says that for the past five years he's performed all work on the snow of that home. He automatically, whenever it snows, uses a shovel and snowblower. He does not wait to be called, and he has never at any time in those five years seen any indication that anyone else shoveled snow prior to his arrival. It's easy to make allegations. It's easy to repeat allegations, but, again, the allegations are absolute nonsense.

The next one, these nannies are claiming they cleaned the chiropractor clinic owned by ruby dhalla's brother dr. Neil dhalla. Well, again, witness statement signed by the contract cleaners. There were contract cleaners in place at all relevant times. They clean the clinic daily. That's their job. The relationship that existed at that time, it continues to this day, again, absolute nonsense.

The next allegation, mrs. Tongson stated that her client took her passport, but what did she say at the time? Again, dramatically different. I gave my passport to dr. Neil dhalla to apply for sponsorship with my wishes. Well, that's rather an interesting juxtaposition. Her old receipt says she gave it not to ruby, but to neil, and all of a sudden some 15 months later ruby was the one who was given it, ruby held on to it. It's simply false and belied again by her own receipt at the time. The same ms. Tongson impersonated ms. Dhalla to contact hrdc to ascertain the status of her application. Hrdc confirmed this to neil, which is how he learned of it. Ms. Tongson when confronted admitted to it and, not surprisingly, did not return to work again.

So, what are we left with? A list of fabrications, a deliberate attempt a year after the fact, to create a long list of false allegations to destroy my client ruby dhalla, and make no mistake, make no mistake, ruby dhalla has been the victim of this.

It's not pleasant to be cannibalized in the national, international media, literally on the hour, and not allowed by her lawyer to respond for the past few days, which is rather against her nature, as most of you know. Mostly broken by that experience. I don't know who's behind it ultimately, but the truth happily speaks for itself.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Steve V said...

The CBC roundtable of pundits were all distracted by the media angle, rather than reviewing what was challenged by Dhalla and her lawyer. There are two stories here, one the real issues revolving around Dhalla and two, how the media reaches such a frenzied state they fail to report with any semblance of journalistic integrity. Listening to all the journalists get their back up, when anybody dares question their profession or etiquette is amazing. I actually watched the presser, and Dhalla's lawyer actually made some good factual assertions, to show how the reporting doesn't jive with simple facts. That the media reacts as they have isn't surprising, such is the case when you spend your entire career finding fault with everything except YOURSELF.

As an aside, Joan Bryden is colossal bore.

penlan said...

Thanks for this Jeff! Too bad the press isn't interested in reporting the facts on the Dhalla side. I, too, watched the pundits rountable on Politics & was angered by them not addressing the content of the presser - although comments by Russo & Martin were sarcastic about the issue in relation to the Cons & the "convenience" & suddenness of this, etc.

ottlib said...

I just boggles my mind that our MSM have not put together their falling viewership and readership and their refusal to not report the facts about a story.

It really is an example of blind stupidity.

Big Winnie said...

Although I didn't watch the presser, I did watch Politics and found the panel was more concerned with the tone of the lawyer's voice than the substance of what he was saying.

burlivespipe said...

Once they have 'their version' on paper it is so hard to move most of the MsM towards a different direction. Perhaps its due to deadlines, 'gut feelings' or just editorial pressures, but journalists by the many consider 3 calls a max before putting a story to bed. Doesn't matter if the whole truth has been divulged. There is smoke here, but not necessarily the fire the media and political rivals are calling it.
Funny how the impersonation of the MP, which I would believe to be a punishable offence, is getting little shrift.

Barcs said...

Maybe they don't want to talk about the content.

There is the classic attack the attacker defense so often employed in politics. Her lawyer did much of that (who keeps boarding passes for almost 2 years, mine are lucky if they make it to the house when I get home).

But then there is the other defense... shifting blame. Where she attempts to throw the charges over to her brother. I.E. throwing her family under the bus to save her political career.

Why did the lawyer give "entrapment" as a reason for not letting his client speak beyond the statement he had written for her? When smear and libel are alleged, isn't truth the best defense? How do you entrap someone who is being completely honest?

Where is iggy? He was in the media a whole bunch a week ago, doesn't he want to defend one of his MP's? One that was pictured with him often at the convention?

I have no idea if the allegations (by more than one separate person) are even remotely true. I am willing to wait and see what comes of it, but as I listen to the radio and watch stuff on the TV I can only think that Ms. Dhalla is not doing a very good job of defending herself, and she doesn't seem to be getting much help from her "friends"

Anonymous said...

Actually Ignatieff gave a balanced, through interview on the news last night. It led the news I saw on CTV while waiting for a friend arriving at the airport.

He basically explained Ruby Dhalla had the full backing of caucus resources to respond to the political accusations put forth about her and her family. He also emphasized that all Liberals are expected to treat their employees with respect.

I don't have the full quote so please don't read anything into or parse the meaning of the specific words I used. But that was the essential message.

it was a good statement, one I'd expect of a leader when a member comes under fire.

I'm glad your concerned though. I'm sure you always want Harper front and center when an issue arises with one of his party members.

It must have hurt you personally each time Harper has held back from the cameras when one of his ministers was under fire, like Bernier leaving his private briefs at his gal-pal's apartment.

I'm expecting to see him any moment now quickly distancing his caucus from the leak of sensitive financial data yesterday morning, eerily reminiscent of the rumours that helped herald his first election, when he couldn't say enough about possible Liberal malfeasance in the situation.

Let's plan to chat about his press conference later today. What time will Harper be making his statement? Do you recall?