Monday, June 08, 2009

Raitt Gate II: These aren't the tapes Harper meant

Fascinating news breaking this morning. I'll let tell it (I don't have a link):

Harper & Co Try to Muzzle Embarrassing Herald Story

By David Bentley

June 8, 2009

There`s a highly embarrassing sequel to last week's Ottawa hullabaloo over cabinet Minister Lisa Raitt's misplaced nuclear-sensitive documents - and the Harper government is pulling out all the stops to prevent The Halifax Herald from telling it.

The newspaper will be in court in Halifax today to defend against anapplication for an injunction to muzzle information gathered by Hill reporter Steve Maher. understands Maher listened to a tape that was recorded by Jasmine MacDonnell, the Nova Scotian who resigned as Raitt's press secretary after Atomic Energy of Canada documents wereleft at the bureau of CTV - which broke the story last week.Opposition members like Halifax West MP, Geoff Regan, said Raittherself should have resigned pointing out that's what External Affairs Minister, Maxine Bernier, did after sensitive papers were left at theapartment of his biker chick girlfriend, Julie Coulliard.

Stephen Harper & Co apparently believe Raitt's political future couldbe seriously in doubt if the Herald publishes what was on the Jasmine MacDonnell tape.

According to one unconfirmed report*, the federal Minister of Natural Resources was recorded making some less than flattering comments abouther cabinet colleague, Leona Aglukkaq, the fed Health Minister who entered parliament for the first time last year as the MP for Nunavut. understands that the Herald will be confronted incourt by lawyers representing MacDonnell. But sources suggest thatHarperites are plotting the strategy.

There`s a suggestion that the way the Herald obtained the tape willeven be characterized as a breach of criminal code.The paper is expected to respond with a Charter argument, declaringthat nothing less than freedom of the press is at stake.

The Raitt Affair already features a couple of Nova Scotians - and now that reporter, Steve Maher, has been drawn in, that makes a third.

Raitt is originally from Cape Breton, according to the Toronto Star,though she has a master degree in chemistry from Guelph and a lawdegree from Osgood Hall.She lives in Oakville with comedy writer, David Raitt, and was previously CEO of the Toronto Port Authority.Jasmine MacDonnell is 26 and the daughter of Ralston MacDonnell, thewell-known engineering entrepreneur.

* decided not to conventionally source this report,after considering what has happened to the Halifax Herald. The newspaper was apparently minutes away from publishing its story last week, when legal chill intervened

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