Don’t look back in anger (II)


Stephen Harper, March 3, 2008. “Mr. Speaker, the truth is that in the past several months, as the problems of the Liberal Party and its leader have mounted, they have engaged in more and more extreme accusations, going to the point last week of publishing on their website a series of false and unfounded allegations of criminal misconduct on my part. The truth is that this will prove to be in court the biggest mistake the leader of the Liberal Party has ever made.”

Canadian Press, moments ago. “Stephen Harper has dropped a $3.5-million defamation suit against the Liberal party over the Cadman affair.”


Don’t look back in anger (II)

  1. Tee hee, this made me smile.

  2. OK, so the threat of the patriots-and-heavens-no-traitors coalition has served its purpose. And now, so has the threat to bankrupt the already red-inked opposition party. Maybe we can now get back to, oh I don’t know, governing?

    Oh, I know, silly me…

  3. Gee. Late Friday afternoon. Funny how that happens.

    • Down in the States they have “Bank Failure Friday”s. I wonder if they got the idea from Harper or vice versa.

    • Yes, Harper settled the Riddell lawsuit out of court with a strict confidentiality agreement on a weekend. I predicted from the start that this is how this one would go too, but I was stil hoping the Liberals would force it to court.

      • Doesn’t much matter. It got them through the election period. Not that it would have made any real difference, I think.

  4. What’s the Federal Liberal Agency? Is it the same as Liberal party.

    • Yes. The FLA is the legal entity. The corporate name, if you will.

  5. Boy Stevie and Iggy do like each other such impeccable timing and an agreement to no longer comment on either of their ex’s. ROFL. – If I had a mind that was inclined to conspiracy theories (I don’t as they give too much credit to people) I might think that Stevie and Iggy had a little talk before they agreed to dance this session as they do not seem to be fighting over who should lead the next dance maybe they are falling back to the old classic of taking turns.

    • Next thing you know, Wayne’s going to twip to emoticons ;-) LOL

      • sorry, twig. typos really suck the life out of a good burn.

        • I got tired of twigging a long time ago.

          • I dunno, Wayne. You seem to crawl out on some flimsy limbs at times.

            I’m glad I’m not like that ………. cough, gag ……

          • That was Freudian, Brad. Wayne spews twipe all the time.

            — Elmer Fudd

  6. Can we all chip in to buy Aaron a CD by a British band other than Oasis?

  7. I hope like hell this isn’t over yet. The Prime Minister of Canada used libel chill to silence criticism from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Now he gets to run away? He should be countersued at once, or keel-hauled, or whatever. He has grossly insulted our democracy.

    • Weren’t they still allowed to question him on it in the House of Commons where they have parliamentary privilege?

      • Ah, that’s interesting, I don’t know. Good point.

    • Nobody’s stopping you. Sue away.

      • It’s hard taking orders from the mutant in Total Recall.

  8. Are the Libs going to countersue for legal expenses?

    • If the Libs get any money out of this, they will already have it. But they won’t be allowed to say. They signed a confidentiality agreement.

      A spokesman for the prime minister, Kory Teneycke, declined further comment. He would not say if any financial compensation was part of the settlement.

      • Is it just coincidence that the Liberals were saying last week that their party is in better financial shape than most people assume?

      • The press report says the action was dismissed without costs against either side So, no, the Liberals do not have grounds to seek any legal expenses.

        Perhaps this is a sign that everyone (or most people) in Ottawa have discovered there are more important things to do than hurl adolescent accusations at each other and obsess over trivia like the “Cadman Affair”?

        • That means it was settled without the courts awarding costs. That does not say anything about the deal Harper and the Liberals struck to end it and the PMO is refusing to say whether a financial arrangement was part of the deal.

          • Maybe he offered them all an insurance policy!

          • True, but it’s not likely. I suppose, given the almost obsessive auditing requirements imposed on political parties by Elections Canada it might be possible to track any substantial payments flowing from the Tories to the Grits. I’d be suprised if this was settled for anything other than a handshake and an agreement to drop the matter. There’s no real political reason for the Tories to keep pushing this (if there ever was) and there’s no upside for the Grits in keeping it alive now that they are under new management.

            Much as I generally encourage people to keep finding employment for lawyers, this seems to be an example of common sense breaking out.

          • Well it was Harper who was dragging his feet on meeting in court. Recall he refused to agree to a joint, independent tape expert and then came up with a tape expert who had to take a European vacation just when he was supposed to testify in court. Then Harper’s lawyer didn’t pass on the paperwork in time and then, of course, his lawyer quit. There was only so much Harper could do to continue to stall. I certainly hope the Liberals held out for more than just legal costs. Even Harper getting to announce this on a Friday evening should have cost him.

          • Catherine
            SHs own tape expert said the tape wasn’t altered and then his lawer quit. i’m baffled the libs let this go so easily. I assume their own legal dogs said: ” you’ll never prove it”.

          • kc, we have no way of knowing if the Liberals let this go easily. What is easy? The PMO refuses to say whether there was any financial settlement and both parties are sworn to secrecy.

            I find this interesting in light of recent posts on Pundits Guide where some estimate the Liberals to be in debt by around $6M, while Kinsella claims it is only around $2M. With uncertainties of $4M in the Liberals bottom line right at this moment, how would we ever know if the Libs let this go easily?

          • catherine
            i was mad initially but i ran this my by smarter half, she feels this has done damage to SH on the inside, so to speak. Among the political class that is.
            i read somethig interesting in la presse about how much fund raising has improved under Iggy, to the pt the libs outpaced the cons in Dec.

    • According to Newman there are no costs covered. If so, the Liberals will be eating some hefty fees.

      The only upside is that the fees stop now.

      • Who would care about fees if you got a hefty settlement? But we won’t know:

        A spokesman for the prime minister, Kory Teneycke, declined further comment. He would not say if any financial compensation was part of the settlement.

        • Why would there be a “settlement” other than for legal fees? There was no counterclaim that I’m aware of. The most the Grits would have recovered would be their costs – which would normally be considerably less than their actual legal fees. The most anyone offers to back out of a lawsuit, wisely launched or not, would be an offer to pay costs and, perhaps, some additional portion of fees. But it would be extremely unusual for the plaintiff to pay anything more than that.

          As both parties have sensibly agreed not to talk about this any more, I suppose you’ll never find out for sure. But it seems very unlikely the settlement was for anything other than what it appears to be – an agreement to let cooler heads prevail and walk away from a fight that, especially in this climate, wasn’t going to make anyone look good.

          • Haven’t you been following this case? It was scheduled to go to court where Harper was supposed to provide evidence that Zytaruk doctored his tape and Harper kept stalling with one thing or another (including a European vacation as I mentioned). Finally his lawyer quit on him. The judge wasn’t going to let Harper stall indefinitely and Zytaruk was going to testify and bring his original tape with him. What could Harper do?

            Come on…you don’t honestly believe that Zytaruk doctored the tape do you? Zytaruk did not doctor the tape and Harper was in a spot and had to get out of it. But as the National Post is reporting:

            A spokesman for the prime minister declined to say if any financial settlement was paid.

            So, we can only speculate how Harper got out of that spot.

          • catherine, clarification please. I recall that the charge was that somebody doctored the tape, without it necessarily being Zytaruk. Am I mistaken?

          • Zytaruk said the tape we heard was complete and unaltered. Harper said it was doctored and incomplete. It’s obvious which one was lying.

  9. Ignatieff squinting evilly and holding his pinky up to mouth: “We demand…one billion dollars! Muahahaha…”

    • Or maybe it was: We’ll let you stay king of the castle (i.e. support your dumbass budget) if you drop the libel suit.

      Something doesn’t seem quite right…

      • Maybe ten years from now, when it doesn’t matter, we’ll find out.

        Anyway, shouldn’t there still be a criminal investigation going on? Or started?

  10. A spokesman for the prime minister, Kory Teneycke, declined further comment. He would not say if any financial compensation was part of the settlement.

    Which, for a settlement between two federal political parties subsidized to the eyeballs by the taxpayer, is unforgiveable. Time for an ATI request at Elections Canada to look for inter-party transfers in 2008 & 2009. And every year thereafter. Not that this will uncover any sort of political coziness underway within the “on probation” Tory-Grit coalition.

    • That sounds like a reasonable idea. The idea of parties paying each other money (whichever way it flows) is appalling. Very much in keeping with the idea of their suing each other.

      Nobody seems to be objecting to the true heinousness of this. The Tories tried to bribe Cadman; or they didn’t and the Liberals lied about it; or the tape was doctored; or it wasn’t. All very interesting, but not by any stretch the fundamental point, which is that in a democratic society our politicians should not be suing each other, they should be debating each other — honestly answering each others’ claims, sadly lowering the level of discourse, I don’t care. But to abandon take political disputes into the courtroom is to subordinate our elected officials and our whole public discourse to judges.

      Nobody else finds this appalling? And to answer the first objection: YES there is a difference between private citizens libeling each other (or not) and politicians doing the same. It’s the difference between private citizens and public figures.

  11. Yes, it is appalling. But having said that, I don’t think we should open the doors completely to any assinine thing any political party thinks up to say about the other. For example, the Liberals suddenly start going on about Harper, I don’t know, locking up a heretofore unbeknownst daughter in a basement for seventeen years, etc. Plastered on billboards, posters, the internet. No need to even have a shred of evidence since the opponent can’t sue anyway.

    That would be bad.

    But I do agree about the ATI requests for monetary transfers between political parties. As we’ve discussed to death, they are subsidized by the taxpayers, and it does behoove one to know where one’s money is going. Like, money laundering and such. Another example, the Conservatives siphon a large amount of money into the hands of the Greens, just to keep them taking votes away from the Liberals. How do we know they aren’t? (Don’t flame me for this, I don’t think they are it was just an example.)

  12. If you read the notes to the parties’ financial statements, they always make reference to any legal proceedings the party is involved with that might affect its future financial position.

    A substantial payment under a lawsuit would warrant a note by an auditor, I would think.

    Anyway, here is a review I did of the party balance sheets which contains a link to each original financial statement for the main parties (you click on the Elections Canada logo under the year for each party), so you can look at them yourselves:


    If you look at the Liberals’ last set of financial statements (can’t link here, because my comment would go into purgatory with more than one link), and read Note #7 on their page 9 (PDF page 10 of 22), you will see the amount of the damages sought by the PM listed. On other occasions (such as when the Bloc had a legal dispute with a former candidate), you can also find some details of the settlement outlined or alluded to in the statements.

    So, we have something to keep an eye out for when the 2009 statements are published (sometime around July 2010, if anyone is maintaining a political BF file anywhere).

    • Thanks! I hope Harper will be long gone by then, but still good to know that the statements could tell us something.

      Do you know if there are legal ways around this? For example, could Harper just pay the Liberal’s legal fees directly so that it didn’t show up as either income or an expense? Or would that be illegal?

      • I would only point out that the Conservatives and Liberals both have to submit audited financial statements. A payment such as the one you suggest would presumably have a bearing on the financial situation of the party paying it as well as the one receiving it, and would thus have to be accounted for in their statements.

        As to what’s legal in terms of paying another party’s legal fees, that is totally beyond any area of expertise I would ever claim. I had to dust off my securities course textbooks to get even this far with the financial statements.

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