Government denies link between RCMP arrests and House terrorism debate

Spokesman says no connection between Bill S-7 debate and arrests in alleged train attack plot

The timing was, to say the least, a stroke of luck for the Conservatives—and, according to government officials, nothing more.

On the very day when the RCMP was dominating national news by announcing that it had arrested two men in an alleged al-Qaida-linked plot against VIA Rail, the Conservatives had hastily scheduled a House debate on anti-terrorism legislation.

It’s called the Combating Terrorism Act, or Bill S-7, and would bring back a raft of anti-terrorism measures, first brought in as temporary powers by the Liberal government after the 9/11 attacks, which lapsed in 2007.

If passed, the law would reinstate controversial “investigative hearings” and “preventive arrests” in terrorism cases. As well, it would create new offences, making it illegal, for instance, for individuals to leave or try to leave Canada to engage in terrorism. The NDP oppose the bill, while the Liberals support it.

When Government House Leader Peter Van Loan announced last Friday that he was scheduling the Bill S-7 debate for today in the House, the unexpected timing was widely seen as tactical.

Debating the terrorism act meant delaying the vote on a Liberal motion that would give MPs from all parties the right to speak before question period as they please, without their statements being vetted by the leadership of their party. This issue has split the Tory caucus.

As well, some observers thought the Tories were angled for a way to keep alive Prime Minister Harper’s criticism of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s comment in a CBC interview, when asked about the Boston bombings, about seeking to understand the “root causes” of terrorism.

But the RCMP’s big Monday announcement suggested an even more intriguing possible reason the Conservatives might have wanted to highlight their tough-on-terror stance today in particular.

Asked about the timing, however, a government spokesman was categorical in denying any link to the RCMP’s plans. “No, when he announced the debate [Van Loan] had no knowledge of today’s events,” said Fraser Malcolm, Van Loan’s communications director.

Asked if, without knowing exactly what the RCMP had in store, the government had scheduled the debate based on a more general understanding that something important related to a terrorism investigation was to be announced, Malcolm answered in an email with a flat, “No.”




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Government denies link between RCMP arrests and House terrorism debate

  1. From this govt that’s pretty well a yes then?

    • it’s a ^NOT.

      In all seriousness that’s a big accusation to be throwing around so without more personally I would let it go. But the guy above is quite right to point out how with the Harper government there is that bit of lingering doubt, esp. with the similarities to the russian jet thing.

      • I forget. What happened with the Russian jet thing? Did Peter get yet another ride to the office, this time courtesy of the Russkies?

        • apparently russian jets fly close or even a short way into our airspace pretty routinely, but when the F-35 stuff was being debated a while back the CPC issued a press release making like it was a new single thing and were like “See, this is why we need the F-35″ I think the deptl of defence were required a few days later to clear up exactly how common an occurrence it actually is.

          • Gotcha. I think Norad also shone an enbarrassingly bright light on that juvenile little ploy as well. Not that you can ever really embarrass someone as self entitled as PMac.

    • I’m choosing to believe them this time. I think they scheduled the emergency debate because of a) Boston and b) Trudeau’s motion. This announcement seems more like a happy coincidence. The more people think about it though, they’ll realize that these two alleged terrorists were caught using existing laws and resources. If people dig even deeper, they may discover (at the risk of spoiling wingnut narratives) that these alleged terrorists were caught partly because of a tip from the Canadian Muslim community.

      • Well i was just being provocative there. But you have to admit it has the Harper pmo micro managed message control style all over it? These guys don’t do coincidences…they haven’t the imagination to let it unfold naturally.
        So, if you mean by wingnut narratives that the charges are real, not trumped up between the mounties and the pmo – sure, no contest. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a possibility that since this case has been in the works for some time that after a legitimate decision was taken by the mounties to round em up after Boston, that there still remains the possibility that someone high up in the mounties didn’t send a heads up to the big guy’s minions.
        That’s hardly a blow against democracy or something like that. But if that was the case that it caused the govt to bring forward S7, it still says something about these guys as the ultimate opportunists – move over Chretien/Martin eh! Much more importantly it says something about how politicized the mounties really are.

        • By “wingnut narratives”, I’m referring to the people who will rend their clothing and demand that all Muslims be summarily deported because of this alleged plot. Those people currently seeking compulsory carriage, for example.

          Also: I’m reviewing my opinion on this. I didn’t initially realize that they were investigating this alleged plot for 6+ months.

          • Now you raise a fact i didn’t know – what’s compulsory carriage? I
            l’ll give it a google…but?

          • I am slying referring to our friends at Fox News North. ;)

      • Or perhaps someone in the RCMP wanting to cosy up to the CPC decided that now might be a good time to make the arrests.
        The timing is too perfect to be coincidence; the only question I have is who made the decision to link the two in time – CPC or RCMP?

  2. There are no coincidences in this world.

    • kk

  3. Our security services thwarted al Qaeda using the resources and laws that are in place at the moment and did so efficiently. So why do they need more powers and more importantly why do they need some old ones reintroduced, that clearly didn’t do anything to uncover this plot.
    They appear to be right on top of things right now, if it ain’t broke why try and fix it?

      • I like the armchair journalism of John Geddes.
        It is fun.
        Fun is fun.
        Is it not fun hairball?

    • Reality, dear hairball, is not appearance.
      This is your problem.
      Of course I will never solve your problem.
      Prime Minister Harper is solving your problem.
      Conservatism is solving your problem.
      The world is solving your problem.
      Praise the Lord and pass the meat.

  4. It’s a good thing this government has been acting with so much integrity over the past seven years that I don’t have an ounce of cynism when events like this happen.

  5. Are the scars on the forehead of John Geddes the result of a serious brain injury?
    I hope John Geddes did not suffer a severe head injury.
    Why?
    Because some head injuries cause mental debilitation.
    Often it is very difficult to analyse sometimes some of the writings of some people with some brain damage.

    • I see we have a new meme.

      • Do you have good or bad eyes?
        Move.

      • I’m not sure responding in anyway to the troll is the way to go.
        I’m just ignoring it

    • “Often it is very difficult to analyse sometimes some of the writings of some people with some brain damage.”

      Yup.

      • Yip.

  6. I like the armchair journalism of John Geddes.
    Because it is fun.
    Fun is fun.

  7. I actually believe the gov’t on this one. If only because I don’t believe that they’re competent enough to have organized it otherwise.

    Far more likely, to me, is the attempt to delay the Liberal motion.

    • Hey, there’s always the possibility that the two men arrested are actually employees of Citizenship and Immigration that were dragooned into being arrested as part of a CPC photo op . . . . were Sun News cameras on hand at the arrest?

  8. It does appear that the timing was prearranged as the RCMP had been keeping these two in the scopes for a year and then low and behold on the day that Bill giving more powers to the police is brought forward on Friday for yesterday’s session. How can the PM and government offficials think? Canadians are not stupid nor ignorant nor keep their heads buried in the sands.
    Of course this hypyed-up event made public one week after Boston, probably from the FBI’s investigation more came to light about this unrelated scenario, they called the RCMP and then they called the PM – let’s go with boys! No real concrete plans, no immediate public safety concerns but keep the public fearful, tense and they’ll back what ever we put forward. The 4 lads from London used to heighten concerns about Muslim connection but two are dead, one in jail overseas, and the fourth’s where abouts unknown. How is it that news media can locate, talk to, get info, in a day while the RCMP are asking for help?
    The only real concern is that when 9/11 happened Bin Laden achieved his longterm goal by instilling fear, panic tension within the US. Look at West Texas fear was rampant immediately that it was terrorism. Americans’ reaction to the two bombs in Boston was extensive and when one looks at the number of Americans killed each day by weapons held by fellow Americans – why the shock in Boston? Fear always in their minds.
    Suggestion to Minister Kenny get better screening for student visas, safer immigrantion applications, indepth screening processes but in reality in the 21st century Canada is not immune to terrorism. Of course it doesn’t help to have a PM that irrates Iran and other Muslim countries by cutting diplomatic ties.
    Trudeau would make a more impact than the current PM, more wordly, has experience in inter-personal situations on the world stage, and showed his intellectual knowledge by looking at the root causes as Obama refered to in speeches after Boston. Attack ads don’t work in this stage of the game.
    Great photo op, great news in a boring time, all hype based on facts known for months, pushed by FBI to address border concerns – real threat is government officials instilling fear panic and a feeling of not being safe! Canadians have too much common sense and self worth to react like our counter parts south of us.

    • Yes, an active plot to derail a passenger train is not an “immediate public safety” concern. 2 Canadians detonate bombs in another country, not a big deal. They’re dead, in jail, or whereabouts unknown. Who cares! It’s not like terrorism is any kind of a threat to Canadians. It only affects Americans.

      • It’s the RCMP themselves that said this wasn’t an imminent threat. Either you accept their word or you don’t. Cherry picking the things you like in their statments while ignoring the ones you don’t, is intellectually dishonest at best.

        • Right, what the RCMP was trying to say is that this was no big deal, nothing to worry about, just some joker terrorists. Is the new Liberal terrorism policy to just pretend it doesn’t exist, and when it rears it’s ugly head, to try to pretend that it’s not that big a deal?

  9. Timing is everything in show business….errr politics.

    The attack ads didn’t stick, so it was on to Plan B for the Harper Gov’t…..or as Peter Worthington describes it…..

    a timely reminder for Canadians.

    Timely indeed…and the benefit for the Harper Gov’t is all to obvious.

  10. Oh come on now.

    The government would know ahead of time these charges were coming. And why precisely DID the RCMP push charges now? There seems to have been no immediate risk.

    The government also controls what legislation to bring forward when, and suddenly decided to move this bill forward in the house, seemingly out of the blue? When it was most convenient no less?

    How bloody stupid are we supposed to be?

  11. Since nobody can find anything to criticize in the bill, I can only assume it’s good law and partisans like Geddes are simply trying to find *something*, *anything* to complain about.

    • Criticism of the bill itself is found elsewhere. This is on the timing. But of course, as CPC troll, your job is always to deflect attention…

      • Yes, when people are criticizing the timing of a bill, it’s usually because all the other criticisms have fallen flat.

        • Nope, it’s part and parcel of the entire criticism.
          Their rationale for bringing this forward is so weak, so self-serving, that they felt they had to use a confluence of factors to even introduce it.
          Keep drinking that koolaid Rick.

          • Perhaps you could actually list some of those flaws?

          • One reasonable one is that the security services did a pretty good job with the powers they have and they didn’t have these powers that are in the new bill.

            Another is that none of the lapsed powers would have prevented a Boston style incident from occurring here.
            The final one is that the government has been sitting on this bill for months, if these measures were so important why not introduce them as soon as possible… like months ago?
            They’ve been waiting for the right time to do it and now they have the requisite amount of fear generated they are striking while the iron is hot. They will accuse anybody who wants to slow the process down of being with the terrorists, just like they did the environmentalists or when Toews last got burned by accusing dissenters of being with the child pronographers.

          • So your saying:
            1) That since their current powers worked, there’s no reason to be proactive, we should instead be reactive to terrorism?

            2) They probably won’t prevent EVERY type of terrorist attack. That doesn’t mean that they’re not useful measures for combating SOME forms of terror attacks.

            3) You don’t like the government introducing anti-terrorism bills immediately after a terrorist attack. Whatever.

          • Wow way to read into what I wrote what you wanted to read.
            Discussing anything with a Con is getting to be pointless. You’ve made your mind up and in your mind you’re right.

            1: it’s not being pro-active to bring in legislation that won’t prevent any attacks, but just allow the State to ignore the charter rights of folk it deems undesirable.
            2: They won’t prevent any terrorist attacks what so ever, because they are not anti-terror measures. Just like the crap we endure at airports they are designed to make it look as though the state is doing something when in fact all it is doing is slowing stuff down and destroying existing freedoms.
            3: The fact that these measures weren’t urgent enough to introduce/re-introduce immediately means that they aren’t important. See above for why they aren’t important and the real reason for introducing them.

            Once they are in law, the state doesn’t like relinquishing any power see how the Dems down South have not only held onto the Reps measures but built on them. Anybody who cherishes freedom and isn’t a coward should be very worried by these measures and how they’ve been introduced, being a modern Conservative means that won’t apply to you.

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