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The wear-and-tear of scandals that just won’t disappear

Tease the day: Harper’s team and the Ford brothers, stubborn as they may be, must be growing tired


 

Chris Young/CP

Who knows how it came about, but CTV reporter Daniele Hamamdjian chased down Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as he jogged along Laurier Avenue in Ottawa’s Sandy Hill neighbourhood at about 4 a.m. last night. Wright, slightly out of breath, stopped briefly, composed himself, and blurted out a few words. He didn’t say much, only that he was cooperating with ethics commissioner Mary Dawson’s investigation into a $90,000 personal cheque he gave to Senator Mike Duffy to cover improperly claimed expenses. And then he was off, jogging down Nelson Street.

The encounter came at the end of a day that, in Toronto, saw Mayor Rob Ford lose his top communications advisers only a few days after firing his chief of staff. Yesterday, the mayor insisted to reporters outside his office that everything was hunky dory—or “business as usual,” in his words—at City Hall. Laughable, obviously, but what else did anyone expect him to say?

You get the sense that Canada’s two competing scandals—Ford’s denials that he was caught smoking crack on tape, and the multi-faceted Senate expense controversy plaguing Ottawa—are moving in one direction. A dogged press is, well, being dogged in its pursuit of the truth in both cases. A single-minded political opposition, particularly in Ottawa, is forcing the issue. And it’s clear that neither Harper’s Conservatives or the Ford brothers have a crisis communications plan worth writing home about.

Harper’s team and the Ford brothers are political survivors, to be sure. But they’re also human. They must be getting tired.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Ontario’s plan to increase the number of women in senior corporate roles. The National Post fronts the arrest in Panama of Arthur Porter, the businessman who allegedly took illegal payments as he helped SNC-Lavalin secure a $1.3-billion hospital construction contract in Montreal. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a police probe into the existence of a video allegedly featuring Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Ottawa Citizen leads with questions about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s absence from Question Period on Monday, a day he usually skips the 45-minute session. iPolitics fronts desperate Conservative attempts to deflect criticism to the opposition. CBC.ca leads with Porter’s arrest on fraud charges. National Newswatch showcases CTV News’ impromptu 4 a.m. interview with Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, as he jogged through Ottawa’s.Sandy Hill neighbourhood.


Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Nigel Wright. Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale says former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright pressured her government to make concessions on local fisheries to solidify an EU trade deal. 2. Eritrea. Eritreans living in Canada are allegedly subject to threats if they don’t pay two per cent of their income to the governing regime, charges denied by the country’s consul in Toronto.
3. Hong Kong. After a huge influx of Hong Kong residents migrated to Canada in the 1990s, thousands have since returned home—and over 350,000 HK residents now hold Canadian citizenship. 4. Research council. John McDougall, the President of the National Research Council, has gradually lured four colleagues from his past gig at Alberta’s research council—an innovation-focused body.


 
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The wear-and-tear of scandals that just won’t disappear

  1. Please keep up the pressure on these important issues, Canadian media.

    • A crack head in charge of Canada’s biggest city is global news for those you don’t have or can’t afford long distance internet.

      Drug test please.

      • I have a video of you smoking crack Corey.

        Drug test, please.

  2. I’ll be very interested in watching what comes out as the truth after investigations complete and was was figments of media’s imagination.

  3. Were there is smoke there is fire….If the Fords are being maligned the truth will come out as will the truth about Wallin and Duffy.
    Certainly disappointed in the quality of governemnt..
    I prefer to have investigative reporters helping keep an eye on politicos rather than waste tax payers money on faux committees looking into the issues.
    What I would really like is a government provincial and federal that was concerned for the tax payer , sadly lacking on both fronts….too busy lining their own pockets with all the perks, etc they receive.
    Don’t get me started on Metrolink.! Just a few more taxes!
    Enough already!

    • I want our media to report and investigate but also want them to be honest and not rely on gossip and anonymous sources. Unless a source is prepared to go public or there is solid evidence to confirm what is being said the media needs to refrain from reporting it. The danger we run is that we will destroy any remaining faith the public us in our political system. We are well on that path now. So the reporter tracked down Wright. What did that accomplish? Yet it is breathlessly reported. How did the reporter advance the story. I am glad she was able to get out of bed at 4:00 a.m. but she wasted her time.

      • In general media might be occasionally be more judicious with their use of anonymous sources but banning them entirely is too much.

        In this instance they’ve been very careful about what they.wrote and there are good reasons the sources would want to stay anonymous.

        sorry kiddo, you got nuthin. Only Ford can save hiimself now and it doesn’t look promising.

      • Without anonymous sources, Watergate would never have been uncovered.

      • “The danger we run is that we will destroy any remaining faith the public us in our political system.”

        Of course its all the fault of the media . . . the transparency and accountability of politicians have had precious little to do with that.

  4. These “scandals” are indeed annoying, but so far the entire onus is on the media to prove them. Video? Let’s see it. Doug sold drugs 30 years ago? Prove it (though something from 30 years ago, clearly not reflective of today’s Doug, isn’t exactly important).

    The media is just making themselves look worse here and every time I hear/read them claiming it’s Ford’s fault for these scandals, it just furthers my resolve personally to continue to support him.

    PROVE the allegations!! That should not be too much to ask!!

    • Oh, but it is too much to ask for!

      • The liberal left would lead us back to the stone age if it meant being able to finally persecute Ford. I do not think there is anything they wouldn’t do to “get him” at this point.

        Evidence, laws, public opinion… none of those matter, just get Ford, at any costs. He truly is exposing them for what they are, complete and utter hypocrites.

        • Another Ignoranti

          This country needs a culture change.

    • Defenders of Rob Ford don’t get it that no one would believe a video like this exists if previously he hadn’t repeatedly displayed bizarre behaviour, denied it publicly, and then apologized after proof surfaced.

      He’ll only get the benefit of the doubt so many times; after that he needs to consider what it is about his behaviour is drawing this kind of attention?

      The harsh reality, that his communications team obviously tried to explain to him this week, is that almost no one cares about proof at this point. They just assume it’s true because it has been so many times before. Once the public is willing to believe the worst of you, your political career is over. Time to hand in the keys.

      • I only see the media slandering Ford at this point. His “appearance”, whatever it is, I pin on the media. I personally don’t feel he has any obligation to address unsubstantiated allegations. However that makes him “appear” does not matter to me. At this point it’s akin to a schoolyard bully poking Ford and waiting for Ford’s reaction.

        The media needs to either put up or shut up. The hole they’re currently digging for themselves does no one any good, because should the day come The Star actually finds something, it’ll be the boy who cried wolf, and that will be a shame.

      • He has displayed bizarre behavior in the past, that’s true, and his opponents know that, all the more reason to throw out random allegations. Just because he got drunk at a leafs game (oh no what a shocker), was caught reading a paper while driving (gasp) and got a DUI ten years ago (when the social stigma and awareness was much lower than it is now) we can all believe he is a crack smoker. He’s a guy who doesn’t care about his image and cares more about his policies. Most politicians would spend all their time trying to convince you they are squeaky clean, whereas Ford doesn’t give a f**k what you think of him. That’s pretty punk rock in my book.

        • I think most people take away a different message from the past examples of the media making allegations like the one’s you describe against Ford. To me, the telling point isn’t “Look how many accusations the media has made against Ford in the past”, it’s “Look how many times Ford has publicly denied allegations against him by saying they were just part of a media conspiracy, and then had to publicly apologize later, when the story turned out to be 100% true”.

          Getting kicked out of that Leafs game by security for drunkenly yelling obscenities at a couple visiting the city from out of town was a perfect example. When the story first came out, he didn’t just deny that security kicked him out of the ACC, he denied that he’d even been at the game. His response was: “This is unbelievable, I wasn’t even at the game, so someone’s trying to do a real hatchet job on me, let me tell you”. Then he admitted it all LATER. Same with the DUI and pot possession. First, the denial. Then, admitting to the DUI. Then, later still, admitting to having the pot on him, and claiming that that part of the story “slipped his mind” when admitting to the DUI.

          So, on the one hand there’s “Look how often the media is publishing stories about Rob Ford controversies! It’s clearly a conspiracy”, but on the other hand, there’s “Look how often the Mayor denies a story, and claims it’s just another lie from the vast media conspiracy, only to have it turn out to be completely true”.

    • There is every indication there is a video of someone who looks a lot like Rob Ford doing something a lot like smoking crack. Now is the time for Rob to step up answer some tough questions candidly and face to face rather than spout a prepared statement. (I suspect he can’t do so because while it is always possible something is off about the crack video, I doubt he can give honest answers about his substance use in the past decade that would cast him in a better light).

      • Amazing how Ford supporters seem to feel that “proof” is required, and of courtroom quality. And that if that “proof” doesn’t arrive, the thing never happened and was a fabrication by the media.

        The Star’s reporting was very careful – two reporters claim to have seen this video, and believe it showed Ford smoking crack. They didn’t even intend to run it now, but the story broke on Gawker. Nobody can tell me exactly what the Star did wrong.

        Same thing with the Globe – they had matching stories from numerous people who knew Doug Ford in the 80s. So they reported that. They acknowledge that having all anonymous sources weakened their story. They reported what they had, and nobody can tell me what they did wrong.

        Ford Nation is being led around by the nose. They actually swallowed the story that this is a media plot and started attacking on command. Unbelievable.

        • “Courtroom” quality? The only evidence of the video is the word of a few select people with much to gain, and this simple evidence can’t be produced. It is all-or-nothing.

          The anti-Ford Nation is being led around by the nose. They actually swallowed the story without any evidence that Ford smokes crack and started attacking on command.

          • yes, all reporters who say things you do not wish to hear are liars.

            I am beginning to see how Ford gets elected in the first place.

          • Exactly. The story is the testimony of two reporters that backed up the testimony of Gawker’s reporter. Nothing more, nothing less. If there’s slander, as you claim above, perhaps you could point that out to me.

            “They actually swallowed the story without any evidence that Ford smokes crack…”

            I’m sure some people have jumped to that conclusion. I haven’t met any of them. I talk to lots of people who, like me, think that Ford is a disaster. Without exception, we’re talking about it with care to be accurate in the absence of proof.

            On the other hand – and this is why I mentioned it – the airwaves and comment boards are filled with people who bought the “media conspiracy” story hook, line and sinker, no matter how unlikely it is.

        • However, it is the credibility of the news outlet that is in question. The Star has been after Ford since the day he announced he was running for mayor. I defy you to quote a positive column or news report in The Star that shows Ford in a positive light.

          • However, it is the credibility of the news outlet that is in question.
            ***

            Butt hey’ve been shown to be right in the past about him. Not sometimes right. ALWAYS right.

            Again, Ford supporters please understand – the fact you don’t like a news source does not mean that news source is lying to you. We’ll have a better country if you can all wrap your head around that.

          • Where are the audio tapes and photos and eyewitness accounts catching the Toronto Star in repeated lies? What’s the current score on proven allegations? It’s like Toronto Star 29 to Rob Ford 0 while we wait for the video confirmation about possession on the last play of the game.

            You’re right that it’s about credibility, not the news outlet though.

      • Why does Ford have to prove anything. It is his accusers that need to prove what they have written and said is accurate. How do you not prove a negative. If there is nothing to say why should he be called to say something.

        • He doesn’t have to prove anything. But he’s a public official, and these are serious allegations.

          He can choose to hide, like he did for the first week. Then he can choose to release a carefully-worded partial denial. But nobody should be surprised when his tactics fail to dispel public suspicion.

        • It is not that complicated. Two reporters and a gossip columnist all repeat that they have seen a video of Rob Ford smoking crack. Ford has not been charged with anything, but that is not the point is it. The point is, that we want to know if our Mayor is a crack-head, cause, you know, crackheads do erratic and violent things, and generally are not the best choice for people to run a major city. We do not need criminal charges and a conviction to make up our minds about the veracity of the reports, we need to hear a lot more explaining from the Mayors own mouth. Even if Ford is a crackhead, I do not care if he gets charged and convicted of anything. I want to know if he is able to do his job, and I do not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about him.

    • Be patient. There is, without doubt, much more to come. These dramas only get solved in 48 minutes (plus commercial time) on TV.

  5. 4 AM, eh!

  6. Amazing all the things we’re told to believe about Libs and Dips….it’s even blared at us on TV in attack ads.

    But a Con politician who already has a rap sheet and a bad rep….then we have to stop picking on the poor angelic guy.

  7. Right now, the international media knows precisely three things about Canada.
    1) It’s very cold
    2) Canada owes the world an apology for Justin Beiber and Celine Dion.
    3) The mayor of Toronto is a crackhead.

  8. Maclean’s seems to be really going out of it’s way to avoid talking about Justin Trudeau’s latest anti-Western Canada gaffe.

    I guess it’s much more important to discuss a video that doesn’t exist than the fact that a guy who wants to be PM of Canada feels it’s his job to advance one part of the nation at the expense of another.

    I guess Trudeau has simply given up on Western Canada and will focus exclusively on winning votes in Quebec. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree after all.

    • Attempted channel change in progress.

    • This issue was settled yesterday when it became apparent Trudeau was saying only that if the senate were to be given extra legitimacy through being elected, it would lessent he power of the BC and Alta. Which strangely are two provinces supposedly big on electing senators.

      Please return to the topic at hand.

      • He was saying he wants to keep the Senate the way it is because it gives Quebec a political advantage over BC and Alberta. Because as always with this guy, Quebec is more equal than the rest of the country. Only a fool would believe his after-the-fact not-really-an-explanation.

        • I am afraid this is simply not the case.

          Political parties have had, shall we say, distant relationships with the truth in the past. The CPC on Justin is the first time I have seen so much out and out clear fake-quoting, however.

          You have been indulged past the point of politeness. Follow the instructions in the second paragraph of my post above.

          • Oh yes, every stupid thing he’s ever said has been taken out of context, right? People are starting to see through that tired excuse.

          • Then stop using the tactic. Nobody’s buying.

    • I see another Harper appointee, Porter, has finally been picked up and is being returned to face fraud charges. He sure picks winners, doesn’t he Rick?

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