Liveblogging the post-Ethics committee ad hoc screaming scrum of one Sam Goldstein

Yeah, so normally, this would be the time in which the ITQ liveblogger takes a few well-deserved minutes to rest her fingers and partake of sandwich-like substenance, but thanks to Sam Goldstein, that’s going to have to wait, because nothing – nothing – could compete with what happened after the gavel dropped on the morning session.

A brief recap, for those who missed the morning festivities: Goldstein, formerly the Conservative candidate in York South Weston Trinity Spadina, who was one of the no-show witnesses from Tuesday’s session, turned up this morning in true Doug Finleyian fashion, demanding to be heard, despite the fact that he wasn’t on the schedule. Literally demanding – as in, yelling from his seat in the audience, after unsuccessfully attempting to buttonhole the chair during the opening moments of the meeting. Instead, the committee voted to hear him after the committee had finished with the witnesses who were on the schedule – the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and the Chief Electoral Officer. It quickly became apparent, however, was not what he – or the government – had in mind. They had visions of him being hauled out by security – again, in instant classic Finley style – to a waiting scrum, which would have nicely stomped on any coverage of the hearing itself, and would – in the minds of whoever came up with this stunt, that is – underscore the Conservative claim that the committee is a farce, a debacle and a partisan witchhunt, all wrapped up in jackboots with a kangaroo fur hat.

Throughout the morning session, which dragged on for nearly four hours, Goldstein sat petulantly, accompanied by an elderly woman who may, or may not have been his mother, occasionally hurling insults at the committee from his seat in the audience, but generally being – well, comparatively well-behaved. Compared, that is, to what he did afterwards.

When the committee began debating whether to bring Mayrand back after the lunch break, however, it apparently pushed him over the brink: He began screaming at the chair, accusing him of making allowances for other witnesses – witnesses who were there, it’s worth noting, on the day that they had been invited to appear. Surrounded by cameras, he went off on a tirade about the committee – or “circus maximus”. In response to questions from stunned reporters, he informed the room that he wouldn’t be back this afternoon – he has a plane to catch, apparently – and demanded that the committee pay his travel expenses before striding purposefully, still yelling, out the back door.

He then conducted a running scrum from the hallway, out the front door, and down the front drive, yelling the whole way, with a retinue of reporters in tow. Faced with similarly spirited questioning from reporters, he attempted to storm off, perhaps unaware that journalists – as individuals, or in the collective known as the scrum, do have the power of movement. At one point, he seemed to have escaped, but then realized that he had forgotten his companion along the side of the road, so was forced to go back and rescue her, as Conservative staffers looked on in horror.

Will he back this afternoon? Nobody knows – although his post-meeting performance has ensured that if he does show up to “tell his story”, as he insisted so vehemently he wants to do, it will be to a standing-room only audience.

When the footage goes up – and it will, oh, it will – I’ll link to it, but for now, this somewhat shell-shocked eyewitness account will have to do.

UPDATE: In case anyone was looking to lawyer up, Sam Goldstein is available to “help remove the stress” of an ongoing police investigation or criminal charges. He really is a calming influence, though – in the sense that everything around him seems calmer by comparison.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.