When mud started to fly, the chief of staff, Nigel Wright, took the fall and resigned or was fired depending on who is telling the story. PM Stephen Harper has maintained that he knew nothing of the payment and that Wright acted on his own without authority.
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who is doing the talking, emails entered into the court evidence (Duffy has been charged with bribery among other charges) show that the new chief of staff Ray Novak received information on the payment before it was made. The PM’s comeback on that is that those emails while sent and received, were never read.
Today’s testimony had the former council to the PM, Benjamin Perrin, telling what he knew about the affair. He maintained that both Perrin and Novak were aware of the situation before the cheque was written. Testimony included some damning information that the PM demanded that his interpretation of the Canadian Constitution was what he said it was, rather than Perrin who is a Constitution specialist.
Perrin is a witness for the prosecution and has not yet been cross examined by Duffy’s tough lawyer.
This trial is dominating the federal campaign. Harper is questioned at every opportunity about what he really knew about the affair and when he knew. He has a reputation for being very controlling and many cannot believe the $90 000 payment would have been made without his knowledge and approval.
Whether it is a religious, an environmental or and an aboriginal issue it is conceivable that people could be arrested for actions or speech which might be likely to cause economic or political problems.
The former head of the Security Information Review Committee(SIRC) which acts as a watchdog to the spy agency described the proposed bill as a “constitutional mess”.
"Canadian judges are fiercely independent, and are not agents of the government who can be mandated to authorize measures at all costs to protect against terrorist threats." CBC News
The chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, has already announced that if the bill is passed they will be mounting a court challenge citing a failure to properly consult with First Nations people. Joanna Kerr speaking on behalf of Greenpeace, Canada expressed her concern that peaceful but not necessarily law abiding protesters would be targeted. She asked the question as to whether women in Canada would yet have the vote if they hadn’t protested. In the present, those who advocate for habitat protection, clean water and the like could be branded terrorists.
The responsible Canadians who have objected to this C-51 Bill are too many to name. The Canadian privacy commissioner and three former prime ministers have been excluded from the hearings leading up to what looks like a slam dunk passing of a very flawed law.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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