Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Duffy Trial: Why the RCMP Owes Canadians an Explanation

When Justice Charles Vaillancourt acquitted Mike Duffy, he brought down his gavel on the head of quite a few others.

He savaged Stephen Harper's PMO for the way it had tried to cover-up a scandal. 

He heaped scorn on the Senators who had treated Duffy so badly, and on the crown for the way it prosecuted the case.

And as Neil Macdonald points out, without singling them out for special treatment, he also raised some disturbing questions about the conduct of the RCMP. 

As a result of the Duffy case, the force's motto, "Maintiens le Droit," is that much more meaningless. 

It did not defend the law. It defended the status quo, and genuflected to authority, using police discretion to toss a single newsworthy individual into the nightmare of the criminal system, essentially stealing two years of his life, while ignoring other senators who were doing just about exactly the same thing as Duffy. 

And how in heaven's name can you charge a person with accepting a bribe without charging the political enforcer in the Prime Minister's Office who offered it?

And the force should not be allowed to get away with pretending that nothing happened, and that it's just business as usual.

The force today is behaving as though it is an impassive, disinterested public agency answerable to the law, and only to the law. It always does. But when every single charge is thrown out by a judge who, from the bench, tears into the investigation the way Vaillancourt did, it takes considerable institutional arrogance to shrug and carry on as though nothing just happened. 

That was a judge talking. Judges judge, and the Mounties have now been judged wanting, if not negligent.

Not after the way the Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud hyped the case. 

Asked on Friday what Michaud has to say after the censure by Vaillancourt, a junior officer said: "The RCMP respects the decision of the court. It would be inappropriate to comment further." 

Asked why it would be inappropriate to comment now when it was deemed appropriate to advertise and flaunt the charges in 2014, she replied it would be inappropriate to comment. Of course it would. The power of authority, and the refuge of the badge.

In what can, and has been seen by many, as an attempt to please the RCMP's political masters...

And because that is such a serious matter, the force should not be allowed to hide behind its badge.

The RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson must explain why the force went after Duffy but not Nigel Wright. Something Paulson promised to do about a year ago, but has still not done.

The force must also explain why the case of Pamela Wallin has been in legal limbo for so long...

There is also the little matter of Senator Pamela Wallin, who has been "under investigation" for three years without any charge. Three years? What's the saying about justice delayed?

When it too had the potential to embarrass Stephen Harper, who personally reviewed her expenses and found them to be satisfactory.

And because all of the above strikes at the heart of our democracy, until the RCMP does provide a suitable explanation.

This troubling case cannot be closed...

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  1. Anonymous6:57 AM

    R oyal
    M ounted
    P olice
    I recently met a sergeant from a GTA post of the mounties who bragged at how they would actually break into people's homes (no warrant, mind you) to search their stuff, bug the place and do it sometimes even when they were home and asleep. No exaggeration...his words.
    How do you expect that kind of domestic spying agency to ever be held accountable to us, the fucking idiots that pay their bloated salaries, or to ever tell us anything remotely similar to the truth about what they actually do to/for us?
    This aint rocket science, boys and girls...
    It's still the same goddamn fascism we voted against last fall only with a different shade of lipstick on the same fucking pig.
    Sunny ways your imbecilic, naive asses!
    C51...Tpp...assisted dying...prosecuting the criminals guilty of treason against Canada when their regime ruled it...there's your sunny ways in a nutshell!

    1. hi anon...please calm down, there's no need to scream. And may I just add that you seem more interested in discrediting the present government, than you do in criticizing the Harper regime for the crimes it committed. Which in my opinion is absurd, and amounts to putting the cart before the horse. Concentrate on pressuring the new government and the RCMP to investigate what really went on rather than firing away in every direction...

  2. Duffy was corrupt and foolish. But harper was worse. And just look at the way Nigel Wright behaved the whole time. Like he knew he was untouchable.

    The PMO's interference in the Duffy audit was clearly criminal.

    So, these criminals get a stern talking-to in the judge's statement and they grumble in private (and in hiding) and then it's over and the corruption continues.

    1. hi thwap...I agree with you, Duffy is an old scoundrel, but Harper and his gang are the real criminals. I keep hoping that the Liberals will stop treating the Cons so politely, and find some excuse to hold a public inquiry into all their crimes against Canada. But unfortunately in this country, the rich and the powerful get away with murder...

  3. Anonymous8:53 AM

    We all know the answer to this one Simon, the head of the RCMP was subverted to do Harper's bidding.A change in reporting structure at the top level is required to prevent this type of subversion from happening in the future.The "how to do it" is a tricky question as democratically elected officials should have some control over the functioning of the justice system but not to the extent that a few chosen individuals can subvert it to do their bidding.

    1. hi RT...during their depraved years in power the Cons politicized everything, including the police and the military. So we need to examine what they did closely in the interests of our democracy. And let's not forget how commissioner Zaccardelli influenced the outcome of an election, so the problem is systemic...

  4. Anonymous10:25 AM

    I love that picture of the 3 Stooges re-boot, Dumbo, Mumbo and Boob.
    The upper echelon of the RCMP need to be purged ASAP. How can anyone ever take them seriously after what they've done.

    1. hi JD...I like that picture too, because it suggests to me that the Cons and the RCMP were a little too chummy. And not just in the Duffy case, but also in the Great War on Terror, where the RCMP all too often seemed in lockstep with their masters in the PMO....

  5. first casualty should be Paulson, maybe ship him to south africa with a cushy jo9b like the last guy.

  6. hi Steve...I think Paulson should explain himself, and come clean about any interaction he may have had with the Harper government. And if he doesn't, or his answers are not satisfactory, then he definitely should be fired.