Thursday, November 24, 2005

Liberals threaten legal action over Conservative remarks

About two minutes ago, Mike Duffy got a message on his blackberry from a Liberal Party insider who suggested the Liberals are reviewing transcripts and considering legal action against certain members of the Conservative Party.

The complaint stems from mentions in the House of Commons and in scrums afterward, in which the opposition suggested that the Liberals had "broken every conceivable law in Quebec" and had done so with the "help of organized crime".

Statements by CPC Deputy Leader Peter MacKay, BC MP John Reynolds, and others are currently being reviewed.

My understanding is that statements made within the House of Commons or Senate are immune from legal attack, even if they would otherwise be found to be slanderous or libelous. Technically, however, I suppose that this doesn't apply to statements made in the foyer, leaving MacKay and Reynolds vulnerable should the Liberals actually try to pursue this.

It has been an interesting day, but I'm pretty bogged down with work so I'll have to refrain from commenting on the other events for now.


At 6:13 PM, Blogger calgarygrit said...

Yeah, statements in the House are given immunity. I suppose people could get sued over what was said in the foyer but that's rare.

Expect a repeat of the Brison incident where McKay and Reynolds are forced to appologize.

At 6:21 PM, Blogger williamNPH said...

I think you're right. The Libs are just looking for a retraction.

The smart (though cynical) ploy for the Conservatives would be to let it play out for a few days in the media before issuing an apology. That way the "organized crime" message would find its way to more voter's eyes and ears before the CPC officially distances itself from the remarks.

Allegations often get wider coverage than any subsequent retractions.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Scott Tribe said...

How is that smart William?

Letting it play out in the media for a few days reinforces the meme from the spring when everyone in the country thought Harper and his keystone cops were going way over the top with all their outrage. This would just reinforce it.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger williamNPH said...

Perhaps. Certainly if Harper was the one targetted, the optics would be unmistakably bad. I think MacKay has more wiggle room. My personal evaluation of the man (snake!) aside, the sense I get from casual observers is that he isn't considered a blowhard.

I'm thinking primarily of the headline scanners, who could be exposed to the words "organized crime" and "Liberal Party" side by side in boldface type for a few days, without the nuance behind the story.

In the end, it might not matter much outside of Quebec anyways. The new Decima survey suggests only about 35% of those not voting Liberal are doing so because of the sponsorship program anyways.

Your point is well taken, though. If the CPC does try to stretch this out to further tarnish the Libs, it could backfire.

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Warwick said...

Gagliano was linked to organized crime. He got a convicted mob boss's wife into the country.

He admitted he did this. He admited he knew the Mobster.

Of course, this is before the mobster was deported and convicted so Gagliano got a good serving of egg on his face. He was critizised by a judge for this and other links. There was another mobster with ties to Montreal and Aruba which was tied to Gagliano.

Gagliano was named in a US court in FBI documents by an ex-mob rat to be a "made man."

There has been a good lot of organized crime in Quebec that has been linked to both the Liberals and the PQ.

Hell, remember that small town police force that had every single one of their cops arrested? Only in La Belle.

If the Liberals are stupid enough to sue, bring it on!

At 9:03 PM, Blogger williamNPH said...

Well, as a followup to this discussion, I noticed Paul Wells has put up the text of a statement from Stephen Harper today.

It seems Harper has decided to wear the comments personally and keep hammering away, rather than let the others duke it out or let it blip and then fade away.

Sometimes I think the man has never seen a bullet that he didn't want to jump in front of.

At 5:09 AM, Blogger Laurent said...

Politically incorrect... with style!


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