2005/12/28

The Election: Day 30

As Stephen Harper resumed campaigning over the past two days in British Columbia with major announcements pertaining to his defence platform and promises to increase the military presence in B.C., a couple of events occurred elsewhere which, if they snowball, could begin the unravelling of the Liberal campaign.

The first, reported in the previous posting on this blog, concerned the resignation of the executive vice president of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario). Mike Klander stepped aside after bloggers fanned controversy over tasteless remarks on Klander's blog about NDP candidate Olivia Chow.

Then this afternoon a letter from RCMP Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli to NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis confirmed that the RCMP has launched a criminal investigation into the release of information by the Department of Finance, related to a government announcement on taxation of income trusts. Earlier information posted on various blogs and carried in the mainstream media had indicated that information about the Finance Minister's pending announcement that income trusts would not be taxed and certain dividends given favourable tax treatment had been leaked to insiders who drove up trading in these stocks earlier that day. There was every indication that some individuals had profited substantially as a result of leaks from the Minister's office or the Department of Finance.

Earlier when these allegations surfaced the government had dismissed them as baseless. Today's announcement by the RCMP Commissioner that a criminal investigation is being launched led to renewed calls for Minister Goodale to step down pending the results of the investigation. In an interview with Peter Mansbridge on the National, Ralph Goodale denied any wrongdoing and rejected calls for his resignation. Despite persistent questioning by Mansbridge on why Goodale would not follow precedent and step aside while the investigation is underway, Goodale stuck to the line that the RCMP "have said they are looking into this matter because of the seriousness of the allegation. They have, at the same time, said they have no information, no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of anyone - most particularly on my part - and quite frankly if I were to resign under those circumstances I believe I would only feed allegations that are out there in the context of a very political situation."

The NDP and Conservative Leader Harper have both called for Goodale's resignation. Already comparisons are being made to ADSCAM. The RCMP investigation could not have come at a worse time for the Liberals. These new allegations, which have warranted a criminal investigation, set the scene for a renewed focus on the Quebec advertising scandal as the campaign enters the second phase post-Xmas.

Will this derail the Liberal plans for the second phase of the campaign? Will the Opposition parties be able to build on this to seize the momentum in the days ahead? Stay tuned.

5 comments:

Time for a change said...

Well, the Liberals have stepped in the doggy doo this time. If the Conservatives don't manage to take this and use it to remind everyone of the anger and rage against the Liberals they felt when the Gomery hearings were underway, then they don't deserve to be elected. This is your chance, Stephen. Don't blow it!

Gauntlet said...

Hey Cardinal. Do the world a favour, and stop posting your own posts as comments on other peoples' blogs. For the people that want to read you, they can put you in their blogrolls. The rest of us have access to your website when you make legitimate comments. We shouldn't have to go to an extra effort NOT to read your bull.

cardinal47 said...

Don't be a crybaby, Gauntlet. It was a legitimate comment on the topic on your blog.

John Snow said...

Well, I , for one, find this blog very informative.

Liberal No More said...

Bourque is carrying a story speculating that Goodale will indeed resign.Time For a Change is right.If the Opposition don't exploit this opening to the maximum,then too bad for them. This could be the turning point of the campaign.