Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Canadian News Roundup: Popcorn Edition!

- We, on the left, have been waiting for this headline for a long time: Tory headquarters raided.

OTTAWA- The RCMP is raiding Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa at the request of Elections Canada, confirmed an investigator.

Police officers in civilian clothes, but wearing flak jackets and one wearing a holster, entered and left the offices at 130 Albert Street, but refused further comment. They were searching suites on the 12th and 17th floors of the downtown building where senior Conservative party officials work.

Elections Canada officer Andre Thouin left the headquarters carrying a box of what he said were "documents that concern me," but he declined further comment, other than to say the RCMP was helping to carry out "an order."

The Cons, acting like true maroons during question period today, kept insisting that they had turned over all relevant documents to Elections Canada related to this investigation:

Elections Canada and the Conservative party have been engaged in a protracted legal battle over $1.2 million in alleged campaign spending irregularities from the 2006 election.

The party allowed Tory candidates to claim expenses for TV commercials that were produced for the national campaign.

The Conservatives insist the transactions were legal but Elections Canada disagrees and rival parties have labeled the scheme outright fraud.

Peter Van Loan called this an "imaginary scandal". It's not so "imaginary" when you have the RCMP raiding your offices, is it Van Loan? I guess your "imaginary" lawyers will have to defend this "imaginary scandal" in "imaginary" court.

- Bonus news of the day: General Rick Hillier has resigned, effective July 1, 2008. About damn time. Hillier has been serving as a political mouthpiece for the Afghanistan war for years. He's been nasty, explosive, arrogant, and cocky towards anyone who's challenged him. I guess he'll have ample time now to prepare his defence against war crimes charges filed against him. Good riddance.

- Speaking of Afghanistan, the tories have yet another scandal to deal with:

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- A quiet campaign by Canadian diplomats, who have been working to ease the governor of Kandahar out of his job, was thrown into chaos yesterday as Canada's Foreign Minister, Maxime Bernier, shattered months of secrecy and spoke out against the governor in public.

Canadian officials initially believed that Mr. Bernier had taken an important step in advancing their agenda over the weekend, when he met privately with President Hamid Karzai and asked him to replace Governor Asadullah Khalid, who has been dogged by accusations of torture and corruption. Calls for the governor's removal have grown louder this year, after The Globe and Mail's Paul Koring reported on Ottawa's attempts to conceal allegations that Mr. Khalid was personally involved in the torture of detainees.

Afghanistan's President told the Canadian delegation that a new governor would be appointed for Kandahar "within weeks," said a senior official who attended the meeting.

That promise is now more difficult for Mr. Karzai to keep, according to Canadian and Afghan sources, because Mr. Bernier's comments yesterday gave the impression of Canadian pressure on a President who is often satirized as a puppet of foreign masters.

"In light of this, it's much less clear what will happen next," a Canadian official said.

"There's a bit of scrambling now."


This is the same Harper government that was recently accused of providing cover for Kandahar's governor. I guess he's become disposable since then.

- Speaking of coverups: Ottawa tries to halt military probe of Afghan prisoners. What is the Harper government so afraid of? The truth, obviously. They've mishandled this detainee file from the start. If they actually had any integrity, they'd expose exactly what happened. That's a huge "if" though and they're proven time and time again that they'll run from any threat of being held accountable for their actions.

- And, in another blow to the government, "Terror charges stayed". Looks like a really bad week for the tories. What goes around, comes around.


- I forgot to add one item. Wondering what's driving the Immigration minister's power grab? How about this headline? "Alberta pursues 41,000 foreign workers"

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