Monday, April 19, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Stephen Harper was so angry after hearing of the pardon that he called Toews on Good Friday and ordered him to lower the legislative boom. In another government, that might be information Toews himself decided to give to reporters. But this is the Harper government. Ministers do not breath without permission.
And so it's safe to conclude that the prime minister's office not only wants Canadians to know it's getting "tough" on pardons, it also wants us to know it's getting tough because the prime minister heard about James's pardon and got angry.
Whether the pardon system is broken or not, whether new legislation is needed or not, this is an atrocious way to run a country. More consideration goes into the average letter to the editor. If Stephen Harper and his cabinet had a clue about good governance, they would hang their heads in shame, but they are clueless and shameless -- and bragging to anyone who will listen.
Let's start with something no one is talking about. How did Graham James's pardon become public information years after it was granted?
The Canadian Press story that broke the news refers, vaguely, to the pardon being revealed after a new accuser came forward in Winnipeg. But it's not legal for police, prosecutors, or other officials to reveal pardon information. Only if the minister personally approves the release of such information, and only if he does so in accordance with the criteria in law, is it legal.
Did a police officer or prosecutor illegally leak the information? Another official? Or was it the minister or someone in his office? The leak seems to have included the name of the parole board official who granted the pardon, which indicates the leaker had the sort of detailed information available only to someone with significant access.
One might think this would concern Stephen Harper, who has dealt harshly with illegal leaks in the past. But it seems not. The CP story quotes his spokesperson saying James's lawfully granted pardon is "deeply troubling and gravely disturbing," but the spokesperson apparently expressed no concern that the law may have been broken. That's a little odd. And suspicious. Remember, the prime minister's office is legally forbidden from confirming that the pardon had been granted, but the tone of the story suggests the prime minister's spokesperson may have done just that.
So will Stephen Harper call on the RCMP to investigate? Oh no. He only does that with leaks that don't advance his political agenda. (I asked Public Safety to clarify, but, true to form, they did not return my call.)