RCMP's "Inexplicable" Intervention Into Canada's Election Campaign

Posted on Monday, January 09 at 14:00 by Anonymous
As would be expected, the Conservatives have made the RCMP announcement new fodder for this campaign. Conservative leader Stephen Harper proclaimed the as of yet unproven allegations of insider-trading part of “an ongoing pattern of scandal and corruption” and reference to the scandal was soon incorporated into the Conservatives’ television ad campaign. In a January 2 speech, Harper proclaimed that the first priority of a Conservative government would be passage of a Federal Accountability Act that will purportedly ensure ethical, corruption-free government. The Conservatives, however, have let the social-democratic NDP take the lead in trumpeting the charges of possible illegalities surrounding Goodale’s November 23 announcement. This is because corporate Canada is none too anxious for light to be shed on the events surrounding the Liberals’ decision to maintain the tax-free status of income-trusts and lower the taxation rate on stock-dividend income—and not just because if anyone profited from insider information about Goodale’s announcement it was almost certainly large institutional investors, such as the brokerage firms of the country’s six major banks. Any serious look at the Liberal government’s decision would expose how corporate Canada dictates policy to the government and how the various political parties vie with each other in trying to please big business. According to economic affairs columnist Eric Reguly, Bay Street “was drunk on income trust brew, ensuring that any effort to tame the trusts”—that is to tax them like other corporations—“would be met by a formidable political backlash.” Under any circumstances, a mid-election campaign announcement from the RCMP of a criminal investigation with potential political ramifications would have been unprecedented. All the more so under conditions where the principal opposition party has proclaimed government corruption to be the overriding issue. Just how unprecedented is made clear in a column by Jeffrey Simpson in Friday’s Globe and Mail. The national affairs columnist for the country’s most politically influential newspaper for more than two decades, Simpson has innumerable contacts and connections with senior politicians and government officials and members of the police and judiciary. “You don’t,” writes Simpson, “have to be a shill for the Liberals to ask what the heck the Mounties [RCMP] thought they were doing in announcing a criminal investigation during an election campaign. “... What the RCMP did was inexplicable and quite wrong. Informed friends who know about RCMP practices are baffled. They’ve never seen anything like it before.” Simpson adds that “normal RCMP practice, according to those familiar with such matters, would have been to acknowledge receipt of” a November 28 letter from NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis asking for a police inquiry into the events surrounding the large spike in the volume of trading and value of Toronto Stock Exchange shares in the hours preceding Goodale’s Nov. 23 announcement. Then the RCMP should have determined whether there was sufficient reason to warrant an investigation and if it did, launch one, but “without informing the world.” Instead, writes Simpson “the Mounties put themselves smack in the middle of an election campaign, which is where they should not be.” http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jan2006/cana-j09.shtml [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 9, 2006]

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