Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Liberal Party Plan B: Get Stockwell

Liberals trying to scapegoat Stockwell Day for their sins

To those who have been following the fallout from the Maher Arar case, today’s resignation of RCMP commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli came as no surprise, and for good reason.

Zaccardelli, of course, was serving as RCMP commissioner in 2002, when the RCMP passed false information to American officials, who subsequently deported the Syrian-born Arar to his original home country, where he was subsequently tortured.

According to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who accepted Zaccardelli’s resignation, the outgoing commissioner sited that “it would be in the best interest of the RCMP to have new leadership as this great organization faces challenges in the future.”
For those following the case, the story is very different. It was revealed on 5 December that Zaccardelli had previously perjured himself in the course of the inquiry, earning himself what Liberal MP Mark Holland rightfully thinks was a certain dismissal.

“It’s a start,” Holland said of Zaccardelli’s resignation. Now, one would expect that Holland’s next ideal targets for the inquiry would be the officers involved, none of whom have yet been disciplined, and some of whom were even promoted.

Now Holland, the Liberal party and the New Democratic party have all set their sights firmly on Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, suggesting that Day may have been complicit in Zaccardelli’s about-face, despite the lack any evidence to suggest so.

“I can tell very clearly that at no time, from my office or officials, was there any interference whatsoever in the operation of the commissioner's duties or any testimony he was giving,” Day insisted.

Now, one would expect that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, Day would be considered innocent until proven guilty. Not with the Liberal party. The Liberals, of course, are citing ministerial responsibility. Indeed, Stockwell Day is apparently expected to be responsible for something in which Zaccardelli was involved in 2002 – when the Liberal party was in power.

For those who may have missed the irony of this, the Liberals are trying to hold Day responsible for something that took place under a Liberal government.

This is the same party under which Ralph Goodale refused to live up to ministerial responsibility and resign when it was revealed that an Income Trust investor was improperly tipped off, via a wink-wink-nudge-nudge email, to an impending decision about Income Trusts.

Yep, Ministerial responsibility: the Liberals are all about it… at least when another government’s ministers are being scapegoated for things that happen under their watch.