Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Should We Start Calling This FifeGate? Possible Smoking Gun...

Just came across this on National News Watch.

Could it be possible that there were some dirty deeds being done to try and smear Lisa Raitt? Judging from the article, more notably, the accompanying picture, I think perhaps the government might need to do a major investigation into this. If you look at the picture, taken last Thursday as Raitt and her aide were leaving the Television studio's after doing interviews, something stands out.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but that sure looks like the same binder in the aides hand that Robert Fife was showing off for the cameras, or an identical one. I highly doubt the aide would have returned to the studio and left the binder, as she most likely would have returned with the minister to her office. And the aides normally carry documentation for the ministers. Is it possible the aide actually returned the documents, and somebody else passed them along to Fife? The aide would take the blame if she was the last one to sign them in and they were found missing.

Could be nothing, but something does indeed to be getting stinky as this story evolves.

A commenter has pointed out that it is the National Press Building on Wellington. Still, the picture does provide proof that it was indeed the aide who was in charge of the documents.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well, that's intriguing Paul, but the photo caption says they're leaving a news conference.

That wouldn't necessarily be CTV's studios, would it?

paulsstuff said...

They were at the CTV studios doing interviews for various media outlets.

At the very least it confirms that indeed the aide was responsible for the documents.

Anonymous said...

That is the National Press Building on Wellington....

paulsstuff said...

"That is the National Press Building on Wellington...."


Mick said...

Read Harper's own rules on Ministerial accountability.

It states that Ministers are responsible for the actions of their staff. Period. The End.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

At the very least it confirms that indeed the aide was responsible for the documents.

That's true. The aide is definitely tasked with looking after the documents. No doubt about that.

As it should be. That's why they're hired. If the Minister is responsible for second-guessing every little thing that everyone on their staff does, then they may as well do it all themselves.

Sorry I didn't respond to your email sooner, Paul. Busy night. I think I'll be turning in soon. It's been quite the day.

maryT said...

I just knew there had to be a photo somewhere of someone with that binder. And that is the same blue outfit she wore on PP and that other show she did. So, my origial question from this am, how did Fyfe get those documents. What time is that photo, any way to find out. Fyfe said the documents were left Thursday evening.
The media could get away with this stuff a few years ago, before blogs. Now readers from across Canada have input on every story.
So, were those documents left in the green room during the interview, and did someone from ctv pilfer them then and make copies and give liberals questions for QP.
Can't wait for the canary to sing, and I bet a lot of libs are sweating bullets. Might cause some sudden resignations.
Names will probably be from Quebec and Quebec was very angry at the liberals because of Adscam. Watch iggy's numbers go way down there as Duceppe will use it against him and the liberals.
And I wouldn't be surprised if those names have already been given and are ready for publication.

Bec said...

Yuck, that we have to even mistrust a CTV bureau chief, is bloody despicable.

How many times on these blogs and in private, have folks, every day folks, wondered about the CTV's, ROBERT FIFE?

I don't give a rat's pitewwee, if that gal is carrying, "THE DOCUMENT".
I care, as I would if it was a LIE,beral that the, purse,wallet,condom,birth certificate, passport, marriage licence,diamond ring, marijuana, cocaine, horse racing numbers, Krugerrand gold bricks, GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS. all be treated with the same respect.
Flippin' CALL the OWNERS and tell them they left something behind!!

CTV, YOU ARE Losers!

ps, I notice that the LIEberal trolls aren't out! Hmmmm!

Anonymous said...

In the Canadian Forces it is automatic that an inquiry must be called to look into the circumstances of lost classified documents. It is appalling that soldiers face an inquiry and cabinet ministers walk. DISGUSTING.

Bec said...

Anony @ 7:00pm

Are you also PRESUMED innocent until proven GUILTY?

You are a flippin' fake! No one would say what you just said, that is REALLY in the military.

Gosh you LIEberals are unbelievably evil human beings!

maryT said...

Some questions re the aide. How long has she had her job. She is young and attractive. She is a few feet behind the Minister. What if a gotcha staffer at ctv come up to her and made conversation and started to walk with her and offered (took) those files from her hands and continued walking and making conversation to distract her. Perhaps he asked her to dinner, and went to her car with her, forgetting to give back the files until too late and yelled, I will send them to the office. Believing him she let it go and was unaware they were not returned till the story broke.
Perhaps it could have been an older reporter she trusted and he talked to her about her job, and being around important people.
I doubt she left them on purpose and was used by ctv.
Rather than admit she had been conned she resigned.
This should be a warning to all young staffers, don't trust anyone in the media, they are not your friends unless you are a liberal.
Whatever happened she must now tell the whole story of what happened.

Ted said...

My goodness. Did I come to Paul's place or "Conspiracies 'r Us"????

Seriously weird claims here.

Folks, the aide and the Minister confessed to the screw up and incompetence! If it had been anyone else, they would not have shouted to the world "yup, we screwed up big time; you should fire us". Certainly not so quickly. They would have deflected, said we need to investigate, or even come right out and said 'we left with our binder'.

Worse than being nuts though, is the immediate attempt to start discrediting this woman. She took a bullet for the team and now she gets accused by Mary here (and others elsewhere) of possibly being some sort of spy or someone with an axe to grind.

You know, all partisanship aside, someone like Jasmine - and there are Jasmines in every party - are some of the most loyal, hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificing team players there are. You don't get to be press secretary for a cabinet minister, let alone one who is favoured by the Prime Minister, unless you are fiercly loyal. She left a binder behind and didn't follow up. She screwed up. It is a big deal and she suffered the right consequences, but why go after her further? It's self-defeating too, because there are hundreds of Jasmines working everywhere for Harper, all thinking tonight 'f**k, that could have been me', but then to see some of their own start inventing bizarre conspiracy schemes about them. Jeez. That is nuts.

C'mon give your heads a shake. Good for you Joanne for not biting this bullet.

paulsstuff said...

Well it's nice to see you have stopped saying the minister left the documents Ted. The picture clearly shows the aide carrying the binder, which completely contradicts Fife ranting about how Raitt was the one who had the binder and the one who left it.

As for the aide, I imagine and hope that she most likely resigned her position, but will be given a junior job in some capacity.

I do find Ignatieff stating he would never blame a 26 year old to be somewhat odd. I know the driving and drinking age, what is the age where one becomes responsible for their actions in the performance of their job?

maryT said...

I never accused the aide of being a spy, I said she could have been conned. Big difference.

Ted said...


No Mary you didn't accuse her of being a spy.

You have accused Lisa Keen of giving the documents to CTV, you've accused the aide of being a conned star struck dupe and spewing what every other conspiracy theory that crosses your brain.

I'll give the government one thing: they don't like to take responsibility for their own actions but at least they pretend to. No government and no party aide is perfect, so why invent complicated conspiracy theories to try to prove that they can do no wrong? Bizarre.

paulsstuff said...

Maybe they should just follow tradition Ted and blame it on some rogue bureacrats.

Ted said...


You misread me.

I did not say that Raitt was not the one who left the binder. A single picture of an aide carrying a binder on one occasion does not prove anything. Even if she does carry the paper for Raitt, as she probably does, we still don't know whether it was Raitt who left it somewhere or not.

My guess is that the aide did screw up. My guess is that aide is balling her eyes out right now, not because she lost her job, but because she caused her minister and her party grief.

But all of that is besides the point. A binder got left somewhere by mistake. An aide took the hit. Harper and Raitt avoided proper Parliamentary accountability on a pretty small issue.

Now let's move on.

To more important issues. Like the Raitt/Harper Chalk River fiasco and the hiding of this spending from us measely taxpayers.

Ted said...

Paul @8:03:

My comment above was addressing your earlier comment.

Regarding your 8:03 comment: that is what they do normally. That is what they did, in fact. A year ago with Lisa Keen. Remember back then when a two day shutdown was a matter of life and death, required a bunch of politicians to override both engineers reports and engineers safety requirements, and then to fire Keen?

Now we've got Chalk River shut down possibly for good and the Conservatives are all 'don't worry be happy, we're workin' on it'.

Their handling of this Chalk River fiasco then and now enfuriates me. It encapsules everything that has gone wrong and is wrong with this government and Harper.

The only thing missing is for them to blame everything on the Liberals.

paulsstuff said...

By the way Ted, when the allegations against Dhalla broke, Liberal's were quick to point to Sgro as having been smeared, and that she had been cleared by the ethics commissioner. Th commissioner found that her aide had broken conflict of interest rules.

When can we expect accountability from the Liberal's over that?

Adscam? Rogue bureacrats.

Art Eggleton contract to girlfriend? Named a senator.

Chretien named in Gomery inquiry? Nope. Take Gomery to court, even though the sposorship was run through his office.

How many Liberal cabinet ministers took free flights and vacations at the Irving Lodge, undeclared? Number of resignations 0.

Goodale? Brison leak? Aide rsponsible. Move along, nothing to see here.

Ted said...


What does history have to do with this? Sure, call the Liberal Party hypocrits if it makes you feel better about Harper's lack of accountability. But whatever it was the Liberals did or did not do years ago, does not make what Harper does now right or wrong. Your guys are in government now, not opposition. They have to take responsibility for their actions.

They don't owe that to the Liberal Party they owe to Canadians. And they owe it to Canadians regardless of whether the Liberals benefit politically. This is what the Liberals did not get at the end of Chretien's tenure and into Martin's. It was the raison d'etre of the Reform Party's creation because the Tories had lost sight of that.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ya, it's never good for the unknown crewman!

paulsstuff said...

Ted, you are way off on the Chalk River thing. It was a big deal last year because a few days of scheduled maintenance was about to turn into months of downtime because they wanted to install earthquake monitors. At the time the government had no warning of an extended delay, so they were unable to have other countries step up production fast enough.

They learned their lesson from that, and have set up a plan that should the Chalk River facility be shut down, other countries could fill the void quickly. That is what is happening now. Raitt testified at committee that indeed other countries have steped up production to avert a global shortage.

Anonymous said...

Bec, you don't know squat. The law in the Cf is that an inquiry SHALL be held. You can try to avoid the truth but you can't.

paulsstuff said...

Ted, I posted this at Joanne's and here but Ill post it one more time. If you saw Raitt in question period she did exactly what is laid out here:

""The answerability component of the doctrine requires that each minister answer to Parliament, in the form of explanation or defence, for all the actions of his or her department. Thus, when public servants make an error, the minister is expected to explain to Parliament what went wrong; to promise that the error will be remedied and that measures will be taken to prevent its repetition; and to impose appropriate sanctions within the department on the public servant(s) who committed the error. In practice, this answerability component is generally respected, even though ministers often do not provide answers that are complete and unambiguous."

paulsstuff said...

In the case of a minister directly committing an error, then their resignation is called for, which was why the PM accepted Bernier's resignation.

When an aide or someone in the ministers office commits an error, the minister follows the doctrine I listed. It was honorable for Raitt to offer her resignation, but according to the doctrine the PM was not bound to accept it.

paulsstuff said...

Bedtime guys, moderation on.

Have a good night everyone. That means you too Ted:0)

Bec said...

paulsstuff, did you delete the 26 year old stuff (as in AGE) that the leader of the opposition SPEWED AND SPEWED AND SPEWED, today. Or was that on a previous post?

Well Mr Iggy-Stupider-than-a-DOORknob, you have just decimated 33% of your voting population. Your STUDENTS A$$hole!
Actually, finally my girls heard something you said, LIVE and ARE DISGUSTED! Finally, I say 26 is the new 12 according to the LIEberals!

ps even the PM was pretty cool at 26.... Born in 1959,he became chief aide to Progressive Conservative MP Jim Hawkes in 1985.

Chuckle chuckle!

Ted said...

As for your examples, since it seems insisting that the bar should not be raised higher than you think the Liberals set it at, they are not the best examples of Liberal hypocrisy (there are good ones, just not these ones).

Sgro was proven not to have done anything wrong herself despite the lies and political smears... but she resigned nevertheless. (She is brought up as an example of the personal attacks that proved wrong; she happens to be a great example of ministerial responsibility since she did resign). So you had your accountability over that: she resigned.

Adscam? Rogue bureacrats.

I may be mistaken, but other than pointing the finger at Guite, I think the Liberals always said it was a few rogue party organizers. I am pretty sure that, other than Guite, they did not accuse bureaucrats of the problem.

Again, you have a great difference between Conservatives and Liberals here. The Liberals launched an RCMP investigation and then the Gomery inquiry into themselves. They took accountability measures. The Conservatives blame their staffers instead of taking responsibility and being accountable (think Raitt, Stockwell with the flow of the Niagara River, think Ryan Sparrow, think the animation of a bird sh***ing on Dion, think Harper's plagiarism (twice), and so on).

Art Eggleton contract to girlfriend? Named a senator. Named a senator for years of service to the country, but resigned his cabinet position as a result of taking responsability for his actions.

Look, I'm not saying Raitt should be banished to the ends of the earth or even quit as an MP. But protocol and the constitution are pretty clear on this and so was Harper when it didn't involve someone he liked. Harper a year ago even said it didn't matter if it was the minister or someone beneath the minister. But that was then. Sir Flipalot stikes again.

Chretien named in Gomery inquiry? Nope.

Sorry, I don't even understand this comment. Chretien took Gomery to court to try to get the report expunged because of the damning report it gave on him.

Goodale? Brison leak? Aide rsponsible.

When the facts finally came out on any of this, the Liberals had been voted out of power. How much more accountable can you be?

Move along, nothing to see here.

Ah, finally, you got one right. ;-)

maryT said...

Today has been a fun day around the blogs. It has been interesting to read the lefties try to twist what people write. Funny, they see no problem when they make all kinds of excuses for lib screw ups, from adscam to dingwall and his gum. They bring up stuff 20 years ago to change the channel. But listen to them cry if we try to follow their pattern. They have taught us well. Someone out there will remember every waste of taxpayers money the libs did. They are all upset because the figures re AECL are not out there, but they ignore the fact that the librals spent (wasted) millions on the same project, knowing the reactor had a flaw in it. Just another screwup of the libs that iggy wants PMSH to fix, just like EI.
I find it weird that we have no right to know the names of young killers, or where dangerous men/women are to be let loose in our country, but the media has no qualms about publishing secret documents.

Anonymous said...

If the secrecy of it was such a big deal, why didn't CTV return it immediately?
If it wasn't such a big deal, why are they making such a big deal of it?


Anonymous said...

According to the Star, the aide comes from a very Liberal family. It could be just me but the optics make my antennae go up on full alert. Why would she have been carrying the material to the studio, anyway?

paulsstuff said...

Ted, Gomery never at any time Chretien knew of the kickbacks, only that as PM, and the fact the program was being run out of his office,he should be held to some account.

Which is the exact thing the Liberal's are doing. Trying to hold Raitt resposible for an aides mistake.

Does that mean Raitt should file a motion in court to avoid culpability?

paulsstuff said...

Nice spelling Paul. Going to Timmies now.

Ahh, sweet caffeine.

Ted said...

"he should be held to some account."

Sorry, Paul, still not clear on what you are trying to compare here.

Do you want Chretien to step down as Prime Minister again? He's gone. There is no more ministerial accountability action to take because he is no longer a minister.

When he was PM, we did not have any of the facts that merit any action. In fact, he stepped down when he did to avoid being the PM when the facts came out.

Raitt on the other hand is the Minister now and just got the seal of approval from the Prime Minister.

And that is in no way to compare even in the remotest way the anti-democratic corruption of the sponsorship scandal. Just to point out that not all government screw-ups have the same remedy.

Protocol and constitutional convention are clear in Raitt's case but Harper and the media are letting her off the hook.

As I keep saying, fine because this was not a huge example of the government's incompetence. They are getting away with it again, fine, we're used to that. So let's move on to more important stuff.

paulsstuff said...

It's 10 years after the fact Ted, and neither Chretien nor any other Liberal is willing to accept.0000001% blame in Adscam ( other than Martin, who said he takes blame, but don't blame him)

Let's face it. The party had to be aware of it. MP's had to be aware of it, particularly those where adscam funds were used. Did they think the tooth fairy paid those campaign costs.

As I stated previously, there was no way the PM could not have accepted Bernier's resignation.

Bernier admitted it was him, and only him that was to blame for the documents. In Raitt's case, an aide made the gaff.

Ralph said...

The bigger picture is in the documents. The fact that a minister requires an aide to carry sensitive material reflects the fat & ignorance of our government. With AECL up for sale, our tax dollar still paying for cost overruns & the lobbying to win Ontario's nuke sweepstakes - what's the big deal ? Nothing will change and we'll keep paying for their ignorance.

paulsstuff said...

As someone who lives close to the Pickering Nuke plant my whole life (which might explain the hair loss), it's amazed me over the years the literally hundreds of billions of dollars that go into these facilities.

They never run at full capacity, something's always breaking, always cost over-runs, never have repairs done on time.

It's time for some government to have the cajones to take a hit in the budget and spend on a new state of the art facility.

Ted said...

"It's 10 years after the fact Ted, and neither Chretien nor any other Liberal is willing to accept.0000001% blame in Adscam ( other than Martin, who said he takes blame, but don't blame him)"

If you want to change the subject and have a discussion about Adscam, fine. We're going to have little to disagree with over culpability over that, except on the fringe issues (like who knew how much and when).

But the kind of accountability called for in the sponsorship scandal is different than what is clearly called for here.

Constitutional convention demands that a minister take responsibility for his or her ministry. In my mind, the Tories conceded on this issue when they accepted Jasmine's resignation. If the screw-up was big enough to require the termination of a staffer, than it is big enough for the Minister to take full and proper responsibility.

I know how Chretien would have handled this: he would have said no resignation was necessary because this was not a big deal. He would have been beaten up by the opposition and the press for a few days and then they would have moved on. When it was a big deal though, at least in his mind, he made sure the minister resigned, like with Jane Stewart or Judy Sgro. Interestingly, in both those cases, subsequent events showed that they did nothing wrong, but they nevertheless did the proper thing and resigned.

What we have here is a bizarre situation: Harper and Raitt both admit this is a serious breach of the rules, so big that they fire a staffer, but somehow not big enough for the Minister herself to take responsibility.

paulsstuff said...

I repeat Ted:

In Bernier's resignation letter to the prime minister, he wrote that "the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."

Ted said...

Good for him, Paul. But ministerial responsibility does not apply only to the minister's own actions. That is in fact the point of it.

paulsstuff said...

Ted, the problem is you quote tradition and precedent as proving she should resign

There are many examples of minister's resigning, and just as many of minister's ataying in their post.

If Ignatieff does form government next election and one of his minister's becomes involved in a gaffe by an aide, I highly doubt Iggy will demand their resignation.

And those comments about blaming a 26 year old are as odd today as they were yesterday.

Ted said...

My point on that history and constitutional convention is that:

- where there has been a "gaffe" if you will, then no one resigns despite calls for it for a few days by opposition parties and the press.

- where there has been a "serious breach" of rules or protocol, then the minister should take responsibility, offer resignation and it ought to be accepted by the PM.

What we have here is the odd situation where Harper and Raitt concede that it was a "serious breach" and not just a "gaffe", but pass the buck to the staffer instead of taking ministerial responsibility.

That's the odd thing to me. How can you it is a serious breach but then say the minister should not take responsibility? Seems incredibly inconsistent, especially with what Harper was saying a year ago.

My Chretien example was given merely to highlight what it seems his approach was. If the facts are clear and he thought it was just a gaffe, then he stood by his minister. If the facts are clear and he thought it was a serious breach, he made sure they took responsibility and out of there. Obviously this relies on the Prime Minister's judgement of what is a gaffe and what is a serious breach and what facts are clear, but at least it seems to me that his approach was consistent and stayed true to our constitution.

Harper is trying to have his cake and eat it too on this. Yes, there was a serious breach, but no, the minister doesn't have to take responsibility.

Anyway, as I keep saying, I would not put this even on the same page of importance (shall we cheekily say in the same binder of importance?) as the many other issues that are arising with the Chalk River fiasco. For that, see this article: were they lying last year about Chalk River or are they lying now? Why were they hiding vital information from the budget and the public? These are the real competency and accountability questions, not the fact that the Conservatives have once again passed the buck of responsibility to an underling (which seems to be quite very much Harper's habit; seems he has an infallibility complex).

I'll let you respond to this comment if you want, but I think we've exhausted the issue and I'm going to move on.

Ardvark said...

Ted said: "When he was PM, we did not have any of the facts that merit any action."

That is priceless Ted. It was a Liberal program and Liberals were siphoning off money for the Liberal party but no Liberals knew what was going on.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone find it more than a bit strange that this 26 year old staffer's father is a high level fundraiser in Nova Scotia for Liberal Michael Ignatieff?

Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

paulsstuff said...

I think there is a lot more interaction between the members of the different parties than most realize. Many of the people you see yelling at each other during question period are at the local bar hours later having dinner and drinks to gether.