Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Gomery Publication Ban Lift Tomorrow?

Big (and late) teaching day for me today. But around tomorrow. Onward. One story is all we need today. Since the G&M requires registration, I have reproduced it in full below (with attribution, of course; although Canada has no prior restraint protections on press freedom, I am sure copyright is still there). Commentary in italics.

Biggest issue I suggest is the second to last paragraph – no standing for Tories or BQ. What a pathetic ruling. It excludes the only parties capable of being adverse to conduct an appropriate cross-examination!! And Chretien is arguing that Gomery is biased against him? Seems the circle is a tad wider.

Here’s the link if you can get through the registration.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005 Updated at 5:01 PM EST
Globe and Mail Update

The judge presiding over the sponsorship scandal decided Wednesday to delay a decision over whether a publication ban on explosive testimony provided by ad executive Jean Brault at the sponsorship inquiry will be lifted. (Ed. – so far, so good)

Mr. Justice John Gomery decided late in the day Wednesday that he needed more time to consider whether to allow the testimony of Mr. Brault to be reported in the media after Mr. Brault completed his time on the stand. (Ed. – yeah, yeah, yeah)

Judge Gomery is to make a decision Thursday morning. (Ed. – that would be tomorrow, yes. You see, journalists are not complete idiots)

If he lifts the ban, it may start the ball rolling for opposition parties to pose a non-confidence motion in the Liberals and potentially bring the government down. Opposition parties believe that Mr. Brault's testimony is extremely damaging to the Liberal Party. (Ed. – from a slow beginning, now 28 words into this paragraph we go from “tomorrow is Thursday” to “oh, btw, the government may collapse.” Elegant understatement.)

The Bloc Québécois has a chance to bring forward a non-confidence motion on their opposition day, next Thursday. (Ed. – and in between now and then, they have this cool set of playing cards with pictures of maple leaves on them that the Tories and Libs gave to keep them busy!)

None of the parties are tipping their hat as to whether they want an election, saying they want to wait until Mr. Brault's testimony comes out and gauge the reaction to it. (Ed. – how pathetic. We already know the text has been made available to the MPs. They need to know what the polls will read before they act? I certainly hope the Tories are being maligned here.)

But on Wednesday, prior to the decision, both Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and Tory Leader Stephen Harper said they are not going to rush into a decision on a snap election. (Ed. – whatever)

Also Wednesday, a Montreal judge postponed the criminal fraud trials of Mr. Brault and former bureaucrat Chuck Guité until June 6, putting into question whether the ban should be lifted on Mr. Brault's testimony. (Ed. – how convenient. Just a little, but maybe not enough to warrant disclosure of the present testimony)

Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Côté decided Wednesday to put the two men's criminal trials over until June 6. They were supposed to have begun on May 2, but Mr. Brault and Mr. Guité argued that they did not have enough time to prepare for that date. They had asked that their trials be delayed until September. (Ed. – filler. Journa must be working on a word count.)

Mr. Gomery had placed the ban on Mr. Brault's testimony to ensure that the jury at Mr. Brault's trial not be tainted by information out of the Gomery inquiry. (Ed. – what specious logic. Don’t you have “for cause” challenges to juries in Canada? You exclude the biased ones. Does Gomery think that every Canadian is so emotive as to be incapable of setting aside press coverage? To the extent it is relevant, will the testimony make it into the trial anyway … or was that another deal you cut, John? I seem to think so …)

It difficult to say what move Judge Gomery will make now that Mr. Brault's criminal trial has been delayed only one month. (Ed. - his hand is one Queen's Bishop. the tension is high. He's removing his hand. He is reaching for ... no ... yes, it is. He is reaching for a tissue is going to blow his nose. Oh my, the air is thick here. Back to you, Allison.

Mr. Brault has been testifying before Judge Gomery under a ban since last week. Nothing about his testimony was supposed to have been reported, but a U.S. website released some details over the weekend. (Ed. – wasn’t me!! Oh, no. I am the Captains of my own site. No Quarters to spend on such things. You can draw a dotted line through that company and not find me!!)

And opposition parties know the details because they have representatives at the inquiry. (Ed. – D’oh)

Now, it will be up to them to decide whether to gamble on holding an election if Mr. Brault's testimony comes out. (Ed. – Wow. Such excitement in the prose, such suspense.)

On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Stephen Harper urged caution, saying his party will wait to see what opinions are. (Ed. – isn’t this redundant? Didn’t she say it before? Before, up above? Word count confirmed)

"I think we are going to have to listen to some of the further testimony that will come out before we rush to judgment on how best to proceed. It is not my intention and it is not our party's intention to provoke an election simply on our own timetable or because of our own interests." (Ed. – Hunh?!? So, you will provoke an election based upon someone else’s timetable and interests? Oh my. And I thought our American Republican Senators were losers. Is it all conservatives? I am going to crawl into a corner and cry for a while)

Also, Wednesday, Judge Gomery ruled that Tories and the Bloc Québécois will not be granted standing at the inquiry. Although the Liberals received permission on Monday to cross-examine witnesses, the judge said he sees no need to grant the Tories or the Bloc standing, since their parties are not being directly affected by the inquiry. (Ed. – this is absurd. The testimony suggests that the Libs have a reason to end the disclosures as soon as possible. Limit the things coming out. In the interests of full disclosure, a truly adverse party should be allowed to cross. What a truly bad ruling.)

During Question Period Wednesday, the Liberals again urged the parties to wait for Judge Gomery's final report on the sponsorship scandal, due out in December. (Ed. – Libs. Wait, please. Let us steal another CN$100MM. Or destroy the papers (if any existed) on what we already stole.)

"The Bloc Québécois very much would like to have an election based on allegations. It's in their interest to do that because they don't want Justice Gomery to submit his report. They don't want Canadians to have the truth, and they don't want to have the government or the Liberal party to be able to respond in a substantive way to that report," said Publice Works Minister Scott Brison. Ed. - what a hack. Scotty, git!!! Git now!!!!

He said accused the Tories and the Bloc of wanting to work together to cause an election to be called. (Ed. – Oh. They should work apart? How completely lame. Scott, I love you like a brother - shut up.)

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