Thursday, June 02, 2005

 

'Experts' Be Damned!

From Cnews June 1st, the following 'eminent experts' are quoted saying the following things regarding the Grewal tapes and their possible legal implications:

"Craig Forcese, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, says the pertinent laws are aimed at outsiders, people who might try to bribe an MP with an inch of fifties to vote a certain way or abstain at a key moment.
They have never been applied to wheeling and dealing among MPs.
"It's an awkward situation," he said. "You kind of wonder about the implications of extending it there."
After all, he said, political parties in the Commons are essentially held together by a discipline system based on rewards and punishments. Those who toe the party line can expect cabinet seats, committee chairs or political junkets.
Renegades lose out on perks and even get tossed from the party.
"At some level, everything that goes on in the Commons that we call party discipline is the offering up of some advantage or the possibility of a penalty."

Robin Elliott, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, agrees.
He said the courts would be reluctant to get into this area.
"The courts would say this really isn't our bailiwick, this is something the elected branches of government have to sort out."
The courts, he said, would probably see this sort of thing as politics, not criminality.
"You have to believe that, not necessarily this precise sort of deal-making - I know we're not supposed to use the word deal - but this horse-trading goes on all the time," he said.
"That would be another reason for the courts to say, well this would be the slippery slope. If we extend the reach of the Criminal Code provisions here, into this realm, where does it stop?"
Lawyers and political scientists say this may be little more than everyday politicking simply brought into the open by Grewal's tapes.


Now here's Section 119 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

Section 119. (1) Every one who
(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or

being a member of Parliament

or of the legislature of a province, corruptly

(i) accepts or obtains,
(ii) agrees to accept, or
(iii) attempts to obtain,

any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment for himself or another person in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by him in his official capacity, or

(b) gives or offers, corruptly, to a person mentioned in paragraph (a) any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by him in his official capacity for himself or another person,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.


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These 'experts' have their heads between their legs and they're looking at the inside of the universe. Imagine law professors saying that this law doesn't apply to members of Parliament! One of the first things that a judge is supposed to do in applying the law is to assess the intent of the law in question. What did the creators of the law have in mind when they enacted the law?

Here is Craig Forcese, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, who says, "the pertinent laws are aimed at outsiders"! How does that statement square with the part of this law that unequivocally states, "being a member of Parliament"??? The reason it's such a severe penalty (maximum 14 years) is because the people who framed this law had the vision to ensure that if moral suasion was ever an insufficient impediment to corruption, that fear of the law would be difficult to put aside. Because our country depends on these 308 Members of Parliament more than any other group of people in the entire country. It seems to me that this law covers the case of a Prime Minister and/or his executive assistant enticing an MP to 'sell' his vote or abstain from voting with the clearly implied reward of some future benefit.

And the last sentence is the best - the casual assessment by the scribe who displays absolutely no sense of proportion here, 'Lawyers and political scientists say this may be little more than everyday politicking simply brought into the open by Grewal's tapes'.
Well Mr. Scribe I challenge you to tell us on what facts you base this nugget of wisdom. Who said it? It sounds nice doesn't it? But it's just something that you invented and threw in to make a neat, tidy ending to your story isn't it? You should be ashamed to call yourself a Canadian or a journalist with such an offhand, ill-considered statement about such a vital issue.

Here is the complete article: Grewal affair is ethically questionable

This link contains additional sections of the Criminal Code which may apply depending on the actual facts and people involved.
Sections 118 to 126 of the Criminal Code of Canada

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