Zaccardelli vs. Globe and Mail

(please also read my previous post for more background)

The Globe and Mail has been caught in error about Stockwell Day and RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli.

From the Public Safety committee meeting today in Parliament:

Mark Holland: And the minister acknowledged it in the house, but I think — I just want to go to another question, which comes back to the earlier question that I asked, and that is to specifically ask this time if you received any direction from Mr. Day, verbally, in the meetings that you now say that you had, written or electronic or from any member of the government suggesting that you should restrict your access to the media on this matter.

Giuliano Zaccardelli [RMCP Commissioner – ST]: Mr. Chairman, I have not received any instructions that I should restrict myself from the media at all. As a matter of fact, I was on parliament hill on sunday honouring over 700 men and women who died in the line of duty. I saw the minister. I shook hands with him. His wife hugged me. We had a good conversation. I have not restrict myself. The media was there. They asked a question, and I answered a couple of questions.

This would seem to be a direct response to the Globe and Mail’s story of Sunday’s events. From my previous post, the Globe and Mail published this story (here’s an excerpt):

Mr. Day, who is the minister responsible for the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said he would not talk with reporters Sunday if they wanted to ask about anything other than the solemn ceremony. It drew thousands to Parliament Hill, including families of 10 officers from seven different federal and local agencies killed in the past year.

Several high-ranking officers from other forces made a point of seeking out Mr. Zaccardelli either before or after the ceremony to shake his hand and offer words of encouragement. While Mr. Day happily posed for pictures with a variety of police officers, including a visiting detective from the New York Police Department, he stood away from his own top cop.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I received an attachment containing a couple of letters Day and his staff wrote to the Globe and Mail chiding them for the mistake. Read the full letters here. Following are a couple of excerpts from the letters. First, from Minister Day:

Dear Editor,

I was shocked to read today’s front-page story, “RCMP Chief Muzzled, Friends Say.” Mr. Sallot’s article declared that I refused to even greet Commissioner Zaccardelli at a Memorial Service. This could not be further from the truth and I want to set the record straight.

My wife and I both shook hands with the Commissioner and talked at some length about the importance of the occasion.

The Globe refused to publish the letter from Day, so the Conservatives sent it to me.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter from Day’s Director of Communications blasting the Globe for getting the story wrong, and for refusing to publish the Minister’s letter explaining that the Globe was wrong:

To correct the facts, the Hon. Stockwell Day , Minister of Public Safety, submitted a letter to the editor yesterday, in which he wrote that “My wife and I both shook hands with the Commissioner and talked at some length about the importance of the occasion.”

Instead of rectifying this error, your paper refused to run Minister Day’s letter to the editor. In a message left on my voicemail yesterday, the comment editor said that “We have reviewed the footage of the event that CTV shot and I have to tell you that in no place, at no time during this service did Commissioner Zaccardelli and Mr. Day shake hands. At this moment, we can hardly run a letter which suggests something which appears not to be the case.”

Now we have testimony from the Commissioner showing that the Globe and Mail made an error (you don’t have to only take Day’s word for it now). Further, the Globe has not corrected the record.

UPDATE (9/29): The Globe has now corrected the record and offers “regret”:

A front page story Monday about RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli stated that Mr. Zaccardelli and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day did not speak with each other at a Parliament Hill ceremony to honour police officers slain on duty. In fact, both men say they spoke and shook hands after the ceremony. The Globe and Mail regrets the error.

Globe and Mail vs. Day

The Globe and Mail wrote a piece yesterday about the O’Connor ruling regarding the deportation and torture in Syria of Maher Arar. The article meant to be topical, however, the author Jeff Sallott (with files from Gloria Galloway) couldn’t find an appropriate backdrop for their writing since the focus of their piece, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, won’t answer their questions until he testifies later this week. Sallott however tried, unsuccessfully, to quiz the Commissionor at a memorial service.

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published the following:

Mr. Zaccardelli surfaced for the first time publicly Sunday at a ceremony in Ottawa. But he refused to comment on the controversy that has swirled around him and his force since the release of an inquiry report last week that slammed the RCMP for giving erroneous intelligence to the United States that contributed to Maher Arar’s arrest and torture in Syria.

Mr. Day, who is the minister responsible for the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said he would not talk with reporters Sunday if they wanted to ask about anything other than the solemn ceremony. It drew thousands to Parliament Hill, including families of 10 officers from seven different federal and local agencies killed in the past year.

Several high-ranking officers from other forces made a point of seeking out Mr. Zaccardelli either before or after the ceremony to shake his hand and offer words of encouragement. While Mr. Day happily posed for pictures with a variety of police officers, including a visiting detective from the New York Police Department, he stood away from his own top cop.

Stockwell Day wouldn’t even shake his hand? The intrigue! What’s going on here? Are there political machinations going on behind the scenes here? Who’s allying with whom, who is on the outs? The Globe and Mail has us ponder all of these questions as it tries to frame Day and Zaccardelli in an unamiable context.

Today, I received an email from the Conservatives that asserts that the events written by Sallott are either untrue or uninformed. Attached were a couple of letters sent into the Globe and Mail by Minister Day and his staff to clarify what they assert to be untrue scribblings by the country’s so-called newspaper of record. Here’s the kicker: faced with contrary information from their own reporters and Stockwell Day and his staff the Globe and Mail refused to publish the Day’s letter (in whole or in part) to give the full record to their readers.

Here is Day’s letter, unpublished by the Globe and Mail and presented here as an exclusive:

Dear Editor,

I was shocked to read today’s front-page story, “RCMP Chief Muzzled, Friends Say.” Mr. Sallot’s article declared that I refused to even greet Commissioner Zaccardelli at a Memorial Service. This could not be further from the truth and I want to set the record straight.

My wife and I both shook hands with the Commissioner and talked at some length about the importance of the occasion.

On a day to commemorate our country’s heroic police and peace officers who died to protect our communities, I was asked three times by Mr. Sallot to be interviewed about matters not pertaining to the solemn occasion. What I explained to Mr. Sallot-and what he evidently failed to understand-was that the 29th Annual Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service was not the appropriate time to discuss such matters. Rather, it was the time to pay tribute to our fallen officers.

Out of respect for the police and peace officers who died in the line of duty as well as their families, I did not wish to comment on unrelated matters. On a day of such sorrow and out of respect for our fallen officers, I would expect more responsible reporting.

Mr. Sallot’s professional lapse appearing on the front page of this paper, have been a source of distress to the people affected and deliberately painted in a false and harmful picture that deserves to be corrected.

Stockwell Day,

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Here is the followup letter from Minister Day’s Director of Communications blasting the Globe and Mail for its bias. Will the newspaper publish it?

Re. Jeff Sallot’s inaccurate article

On Monday, September 25 inaccurate information was published in your front-page story, “RCMP chief muzzled, friends say”. In Jeff Sallot’s article, he incorrectly stated that Minister Day and Mr. Zaccardelli “did not speak”.

To correct the facts, the Hon. Stockwell Day , Minister of Public Safety, submitted a letter to the editor yesterday, in which he wrote that “My wife and I both shook hands with the Commissioner and talked at some length about the importance of the occasion.”

Instead of rectifying this error, your paper refused to run Minister Day’s letter to the editor. In a message left on my voicemail yesterday, the comment editor said that “We have reviewed the footage of the event that CTV shot and I have to tell you that in no place, at no time during this service did Commissioner Zaccardelli and Mr. Day shake hands. At this moment, we can hardly run a letter which suggests something which appears not to be the case.”

In disbelief over such bizarre logic used by your comment editor, I listened to his message five times. I find it difficult to believe that the lack of television footage of Minister Day shaking hands with and speaking to Mr. Zaccardelli could be sufficient grounds for not publishing a letter to the editor.

I find it regrettable that the Globe and Mail would choose to muzzle Minister Day by not printing his letter to the editor. Furthermore, I am disappointed to note that one of your journalists, Jeff Sallot, missed a great opportunity to cover our heroic police and peace officers who died in the line of duty. Three times Mr. Sallot asked Minister Day for an interview on issues not pertaining to this solemn occasion. Three times Minister Day replied that “the Annual Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service was not the appropriate time to discuss such matters. Rather, it was the time to pay tribute to our fallen officers.”

Last night, Mr. Sallot called me to request another interview with Minister Day. Three times he asked me whether or not Minister Day greeted Commissioner Zaccardelli. I repeatedly assured him that Minister Day did. Nonetheless, Mr. Sallot refused to accept the truth and suggested that your newspaper would not clarify the facts before obtaining a personal interview with Minister Day.

I personally attended this service with families and thousands of uniformed officers. I and many others witnessed Minister Day and Mr. Zaccardelli paying their respects as well as supporting those family members who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. Your paper missed an opportunity to correct an extremely misleading and inaccurate story. I hope your will reconsider and publish this letter to the editor in efforts to assist your readers and set the record straight.

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Hon. Stockwell Day,
Minister of Public Safety

Stockwell Day and his staff assert that the Globe and Mail has published an erroneous account of events which occurred. These events were construed to be political in nature and negatively so. Therefore, Day and staff wrote the editor a couple of letters. The editor has refused to publish Day’s letter. Why? Will they publish Leclerc’s letter?

NEW DEVELOPMENTS. See my next post for details. Click here

Liberal calls border guards “wimps”

Yesterday in the House, Derek Lee, the Liberal MP for Scarborough-Rouge River had a few choice words for the 60 Canadian border guards that walked off the job in the face of an armed American that was on his way to the border.

Canada-U.S. Border

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor–Tecumseh, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday 60 Canadian border guards were forced to walk off four Canadian border crossings because an armed and dangerous criminal was approaching the border.

Mr. Derek Lee: That’s because they are a bunch of wimps.

Later on, MPs from both the Conservatives and the NDP raised their objections to Lee’s comments:

Canada-U.S. Border

Hon. Stockwell Day (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today in question period, when I was responding to a reply about our border officers, the men and women who serve our country at the nation’s frontiers, a member of the Liberal Party, the member for Scarborough-Rouge River, was shouting out and referring to our brave men and women as wimps.

We tried to ask him informally to cease doing that.

An hon. member: Fifteen times.

Hon. Stockwell Day: It was recorded at least another 10 to 15 times. He continued to refer to our border officers as wimps.

Yesterday on Parliament Hill we attended a service of commemoration for peace officers who have died in the line of duty. The men and women who serve us on our borders do so without side arms. In any given year many times they must apprehend suspects, seize drugs and there are times when they must attempt to seize illegal weapons. They have been asking for side arms and to be trained for such for 10 years but the Liberals refused to do that. We are moving ahead on that.

Regardless of that debate, it is unacceptable that courageous men and women who serve us every day and night in this country are referred to as wimps. We would like a full and complete apology for that.

Our border officers are not wimps. Every day and every night they are on the line for us unarmed because they never received support from the Liberals. I want to hear an apology to our border officers. They are not wimps. They are brave and courageous men and women.

Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to recognize the strength, fortitude and courage of all of the people who man our borders. I am not referring to our police or to our military. I am talking of the people who man our borders. I commend the courage of all the people who man our borders if they stay on the job.

I was referring to those who walked off the job merely because apparently there was an American who had a firearm. There are over 200 million firearms south of the border. I admire our border service professionals who stay on the job, not those who walk off. We have never had armed border service professionals, not in the entire 138 years of this country. I admire those who stay on the job, not those who walk off.

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker, when the member for Windsor-Tecumseh was trying to ask questions about the safety situation facing our border guards, he was shouted down by the member for Scarborough-Rouge River again and again, to the point where I could not hear the question properly even though I was sitting so close to him.

I feel this is an important issue. It is not just the disrespect to the House or the disrespect to the men and women who are out in the field. This sends the message that there are some people in Parliament who show an absolute contempt for people who put their lives on the line. For those members to stand in the House today and have the nerve to tell us that they respect people who work but call people who stand up for their legal right to refuse unsafe conditions wimps is a disgrace.

I am speaking on a question of privilege because as a member of Parliament I feel ashamed that people like that would even stand in the House and–

and… then the Speaker ruled the complaints out of order.

That said, the Liberals sure made Canadians scared of Americans and guns during the last election and now Derek Lee is calling border guards — whom the previous government, of which he was a member, dangerously neglected to arm — “wimps” for walking away from a potentially fatal situation in which they were woefully unequipped to handle? Lee should realize how insulting his words are and the context in which he has chosen to speak them.

Lee should also speak to his Liberal caucus colleague Mark Holland, who at the beginning of this month wrote the following (3rd person voice) in a press release:

Holland argues that the House Committee on Public Safety and National Security should examine how this is implemented and the extent to which the new policy is needed. He pointed out that studies done for the previous government found the arming of guards to be unnecessary and recommended that RCMP be used instead when weapons are required.

The Liberals didn’t arm our border guards. Mark Holland insists the guards don’t need sidearms and Derek Lee calls them wimps. What kind of bizarre macho nationalist anti-gun logic is this?

Breaking News from the Liberal Party

We interrupt news and views of the Liberal Party of Canada leadership campaign (and the trainwreck of a continuous news release that is Joe Volpe taking money from kids and membership applications from the dead) to inform you of the following news.

Alfonso Gagliano is not a member of the Liberal Party of Canada – LPC(Q)

September 23, 2006
MONTREAL – The Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) reaffirms that Mr. Alfonso Gagliano is not registered on the list of members in good standing of the party.

Indeed, Mr. Gagliano has tried to register online on the national Website of the party and may have received an automated message acknowledging the receipt of his request. The latter, however, still had to be approved by the provincial wing of the party.

As such, the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) confirms that Mr. Gagliano’s request has been refused.

– 30 –

[Link]

What a bizarre thing for the Liberal Party to publicize on their website.

A special quote for this special Friday

In 1937, Tommy Douglas said the following before Parliament:

“Against whom are we arming? What potential aggressor is more aggressive today? Oh, I know that bogeymen have been trotted out in
this chamber. It has been suggested that it might be Italy, it might
be Germany, it might be Japan.”

Today, Afghan President Hamid Karzai will address the members of the 39th session of our Canadian Parliament as the world faces a new brand of fascism entrenched in the mountains, caves and fanatical minds of his country. Afghanistan seeks its freedom from those that would forbid girls from attending schools, women from holding public office and all citizens from enjoying liberty. As Prime Minister Harper outlined to the UN General Assembly yesterday in New York, the world must stand together in common purpose against terror and fascism for it is the mutual need for security of member states which saw the formation of the international body.

Some say that those that are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it. Canada welcomes President Karzai and his request to rout out tyranny in his country. Thankfully, the Canadian government will continue to answer the call wherever it beckons. Some, however, seemed committed to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors.

Additional context (an update): I presented a quote from Douglas from 1937 (two years before the outbreak of war). Like everyone else in Canada at the time, Douglas eventually did come around by the beginning of the WWII (good for him). Not only that, he helped MacKenzie King pass the draft helping the allies defeat the axis powers. While Tommy Douglas was originally mistaken about the fascist threat, he certainly came on-side when it counted. Jack, however, seems committed to repeat Tommy Douglas’ original mistake and ignore the lesson learned by the CCF parliamentarian.

Is the media setting the agenda on the gun registry?

Last week, tragedy struck the West-end Montreal CEGEP Dawson college as an individual opened fire and killed one young woman and wounded a number of other students. It would seem that he was driven by hate and perhaps madness as nobody could truthfully start to justify his actions.

Learning of the events that day, many of us felt the sadness that comes along with senseless loss of innocent life and then some of us started to weigh the consequences: what would this mean for Montreal? Who is to blame? What shall we do about video games, goths and guns?

We somehow knew that these events would drive debate on these issues but we wouldn’t know how soon and by whom.

Enter the CBC, our “common voice”, our self-proclaimed cultural guide, and initiator of our national dialogue and debate.

According to our state-run broadcaster, this event reminded us of the horrible events of the massacre which occurred at Ecole Polytechnique years ago. Seventeen years ago Marc Lepine opened fire in downtown Montreal, murdered 14 women, did so because he hated women, and as a result, he shattered the peace and innocent mindset of Canadians everywhere.

And he did so with a gun.

Since murder was already illegal, the state sought to prevent future tragedies with new policy. In 1995, new policy was drafted and called for the registration of all long-guns.

Years later, in 2006, nothing has changed; a murderous spree in Montreal was committed by a individual set on mass murder. The gunperson (“gunman” like “fireman”, “manhole” and “policeman” went out of common parlance during those years which saw a liberal gender neutralization of our speech — didn’t it?) did indeed use a gun. However, it was registered as required by the law that was inspired by previous acts of madness committed by guns by murderers with guns. Thus, debating points generated by this tragedy against the current Prime Minister’s plans to scrap the gun registry would seem to be moot. Logic indicates that the two are not related in this way. In fact, a logical connection is instead found in the fact that the long-gun registry failed to prevent this tragedy.

Logically, this doesn’t call for the “scrapping” of the registry, but it would be illogical to fault the PM in the wake of this tragedy for promising to follow through on this unrelated commitment.

That doesn’t stop the CBC from seeing things illogically, however. Julie van Dusen of state broadcaster reports on the political nature of the tragedy the day after it happened. Of course, there’s no fault in her doing so. However, van Dusen sets the political tone of what we should expect to follow; we should expect the PM to (illogically) receive pressure against scrapping the long-gun registry. We should expect this because Julie van Dusen has conveniently provided the narrative for the Parliament which would conveniently reconvene the next Monday.

The CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices Part III section 5.1 reads:

“Single programs dealing with a major controversial issue should give adequate recognition to the range of opinion on the subject. Fairness must be the guiding principle in presentation, so that the audience is enabled to make a judgment on the matter in question based on the facts.”

van Dusen’s report seems to be in violation of this important standard. In her report, using the Prime Minister’s long-stated and known plan as the subject of her report, van Dusen only presents the opinion of gun control side of the debate. van Dusen calls upon Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control to present the argument against Harper’s “scrapping” of the gun registry. Cukier ends by saying “the only people that support that are the gun lobby”. Those expecting a balancing opinion on this controversial topic from farmers, duck hunters, Garry Breitkreuz, or even the shadowy “gun lobby” were disappointed as van Dusen decided to initiate this discussion debate with her own talking points (murders in Quebec falling by half, political fallout for Harper in Quebec, Ecole Polytechnique, Harper’s ME position, environment, same-sex marriage and Afghanistan!). van Dusen again ignores balance and calls upon Jean Charest’s opinion against Harper on the gun registry.

With this unbalanced report on Stephen Harper’s plan to scrap the gun registry, and as the gun registry has no logical connection with the Dawson shootings, has the CBC made a special effort to initiate debate on this issue?

Is it “Canadian” to be for increased gun control?

Warm up the Hotstove, Parliament’s back

The House of Commons reconvenes today for the fall and there are a lot of topics on the horizon. For those of us who are tired of hearing the same questions, Softwood lumber has thankfully been removed from the agenda by the BQ. I suppose that Gilles Duceppe saw the value in the deal for his working constitutuents (or he couldn’t see the value in an election). The Dawson shootings in Montreal may open up a debate on the Gun Registry if the CBC narrative is to be believed. Afghanistan will again dominate questions to the government from the NDP as that party seems to be about nothing else these days.

Speaking of which, I’d like to highlight this question: If Iraq is George Bush’s war according to Ted Kennedy and if the left-wing senator from Massachusetts believes that the real theatre for the war on terror is Afghanistan, how come the NDP believes that Afghanistan is George Bush’s war?

The Liberals will continue to be split on Afghanistan as the Tories and the NDP carve a gulf between them on the issue. This, of course may intensify as the real front-runners of the Liberal leadership race emerge and the selection of the next resident of Stornoway occurs.

These topics (and a few more were discussed) during Greg Staples Bloggers Hotstove. Tune in!

Dawson college: bloggers tell the story

Horrible news from Montreal today as one or more individuals opened fire on students and staff at Dawson College. One suspect is dead, 19 people are injured. A female victim has succumb to her injuries.

“A Montreal Paul” was at the scene:

I just went through possibly the most harrowing hour of my life. I was working in Dawson College, just back from lunch, when one of my co-workers left for lunch. But when she ventured into the corridor a cop with a gun ordered her back into the office and told her to lock the door. It was then that we looked out the windows and noticed policemen with guns hiding behind trees. At one point we saw a crowd behind the line where Dawson had been cordoned off. Suddenly, they were running away! Running away from where we were. Uh-oh….

Freakundercover:

Yes. I am a Dawson College student. Yes. I was in school at that time. Yes. I ran like I’ve never ran before. Yes. I saw someone got shot in the stomach. Yes. I’m freaked out.

I’ve never thought that when I woke up this morning, I would witness and be part of this horrible gun-shooting. Anything can happen, so it seems. Dawson was a fun, peaceful school, but it will never be the same anymore. *sigh*

olka05:

there was a shooting at my college today.

i have never ran so fast in my life.

Eights victims are listed in critical condition. We can only hope they survive.

What a sad day in Montreal.