Millroy: I think this is hogwash

23

I have no problem with Prime Minster Justin Trudeau kicking former cabinet ministers Judy Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpot out of the Liberal caucus.

After all, it was clear from comments they had made over the past few weeks following their resignations from their cabinet positions that they were never going to be productive members of the Liberal team again.

But I disagree with what the prime minister is using as his reason for parting company with them – a lack of trust that resulted from Wilson Raybould’s taping of a phone conversation she had with Michael Wernick, clerk of the  Privy Council, while she was attorney-general.

I think this is hogwash.

I believe the writing was on the door marked out for Wilson-Raybould ever since she wouldn’t force the independent director of public prosecutions to drop charges of fraud and corruption against SNC-Lavalin and replace them with a remediation agreement, which would see the company pay a hefty fine but escape any time fighting the charges in court.

Wilson-Raybould was demoted from her position as attorney-general to minister of veterans affairs in January and the reason for that became evident in February when The Globe and Mail broke the story about the pressure she had been under to do what Trudeau wanted.

Trudeau called the taping of her conversation with Wernick “unconscionable” and his minions piled on.

“When you break the trust that you have with caucus, it’s all over. It’s done. And that’s what happened here,” Wayne Easter, MP for Prince Edward Island, said of the release of the conversation Wilson-Raybould taped without Wernick’s knowledge.

“To tape a conversation without informing the person and that person being the clerk of the Privy Council, that is, as the prime minister said, unconscionable.”

Sault MP Terry Sheehan told The Sault Star the release of a taped telephone conversation Wilson-Raybould had with Wernick was the final straw.

“For a lot of MPs across the country, the trust issue, and in particular the taped telephone conversation, was difficult,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to work as a team when the trust is not there.”

Sheehan also said he was told you cannot tape a client’s conversation without permission.

He should have checked that statement out before he said it and the reporter should have called him on it because in this country that is not the case.

In fact, considering I talked with Sheehan many times when he was on our city council representing the residents of Ward 2, I probably taped him on many of those occasions.

However, that is beside the point.

Wilson-Raybould was under fire. Wernick was disputing her claim that she was being pressured by representatives of the prime minister.

She made the tape public to back up her claim and it did.

I applaud her for doing so.

The Canadian public should be entitled to the truth and it was obvious we weren’t getting it from the prime minister or his staff members.

A tape, at least an undoctored one, which no one has claimed this one was, doesn’t lie.

I got into this last summer in regard to U.S. President Donald Trump being upset that his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, released a secretly-recorded tape of a conversation in which the two men are heard discussing a potential payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump before he was president.

The tape was seized by the FBI during raids on Cohen’s residence and office in April as part of a larger investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Trump said he did nothing wrong and also questioned the legality of both the raids and the tape, writing: “Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of and perhaps illegal. Sad.”

I said in my column at the time that a tape is a great arbiter of disputes, as it has been in the case at hand.

There is no longer any dispute as to whether Wilson-Raybould was telling the truth.

All the Liberals can complain about now is that it was unethical or inappropriate for her to make the tape of her conversation with Wernick in the first place..

In the U.S., 11 states require that all parties in a conversation must agree to the taping of it. However, the District of Columbia, like the state of New York, has a “one-party consent” wiretapping law.

Canada follows the “one-party consent” rule, meaning it is legal to record your own conversations, whether they are had on the telephone or in person.

I fully subscribe to this.

Toronto MP Adam Vaughan said the revelation “impacts the frankness by which we have conversations with people.”

A former journalist, Vaughan said: “I know that when you use a microphone and you know it’s being recorded and the other person doesn’t, it puts the other person at a significant disadvantage. It also puts the person recording it at inappropriate advantage. I think for those reasons there are rules for lawyers, there are rules for journalists, there are rules in place for how recorded conversations are used as evidence.”

As a journalist, I had a hard time believing that comment came out of a former journalist’s mouth.

There is no margin of error in taping; if you want absolute accuracy in quotes, this is how to get it. I have had to correct things I have said but I have never had to correct a quote.

Taping protects those on both ends of a conversation, the one asking the questions and the one providing the answers.

The only reason the Liberals are complaining in the case at hand is because they were caught out. If it had been a case of Wernick having a tape that backed him up, they would have been all for the tapiing, whether it was with Wilson-Raybould’s knowledge or not.

I ended my column on Trump’s complaint about Cohen taping him with the following:

“Those who have control of their thoughts and mouths should have no fear of having their conversations taped.

“That, of course, is probably why Trump, who has no control of either, is railing against it.”

 

ALTHOUGH I FULLY SUPPORT Wilson-Raybould sticking with the decision of the independent public prosecutor to charge SNC-Lavalin, I do have some issues with how she handled her job as attorney-general, especially in regard to a couple of cases of wrongful convictions. I will address these matters next week.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sure most of you might agree with this analogy. In the movie, Legally Blond, there’s a funny scene where the law professor says, ” do you think that she woke up one day and said, I think I’ll go to law school”. This so reminds me of our current pm, the pompous justin trudeau. I mean, seriously, look at all the political blunders of this guy. The budget will balance itself, he loves the way that the leadership of China makes decisions. justin invited an attempted murdering assassin of an Indian Minister to a dinner in India. justin gave away 40 Billion Canadian tax dollars, to special interest groups outside of Canada, in his first 100 days in office. Then, what trudeau has been saying and doing in this liberal orchestrated scandal with snc lavalin is…. unconscionable. This pompous pm is a snowboarder turned drama supply teacher. Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould is an accomplished lawyer. Ms Wilson-Raybould is extremely intelligent, articulate, and very believable Member of Parliament. And this pm does everything in his teany winny tool box to defame, insult and vilify this very credible former member of this disgraceful liberal party. And the sad part is, quite a few people are falling for this miscarriage of justice. The face of the “sunny ways” pm is justifiably smeared going into this October 21 election. And it looks good on him.

    • Hi Frank,

      I’m just wondering why your preferred Leader of Canada isn’t LOUDLY asking the amazing Jody Wilson-Raybould, and publicly offering her the Justice Minister / Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister (shadow) Cabinet positions???

      Or is your preferred Leader of Canada committed to the divisive, demonizing, politics as usual style of politics that your writing seems to illustrate?

      I’ll wait for the other Leaders to publicly make their offers to MP JWR for my answer.

      Citizen Mark Brown

      • Hmmm !

        I went looking a bit and did not find that apparent public apology, Mr.Brown!

        Remember what you said during that in-person visit?

        That is after last week’s meeting inside the public room of the Civic Centre

        • Hi Ms. Belito DiBeradino,

          Yes, now I remember the apology I had mentioned to you because I had sincerely intended no offence to you in saying something you Had taken exception to in Mr. Milroy’s last article.

          My apology to you Ms. Belito DiBerardino, and all references to our Mayor and Council (some of them very flattering because of the huge responsibility they have undertaken to make life better for all of us at the expense of spending time with their families), and the very good job they are doing at making our lives better (even though I strongly disagree with a couple of their decisions like silencing citizen voices and defunding the west end Korah branch library) were ALL deleted by SaultOnline!?!??

          Just know, Ms. Belito DiBerardino, I have never, and will never intentionally do or say anything to personally offend you, and I apologize unreservedly to you if you feel I have ever done so.

          Give me a call and we’ll discuss the things the good and not so good things we think this Mayor and Council have decided, and also some things we’d like to see them do.

          705.942.61six8

          You, like me, and every other citizen can walk right up to the City Council Chamber Podium during ANY CITY COUNCIL MEETING and request to speak, and should definitely do so if City Council is ignoring your emails or phone calls, and/or not telling you the things you want to hear.

          That’s the way our city’s democracy works in between elections.

          Sincerely,
          Citizen Mark Brown

          P.S. My wife is a very busy person, and really doesn’t like political discussions, and generally does not trust politics-as-usual politicians.

          Xxx

          And is located in one of the sub-comments here:

          Yay

          Thanks for your patience Ms. Belito DiBerardino.

      • Hi Ms.Belsito DiBerardino,

        Yes, I remember discussing the Planning Application with you in the Council Chamber after the City Council meeting where we agreed to disagree, but I’m sorry I do not recall speaking with you about a “public apology” by anybody.

        Unless I asked you to keep that part of our conversation confidential you can go ahead and reveal the details of that part of our conversation (if it has something to do with Mr. Milroy’s column) because I do not remember that part at all.

        Or you can all me at 705.942.61six8

        Citizen Mark Brown

        P.S. It was nice speaking with you, and hearing your thoughts.

        • With all due respect and credit in the true sense, I find myself in a position that I do not like to be in at all.

          In case you might like to clear this up honestly with me why not pm me in privacy in FB.

          The account name shows as Belsito DiBerardino though it was for sometime Ms Belsito DiBerardino. It was not me that removed the Ms. As you know it is not only you as you are aware that has messed with me.

          Oh, I just remembered that I best go check the spacing.

          I plan to confirm or correct upon my expected return within the hour.

          At the moment here in Soo, Ontario, time shows as 12:39 PM The date 2019-04-07 on the front of my laptop, in the bottom right- hand corner.

          • CONFIRMATION _ Belsito DiBerardino

            As I thought more about the importance of local interaction regarding public issues, I would sooner speak face to face besides through this site in public. Naturally, I would want to meet your spousal partner! That is in case that could be worked out and even both your offspring. Of course, I would like to be treated with respect not in the least as a family ganging up on me. Kindly do not misunderstand as I was not and am not accusing or alleging anything. Surely you would admit that the mob mentality exists and not only in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, North America,

  2. I’m upset with our MP. Who sold out to run as a Liberal. What I’m saying is this truth to run as a Liberal Candidate the candidate has to sign a pledge that they are in Favour of abortion!
    As a MEMBER of the Knights of Columbus and a Roman Catholic .I find this offensive to sell ones soul for political gain.

  3. Had Wernick and Butts told the exact truth instead of twisting it to suit themselves and make JWR look bad there would have been no reason for that tape to come out. Therefore this is all self inflicted you could say.

    • Yes, exactly ken c.

      Like our mothers told us, the truth will always come out so it’s best to be truthful from the start.

      Citizen Mark Brown

      • Reality is that the TRUTH does not always come out in all matters that need to be while on earth.

        That is without effort by choice by enough to expose what needs to be for good reason within a considerate manner.

        That does not mean always necessitating public involvement.

        Many can be so adversely affected otherwise harming themselves and others knowingly sometimes without intent. The latter when at a stage of growth innocently not capable of figuring out plenty. I mean that needs to within their own minds. It does involve more than mental work including the right kind of person to help them.

        There are so many of the wrong kind causing so much more harm, not in the least seriously out to help neither themselves nor anyone else in the true sense.

        I emphasize without any reasonable doubt my communication is for no wrong purpose or motive.

        Reserved Copyrights
        2019-04-07

  4. And in the coming days snc will get their deferred prosecution agreement, a start date for Trudeau will be determined for his employment there (sweeping up I suppose) and seeing as he’s had no ‘direct’ conversations he can deny anybody said anything on his behalf. Business as usual.

    • I think you’re right budz, and JWR could have given the same DPA if the necessary conditions are going to be met at some future point, but she’s gone now.

      The real problem for PM Justin Trudeau of SNC doesn’t get a DPA is a criminal prosecution would cause SNC’s stock price to go way down and the Quebec Pension Plan is heavily invested in SNC creating big financial problems for the QPP and many of Quebec’s seniors who are also bog time voters.

      No DPA, no Lberal votes in Quebec.

      That’s a real problem for the PM.

      Citizen Mark Brown

  5. Well Bill the only people tired of hearing this is Liberals and their supporters. I enjoy watching Trudope and his gang squirm every day. Look now they are planting the foreign involvement in the election seed in case they lose they can blame someone else instead of themselves, because they won’t be able to blame this on Harper. So keep it coming Sheer and Singh a lot of us still love it.

  6. Michael Wernick grew up in Sault Ste Marie – went to Queen Elizabeth and Alex Muir public schools – his father was Morris Wernick who taught history at Sault Collegiate Institute and who ran for the NDP in an election here

  7. Michael Wernick was NOT, “a client of the Attorney General”, Jody Wilson-Raybould for the purposes of that taped conversation.

    Therefore MP Sheehan’s Sault Star statement about lawyers not being allowed to tape their “clients” without their consent,at best, does not even apply In this situation , and, at worst, was an attempt by MP Sheehan to paint Jody Wilson-Raybould as a law breaker, which, you have clearly pointed out Mr. Millroy, couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Politicians often throw these political red herrings into their press releases and public comments to demonize, divide and energize their most ferverent supporters, and to mislead those people on the fence who don’t read and/or listen to things they write and say that closely.

    If you say the words: A lawyer friend of mine says it’s not legal for a lawyer to tape their client without the client’s permission – in the middle of a JWR expulsion article it has a misleading impact.

    MP Sheehan owes Jody Wilson-Raybould and Saultites an apology for that misleading statement IMHO

    Citizen Mark Brown

    • Thanks for your rude input Len. I didn’t appreciate it very much.

      I would have had more respect for you if you had just called me ‘completely stupid’, and then backed it up with some proof, or even one example, but, sadly, nothing but salt from you.

      In any case I respectfully decline to keep my mouth shut, Len, especially when my elected representative Terry Sheehan uses his POWER to write a press release that throws his freshly former colleague under the bus by casting inappropriate aspersions on the legality of the former Attorney General’s actions.

      My citizen voice in these comment fields is all the power I have to get MP Sheehan to do politics differently, and just support his Leader without demonizing his former Liberal colleague while she is being cast out from the party she loves just for doing her job legally with strength, determination and integrity.

      Like I said, MP Sheehan owes MP Wilson-Raybuld, and Saultites an apology for his misleading statement.

      AG Wilson Raybould’s taping of Michael Wernick was legal.

      Mr. Milroy knows it was legal.

      MP Sheehan’s lawyer friend knew it was legal.

      MP Sheehan’s Press Release writer knew it was legal, and MP Sheehan knows what she did was completely legal from start to finish.

      Like Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Phillpot MP Sheehan needs to start doing politics differently.

      An apology by MP Sheehan for growing his friend and former colleague under the bus like that would be a very good first step.

      Citizen Mark Brown

  8. Sorry Doug. Usually I go along with you but not this time.. This woman was and is out to make a big name for herself and is pissed because she overstepped herself and got caught in her own loop… She assumed because she was indigenous and a woman she could get away with more… She can’t , and that’s got her up to the point of getting kicked out entirely… As I said to another poster, the boss is the boss, and if you stiff him, publically or otherwise, you can expect to be gone.. Trudeau screwed up, yes, but every party in power since we got started has got caught out at one time or another and suffered because of it.. I , for one am getting awfully tired of hearing about this every time I turn on the news… It’s not news any longer, the next election will determine what’s gonna happen over it all..There is a lot more serious stuff happening all over the world we need to be thinking about…Sneer needs to get over himself and move on to more important stuff that might get him elected because this one point just ain’t gonna do it…

    • The entire affair shows the corruption of the Liberal Party of Canada. It’s a big issue. What more serious stuff is happening around the world that affects our lives directly than a corrupt party in control of Canada?

    • I’d prefer not to have this type of demonizing, kick-em-out, invalidate the votes of tens of thousands of voters because some principled MP is doing their (independent) job with integrity, and this Party Leader, or the next Party Leader thinks doing that job in the best interests of all of the people of Canada (including the Leader) MIGHT affect the electability of the Leader’s Party according to that Leader’s un-elected personal advisors.

      All Party Leaders, and their un-elected advisors, have way too much power.

      This has got to change, and it was looking good for a while with PM Justin Trudeau with his “sunny ways politics of inclusion in 2015, but then he started listening to his un-elected advisors that saw the amazing JWR removed from the Minister of Justice / Attorney General Cabinet positions, and eventually ended up with the kicking out of JWR and the rock-solid Dr. Jane Philpot from the so-called Liberal team.

      Somewhere along the line PM JT started making decisions based on keeping the Liberal seat count in Quebec as big as possible like his un-elected advisors told him he should (politics as usual) instead of listening to his elected, and legally independent Attorney General friend and Liberal teammate JWR, and, yes, taken a small political hit in Quebec, but lived to lead a Judicially Independent Canada for another four or five years.

      That will be very difficult for PM JT to achieve now.

      I would have way more respect for PM JT if he invited JWR and Dr. Jane Philpot back into the Liberal Caucus, and gave them their old Cabinet positions back (JWR as Justice Minister and AG) now that here is apparently new information on the SNC-Lavalin file.

      To do otherwise just tells me PM JT doesn’t want JWR to make the decision about the new information about SNC.

      In any case, we have to begin again to start doing politics inclusively like PM JT did in 2015 before he lost his way on this SNC file.

      Citizen Mark Brown

  9. Those two ladies did us a big favor by illustrating just how corrupt Trudeau and his party have become. Good for them and good luck in the future. The Trudeau empire is in disarray and will enjoy a minority situation after the next election. Unfortunately Mr. Scheer is not up to the job. The NDP are non starters.

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