Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kinsella on Irving

From the National Post:
Why Irving can't be ignored
Warren Kinsella, National Post
Published: Thursday, February 23, 2006

I met self-described "moderate fascist" David Irving for the first time one cold evening in March 1989, beneath the gleaming chandeliers at the posh Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

The British author was a handsome man, dressed in a natty suit and immensely pleased by the turnout. Then and now the sainted knight of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Hitler freaks around the globe, Irving stood before the paying crowd of more than 300 and declared himself a "hardcore disbeliever" in the gas chambers used to exterminate Jews at Auschwitz.

His audience, mainly comprised of older, white men and women from the Ottawa Valley, stood and wildly applauded that statement, and virtually every utterance made by Irving thereafter. Neo-Nazi skinheads, hired as security guards, slouched at the Chateau Laurier's doors and handed out copies of a magazine called Canada Awake! It called for "death to race mixers," contained tributes to Adolf Hitler, and called for "race revolution."

It was an astonishing scene, all of it taking place below the gilt ceilings of one of Canada's most renowned hotels. More than 300 people, paying to listen to a notorious Holocaust denier, knowing in advance that the media would be there to record their presence.

A school trustee, a former ranking diplomat, a Justice Department lawyer, public servants, school teachers: all of them there, notwithstanding the risk of exposure, to hear their St. George, the one whose best-selling books would slay the twin-headed dragon of International Jewry and Communism. As a reporter for the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen, I had followed Canada's far right movement for quite some time, but I was surprised and disturbed by what I witnessed that night.

Seven months following that wildly successful Ottawa visit, David Irving flew to Austria and spoke to banned neo-Nazi groups. In Vienna and Leoben, Irving stated that "the gas chambers in Auschwitz never existed." Later on, when not sharing stages with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke or one-time American Nazi Party leader William Pierce, Irving would call survivors of the Auschwitz death camp "assholes," and claim that "more women were killed in the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car in Chappaquiddick than in the gas chambers at Auschwitz."

It was that 1989 Austrian far-right tour, more than any other, which would eventually have profound implications for David Irving's freedoms. The Austrians charged Irving under a 1947 law that prohibits any statements that "deny National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes." In November, 2005, Irving returned to Austria -- despite being warned not to -- and was promptly arrested and held without bail. This week, Irving was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for denying in 1989 the crimes that took place at Auschwitz.

Austria and Germany possess some of the toughest anti-hate codes in the world -- because, to them, hate propaganda is not a subject for the debate club. To them, hate has real and lasting consequences. In other Western democracies, meanwhile, the latest development in Irving's file has stirred a predictable debate about "free speech." In a facile editorial in The Globe and Mail, for example, the newspaper advocated -- as it has done for years in respect of other haters, ranging from Ernst Zundel and Jim Keegstra -- that Irving be "left alone [so that] he might have faded into the obscurity he so richly deserves."

But here's the thing about the Globe's remedy: It doesn't work. At all. In the early 1990s, for example, a young American wrote a number of anti-Semitic treatises in small mid-West newspapers, and no one paid much heed to him, either. He was Timothy McVeigh, and, in furtherance of the hateful creed he shared with David Irving, he would go on to murder 168 men, women and children in Oklahoma City in April 1995. Quite a few of us were wishing that we had paid attention to him, then.

Moreover, the Globe and its ilk do not practise what they preach. Whilst urging the rest of us to "ignore" David Irving, the newspaper neglects to mention that it has written about him, often at length, 103 times since 1989. Physician, heal thyself.

I admit that I am not at all neutral on the subject of David Irving. I have debated him in the media and, in 2000, I was asked to be an expert defence witness in his British libel action against distinguished Emory University professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, who had described Irving in a book as a "dangerous spokesperson" for Holocaust denial. In the end, my testimony was not required: In a 334-page judgment, the presiding judge dismissed Irving's claim and found that he was indeed a Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic, and "a right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist."

David Irving and those like him deny the Holocaust to rehabilitate the reputation of Nazism and obviate the sins of Hitler. To leave Irving alone, as the Globe urges, is to do what far too many did in 1929 -- "leaving alone" the meaning of National Socialism's words, which would then shortly become the reality of National Socialism's deeds.

That, among other things, we should never forget.

Update. Dr. Dawg's comment made me go look up this, which I add for a more complete picture.
The Toronto Star
March 7, 1989, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION; Pg. A5

Angry protesters jeer Holocaust skeptic, by Trish Dyer

OTTAWA - About 150 angry protesters narrowly averted colliding with 250 supporters of British author and Holocaust skeptic David Irving at an exclusive Ottawa hotel last night. The Ottawa chapter of International Socialists, university students, members of Ottawa's Jewish community and the Outaouais Anarchist Circle picketed outside the Chateau Laurier for an hour carrying signs reading, "Never Again Irving Zundel," and "Nazis Out Of Ottawa," before bursting through a side door of the hotel in an attempt to disrupt Irving's lecture.

Irving's Ottawa tour organizer Ian Macdonald had delayed the speech until 300 seats - at $10 apiece - were filled. The speech was organized by the Citizens for Foreign Aid Review Organization. The primarily middle-class, middle-aged audience jeered at a handful of dissenters in the room when they asked questions after Irving's talk.

Irving testified in April, 1988, on behalf of Ernst Zundel in Ottawa and is the author of several controversial books about World War II. He has also produced several cassette tapes on prominent Nazis, including one about Rudolf Hess in German.

In Fredericton, N.B. last night, organizers changed the location for a lecture there Friday by Irving after the Roman Catholic church backed out of an agreement to provide one of its buildings, Canadian Press reports.

Irving had been scheduled to speak at the Msgr. Boyd Family Centre but the church cancelled without providing warning or a reason, said Terrence LeBlanc, president of the New Brunswick Free Speech League. He threatened to sue the church for breach of contract. The lecture will now take place at a hotel in Fredericton.

In Ottawa, four city police officers stood with outstretched arms in front of protesters while organizer Brian MacDougall of International Socialists led several choruses of "One-two-three-four, no more Nazis any more," and "Five-six-seven-eight, David Irving preaches hate." Hotel staff frantically pulled TV cameramen off oak and walnut tables in the lobby.

Minutes after the last protesters had left, the crowd waiting to hear Irving was told there had been a bomb threat and herded into the same lobby.

Three self-described "skinheads" wearing white supremacist badges stood at the door of the meeting room and told reporters they had "been asked to provide protection for Irving," but all three avoided direct contact with the protesters. The skinheads circulated around the room, taking pictures of a handful of audience members who dared to disagree with Irving. Neither the skinheads, the ticket seller at the door, nor the sellers of books and cassettes by Irving would give their names to a reporter.

Irving, who describes himself as an "alternative historian," or "gap-ologist," stood in the meeting room with a bemused expression during the protest.

Carleton University's history department chairman Carter Elwood cancelled a scheduled speech by Irving yesterday, after he and his colleagues were told Irving had testified in defence of Zundel last year.

Irving has never denied the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II in print and was invited to address students on the basis of his reputation as the author of 23 controversial history books, Elwood told The Star.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Harrison gives up fight to overturn election

Readers might want an update on the final outcome of the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River. On the morning after the election, the Conservative incumbant made allegations of ballot-box stuffing that I discussed here, here, here, here, and here.

From the CBC:
Harrison gives up fight to overturn election

Jeremy Harrison said Monday he will not pursue any more legal challenges of the vote in the northern riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.

"I, and many of my former constituents, remain concerned about the very serious irregularities in the voting process in the riding," he said in a news release. "However, the people of the riding now need to know that they have an MP in place."

The announcement means Liberal MP Gary Merasty's job is safe for the time being.

Shortly after the Jan. 23 election, Harrison, the Conservative incumbent, made allegations of voter intimidation and ballot-box stuffing.

While he did not produce any evidence publicly to back up his claim, he later applied for a judicial recount.

The ballots were counted by a Queen's Bench judge who ruled Merasty won the riding with 10,191 votes to Harrison's 10,124.
"With a minority government situation, an election could happen at any time," Harrison said. "The citizens of northern Saskatchewan will have an opportunity to pass their judgment at that time."
Apparently Harrison's allegations were insufficient for him to bring the specifics forward.

Update. See now the story in the Star Phoenix, which covers most of the same material but adds:
As well, some of Harrison's supporters declared in sworn affidavits that, in addition to the raffle, partisan election literature was found in polling booths, in contravention of the Elections Act, and that voters from outside the riding voted in the election.

Update For the final ruling about the allegations of ballot-box stuffing, etc., see the official report here. Apparently all the allegations were without foundation.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ottawa Citizen: Why we won't publish the cartoons

Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Citizen on his decision not to publish:
Why we won't publish the cartoons

Scott Anderson, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Friday, February 17, 2006

The Western Standard is a plucky little magazine and a nice addition to the Canadian periodical landscape. Only Ken Whyte's Maclean's comes close to it in its unabashed display of conservative views.

The Western Standard was the first publication in Canada to feature the insightful and hilarious Mark Steyn after he packed up his toys and stormed off the pages of the National Post. Other than the Ottawa Citizen, it's the only publication to regularly feature the conservative Christian views of David Warren, the kind of voice that is often shut out in this country. It prides itself on being independent and outspoken and, because it is just that, it's a refreshing foil to the mass of politically correct, government-subsidized journals that crowd our magazine racks.

And it was a big disappointment this week when it tried to pass off a circulation-boosting stunt as a strident defence of free speech when it published the now infamous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

I went on CBC radio the other day to debate the Western Standard's publisher, Ezra Levant, about his decision to publish the cartoons and our decision at the Citizen not to. It didn't go very well. Ezra's style is closer to shock radio than the CBC and, even though he was two time zones away, I could feel his hot breath on my neck. Ezra doesn't debate, he berates. And, for a little while, I was his punching bag. I was hoping for a civil debate but had to settle for the accusation that my paper has caved in to pressure from radical Muslims and "Jew haters."

Boiled down, Ezra's essential point is that most media in North America refuse to publish the cartoons out of fear of a backlash from radical Muslims. Ezra told me there is nothing wrong with fear but he is righteously angry because I refuse to admit that it is simply fear that prevents us from publishing the cartoons. Fear is indeed a powerful motivator and I admit that as a journalist I have had fearful moments (mostly during encounters with irate bosses). But that's not the reason behind our decision not to publish.

Not everything that happens in the world makes its way into the morning newspapers. Editors make decisions based on relevance or newsworthiness, taste, community and journalistic standards, graphic detail, perceived public interest and, yes, public reaction.

The videotaped beheading of a Western hostage in Iraq, to give one example, is newsworthy and interesting. But we don't publish pictures of beheadings because we consider them too graphic. Instead, we describe the act with words. Similarly, we try to avoid showing corpses, gratuitous nudity and foul language. Each story, column, photograph and cartoon is reviewed.

Ezra is right to say that the Muhammad cartoons are newsworthy and interesting. They are also considered very offensive by a large number of people. Editors don't normally shy away from offending some readers, but they generally try not to do it gratuitously. In the case of the Muhammad cartoons, we felt publication would be just that: gratuitous. You can argue that we made the wrong decision -- some of our own columnists have -- but to attribute it to cowardice is simply wrong and reflects Ezra's bellicose approach to anyone who disagrees with him.

Ezra says that newspapers are being intimidated by radical Muslim groups. That's his view and nobody is likely to change his mind. But it's odd to fight perceived intimidation with the tactics of a bully. If the Western Standard had quietly published the Muhammad cartoons, I would have admired the act. It would, I believe, still be the wrong decision, but I could have accepted it as a decision based on principle. Too bad that the publisher chose to turn it into a publicity stunt. As one wise reader has pointed out, it has become nothing more than "a journalistic mooning of the public."

Ezra Levant has gone on a chest-thumping rampage through the ranks of North American journalism, maligning the principled decisions taken by thousands of editors. He is trying to shame and bully others into adopting his view. That, too, is intimidation and we won't give in to it.

My friend Philip Lee, a journalism professor at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, sums up, very well, the view I hold: "Freedom of the press means you can publish, or not. Not publishing is also an expression of freedom, which is difficult it seems for some to grasp."

Scott Anderson is editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Citizen.

Danish paper apologizes for cartoons

Update. Apparently the apology was a hoax: see here

Saudi papers publish Danish paper's cartoon apology

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian newspapers on Sunday printed an apology by the Danish paper whose cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad have sparked deadly protests around the world.

"Allow me in the name of Jyllands-Posten to apologize for what happened and declare my strong condemnation of any step that attacks specific religions, ethnic groups and peoples. I hope that with this I have removed the misunderstanding," wrote Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten.

The full-page advertisements appeared in Asharq al-Awsat, which is printed around the Arab world, as well as the local al-Riyadh and al-Jazira.

They were dated February 5, but an advertising spokesman at al-Riyadh said it may have taken time for the papers, which are close to the government, to approve the announcement.

In recent days, 16 people have died in Nigeria and 11 in Libya during violent protests against cartoons published by the Danish paper last September and since republished in several, mainly European papers.

The global uproar over the cartoons came after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark last month in response to pressure from clerics and a popular campaign against Danish products in the kingdom, the site of Islam's holiest shrines.

"It is extremely important to point out that the aim behind these cartoons was not to attack the Prophet at all or devalue him, but as an opening to dialogue on freedom of expression," Sunday's apology said.

"We did not realize at the time how sensitive this issue was for Muslims in Denmark or millions of Muslims around the world."

The adverts included a previously published statement from the Danish embassy in Riyadh declaring respect for Islam
Hat tip to Syncategorematic .

Blessed am I...

You Are a Peacemaker Soul

You strive to please others and compromise anyway you can.
War or conflict bothers you, and you would do anything to keep the peace.
You are a good mediator and a true negotiator.
Sometimes you do too much, trying so hard to make people happy.

While you keep the peace, you tend to be secretly judgmental.
You lose respect for people who don't like to both give and take.
On the flip side, you've got a graet sense of humor and wit.
You're always dimplomatic and able to give good advice.

Souls you are most compatible with: Warrior Soul, Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

Beer. All. Over. The. Laptop.

This is pretty funny.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ezra's cry for help

A reader forwarded an email he go from Ezra Levant this morning. Apparently Ezra is feeling some heat over his recent decision to publish the Danish cartoons.
Dear Western Standard reader,

By now you have probably heard about our decision to publish the Danish cartoons -- those same cartoons that have been the excuse for riots around the world.

We believe that reprinting the cartoons is essential to properly telling that news story, which is why we did it. We also published them as a symbol of our freedom of the press, and in defiance of those around the world who would censor us through threats of violence.

I've never been more proud of our magazine.

Not everyone is happy with us, of course. A Calgary Muslim leader has reported us to the police, trying to get them to charge me with hate crimes. He has also filed a complaint against us with the human rights commission on the same grounds. Ironically, he has called our freedom of the press "intellectual terrorism".

Those are nuisance suits, of course. But the idea is to cost us money and time, break our spirit, erode our freedom of speech, and teach a lesson to all other media: that anyone who doesn't censor themselves will be made to wish they did.

The threats are working. Already, many Canadian magazine retailers who normally carry the Western Standard have caved in, announcing -- even before they see our new issue -- that they won't put us on their shelves. Again, the purpose of the censors is obvious: hurt our magazine economically, and make an example of us as a warning to all other media.

That's why I'm writing to you today: to ask for your help. Please do three things:

1. Let me know how you feel.

If you support our magazine's decision, let me know. Send me an e-mail to and I'll share it with the rest of our staff, to help buoy their spirits as we face this hurricane, to let them know we're not alone.

2. Encourage your local retailer to stock the Western Standard

Magazine retailers need to know that you value freedom of the press and your freedom to make up your own mind, and to not be censored by them or anyone else. Ask them to stock the magazine, or even to order it in just for you. You'll not only help us survive the boycott, but you'll put some steel in the spine of your local retailer.

3. Help us out directly.

If you're not yet a subscriber, now's the time to sign up -- a subscription is 37% cheaper than buying the magazine at the newsstand, and the money goes directly to us. If you're already a subscriber, consider renewing your subscription today, or extending your subscription, or even joining one of our clubs for enthusiasts by becoming a Sustaining Subscriber or a member of the Publisher's Circle.

You can find out more and do all of that right online, at

It's fast, easy and secure -- and it helps us stay strong, and keep growing.

When we started the Western Standard nearly two years ago, I never imagined that we would have been at the center of a fight for our culture's basic freedoms -- or that the rest of Canada's media would be so silent, leaving us to fight this fight by ourselves.

But we're not all by ourselves. We have you.

Thank you for your help -- I look forward to your e-mails.

Yours truly,

Ezra Levant

P.S. The best way to help us right now is to click on

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who are the Western Standard's advertisers?

Air Canada seems to be distancing itself from Ezra Levant's Western Standard because of its decision to republish the controversial cartoons displaying Mohammed (see here). That is not really a surprise. This is just the kind of headache that most corporations want to avoid.

And they seem to have got out just in time to avoid being associated with Ezra's next blunder--a racist slur at native peoples (here).

Given all this, one wonders what Ezra's other advertisers think. I'd like to ask them, but have no idea who they are.

Does anyone have access to an old Western Standard? A list of its advertisers could be interesting.

Update Andy from Edmonton sends me this list:
Air Canada
Canaccord Capital
Currie Rose Resources
Central Gold Trust
Canadian Renewable Fuels Association
Children First Grants
Fort St. John
Eagle Crest Resorts in Mulege Bay, La Paz
Kimber Resources
Northern Miner
Norsemont Mining
Peer Financial
Saint John's School of Alberta
Silverado Mines
Timely Medical Alternatives
WYN developments

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Merasty wins in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

From the CBC:
Merasty holds on to northern riding

The ballots have been recounted and Liberal Gary Merasty has held on to the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, a vast riding that covers the northern half of Saskatchewan.

In the original count last month, the Conservative incumbent, Jeremy Harrison, lost by 73 votes to Liberal challenger Gary Merasty. The official result announced late Friday night reduced that number to 68 votes, but didn't overturn the result.

Harrison demanded the recount, suggesting the election had been stolen.

"We got reports of things like the Liberals driving around and threatening natives that they wouldn't get their cheque if they didn't vote Liberal, reports we had from individuals of plans to stuff ballot boxes," he told the Regina Leader-Post.

"Even the last poll, somehow it took 3 1/2 hours to count the last poll and, lo and behold, it was nearly 100 per cent turnout, all of which went Liberal, just enough votes to go over the top. So we're really concerned. These are the kinds of things that happen in banana republics, not in our country."

He offered no evidence of specific wrongdoing, at least in public.

Merasty claimed victory and said he was disappointed by the accusations but would go along with whatever procedure the law requires.

On Wednesday, 20 volunteers started to recount the ballots, with 174 polls and about 24,000 votes to go through.
Disputed ballots were set aside for the judge to rule on.

The original vote count was 10,192 votes for Merasty and 10,119 for Harrison.
The important sentence, I think, is the bold towards the bottom. In the immediate aftermath of his loss, Harrison made some serious allegations. But he apparently was not able to provide any evidence to substantiate them. His lawyers apparently made no mention of them during the legal proceedings that he initiated (see here).

Why the excessive and irresponsible allegations? Harrison lost the election on the last poll, which must have been disappointing to him. I pointed out a week ago, however, the results of the poll in question is consistent with the ways it's voted in the last couple of elections: here and here. Harrison should have known all this.

Friday, February 10, 2006

More Emerson manouevring?

Vancouver 24 Hours is reporting that the Conservative candidate in Vancouver Kingsway, Kanman Wong, said that there had been contingency plans for him to step-aside for Emerson even before January's election.

Tory had plan to assist Emerson
Vancouver Kingsway Conservative Kanman Wong says he had a backup plan to step aside for controversial new cabinet minister David Emerson - long before January's election.

"That was my plan. I heard lots of rumours that Mr. Emerson wasn't happy with the Liberal party long before the election," Wong said in an interview yesterday. "If one day Mr. Emerson prepared to cross the floor I was ready to step aside for him."

Instead, Emerson ran as a Liberal, taking the riding over the NDP's Ian Waddell and Conservative Wong, only to jump ship this week to the victorious Tories.

Wong said he respects Emerson completely, but wouldn't have made the same move if he were in the same position.

"If personally I had to [leave a party], I'd pretty much sit as an independent first, and then run in the next election," Wong said.

"It's bad timing for Mr. Emerson, certainly."

Meanwhile, the NDP's Waddell, a two-time loser to Emerson, wants victorious NDP MPs to push for an ethics investigation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper, Waddell says, broke the MP's code of conduct by enticing Emerson with a plum cabinet post.

NDP Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian says the party will push for one, but would prefer to see Emerson defend his seat in a byelection.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

At least Harper has a sense of humour

Globe and Mail:
And in perhaps his most Machiavellian choice, Mr. Harper made Ontario MP Helena Guergis the parliamentary secretary to International Trade Minister David Emerson.

Ms. Guergis was an outspoken proponent of a private members' bill that would have forced any MP who switched parties to face a by-election before returning to work.

Mr. Emerson, of course, is the former Liberal industry minister whose stunning defection to the Tory front bench was the biggest headline of Monday's cabinet announcement.
Update Also from the Globe and Mail
One MP who tabled a private member's bill in the last Parliament — Ontario's Helena Guergis — told reporters she planned to raise the issue again with colleagues.

Her office was set to issue a press release earlier Tuesday reaffirming her support for anti-crossing legislation. That was before Mr. Harper made her parliamentary secretary to none other than Mr. Emerson on Tuesday afternoon. The press release was not issued.

Update 2. Apparently Ms. Guergis was not about to issue that press release (see here)

Hypocrisy, thy name is Reynolds

John Reynolds, hypocrisyThere are many Conservatives who are being criticized for intemperate comments that they made last May when Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals (here, for example), which is fair enough provided that criticism does not go too far. Talk is cheap; Conservatives had every right to feel betrayed by Belinda when she crossed, and those feelings found themselves into words. Now a few of them are getting a chance to eat them. No big deal. The lesson? Everyone should be slower to throw stones, because sooner or later one of your associates will turn your house into glass.

Talk may be cheap. But legal complaints are not. And while writing up a few thoughts about Emerson's crossing at my other blog (here), I noticed this old Toronto Star story from last June (here), which reported that Reynolds complained to the Law Societies of Ontario and BC about the actions of Peterson and Dosanjh in the defection and non-defection of Stronach and Grewal respectively:
Reynolds provides transcripts he claims indicate that Dosanjh and Murphy offer a cabinet position to Tory MP Gurmant Grewal or a "significant position” for Grewal’s wife Nina, also a Tory MP, in exchange for their votes.

He also provides transcripts he says indicate that Peterson offered former Tory Belinda Stronach a cabinet position in exchange for crossing the floor to the Liberals.
Got that. Reynolds filed a complaint with the Law Society of Ontario that argued that David Peterson should be disbarred for having "offered former Tory Belinda Stronach a cabinet position in exchange for crossing the floor to the Liberals".

Now compare what Reynolds is saying in today's Globe and Mail:
The day after the election, Mr. Reynolds called Mr. Emerson at his Vancouver home.

"I said, 'How would you like to stay in the government?' So we had a conversation about the pros and cons of that, and then, I said, " 'why don't we just sit on it for a couple of days? I'm not talking to anybody. You think about it and we'll get together,' " Mr. Reynolds said.
Doesn't this look an awful lot like what he tried to get Peterson disbarred for?

Update. Apparently Reynolds was interviewed on ROBTV yesterday, a clip of which is reported here:
John Reynolds: "When we won the next day I was talking to Stephen would you like me to talk to David Emerson... Steve said hey talk to him so I did I phoned him up."

Amanda Lang: "So the prime minister's response was Ya that's a good idea, let's call up our big foe and ask him to join cabinet. He didn't say what are you talking about John?"

John Reynolds: "No, no."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Still more on Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

From the CBC:
Judge orders recount in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

A Saskatchewan judge has ordered a recount in a northern Saskatchewan riding where the win was decided by 73 votes.

The recount will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Prince Albert's Queen's Bench courthouse, Justice Allisen Rothery ordered Monday.

Liberal Gary Merasty beat incumbent Conservative Jeremy Harrison in the riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River in the Jan. 23 federal election.

Harrison has alleged a variety of electorial irregularities, including ballot-box stuffing.

However, during arguments in court Friday, his lawyer James Rybchuk focused on alleged adding errors at several polling stations.

He said case of a booth where returning officers counted 74 ballots when only 73 were cast is representative of the problem.
Gary Merasty's lawyer Tiffany Paulsen said Rybchuk's assessment is incorrect. She also said the supposed errors Rybchuk raised weren't supported by the documents.
I guess those allegations of ballot-box stuffing were not serious enough to actually mention in court.

Update. From the Star Phoenix:
A Queen's Bench judge has ordered a judicial recount of the federal election results for a northern Saskatchewan riding.

Justice Allisen Rothery released her decision Monday, after hearing an application on Friday from a trio of "electors" seeking the recount for the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River. It will take place in Prince Albert on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Despite the order, Rothery actually struck down the affidavits of two of the applicants and indicated there is no evidence to back most of the claims of the third. However, upon reviewing the official statement of the vote, submitted by the returning officers, she found a deputy returning officer incorrectly counted some ballots. Spoiled ballots and unused ballots are to be counted and placed in a sealed envelope. Rothery found some unused ballots were not counted. Because of that evidence, not the claims made by the applicants, Rothery concluded she "must grant the application for a recount."

The applicants had claimed the deputy returning officer wrongly rejected some ballots, incorrectly counted some votes, and wrote down an incorrect number of votes cast for one candidate (it didn't specify which candidate). [snip]

The legal action for the recount was launched by "a group of electors" from the riding, according to a Conservative party news release. However, the three people listed as the applicants -- Arlene Kolosky, Dustin Pike, Ron Dosdoll -- are all closely tied to Harrison's campaign.

Dosdoll is Harrison's campaign manager, Pike is Harrison's official agent and Kolosky represented Harrison at the validation process conducted by Elections Canada.

Merasty is seeking costs against the applicants of the action "for filing irrelevant material in their affidavits," according to Rothery's order, in which she has reserved that decision.
Again, none of the allegations of ballot-box stuffing were actually brought before the court and the specific items that were raised were dismissed.

Update 2 CTV reports that the recount has started and will take a couple days.

Update 3 CBC reports that the counting is continuing.

Comment, Mr. Vellacott?

Canadian Press NewsWire (May 17, 2005):
Western Canadians didn't pull their punches Tuesday in their response to Belinda Stronach's surprise bolt to the federal Liberals.

"I said that she whored herself out for power, that's what she did," said Tony Abbott, a Conservative member of the Alberta legislature.

That metaphor was echoed by Maurice Vellacott, Tory MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

"Some people prostitute themselves for different costs or different prices," he told the Regina Leader-Post. "She sold out for a cabinet position."
And CTV news (May 18, 2005):
[Reporter] SMITH: Tony Abbott did apologize, sort of. But this MP.

MAURICE VELLACOTT [Conservative - Saskatchewan]: Prostituting yourself, that's right.

SMITH: Is sticking with his choice of words.

VELLACOTT: Prostituting yourself is the language that's been used of many other people, I guess, who are prepared to sell whatever they stand for.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Update on Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

From the Globe and Mail:
Door prizes were used to lure voters, band says
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 Page A10

Shell Lake, Sask. -- Residents of a northern Saskatchewan Cree reserve were offered the chance to win prizes to get them through the polling station doors for the Jan. 23 federal election.

Fletcher Greyeyes, head councillor for the Ahtahkakoop First Nation, said everyone who voted was entered into a draw for a TV, portable stereo and a DVD player. He denied allegations that the raffle was limited to those who voted Liberal.

The reserve is in the northern riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, where Liberal challenger Gary Merasty defeated Conservative incumbent Jeremy Harrison by 73 votes. Mr. Harrison said he has applied for a judicial recount. CP
On the Ahtahkakoop poll, see also here and here.

Update to the Update The Star Phoenix reports on the process.