Thursday, December 05, 2013

Ben Didn't Bin By Accident.

He's a law professor. He's chief counsel of the PMO and the prime minister's personal legal adviser.  He's just negotiated an under-the-table cash deal with outside counsel on behalf of the chief of staff of the PMO.  When that business is finished, Benjamin Perrin  barely has time to clean out his desk before hightailing it back to the west coast.  Before he's out the door he makes sure to delete all his e-mails pertaining to the quiet cash deal.

Later, when he's confronted over the Duffy-Wright-Harper scandal, Perrin  claims to have had nothing to do with it. (Hint, that's a lie)

For the longest time the PMO denies it has any trace of e-mails written by its former legal counsel dealing with the Wright-Duffy-Harper scandal.   Nothing to see here, move along.  Then, it appears, the RCMP, having read plenty of Ben's e-mails turned over by Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy, grabs a handful of PMO crotch, threatens to do something excruciatingly unmentionable (like toss the office and grab the hard drives or read Magna Carta repeatedly until their ears bled) and - voila - the "lost" e-mails are found. 

Except they weren't ever really lost.  Ben binned'em - or so he thought.  He deleted his e-mails relating to the Wright-Duffy-Harper under-the-table cash deal.  Exactly when isn't clear but may be problematic in its own right for the learned Perrin.  Did he delete them when they were sent or within a day or two afterward or did he delete them in the course of his mandated, pre-departure purge?  Either way, the rules are pretty clear about what may and may not be deleted and Ben ran afoul of those rules.

Chances are Ben left a lot of e-mails.   They would be essential for his successor to, well, succeed him.  It's called continuity.    How many did he choose to retain versus how many did he delete?

It would be helpful, potentially very helpful, to learn if Ben ever communicated with the prime minister by e-mail.   Stranger things have happened.  After all, Nixon was caught with hours of tape recordings.  It's a long shot but, hey.

Ben is in what's known in legal parlance as "a mess."  Right now he's got to be weighing his loyalty to Stephen Harper against his interest in a reasonably bright future.  That's the problem for Steve.  Too many people are in Perrin's situation or something akin to it.  One person might fall on his sword to save Caesar but twelve, or more? 


Anyong said...

Joe Clark in his recent book is correct about the dastardly running of the country by this present government. Mr. Harper has made enemies of the former PM's of this country for crying out loud. That alone is cause for people of this country to give their heads a shake and realize there is something not quite right with Mr. Harper let alone what is going on within the government at this moment. How does a democracy get away with this form of governance. "Regaining a sense of the state is thus an absolute priority, not only for an effective policy against . . . terrorism, but also for governance itself" (Moorhead Kennedy). Are we as a nation perpared to fight for the return of democracy? I hope I see this take place in the next two years.

the salamander said...

.. its quite possible the Harper Legacy will be a renaissance of Democracy, Accountability, Transparency.. & Responsiveness to the Canadian citizenry, environment, clean elections and National Identity ..

Read another way.. everything Stephen Harper et al stand for, have done.. will serve as examples of what to never again do.. or accept.. as a Canadian

Benjamin Perrin & all the 'others' can and will be remembered for their collective and individual 'contributions' to the renaissance..

And let's not forget the rest.. that have so far managed to elude examination, or condemnation

.. oh yes John Baird, Joe Flaherty, Ray Novak, Tony Clement, Peter MacKay, Stephen Lecce, Tom Flanagan, Jason Kenney, Joe Oliver, Arthur Hamilton, Barb Shea .. Dmitri Soudas, Keith Ashfield, Ken Boessenkool, Peter Kent .. Christy Clark & Ms Redford

the list is very long of the 'Complicits' .. and a special hello to the PMO too ... and Senator Gerstein.. and the Conservative Party from Hell.. as well

Troy said...

Thankfully, it would seem the email had been trashed, but not lost. Thankfully, Perrin didn't know what might be deleted on a computer isn't actually deleted, unless new data overwrites it (and hard drives can hold so much data nowadays, there's no danger of that happening within such a short period of time) or one uses a program to completely wipe the free space on a drive (and even then, it's safer to run such a program two or three times).
It would also seem someone in the PMO had enough knowledge to recover deleted data, and did so.

CuJoYYC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CuJoYYC said...

Personality "Aggressive narcissism"

• Glibness/superficial charm
• Grandiose sense of self-worth
• Pathological lying
• Cunning/manipulative
• Lack of remorse or guilt
• Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
• Callousness; lack of empathy
•Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Gee, who does this remind you of?

The Mound of Sound said...

I hope I see it in my remaining lifetime, Anyong. You're right. It will be a fight.

Your notion of a "what never to do again" list is a great idea, Sal.

Hi Troy. There are enough people in Ottawa who had access to Perrin's e-mails that his attempts to delete them smack of desperation. In Ottawa all it takes is one person to have a copy of something. When a controversy comes up, suddenly everyone has copies.

CuJo - sounds like a recipe for a prime ministerial sociopath.

Purple library guy said...

Troy Thomas: Agreed, but more than that presumably this is an at least somewhat professional office with an IT staff. Normally you'd expect that Perrin's emails wouldn't be sitting on a hard drive on Perrin's desktop computer. They'd be on a server, which the IT staff would do backups of regularly.

All those emails should still exist, probably multiple copies of 'em.