Thursday, August 20, 2015

Legal Advice, Schmegal Advice.

One out, second batter at the plate.  This time it's former Harper Special Counsel Benjamin Perrin facing the fastball of Donald Bayne.

The first gem to fall from Perrin's lips is that Harper knew better.  Perrin told him that it wasn't enough that Duffy owned a summer cottage in Prince Edward Island.  More was needed for the Cavendish Cottager to qualify for appointment to the Senate.

Prime minister "Divine Right means I am the law" Harper wasn't troubled by legal technicalities as he proceeded to appoint more senators in one year than any Canadian prime minister in history.  This went for the 3-raters, the reliable stooges, and doubly for the strategic hires - those appointed because of who they were and what they could deliver.  Among the strategic hires were Mike Duffy, of course, plus Pamela Wallin plus Carolyn-Stewart Olsen.

None of them had been resident for many, many years in the provinces they were appointed to represent. That didn't matter to Shifty.  He didn't care. Duffy's account is that he went to Harper at the outset asking how he could qualify to represent PEI to which Furious Leader said "don't worry about it, you're in." Duffy was in. Wallin was in. Stewart-Olsen was in.

The emails show that the PMO pressured Harper's "loyal unto death" senators to pass some declaration confirming that Duffy qualified to represent his birth province in the Senate.

Perrin testified he wouldn't consider himself a resident of Nunavut simply because he owned property there.

He said he communicated with the PMO as "diplomatically" as he could that the "view taken by the prime minister was not consistent with basic legal interpretation principles and that I didn't agree with it."

But he said the PMO stood firm on its definition.

At the time, there had been questions about whether some senators, including Duffy, met the constitutional residency requirements.

There won't be much in the way of fireworks today given that it's the Crown's turn to pitch slowballs to Perrin.  But, that pot of water in which Harper finds himself stuck, is slowly heading to the boiling point.


Owen Gray said...

It's remarkable how much contempt our tough on crime prime minister has for the law.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's actually a bit frightening that we've endured a decade under the rule of a guy who thinks in this deviant manner.

Unknown said...

What's frightening to Mound is many Canadians, because of the trial, are just hearing about this deviant behaviour. I'm sure even for political observers like us, there is much that we still don't know about.The guys a psychopath.

Anonymous said...

Several comments further to my comment on Ben Perrin yesterday. I was following the liveblog on his testimony today (as Crown's witness).

Several interesting points came out this afternoon:

(a) Perrin seems to have a very clear recollection of what happened that day in the room when the issue of Wright paying for Duffy's sins was discussed. Perrin described how Novak had come in and sat at the head of the table, to his right and to Nigel's left,

(b) he then said that he was surprised when Nigel mentioned that he was paying, not Cons Party, which was what Perrin had thought of all along; he reaffirmed his RCMP statement by saying that he then looked at Novak and noticed there was no reaction when Nigel announced that he was paying ..... that would seem to indicate that Novak was not surprised likely because he already knew Nigel was paying, and

(c) then Perrin said something new .... he affirmed that Novak was present for the entire conversation with Payne (Duffy's lawyer) for the entire 20 mins. or so .... now this directly contradicts Nigel's assertion that Novak had left the room.

So, we are in for more interesting times. Oh, there was a report today that Perrin had already been cleared by the Law Soc. of BC and Ont. on this matter.

Would that not suggest that it had been determined that Perrin did not do anything wrong because his client, the PM, was aware of what he was doing? bottom line: I do not see Perrin recanting on his statement to the RCMP that Novak knew, and if Novak knew, then to quote Tenycke, it would be "unfathomable" that Harper did not know.

Hoping to be able to make it to court tomorrow when hopefully it will be cross exam. from Bayne.

The Mound of Sound said...

@Anon - great stuff and many thanks for this information. If the LSBC has cleared Perrin of wrongdoing I would be fascinated to read what he told them in response to what complaint had been made. It would be very interesting to discover what Bayne knows of what Perrin told the Law Society investigator and benchers.

Based on what I know of these things the Court has rules, guidelines, maxims for resolving conflicts in testimony between witnesses such as Perrin and Wright. From the information you provide I think it likely the judge would find Perrin's evidence more credible and to be preferred when it clashes with Wright's.

Purple library guy said...

Huh. Wright's wagon was wedged in that circle as firmly as he could. Perrin seems to be ignoring the "Circle the wagons!" call entirely. Could lead to some interesting testimony in the days to come.

Anonymous said...

Perrin has the most to lose. Without impeccable record, his university legal career is finished, or in the best scenario, stunted. On the other hand, Wright is money manager...