On the matter of this nonsense against Bill Casey

During the previous election campaign, on October 10th, I received a “brown envelope” email from someone I presumed (and still do) to be a constituent of Bill Casey. The email made quite an accusation of corruption against the now-independent member from Cumberland-Colchester. The email promised proof of this corruption to be sent via fax, so like any lead I followed the trail to see what I would find. I received the fax and proceeded to ask around carefully about what I had just received.

Sometimes bloggers get accused of jumping the gun on biased single-sourced information and rush to produce it as an exclusive. In the world that is supposed to work on solid citation and reliable sources, a disaffected grumbler in Nova Scotia with an axe to grind falls far below what one might read in the Economist; one must consider bias, motive and track record when weighing information and it is critical to seek substantiation. I know of only a handful of reporters in this town that depend on single-sourced information more often than not. All of the others seek solid substantiation on every story.

Grasping the seriousness of the accusation against Bill Casey and sensing that an agenda might be at play, I made sure to ask around. Not only double-sourced but triple-sourced! The answer was the same: my original source only gave me half of the story (the withdrawal of the $30,000). The other half which wasn’t being told was that he paid it back.

This story, now not a story, was put into the archives of my email (instead of on the front page of this website) and was not considered again. Until this afternoon,

Today, CBC reports,

Nova Scotia’s Independent MP Bill Casey is lashing out at federal Conservatives, saying allegations that he stole from the party amount to character assassination.

Casey, a former Tory who was kicked out of the party in June 2007, spoke out in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“They put a cloud over my head and have hurt my ability to do my job as a member of Parliament because they’ve hurt my credibility,” he said.

“Who’s going to feel comfortable coming into my office knowing that the Conservative Party of Canada, the governing party has had the RCMP investigate me for theft and embezzlement?”

Casey, MP for Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley, received a copy of an RCMP memo that describes how Conservative party members wanted the Mounties to investigate allegations he embezzled funds.

The document is a briefing note to the RCMP commissioner. It describes how a member of the Conservative party contacted Bible Hill RCMP on Sept. 19, 2008, accusing him of stealing.

At issue was a $30,000 cheque from May 2007 from the party.

Since this filthy dog of a non-story landed in my email box last year and since it is now causing Bill Casey public troubles, I wanted to produce what information I have. Unfortunately, producing the identity of my source would go against a separate principle so I cannot do that. However, I will say that those folks I followed up with during the campaign who told me that there was no story there because Casey paid the money back were federal Conservative officials in Ottawa.

Here is the original email that I received,

Here is the fax I received with the cheque,

From all accounts from the time I’ve lived in Ottawa and my time around federal Conservative politics, I have known Bill Casey to be an honourable and reputable man. That is still the case. This story is unfounded.

UPDATE: Bill Casey brings this up in the House of Commons,

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, Ind.): Mr. Speaker, on September 23, 2007, the RCMP informed the Conservatives that there was no evidence to back up their accusations of theft and embezzlement against me by their official agent. Yet two weeks later, other Conservatives distributed the same accusations of theft and embezzlement to the media and on the Internet. In fact, members can see those accusations against me on the website stephentaylor.ca.
Last week, the Minister of Public Safety said there was only one person involved, but now obviously there is more than one Conservative, and I do not mean Conservatives in this House, but there is more than one Conservative involved. Will they release the names of all those Conservatives?

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I advised this House previously, the RCMP looked into this matter and made it clear that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing with regard to the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley.
I also confirmed to this House that the Conservative Party was of the same view.

Bill Casey passed on his thanks.

Comments

comments

  • http://maxwell-devin.blogspot.com Devin Maxwell

    Stephen:

    It sounds like there are people in your party that do not share your prudence and need for corroboration.

    Too bad…

  • unbiased reader

    This mischief was clearly the work of a rogue activist with a misguided agenda. Not the work of the Party.

    Kudos to Stephen for correctly and fairly assessing this story.

  • http://maxwell-devin.blogspot.com Devin Maxwell

    UR:

    I agree that it was the work of a rogue supporter. But it sounds like some people within the party took the allegation and ran with it without doing the background research Stephen speaks of…

  • Bec

    I did not gather that it was a rogue supporter at all from the CBC report.
    I would not surmise anything other than someone, has presented a case that has provided enough info to give the RCMP, a reason to investigate, period.

    I understand the humiliating position Bill Casey, feel that he has been presented with but this person(s) feels that they have something worth investigating.

    If they are in fact “rogue”, they should wear it too and publicly apologize.

    I do respect your decision ST and as usual, you have integrity that so few MSM, will ever strive to attain.

  • Ted

    Decent of you not to post up rumours, at least in this case. If only you were as decent when it came to non-Conservatives. How much digging did you do for the illegal donations post from earlier today that has been shown to be false?

    At any rate, you deflect an important fact that Casey reported today. The RCMP memo that Casey read out loud (as best he could) in the House today clearly refers to members of the Conservative Party, not just someone with an axe to grind, and some members who worked in Stockwell Day’s ministry at the time. This is already getting coverage. If I were you, I would advise your contacts in the caucus to jump as quickly as they can to try to contain this. The last thing Harper needs right now is yet another scandal after Cadman’s “financial considerations in exchange for vote” scandal, the in-and-out scandal, etc etc etc.

    (And, by the way, the keeping source confidential coda is honourable, but it cannot be imposed on you. If your emailer requested confidentiality or expected based on express or implied assurances from you, then you are in the right as much as exposing this scumbag would be good for Casey and the Conservatives (i.e. until they are named, all Conservatives are under suspicion). However, if he simply sent you the email, it is not clear that confidentiality was requested or expected, in which case you would be equally honourable in releasing his or her details. IMHO at least.)

  • Lemon

    Good on you, Stephen.
    There are some very nasty players in the CPC (as well as other parties – but that has been expected) who will do anything to anyone to gain a step up.
    Bill Casey and his Dad survived in a small town selling cars for 2 generations. You can't do that and be sleazy.
    The bloom is fading on the roses behind the current Tory throne.
    No one was more partisan than I before I saw this sort of crap showing up within the party apparatus.
    After only three years in power, I think, the party has to be renewed.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Errr… Chalk this up to local 'broken arrows', not the organization in Ottawa.

  • Lemon

    Casey, MP for Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley, received a copy of an RCMP memo that describes how Conservative party members wanted the Mounties to investigate allegations he embezzled funds.

    Doesn't same like a rogue element to me.
    As a matter of fact, I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to figure out who is behind it.

    The other story line behind this is that elements within the CPC believe that Blogging Tories is their official organ with which to shape opinion and leak stories. Tom Flanagan as much as stated this a year or so ago.

  • Lemon

    Sorry – on second thought – the story did go to the RCMP in Truro. Youre probably right.
    But those people are right across the country. Its not pretty.

  • Alex

    Atlantic Frank magazine covered this story in October 2008, and found it to be a bunch of BS. The riding president who took over when the old one left with Casey, Ted Rushton, seemed to be the one stirring the pot. Didn't get him very far. Hopefully someone gets disciplined hard and fast for this, and Casey can get on with being the honourable man he is.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Hahaha, read the Blogging Tories on the budget

  • Bec

    Lemon,

    A bit the pot ,calling the kettle black? Holy smokes, talk about spin, double spin an then pirouette?
    As long as the CPoC gets a huge black eye, you'll be a happy camper.
    Well then, do not forget your pot or your black kettle!
    Are you a MSM journalist by any chance?

  • Birdman

    Of course Mr. Casey paid the money back – it wasn’t his to keep. Clearly the Conservatives who did this are trying to deflect from their Elections Canada scandal and some of the other dirty tricks they have pulled.

    Is anyone willing to hold Harper accountable? This makes the Cadman affair look tame. God help us if we look at these political maneuvers as nothing to worry about. Make them pay for their lies, slander and libel.

  • wallyj

    Why don't you show a tenth of integrity as Mr. Taylor has, and back up that claim?

  • Observant

    At the time of the $30K withdrawal, it was in preparation for the expulsion of Casey from the Conservative caucus. At that point in time it could be construed as “theft” if Casey knew he intended to quit the CPC.

    It’s like a bank employee stealing money from the bank on Friday and returning it the following Friday in an attempt to reverse his theft. Sorry, but that won’t work, and neither should it work for Casey or somebody in his employ.

  • FredfromCBS

    Can you say, “Plausible deniability…”

  • http://jamesbowie.blogspot.com James Bowie

    Did you apply this same standard of dilligence to the accusations you made against Michael Ignatieff? Or is it ok to libel someone as long as they’re a Liberal?

  • http://www.bluelikeyou.com/ Joanne (T.B.)

    CBC reported tonight that this complaint was launched without the backing of the CPC. Someone from a rival campaign office in Casey’s riding did it on her own.

  • http://maxwell-devin.blogspot.com Devin Maxwell

    The man who leaked the story was a rogue local disgruntled Conservative. The people who took the story to the RCMP were not…and they should have known better.

  • Wayne

    As has been often stated, it is hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

    People hear the scandal story but not the exculpating evidence.

    From what I have seen about Casey, I like the cut of his jib.

  • MaryT

    Isn't Casey resigning after the next election is called. Did he expect to be evicted from caucus after he voted against the budget. Did he really expect to be nominated again as a conservative, I doubt it.
    What many people don't realize is the trouble they can cause by making a stmt or accusation about anything, be it a phony assult charge, child abuse, just to get even with someone. There are procedures that must be followed, after someone vents their anger. Takes months or years to clear up the problem, and usually the culprit gets off scott free.
    And regardless of the outcome, there will always be someone out there who will say, where there is smoke there is fire. Let the man go to his retirement, with his hefty pension. He and he alone knows what his intentions were.

  • Bob

    As a blogger or journalist, you are under no obligation to protect the source in this case…

    The principle of protecting a source only applies if the informant is acting in good faith with the journalist…

    If the source contacted you for the purposes of knowingly making false accusations in an effort for you to publish such allegations and by extrension misinforming your readers, the journalistic principle does not apply.

    in fact, it can be argued that you are under a moral obligation to turn over what ever informaiton you have on the name and contact information for the source to the RCMP, as it is a ciminal act to knowingly make false reports to the police.

    Somebody was trying to use you and mislead your readers about an MPs reputation.

    You should disclose the source, for your sake, for the sake of your readers, for mr casey’s sake and the sake of Canadian politics.

    I

  • terry1

    I agree that Stephen correctly summed this up…too bad he can't be as objective other issues.

  • Liz J

    It’s hadnothing to do with the Conservative government, the case, if it ever was one, is closed. The Liberals were trying to get mileage out of it , even today in QP. They’re all in love with Mr Casey for their own USE.

  • Bill Casey

    Thank you.
    Bill Casey

  • John

    And this is what the Conservative party of Canada has become. What a great movement to be part of!

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Party != movement

    I think I may have to draw a diagram

  • John

    I do enjoy a good diagram.

  • friendly

    Stephen,,, there was an interesting article in the Toronto Star recently, “Media duped by anonymous sources,” Feb 5, 2009. Relevant to this topic is a key quote from a Prof Sallot whoe teaches journalism ethics at Carleton University, and she said that journalists must rethink their relationship with unnamed sources:

    “Are our sources in a position to know the truth? Do we give them a platform without letting the readers know what their vested interests are? If sources have turned out not to have been truthful, do we still have to honour our obligations” to keep their identity secret? Many journalists are saying no, especially in Arar's case. Time to out the sources that caused such grievous harm to him – and also the media. “

    Pleaes consider publishing the name of the person who contact you and sent you the fax or at least release the fax number.

  • ken

    Good people sometimes do stupid things (eg Tom Daschle). As any political consultant will tell you, you not only have to avoid doing evil, you have to also avoid appearing to have done evil.

    I am happy to accept as truth the statements here that Bill Casey is an honourable man and ably represents his constituents. Kinda dumb move with the money stuff, though.

  • MyNameIsStephenTaylor

    You are a friggin jackass. I can't see his name mentioned anywhere in that letter or on the cheque.

  • MyNameIsStephenTaylor

    Why, if you were already told the 'story' was baseless, by the party itself, didn't you just forward it to him? I think someone is under the impression Mr Casey is going to hell for voting against his party. That is not the case at all.

    I don't even see his name anywhere in the állegedly illegal transaction or on the cheque.

    One more thing. Looks like you are the author of the email. Why don't you and your “cohorts” go by yourselves some bikes, and ride around in circles all day at the park? Invite Ms Couillard. She won't be able to join you for 5 months, but I'm sure the wait will be worth it. She'll bring some friends.