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.