When Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings carted property of the Conservative Party of Canada outside of the Wellington building, did they enter into another legal jurisdiction?
The Liberals retained the Conservative boxes full of confidential documents for over one year and rifled through them, looking for dirt. This while documentation was available to them that clearly indicated that these boxes were processed for delivery from the former Conservative OLO to the Conservative Resource Group. One might argue that the boxes were stolen. (If one intercepts your mail, opens it, keeps it for a year, photographs it and then returns it, did one in fact steal it?)
Parliamentary precinct security is the purview of the Speaker. The Wellington building, of course, falls under the Speaker’s jurisdiction. The boxes were to be delivered to the third floor of the same building to the Conservative Resource Group. However, Holland and Jennings took Conservative property outside of the building and paraded it down Wellington street down to Langevin Block and to the PMO. Wellington street is outside of the jurisdiction of the Speaker and indeed within the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Police Service. If Holland and Jennings had returned the boxes without fanfare, one could reasonably argue that they were finally doing the right thing and returning property that clearly wasn’t theirs (albeit their actions still suspect). However, since they coordinated a media stunt around the returning of the boxes, one could argue that the two Liberal MPs were not only in possession of stolen property but that they got use of that property in the municipal jurisdiction of Ottawa.
Do Holland and Jennings have to worry about the possibility of having committed a crime outside of the comfort of the Speaker’s jurisdiction and within that of the Ottawa Police Service? Were Jennings and Holland in possession (and use) of stolen property on Wellington street in Ottawa?
Yesterday, I had a good chuckle at the manufactured stunt recorded on video and displayed on the Liberal Party website. Apparently, Liberal MPs Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings called the media in to help them deliver some boxes “left over” at the OLO (Office of the Leader of the Opposition) at 180 Wellington st. to the PMO just a few blocks away.
documents contain personal evaluations of OLO staff (documents marked confidential)
Holland’s argument is that this represents “gross negligence” on behalf of the Conservatives (now the government). In fact, the Liberals are playing this into a theme of “accountability just being a buzzword to the Conservatives” etc.
Jennings repeats the talking point of government negligence with private information.
Holland states that the government will have to “answer for its negligence”
Now, take a look at the following video found on Bourque:
This video includes a closeup of the delivery slip attached to one of the boxes which includes “From: 145 Well / To: 320-3”. 145 Well is the room number of the OLO in the Wellington Building, and 320-3 is the office number of the Conservative Resource Group (CRG), an outfit working out of the same building.
When Mark Holland made his triumphant parade down the street from the OLO to the PMO, he could have just taken the elevator in the building which houses the OLO to the CRG on the third floor.
This brings up another interesting point. The boxes were clearly marked with a delivery slip and were thus not “negligently” left behind, but were ready for moving (presumably during January 2006 when the Conservatives formed government). What got in the way of the delivery process? Did the Liberals find some boxes with highly confidential information in them only this week? If not, how come they waited so long to “return” the documents? What got in between the processing of the boxes for delivery and the actual delivery of the boxes (by House of Commons movers)? When they discovered “private” and “confidential” information, did the “accountable” Liberals do the right thing? Or did they videotape the documents, publish the video and play the offended party?