"I reject completely the allegations made by the leader of the Bloc," Harper said under questioning from Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe. "Mr. Soudas took steps to get information about the issue, he agreed with the government's decision and that government decision did not change over the last two years," Harper said, referring to the fact that a lawsuit against the company has not been dropped.Once again, watch for it:
"Mr. Soudas indicated that a municipal councillor approached him and he got information about the case. Employees have a responsibility to get information about issues, that is the duty of the government, Mr. Soudas did his work," the prime minister said. (emphasis added)Ding! Ding! Let that little bell go off in your head for all the times you'll be hearing about Mr. Soudas and his efforts to "get information" from these parties. They've got to be kidding.
And now there's news that Mr. Soudas is demanding an apology from Stephane Dion for allegedly characterizing Mr. Soudas' efforts as "extortion." If Mr. Dion doesn't get down on his knees in a public scrum and beg almighty forgiveness, he'll be sued. Video Vox has posted video of Stephane Dion speaking in a scrum on the matter. I watched it and while my French is far from perfect, I certainly heard a lot of "tentatifs" thrown in there by Mr. Dion. Let the bully administration sue, let them make this matter worse than it already is and draw significantly more attention to it. And I say "administration" there for a purpose. This threat is very likely a group strategy, not a lone decision by Mr. Soudas.
So, once again, instead of taking responsibility for the issue at hand, the insertion of the PMO into a legal dispute before the courts for what Mr. Soudas' friend alleges was political gain, the Harper crowd instead goes to war. Confuse the issue and define accountability standards down. Oh yes, and sue, sue, sue.
It's quite the operation they're running up there. For once, I'd like to see them handle an issue professionally and without the surrounding theatrics.
Update: Dion acted late Thursday to correct his use of the word "extortion."
A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper has received an apology from Stephane Dion, even as a lawyer's letter demanding a public retraction was on its way to the Liberal leader.
A lawyer for Dimitri Soudas says he was defamed by Dion and insisted on a public apology no later than next Wednesday. Dion had suggested the prime minister's spokesman was a party to extortion in August 2006.
After question period on Thursday, Dion said: "Yesterday I used an inappropriate word: 'extortion' attempt. I apologize for that, and that was not the apprpriate word.
But Dion added: "I will choose my words well this time: it appears like political interference."
The Canadian Press has updated the link provided above to include the Dion clarification now. That was a boneheaded move, Mr. Dion, to use that word.
So now it's been clarified. Political interference it is.