Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"O" you're outed!

Good Day Readers:

This is reminiscent of a John Le Carre spy novel with the ruthless little psychopathic boys in short pants and girls in short skirts of the Prime Minister's Office and Privy Council Office running around with code names for everyone. So
we now know who you are and where you live so don't try anything creepy-sneaky.

Clare L. Pieuk
Rigby senior PCO adviser sent Paulson letter about missing Senate scandal documents last December

Tim Naumetz
Monday, May 26, 2014
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, pictured on Parliament Hill. (The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright)

PARLIAMENT HILL—A senior Cabinet Aide in the Privy Council Office received assistance from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s National Scurity Adviser in order to send RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson a copy of a letter informing one of Mr. Paulson’s Division Commanders about the discovery of missing documents in the Senate scandal investigation last December.

Isabelle Mondou, Assistant Secretary to Cabinet for Legal Operations and Cabinet Confidences, sent a copy of the letter announcing the discovery of key information in an investigation of former Chief of Staff Nigel Wright to Mr. Paulson, even though the letter was addressed to the Assistant Commissioner in charge of the RCMP National Division who was in charge of the investigation, copies of the email exchange show.

In the unusual email exchange on December 1, 2013, which took place shortly before the Privy Council Office also disclosed publicly that emails written by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former PMO legal counsel had not been deleted as previously thought, Ms. Mondou referred to Mr. Paulson as “0”—an apparent internal designation for the RCMP Commissioner without naming him—as she sought help from Mr. Harper’s National Security adviser, Stephen Rigby.

The emails, among more than 200 pages of documents The Hill Times obtained through a request under the Access to Information Act, also suggest that the PCO information technology branch eventually found the records in caches of designated PMO email records.

The documents at the centre of the exchange were stored email records of former legal adviser Benjamin Perrin, who had been at the centre of planning and discussions that were taking place inside Mr. Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alberta.) office in February 2013 as Mr. Wright negotiated with then Conservative Senator Mike Duffy over the now infamous $90,000 Mr. Wright eventually transferred through a law firm to Senator Duffy—so the Senator could repay several years worth of inappropriate housing allowance and expenses that were under internal Senate investigation.

Senator Duffy, suspended without pay from the Senate because of information dug up by the RCMP and an outside forensic review of the expenses by the accounting firm Deloitte, is still under investigation.

But the RCMP announced last month that it had decided not to lay charges against Mr. Wright, and neither the RCMP nor Mr. Paulson, in a subsequent media interview about the decision, disclosed exactly why the decision had been taken, although the April 15 RCMP statement the RCMP’s National Division said “we have concluded that the evidence gathered does not support criminal charges against Mr. Wright.”

The lead investigator in the case, RCMP Corporal Greg Horton, filed two court affidavits to obtain orders for the production of Senate documents, banking records, and other information, that alleged both Senator Duffy and Mr. Wright had committed breach of trust and fraud and had contravened Parliament of Canada Act provisions by their transferring and receiving the money without permission from the head of their government branch.

Throughout the controversy in Parliament last year, Mr. Harper insisted that he knew nothing about Mr. Wright’s deal with Senator Duffy, and when the story became public, initially suggested Mr. Wright had acted unethically, at the least, since the aim of the payment was to allow Senator Duffy to pay off his impugned expenses and avoid further scrutiny by Deloitte and a critical finding by a Senate rules committee.

Mr. Paulson told The Globe and Mail in an interview earlier this month that the RCMP explored “all of the corners and all of the shadows” of government before its decision not to lay charges against Mr. Wright, a millionaire and Conservative Party fundraiser who took leave from an Onex Corp. subsidiary to join Mr. Harper as his chief of staff.

The head of the Mounties, who was appointed by Cabinet and answers directly to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney (Lévis-Bellechasse, Quebec), told Globe and Mail reporter Daniel Leblanc the federal police force will at some point release the conclusions of the investigation.

“We suspected some illicit activity to have taken place,” Mr. Paulson said.

“We have investigated that. We have considered the Parliament of Canada Act, considered the Criminal Code, considered every element of this thing. Our reasoning, our analysis, and, ultimately, our conclusions will be available for people to beat around the bush,” Mr. Paulson said.

Without explaining why, the December 1 emails in the PCO reveal that Ms. Mondou, who had written a letter to Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, also wanted to send Mr. Paulson a copy of the letter as a separate email attachment, even though Mr. Paulson’s name does not appear as a copied recipient. The letter was copied only to lawyer Robert Staley at the Toronto firm Bennett Jones, apparently one of Mr. Wright’s lawyers at the time.

“I have tried 0 without success. Here is the attachment. Do you want to give it a try?” Ms. Mondou says at 6:39 p.m. that day in an email to Stephen Rigby, Mr. Harper’s national security adviser in the PCO.

“Try Bob.Pauson@rcmp-grc.gc.ca,” Mr. Rigby replies.

“Will do! Should work. Thanks.” Ms. Mondou writes.

Four minutes later, Ms. Mondou emails Mr. Paulson asking if he couldconfirm that he received the attached letter to Assistant Commissioner Michaud.

“Yes, thank you, I have received the letter,” Mr. Paulson replies.


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