Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Toronto Star: Hurry the hell up RCMP.

Canada: We got an election to win for the Liberals!

When the RCMP revealed it would conduct a criminal investigation into the possibility that a leak occurred before Finance Minister Ralph Goodale's Nov. 23 announcement on the tax treatment of income trusts, it put itself square in the middle of a federal election in which government corruption is a central issue. The RCMP had little choice in the matter. A sharp increase in trading drove up share prices for income trusts in the hours before Goodale's announcement. And earlier emails circulating on Bay Street anticipated what Goodale would do. Even so, questions about an illegal leak and its possible source are of a very different nature than the matter of wrongdoing in the sponsorship scandal that has made Liberal corruption a key election issue. In that case, voters have all the facts they need to come to their own conclusions about whether to turf the Liberals out. The exhaustive Gomery inquiry not only named names and assigned blame for the scandal, but also absolved Prime Minister Paul Martin and his ministers of any responsibility for the ethical and legal breaches that occurred. In the case of a possible leak of Goodale's income trust announcement, by contrast, there are no facts as yet. There is a police investigation that has named no names, nor made any allegations, precipitated by a politically inspired charge of wrongdoing by the New Democratic Party. However, that distinction has not stopped Martin's opponents from linking the two issues in a bid to paint his government as corrupt. For that reason, the RCMP should make every reasonable effort to complete its probe and make its findings public before Canadians vote.
You know if this was the Conservatives, the Star would say take all the time you need.

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