Monday, June 8, 2009

Raitt-Gate, Week 2: Cue the Lawyers

Because it wouldn't be a real -gate without secret incriminating audio tapes:

Harper & Co Try to Muzzle Embarrassing Herald Story

By David Bentley

June 8, 2009

There`s a highly embarrassing sequel to last week's Ottawa hullabaloo over cabinet Minister Lisa Raitt's misplaced nuclear-sensitive documents - and the Harper government is pulling out all the stops to prevent The Halifax Herald from telling it.

The newspaper will be in court in Halifax today to defend against an application for an injunction to muzzle information gathered by Hill reporter Steve Maher. understands Maher listened to a tape that was recorded by Jasmine MacDonnell, the Nova Scotian who resigned as Raitt's press secretary after Atomic Energy of Canada documents were left at the bureau of CTV - which broke the story last week.Opposition members like Halifax West MP, Geoff Regan, said Raitt herself should have resigned pointing out that's what External Affairs Minister, Maxine Bernier, did after sensitive papers were left at the apartment of his biker chick girlfriend, Julie Coulliard.

Stephen Harper & Co apparently believe Raitt's political future couldbe seriously in doubt if the Herald publishes what was on the Jasmine MacDonnell tape.

According to one unconfirmed report*, the federal Minister of Natural Resources was recorded making some less than flattering comments about her cabinet colleague, Leona Aglukkaq, the fed Health Minister who entered parliament for the first time last year as the MP for Nunavut.

The full article can be found at Bowie's Blog, who deserves all the credit he's about to get for pulling this one out from behind the firewall and onto the top of National Newswatch.

The thing with a story like this is that trying to block it through a court injunction actually does more damage than letting it run. The rumours get through, but there's no opportunity to do any real damage control because it's suddenly a court matter.

Not that I'm complaining. For in Halton there was Great Rejoicing...

I'll be posting links to related stories here as the day progresses.

Halifax newspaper fights injunction against story publication (David Akin, CanWest News Service)

More on Raitt tapes from Toronto Star (BCer in Toronto)

The tape we can't hear yet (Susan Delacourt, The Star)

It's seldom the break-in, it's always the cover-up (Kinsella)

Court weighs blocking Raitt story (Gloria Galloway, Globe & Mail)

What could be on the Raitt tape? (Scott Feschuk, Macleans)

Ex-aide asks court to suppress story that may damage Raitt's career
(David Akin, CanWest News Service). This one has the best quote of the day, from an unnamed Tory who heard the tape: "It's all bad."


  1. The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the NS site reported that it was Jasmine MacDonnell who is trying to get the injunction. If so, that changes the story considerably.

  2. Maybe MacDonnell accidentally left the tape at the Herald office and didn't notice it was missing...

  3. Doesn't seem to me to matter who the tape was owned by. The newspaper should be permitted to publish any substantiated story.