I’ve updated my original post to add the latest reports on the alleged smear campaign against Bill Casey, the most detailed and interesting of which, not surprisingly. comes from Casey’s local paper, the Halifax Chronicle Herald. Along with considerable background information on how the allegations against Casey were floated to at least two journalists during the last election, it also includes multiple on-the-record denials from various national party officials of any involvement by the federal party in filing the complaint with the RCMP.
Conservative Party president Don Plett, who was involved in putting together the campaign team for the parachute candidate that his party ran against Casey after the local riding association sided with the now-independent incumbent, claims that the first he heard of the RCMP complaint was when Casey went public with his allegations on Tuesday.
The party’s national communications director Ryan Sparrow says that the party had “looked into the financial dealings” and found nothing amiss. “The Conservative Party of Canada never thought there was any financial wrongdoing involving Mr. Casey, his local riding association or the election campaign,” he told the Herald.
Finally, PMO director of communication Kory Teneycke is adamant that the government “didn’t have anything to do with the complaint”, adding that “we don’t have a political axe to grind with Mr. Casey.”
ITQ has to confess to being a bit rushed at the moment and don’t have time to add much in the way of original musings, but will do so later today. To tide you over in the interim, here’s a timeline – ITQ does love her timelines, doesn’t she? – of events related to the accusations that unnamed party volunteers were apparently trying to push to the media during the campaign, and the complaint to the RCMP. I’ll update this, too, as we learn more.
September 7, 2008
The federal election begins.
September 19, 2008
Unnamed “Conservative party members … report the embezzlement of funds by a member of Parliament” to the Bible Hill detachment of the RCMP.
According to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, “a party volunteer who was working for Conservative candidate Joel Bernard in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley approached Nova Scotia journalists pitching a story about the $30,000 but no media outlet reported on the allegation.”
October 10, 2008
Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor receives an email from an unnamed source that appears to repeat the allegation that Casey “and his cohorts stole and embezzled a large amount of money.” The source also faxes a copy of the cheque. After looking into the claim, Taylor determines that the allegations were unfounded.
January 29, 2009
La Presse reporter Hugo de Grandpre contacts Casey’s office to ask if “there is any update on the charges against [him] on the accusation of embezzlement”.
February 3, 2009
Casey goes public with the allegations against him by raising a point of privilege in the House of Commons.