10.31.2013 03:01 PM

Harper, Ford and the video: reflections of a former cop reporter

A few weeks ago, I wrote this:

“There is no way on God’s green earth — none — the RCMP, and/or the Canadian law enforcement/intelligence community, would have let Harper get that close to Ford if the latter was facing an imminent criminal charge, or proof of involvement in a serious crime.

The RCMP’s Protective Policing Service is sworn to protect the prime minister in every way.

…So why would the Mounties allow Stephen Harper anywhere near Rob Ford?

Because they have formed the opinion that, lawsuits or not, the infamous crack video is — as its owner later told that same Toronto newspaper and U.S. website — “gone.”

Pictures say more than words. The Harper-Ford picture says plenty.

Namely, the video is gone, baby, gone.”

The full column is here.

Now, as the entire world knows, Toronto’s Chief of Police today all-but-said that his force now possessed the video. It was big, big news.

In his dramatic press conference, Chief Blair said this:

“As a result of the evidence that was seized on June 13, [2013,] at the conclusion of Project Traveller, a number of electronic devices, computers, telephones and hard drives were seized and all of the devices that have been seized have been subject to forensic review and examination by members of the Toronto Police Service intelligence unit computer technology section.”


On October the 29th, on Tuesday of this week, we received information from our computer technology section that in the examination of a hard drive that had been seized on June 13, they were able to identify a number of files that had been deleted and that they were able to recover those files.”

Get that? They get the hard drive that everyone on the planet has been looking for on June 13, 2013 – and, 138 days later – the army of cops working this file decide to, you know, take a look.

Do you believe that? I sure don’t.

I mean, if it’s true, it certainly explains why the RCMP had no objection when PMO was planning that September press conference, doesn’t it? Toronto cops didn’t tell them, because Toronto cops didn’t know what they had.

But – having a been a cop reporter, way back when – I don’t believe for a New York Minute that Toronto forensic types didn’t go over that hard drive with a nit comb back in June.  If they didn’t do that, they all deserve to be fired for gross incompetence.  I mean, it was only the most sought-after video in the world.

Something smells, here.  And, if the Commissioner of the RCMP wasn’t on the blower to Chief Blair after his little press conference – saying something like: “Did it occur to you to check all the evidence you possessed before we put the Prime Minister of Canada beside the target of a criminal investigation? Did you, perchance, have the Prime Minister under surveillance when you apparently had your mayor under surveillance? Planned to tell us about that?”

It wouldn’t be a happy conversation.

Right about now, somewhere between Ottawa and Calgary, Stephen Harper is – justifiably – kicking some Mountie behinds.  He’s saying: “When were morons going to tell me that you were okay with me standing beside a guy who was under police investigation at the time I was standing beside him?  Oh, and also that he was on a video or two, smoking crack? When were you guys planning to tell me that?”

See where I’m going with this?  After 138 days, Toronto cops didn’t know what they had? I rather doubt it.

So why didn’t they tell the RCMP?

Your guess is as good as mine.  That part I don’t understand, at all.


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    Kelly says:

    I have cousins who are city cops out west and they don’t like the RCMP all that much. Its not the metro polices job to make the Prime Minister look good. If that is now supposed to be the job of the cops, we’re officially shanked.

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    deb s says:

    maybe they did and harpers staff kept it from him, lol…or perhaps the police set up harper. Or perhaps Harper felt he could cover up the Rob Ford story…whoops that didnt work out. I think the whole govt and all its multifacted layers are falling apart. Seriously when you cant keep this stuff from the public…you know they are all smoking crack:P

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      Chris says:

      I bet they told Nigel Wright and he kept it from Harper.

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    Michael S says:

    So interesting that they only got around to it when it was clear they had to release the ITO.

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    Fred says:

    They were holding onto the info for their own political purposes, and they did not want it leaked by the RCMP.

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    Sean says:

    I think Harper might announce his resignation this weekend at the convention.

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      Kev says:

      No. He’ll wait till February.

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    david ray says:

    I watched “The Lives of Others” again last night to remind me of how bad NSA style data collection can be. Best movie ever about the collapse of the East German surveillance state. Today Harper’s PMO must feel like the Stasi did when the Berlin wall went down. One day you’re kicking people to the curb and the next you’re pushing a broom. I can only hope.

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    patrick says:

    More likely they didn’t release the information because they didn’t want a leak. Blair only discussed the video when he had too. Probably planning to come down on Ford all at once.
    Besides, Harper was in no danger and Rob is a fishing buddy and Harper wasn’t going to throw such a close friend under the bus.
    You know, if we’re going to judge Rob by the friends he keeps should we start wondering about……..

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    Al from quebec says:

    Maybe because the Toronto police had “issues” with the keystone cops outfit that the RCMP has become. You know, all the crap Toronto PD had to deal with thanks to Harper and the G20 hosting a few years back. Or maybe they thought that if the RCMP knew, mysteriously Canada’s NSA would seize the thing under the guise of National security?

    Or maybe, just maybe, it actually took 100+ days to get around to see what had been deleted…..as recovery probably only took a week max.

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    patrick says:

    Warren I dare you to find anything in less than a month on Windows 8. Poor techies were probably pulling out their hair.

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    jen says:

    What about the case of Maxime Bernier? He had contacts (perhaps indirect, innocent or accidental) with organized crime. The screening process didnt stop him from getting clearance to the highest levels of secure information and taking it off site- for which he misplaced and ended up losing his job. That was big news when it happened too.

    What about Arthur Porter? Wasn’t he screened as well before heading the CSIS board? Hard to believe in that case no one knew in the PMO when it was publicly debated (Duceppe raised conflict of interest concerns with that appointment in a formal letter).

    Warren – perhaps the RCMP did know about RF but the PMO was prepared to take the potential risk of media exposure for short term political expediency?

    After all RF helped the tories elect many of their hogtown MPs.

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    Paul says:

    I think the comments about the dislike between RCMP and Toronto PD explains it….

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    !o! says:

    Let’s assume you’re right when you say that they knew what they had prior to the photo with Ford.

    If the rationale for the Toronto police to supposedly tell the RCMP what they had was to protect the PM, they’d have to know that, if they told the RCMP, the RCMP would let the PM/PMO know, and news would likely eventually get back to Ford. Given that Lisi was only charged with extortion this morning, you can see leaking the info could compromise an investigation in progress.

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    Brad Young says:

    The fact that Harper ever associated with Rob Ford shows how distorted Steve’s views of reality are.

    Crack video aside, why would he ever associate with the Fords?

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    Warren says:

    I worked for a PM. The cops would tell staff if an investigation was ongoing. That would kill the avail.

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      Matt says:

      I have family with TPS and 8 guys I went to high school are with various units of TPS.

      They tell me it’s well known within the force Blair is pushing hard for a nomination to run for the federal Liberals.

      Given what happened during the G20, and the SIU’s claim Blair routinely stands in the way of their investigations, Trudeau probably should say thanks for the interest , but no.

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    Curtis in Calgary says:

    You’re known by the friends you keep.
    Rob Ford should know better than to associate with the likes of Harper.

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    Reality.Bites says:

    Perhaps Harper would like to try to improve his reputation by hanging out with more respectable people.

    I hear Karlheinz Schreiber will do a photo-op for a nominal fee.

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    Petro Frank says:

    A more significant thing about today’s revelations in court documents is the police seem to have actually observed Lisi/Ford drug transactions.

    If the police are surveilling a drug dealer to accumulate evidence and that said drug dealer is making a number of random stops to deliver “small white bags” to various people in the city, when one such exchange involves the mayor and it is clear what is going on, why don’t the police intervene?

    And why isn’t this part of the story today?

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      JohnnyB says:

      Exactly. Something stinks in this whole thing, and Clayton Ruby implying the Toronto Police were intentionally inept in the investigation are on the money as well.

      There’d better be some charges pending against Ford, or Blair has some serious explaining to do.

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    Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    Wonder if Ford is attending the Calgary Convention? Ha, now that would be interesting. Perhaps he and Duffie could travel and bunk together, lol.

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    Derek Pearce says:

    Isn’t it kind of a well-known thing that city police departments can’ stand the RCMP for various reasons including that the RCMP doesn’t care about wrecking local operations if they either get good press for their own operations or take credit for local work? I’m sure TPS thought “oh ho ho no way are we going to tell the Mounties about this before we are well good and ready to, otherwise someone up there is going to “accidentally” leak things about our investigation to the press before we have wrapped it up.” So I mostly don’t blame Blair et al.

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    po'd says:

    See Harper “standing beside a guy who was under police investigation at the time”, and one who should be.


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    Paul Radcliffe says:

    I remember that post when you explained how the video was gone. You made a convincing argument.
    I agree that this is getting very confusing…

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