01.28.2013 10:36 AM

Gomery gauntlet, thrown down

We here at Daisy just paused in a staff meeting to watch NDP leader Andrea Horwath throw down the proverbial gauntlet: call a public inquiry, or else.

My view on public inquiries, going way back? I don’t like ’em:

“…Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella doesn’t mince words. The longtime critic of the Gomery inquiry, at which he testified, calls it one of the “most egregious” examples of how such commissions can spin out of control.

He describes Gomery as a judge who toiled in relative obscurity throughout most of his career only to get caught up in the limelight. He slams him for the statements he made to media outside the hearing room regarding former prime minister Jean Chretien – something Gomery was publicly chastised for in Federal Court.

“(Public inquiries) become too political. And they make people even more cynical about democratic institutions. They become these self-mandating, self-financing monstrosities that political people can’t limit,” he says.

“…these things just careen around the landscape, crushing reputations and trampling over people’s constitutional rights.”

What will the new Premier do? Beats me. But she can ask Paul Martin how helpful it is to have a public inquiry going on while you are trying to keep a minority government alive. He’d have a few views on the subject, I suspect.


  1. !o! says:

    Is a public inquiry warranted for the robocalls though?

  2. Peter says:

    I remember reading a persuasive critic of the American “special” prosecutions that both Nixon and Clinton and Clinton were put through to the effect that, given the almost unlimited resources and investigative powers, there isn’t a soul walking this planet who would emerge from one without his reputation destroyed.

    • Kaplan says:

      Shadow, by Bob Woodward, makes exactly that argument. In the US, special prosecutors have nearly unlimited time and resources to work with. Flowing from that, they typically cast their nets wider and wider, becoming a very difficult beast to tame.

  3. sharonapple says:

    Queen’s Park – New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath says the new Premier must shed light on gas plant cancellations in order to move forward with the business of the House. Horwath says a public inquiry to investigate the gas plant cancellations would allow the Legislature to focus on other issues and provide the public with answers they deserve.

    Look, I have no problem with a call for an inquiry, but let’s be honest, no one’s going to move forward or focus on other issues while it’s going on.

  4. MississaugaPeter says:

    Andrea Howarth is doing what anyone who is an NDPer would want her to do…attack the Liberal brand.

    Since she and Wynne cover a lot of the same end of the spectrum, it is in her best interest to bash the Liberals every which way she can.

    Liberals thinking that Howarth was going to give Wynne a honeymoon to allow her to distance herself and the Liberals from what caused McGuinty to resign, are so, so wrong. Expect an election much, much sooner than anyone thinks. I would be surprised that Wynne even gets a chance to present a budget if she really does end the prorogation on February 19.

    Wynne must quickly get 1-2 NDP MPPs to join the Liberals. Otherwise, WK, your predictions about Ontario Liberal fortunes will come true.

    • Michael says:

      In every public utterance Wynne has said she wants to work to make the minority work. There is no great cry for an election from the general public. (just from PC partidans). If the opposition parties force an unwanted election Wynne wins a majority. No one will be talking about the things the opposition wants to talk about, instead they will be talking about why we are having an election.

      • MississaugaPeter says:

        Talking about “Why are we having an election?” lasts about 1 week during an election campaign. Wynne getting a majority as a result of it, are you for real?

        A new premier elected by 2,500 delegates who were chosen by 45,000 Liberal members, is enough of a reason for an election for most Ontario citizens. I was upset about it when Eves replaced Harris.

        There are plenty of ministerial positions open. Wynne needs to bring some NDPers over. I like Marchese as Education minister.

      • Billy boy says:

        If Kathleen Wynne had remained faithful to her ethical activist core she would have represented the NDP and would probably have a much clearer conscience if far less power and wealth (same for Gerard Kennedy).

        Wynne is formidable threat to the NDP but far less of a threat to the Conservatives. I agree completely with WK that from the point of view of potential future electoral success, Pupatello would have been a better choice. Moreover, Wynne appears like Eves did after Harris (the conciliatory face of a fallen regime). A strong unapologetic Pupatello scrapping for votes and essentially daring Ontarians not to vote Lib might have brought greater electoral success. Still who knows how this will unfold.

  5. Michael Behiels says:

    Howarth is only interested in destroying the Ontario Liberal Party with the support of Hudak and now a formal inquiry.
    Layton and Harper sucked Martin into calling the flawed Gomery Inquiry and then both used it to all but destroy the hapless Liberal party and government.
    I don’t think Wynne is tough enough to do what it takes to drive a big wedge between an overly ambitious and misguided Horwath and the loonie tune Hudak who will get max support from Harper and Ford War rooms.
    This is a very crucial moment for Ontario’s future and both Pupatello and Kinsella should stay in the fight.
    To take flight now will not help matters going forward.

  6. I was just thinking with a new Premier maybe there is a chance for a public inquiry into the police actions during the G20. I guess the NDP has other priorities.

    • Billy boy says:

      The Ombudsman’s report “Caught in the Act” was a pretty comprehensive and unequivocal indictment of McGuinty and the Lib government. Not sure how much more we need to know, other than why did this trampling of civil liberties not gain more traction.

  7. dillon says:

    As long as Wynne was not involved in the decision to cxl the plants ‘she has nothing to lose. If McGuinty is dirty she can hang him out to dry along with any others. A cleansing of the rot is what she needs. Can only hope she is clean.

    • Warren says:

      That is actually insane.

      • dillon says:

        Wynne cannot win if she is tagged as just more of the same. She needs to clean house and present a renewed party. Not easy to do if a public enquiry takes place but impossible to do if there isn( one. Gomery was the right decision but Martin couldn’t convince anyone that he was not complixit.

        • sharonapple says:

          ( one. Gomery was the right decision but Martin couldn’t convince anyone that he was not complixit.

          When you have this said about you:

          “Mr. Martin, whose role as finance minister did not involve him in the supervision of spending by the PMO or [Public Works] is entitled, like other ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct.”


          — basically clearing you of “misconduct” and you can’t escape the tar…. Maybe a commission wasn’t the right decision.

  8. Dennis Hollingsworth says:

    CALL Me Naïve … it remains my understanding that during their respective campaigns both Horvath & Hudak said they would do the same, that being to re-locate the Gas Powered Generating Stations to less populous locales.

    To my way of thinking considering the Facts, this remains pretty much a NON Issue, except to find out why the Costing to Relocate seems so far out of wack !!

    So now that it has been demonstrated that the cost to make these moves is incredible & astronomical … these Two Lightweights and their Lightweight hoards want to Pile-On … DUHHH !!

  9. Ryan says:

    I’m betting that Wynne is going to find it even more difficult to work with Horwath than McGuinty did or Pupatello would have. There are NDP voters who rather like Wynne and Horwath wants to run the next campaign on Dalton’s record. She is not going to allow Wynne to demonstrate that she is a kinder, gentler Liberal leader who will work in a progressive way to solve problems with others. If Horwath were to allow that to happen, the political capital she has gained with those on the left of centre over the last year would start to erode. In fact, it won’t be surprising at all to find Ontario in the midst of an election this spring. There was far, far too much consideration given to keeping the minority alive at the convention and not nearly enough to actually winning the next election which is likely right around the corner.

    • Mike Lesperance says:

      Ryan said: “There was far, far too much consideration given to keeping the minority alive at the convention and not nearly enough to actually winning the next election which is likely right around the corner.”


      There was also waaayyy too much emphasis on the protesters outside and what could be done to pacify them.

  10. Woodburning Tool says:

    Ottawa Citizen: Mark Bourrie “naive”

    Xinhua’s not just another news agency
    Ottawa Citizen
    Sat Aug 25 2012
    Page: B6
    Section: Editorial
    Byline: Andrew Mitrovica
    Source: Ottawa Citizen

    …Fast forward to August 2012. This time, the players in an alleged homegrown espionage caper are lo-cal freelance journalist and author, Mark Bourrie, and Dacheng Zhang, Ottawa bureau chief of Xinhua, China’s news agency.

    Bourrie made headlines earlier this week by saying he had been asked to spy on the Dalai Lama during his visit to Canada in April.

    Bourrie claims to have rebuffed the request and promptly ended his two-year relationship with the news agency after “covering” the Dalai Lama’s news conference for the Chinese news agency.

    “We were there under false pretences, pretending to be journalists but acting as government agents,” Bourrie writes in his account of the episode for Ottawa Magazine. “That day I felt that we were spies. It was time to draw a line. I put down my pen and notepad, listened to the Dalai Lama, shook his hand when he left, went home and sent Xinhua an email telling them I quit.”

    Zhang denies asking Bourrie to spy on anyone and dismisses his former reporter’s version of events as a relic of the Cold War.

    But Bourrie remains adamant. “The core issue is how much ac-cess we’re willing to give people who are both journalists and agents of the Chinese government in Ottawa,” Bourrie told The Canadian Press. “When the crunch came with the Dalai Lama, it was obvious they weren’t working as reporters any-more; that they were working as agents of the Chinese government.”

    That Bourrie is now suggesting – after working with Xinhua for two years – that the Chinese news agency is populated by a nest of spies strikes me as somewhat naive given his former employer’s hardly obscure reputation as a possible front for Beijing.

  11. Woodburning Tool says:

    National Post: Mark Bourrie “shrill,” “malicious,” “misguided,” has “ravings”

    Jonathan Kay: Why, exactly, was an anti-Canwest activst called on to judge Canada’s National Newspaper Awards?
    Fri Mar 20 2009
    Section: Full Comment

    “…While I’m generally skeptical of broad allegations of discrimination – even those that, as in this case, world be self-serving – I was alarmed by a related factoid that drifted across my computer screen today: Mark Bourrie, a 50-something blogger (“Ottawa Watch”) and longtime journalist is bragging on the Internet about his role as a judge for the 2008-publication-year NNAs. This man is probably the most tireless and shrillest critic of the Canwest corporation (which owns the National Post and various other Canadian newspapers), its owners, and management.

    In fact, he has dedicated his blog to cheerleading the total destruction of this company. And yet this man was picked to judge the NNAs – a competition involving numerous Canwest entrants.

    On his blog – whose entries for the past three months I have reproduced here, in case they are modified – Bourrie denounces “the Aspergers” (he thinks it’s hilarious to conflate the name of Canwest’s owners with a mental-health condition); conducts a “Canwest Deathwatch” (which he also calls a “corpse watch”); denounces the company as “the poster boy for media f-ck-ups”; declares that the company’s destruction would be “the best thing to happen to Canadian journalism in a decade”; endlessly cites self-interested Globe & Mail reports falsely prophesizing Cawest’s demise; denounces the Aspers as “dumb, rich kids”; and otherwise wallows in his hope that Canwest will expire, its owners will be humiliated, and his own schadenfreude will be vindicated.”

  12. Woodburning Tool says:

    Cowardly cocksucker

    [Ed. Mark Bourrie. Again.]

  13. Woodburning Tool says:

    BTW, first I’ve seen that piece. I have referred it and your re-posting to my lawyer.

    [Ed.: “Woodburning Tool is apparently a false name used by Mark Bourrie. His email is vrnish@sandpiper.com, and his Internet ID thing is He has also used the false name “Durante” on this web site.]

  14. Woodburning Tool says:

    Where’s Canwest now? And why, if the NNAs were stacked, did we give the award to Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald? I bet you don’t post this one. And, of course, you’re too gutless to post the link that set you off. More to come.

    [Ed.: He has a job, right?]

  15. Josef says:

    Pupatello’s leaving is going to make OPERATION: WynneOnYourOwn a load of fun to watch.

  16. Bloody Bounder says:

    Warren, do you think there is any chance that Wynne would agree to form
    an actual coalition government with Horwath, whereby the 53 Liberal and
    18 NDP MPPs actually combined, with both Liberal and NDP cabinet ministers?.
    It would at least keep Wynne as Ontario Premier until October 1, 2015…

    • Mike Lesperance says:

      I’d be in favour of a coalition as long as one of the cabinet posts given to one of the NDP members is Energy, hey while we’re at it, let em’ handle the teachers as well. 🙂

      But seriously folks, given the fact that they Ms Horvath refused to take a phone call from the incoming Premier on Sunday and then started off Mondays news cycle by demanding a judicial inquiry in order to make the legislature work, I’m thinking that the last thing the NDP is interested in, is a coalition.

      Which just goes to show all of those noobs at this weekends convention who idealistically thought that “politics could be done in a different way” that it can’t be. It’s war! Always has been, always will be.

      • Ryan says:

        It was hard to watch Charles Sousa try to explain that his decision to back Wynne was motivated in part by his desire to see “people put ahead of politics.” He made it sound as though Pupatello’s desire to bring the opposition to their knees in a general election was too combative a stance for his liking. Well guess what? If you want to help “the people” by implementing your Liberal policies, you have to win the election and to do that, you need to master the political game. Otherwise, you watch another party make policy for the people from your view across the aisle. I fear that in short order Wynne will be forced to play politics in a campaign that she and her team are totally unprepared for. This foolish notion that either Hudak or Horwath are ready, willing, and able to cooperate with Wynne is still very hard to stomach.

        Sousa also seemed to be in a big rush to get back to the legislature. What’s the rush? Does he really believe the opposition is going to abandon their game plan and let Wynne off the hook for every mistake that was by made the government in the past year? Does he really think that Horwath and Hudak are going to allow Wynne to produce a list of new accomplishments as Premier before bringing the government down and hitting the campaign trail? Sousa also didn’t want to wait for Pupatello to win a seat. Well, with her out of the picture, that seat in Windsor could very well fall into NDP hands when Duncan steps away. It seems to me that before summer rolls around, there could be a lot of egg on the face of Sousa, Hoskins, and Kennedy. One thing seems certain though. The Liberals could have that brand-new look they are looking for. Unfortunately, it could be the look of a party that has been reduced to a rump in the House.

  17. Mike Lesperance says:

    I think Sousa had two envelopes with two completely different sets of talking points in his suit jacket pocket, one for SP and one for KW and when he saw the results of the second ballot he simply picked envelope #2 over envelope #1.

  18. Michael says:


    The Agenda circa 2005, foreshadowing the next election debate.

    Hudakk hasn’t changed his tune. Wynne gives as good as she gets.

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