The robocalls investigation continues at a snail's pace. Perhaps that's because, as Laura Stone reported this week, Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton has been sitting in on the Elections Canada interviews. But Hamilton was representing the Conservative Party, not the interviewees.
According to excerpts of interviews, Hamilton at times took charge of the interrogation, telling witnesses what to say and speaking for them.
“You’ve spoken to your parents as well about this,” Hamilton says to one witness.
“Yeah,” the witness says.
“Go ahead, type. Yeah. His parents live in Saskatchewan,” Hamilton replies.
True to form, the Conservatives tell their people what to say. But, Lawrence Martin wonders if it's more than that:
In the view of Steven Shrybman, who represented the Council of Canadians in their robocalls case last year, “it’s very curious because he wasn’t representing the person being interviewed. I assume then that he could only have been present with the consent of both Elections Canada and the interviewee.
“It would be interesting to know why either would have agreed, given the obvious potential conflict of interest between the Conservative party and those being interviewed.”
Given Hamilton's past work for the party, it smells of obstruction:
On the robocalls controversy it has become clear that Arthur Hamilton is the Conservatives’ heavy-hitter. In the days before the vote in the 2011 election, Elections Canada officials were getting a slew of complaints from voters, as internal emails have shown, about misleading phone calls. Officials went to the party and were referred to Hamilton who, after a day’s wait, got back to say the party was contacting voters because some polling stations had been changed and the party wanted to make sure all was right.
Later, it was revealed that Elections Canada had asked parties not to contact voters about polling station changes, that only a tiny percentage had in fact been changed and that many of the Tory calls, curiously enough, were going to non-Conservative supporters.
You can bet that, if the Mike Duffy-Nigel Wright case gets to court, Hamilton will be there. But the word on the street is that Hamilton won't be able to shut Duffy up.