On Tuesday, the RCMP announced that it had arrested ten young Montrealers who were off to join the jihadist hordes in the Middle East. And, almost immediately, Stephen Harper flew to Quebec to remind nous autres that his government was tough on jihadists. Interestingly enough, almost as soon as the Mounties arrested the youngsters, they let the kids go.
Which raises the question, is there a political alliance between the RCMP and the Conservative government? Tom Walkom asks his readers to consider some recent history:
In 1999, the Mounties, accompanied by a television crew, raided the home of then British Columbia’s NDP premier Glen Clark. Clark was charged with breach of trust and accepting a benefit. His political career was destroyed. The New Democrats were trounced in the next election.
Three years later, Clark was acquitted of all charges.A month before the 2006 federal election, the RCMP announced they were undertaking a criminal investigation of then federal finance minister Ralph Goodale over the leak of confidential tax information about so-called income trusts.That scandal eventually turned out to be less than it seemed. Goodale and his aides were eventually vindicated, although a senior bureaucrat was charged and convicted.But the income-trust affair did help sink Paul Martin’s Liberal government, allowing Harper to become prime minister.An independent investigation into the Mounties’ handling of the affair found that the force had broken no rules because there were none to break.No party is completely spared the fallout from RCMP investigations. The force’s decision to charge former Conservative senator Mike Duffy for allegedly accepting a bribe from former Harper top aide Nigel Wright has done the prime minister no good.
But the puzzling decision not to charge Wright for offering that alleged bribe promises to mitigate any political damage to the Conservatives.
Mere coincidences? I'm not so sure.