Friday, June 12, 2009

Stockwell Day Digs in Heels to Put Foot in Mouth

When Stockwell Day wrote his letter to the editor in 1999, accusing a prominent local lawyer of engaging in child pornography, it was as part of an ongoing battle with the man in question.

Lorne Goddard was also a well respected school board trustee, responsible in part for providing sex education as part of the school curriculum.

Stockwell Day marched with other protesters to fight against this and was quoted as saying: "There is a growing body of literature suggesting that, as sex education becomes more comprehensive, there is a corresponding increase in sexual activity."

This is rather absurd. My own feeling is that it encourages safe sex. Sexual activity among teenagers happens whether they learn it at school or by doing what comes naturally.

However, as usual, Stockwell Day took matters too far, and others had to pay for his error in judgement. He's a very spiteful, vindictive little man, so when he saw an opportunity he jumped on it.

After learning that Mr. Goddard was representing a pedophile in a court case, he told the Red Deer Advocate that this was proof that he not only defended pedophilia, but also supported child pornography. What Mr. Day fails to understand is that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, and without proper counsel the case could have been dismissed.

Naturally, Mr. Goddard immediately sued for libel and eventually won his case. What Day tried to keep from the public, was the fact that taxpayers footed the bill for much of the costs, in part because Day refused to admit he did anything wrong.

Critics demand judicial review of Day settlement
January 17, 2001
CBC News

Taxpayers in Alberta now know they're paying $792,064.40 to get Stockwell Day out of a defamation lawsuit and some of them are calling for a judicial review.

The money will come out of the province's risk management fund, a little-used government fund intended for use by provincial politicians who get into trouble in the course of their duties.

When the Alberta government released the terms of the settlement on Tuesday, many – including Premier Ralph Klein – expressed dismay that more than half the cost went to lawyers and other legal costs.

Alberta Justice Minister Dave Hancock conceded that if both sides had been able to reach a deal earlier, the price tag would have been lower.

"I would have preferred that earlier offers had been settled," he said.

A government lawyer sent Day a letter in October, urging him to settle the case before it went to trial. Another letter sent to Day in December threatened that the government would not pay the bill if he proceeded.

But Klein refused to consider allowing a judge to review the process, even though those calling for it include the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a staunch supporter of Day. (Jason Kenney was President and CEO and long time Day supporter)

Earlier offers would have allowed the entire matter to go away for about $70,000 – a $55,000 settlement plus about $12,000 in legal fees in July 1999.

Day's team rejected those offers.

Red Deer lawyer Lorne Goddard sued because a letter Day wrote to the Red Deer Advocate newspaper suggested Goddard might share the interests of his pedophile client, then on trial for child pornography offences. Goddard sued for libel, and asked for $600,000. The suit was settled just before Christmas in a secret deal.

The costs break down this way:
$474,000: Stockwell Day's legal costs
$246,000: Lorne Goddard's legal costs
$60,000: settlement for Lorne Goddard
$8,725: legal cost to adjourn trial
$2,900: legal cost to Alberta's justice department.

Day is allowed to use the taxpayer-funded pool of money for his defence because he was a sitting member of the Alberta legislature when he wrote the letter. The ethics commissioner ruled it would be inappropriate for Day to raise funds privately.

But some aren't buying the argument. They say Day was not acting as a representative of his Red Deer North riding when he wrote the letter.

The Liberal opposition says the comments were reckless and had nothing to do with Day's role in the legislature.

What made the matter worse was that the law firm who handled the case, apparently sent $70,000.00 of the $474,000.00 they billed taxpayers, to Stockwell Day's Alliance Party in the form of a political contribution.

Preston Manning in his book, Think Big, was again critical of Stockwell Day, calling it "an error in judgement, made worse by the prolonged and expensive effort to defend the indefensible with taxpayer's dollars." He also blasted Day for keeping the 70 grand.

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