Harper prosecution fund hits $20K
A fund set up by a democracy watchdog to launch a private prosecution against former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, members of his Prime Minister’s Office, and officials of his Conservative Party of Canada has reached the $20,000 mark.
There has been renewed interest in a private prosecution of Harper and his PMO after Ontario Justice Charles Vaillancourt’s ruled that their actions were “covert,” “driven by deceit,” “shocking” and “unacceptable” in a democracy in finding Senator Mike Duffy not guilty of all charges in the Senate expenses trial.
“Mr. Neubauer [the crown prosecutor] stated that Senator Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulations and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked standard expected of a person in Senator Duffy’s position of trust,” the judge said in his ruling. “I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and others for Senator Duffy in the aforementioned sentence that you would have a more accurate statement.”
Ottawa-based Democracy Watch is seeking to raise $55,000 to cover the costs of prosecuting everyone in Prime Minister Harper’s Office and in the Conservative Party who took part in the bribing of Senator Mike Duffy.
Democracy Watch had previous called for criminal prosecutions of both Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright for the $90,000 payment Wright made to Duffy when the payment was first made public two years ago, and launched a national petition that was signed by more than 33,000 Canadians calling for an independent prosecutor to be appointed to review evidence and make prosecution decisions.
“The key legal measure for the prosecution is subsection 119(1) of the Criminal Code, which prohibits even offering (as well as giving) ‘corruptly’ any benefit to any public official ‘in respect of’ any action or inaction by the official in their capacity as a public official (even if the official never acts),” a statement released by the group said. “This subsection also prohibits the public official from even attempting to obtain (as well as obtaining) the benefit. And under section 21 of the Criminal Code, it is a violation to aid or abet anyone in violating any prohibition in the Code, and under section 24 it is a violation to attempt to violate any prohibition in the Code.”
“The Criminal Code allows anyone to launch a private prosecution for certain offences, and Democracy Watch continues to gather evidence and legal support to take those responsible in Prime Minister Harper’s Office to court for bribing Senator Mike Duffy because government lawyers won’t,” Democracy Watch added. “Please help hold these Harper Conservatives accountable for their wrongdoing by making your donation now to the Harper PMO Prosecution Fund.”