In the midst of the [January 2006 federal election] campaign, the commissioner faxed an NDP MP, saying the Mounties were investigating then-finance minister Ralph Goodale, one of the big Liberals untinged by scandal. They don't normally do this. Nothing has come of the investigation. They could have waited. They could have kept it quiet. Instead, they even phoned the NDP MP to say, You've got mail, making sure she knew it was on the way. It tipped the election. She went public, the Conservatives shot up 10 points and passed the Liberals for good.
It's a stretch to think RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli quit over the Arar case. If that was so, he should have done it after his testimony in September when he said he knew about the injustice done to Maher Arar but failed to take serious action to fix it. And if he wouldn't go, the Harper government could have pushed him. We're told at least three cabinet ministers proposed that, but the PM said no. ...[Harper] couldn't act here without raising questions of why he hadn't earlier. Unless something new arose, making it clear he wasn't protecting the man till now. So the commish trots back to the parliamentary committee and says something really silly, providing a pretext for an exit that works for the government..."
Journalists have tiptoed around this for months. They mention it, then pull back. This week, the National Post's Don Martin referred to the possibility of the commissioner's "cashing in his marker" for that election result. If we were in the U.S., young reporters would be all over this story, dreaming about their first Pulitzer.
It seems obvious that the RCMP did something bad in the way they handled the Goodale investigation, and given that they did it in the middle of a federal election campaign, it's hard to believe that they didn't know the impact their actions would have. I haven't seen any evidence that Harper colluded with the RCMP commissioner over this, but it does seem a little fishy that Harper protected Zaccardelli right afterwards.
And this isn't the only time the RCMP has done this: Ontario MPP Greg Sorbara had to quit his cabinet post because of a public RCMP investigation that eventually turned up nothing; and NDP Premier of BC Glen Clark had to quit after the RCMP tipped off the media when raiding his house at night in another investigation that led to complete exoneration. There seems to be a pretty good case that the RCMP is engaging in political interference - the question is whether it's by design or incompetence.