Thursday, February 14, 2008

Allan Rock testifies, Part II: But I *trusted* you, lyin' Brian!

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice (1993-7) Allan Rock presented himself to the Commons Ethics committee on February 5. As with last Fall's testimony, the following is NOT a transcript, so quote at your own risk ;) Time-stamps are approximate. Part I of Rock's testimony is available here. If you missed my coverage of Norman Spector's Feb 5th testimony, please click here.

But I trusted you, lyin' Brian!
5:12 PM
Lavallée (BQ): going to ask some repetitive questions. You said that BM testified that he had no dealings w/KHS. I looked at testimony in French and wondered why RCMP convinced BM didn't do anything wrong...(bad translation!)

Allan Rock: we, as participants in civil litigation, he said he had no dealings w/KHS. We accepted that. He was the former PM of Canada. He spent 9 years in the PMO. He was sworn in as a witness, so we assumed he'd answered the question properly. The Gov concluded at time that BM had not had any dealings w/KHS. Given his answers in April 96 (here & here)

Lavallée (BQ): Would you say that the RCMP should have investigated BM's testimony, and gone in the field to find out what happened?

Allan Rock: not up to me to say what RCMP should be doing. It was SG Gray who was in charge of RCMP. He reported on it to HoC, but in my view, I'm aware of fact that RCMP cont'd after settlement, up until 2003, when they announced they were going to close the matter.

Lavallée (BQ): do you regret the 2.1 Mill settlement?

Allan Rock: No, I would just say that it's difficult, in this position, in 2008, to look back and to imagine what we would have done had we had the info we now have. As said to M. Murphy, quite sure that if we'd had the info about cash payments from KHS, if that had been known at the time, that would have had a HUGE impact on the civil case, and IMO, would not have had recommendation to settle on these terms.

5:17 PM
Ménard (BQ): I understand that this kind of letter of request must not be shown to Minister. You've read it since then, though, this LOR to Swiss gov. Were you struck, as things evolved, that among the first people to be informed about all the doubts police had about some ind'ls that these ind'ls would be the first informed, given copies of letter?

Allan Rock: I was told at time that you had to give notice to the people who have the bank accounts in Switzerland. In other words, if the RCMP, through gov, asked for access to records involved related to Swiss acct, then holder had to be informed and given copy of LOR, which is why KHS and Moores received copy.

Ménard (BQ): they were informed of investigation and they had time to cause some accounting to disappear, particularly if we're talking about cash?

Allan Rock: they definitely had notice, but I've no idea what they did afterwards.

5:19 PM
Martin (NDP): I think I speak for all Canadians when I say that We want our money BACK (eyeroll). BM sued gov for 50 mill b/c we implied that he'd taken money from KHS. Well, he DID take money from KHS, and I take you at your word that you probably wouldn't have recommended a settlement if you'd known that then. Can't understand, why did we send letters of apology to Schreiber and Moores, as well as BM. Why did Gov feel need to apologize to them? Also, a lot of people feel that you folded too early, b/c Libs were eager to rid of investigation b/c if they dug too deep, they'd find out KHS was meeting with Andre Ouellette, and KHS was meeting w/ Doug Young, KHS was meeting w/(?? Missed it??). Schreiber was right into the LPC, just as he was into the Con party at the time. A lot of people feel you folded b/c didn't want LPC to get damaged.

Allan Rock: regarding letters, they were sent as a matter of logic and law. The advice we got from the dept was that the gist of the language used in the LOR was conclusory. Used to "alleged" but this LOR language asserted as a matter of fact that...

Martin (NDP): (interrupting) it's a little galling for Canadians to be apologizing to KHS for inconveniencing him.

Allan Rock: same language was used for other two letters as well. One of them had commenced a lawsuit also. In public interest to avoid that. In response to your other question, we were ready to go to trial in Jan 1997, we had expert fewer than 3-4 lawyers ready to go...subpoenaed witnesses. That night, I was told that in the fall of 95, an RCMP member had disclosed to a 3rd party that BM's name was in the LOR. If that had come up in the trial, it would significantly weaken our defence. I was ready to go to trial, and rely on our defences, until they were taken away for us. Under those circumstances, we went back to the negotiating table to make the best deal we could.

Martin (NDP): I understand that. Did you ever meet w/KHS while you were a minister?

Allan Rock: no. Never met the man.

Martin (NDP): did Marc Lalonde ever send KHS to you or other cabinet, lobbying on behalf of KHS?

Allan Rock: no.

5:23 PM
Mulcair (NDP): you said earlier that you didn't think--had no idea whether the RCMP knew of the cash payments and that Mr. Gray never raised it with you. But YOU were the one who settled the BM matter, so what did YOU do, actively, to find out where the file was at? Did you ask the RCMP what we know? Did you do that before you agreed to pay BM 2.1 mill in taxpayers' money?

Allan Rock: it was decision made by gov. I shared responsibility for responding in court. Did we do any investigating ourselves? No. We asked our legal team .

Mulcair (NDP): you're the first officer responsible for the admin of justice in Canada. You're about to write a cheque for 2.1 mill to a former PM for pain and suffering caused to him. What did you do, actively, to find out what situation was? It was YOUR decision!

Allan Rock: it was my recommendation, after we got the info from the lawyers involved. What did we do? We defended the action, we asked BM questions. Accepted his testimony.

Mulcair (NDP): what did the RCMP tell you? You must have asked them some questions.

Allan Rock: I'm sure that Mr. Gray, like myself, we looked at the facts before the courts to determine whether or not we could succeed. Once I was told that a member of the RCMP had...

Mulcair (NDP): that's an unproved allegation

Allan Rock: No, that's a reality before the court.

Mulcair (NDP): but you were the Minister. You made the recommendation. Did you ask what the RCMP knew about this?

Allan Rock: as the person in charge, along w/Mr. Gray, for defending Gov's interest in civil suit, had to do w/opinion of lawyers. Up to Jan 2nd, the lawyers thought we had a case. After finding out officer of RCMP had revealed-we realized we had to settle.

5:27 PM
Van Kesteren (CPC): while you were Min Justice, you had commenced an investigation of Air Canada purchase of AB and BHP, etc. Let me remind you that on April 22, 2003 the RCMP admitted that, after exhaustive investigation, that no wrongdoing involving AB or BHP weren't substantiated. No charges laid. Do you have evidence of any wrongdoing by any public official regarding the BHP?

Allan Rock: no. May I quarrel w/your premise? I didn't start the investigation; the RCMP did. And I didn't stop the investigation; we settled the lawsuit.

Van Kesteren (CPC): any evidence of any wrongdoing wrt consulting agreement btwn BM and KHS?

Allan Rock: no

Van Kesteren (CPC): any evidence of any wrongdoing by any public official wrt circulation of correspondence between PCO and PMO, especially correspondence sent by KHS to PMS?

Allan Rock: no

Van Kesteren (CPC): any evidence of any wrongdoing by any public official wrt the AB purchase?

Allan Rock: no

Van Kesteren (CPC): given that the settlement reached in 97 was specifically tied to defamatory stmts made about him wrt AB scandal, would now public knowledge that BM and KHS had separate consulting agreement, unrelated to AB given you reason to reconsider the settlement?

Allan Rock: in response to an earlier question, I don't believe there would have been a recommendation to settle had we known about THAT cash, but having said that, we might still have settled since the lawsuit was about language used. It's a question of what terms it would've been settled on. The cash might have had a very significant effect on settlement. This case was all about reputation, and BM's concern that the LOR language had tarnished his reputation. But cash payments would've also tarnished his reputation. Had that disclosure been in 96 or 97, we would have been dealing w/diff set of facts. Either we'd be pursuing the trail (records, bank, taxes), but perhaps there would have been a settlement on other terms.

Van Kesteren (CPC): back to LOR from Sept 1995. When did you personally become aware of letter?

Allan Rock: Sat, Nov 4, 1995. Telephoned by BM's lawyer.

Van Kesteren (CPC): why didn't you act right away and squashed that thing, so we wouldn't have had that exposure?

Allan Rock: we met w/officials on Monday, Nov 6 where I read letter to myself. BM's lawyers asked it be withdrawn, but when I asked about that, it was too late. LOR had already been acted upon. Remember that this was before the Financial Post article was published. Our concern on Nov 6th was confidentiality. If an effort was made to w/draw it, it might gain more attn. Instead, we sent 2nd letter to Swiss asserting that original LOR was only allegation, and that we respect confidentiality.

Van Kesteren (CPC): ok, now I gotta ask you this question: was there pressure w/in the caucus that "hey, this is something we gotta do"

Allan Rock: no. No discussion in caucus on this. What motivated me was doing the best I could in the interest of all parties: BM, RCMP, etc. Sending followup letters to swiss, and then on Nov 18th, the top blew off b/c Fin Post published most of the letter and then BM announced his lawsuit against government.

Van Kesteren (CPC): who leaked the letter to the Swiss authorities? (Dumb-ass...nobody LEAKED to Swiss. Leak to Fin Post)

Allan Rock: Who leaked to Swiss? It wasn't leaked. Canadian consular official provides copy to Swiss authorities, police, banking etc. It wasn't a leak, it was a delivery. The question is who leaked LOR to Financial Post? Had an expert witness who would have sworn that it wasn't the Gov who leaked it to newspaper. Re: 2.1 mill settlement, the Gov agreed to apologize for the LANGUAGE of the letter, not an apology for the investigation. It was the language used that was the essential harm here.

Szabo (chair, LPC): on page 116 on BM's Day one test, he said he never had any dealings w/KHS. On Nov 10, 2007, in interview w/G&M, in which he admitted to receiving 225K, that is a direct contradiction to sworn test in discovery. Is there any recourse to reopen settlement?

Allan Rock: there is a procedure by which lawyers can move before the court...whether it should take place is a matter for the Minister of Justice and Dept Justice to decide.

Szabo (chair, LPC): thank you. Mr. Rock has agreed to answer any other questions in writing if you have any questions...

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): (interrupting) ??? We never asked him...

Szabo: I asked him...

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): but you had no right to...(?!)

Szabo (chair, LPC): well, thank you.

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): once again, you just carry on your way, the way you see fit...

Szabo (chair, LPC): thank you, Mr. Tilson. Mr. Rock, thank you again, our next meeting is Thurs, 3:30PM, we'll have Luc Lavoie and François Martin.

Return to Part I ("And the LANGUAGE that they used...").
...and stay tuned for the Feb 7 testimony! I promise I'll get to it!
Naive kitty courtesy of

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