Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hot potato

The RCMP has provided its first response to the Lingenfelter membership controversy. But it's hard to see how the RCMP's position makes much sense as a means of doing anything but throwing responsibility for followup elsewhere:
Sargeant Carole Raymond maintains in order for the matter to move forward a complaint is needed.

"We would want someone who would come forward with a complaint and with evidence and we would look at it at that point. There are numerous other complaints and matters and criminal acts that we don't need to have someone come forward but in this case we would need supporting evidence in a complaint.

Raymond insists the decision isn't because this matter is of a political nature.

But she states the political arena is often surrounded by rumours and innuendo and a complaint needs to be backed up with facts, dates and other supporting evidence in order to be investigated.
Now, it's certainly understandable that the RCMP would be hesitant to initiate an investigation in the political arena if there were some real concern as to whether any evidence existed at all. But not only has the membership controversy been subject to an investigation and public report, the NDP has made clear that the evidence which seems most significant - i.e. the membership forms involved - is available to be turned over at any time. So the real issue clearly isn't anything to do with an absence of "supporting evidence".

Instead, the RCMP is apparently looking to avoid deciding one way or another as to whether the issue merits further investigation by saying that a precondition to any decision hasn't been met. But while that may seem like the path of least resistance for the moment, it seems likely only to guarantee that some "complaints" get put forward later - forcing the RCMP to make exactly the same choice which it's trying to avoid for now. And it's hard to see who other than those looking to drag out the issue can stand to benefit from that outcome.

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