Here's RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton
explaining why he does not have access to the emails of Stephen Harper's personal PMO legal counsel Ben Perrin who handled the negotiations for the Duffy/Wright cheque deal with Duffy's lawyer Janice Payne:I was advised that the e-mails of Benjamin Perrin were no longer available because he completed his tenure at the PMO in April 2013.His emails were deleted mere weeks after they were written and a month before the Duffy deal went public because, as it happens, that's apparently standard practice for a departing employee.How is that even credible?
Harper's dcomm Jason MacDonald explains
: "Under the guidelines the Treasury Board has, the individual is required to distinguish between what should be considered a permanent document that should be preserved and what's a transitory document, as they call it, and can be deleted, and the onus is on the individual to make that distinction."So it was up to Perrin to decide what to delete? Really?Former HoC law clerk Rob Walsh
:"I just don't understand how any regime regarding documentation relating to an employee who is departing can leave it to the departing employee to decide which documents shall remain available to the employer and which shall not. I just don't understand it."It seems quite mad really, as it could theoretically encourage the practice of hiring shortpantsers on the taxpayers' dime, after which all written evidence of whatever nefarious schemes they were asked to perpetrate could be erased. Law prof Amir Attaran has laid a complaint of professional misconduct
with the law societies of BC and Ontario re Perrin and Payne, and also he raises this important point :Horton writes that that the prime minister’s office waived solicitor-client privilege for those emails. That doesn’t mean that the prime minister has also waived privilege, Attaran points out. “The wording of the ITO is that PMO has waived privilege, not that the PM has.”
That may be relevant, he said, because Perrin may have had a “joint retainer,” meaning that he may have had both the office and the prime minister as his clients.Perrin is mentioned over 30 times in the allegations of the RCMP affidavit, and while Horton states Perrin was not involved in Wright's decision to cut Duffy a cheque, these excerpts give an indication of what we might be missing in Perrin's missing emails :Nigel Wright decided that he would personally cover the cost of reimbursing Senator Duffy. After back and forth negotiations between Janice Payne and Benjamin Perrin (legal counsel within the PMO) terms of the agreement were set.Mr. Perrin became involved after the February 19, 2013, exchange when Senator Duffy asked for the name of a legal representative who his lawyer could communicate with. Thereinafter, Janice Payne and Benjamin Perrin communicated on this matter; Mr. Perrin was aware of Mr. Wright's personal decision to pay the money, but was in no way involved in the decision. Mr. Wright was not happy with Senator Duffy, and was no longer wishing to debate the matter. He told Senator Duffy that from that point on they will deal lawyer to lawyer on the matter (Payne and Perrin);On February 21, Janice Payne sent an e-mail to Benjamin Perrin requesting media lines
On February 21, Janice Payne sent an e-mail to Benjamin Perrin with a list of 5 conditions or demands Benjamin Perrin followed up with an e-mail to Nigel Wright advising that Janice Payne wanted the agreement in writing, and stated, "I explained that was not happening. We aren't selling a car or settling a lawsuit here. She seemed to get it eventually."On March 1, Janice Payne e-mailed Benjamin Perrin for an update on Senator Duffy being withdrawn from the Deloitte audit.On March 5, Janice Payne e-mailed Benjamin Perrin and Arthur Hamilton (Conservative Party lawyer) seeking advice.On March 20, after sending an e-mail to Benjamin Perrin and Arthur Hamilton about the Deloitte process, Janice Payne sent an e-mail to Senator Tkachuk seeking confirmation that the audit would be called off upon repayment.On March 23, Janice Payne e-mailed Benjamin Perrin and stated: "Ben, yesterday we discussed the Senator sending a cheque to Deloitte with a letter explaining our position that the ongoing review should now be moot. I am preparing such a letter." She then sent Mr. Perrin a draft of the letter she intended to send to Deloitte, and solicited comments from Mr. Perrin and Nigel Wright.Nigel Wright responded to Benjamin Perrin: think that this is perfectly fine (and I resist making minor suggestions since I would prefer to be able to answer, if necessary, that PMO did not write it)In an earlier e-mail to Benjamin Perrin, Nigel Wright stated: think her approach works. I will send my cheque on Monday.On March 24, Janice Payne sent an e-mail to Benjamin Perrin stating that Senator Duffy . .. asks for assurance that should any Senator seek his removal, the Gov 't leader in the Senate will urge her caucus to vote against such a motionOn March 26, Benjamin Perrin received an e-mail from Janice Payne's office stating "we have just sent the cheque to Senator Tkachuk by courier".
And then Mr. Perrin, along with all his emails, was gone..Image from CTV..