No one has to co-operate with the police when they’re investigating a possible crime. You’re free to tell the officers that you have no interest in helping them and won't say a word.
But not if you’re a politician or political operative who hopes to be credible and trusted.
Laura Miller, the executive director of the BC Liberal Party, has refused to meet with police officers from Ontario’s anti-racket squad to answer questions. Police believe she could help with their investigation of breach of trust in an alleged high-level illegal coverup in the office of former premier Dalton McGuinty, where she was deputy chief of staff.
The investigation is focused on David Livingstone, Miller’s boss. Police believe Miller’s partner was enlisted to go through the computers of everyone in the premier’s office and illegally delete documents relating to the Liberal’s pre-election decision to kill two gas-powered power plants - one partially built - that might have cost it swing seats. The decision cost Ontario taxpayers more than $1 billion in sunk costs and compensation for the companies involved. (The story is complex - a good summary is here.)
Serious stuff. If the truth had been known before the 2011 election, the outcome might have been different.
McGuinty resigned, Miller moved on to help with Christy Clark’s election campaign and was then hired to run the BC Liberal Party.
And now, according to Gary Dimmock’s excellent coverage in the Ottawa Citizen, Miller is refusing to be interviewed by police.
That’s a citizen’s right. But politicians and political parties make a big deal about believing in the justice system, supporting and police and helping them keep communities safer by co-operating in crime investigations.
When the most senior party staffer refuses to sit down answer questions, that all is revealed to be hypocritical rubbish. We want you ordinary people to co-operate wth police, Clark and company are saying. We’ll act in our own self-interest.
And it raises serious questions. Why, exactly, is Miller refusing to answer questions about what she knows? What does Christy Clark think about the party executive director’s refusal to co-operate with an extremely serious police investigation?
And what does that say about Miller’s attitude toward accountability and the law in her B.C. job?
Norman Spector has been asking why Miller’s refusal hasn’t been covered in B.C. media. It’s a good question.