September 20, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Did political interference from PMO stop the release of damaging vacation details?

Brian LilleyArchive

Was there political interference in an Access to Information request on who went on vacation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? Documents obtained by The Rebel through Access to Information would seem to indicate that.

As has been reported by The Rebel and other media outlets, the Christmas vacation taken by Trudeau and his family has already been the subject of controversy.

CBC reported in August that the original flight manifest released publicly excluded three key names, Marian Pueyo, one of the nannies working for Trudeau and his family as well as Jean Grégoire and Estelle Blais, his in-laws. That original manifest was released in March. Months later, in the middle of the summer, a second manifest was released with those names added.

That is beyond odd.

Normally if something was redacted from an access to information request there would be a note indicating that for privacy reasons or security reasons, all reasons spelled out in the access to information act, why that information is not being released.

In this case there was no such explanation.

In fact, if you looked at the first release of manifest, there would be no indication that any information at all was missing.

So what happened?

That is not exactly clear, but what newly released documents show is that before any information was released, three staffers inside the Prime Minister’s office were contacted and asked what, if any information they would want removed from the flight manifest before it was released publicly.

Then magically, and without explanation, the three most politically inconvenient names were dropped from the manifest; the nanny and the in-laws.

Here is part of the email sent by Maureen Kay, operations manager with the 412 Squadron, the military wing that provides air transport to the government and other dignitaries including the Prime Minister.

It is addressed to several people including John Zerucelli, the director of operations in the Prime Minister’s office, his executive assistant Kate Vangerven and the manager of operations in the PMO, Noemie Julien.

The email read, in part:

“It has been determined that the enclosed Challenger Mission Report is of interest to your institution. It is requested that your office review the document and provide recommendations for the release of the information. Please note that rationale must be provided for any portions recommended for redaction.”

There is no reply from anyone included in the document asking for names to be dropped but, after this email, the politically embarrassing names are dropped with no explanation and no rationale for the redaction.

I’ve spoken to several former PMO staffers about this and they call the email, odd, unusual, potentially against the rules or illegal.

In fact, in the past, Liberals have berated the Conservatives over what they see as political inference in access to information releases.

In 2006 the Liberals called for an investigation after then PMO Director of Communications Sandra Buckler was cc’d on an email that included a reporters name. At that time the Liberals demanded an investigation.

In 2009 Sebatien Togneri, a staffer for then Public Works Minister Christian Paradis was found to have interfered in the release of an access request and the Commons erupted in furor.

Also of interest in this case of the passenger manifest is that officials in the Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister’s department, were given a minimum ten day heads up to prepare communications lines to answer any media questions about his vacation and who went with him.

A full letter was sent by Kimberly Empey at the Department of National Defence to the PCO on February 11th telling them that they may want to be ready.

“The enclosed document, relevant to the request, has been prepared for release in accordance with the ATIA. In order to ensure that your institution is allotted the necessary time to prepare communication materials related to this release, we are providing a copy of the portions of the record that may be of interest to you.”

It goes on to explain that they plan to release the documents on February 25th and are giving them time to prepare.

Former Conservative staffers I’ve spoken with at the PMO and ministerial level tell me that it would be common to get a heads up a day or so before something was released but never more than a week to prepare talking points and never with the request that political staff make recommended changes on what should be released.

What these documents show is a level of co-ordination and potential interference at the Trudeau PMO that goes against the openness and transparency he campaigned on, the promises he made.

On the face of it, there is enough here for the Information Commissioner to launch an investigation into political interference.

The question is, will she?


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commented 2016-09-22 13:25:41 -0400
Great article. Another question.
Did the PMO stop Justin’s interview on China’s state tv from being rebroadcast in Canada ?
It was embarrassing. Below is a link. The real interview starts around 2:20
In it Justin says he wants to “reset” the relationship with China (Clinton’s old line with Russia)
The interview is full of general platitudes. Finally around 12:52 the interviewer ask Justin for something specific about Canada’s plans for China. But ala she had no luck Justin merely repeated previously stated vague platitudes.
commented 2016-09-22 10:27:33 -0400
Oh come on. Little Potato and his Ilk wouldn’t do that. ;)
Great wok Brian!
commented 2016-09-21 23:45:01 -0400
Brian, you did your due diligence & gave us the facts, unlike the msm who are too busy praising Trudeau instead of doing their job. Trudeau knows bloody well that taking the inlaws on their vacation ( after only a very short time of being the PM btw) that it was wrong & then got his people to do the dirty work of trying to cover it up. It’s no surprise though because the libs are famous for this & if you have no qualms charging for a speech you did for a charity organization which in turn would have had to borrow the money to pay him off well that tells it all. Who in their right mind would pay to hear his jib..ah..rish.
commented 2016-09-21 23:04:43 -0400
Speaking of obfuscation, lies, and deception the Libs are at it again:

“Justin Trudeau has emerged as “the most prominent and popular political figure on the planet,” says global affairs minister Stéphane Dion, and world leaders are counting on him to encourage the next American president to support multilateral institutions like the United Nations.”

39.47% of Canadian voters have condemned 100% of Canadians. Canada will not survive this Trudeau.
commented 2016-09-21 22:15:37 -0400
Great journalism, Brian. Thank you for your hard work putting this together.

We already knew that Little Potato and his wife were elitists, and I am inclined now to believe that her parents must be also. How sad it is that with both parents and the two grandparents in tow, that a nanny was still required. I guess that despite being on a family vacation, even the grandparents had no time for the children.
commented 2016-09-21 18:07:01 -0400
Edward Jobin commented – “Bill Elder: I get his delusion what I don’t get is why law enforcement lets it go on.”

It’s an unfortunate fact of the “rules” of Parliament that its members are deemed to be “honorable” (i.e.trustworthy and honerable on their own merit) so many of the breeches of trust and acts of malfeasance that are indictable in other governing systems, are deemed breeches of the honor code in our system and answerable only to chastisement by parliament. Yes, weak censure of malfeasance makes our system a play ground for perfidious scumbags. Outside of out right criminal code violtions, the cops don’t get involved in parliamentary process violations.

If he has been interfering with releasing public information, the information commissioner with investigate and issue a report to parliament where they will poo poo this breech of public trust and integrity of office – and the MSM will white wash the crime.
commented 2016-09-21 17:10:38 -0400
I’m sure that the media treatment of this will be exactly the same as if Harper did this…

commented 2016-09-21 14:41:01 -0400
Bill Elder: I get his delusion what I don’t get is why law enforcement lets it go on.
commented 2016-09-21 14:31:20 -0400
Edward Jobin commented – "What is the purpose of having rules if you can break them without any consequence. "

Well, the rues don’t apply to Liberals, because they feel they have such Messianic fantacies they are above the laws of mere mortals. – Thus has it always been since The LPC became the megalomaniac party..
commented 2016-09-21 12:16:49 -0400
Very well stated Stephen E. and very true. You raise a valid point that Junior would never allow MSM to ask in an interview/photo-op, “Why doesn’t he sell his collector quality Mercedes sports car worth over a million dollars and give that money to the refugee cause? Or to a Canadian charity or food bank”

Liberals are only generous if it does not involve their own money or if it is to a photo-op cause.
commented 2016-09-21 12:01:11 -0400
Stphen E. Yeah he is a real feminist.
commented 2016-09-21 11:46:18 -0400
The entitlements seem to have hit the ground running even before Baby Doc even really started the job. First thing was to put the two nannies on the public purse. Family trip with the in-laws. Wasn’t he the leader of the party that went berserk over one $16 glass of juice?

Then there is the “liberal” spending and giving of money abroad. Why is he so hell bent on bankrupting Canada as an all expense paid new home for people who aren’t even Syrian “Syrian refugees”. And now he wants to increase that number. At the UN he has given more of our tax dollars, a trust to protect by him, away in moves to ingratiate himself to the UN (don’t count on it) to get on the Security Council.

Yes, our dollars to make him look good to dictators and thieves so he gets a seat at the Security Council. He will walk on our broken backs all for his self-aggrandisement. Truly Baby Doc is following in his father’s footsteps.

Money here, but mostly money there. Millions to a country that publicly whips women for just about any reason, money to stop “Global warming/Climate Change” (why not tell the sun to stop warming us?), money promised to UN causes, offering a wholesale influx of Chinese, more Muslim refugees (but no Christian or Yazidi real refugees), destroying that big evil Canadian oil industry, and back slapping at the UN on our dime. All to make his ego happy and put him in line to get that coveted seat at the Security Council table.

Not bad for a kid who dropped out of two prestigious Canadian universities (one English, one French) and barely able to make a coherent sentence. It must be a new dynamic of time and space and getting “science-fictiony” on us. After all, “Canada belongs to Quebec.”

If he is all hell bent on helping the refugees – and not Canadians in financial distress – why doesn’t he sell his collector quality Mercedes sports car worth over a million dollars and give that money to the refugee cause? Or to a Canadian charity or food bank – wait, what was I thinking; never a cent to Canada.
commented 2016-09-21 10:33:36 -0400
LOL at Jay Kelly protecting the rich skin flint miserly son of cheapskate P.M. Monty Burns. otherwise known as P.E.T. The shriveled apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
commented 2016-09-21 10:25:43 -0400
One thing liberals are becoming infamous for is “delete this message”. Whether it is Hillary Clinton’s emails or Dalton MCguinty or tampering with documents. The stench is undeniable.
commented 2016-09-21 10:21:50 -0400
The only thing that is becoming transparent about Trudeau is although he is extremely wealthy compared to the rest of us he doesn’t mind spending our money to pay his tab and then thinks the rules only apply to conservatives and expects to get away with the same crap his media puppets would have skewered the opposition over.
commented 2016-09-21 10:17:39 -0400
What is the purpose of having rules if you can break them without any consequence.
commented 2016-09-21 10:04:54 -0400
Redacting public information which gives concrete documented proof the PM is an insincere hypocrite, will become an over burdened full time job for whoever is responsible in the PMO for with-holding damaging information. Maybe when we contact the commissioner about this political interference, if they show they are part of it, they can open the budget to get more help for the over worked soul in the PMO who cleans up all the corruption and hypocrisy left by the PM.

Jay/Sean, put your resume in for this opening and you can move up the ladder from PMO iternet troll to corruption swamper.
commented 2016-09-21 09:49:58 -0400
maybe his new sugar daddy George Soros will fly him and the selfie entourage around the globe on his new Islamification mission.
commented 2016-09-21 09:06:01 -0400
No surprise here, the Pigs are now running the farm
commented 2016-09-21 07:55:23 -0400
“OH NO, you mean the libs keep proving they are corrupt and liars and hypocrites and the liberal media ignores it? … OKA crisis was caused by Chretin… "

Shhhh Drew, not so loud, facts will make little Jay Jay’s mind explode. Facts will make him feel threatened and he will need to find a safe spot.
commented 2016-09-21 03:44:07 -0400
OH NO , you mean the libs keep proving they are corrupt and liars and hypocrites and the liberal media ignores it? In other words things are just as they always are. I wonder how many people still do not accept that the OKA crisis was caused by Chretin stealing native land for a golf course for him and his buddies?
commented 2016-09-20 23:39:29 -0400
Sean, I mean Jay, oh heck, you are one and the same, get a life because you are starting to get annoying with your flip flopping. Oh wait, you are just emulating your tin god and his flip flops, carry on.
commented 2016-09-20 23:25:24 -0400
Hopefully , our military is not stupid enough to release Sensitive info to Justin.
commented 2016-09-20 23:17:51 -0400
Did Trudeau take a holiday trip with his children last Christmas? If so he should account for every penny spent.

The Rebel is not a trivial site, and does not dig up dirt on politicians for nothing.

Oh, wait, yes it is.
commented 2016-09-20 22:59:52 -0400
Penson is the epitome of the warped liberal mind. He/she is a reminder everytime there is a post of what we are up against. These leftist regressive fucktards are mentally not all there and seem to have great resolve. It is a classic case of…..nothing upstairs and the whole body suffers.
commented 2016-09-20 21:20:16 -0400
Will she? I don’t get a vacation this year because I started in January. And still I laugh at these useless idiots
commented 2016-09-20 21:09:10 -0400
commented 2016-09-20 20:58:26 -0400
No doubt you are correct Bill. Still, wouldn’t it be great if scientists could remove the defective gene or invent a cure? Sigh, one can dream.
commented 2016-09-20 20:49:04 -0400
Hyacinth – his value here is incalculable in providing a constant examle of the low IQ voter supporting our Low IQ PM.
commented 2016-09-20 20:42:38 -0400
Bill, ignore the little shite. Sean is a paid troll, it is only one of his many aliases. I guess the site moderator[s] allows him to stay because he does provide comic relief at times so he is not a total waste of air and space. One has to wonder though what makes someone like that tick. If we knew then scientists could remove the defective gene or invent a cure for it. Well, with Junior at the helm, as evidenced so far, Canada will regress not progress, move over Germany.