Did Toews know about Dechert probe?

Citing unnamed sources, CTV News’ Bob Fife reported Sunday night that both the RCMP and CSIS have investigated Conservative MP Bob Dechert and his relationship with Xinhua News Agency reporter Shi Rong.

The Horsemen and Spooks found no breach of security, CTV reported, but one official did say that Dechert showed “colossal lack of judgment. He was incredibly stupid to get involved with her.”

This well could be the fig leaf that allows the Prime Minister to relieve Dechert of his duties as parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister — cashiered for bad judgment, not a security breach. No harm, no foul.

But the story seems oddly contrary to comments made by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who was asked about l’affaire Dechert by Evan Solomon on CBC’s Power and Politics on Thursday (around the 25 minute mark).

Toews is the minister responsible for CSIS and the RCMP, and were a political figure under investigation, one presumes he would know about it.

Here’s what Toews told Solomon:

“I understand the PMO has looked into this and there is no indication that anything untoward has occurred here.”

Solomon persists, asking again if there had been investigation beyond asking Dechert whether he did anything wrong.

Toews: “All I can say is this matter has been examined by the Prime Minister’s Office. It is a concern of the PM’s to ensure that the conduct of ministers and parliamentary secretaries is always appropriate. And they conduct that type of investigation. I can only direct you to the Prime Minister’s Office for any further ocmments.”

Solomon asks again, “So, you have no Public Safety concerns about that issue?”

Toews: “I’m not involved in this investigation.”

So, a couple of possibilities:

  1. Fife’s story is wrong. There was no CSIS or RCMP investigation. I highly doubt this possibility. Fife doesn’t make those kind of mistakes. Or
  2. there was an CSIS/RCMP probe and Toews didn’t know about it. He wasn’t in the loop. Or
  3. Toews’ response to Solomon was “misleading.”

 

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