[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
OTTAWA (CP) - Embattled Andy Scott resigned Monday as solicitor general over allegations he prejudged the RCMP Public Complaints Commission inquiry into APEC security arrangements.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien "reluctantly accepted" Scott's resignation this morning, said spokesman Peter Donolo.
Scott, who was replaced by former labour minister Lawrence MacAuley, cited the "unnecessary controversy" that had come to surround the commission as a result of comments he made on an Oct. 1 flight to Fredericton, said Donolo.
But Scott continued to maintain that he never prejudged the inquiry outcome or undermined the process.
Claudette Bradshaw of New Brunswick was appointed labour minister to replace MacAuley. Both were sworn-in at Rideau Hall about 30 minutes before an announcement was made on Scott's resignation.
Donolo insisted the government does not consider Scott's resignation as an admission that the commission process is tainted. The commission itself is to hear arguments on that issue on Wednesday in Vancouver.
Scott has been under fire since the beginning of October, when NDP MP Dick Proctor alleged in the Commons that hed overheard the solicitor general discussing the APEC inquiry during an Ottawa-Fredericton flight.
Proctor, reciting from notes he scribbled as he eavesdropped, quoted Scott as telling his seat mate that "four or five Mounties over-reacted" for several minutes and that "Hughie may be the guy who takes the fall" for pepper-spraying student protesters.
Scott, caught badly off guard by the allegations, at first denied any recollection of the conversation, any possibility hed reached such conclusions nor any knowledge of anyone named Hughie.
But last week Scott and his seat mate, lawyer and longtime Liberal supporter Fred Toole of Saint John, N.B., filed affidavits with the commission rebutting Proctor's version of events.
Toole confirmed Scott was speaking about RCMP Staff-Sgt. Hugh Stewart and did indeed suggest Hughie "might take a or the hit or fall" for his actions.
Both Canada's Solicitor General Andy Scott and Sergeant "Pepper", aka Hugh Stewart, were involved in the Gustafsen Lake Affair. Stewart was with the RCMP Emergency Response Teams (ERT) that were involved in firing thousands of rounds of ammunition at the besieged Shuswap traditionalists inside the T'spten Sundance Camp. Canada's Solicitor General was, until his untimely demise today, working to deflect and stonewall an ever-increasing demand for a public inquiry into both "SprayPEC" and Gustafsen Lake.
Here is the dear departed Solicitor General doing what he did best - lying his face off:
(15 September, 1998)
"I am replying to your correspondence of March 24, 1998, regarding the events which took place at Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, in the summer of 1995. Please excuse the long delay in responding to you.
...I would like to point out that all levels of government who have responsibility for law enforcement concentrated their efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the events at Gustafsen Lake. In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), acting as the provincial police service, and the local Aboriginal people were involved in extensive consultations. It is fortunate that this very sensitive situation was resolved in the end without loss of life.
I would like to take this opportunity to underscore the federal government's continuing commitment to resolving disputes in a peaceful and just manner."
"The CO commented and I agreed that we need to clean them out entirely and
not have any hanging issues similar to what occurred at Oka"
"Kill this [Bruce] Clark, smear the prick and everyone with him."
"Students and other people protesting were pepper-sprayed at UBC in
November of 1997, and we've gotten a lot of attention and what happened
there was wrong. Nobody denies that. But I'd like to point out that in
1995 indigenous people had bullets aimed at them, and there's been no
inquiry into that, at Gustafsen Lake..."