From Hansard April 17,2007: Liberal MP Mark Holland:
"Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the question of privilege raised by the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington on March 29 concerning the issue of files left behind in the offices of the Leader of the Opposition when this office was occupied by the Conservatives and the Alliance before them.
The member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington wanted assurances that the said files had been returned and that none of them had been distributed. In the question of privilege, he also wanted confirmation that these leftover documents were treated with extreme respect.
First, I wish to confirm that all remaining documents were returned to the sergeant-at-arms on April 10.
Second, I can also confirm that these documents were not copied or tampered with in any way. Only one Liberal researcher looked through the files in question and this one staffer is prepared to state under oath that he did not copy or mishandle the said documents in any way.
I would also like to address the allegations made by the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington that the documents in question were already packaged and waiting to be shipped. The only labelled box contained videotapes of the 2004 Conservative election ads and all other materials were found in desk drawers and cabinets. These have also been returned.Once again, I can assure the hon. member that all documents in question have been returned to the sergeant-at-arms and were treated with extreme respect."
From Mark Hollands web site this copy of a fax from the 'leftover documents' in PDF format. It sure looks like a copy of one of the documents 'left behind' and in the possession of the LPC for at least 12 months, but what do I know.
----------This entire story stinks the more I look at it, and I am starting to think the Liberals might agree with me because 2 items that were prominently placed on the Liberal Party of Canada web site dealing with this story have now been deleted.
A link to the PDF file of the above copied fax hosted on Liberal.ca has now disappeared, and a link to the video of the set up media event of MPs Mark Holland and Marlene Jennings returning these documents / boxes to the PMO has also been deleted from the official LPC website.
A screencap of the PDF file formerly hosted on Liberal.ca, as found on Scott Tribes site.
Google cache of Liberal TV April 15th. Screenshot below.
To make some sense of this lets look at story from the beginning.
March 22nd. Holland calls for Stockwell Day to resign and produces the copy of the fax. Press release on Hollands site here, and the LPC site here*. We have no idea where the document/s came from at this point other than what MarkHolland's press release states: "Mr. Holland was referring to documents that came anonymously into his possession indicating that former MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla....." (*Note the links to the document no longer work on the LPC site.)
March 26th. Holland and Jennings hold a press conference display some of the documents and then take them down the street to the PMO. Liberal Press release here (Note: link to the Liberal TV video of the event has been removed from the PR within the last 2 days). So we now learn how the Liberals came into possession of the documents and that the Liberals reviewed them as they are aware of the documents contents. So much for being come by anonymously. Of note this statement; "Mr. Holland said the Liberal caucus is retaining possession of some of the documents to determine whether or not they contain other issues that are in the public interest."
Once this story became public some questions started to emerge as to why the Liberals held on to these for over a year, and even more damning, the video used by the LPC showed that some of the documents were marked confidential and at least one of these boxes was labeled and addressed for moving to the new CPC offices. A Step to the Right has a little different version of the Liberal video here. Soon this story had a life of its own as the video was removed by the Liberals from You-tube for copyright violations (story here and here)
On March 29th MP Scott Reid rose in the House on a matter of privilege as some of the information used by Holland and Jennings in that press conference included files on himself and that the Liberals were still retaining some of the documents.
April 4th. Even though in his press interviews he seemed to know much of what the documents contained, Mr Holland was maintaining that he had little or no contact with the personnel files and launches a libel suit against Ezra Levant for a story he wrote for the Sun.
April 10th: According to Mark Holland all the remaining documents are returned. Presumably after having been examined by the LPC.
April 16th? The Website of the Liberal Party of Canada removes links, the PDF file, video from their site.
April 17th: Mark Holland responds to the matter of privilege (at top of this page). Scott Reid replies with even more questions about the matter and brings to light more inconsistencies regarding just how the files were found.
PoliticsWatch.com on March 26: The Liberals discovered the documents in the research bureau that the Tories vacated "three months" after the election, according to [the member for Ajax—Pickering]. [The member for Ajax—Pickering] said the Liberals didn't get around to sifting through the boxes of abandoned documents until recently because it was not a "priority" at the time. The Liberals incorrectly assumed the boxes contained nothing but garbage.
April 2 edition of The Hill Times: These were files and documents that we found in files and desks. The boxes that they were put in were left behind as empty boxes that may have been used, but most of these were just files that were left in drawers, left on tables, and left in haphazard ways all around the office.
Unnamed media: The hon. member for Ajax—Pickering] said the Liberals are keeping approximately 10 other boxes of documents the Tories left behind... As for the remaining 10 boxes, [the hon. member] said the Liberals would continue to examine the contents to ascertain whether or not there's anything in them in the “public interest”
Remember Mark Holland had just stated "... that the documents in question were already packaged and waiting to be shipped. The only labelled (sic) box contained videotapes of the 2004 Conservative election ads and all other materials were found in desk drawers and cabinets."
For myself, I find too many inconsistencies in the story to find it entirely believable, but as I stated earlier, "what do I know?"