Sunday, February 25, 2007

What Was Kim Bolan's Role In The Smear?

Kim Bolan, the Vancouver Sun reporter who broke the story that Stephen Harper used to smear Liberal MP Navdeep Bains with, as well as the whole Liberal Party and Mr. Bains' family, has come out strongly in her own defense, claiming that, basically, she was not being employed as a useful idiot by the CPoC when she wrote her now infamous piece.

Quite possibly. Bolan said in a comment on The Gazetteer:

I wrote the story and there was no leak. It was very apparent from sitting through 19 months of the Air India trial who would be the obvious choices for investigative hearings - all the names came out during the evidence at the trial.


I have covered this story since 1985 so there are few mysteries or secrets.

No mysteries or secrets, maybe, but I think the question Ms. Bolan needs to answer before anyone can determine whether her reporting was irresponsible or within the bounds of sound journalistic practice, is: was there a list with Darshan Singh Saini's name on it (Mr. Saini is Navdeep Bain's father-in-law)? She writes in the original Sun story that:

The Vancouver Sun has learned that Bains's father-in-law, Darshan Singh Saini, is on the RCMP's potential list of witnesses at investigative hearings designed to advance the Air India criminal probe.

Okay, Ms. Bolan, is it a potential list of witnesses or a list of potential witnesses?

In the first case, which is the way the wording goes in your story, you are claiming that Mr. Saini is on a list that is merely "potential". In other words, he may be on a non-actual list. In other words, there may be no list at all. This interpretation is supported by the claim in the first paragraph of your comment in the Gazetteer: those people who are "obvious choices for investigative hearings" would be "apparent" to someone who has been covering the story as long as you, whether or not you were privy to any list.

But then you are being grossly misleading. Though your story may not yet be "false". Indeed, it would seem difficult to determine the truth or falsity of a statement concerning an non-existent object.

Or, in the second case, there is a real RCMP list and Mr. Saini's name is really on it. In which case, how do you know about it, did you get a look at it, and if so who showed it to you (or just told you about it)? A probe may indeed be in order to determine these matters.

So which of these two scenarios is the right one?

(PS. I have never seen one of these "probes". I hear they are like the kind they use for an endoscopy. Enjoy yourself, Kim!)

Update: Red Tory makes similar but not identical points here.


Torian said...


Anonymous said...

".. is on the potential list of witnesses .."

This list could have been prepared in 1985 which would make Kim Bolan's recent denials consistent.

However, Bolan does not say how she became privy to that information, and it is very difficult to believe that the Sun editors would publish it without being confident in the sourcing.

Maybe Saini confirmed or told Bolan that he was on the list?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I'm willin' t' believe she figgered it out after coverin' the story fer a coupla decades. Waht I'm not so willin' to accept is that she "thought it was relevant."

I s'pose a CPC supporter who wants t' give the HarpoonTossers some dirt t' toss might think it's relevant.

I ain't sure the leak is teh story. I think the story is in the emails circulated by the PMO an' the co-ordinated smear effort that included King Steve readin' the VanSun inta Hansard.

Low-down, dirty tricksters like that'd steal the shitball from a blind dung beetle. I'm seein' the diaboloical hand o' Doug Rove-Finley at work here.


bigcitylib said...


Yes, but figured out what exactly? That, if there was a list, then Saini's name was likely to be on it? Or that there was indeed a list? Or, as the article claims, that he was on a potential list? And what the heck is a poetntial list?

Yes, this does not excuse Harper's behavior. What is in question at this point, for me, is Bolan's behavior.

Anonymous said...

OOPSIE !! Goodale is a moron.

GOODALE: Well, my question was: was it or was it not? It's important to get to the bottom of this. The story in the Vancouver Sun appeared to be talking about what would be considered secret security information. That information is secret for a reason yet it's in the public domain. It needs to be examined very carefully as to how it got there. It was within the ambit of government. Suddenly it's in the public domain. It is secret security information or at least it purports to be. I think the government has that question to answer.


REPORTER: Sir, you pinpointed the PMO as the potential source of that information. What evidence do you have, if any?

GOODALE: I asked the question was it or was it not the Prime Minister's Office. The point is the Prime Minister's Office is the pinnacle of government. They need to get to the bottom of this.

Ti-Guy said...

Stop trolling, Kate.

skdadl said...

BCL, I agree: Bolan's original story was worded very oddly. You picked up on that strange locution, the "potential list" -- huh? More basically, though, she is now claiming that she knew about Mr Saini from her own work over the years, which seems credible, but so? If that's true, why did she report as news that the Sun "had learned" that he was on some "potential" list?

And yes, why did she think the family relationship was "relevant"? Everybody has relatives. Even Tories must have relatives. I am responsible for my relatives? God help me.

RossK said...


Yours is a critical, double-barrelled, question that I did not ask Ms. Bolan.

Prodded by you, Red Tory, and others I've jumped out of the gate a little earlier than I wanted to and have posted up a preliminary 'What I didn't learn from Kim Bolan' piece.

There is a little nugget at the end that I don't think anyone else has commented on yet.



Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

Forget about the innuendo and answer the relevant question.

Is the article that Kim Bolan wrote in the Vancouver Sun true or is it inaccurate?

If the facts are true, then does Kim Bolan not have the right to report them?

If the article is true, (note that the Liberals have not yet disputed the article after 4 days) then how exactly did Kim Bolan participate in smearing Liberal MP Baines?

wilson said...

My kids do this too.
They jump to a conclusion that is baseless and rant like it's the end of the world.
Once it appears they may, oh gee, be wrong, they work themselves into a frenzie trying to make some parallel senario seem feasible, mostly as a diversion because they don't like it when they are wrong.
It's kinda like having a calf on a rope. It's a hoot watching the performance.

bigcitylib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gayle said...

"Is the article that Kim Bolan wrote in the Vancouver Sun true or is it inaccurate?"

Problem is, no one knows. Bains himself says he does not know if his father in law is on any witness list. He does say that he never discussed the ATA extension with Dion.

"Bains said the allegations have been hard on his family particularly because there is no way of verifying whether Singh Saini is actually on the witness list, which has not been made public....

Bains said he has never once discussed the issue of the anti-terrorism measures with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion. However, he said he supports Dion's position on the issue -- a stance some Liberals don't agree with....

He said his position has nothing to do with his father-in-law's possible place on a witness list, and called the allegations a "smear campaign."

bigcitylib said...


Well, the whole point of this post is to question the existence of Ms. Bolan's list. Is it real or imaginary? If the latter, should she have written about an imaginary list?

Wilson 61,

Nice to hear about your kids. How does their behavior relate to the issue at hand?

Ti-Guy said...

Oh, gawd...that indefitguable troll has kids?

...Lord help them.

Anonymous said...

When in doubt, invoke a conspiracy theory.

Anonymous said...