The defiant creator of the Twitter account that exposed details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's messy divorce expresses little remorse for his actions and says he alone was responsible for posting the information on the Internet.
Adam Carroll, who was fired as manager of caucus resources for the Liberal research bureau when his involvement with the Vikileaks30 account was uncovered, told members of Commons ethics committee Tuesday that he volunteered to testify before them out of respect for Parliament and to bring the matter to a close.
But the former staffer quickly made it clear he has little but contempt for the Conservatives who demanded that he appear. The Speaker of the House of Commons has declared the matter closed, and the former NDP chair of the committee ruled the Conservative motion to call him as a witness out of order, he reminded the MPs.
"I, and I alone, am the author of that Vikileaks30 posting site," Mr. Carroll said. "I was never ordered or asked to do it. I never discussed my actions with any member of Parliament including [Bob Rae,]the Interim Leader of the Liberal Party."
Under questioning from Conservatives who did their best to implicate other Liberals in the Twitter feed, Mr. Carroll said Mr. Rae had fired him when his actions were exposed. The Liberal chief later apologized in the Commons for Mr. Carroll's actions.
But Mr. Carroll said he had no regrets about what he had done. All of the information that was posted was already on the public record and obtained from accessible sources, he said. And the Twitter site was created as a reaction to legislation introduced by Mr. Toews that would allow police to "spy" on the on-line activities of Canadians without a judicial order.
In defending the bill, Mr. Toews "infamously challenged all Canadians to 'either stand with us or with the child pornographers,'" Mr. Carroll told the committee. "Like most Canadians I was deeply offended by the minister's aggressive and deeply polarizing language.
Mr. Carroll said he published the first few tweets from home and then posted others from the computer in his office within the Liberal research bureau.
But he questioned the rationale for the investigation that was launched by Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to uncover his identity given that "no laws had been broken nor [was there]any evidence that any policies had been breeched."
There is plenty of evidence House of Commons Internet resources are being used to attack members of Parliament, he said, asking if the Conservatives would be willing to let the media go through their files to see what kinds of personal information they contain.
When Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, asked where Mr. Carroll obtained the court documents, Mr. Carroll said they were freely available in the Liberal office.
The Conservatives, who more than once accused Mr. Carroll of "playing the victim," repeatedly demanded to know the names of people who had access to the documents – a line of questioning the opposition New Democrats charged was designed to obtain secret intelligence about the Liberal Party.
The Conservatives also insisted on finding out whether Mr. Carroll had received severance pay when he was let go. He refused to answer that question and Scott Andrews, the Liberal MP on the committee, suggested the Tories consult the compensation rules that apply to their own staff because they would be the same as those that cover Liberal aides.
Eventually Mr. Del Mastro told the committee that, from what he had heard, it was obvious Mr. Carroll could not have set up the Twitter account by himself and that he had to have been put up to it by the Liberal Party.
"This was nothing but a partisan activity with co-ordination from the Liberal Leader's office and I believe you took a bullet for the team," he said. To which Mr. Carroll replied: "I disagree with everything Mr. Del Mastro has said. To use his words 'baseless smears' or, in the acronym, B.S."
NDP MP Charlie Angus called Mr. Del Mastro's accusations "conspiracy theories" and asked Mr. Carroll if he had any idea why the committee would be investigating Mr. Toews's messy divorce.
"I have also been wondering that same question for myself," the former Liberal staffer replied. "This is a sideshow, this is a distraction. The circumstances and events came out right when their robo-call scandal was beginning to break and this seemed like a very convenient way to turn the channel."