A retired lawyer has asked Vancouver police to investigate a comment made during a television interview that the founder of WikiLeaks should be assassinated, the CBC's Lisa Johnson reports
Calgary police are investigating whether Tom Flanagan, a former adviser to Stephen Harper, broke any laws when he suggested in a CBC interview that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be killed.
That follows a request by a B.C. lawyer that the Vancouver police probe the same comments by Flanagan, a professor at the University of Calgary.
Calgary police Supt. Kevan Stuart said in a statement Monday that the police "will be gathering all facts and compiling a package that will be forwarded to the Crown prosecutor's office for review." The Crown will determine if this is a criminal matter, he said.
According to weekend reports, Gail Davidson, who is with the group Lawyers Against the War, filed a complaint with Vancouver police, alleging that Flanagan "counselled and/or incited the assassination of Julian Assange contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada."
The complaint was filed Saturday, according to an article on the website of the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver weekly.
"We can't just take to the airwaves suggesting that various people be killed," Davidson said in a Sunday interview with Postmedia News.
Last week in an edition of CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, Flanagan said U.S. President Barack Obama "should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something" on Assange.
"I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," Flanagan said with a laugh. When asked to expand on his answer, he added that he "wouldn't be unhappy" if Assange "disappeared."
When Solomon commented that his position was "pretty harsh stuff," Flanagan said he was "feeling very manly today."
A couple of days later, Flanagan apologized for his "thoughtless, glib" remarks and said he wasn't seriously suggesting or advocating the assassination of Assange.
Assange not amused
But Assange and his lawyer have both since called for Flanagan to be charged with incitement to commit murder.
On Monday, Assange lawyer Mark Stephens told CBC News that the assassination suggestions from Flanagan and others, along with a revived investigation into alleged sexual assaults, seem to be part of an international campaign to discredit his client.
"We have seen that the warrants that … this woman prosecutor has issued have come in the very week that [WikiLeaks] released the cables and been the subject of cyber attacks and suggestions by Sarah Palin that he ought to be assassinated and similar suggestions broadcast in Canada," he said from London.
"So, one has to say that maybe there is more to this than meets the eye."
Last week, Liberal MP Denis Coderre filed an official complaint with the CBC's ombudsman Vince Carlin regarding what he called a "declaration to incite violence."
But other former Liberals were giving Flanagan the benefit of the doubt. Scott Reid, a former Liberal adviser to prime minister Paul Martin who was on the same program panel with Flanagan, said he believed Flanagan was being "his usual colourful and provocative self " and was "obviously talking tongue-in-cheek."