More coverage of Ontario Votes 2011
CBC Ottawa

Welcome to the Ottawa blog. Here you'll find all sorts of posts from the people who work at CBC Ottawa.

We'll feature check-ins from our reporters working on stories across the national capital region. We'll have updates from our show producers on what they're working on for their shows. We'll try and give you more of a peek behind the curtain here at CBC Ottawa. We'll attempt to be more transparent about the stories we're chasing, and why we think they're important.

And we hope to hear from you -- your thoughts, and comments, and your photos and videos. Be part of the conversation on the Ottawa blog.

LRT settlement approved for $36,718,500

September 11, 2009 | 11:30 AM

17 yays, 4 nays Settlement has been approved. City council has agreed to pay $36,718,500 in the two lawsuits combined.

Councillors ready to vote

September 11, 2009 | 11:21 AM

Councillors are now about to vote on the proposed settlement.

Some councillors opposed to LRT settlement

September 11, 2009 | 10:46 AM

Councillor Diane Deans let council, most particularly the mayor, know how unhappy she is with the proposed settlement. She yelled into her microphone that she feels the city is about to waste close to $37 million.

City's tallies spending to get to proposed LRT settlement

September 11, 2009 | 10:43 AM

Tally of the city's legal and consultant fees to get to today's proposed settlement: $2.4 million.

Council discusses how it could pay for LRT settlement

September 11, 2009 | 10:39 AM

Councillor Peter Hume has proposed to authorize the city treasurer to offer interim financing for the settlement and then prepare a permanent funding strategy in time for 2010 budget deliberations. We might not know for a while what the impact of all this is going to be when it comes to taxpayers.

City discusses possible LRT settlement

September 11, 2009 | 10:29 AM

The motion to accept the proposed settlement is currently being discussed. One city official says the engineering designs that the city would get as part of that settlement would be useful to the city -- and worth millions of dollars.

News of LRT lawsuit

September 11, 2009 | 10:22 AM

Nick Gamache is at City Hall...

After a quick discussion about whether to go in-camera, councillors decided to discuss the terms of a proposed settlement with the companies that are suing Ottawa over the cancellation of the north-south LRT project. The proposed deal states that the city would have to pay one lump some payment of $36,718,500 to the plaintiffs. City lawyers say that is the best possible deal for the city at this point.

On the Air

September 01, 2009 | 03:19 PM

More from Paula Waddell, Executive Producer of Ottawa Regional News...

A big cheer went up in our newsroom last night when weatherman Ian Black popped up on the screen and said "It's 5 o'clock. The news starts now."

CBC Ottawa has now launched its two new early local newscasts - Ottawa at 5 and Ottawa at 5:30. Both programs were followed by Ottawa at 6.

All the reporters made their deadlines, all the scripts were done in time...we had a few close calls, items fed from the rest of the country came in later than expected. We are calling it a success from the bench but it will be the audience that will decide if it likes the options of getting local news earlier in the evening.

Launch Day!!!

August 31, 2009 | 03:04 PM

This from Paula Waddell, Executive Producer of Ottawa Regional News...

So far no one in the newsroom looks ready to take orbit...the stress and tension of meeting earlier deadlines seems to be under control. No major problems, yet!

It's less than two hours to go before our debut of Ottawa at 5:00, Ottawa at 5;30 and Ottawa at 6.

Get this...a radio reporter was the first to file and meet the TV deadline. Evan Dyer's piece on tobacco and drug-smuggling on the St. Lawrence River is ready to go. The quality of the pictures shot on the river with a flip-cam are surprisingly good! Evan's first report on this story was rolled out on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning this morning. I hope people heard the plug for coverage on our newscast tonight.

We have good local stories tonight...and we are live at 5 p.m.! I know my parents will be watching. They love CBC News no matter what...I hope the rest of our audience likes the changes.

More Local CBC News - Sooner!

August 27, 2009 | 03:22 PM

This from Paula Waddell, Executive Producer of Ottawa Regional News...

What can I scratch off the to-do list in the next fifteen minutes?

Viewers must be questioning some of those wonky wide shots during our newscasts in the last couple of days. Mastering robotic cameras is a little tougher than I thought. There are a few things to learn by launch day.

The CBC is going to be first in this city to deliver local news and weather in the evening. On Monday August 31, viewers will see CBC Ottawa's expanded local news programming. We are adding 2 new local newscasts: CBC News: Ottawa at 5:00 and CBC News: Ottawa at 5:30. Ottawa at 6 remains our flagship supper hour news program. Lucy van Oldenbarneveld will host all programs.

August has been a blur of organized chaos. Reporters are filing early, preparing for the new deadlines. We are conducting rehearsals, wrestling new technologies and helping staff deal with change. All this and we continue to deliver CBC News: Ottawa at Six. We have such a talented team of journalists here.

During this economy, it's a great feeling to be talking about "expanding" not 'cutting" local news. We're going for it.

Justice Cunningham's ruling released

August 05, 2009 | 02:56 PM

Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Cunningham's decision in the O'Brien trial.

Mayor O'Brien on CBC at 5:40 p.m.

August 05, 2009 | 01:50 PM

Want to hear Mayor Larry O'Brien's take on his criminal trial and the judge's decision?

He's scheduled to talk to:

  • CBC Radio's All in a Day at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday. Listen at 91.5 FM or live online.
  • CBC TV's Ottawa at Six just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Watch it on TV or online.
  • CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning at 7:15 a.m. Thursday. Listen at 91.5 FM or online.

O'Brien not guilty

August 05, 2009 | 11:08 AM

The judge has ruled that Mayor Larry O'Brien is not guilty on both charges. Applause filled the courtroom.

-Alistair Steele

O'Brien looks relieved

August 05, 2009 | 10:56 AM

Cunningham: John Light's loyalty to Terry Kilrea "colours his evidence." Lisa McLeod's evidence was "so imprecise...I cannot give it any weight." There go the Crown's two key witnesses.

O'Brien is looking relieved. He even managed a chuckle just now at something the judge said.

-Alistair Steele

Judge leaning towards "not guilty"

August 05, 2009 | 10:50 AM

Justice Cunningham is quite clearly leaning towards a not guilty decision. He hasn't accepted any of the evidence the Crown based its case on. It's looking like O'Brien is headed back to the mayor's office. But stay tuned, no decision yet.

-Alistair Steele

Judge reviews witnesses' evidence

August 05, 2009 | 10:39 AM

Justice Cunningham is now going over the evidence of the other witnesses, starting with pollster Dmitri Pantazopoulos.

-Alistair Steele

Judge seems to side with defence

August 05, 2009 | 10:23 AM

So far the judge appears to be siding with the defence and O'Brien's version of events.

-Alistair Steele

Read More »

Judge summarizing evidence in O'Brien case

August 05, 2009 | 10:16 AM

Justice Cunningham is carefully reviewing all the significant evidence. -Alistair Steele

Mayor Larry O'Brien arrives at the courthouse

August 05, 2009 | 09:54 AM

The mayor has arrived with his wife, his sons and former city security chief Bob Gauvreau. O'Brien is chatting with his lawyer Michael Edelson. There is real tension in this room. You could hear a pin drop if it wasn't for the plush red carpet.

The Crown had arrived just a few minutes earlier. There are a few councillors here, including Jan Harder and Bob Monette.

-Alistair Steele

An overflow courtroom has been set up to accommodate the huge crowd.

-Cory O'Kelly

Read More »

O'Brien's defence team arrives

August 05, 2009 | 09:49 AM

Court room 37 is full, and there are still dozens of people waiting. O'Brien isn't here yet. His defense team has just arrived.

-Alistair Steele

Read More »

Spectators entering courthouse

August 05, 2009 | 09:37 AM

A huge crowd of at least 200 people, including dozens of journalists with cameras and microphones, were lined up outside the Ottawa courthouse this morning and have just started filing in, Alistair Steele reports.

Live coverage of O'Brien verdict starts after 10 a.m.

August 05, 2009 | 09:14 AM

A judge is expected to release his verdict in the criminal trial of Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien at 10 a.m. CBC will have live special coverage once that happens, likely starting shortly after the 10 a.m. newscast. More information is available here and the story will be updated with more information as soon as it's released.

You can listen live at 91.5 FM or online.

In the meantime, reporter Alistair Steele is aleady down at the courthouse. Here is what he is saying so far.

Reporter Evan Dyer summarized the happenings so far on Ottawa Morning. Host Kathleen Petty also spoke to the University of Ottawa law professor Stéphane Émard-Chabot about the upcoming decision in the latter part of the same clip.

The onslaught wins...

July 30, 2009 | 11:43 AM

Two weeks ago, when CBC Ottawa first broke the news of Rogers decision to no longer take PBS programming from WPBS in Watertown, reporter Kate Porter spoke to a company spokesperson. The spokesperson told her that Rogers had thought long and hard about the decision to air the Detroit PBS affiliate in Ottawa, rather than the one from northern New York. But it told her the decision was final. Well we here at the Ottawa Blog predicted an onslaught of angry viewers writing to Rogers. And an onslaught is what Rogers got. Today it changed its mind. Rogers customers in Ottawa will continue to get WPBS in Watertown. Thing is, one wonders why Rogers couldn't see this one coming? Maybe the folks at Rogers believe there's no such thing as bad publicity.

A new date for a verdict...

July 28, 2009 | 02:05 PM

ottawa-090728-alistair-radio.jpg This from Alistair Steele...

So Larry O'Brien will hear his fate a week earlier than everyone expected. The news broke late yesterday afternoon (actually, the first anyone heard of it was on the "Zero Means Zero" blog just after 3 p.m. Hmmmm....) Justice Douglas Cunningham had set August 12 as the verdict date. It will now be August 5th. So is this good news or bad news for the mayor? What does it all mean? Likely very little. According to one of O'Brien's defense lawyers, Vince Clifford, the change came at the request of the court, and such requests typically have more to do with the judge's schedule than anything else. In other words, don't read too much into it. On another note, the verdict will be delivered in the larger, grander court room 37 instead of the more modest court room 36.

The comments' section...

July 22, 2009 | 12:20 PM

This from the Ottawa blog's moderator...Andy Clarke...

There's been lots of discussion around here the past couple of days about the reaction to the incident in Kanata on Sunday morning where five cyclists were injured. Reading the comments section below the original web article on the incident, reminded me in a way of the dog debate -- you know the one that pits dog owners who want Fido to be able to run free, and without restraint, versus those who believe that any dog off its leash is trouble waiting to happen. There is very little middle ground in that debate. And reading the comments attached to the bike story, there appeared to be very little middle ground between drivers and cyclists. After a while, the comments section basically degenerates into a mutual recrimination session between the two, each taking shots at the other side for the transgressions the other side apparently routinely commits.
So there was lots of talk about that, and what it meant. I wanted to write something up for the blog commenting on the comments. But it was a struggle. And so for a different perspective I turned to the imaginative brain that belongs to CBC Ottawa web journalist Kerry MacGregor. Kerry can consistently be counted on to deliver a different take on events of the day. She suggests that this is one of those instances where our own perspectives change depending on what we're doing. When we're driving, we curse those cyclists who we believe are taking up too much of the road. When we're cycling, we rail against aggressive drivers who don't give us enough room. When we're walking, we're prepared to be pissed off at both -- drivers who are in too much of a rush to turn right against the light, or cyclists who think the sidewalk belongs to them. Her point is that all those feelings can be expressed by the same person. I'll admit that I occassionally cycle on a sidewalk to cut the wrong way down a one-way street on my bike, but if I see someone else do it, I think..."look at that idiot". What do you think? Is there any middle ground here? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Alexei Kovalev...Sens saviour?

July 21, 2009 | 04:26 PM

ottawa-090721-pawson.jpg This from reporter Chad Pawson...

Russian hockey star Alexei Kovalev put a Ottawa Senators jersey over his head for the first time this morning. He was introduced to the media by Senator's General Manager Bryan Murray at Scotiabank Place. He was surrounded by school-children wearing Senators jerseys. There was also Justin Payer, the first fan to buy a Sens jersey with Kovalev's number 27 on the back. Kovalev stood with Murray at the podium and took questions about helping the Senators return to their form of two years ago. That's when the team made it to the Stanley Cup finals. He says he wants to be the "spark" that the team is missing. He also says he would like to see Dany Heatley remain a Senator. Kovalev is 36 years old, but says he still has a lot of hockey left to play. He says he'd like to play until he's 50 years old. However, as he walked through the basement of the building from the media room to his stall in the dressing room to pose for photographs, I couldn't help but notice a stiffness to his left leg. He seemed to walk with a slight limp, like his left knee was sore. Here's hoping it's only a little lactic acid from his latest round of golf.

What about Corso Giacomo Panico, or Stu Mills Way?..

July 21, 2009 | 10:16 AM

ottawa-090625-gamache-photo.jpg

This from Nick Gamache...

A couple of months ago, I worked on a story about the controversy surrounding a new street in Ottawa. Some residents of a new development off the Vanier Parkway weren't (and still aren't) happy with their street name: Madeleine Meilleur Private. Madeleine Meilleur is the Liberal MPP for the area. Officials at the city of Ottawa say Meilleur's name was put forward, and given her contribution to the area over the years, naming a street in her honour only made sense. Some residents disagree. They told me at the time it was unacceptable to name a street after a serving politician. Some of them are still hoping the city will change the name. A friend of mine recently sent me a picture from a small town near Montmagny, about an hour east of Quebec City. I know the street sign has nothing to do with me. At least I hope not, because if it does, I missed the unveiling ceremony! The street was probably named after one of my ancestors... but still, makes a young reporter think...

A new museum for science and tech...

July 17, 2009 | 02:39 PM

ottawa-090716-porter.jpg

Our arts reporter Kate Porter is working on a story today about a new location for the national Science and Technology Museum. It's been reported in a couple of places that the old Domtar site along the Ottawa River is under consideration. Bloc MP Richard Nadeau appears to be the source for that suggestion. But Kate's reporting suggests M. Nadeau may be getting a little ahead of himself. Plans for a new museum are indeed afoot. But the folks at Science and Tech appear to want a building that symbolizes the museum's raison d'etre, and it's not clear a heritage site along the Ottawa River does that. At the very least, it appears to be a little early in the process to be suggesting that space is where the museum will end up. We'd like to hear your thoughts on where a new Science and Technology museum should go, and what it should be. And stay tuned to CBC Radio Ottawa for more on the story.

An update on the WPBS story...

July 16, 2009 | 03:27 PM

ottawa-090716-porter.jpg

Reporter Kate Porter spoke to Rogers earlier today. It says it thought long and hard about the decision to air the Detroit PBS affiliate in Ottawa, rather than the one from northern New York. But Rogers says the decision is final. All in a Day will have a full interview with the both the president of the Watertown PBS affiliate, Tom Hanley, and the program director, Lynn Brown, about the Rogers decision just after 4 this afternoon. WPBS is expecting a lot of support from its Ottawa area viewers. It sounds like Rogers is prepared for the onslaught. What do you think of the decision?

What, no more Bill Saiff?

July 16, 2009 | 10:52 AM

ottawa-090716-okelly.jpg Ottawa at Six reporter Cory O'Kelly is working on a great story. We'll let him pick up the tale...

We got a call from a viewer letting us know that cable giant Rogers is informing customers in Ottawa this week that come August 18th it will drop the PBS affiliate in upstate New York -- known to many in this area as WNPE/WNPI -- and replace it with a PBS station from Detroit. Why does this matter? Well WPBS in Watertown holds a unique place in the hearts of Ottawa Valley TV viewers. For more than 35 years, Ottawa area viewers have been supporting the station with donations of thousands of dollars annually. A lot of the programming available on the station -- British imports like the soap EastEnders, or comedies like "As Time Goes By" -- are geared towards, and supported by, the Ottawa area audience. Here's how important Ottawa is to the northern New York PBS station. I spoke to program director Lynn Brown this morning. We were supposed to do a phone interview. Instead, she was at a border crossing on her way to Ottawa to do in-person interviews with CBC Ottawa. She says the WPBS station in northern New York cannot afford to lose its Ottawa viewers. As for a response from Rogers, it's struggling to find someone to speak to us on-camera. It told WPBS that the decision to take the Detroit PBS station is a result of "streamlining". As well, Rogers didn't bother to inform WPBS in Watertown of its decision. The station got Rogers on the blower only after it was informed of the decision by an Ottawa area viewer.
CBC Ottawa will have more on this story throughout the day. Stay tuned.

Giacomo Panico, intrepid reporter.

July 09, 2009 | 10:51 AM

ottawa-090709-giacomo.jpg
The newsdesk can be a lonely place at 4:30 in the morning. Other than security guards and cleaners, pretty much your only conversations are by telephone with fire and police to check-in on overnight events. This morning I made my usual call to the fire department, only to be told that they were at that very moment responding to a fire just two blocks east of our studio. The popular 73 North restaurant on Sparks Street near Metcalfe was on fire. So what better way to report on a morning story than to trot over with a small portable camera and cover the scene. Here's some of the action. The details: officials say the fire started in the kitchen; damage estimated at $100,000.

And here I was hoping to take the Day off...

July 08, 2009 | 03:11 PM

This from Alistair Steele, who's blogging from the last council meeting before September...

So much for Shannon Tweed Day. Both that day, and this one, may soon be days Acting Mayor Doug Thompson will want to forget. On his first day on the job as Acting Mayor, the Osgoode councillor told the Ottawa Sun he's proclaiming July 15th Shannon Tweed Day in honour of the former Playboy Playmate and current partner of Kiss bassist and shameless self-promoter Gene Simmons. That's the day Kiss is playing Bluesfest, and Tweed, who once called Ottawa home, is coming here to party. Not so fast, Mr. Thompson. Some of his colleagues on council have reacted with outrage. Perhaps the former "actress" is not the best role model for young women, they're saying. Not to mention what some of the other people who have earned their own days will think. I just asked Jan Harder if Acting Mayor Thompson "misspoke". "Ya think?" she replied. Pressures mounting on Thompson to rescind the gesture.

Larry O'Brien...

July 07, 2009 | 03:19 PM

will have to wait five more weeks until he hears his fate.

Justice Cunningham will deliver his decision...

July 07, 2009 | 03:15 PM

on Wednesday August 12th.

Hutchison has wrapped with this...

July 07, 2009 | 03:13 PM

Hutchison has a completely different take on the subject of the e-mail conversation between O'Brien and Kilrea. "Why on earth would Mr. O'Brien be following up with John Baird on behalf of Terry Kilrea? The only issue on the table at that point is the question of an appointment."

The rebuttal...

July 07, 2009 | 03:06 PM

Hutchison says there's nothing in the evidence that would lead to the conclusion that there was any "forensic problem" with the e-mails. He points out the Edelson could have called Tim Tierney to the witness stand, but didn't either.

Right of reply...

July 07, 2009 | 02:52 PM

Crown Scott Hutchison says his reply will take about 20 minutes.

Edelson's done...

July 07, 2009 | 02:52 PM

Edelson: "If you accept what Mr. O'Brien says in his statement, there is no offence." Edelson rests.

The video gets more play...

July 07, 2009 | 02:47 PM

We're still on the OPP interview. Edelson has pulled out a number of statements to support the idea that O'Brien was blindsided by the allegations.

Plausible deniability...

July 07, 2009 | 02:25 PM

Edelson refutes Hutchison's claim that there's no concrete denial during the OPP interview. There are several points where he does indeed seem to be denying making an offer.

Larry's story...

July 07, 2009 | 02:12 PM

Edelson on O'Brien's OPP interview, the only time we'll hear the mayor tell his version of the story during this trial: "He's not obtuse, he's not evasive...his language was colourful, but ultimately credible and reliable."

Back at it...

July 07, 2009 | 02:08 PM

Edelson is continuing his closing argument.

We're on lunch...

July 07, 2009 | 12:54 PM

Edelson accuses both Dimmock and union leader Sean McKenny of lying to protect their source, namely the "devious" Kilrea. Lunch break.

Home of the whopper...

July 07, 2009 | 12:51 PM

On Kilrea's explanation that someone may have swiped the e-mails from his home computer during an open house: "That was a gob-smnacking whopper." More adjectives fly. "The inference is clear: Mr. Kilrea conveyed those e-mails to Gary Dimmock, and did it through his wife."

Email questions...

July 07, 2009 | 12:47 PM

Edelson's now revisiting the question of how Gary Dimmock at the Ottawa Citizen got those e-mails before the police did. I'm sure Det. Sgt. Mason, who's sitting in the front row, would like to know too.

I bet Edelson doesn't get an invite to the Kilrea Christmas party...

July 07, 2009 | 12:43 PM

Never one to mince words, here's what Edelson really thinks of Terry Kilrea: "Vindictive, hypocritical, mean-spirited, profane...that's the Kilrea we're dealing with, that's an insight into the person. He's a mean-spirited hypocrite...Let's not forget he's also disingenuous, insincere, has secret motives, is devious, underhanded and circuitous." Oh yeah, he's also "dumb like a fox. He's street-smart...we know that without doubt." But what do you really think, Mr. Edelson?

Reynolds...

July 07, 2009 | 12:33 PM

Edelson says John Reynolds' testimony supported O'Brien's version of events, not Kilrea's.

Not a big deal...

July 07, 2009 | 12:31 PM

Summing up his thoughts on McLeod's testimony, which the Crown yesterday called "central" to its case, Edelson says: "This by a long shot does not confirm what the Crown was saying...it's not evidence that should carry any weight with the court whatsoever."

Impatience...

July 07, 2009 | 12:25 PM

Justice Cunningham has just shown his first real sign of impatience. "I'm aware of that evidence." Edelson quickly moves on.

Lisa MacLeod...

July 07, 2009 | 12:19 PM

Now Edelson is on to Lisa MacLeod. "Where's the evidence" that O'Brien was still "working on something for Terry" at the end of July? The court heard otherwise from Baird, John Reynolds and David Penner. "If this was the pretense of influence, if it was a sting operation, what was the point of telling Lisa MacLeod he was still working on it? It was not even on the horizon."

Hear Alistair Steele's...

July 07, 2009 | 12:15 PM

take on Michael Edelson's detailed closing arguments on Tuesday morning here.

Gossip guys...

July 07, 2009 | 12:10 PM

Edelson has now set his sights on the testimony of political aide John Light one of the "building blocks" of the Crown's case. "This guy is a partisan player...he is involved in dirty tricks." Edelson says Light was bitter because he was first courted, then stood up by the O'Brien camp. Edelson completely dismisses the testimony of the "trinity" of witnesses Light, Greg Strong and Thom Bennett. "This is all chatter, this is political chatter, this is rumor, this is gossip, nothing more, nothing less."

More kicks at Kilrea...

July 07, 2009 | 11:52 AM

Edelson is revisiting -- in fastidious detail -- Kilrea's version of his troubles with his employer -- the ministry of the Attorney-General. He's pointing out a series of clear contradictions in Kilrea's testimony. "One wonders what other lies he's capable of," Edelson says.

Back to the emails...

July 07, 2009 | 11:33 AM

Edelson is back on the e-mails. Police gave Kilrea's webmaster Tim Tierney a week's notice that they were coming to search his hard drive. Edelson says the day before police showed up at his door, Tierney manipulated the e-mails, gathering the pertinent ones into a single file. He had been asked not to touch them. Kilrea has referred to e-mails between himself and Baird which never materialized. "The integrity of the e-mails remains in question to some degree. Those questions have never been answered."

We're on break...

July 07, 2009 | 11:16 AM

Back for more of Edelson's thorough summation in a bit.

The Tim's meeting...

July 07, 2009 | 11:02 AM

Edelson says the discussion at the Tim's meeting was really about Kilrea's assets, like his website, and not about the parole board offer. He says that was Det. Sgt. Mason's impression when he interviewed Kilrea.

Speaking in shorthand...

July 07, 2009 | 10:53 AM

Edelson is fond of referring to key events in short form: the "I screwed up call," the "in the queue conversation"...and of course, the infamous "Tim's meeting" between O'Brien and Kilrea.

When Terry met Dmitri

July 07, 2009 | 10:45 AM

Edelson's now on Kilrea's account of his meeting with Dmitri Pantazopoulos, an account that the pollster contradicts at practically every turn.

Did O'Brien say 'I screwed up..?'

July 07, 2009 | 10:43 AM

Edelson says the "I screwed up" conversation between O'Brien and Kilrea never happened. Rather, it's the product of Kilrea's habit of attributing his own thoughts to others. Mimicking Kilrea, Edelson told the court: "'That's the impression I got'...when you hear those words coming out of his mouth, your honour, you know he's not telling the truth."

By late July...

July 07, 2009 | 10:35 AM

Edelson is now attacking the Crown's claim that the alleged offer was still on the table in late July. He points out that after that e-mail exchange about Kilrea's employment woes on July 17, Kilrea initiated every single conversation between the two men. Edelson says O'Brien's pollster Dmitri Pantazopoulos had by that time told O'Brien to cut off communication with Kilrea because the O'Brien campaign no longer needed him.

An alternate explanation...

July 07, 2009 | 10:23 AM

With respect to the e-mail chain between Kilrea and Baird -- the one where Kilrea tells O'Brien he's set up a meeting with Baird and O'Brien replies: "Great!!!" -- Edelson says the two men were actually talking about Kilrea's troubles with his employer, not an appointment to the parole board.

More email stuff...

July 07, 2009 | 10:14 AM

Edelson is dealing with the e-mail chain between Kilrea and John Baird. Again, Baird appears to know nothing about an appointment for Kilrea to the Parole Board.

Missing email...

July 07, 2009 | 09:57 AM

Terry Kilrea told police he e-mailed Baird to say he wasn't interested in an appointment. No such e-mail has been uncovered.

The emails in question...

July 07, 2009 | 09:55 AM

About those e-mails, the "bedrock" of the Crown's case, Edelson says "there's a total disconnect between Kilrea's narrative...and what was in the e-mails." Kilrea had "a total failure of memory" about what was in those messages.

Lots of terrific...

July 07, 2009 | 09:49 AM

coverage of yesterday's events available here.

It begins again...

July 07, 2009 | 09:46 AM

alistair_steele.jpg

Alistair Steele is back blogging from the trial of Larry O'Brien.

Court is in session, and defence lawyer Michael Edelson is continuing his closing arguments with the "in the queue" phone call, and Terry Kilrea's various versions of it.

Adjourned...

July 06, 2009 | 04:56 PM

Until 930 a.m. tomorrow. Edelson is expected to wrap by end of day.

Paging Mr. Kurtz...

July 06, 2009 | 04:40 PM

Edelson is now focusing on what he calls "the heart of darkness"...the alleged offer. Under oath, Kilrea offered three different versions of just what O'Brien said to him. "That's your credible, reliable witness," says Edelson.

A list of the inconsistencies...

July 06, 2009 | 04:22 PM

Edelson in going about his closing submissions in his typically detailed manner. He's pointing now to inconsistencies in Kilrea's testimony, focusing at the moment on the infamous "ratf**k" episode.

This is going to take a while...

July 06, 2009 | 04:12 PM

Stephane Emard-Chabot notes that the opening statement to Edelson's closing argument was an hour and a half. He's just now starting in on the argument itself. It will take a while.

Break...

July 06, 2009 | 03:39 PM

They'll be back at it in courtroom 36 shortly.

No quid pro quo...

July 06, 2009 | 03:32 PM

Edelson: "There was no quid pro quo...so long as Larry O'Brien has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have assisted Terry Kilrea as part of a quid pro quo, there is no offence."

Who had influence?..

July 06, 2009 | 03:27 PM

Edelson asks why O'Brien would send Kilrea to see Baird about a parole board job, when Kilrea actually knew the minister better than O'Brien did. Why would he "pretend to have influence" with the one man who would reveal to Kilrea that that influence was just that...a pretense? "It makes no sense at its heart. It's absurd."

Kilrea's doing...

July 06, 2009 | 03:13 PM

Edelson says at the end of the July 12 meeting, it was Kilrea who "unilaterally" introduced the subject of a) an appointment to the parole board, b) a federal appointment, and c) an appointment to the National Parole Board.

Excuse me while I take this call...

July 06, 2009 | 03:01 PM

Every once in a while, someone in the court room forgets to turn of the ringer on his or her cell phone. Very embarrassing, and judges don't like it. Even more embarrassing when it happens to a lawyer in the middle of his closing submissions, as it just did to Michael Edelson. To make matters worse, he couldn't seem to figure out how to turn it off. To lighten the mood, he told the judge: "It's my wife, and she won't give up!"

Not a fan...

July 06, 2009 | 02:53 PM

But what does Edelson really think of Kilrea's testomony? It was also evasive, inconsistent, obtuse, false and untrue...and at least half a dozen other adjectives.

Kilrea's credibility...

July 06, 2009 | 02:49 PM

As Hutchison predicted, Edelson is attacking Kilrea's credibility. He says Kilrea is "unreliable and not credible." On the credibility of witnesses, Edelson is referring to a text edited by none other than his "friend," Scott Hutchison.

More from Edelson...

July 06, 2009 | 02:39 PM

Edelson repeats it was Kilrea, not O'Brien, who raised the issue of the National Parole Board, and he says the evidence proves it.

"No evidence..."

July 06, 2009 | 02:19 PM

Edelson: "There is no evidence before you of any actual exercise of influence."

Now we play defence...

July 06, 2009 | 02:16 PM

Michal Edelson is on his feet.

Crown finishes...

July 06, 2009 | 01:06 PM

Hutchison urges the judge to find O'Brien guilty. Lunch break. Edelson's turn at 2:15.

Influence...

July 06, 2009 | 12:55 PM

Hutchison admits he hasn't proved O'Brien had any influence, but he has presented evidence to show O'Brien PRETENDED to have that influence.

Ring of truth?..

July 06, 2009 | 12:51 PM

Hutchison calls Kilrea "an inherently credible witness...an even-tempered, candid, honest witness who did his best to tell you the truth." So what about his occasional self-contradictions or evolving versions? Hutchison says they're "more likely to sound like the ring of truth than they do the thud of deceit" because only people who aren't telling the truth tell exactly the same story every time.

I knew Machiavelli, and Terry Kilrea is no...

July 06, 2009 | 12:46 PM

Hutchison: "There are a lot of adjectives that come to mind when one thinks of Terry Kilrea. Machiavellian schemer isn't one of them." He says Kilrea would have to be "some kind of genius" to have come up with a story that was later corroborated by objective evidence. He says where O'Brien's story makes sense is where it matches Kilrea's; where it breaks down is where is strays from Kilrea's version of events.

Hear Alistair Steele's wrap...

July 06, 2009 | 12:32 PM

on morning events in the trial of Larry O'Brien here.

Remembering John Light...

July 06, 2009 | 12:21 PM

He's now on the evidence of John Light, who testified that in early August 2006, Tory fundraiser Thom Bennett told him "Terry's going to be out of the race" and that Kilrea was being "offered something."

What about Lisa MacLeod?..

July 06, 2009 | 12:18 PM

Hutchison says if all he had were the phone calls ans e-mails, he'd have a "good" case. But he has more. "I have a sitting member of the Ontario Legislature who came to this court, swore on a bible, and said she met with Larry O'Brien (in late July, 2006)...and she is clear that when the issue of Mr. Kilrea came up, Mr. O'Brien said "we're talking to Terry about an appointment"...How on earth can that statement to Lisa MacLeod be squared with the claim that this was a dead issue on July 12th?" Hutchison says this is "nothing less than an admission" by O'Brien. He says MacLeod's evidence is "absolutlely central. It is unanswered."

We're back...

July 06, 2009 | 12:05 PM

Hutchison is continuing with his submissions, focusing again on the e-mails and phone calls that followed that first meeting.

We're on break...

July 06, 2009 | 11:38 AM

they'll be back at it in courtroom 36 shortly.

The case against Larry O'Brien...

July 06, 2009 | 11:10 AM

Hutchison says if the story had ended with the first July meeting, the case would be a "difficult" one for the Crown. But it didn't. Now he's itemizing the phone calls and coversations that followed.

Swinging dicks...

July 06, 2009 | 11:10 AM

In his closing argument, Hutchison has referred to the "big swinging dick contest" at least 10 times already. An attempt to embarrass the mayor here in the courtroom?

The "guilty act"...

July 06, 2009 | 10:53 AM

Hutchsion on O'Brien's statement, "what if I can make that happen?"..."There's really only one way to read that. That's the start of the actus reus of the offence." The actus reus, of course, is the "guilty act."

Reasons to leave...

July 06, 2009 | 10:48 AM

Hutchison points out it was O'Brien who called the July 12 meeting, with the express intent of getting Kilrea to drop out of the race. He says it's "perfectly consistent" to conclude O'Brien was offering Kilrea "something to go to...Terry Kilrea wasn't going to quit because Larry O'Brien sweet-talked him over coffee at 700 Sussex...O'Brien had to give him a reason to leave."

More from the Crown...

July 06, 2009 | 10:41 AM

Hutchison is both praising and distancing his case from Kilrea's testimony. He says obviously that evidence plays an important role, but "this case is not just about Terry Kilrea. There is underlying and surrounding his evidence, a matrix of corroborating and confirmatory evidence that should at the end of the day answer any issues my friend raises about Mr. Kilrea's credibility." He says that evidence is found in phone records, e-mails, and the testimony of John Light and Lisa Mcleod.

More...

July 06, 2009 | 10:35 AM

Hutchison says O'Brien held out to Terry Kilrea that he had influence with the federal government and with John Baird, that he could help Kilrea get a job, and that he offered to exchange that assistance for Kilrea's withdrawl from the race. He says the phone calls and e-mails between O'Brien and others amount to negotiations.

On to the Crown's closing argument...

July 06, 2009 | 10:29 AM

Hutchison says the evidence does establish beyond reasonable doubt the offences in question were committed.

No witnesses for the defence...

July 06, 2009 | 10:25 AM

The defence calls no evidence.

That housekeeping matter...

July 06, 2009 | 10:24 AM

The issue they're clearing up now is the admissibility of testimony that arose from the lunch meeting between Terry Kilrea and Dmitri Pantazopoulos.

Stephane spots a clue?..

July 06, 2009 | 10:21 AM

Crown Scott Hutchison is starting this morning with some housekeeping issues. Meanwhile our eagle-eyed legal analyst noticed the Crown handing over what looked like closing submissions to OPP detectives in the front row. If true, it's a strong sign the defence is going to wrap it up without calling witnesses. The Crown would then go first with closing submissions, which could take a couple hours.

We're underway...

July 06, 2009 | 10:14 AM

Order, all rise.