The Ottawa Citizen

Did You Really Think We Were Going to Publish That?

It all started innocently enough as a conversation with a most pleasant voice in the Ottawa Citizen’s advertising department. She explained that, based on the number of words in the ad, it would require half a page in the Ottawa Citizen and a full page in the Sun, at $4,100+tax and $2,500+tax respectively, for one day.

I warned her that our ad (I use the pronoun “we” and “our” when speaking on behalf of my company, Boreal Books) might be controversial. In that case, she said, it would have to be reviewed by higher-ups and therefore to allow seven days before publication, assuming it was approved.

On the third day, after receiving our advertising copy, she called to inform me that it had been rejected (without going into specifics, from what I remember) because of what senior management considered a preposterous claim.

I offered to modify and resubmit. She said I could do that, but it would have to be approved by the same people; and again, please allow for seven days. I got the distinct impression that history was repeating itself. The Citizen would not accept our add, no matter what. Therefore, what did I have to lose.

Dear Ms...,

Would it be possible for the paper to publish this Saturday the following simple, to the point advertisement? The claim made cannot be disputed if the decision makers have read


Shooting the Messenger

Till Death Do Us Part

244 pages $14.50 CDN

Thirty-five years ago the capital's leading newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, could have made a difference but instead deferred to the powers-that-be who did not want what they did to become public knowledge. It’s in the book. If you see this advertisement, it is because the paper has had a change of heart.

When no reply was forthcoming, I called her.

“Did you really think we were going to publish that?” she said.

“It was worth a try,” I replied. 

What if I tried to allay the decision makers’ qualms about what they may have considered controversial claims by providing a number of excerpts? How naive. It should have been obvious from her exclamation "Did you really think we were going to publish that?” that the Citizen did not care to carry advertising for a book that implicated it in a cover-up.

Dear Ms...,

I apologize for again burdening you with a thankless assignment, but I would like to present a case for you to pass on to the decision makers that I hope will convince them they were wrong to reject Boreal Books’ advertising.

From my understanding, the rejection is largely based on my claim, in the synopsis, that there was a multi-year, multi-million dollar fraud committed by members of Canada’s Foreign Service and administrative staff which they consider preposterous, not because the then Editor-in Chief, Keith Spicer, may have acquiesced to a cover-up.

Spicer spent a large part of his professional life as a mandarin in the service of political masters. That he would seek to protect other mandarins at the expense of a nobody is understandable, if deplorable. Following are two excerpts which will give you a feel for the adjudicator the Citizen, under Spicer’s watch, praised in print after he found me guilty of insubordination because he feared offending Joe Clark.

In a brief prepared for the Federal Court of Appeal, Treasury Board admits pulling a fast one with Joe Clark’s letter to me. In their Memorandum of Points of Arguments, lawyers for the Board acknowledged that Clark’s letter probably influenced Thomas W. Brown’s decision, but that the point is moot because neither Evelyne nor myself asked that he disqualify himself after he admitted to being concerned about the impact of the letter.

10. The applicant was immediately informed of the content of this conversation and at no subsequent time did the applicant or his representative request that the Adjudicator consequently disqualify himself from the case.

Cross-Examination of Evelyne Henry. Transcript added to the case by Order of the Court dated December 12, 1986.

I was not aware that this was an option, but surely Evelyne was. If she knew this was an option and did not exercise it, even after the adjudicator told her that he was ruling against her client to avoid making Clark out to be a liar, then her ethical lapse is doubly inexcusable. As to the actual fraud, without revealing how it came to light, two short excerpts where perpetrators admit to it.

During my hearing before Thomas W. Brown, Foreign Affairs claimed that I was fired because I refused to produce a report on currency gains and losses in the more than one hundred countries Canada had an embassy, high commission or consulate using a pencil and paper and a calculator after denying me access to the department’s mainframe computer where over a hundred thousand financial transactions received electronically each month were stored along with the programs that performed the calculations and collated the massive 300+ page monthly Currency Fluctuation Report.

The same year that I brought the first printout to my Director showing a seven million dollar shortfall in moneys that should have been returned to Ottawa, unbeknownst to me, the Treasury Board and Foreign Affairs were already making plans to integrate my system into the larger departmental Financial Management System (FMS).

I sent this proof of perjury to both Foreign Affairs and Treasury Board asking that the pension I lost when dismissed on a bogus insubordination accusation be reinstated. No such luck. Both said the case was closed. I have been trying to get my pension back ever since. It would have made a big difference. We might have kept the house where my wife had hoped to die.

As a Foreign Service Officer, who was also a neighbour for a number of years, told me, with barely concealed glee, that was never going to happen; the Foreign Service had a long memory.

If the decision makers have other concerns about our initial submission, I will try to address them; if not, I have to insist that the Citizen accept our advertising.

Thank you,

Bernard Payeur

Boreal Books

To my surprise, the Citizen was no longer accepting my emails. I sent the above under a different address. A short time later each link was visited, if only briefly, suggesting that it did not matter, whatever evidence we provided for the claims made in our ad, it would never be accepted. History was, indeed, repeating itself.