Police complaint filed after Tom Flanagan calls for assassination of Wikileaks' Julian Assange

Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson filed a written complaint today (December 4) with Vancouver police and the RCMP against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former campaign manager, Tom Flanagan.

Davidson alleged that on a November 30 CBC television broadcast, Flanagan "counselled and/or incited the assassination of Julian Assange contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada".

Assange is the founder of Wikileaks, which is releasing 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

On the Power and Politics program hosted by Evan Solomon, Flanagan said: “Well, I think [Julian] Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.”

On CBC TV, Tom Flanagan called for the killing of Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

Solmon responded by saying "that's pretty harsh stuff."

Flanagan replied: “Well I’m feeling very manly today.” He added that he wouldn't feel unhappy if Assange "disappeared".

In an interview with the Guardian, Assange suggested that "Mr. Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder."

Davidson requested that her complaint be investigated promptly by "competent and independent investigators". She wants a report and a copy of the complaint to be referred to an independent prosecutor for the approval of charges.

She also asked that she be kept informed by any officers or prosecutors involved in the case.

"Tom Flanagan has been a close advisor of Stephen Harper, as chronicled in his book, Harper’s Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power (2007, second edition 2009)," Davidson wrote in her complaint. "Flanagan managed Harper’s campaign to become leader of the Canadian Alliance party and then of the Conservative party. He managed the Conservative party campaign for the 2006 election and was the communications consultant for the Conservatives during the 2006 election campaign."

Flanagan has also served as Harper's chief of staff, and he is now a professor at the University of Calgary.

"Mr. Flanagan’s statement counselling and inciting the assassination of Julian Assange is directed generally to the public and specifically to President Obama," Davidson alleged in her complaint. "Mr. Flanagan was speaking as a man of authority who is called upon to advise the most powerful people in Canada. It is only reasonable to assume his incitement to assassinate Julian Assange may be acted on."

Davidson, a cofounder of Lawyers Against the War, filed seven criminal charges in Vancouver Provincial Court in 2004 against then-U.S. president George W. Bush. A justice of the peace accepted the charges, but they were later declared a "nullity" by Judge William Kitchen, who made this ruling after clearing his courtroom of the media and anyone else not directly connected to the case.

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PT Barnum

Dec 4, 2010 at 7:20pm

Legalities aside, it's foolhardy to call for anyone's assassination, on national television. What if someone decides to treat you with the same disdain?

Northern PoV

Dec 4, 2010 at 8:03pm

Go Gail!


Dec 4, 2010 at 9:02pm

same old story,if you dont like the message ,shoot the messenger,,only it is those in power whose words are being aired ,out to the public.,good that people like assange are alive and kicking,ass!

George Kirke

Dec 4, 2010 at 9:18pm

Of course such statments are to be condemned but this Vancouver left wing lawyer represents the crushing of free speech. What about the assasination fatwas that have been put out by Iran ? The lawyer is the real snake in the game. She gets free national publicity with college based stunts. As for Assange he is an elitistic opportunist who has yet to present himself for questioning in Sweden. Perhaps the Vancouver lawyer should be offering pro bono work for a rich playboy for defiling women.


Dec 4, 2010 at 9:32pm

Maybe the first Canadian political extremest?

Just saying

Dec 4, 2010 at 9:33pm

So he equates "feeling manly" with advocating murder. Very telling.

M Wolf

Dec 4, 2010 at 9:47pm

Calling for an assassination, be it genuinely or facetiously, is a most unscrupulous behavior for an alleged scholarly authority to engage in. Flanagan ought to learn that the key tenet of professorship is pedagogy, not demagogy. Then again, schmoozing with the anti-intellectualist Reform Party (or Conservative Party, or whatever it calls itself this week) does not go very far to advance one’s academic repute.

R U Kiddingme

Dec 4, 2010 at 10:15pm

Assassination is an old and somewhat honourable art, certainly much practiced by our political betters from time immemorial. However it is also a rather disgusting thing to say about the media. It is not like wikileaks was accused of publishing lies.

In this instance it is about an old fool reaching for macho hyperbole, rather like me when I am crosschecked at a hockey game. I say "I will kill you" when I really mean "I will trip you when you aren't expectng it."


Dec 4, 2010 at 10:28pm

Nothing more will be done over this as we all know how inept the police department are about investigating and laying charges against the Cons.


Dec 4, 2010 at 10:49pm

Mr. Flanagan's comments were made in bad taste, but if you have watched his previous commentary on Power & Politics his tone is always in a joking manner. Davidson is wasting the courts time and trying to achieve some notoriety by piggy-backing his name on that of Mr. Flanagan's and Mr. Assange. He admits this much when he says "Mr. Flanagan was speaking as a man of authority who is called upon to advise the most powerful people in Canada. It is only reasonable to assume his incitement to assassinate Julian Assange may be acted on."

Oh really... It takes a political pundit from Canada to alert someone that wants government secrets to remain secret should consider assassinating Julian Assange.