Who leaked on Layton? We look at why each party may have tipped off Sun News

Who leaked on Layton? We look at why each party may have tipped off Sun News

Which party gave the press the Layton story? (Image: Matt Higgins)

On Friday night, Sun Media broke the news that it had acquired the notes of a retired police officer who once found NDP leader Jack Layton in a Chinatown massage parlour that the police—and others—suspected of being a “touch” more friendly than the law allows. The NDP promptly responded, calling the leak a smear campaign; meanwhile, the media focused less on the news itself and more on whether or not Sun News should have reported it in the first place (we like Chris Selley’s take). As the critics piled on, the answer to one question remained a mystery: who, exactly, tipped off Sun Media? We look at four intriguing possibilities after the jump.

1. The Conservatives
The Conservatives are on the suspect list only because we’re talking about Sun Media here, and, frankly, there’s a history of these groups working together. But dig a little deeper and the theory falls apart—ever since Pierre Karl Péladeau wrote an essay in the Sun papers and burned Patrick Muttart, the relationship has been frosty at best.

2. The Liberals
They had a clear motive and the NDP’s rise in the polls has left them with nothing to lose. They also had the means: according to Jon Kay at the National Post, a Liberal fixer tried to shop the story to him as far back as 2008.

3. The New Democrats
It sounds crazy, but don’t laugh quite yet. There’s a long history, especially in this city, of a politician’s popularity actually going up after a scandal breaks. Most recently, this happened with Rob Ford, who climbed in the polls no matter what scandal broke—be it a decade-old drug bust or a dodgy recorded phone call. Case in point: pollster Nik Nanos says Layton’s trust numbers climbed after the story broke.

4. Nobody
By the end of the weekend, it became clear that this was one of those stories that tons of people knew about but that nobody had really chased down before. So, it’s at least within the realm of possibility that the Sun reporter or his boss heard the rumour long before this election—yet Layton’s rise prompted him to actually report it.

Of course, there’s one other interested party: the Ontario Provincial Police. See, leaking notes about police business in a case where no criminal charges were laid is a big no-no. The story has caused the Toronto Police to request an investigation into the retired officer who gabbed to the Sun. So, it’s probably safe to assume it’ll eventually come out which party leaked the report—and, hey, if the Sun papers follow their usual pattern, we’ll get another essay from Péladeau explaining how this was actually all a plot to discredit Sun News.

Chris Selley: Layton ‘scandal’ not likely to matter much [National Post]
Questions emerge over source of Layton leak [Toronto Star]
Ontario police launch criminal probe into Layton leak [CTV News]