Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tories Break the Law in Cadman Affair

A story beginning with 'Tories break law' should follow with a shocking revelation, but with the Conservative Party of Canada it has become so common that we now simply accept it as part of their Party platform.

From the "in and out" to "airbus", they are nothing if not consistent.

This brings us to the Chuck Cadman affair, and Harper's role in the illegal attempt to buy an MP's vote. This one is particularly sleazy because the vote in question was that of a dying man, and the bribe was a million dollar life insurance policy.

So if you're wondering just how low the Tories can go, wonder no more. And an audio tape suggests then-opposition leader Stephen Harper was not only aware of a financial offer to Chuck Cadman but gave it his personal approval.

It's not difficult to imagine how the scenario played out. I'm reminded of a similar, though on a smaller scale, con pulled off by Rahim Jaffer (Jaffer is the husband of Conservative MP Helena Guergis), Jason Kenney and Ezra Levant.

When Jaffer pulled a hoax on a national radio program by having his assistant fill in, Kenney and Levan paid off the aid with a $ 40,000.00 'severance', though the truth came out eventually.

The ease with which they not only bribed Matthew Johnston to lie, but actually bragged about it, makes the Cadman affair even more credible.

Cadman affair sparks election threat
Liberals may rethink plan to prop up Tories
Mar 01, 2008
Toronto Star
Richard Brennan
Bruce Campion-Smith

OTTAWA–Liberal MPs are openly musing about toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government over allegations the Conservatives tried to buy the vote of an independent MP.

Just days after ruling out an election over Tuesday's federal budget, opposition Liberals say a change of strategy is in the air and a spring election is a possibility as the Tories struggle with charges
that they used financial incentives to win the support of British Columbia MP Chuck Cadman in May 2005.

Liberal MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East) said it is now very difficult for the Liberals to continue to support the Tory government.

"The (Liberal) party may have to reconsider, in light of the allegations, whether it ought to prop up the government now facing ethical allegations that go right to the top," McTeague said.

"If this story is not discredited substantially in the next 48 hours, I am sure that a number of our colleagues will be very keen come Monday to pull the plug on this (minority) government," said Liberal MP Garth Turner (Halton).

"I don't know how (Harper) can stay the prime minister and I don't know how the government can remain the government," he said, adding that Harper should step aside if the RCMP launches a probe of the allegations.

A biography of Cadman, to be published this month, charges that two Conservative party officials offered Cadman, who was critically ill with cancer, a $1 million life insurance policy if he voted against the then-Liberal minority government in a confidence vote on May 19, 2005. If he had voted with the Conservatives, the government would have fallen, forcing an election.

Jodi Cadman told the Star yesterday that her father confided shortly before he died that he had been offered the insurance policy. She echoed statements made by her mother Dona that are in the biography.

She said her father asked her to keep the information confidential.

Cadman sided with the Liberals, keeping the government alive for a few more months. Harper then won a minority government on Jan. 23, 2006.

"I was incredibly proud that he didn't take it," she said. "People didn't know he was so close to the end." Cadman died on July 9, 2005.

Harper has denied the allegations and said party officials made no offer to Cadman, a defence Conservatives continued in the House of Commons yesterday. (The tape shows that Harper lied)

"There were three people at the meeting that we are talking about here and all three of them said that no offer was made. That is the simple fact. I am sorry if it does not jive with the Liberal political tactic here, but it is the truth," said Conservative MP James Moore (Port Moody-Westwood-Coquitlam).

Conservative officials Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley (MP Diane Finley's husband) issued a statement Thursday saying they met with Cadman on May 19, just hours before the vote. They could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Moore later acknowledged the Conservatives were trying to negotiate Cadman's return to caucus.

"We, our government and our party, made no offer to Chuck Cadman that was in any way inappropriate. We had a desire to have Chuck Cadman rejoin the Conservative party," Moore said.

However, Dona Cadman insists that two Conservative officials visited her husband's office on May 17, 2005 – two days before the vote – and tried to lure him back into the Tory caucus with the promise of a $1 million life insurance policy.

"They want him to vote against the government," she is quoted in the biography, Like A Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story.

And an interview with the book's author, Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk, Harper, who was opposition leader at the time, even suggests he knew of the offer.

Asked about the insurance policy, Harper said, "it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election, okay? That's my understanding of what they were talking about."

It is considered an offence under the Criminal Code to offer a politician an inducement, financial or otherwise, to influence him or her.

The RCMP is considering the Liberals' written demand for a police probe of the allegations, police spokesperson Sylvie Tremblay said in an interview yesterday.

"The RCMP is currently reviewing the content of the letter to determine what action, if any, the RCMP will take," she said.

Outside the Commons, Moore suggested the "bootlegged" tape of Zytaruk's interview with Harper had been edited, and called on the author to release the "full version." (is this anything like the 'bootlegged' tapes of Michael Ignatieff they're using in attack ads ... leaving out the context?)

"We've only, of course, seen a segment of the conversation and we want to see a full unedited version of this conversation," Moore said.

But Zytaruk said the tape released by his publisher to media outlets, including the Star, is the "full and unedited" tape of his conversation.

"You've got it there from the beginning to the end, the entirety," Zytaruk said in an interview. "If they're making noises that this tape has been doctored ... that's preposterous."

Conservative party spokesperson Ryan Sparrow said there was no meeting on May 17. On May 19, the Tories say, Finley and Flanagan met with Cadman and offered the independent MP the Conservative nomination for his riding, if he agreed to return to the party.

As well, they also offered him a loan to help offset the costs of running an election, Sparrow said. " It was supposed to be repaid back to the party," he said.

Harper would later sue the Liberals for libel, by sticking to his story that the tape had been doctored. When an FBI forensics lab stated otherwise, he dropped his suit but has still not answered to the public for his criminal intent.

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