Thursday, February 28, 2008

Well, well, well.

Unbelievable, almost. I'm not totally surprised, just maybe a little stunned that their hamfisted attempts would be so blatant, and wouldn't come to light until now:

Tories offered 'bribe' to dying MP, widow alleges

From Thursday's Globe and Mail
February 28, 2008 at 4:22 AM EST

OTTAWA — The widow of former B.C. MP Chuck Cadman says two Conservative Party officials offered her husband a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote to bring down the Liberal government in May of 2005.

The offer, which was summarily rejected by the dying man, is outlined in a biography of Mr. Cadman by Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk that is due to be released on March 14. A copy of the manuscript, including an introduction by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, has been obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quoted in the book, Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story, as confirming that a visit took place, and that officials were legitimately" representing the Conservative Party. But he says any offer to Mr. Cadman was only to defray losses he might incur in an election.

Sandra Buckler, a spokeswoman for Mr. Harper, said yesterday that her boss never directed any party official to make any kind of financial arrangement with Mr. Cadman.

Oh no, of course not... Steve's in control of everything, but hadn't a fucking clue about that... *cough*smellslikebullshit*cough*

The men arrived at Mr. Cadman's Ottawa office two days before the vote on the Liberal budget. It was apparent at that time that the House of Commons was evenly split on the money bill and the nod of the then-Independent MP would decide whether Mr. Martin's Liberal government would survive. "The Tories actually walked in with a list of offers written down on a piece of paper. Included in their proposal was a $1-million life insurance policy - no small carrot for a man with advanced cancer," the book states.

Dona Cadman, who is now running for the Conservatives in the Vancouver-area riding of Surrey North, was not in the office at the time. But she says her husband was furious when he returned to their apartment. "Chuck was really insulted," she said in a telephone interview with The Globe yesterday. "He was quite mad about it,
thinking they could bribe him with that."

Mr. Cadman died less than two months after the vote.

Ms. Cadman, who has read and approved the manuscript for the book, said she has "no idea" where the money for the life insurance was supposed to come from. "They had the form there. Chuck just had to sign."

Mr. Zytaruk writes that the only person in the office at the time of the visit by
the officials was Mr. Cadman's legislative assistant, Dan Wallace. When Mr. Zytaruk broached the subject with Mr. Wallace, he writes, "he recoiled," but said: "I believe Dona Cadman as the day is long. She has no interest in fabricating anything."

The Globe was unable to find Mr. Wallace yesterday.

Mr. Zytaruk, who writes for a Surrey newspaper, has covered stories about Mr. Cadman since the murder of his son drove him into politics.

After Mr. Cadman's death, Mr. Zytaruk heard that Mr. Harper, who was then leader of the opposition, was paying a personal visit to the Cadman residence. Mr. Zytaruk interviewed Mr. Harper in the driveway.

"Of the offer to Chuck," he quotes Mr. Harper as saying, "it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election, OK. That's my understanding of what they were talking about.

"I don't know the details," he said. "I can tell you that I had told the individuals - I mean, they wanted to do it - but I told them they were wasting their time. I said Chuck had made up his mind he was going to vote with the Liberals. I knew why, and I respected the decision, but they were just, they were convinced there was, there was financial issues and, there may or may not.

"They were legitimately representing the party," Mr. Harper confirmed. "I said 'Don't press him, I mean, you have this theory that it's, you know, financial insecurity, and you know, just, you know, if that's what you say make the case,' but I said 'Don't press it.' "

Yesterday, Ms. Buckler of the PMO wrote in an e-mail that "On Sept. 9, 2005, the then Leader of the Opposition visited Dona Cadman at her residence. During that visit, Dona asked him about this story. Subsequently, on the same day, a local reporter/author Tom Zytaruk asked him about Dona's same story. The then Leader
of the Opposition looked into the matter with party officials and could find no confirmation. And that is the last time he heard anything regarding this matter."

Almost makes me think we should be in an election. Had the Liberals voted down the Conservative budget, this would have been the lead off story for the campaign. Maybe it's still not too late?

Side thought:
It's funny how the Neo-Tories have always been so eager to make everything a non-confidence motion, even when parliamentary rules say otherwise. They're always pushing for elections, or threatening elections. On the other hand, the Liberals in power (and now in opposition) have found it more prudent to only have elections when absolutely necessary.


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