Friday, February 29, 2008

Updates on the Cadman Scandal

Accusations, more denials, investigations, audio-taped interviews, non-confidence motion speculation, bullying, ethical lapses, holier-than-thou pronouncements, proclamations of "nothing to see here, folks" - and that's just what's happened since the story about Dona Cadman's allegations of bribery to the tune of $1 million in the form of an insurance policy for her dying husband Chuck were made on Wednesday.

It's all been rather fast and furious and there's still much more to come.

- On Friday, Chuck Cadman's daughter Jodi backed up her mother's assertions when she was interviewed by CBC News: story and video here (Watch the other interview videos as well.)

- The Globe & Mail reports rumours of possible non-confidence motions to bring the government down over the scandal - as early as next week when the NDP might use their opposition day to make their move. The G&M story also has a 2005 audio-taped interview with Chuck Cadman about the offers he received (no specifics mentioned).

“There was certainly some, you know, some offers made and some things along those lines about not opposing me and helping out with the finances of the campaign and that sort of thing. But, again, you know, that's all part of the deal that goes on. It's what happens, especially in a minority situation,” Mr. Cadman says.

To add fuel to the growing fire, they also report that Cadman's son-in-law backs up the allegations.

And take a look at this lowbrow response from Sandra Buckler:

Asked what financial considerations Mr. Harper was talking about on the tape, and what case did he tell the party emissaries to make, the prime minister's communications director ducked the questions.

In an e-mail to The Canadian Press, Sandra Buckler said the tape — which the publisher of the book was selling for $500 a copy — is an excerpt of a longer interview between the prime minister and Mr. Zytaruk.

“We are deeply concerned that an edited excerpt of a taped conversation between Mr. Harper and the book's author is being bootlegged for five hundred bucks a pop by the author. We call on the author to provide Canadians with a complete, unedited audio copy of the author's conversation — from start to finish — with Mr. Harper.”

Ms. Buckler did not reply to a second e-mail asking her to respond to the two original questions.

And she's an official government spokesperson? Using language like that? She sounds like a vice cop.

Furthermore, there's no "bootlegging" involved. The author owns the rights to that interview and can do whatever he wants to with it. Educate yourself on the law, Ms Buckler. We already know you're just Harper's handy spokespuppet who will say anything to shield your boss.

As for Harper, here's what he told the book's author:

Author Tom Zytaruk taped an interview with Mr. Harper in September 2005 for his soon-to-be-released biography of Cadman. On the scratchy 2:37 recording, Mr. Harper, leader of the Opposition at the time, confirms party officials made a financial appeal to Mr. Cadman.

“The offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election,” Mr. Harper says.

Mr. Harper said he wasn't optimistic about their chances of persuading Mr. Cadman — a former Tory MP who had left the party to sit as an Independent MP — to vote with the Tories to bring down Mr. Martin's government, he urged two people “legitimately representing the party” to tread cautiously.

“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're saying make that case,' but I said, ‘Don't press it'.”

So he knew that party officials were trying to buy Cadman's way back into the Conservative party. As the opposition stated on Friday, [The]PM incriminated himself on tape over alleged Cadman bribe.

The ethics committee is set to deal with motions calling for an inquiry into this scandal on Tuesday. In the meantime, the RCMP are also on the case.

No matter how the Conservatives try to spin this, trying to entice a dying man with financial incentives to back their party is bound to leave most Canadians absolutely disgusted. The Cons won't be able to wiggle, bully or spin their way out of that reality.

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