Liberals to RCMP: Investigate Tory bribe claims
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:46PM EST
The Liberals are calling on the Mounties to investigate allegations that the late Tory MP Chuck Cadman was offered a bribe by his party in an effort to influence his vote.
Liberal justice critic Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday the RCMP needs to look further into claims that Cadman was offered incentives to sway his vote on a budget vote in 2005.
The Canadian Press reported Thursday night that the RCMP has confirmed it is examining a claim by the Liberals about the incident.
The allegations come from a forthcoming biography of Chuck Cadman -- who succumbed to cancer in the summer of 2005.
In his forthcoming book -- "Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story" -- Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk claims that Cadman was offered a bribe by Tory officials to vote against the Liberals.
Harper spoke to author
- Hear the interview with Harper in the video clip on the right-hand side.
Zytaruk interviewed Harper in Surrey, B.C, in September 2005, shortly after the MP's death. Zytaruk asked if Harper knew anything about allegations that Tory officials had offered Cadman a $1 million insurance policy to help his wife.
"I don't know the details. I know there were discussions," Harper replied.
Harper also said the discussions included talk of money.
"The offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election," he told the author.
Harper also said he did not believe that Cadman would be swayed to change his vote.
"I told them they were wasting their time. I said Chuck had made up his mind," he said.
Dona Cadman speaks
The allegations are quoted from Cadman's widow, Dona Cadman, who is now a Conservative candidate in her husband's former Vancouver-area riding of Surrey North. The independent MP's vote would have triggered an election.
In an interview with CTV British Columbia on Thursday, Dona Cadman backed up Zytaruk's account of their interview. She repeated what she told the author, telling CTV that two men visited her husband and offered him a $1 million life insurance policy "and a few other things."
Those, she said, included "being welcomed back into the Conservative Party." Asked if she considered the offer a bribe, Cadman said, "Yes, in a way."
She also noted that her late husband -- who was terminally ill at the time -- was extremely upset about the alleged bribe.
For his part, Zytaruk told Canada AM he didn't intend to accuse the Conservatives of misdeeds, but was simply reporting what he had been told through the course of numerous interviews with Dona Cadman.
"I'm saying this is what Dona has said has transpired. There was one person in the office besides Chuck. Dona wasn't in the office, but husbands and wives do talk and share intimate details of their day," he said.
Allegations dominate question period
The Cadman bribe allegations dominated question period Thursday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion exchanged sharp barbs over the issue.
Harper strongly denied the claims saying, "There is absolutely no truth (to it)."
The Liberal Leader of the Opposition hammered Harper in front of a typically raucous House of Commons.
"He knew it was unethical, he knew it was illegal . . . why did the prime minister authorize this type of tactic?" Dion asked.
Harper responded that, "Chuck Cadman himself on national television . . . indicated that the story was not true."
He was referring to an interview Cadman had with Mike Duffy on CTV's Countdown in May 2005.
Cadman told Duffy that rumours he had been offered an unopposed nomination in his B.C. riding by Conservative officials, were true.
However, Cadman said he declined the offer.
"That was the only offer on anything that I had from anybody," he added, rebuffing suggestions he made a deal to throw his support behind the Liberals.
"There were no offers on that table up to that point, on anything from anybody."
Ethics committee leader Paul Szabo confirmed to CTV.ca that the committee will discuss the allegations. The story was denied earlier Thursday by Sandra Buckler, director of communications for Harper.
"The then Leader of the Opposition at no time directed any party official to make any kind of financial arrangement with Chuck Cadman," she said in a statement, adding that Harper met with Cadman's widow on Sept. 9, 2005, and was asked by her about the accusation.
Later on the same day, Zytaruk contacted Harper and also asked about the story, Buckler said.
"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," she said.
Harper is quoted in the book as confirming to Zytaruk that a visit occurred and that the officials were legitimate representatives of the Conservative Party. But any offer to Cadman was only to defray losses he might incur in an election, the book cites Harper as saying.
Zytaruk said it was not his intention to pass judgment.
"I spoke with Stephen Harper and he had his say on the situation and I basically left it to the readers to decide," he said.