Tories using Cadman to distract from Bernier: Grits
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, June 5, 2008 2:33PM EDT
The Tories are trying to bring the Chuck Cadman affair back into the spotlight in an effort to change the channel on the controversy surrounding the resignation of former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier, say the Opposition Liberals.
On Wednesday, Tory party lawyers filed a motion in Ontario Superior Court seeking an injunction against the Liberals to stop them from using a 2005 tape recording of Prime Minister Stephen Harper they claim was "doctored."
On the tape, Harper allegedly tells Tom Zytaruk, the author of a book on the late Independent MP, that his party made an offer to Cadman "to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election."
Conservative MP James Moore told a news conference Wednesday that two top audio specialists found that the tape had been altered.
But Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, the critic for intergovernmental affairs, said Thursday that the Tories have not been clear about what they claim was doctored on the tape.
He said the Tories have also forgotten a huge part of the allegations -- the testimony of Cadman's widow, Dona Cadman.
In her affidavit, Dona Cadman "repeats very clearly her recollection of her husband's words to the effect that two Conservative operatives... offered him a million dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote," said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said the whole thing was a "rather pathetic attempt" from the Conservatives to divert attention from the Bernier scandal.
Bernier resigned as foreign affairs minister after admitting that he left sensitive documents in an unsecured location.
"This is obviously a rush-job done by a law firm in Ottawa to try and distract from a very serious situation involving Mr. Bernier and the prime minister's lack of judgment with respect to the national security risk that Mr. Bernier represented," said LeBlanc.
"We intend to continue to use the tape and continue to ask questions.
He said if the Tories were really worried about the tape they wouldn't be waiting until September, when the hearing has been scheduled.
"If it was as damaging and as serious as they said it was don't you think they'd go for an interim injunction on an urgent basis?"
Moore, speaking to CTV's Canada AM on Thursday, said the tape was doctored.
"The prime minister's been clear that the financial considerations that were presented to Chuck Cadman were only about the financial considerations regarding to Chuck Cadman's inability to raise funds as an Independent member of parliament going into an election campaign," said Moore.
Zytaruk has denied that the tapes were altered.