Does Stephen Harper rate a blue sweater or an orange jumpsuit? Canadians who haven’t heard the controversial interview between Harper and author Tom Zytaruk should review it carefully. You can hear it here.
According to the Criminal Code of Canada it is a crime to offer a bribe to a Member of Parliament. Those found guilty could face 14 years in prison. This, then, is serious offence.
Presumably, any law-abiding party leader who was aware that a bribe was going to be offered would insist that his or her party officials abide by the law.
Is our current Prime Minister law-abiding? Listen to this segment of a discussion between Stephen Harper and Tom Zytaruk about “financial considerations” offered to then terminally ill MP Chuck Cadman in exchange for his vote against a Liberal budget.
The quality of the recording isn’t great. Turn up your speakers, and read along below.
Then ask yourself some questions:
- Why didn’t Harper tell his officials to obey the law? He is, after all, a self-proclaimed “law ‘n order” guy with a reputation for controlling what his underlings do and say.
- Does Harper understand the law? Oh wait, he’s the guy who legislated fixed election dates and then called an early election.
- Do we want a Prime Minister who would countenance what amounts to a bribe to a dying MP for his vote? Does this make him an accessory?
- Wouldn’t an orange jumpsuit be more appropriate attire for our PM than a fuzzy blue sweater?
Here’s what’s on the tape between author Tom Zytaruk and Harper, recorded after Cadman’s death in 2005.
Zytaruk: “I mean, there was an insurance policy for a million dollars. Do you know anything about that?”
Harper: “I don’t know the details. I know that there were discussions, uh, this is not for publication?”
Zytaruk: “This (inaudible) for the book. Not for the newspaper. This is for the book.”
Harper: “Um, I don’t know the details. 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 and I knew why and I respected the decision. But they were just, they were convinced there was, there were financial issues. There may or may not have been, but I said that’s not, you know, I mean, I, that’s not going to change.”
Zytaruk: “You said (inaudible) beforehand and stuff? It wasn’t even a party guy, or maybe some friends, if it was people actually in the party?”
Harper: “No, no, they were legitimately representing the party. 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 don’t press it. I don’t think, my view was, my view had been for two or three weeks preceding it, was that Chuck was not going to force an election. I just, we had all kinds of our guys were calling him, and trying to persuade him, I mean, but I just had concluded that’s where he stood and respected that.”
Zytaruk: “Thank you for that. And when (inaudible).”
Harper: “But the, uh, the offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election.”
Zytaruk: “Oh, OK.”
Harper: “OK? That’s my understanding of what they were talking about.”
Zytaruk: “But, the thing is, though, you made it clear you weren’t big on the idea in the first place?”
Harper: “Well, I just thought Chuck had made up his mind, in my own view …”
Zytaruk: “Oh, okay. So, it’s not like, he’s like, (inaudible).”
Harper: “I talked to Chuck myself. I talked to (inaudible). You know, I talked to him, oh, two or three weeks before that, and then several weeks before that. I mean, you know, I kind of had a sense of where he was going.”
Zytaruk: “Well, thank you very much.”
- CBC: Timeline – The Chuck Cadman Bribe Controversey
- Toronto Star: Tape not altered as Harper claimed . . .