Now that the Liberals and Conservatives have made kissy face over the Cadman Affair, it is time for the Mounties to investigate the possibility that the offer allegedly made by Tory officials to the late Chuck Cadman for his vote was a serious breach of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Tory representatives are alleged to have offered the terminally-ill MP a $1-million life insurance policy. According to the CBC, Stephen Harper has testified that he only authorized for Cadman to be approached with an offer of financial help for his election campaign if Cadman would vote against the Liberals, defeating the government, and then run for the Conservatives.
Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like a bribe? Here is what the Criminal Code of Canada has to say about offering financial incentives to an MP in return for a vote:
119. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who
(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, directly or indirectly, corruptly accepts, obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for themselves or another person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, or
(b) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a person mentioned in paragraph (a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their official capacity.
Here is what Prime Minister Harper was recorded saying in an interview with Tom Zytaruk, author of Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story. You can listen to the Harper-Zytaruk interview here.
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 I know that there were discussions, uh, this is not for publication?”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.”
I couldn’t find anything on the Liberal Party of Canada web site today that indicates they are planning to pursue this issue, now that the Tories have dropped their $3.5-million libel lawsuit against the Liberal party over statements published on the party’s website about the Cadman affair. Reportedly, lawyers on both sides have lowered the cone of silence as a part of the settlement.
So, it is up to us, and perhaps the Official Opposition parties that have declined to get into bed with Stephen Harper.
Here are some folks you can write:
Now that they have settled their lawsuit out of court, the Tories may hope this affair will go away. Let’s prove them wrong.