Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Stephen Harper owes us an explanation (2)

From the Toronto Star: Unanswered Questions

Mar 05, 2008 04:30 AM

Why does this have to be so hard? Why can't Prime Minister Stephen Harper stand up in Parliament or go before the House of Commons ethics committee and provide clear answers to simple questions?

It's no secret that Conservative party officials back in 2005 tried to persuade independent Member of Parliament Chuck Cadman, who was dying of cancer at the time, to rejoin the Tory caucus and topple Paul Martin's minority Liberal government in a confidence vote.

But what exactly did the Conservatives offer for Cadman's support?

Three Cadman family members – his wife Dona, his daughter Jodi, and his son-in-law Holland Miller – all say Cadman told them, in separate conversations, that he was offered some kind of million-dollar "life insurance" deal. If so, that might constitute a bribe and a crime.

Harper fiercely denies any wrongdoing, and he has threatened to sue Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion and others who suggest as much.

Yet when asked two years ago about the policy by Cadman biographer Tom Zytaruk, Harper replied that party officials had "discussions" with Cadman about "financial issues" and "financial insecurity." He also said: "But the, uh, the offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election, okay? That's my understanding of what they were talking about."

What offer, exactly? What financial issues? What insecurity?

Did anyone from the Conservative party, or claiming ties to it, offer Cadman a million-dollar benefit, with or without Harper's approval?

Instead of casting a libel chill over the Cadman affair, Harper should tell Canadians what he knows. What led him to conclude there was "no truth" to the insurance story when he looked into it? And party insiders Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley need to shed light on precisely what help they offered Cadman and on what terms.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been asked to look into all this by the Liberals. But Parliament needn't defer to a police probe. The ethics committee should be calling Flanagan, Finley and others to testify. If the Conservatives truly have nothing to hide, they should not be standing in the way of such an inquiry.

- Toronto Star: Unanswered Questions


The Mound of Sound said...

The NDP seems to believe the Cadman matter shouldn't go to the ethics committee.

Erik said...

Yes, they do; but their arguments for that stink.

What's behind this NDP facade?

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