More on the Cadman tape: Seriously not the Nixon tapes, guys.


Rescued from the liveblog, and added here for the attention- and/or blogreadingtime-challenged:

After the press conference, I brought this [the chain of custody of the evidence, i.e. the tape sent to the forensic experts] up with Ryan Sparrow, and he assured me that the tape went straight from the publishers to the party’s lawyers, who sent it to the experts. It’s still not clear, however, how many people would have had the opportunity – or for that matter, the motive – to “doctor” the tapes. I guess the Liberals are off the hook, though, since they never had access to the tape sent to to experts.

While I’m posting, I also want to reiterate my instaprediction that this will turn out to have been a big mistake for the Conservatives.

Not only did it bring the Cadman story back from the dead (or at least a persistent vegetative state), but they oversold the evidence, and still won’t answer the only question that actually matters, as far as any alleged “doctoring” of the tape: What, exactly, was changed/added/taken away that would alter the meaning of what the Prime Minister said?

Also, it’s probably a bad idea to try to convince a roomful of journalists, nearly all of whom have a recording device of some sort in hand, that a pause in the audio is a smoking gun, since we’ve all had the experience of, you know, taping an interview, and we know that sometimes, you turn your recorder off, then back on.


More on the Cadman tape: Seriously not the Nixon tapes, guys.

  1. I’m not shocked that Sparrow was at this press conference – the amateur half-hour you described here mimics his M.O on the “release our POV to select journalists” farce over the Elections Canada affidavit release.

  2. Kady, you’re probably right about this being a big mistake. And with the centre’s proclivity to find fault with the messenger and not the message, I expect this will prevent Mr. Moore from joining the Cabinet anytime soon.

  3. The irony is that this actually would have been a *good* time to break out the sekrit briefing books. If I were managing this story for the Conservatives, I would have quietly filed the injunction request, then tipped off one — and only one — journalist that it might be worth checking with the court to see if anything new and interesting has been filed. Said journalist then has a scoop, which means they’re going to run with “exciting new developments” rather than “Conservatives hold press conference”, and they’ll want to move quickly, since there’s no guarantee that it will stay exclusive for long.

  4. Well, the first wave of newspaper stories is the Tory allegation and not the newsys doubts. Maybe that’s all the Tories were looking to get from it. Any other ministers due to resign today?

  5. I would have to disagree with the timing being an issue and the methodology. First we have the court case coming up soon do we not (consider now how this development may affect things). Second it has a possibility of changing the channel awhile for those regular canuckians who aren’t political junkies like most who lurk around forums like these. Third Conservatives always gain a few points and do better when they attack and not defend. Fourth : it shores up the base and right now all parties are feeling very vulnerable with their base support. Fifth : I would say that this is brilliant timing and am looking forward to a few more press conferences. Sixth : well need I go on I could!

  6. I think the mistake is just bringing it back up. The Cadman affair was all but forgotten outside of Ottawa.
    The Tories should focus on moving the dialogue to their strong points not refocusing on scandal.

  7. Huh. And here I thought causing a scandal *was* their strong point.. at least, it certainly seems that way of late.

  8. I agree with bigcitylib. The conservatives don’t need to *prove* their allegation of tampering. All they have to do is to create controversy on the veracity of the tape, which will create public doubt about it, and hence help them neutralize the story.

    It’s not unlike the global warming issue — the deniers don’t have to *prove* that the planet isn’t warming, they just have to create the appearance of controversy around the science so as to foster public doubt.

    Not sure I’ve explained this well, but hopefully readers will see my point which is: sometimes you best manage an issue not by proving your case, but simply by creating doubt areound your opponent’s case.

    On this one, to win, the Conservatives simply need credible media to report that there is partisan controversy around the veracity of tapes.

    Many people will tune out on that basis alone.

  9. Kady, do we have any info on when this case was to go to court?

    Also, do we know where the Elections Canada case is? I know the raid interrupted the proceedings but have they resumed?

  10. So, the Cons are suing the Dion because Dion said nasty things about Harper based on this tape. Now the Cons have ‘shown’ that the tape was doctored. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like the Cons have just given the Libs an easy way out of the court case.

    “But your honour, we were basing our allegations on a tape which has now been shown to have been doctored. Therefore you can’t possibly fine us for what someone else has done.”

    Of course, the political optics of doing that are a whole other matter, but at least from the court case side of things, kind of looks like the Cons gave the Libs a free pass here. Unless I’m missing something.

  11. Expect the libel case against Dion and the liberals to proceed on about half-past hell-freezes-over day. For the case to proceed would open both parties up to discovery.

    On the Liberal side, this would actually grant them a wide-ranging ability to have forensic investigators go in an start looking at the party all around the time this offer was alleged to have occurred, in order to determine if there actually was an offer made of any sort (because if there’s truth to the matter, then there are no grounds for the libel charge).

    Given that we have Flanagan himself saying that they were acting stupidly at that time, do you think the cons really want liberal investigators being able to root around their records unearthing various stupidities?

  12. As far as I know, the defamation case – Harper v. Liberal Party and a couple of Does – is ongoing, but these things can take a long time to get to court. Not many do. As for the Elections Canada case, they’ve just finished discovery, according to what the Conservative Party’s lawyers were saying at the time of the raid.

  13. When the story of the tape broke, the Globe & Mail sat on the tape for a day while they authenticated it. I wonder what they did with it beyond validating that it was the voice of the Prime Minister on the tape. It would be interesting to find out if they sent it to any experts to validate its authenticity.

  14. Just Visiting (above) has it right. Someone at the Globe and Mail thread on this story commented on the similarity between this ‘doctored’ tape story and the blow-up over the fake Bush military service documents that led to Dan Rather’s early retirement. Get the focus on the ‘doctored’ tape, not on any facts surrounding the story – that is CPC’s goal here. But to be so Rovian, at this late stage in the political life of GW Bush . . . ??

  15. Yeah, by why do you need to “cast doubt” on a story which has been dead for weeks. This would be like the Liberals dredging up some old Adscam testimony that they feel was innacurate. Why remind people about it?

    I guess this has something to do with the libel case, but I think Kady is right here – there was no need to make a big show about it. “Hey now that the Bernier talk has died down, let’s bring ANOTHER scandal back into the spotlight! Next week, Van Loan dishes all the dirt on In and Out!”

  16. I guess I would add that if this story is going to be in the news for a while (due to the libel case), there is something to be said for having a “the tape was doctored” stock answer for whenever it comes up.

  17. This is the “vaccination” strategy whereby you use a virus to kill another virus. Harper is trying to use the Cadman-tape scandal to kill the Bernier-briefs scandal.

    Then, he will use Nafta-gate (or Imbrodiglio) to kill in-and-out.

    Then, he will attack Newfoundland to kill the economy-is-tanking story.

  18. There is something pretty distasteful about Harper filing a lawsuit against the Liberals over these allegations. I think it is the first time a PM has done this. It could have the effect where people are afraid to say anything negative about the PM. Public figures, especially the “main one representing all Canadians”, should love to have their laundry hung out in the open because “if we have nothing to be ashamed of, then go ahead and accuse me of whatever, I am clean”. Harper is changing all that.

  19. Perhaps I can add one other observation that seems not to have yet been expressed:

    Although Mr. Harper and Mr. Moore claim, according to the former’s recollection from years ago, that the conversation with Mr. Zytaruk lasted somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, is it not entirely possible that Mr. Zytaruk only recorded or managed to record the approximately 2 minutes on his original tape?

    Kady, perhaps this is the same sort of point you make in your last paragraph.

  20. The Conservative Party doesn’t think long term strategically. If they did they’d have had an agenda for governing that lasted longer than six months.

    This presser was held this morning not because the analysis of the tape just came in or because the briefing book was finally ready.

    It was done this morning because for days now they’ve been the ones taking the hits and they wanted to turn the tables.

    They didn’t think about what the press reaction might be *tomorrow or beyond* only about the headline they would get *today*.

    So today they’re gloating about their one day wonder and in a few days they’ll be wondering how it all went so wrong.

  21. “Expect the libel case against Dion and the liberals to proceed on about half-past hell-freezes-over day. For the case to proceed would open both parties up to discovery.”

    I could be wrong, but didn’t the RCMP already investigate this, announce that they found “NO” evidence of ANY wrongdoing by the CPC in the Cadman case?

  22. Hey look, it’s the junior conservative league.

    No, they found there wasn’t suitable evidence to press charges. Given that the evidence is a statement by a now dead MP (hence unable to testify) as reported by his wive, previous unsworn statements by the accused and associates of the accused, and a tape that is too vague to provide solid proof, there is no evidentiary trail that will stand up “beyond a shadow of a doubt”

    Discovery would open the conservative party to a much more wide-ranging search, and the finding of something stupid by the Liberals could be just as bad as the finding of something criminal.

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