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Cadman: tale of the tape… to date

BY PAUL WELLS


 

tales of the tape

Well, let’s run this down, shall we?

Feb. 28: Stephen Harper’s voice appears on a Vancouver reporter’s tape; the then-opposition leader says “I know there were discussions” by people “legitimately representing the [Conservative] Party” with the dying MP Chuck Cadman with regard to “financial considerations.” Details of what, precisely, Harper was referring to remain blurry and in dispute.

March 13: Harper files a $2.5 million defamation suit against the Liberal Party of Canada over allegations surrounding the tape. This makes him the first prime minister in the history of the country to sue the opposition. Says the prime minister: “I look forward to seeing the leader of the opposition actually let this go to trial so he can hear the whole truth and admit his own role in it.”

Sept. 3: In a transcript of sworn testimony filed at Ontario Superior Court, Harper says he authorized a visit by his campaign manager to Chuck Cadman before the 2005 vote. From Harper’s testimony:

“Maybe I should add to you where this came up firstly,” he said. “This is when Doug Finley called me through my executive, Ray Novak, on the 18th, and he asked permission to approach Chuck Cadman on behalf of the party to get him to rejoin the caucus, and that the story was that Chuck wanted to vote with us in Parliament as he usually did, and that he would want to rejoin the caucus and fight with us in an election campaign, but that he couldn’t because he didn’t have, you know, he didn’t have the financing, he would have lost the election, et cetera, et cetera”.

Oct. 10: Court-ordered audio analysis by the expert Harper hired shows that the relevant portion of the tape — the part everyone quotes — contains no splices, edits or alterations.

Oct. 19: Dona Cadman, the newly-elected Conservative MP for her late husband’s Surrey North riding, calls Tom Zytaruk’s book “very factual.” When asked about a letter to a newspaper from her daughter Jodi, demanding that Harper and MP James Moore apologize to Zytaruk for impugning his work, Dona Cadman declines to comment, except to say, “I’m just proud of Jodi.”

Nov. 17: Harper’s lawyer in the defamation case against the Liberals steps down.

(In perhaps unrelated news: Ex-Tory candidate wins lawsuit:

(“Ontario Superior Court Justice Denis Power said the party had no right to renege on the deal with Ottawa lawyer Alan Riddell, a candidate in Ottawa South… Party officials first denied there was a deal and then, when Riddell went public with details of the deal, said he had violated the agreement… ‘There is no agreement and he hasn’t been paid anything,’ Harper said in December 2005, referring to Riddell, a member of the Conservative party for 20 years.”)


 

Cadman: tale of the tape… to date

  1. Your “unrelated news” may or may not be unrelated, Paul, but it certainly doesn’t qualify as news. January 2007? How many Toronto Star rags are cluttering your front porch? It’s time you caught up and put the mustier ones in your blue box…

  2. That’s kind of pathetic, MYL.

  3. PW you would be desperate now too if you were on that ship.

  4. Kinda pathetic, yeah, but MYL makes a good point.

    Things certainly would be easier for the Conservatives and their supporters if everyone would just stop talking about anything they ever did prior to October 14th, 2008. Isn’t that why we had an election? Doesn’t the slate just get wiped clean after an election?

    I just CAN’T BELIEVE reporters are still talking about these allegations of ethical impropriety almost two whole years later. It’s almost as though someone told us all that ethics, transparency and accountability were important to the act of governance.

    That was a whole election ago people. Get with the times.

  5. MYL:

    It just highlights how, um, fluid, let’s say, the Conservatives and Deceivin’ Stephen are with the truth when it comes to their own accountability and ethical standards.

  6. Perplexing this Prime Minister Harper. A low batting average when before the courts (Judge: Oh no, here comes that Harper guy again) if I recall, no? Maybe I’m wrong.

  7. Clarification to duck the “pathetic” charge: It’s history, not news. I am not saying it’s disallowed for discussion. I’m just asking that it be called what it is. Your readers who may not be as well-informed as you may have left with an interpretation that this was a recent event.
    (And in a mildly irritating whine) I’m only trying to help…

  8. One wonders what kind of fallout would have resulted if the press had spent even a tenth of the effort they’ve put into this Cadman canard into Belinda Stronach’s floor-crossing-in-exchange-for-a-cabinet-post-but-it’s-not-really-a-bribe.

  9. Clarification to duck the “pathetic” charge: It’s history, not news

    History has this unfortunate tendency to become news with the passage of time. Just ask Brian Mulroney.

    Seriously, I can’t believe how idiot-savant-ish a lot of people are these days.

  10. john g, the voters finally had their chance to deal with Paul “I can count” Martin. Developments in this ongoing court case cannot be ignored.

  11. What I have never been able to figure out is if the charges are “very factual,” if the Cadmans were offered a bribe, if the government is lying about it now — and with Donna and daughter publicly disagreeing with government on this matter — why is she a Tory MP?

    I mean, if your beloved husband is dying and the party offers a bribe — as Donna insists did happen — why would you want to join that party? Conversely, if the party denies it — to the point of a lawsuit — but you won’t back off on very damaging charges — would you expect to last very long in their caucus?

  12. Shawn: Money. So long as she shuts up, she gets the benefit of the Tory war chest for elections, and gets a sweet job and a damn good pension. So long as she wants a sweet job and a damn good pension, she shuts up.

  13. One wonders what kind of fallout would have resulted if the press had spent even a tenth of the effort they’ve put into this Cadman canard into Belinda Stronach’s floor-crossing-in-exchange-for-a-cabinet-post-but-it’s-not-really-a-bribe.

    No one doesn’t. One only wonders about such things when one is waving one’s hands to try and distract everyone.

    It’s not that they’re partisans. It’s the zeal with which they are willing to rationalise/defend alleged dishonesty on the part of the powerful or the fervour with which they’ll introduce any non sequitur to change the channel.

    It’s depressing to think that these people are partners with us in democracy.

  14. Sorry, Ti-Guy.

    “Partner” implies some degree of collegial interaction.

    I’ll pass, thanks.

  15. “One wonders what kind of fallout would have resulted if the press had spent even a tenth of the effort they’ve put into this Cadman canard into Belinda Stronach’s floor-crossing-in-exchange-for-a-cabinet-post-but-it’s-not-really-a-bribe”

    What effort is needed here? She crossed the floor and given a cabinet post. What kind of Paul Harvey ‘rest of the story’ could there possibly be?

    I’m not at all defending what happened; I’m just trying to figure out what on earth you could possibly mean (beyond trying to change the issue).

  16. MYL could also pull out the November 12, 2007 newspapers where it was announced that Harper quietly settled Riddell’s libel lawsuit against him out of court. I don’t see why year or so old words and actions by our sitting Prime Minister should go into the “history” dustbin.

    Also on the Cadman tape timeline, in early September, Harper filed an “emergency” motion of adjournment in the case that he said he couldn’t wait to see in court. The judge granted it.

  17. Shawn:

    I’d add another, more charitable but slightly techical, thought to T. Thwim’s. Why did so many new Liberals run for the Liberals knowing about Adscam? Certainly that was far worse and here they were signing up to run under Chretien and under Martin. The Cadmans seem quite independent minded even if they are Conservatives… remember, Chuck was first a Reform MP but he ran (and kept his hair long) to do something for his son. If you want to get elected in this country, you unfortunately pretty much need to be a member of a political party. Even if you can’t stand the leader or the party machine, you may identify most with its platforms, which I suspect is the case with both Cadmans and Harper’s old school approach to crime and punishment.

    Also, the unprecedented lawsuit by the Prime Minister is politics, for show, an attempt to silence the opposition criticisms and hide the “financial considerations” and technically about the word “bribe”, so it may be easier for her to distance herself (in her mind) from the political game Harper is trying to play.

  18. I think the real question about Ms. Stronach is: did she leave the-party-that-called-her-“Parliament-Hill-Barbie” or did it leave her?

  19. I’m not at all defending what happened; I’m just trying to figure out what on earth you could possibly mean (beyond trying to change the issue).

    One wonders, doesn’t one?

  20. What effort is needed here? She crossed the floor and given a cabinet post. What kind of Paul Harvey ‘rest of the story’ could there possibly be?

    One that included an investigation or possible charges for a sitting Prime Minister bribing an MP to survive a confidence vote, and/or a Cabinet Minister getting her post by accepting a bribe. You know, the same topic we’ve been talking about here, only the actors are reversed. Which explains the lack of interest, both at the time and to this day.

    Obviously there is nothing more to be done about it now; but at the very least, I would have liked to have seen at the time even a fraction of the journalistic curiousity that has been spent on Cadman-Gate as to the possibility that Stronach was bribed. The Canadian Press went to the extent of publishing a list of questions that Harper was refusing to answer. Did they ever even ASK any of those equivalent questions to Martin in 2005?

    Wherry was saying last week that the government should naturally be exposed to more scrutiny than the opposition. Well, Harper was opposition leader when this happened and has been examined for this out the ying yang. Martin was PM when this happened and faced basically zero scrutiny for it.

    I accept that Harper is to blame for keeping the story alive this long; the story would have died after the RCMP statement that there was no evidence of anything; his lawsuit is the only thing keeping this in the news, and I think it’s kind of stupid for him to take the political risk of keeping the story alive just to hogtie the Liberals. But even if the story had died that day, it still even at that point attracted far more attention from the media than Martin-Stronach ever did. And that’s wrong. The circumstantial evidence of a bribe was far more compelling in that case.

  21. “Also, the unprecedented lawsuit by the Prime Minister is politics, for show, an attempt to silence the opposition criticisms and hide the “financial considerations” and technically about the word “bribe”,”

    If it’s all a technicality surrounding the word bribe and the Liberals didn’t mean to accuse the PM of a crime they couldn’t prove he committed in order to damage his reputation for cheap political points then why don’t the Liberals just apologize for the “misunderstanding”?

  22. Comparing a cabinet post with a big wad of ca$h is absurdist. it’s like Harper appointing Emerson: there may well be reason to find it distasteful, but it’s of nowhere near the same degree of wrongdoing.

  23. Obviously there is nothing more to be done about it now;

    So why are you bringing it up?

    And that’s wrong. The circumstantial evidence of a bribe was far more compelling in that case.

    Utter nonsense and you know it. Or were you similarly incensed when Emerson crossed the floor?

    I’m just happy to await additional evidence.

  24. I can’t remember…it’s not illegal to promise a cabinet position to a floor crosser, is it? It is illegal, however, to offer an inducement to influence an MP’s vote. It’s a very serious crime, in fact.

    As for the RCMP, well…*tsk* The poor dears is all I can say.

  25. “it’s not illegal to promise a cabinet position to a floor crosser, is it? ”

    To influence a vote, of course it is. That’s why maintaining some semblance of deniability (as in not admitting to it) is part of the aptitude test.

  26. “As for the RCMP, well…”

    *shrug*

    prosecuting a criminal case and defending a civil suit are two different animals.

  27. Shawn, I’m not sure Dona Cadman’s motives for running for Parliament were nefarious or tawdry. My hunch is that they’re noble and quite similar to her husband’s own motives for running. My hunch is that she saw the Conservative party as an imperfect but serviceable vessel for her foray into public service. But it’s a matter of public record — the Globe story I link to in the post above — that her daughter also has a hard time understanding why she ran.

    MYL: Fair point. Thanks for the clarification. I’m sorry I snapped.

  28. Seems to me that Stronach and Emerson are a good comparison. Whatever you think of the two of them personally or their abilities, they both clearly got involved in politics to be a leader and not a backbencher. Belinda was a major part of uniting the PCs and Reformers and then ran for leadership and would almost certainly have become a cabinet minister under Harper; Emerson was a business leader and not a party person and clearly (and vocally) uninterested in wasting his time in the backbenches when he could have been making a difference (and he did make a difference).

    It would be natural for them to expect a cabinet position after crossing the floor and for pre-crossing discussions to involve discussions about what role they would play in their new party after crossing the floor.

    With Cadman on the other hand, it was not about his crossing the floor or what role he would play. It was strictly about his vote and what it would take to win his vote. And we have Harper on tape admitting Cadman was being offered “financial considerations” for his vote. Equating offering “financial considerations” for a vote with bribery is open for argument, barely. Comparing Harper’s attempt to peddle influence with money to Stronach or Emerson is not serious.

    Harper’s Cadman affair just does not pass the smell test… from 500 kilometers away.

  29. ‘Equating offering “financial considerations” for a vote with bribery is open for argument, barely.’

    Parents bribe their kids all the time. It goes with the territory.

    The web pages in question only said he knew about the bribe. They don’t say he knew it was illegal.

  30. Add to the fact that Stronach is on record from before crossing the floor voicing her opinion that it was a bad time to bring down the government, and had been in various disagreements with the Conservative party on other issues as well. In many ways, Stronach’s floor crossing is *less* suspect than Emerson, who just a few days before was claiming he would fight against the conservatives as hard as he could.

  31. Who made the decision to put Macleans back on headline-only RSS? Where can we complain? I demand full text RSS!

  32. For the Ethics Commisioner the kicker with Emerson was Parliament wasn’t even in session so it couldn’t have had anything to do with a vote.

  33. Shucks, Paul, no apology necessary. I made my point because my initial reaction was “oh no, not another one,” remembering there was a past dispute but not being as up to date on individual names as you would be. Then I clicked on the link and was reassured that this was indeed the old news with which I was familiar, not new news. The blue-box dig was an (amateur!) attempt at Wellsian wit.

    Funny thing, I at first wasn’t sure if there might be a double-reverse ironic twist to the “pathetic” line, anyways.

    Bygones, etc…

  34. Ok, so the legal/moral equivalences among Cadman, Stronach and Emerson have been satisfactorily established. Can we officially declare this a non-issue?

    *snort*

  35. yeah Paul no apology was necessary… the Toronto Star comment was obviously meant to castigate you with all reporters who may be critical of the Conservatives, that is, as a Liberal.

    I would like to hear more about MYL’s wish that Emerson’s floor crossing have been investigated further.

  36. If you want to keep harping on about this stuff, that’s your prerogative. But could we please have full and fair reporting. What about the expert (hired by the Liberals, I believe) who said that the tape HAD been tampered with ?

  37. jad: None of the experts involved have been willing to say that there was conclusive evidence of editing on the section of importance. They have said that there appears to be some artifacts that indicate some sort of editing or stopping and starting of the recorder outside of that particular section.

    The interesting part, when this completes is it likely that the Liberals will receive costs? And if so, I wonder if conservatives will be annoyed at their donations funding the Liberal party?

  38. From the day this suit was launched, I have thought it would ultimately settle out of court with a confidentiality agreement. If so, the Liberals should hold out for more than just costs. Otherwise, it should go to court. I want to hear Harper testify about how his personality was misappropriated, what effect that had, and where he thinks he would be today if his personality had not been misappropriated.

  39. While the teeth-gnashing about Belinda Stronach’s having crossed the floor for a Cabinet position appears to have died down in this thread, may it be reminded that there were much more detailed allegations of bribery against the Liberals which arose from the same confidence vote?

    I hate to rehash the Gurmant/Nina Grewal incident, especially since I can’t remember which story won out in the “Gurmant approached Tim Murphy/Tim Murphy had Ujjal Dossangh approach Gurmant” debate but really, if you’re going to compare the Cadman affair to another floor-crossing scandalette, the Grewals would appear to be far more apt.

  40. Not to repeat myself too often, but can I launch a suit against Harper claiming defamation for his GST policy? I’m sure he’s said something like “Canadians deserve tax relief” at some point, and since I’m a Canadian that surely impugns me in some way. I’ll demand $5 million. That way he can never open his mouth on the subject of tax relief again without prejudicing the lawsuit, and democracy will flourish! In the end I’ll probably settle for the plaudits of a grateful nation.

  41. In that case, the tape was far more altered (doctored?) than in current proceedings, and the CPoC held onto it for a suspiciously long time. It is possible they never even released the entirety of their recorded conversations – I can’t recall.

    but we will likely never know what went on with the Grewals in any satisfying way.

  42. Grewal tape was doctored and was in the possession of the Conservatives. The most likely conclusion was the Conservatives doctored it, although that was never proven.

    In the Harper-Cadman case, there is no indication yet that the tape was doctored (i.e. purposely altered to imply something that is false), although that has been alleged by the Conservatives. The tape may have been used previously and the recorder might have been turned on and off, although these have also not been proven. In any case, there is no indication that the Liberals had possession of the tape and the author claims the tape is complete and legitimate as is.

    Note: Harper is not suing the author. Without a lawsuit against the author, this case really does not make much sense.

  43. I love this stuff .. what a wonderful waste of time : the only thing I will find interesting on this issue is how the case will turn out and if I were my boy Stevie I would make Stephanie apologize in public and in the house after all and then I am also curiousas to how the LPC are going to raise this in the house if they dare with his widow sitting there = very bad form indeed … maybe the PM could give her the nod to take the question – that would be too perfect.

  44. Catherine— the defamation case _does_ make sense, because the defamation results from accusing the PM of committing a crime, not from doctoring the tape (among other reasons). In any event, as a legal matter, you’re not required to treat everyone equally in terms of who you choose to sue.

  45. Wayne, perhaps you missed the election campaign when the CPC expended considerable effort to prevent Mrs. Cadman from speaking publicly, not just on this subject, but on any subject at all? Now that it’s apparent Harper’s court case is unraveling, I’d say the chances of Mrs. Cadman being unmuzzled are about zero.

  46. Cam, the TorStar comment was because that was where the link led to — oh, never mind. Better not let actual truth get in the way of your obvious love for persons a little further away on the political spectrum.

  47. “accusing the PM of committing a crime”

    I’ve read both pages in question and have found no statement of the sort. Do me a favour and point it out for me?

  48. A question is not an accusation. You can do it here, but PRETENDING to answer the question won’t hold up in a court of law.

  49. The real issue — oh, let me repeat myself again — is not whether the PM broke the law, doctored the tapes, or lied in any way. WhoTF cares anyway, it’s just sleaze. The real issue is the use of libel chill against a political opponent in Canadian federal politics. It’s completely unacceptable in a democracy to silence your critics with legal manoeuvres, especially if you’re the F’ing Prime Minister of Canada. It shows utter contempt for democratic values. Politicians operate in the court of public opinion. If you’re innocent, Harper, then bloody well say so and prove it — or ignore it. Man, we’ve sunk so low . . . Are you there, Obama? It’s me, Jack.

  50. “A question is not an accusation.” In this case it is, since knowing that you’re committing and indictable offence is not a required to commit the offence.

    But fine, let’s play your way: If the Tory war room in 2004 (?) had issued a press release saying “Does Paul Martin know that he supports child pornography” you would agree that they had not in fact accused Paul Martin of supporting child pornography?

    I am reminded why I don’t bother in the Capital Read comments section–nobody seems interested in making any progress in the discussion.

  51. *and that, ladies and gentleman, explains why one should not write comments on blogs at 3am… what bad spelling! what nonsense!

  52. I think the Conservative press release was worded “Paul Martin supports child pornography”, but I don’t recall any lawsuit being filed. Wasn’t that handled in the political arena, with public charges that the statement was offensive and slanderous, so Canadians could decide for themselves? Martin, as well as the NDP and Bloc called on Harper to apologize, but in fact, he just repeated his charges and Canadians decided for themselves. As MG said, that is how democracy is supposed to work.

    By contrast, Harper does not want Canadians to discuss his words on tape and what they mean as the lawsuit squelches that discussion.

    Given Harper’s words on tape, it does seem that he committed a crime, doesn’t it? He said people thought Cadman was being influenced by finances and he told them to go ahead and financial considerations were offered. Reading the law on influencing votes, that does seem to be a crime. I believe that is why Harper and the Conservatives have focussed so much on discrediting the tape. It is important to them to show that the tape is not legitimate.

  53. That should read, “As Jack Mitchell said, that is how democracy is supposed to work.” I don’t think MG agrees.

  54. MG: Even if it is repayable, a loan is still a financial consideration, which is what they were asking about. It was a fair question.

  55. and btw MG, just for the heck of it, I’ll point out that although I indulged the non sequitor I said a question is not an accusation. I never said it couldn’t be libelous.

    still waiting to see that accusation you’re talking about.

  56. kc
    jack m. has hit the nail on the head – at last! Coonparisons of con/lib sleazy behaviour misses the point. Harper’s libel chill does demonstrate contempt for democratic values and for the Canadian public. I worry that if this is allowed to slide as just another ex. of how the gaame is played then where do we go from here – it’s anyones guess.

  57. I love how people have adjusted their tin foil hats so often over what was plainly said on the tape and the obvious answer given by Harper on the transcript during discovery and people just won’t let it go probably because it doesn’t fit their nice little pre-conceived notions. This is perfect because when the judge says guilty to the LPC there will be another round of tin foil hat adjusting – again perfect – as it is situations like this that only frustrates the tinfoil hat crowd even more which always makes my day. Some people just can’t take an answer to a question as the answer – never ceases to amaze me. The new lawyer is the best possible choice. Boy am I looking forward to the trial as I have a sneaking suspicion the new leader will have to apologize in the house – now that would be a most auspicious start for a new LPC leader. I can see the Igster now furrowing his unibrow!

  58. “Man, we’ve sunk so low . . . Are you there, Obama? It’s me, Jack.”

    Jack M

    So you have a problem when Harper decides to sue Dion/Libs after Dion made some libelous claims but you have no problem with Obama and his efforts to get the Department of Justice involved in dispute with Republican who was paying for tv ads about Obama’s ties to Ayers. Would love to read your reasoning.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12816.html

  59. jwl, obviously I don’t care what foreigners do. Only someone like yourself, an American wannabe, could wish for a parallel.

  60. Wayne, even with our libel laws tilted toward the offended (and that may have changed recently) I would not be so sure Harper will prevail in court. In any case, I hope this case will proceed to court, no matter what the eventual outcome. To have it settle out of court with a confidentiality agreement would likely lead to more such cases in the future. Furthermore, it would neither clear Harper’s name nor prove his guilt. An open court decision may not do that either, but at least we might learn something.

    Certainly they are trying to verify the legitimacy of the tape and, if any parts are in dispute (even by something like reusing a tape) they can determine whether this changes the essential content of the tape. A settlement could prevent us from learning even that much. At this point in time, I think both the Liberals and Harper would have to agree to end the case, and I doubt they are both equally motivated to do so.

  61. Catherine : despite all the usual the tape this the tape that, it is in effect irrelevant unless it was available in it’s uninterrupted entirety and was clearly in context which it isn’t wasn’t and by no means can be therefore all of the clearly stated libelous statements by the LPC are without merit and hence they will be judged guilty. The LPC clearly stated Harper knew of a Bribe and then was part of a cover up of a bribe etc etc etc and then made their fatal mistake they kept it up and made more libelous statements – they are without a doubt doomed and I have no doubt that the only issue here is timing after all why doesn’t Stevie boy make it go away if there were any truth at all in any of the libel or at the least could be proved and since there isn’t none can be proved so it all comes down to adjusting the tin foil hats folks.

  62. Settlement or no, I can’t see anybody trying these kind of shennanigans again anytime soon.

  63. Which is it? Is Harper cold-blooded and calculating, always planning three moves ahead, always plotting to squeeze the Liberals out of political existence, or is he a loose cannon who brings lawsuits willy-nilly that might or might not destroy his political career and persists with them in the face of all reason? Can’t have it both ways. Have to go with the first option myself. He’s in this to win and is pretty damn confident he will, notwithstanding the incisive, Woodward-esque expose by Mr. Wells. Burning the midnight oil on this one. Nicely done.

  64. So you think Harper actually planned to get fired by one of the best defamation lawyers and put up with the innuendo that he tried to get the lawyer to do something unethical? The Globe and Mail spells out the
    conditions that Dearden could have resigned on, and there is not a whole lot of room there for assuming Harper is on the good side. Harper may not always control his chair kicking side.

  65. A third option, Harper is cold-blooded and calculating plotting to squeeze the Liberals out of political existance, and often screws up. Fortunately for him, he’s dealing with a Liberal party that has nearly been torn apart through the internal strife of Chretien/Martin and hasn’t been able to capitalize on most of his errors.

    Harper was betting that with the Liberal’s financial situation they’d cave and back-down as soon as the suit came up. When they didn’t he made them a settlement offer that would bar them from referring to the tape. When *that* didn’t work, he upped the amounts demanded so as to try to scare them. When *that* didn’t work, he called an election to serve as a reason to delay the trial. Now *that*’s complete, and he’s backed into a corner because if a ruling should come down that it was reasonable for the Liberals to believe the contents of the tape, given Donna Cadman’s statements etc., then no libel will have been committed, and Harper will have strengthened the Liberals by giving them the soundbite that Mr. Harper’s own suit showed that the law believes it is reasonable to assume Mr. Harper was aware of a bribery attempt by his party.

    And I’m pretty sure they’ve made no friends with Elections Canada, so it wouldn’t surprise me if a further determination in the in-and-out affair piled on as soon as that ruling comes out, thus hauling the Conservative’s party national campaign manager, and a number of local managers, off to jail for six months.

    Expect a non-confidence vote within a couple days of that.

  66. FWIW, I think it was just a delaying tactic to keep the soundbite, and the whole Cadman affair, off the table until after the election. As Paul Wells has written, it’s so much better to be PM than to not be PM, so carpsit diem.

  67. So a ploy for the short term hoping that the long term will magically resolve itself? That certainly sounds like the typical conservative thought process.. certainly evident in their budgeting.

  68. Thwim: Maybe relying, politically though not legally, on the attention-span factor? If it drags on for another year, it’ll be four (!) years since the 2005 budget vote, and it would take some serious Liberal legwork to make Canadians pay attention. Though of course Sponsorship was older still when it popped up . . .

    I think you’re right about trying to intimidate the Liberals, but since Harper must know the truth about the tape it must be some kind of bird-in-the-hand gambit.

  69. Maybe I have too much faith in the justice system, but there’s no way I can see that this libel suit is a slam-dunk for Harper, as Wayne would suggest. You have the wife’s statements, the book, and the tape which sounds authentic. Is that not even close enough for people to make statements on? My understanding is that many of our laws pertain to how a reasonable person should act. If it looks, smells and quacks like a duck, shouldn’t a person be able to say that it is a duck without first sequencing the genome to ensure that it is, in fact, a duck?

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