The Tale of the Tape Returns: Excerpts from the first ever deposition of a sitting Prime Minister


The full transcript is available here.

I’m still going through it, so I’ll likely be posting bits that tweak my interest throughout the day, like this excerpt from relatively early on in the deposition, in which the Prime Minister’s memory of at least one detail from that fateful day when he was interviewed by Tom Zytaruk outside Dona Cadman’s house appears to contradict that of his press secretary, Carolyn Stewart Olson. 

From the deposition transcript:

222. Q. Right, but in terms of your conversation with Tom Zytaruk, there was no opportunity to deal with that

in your memory bank between September the 9th and —

A. Well, as I say, there would have been the debrief on interviews, we did that with Carolyn later in the day. Debriefed it with Doug Finley a couple of days later. And then would have put my mind to it when I met Dona Cadman again. Those would have been the occasions.

After that, once Dona never raised it with me again, and, you know, there were no articles on the matter, I presumed that this was a closed subject.

223. Q. Sure. And when you debriefed to Carolyn, that’s Carolyn Stewart Olsen?

A. Yes.

224. Q. And when was that in relation to the meeting of September the 9th?

A. Oh, it would have been that day. I can’t say exactly when because I know we were a bit late for a meeting, a public meeting. We were leaving and I know she was not with me in the car, but we would have debriefed, you know, probably after that subsequent public meeting.

What Carolyn Stewart Olson stated in her sworn affidavit of June 2, 2008:

Mr. Zytaruk’s interview commenced by me introducing Mr. Harper to Mr. Zytaruk and they exchanged pleasantries. I was present beside Mr. Harper during the entire interview which lasted about 5-10 minutes. When the interview was finished, Mr. Harper and I walked to our vehicle, got in and drove to our next scheduled event. Mr. Harper never walked to our vehicle and then walked back to where Mr. Zytaruk was standing to add further comments.

A minor detail? Sure. But it does suggest that those present at the Cadman residence that day may have differing – and even contradictory – recollections of exactly what went on between the then-Opposition Leader and Tom Zytaruk.

UPDATE: This post may come in handy when attempting to reconcile the PM’s testimony with previous statements made by Olson and others.


The Tale of the Tape Returns: Excerpts from the first ever deposition of a sitting Prime Minister

  1. Lies are much harder to remember than the truth.

  2. “Clearly, if the Prime Minister were to approach a member with an offer of a Cabinet position with the sole intent and specific purpose of acquiring that member’s vote directly linked to a parliamentary proceeding existing at that time, such conduct would be inappropriate and unacceptable.” – Office of the Ethics Commissioner, 2006

    Its all downhill from there.

  3. Harper’s first defence was that he’d discouraged Finley because he believed Cadman wouldn’t change his mind… therefore, he had no motive to offer an “inducement”.

    Now Harper says he’d heard that Cadman actually wanted to vote with the Conservatives, but was afraid of financial consequences… hence the offer of a PERFECTLY LEGAL inducement to rejoin the party.

    The story keeps switching… and really, really smells.

    Dona Cadman on what Harper said then:

    “He said, yes he’d had some discussions with two individuals about asking Chuck to rejoin the party, but he’d told them they were wasting their time trying to convince Chuck,” Cadman said in her statement.

    Harper and his spokespeople repeatedly stated that he never offered Cadman an inducement and told Finley he was “wasting his time”, because Harper was sure Cadman had made up his mind and would vote with the Liberals.

    Now we get a completely contradictory story in this affidavit:

    “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.”

    Harper now says he had heard from his people that Cadman really wanted to vote with the Conservatives, but wouldn’t do so due to financial worries.

    So I guess Cadman’s mind wasn’t made up and there was room for an inducement????

    This appears to be a complete reversal of his prior account and of Harper’s stated belief’s about Cadman’s position. (Goes to motive.)

    Which version of the truth will you settle on, Steve?

  4. Maybe this libel suit idea wasn’t such a good idea Steve. At least not for you.

    And the election a year before your own legislation allows. Sound like a good idea now?

  5. Has Finley been deposed?

  6. I wonder how Dona Cadman feels about this? Will she still run for the Tories, or will she realize that her husband’s deathbed integrity is being put in question by the prime minister?

    And pretty low of the prime minister to basically call Zytaruk, a private citizen, a liar and a tape fixer.

    Really, is there no one safe from the slings and arrows of outrageous harper defensiveness?

  7. “Maybe this libel suit idea wasn’t such a good idea Steve…”

    They’re buying time. Factor in StraussBoy’s grand Punic War strategy and from their point of view its worth every penny.

  8. I still think the best move now for the “Anybody But Conservative” crowd is to arrange for Zutaryk to sue Harper & Co for esentially calling saying a major part of his book is fiction.
    Expensive to pursue lawsuits? Yes, but the value here is the sizzle of a lawsuit being launched, not the steak of the actual proceedings etc…… Zutaryk would have a legit case, but the Cons do have the cash to bind it up in court, though.

  9. I find it ironic that Harper had to obey someone else’s orders and appear.

    It’s a great remove from the calling the shots
    stand he likes to have.

  10. Looks like the Lib’s are in trouble folks questions asked and answered and everything appears in order to me (I wonder how long it will before we hear from Quantico with respect to the tape)… I especially like how the lawyer try’s to spin Harper out but ends up backing out himself (the truth always confuses lawyers) if a person wants to I guess they could sort of spin some little things but in a court of law all comes out in the end this is why I like investigations done properly and not in some circus committee where people do not even know how to ask aoppropriate questions. The Libel suit just gained a few points for team Harper and that is for sure. I wouldn’t want to be the banker for the Liberal party right now – or speech writer when they have to apologize! Hey here is a thought what might happen is that we could be in an election and during a debate Dion might havt to apologize – that would be brilliant!

  11. apologize for what?

    Harper DID know of the bribe. That’s the biggest risk, credit to the authors, the web site articles took. Everything else was fair comment.

  12. Geez, do you expect Wayne to see it any other way?

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive – Steve.

    Yup – Deceivin Stephen

  13. Harper’s logic falls apart when the Liberal lawyer points out that Cadman had already won once as an independent, so why would he need “campaign money” to run again in another election, versus “personal money” to look after his family after he was gone?

    Harper: …If I can go back, in weighing that out again, the view was that Chuck wanted to vote with us, but that it was unrealistic to think that he would do that, bring down the Government, strand himself as an independent
    candidate, be forced to fight another election campaign, with limited or no organizational of financial support and that this was not a plausible thing to expect a man to do.

    Q. Except he’d already done it [ran and won as an independent] and whipped you. So that’s why I —
    Harper. Yes, well, except I guess, well, no, I’m not going to argue that case for you, because I didn’t agree with it. I didn’t agree with it. I would point out that, you know, Chuck was sick.

    (transcript p 57-58)

  14. but but but

    it was just a LITTLE bribe

  15. Good grief, doesn’t that get even worse? The “Chuck was sick” line leads right into the assertion that Chuck knew he wasn’t going to run again, so what on earth were you offering him financial support for again?

  16. JV, if the popular Chuck Cadman ran as a Tory, he’d have all that room in his advertising budget for the regional buy/in&out scheme.

  17. Are the cons actually suing Zytaruk yet? The one who they say actually falsified the tape?

  18. Good heavens, no, Mike. That has nothing to do with getting a tyrannymajority.

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