I vote for the latter:
Scratchy tape begins with Harper request: 'This is not for publication'
Thu, 2008-02-28 21:15.
By: Alexander Panetta, THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - The voice on the scratchy tape is unmistakably Stephen Harper's.
It was as unmistakable as his concern that the tape's contents might one day be made public. Harper interrupted a local reporter in 2005 when asked about allegations his party had offered financial enticements to a dying MP to win his support on a critical vote.
"This is not for publication?" Harper asked Tom Zytaruk.
He was told that the interview was intended as fodder for a biography of Chuck Cadman, the late MP from Surrey, B.C.
But the ensuing two minutes, 21 seconds of audio raise questions about apparent discrepancies between what the prime minister said Thursday and what Harper himself said on the tinny tape more than two years ago.
The prime minister said Thursday he looked into claims Cadman was offered financial considerations and determined they were untrue.
The tape suggests Harper was not only aware of a financial offer to Cadman, but that he gave it the go-ahead, while urging party emissaries not to "press" Cadman too hard.
Harper's conversation with B.C. journalist Tom Zytaruk took place outside the Cadman residence just after Harper paid a courtesy visit to the former MP's widow shortly after his death.
"The offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election," Harper says.
And Harper says of the people who made the offer: "They were legitimately representing the party."
Here's how Harper summarizes his instructions to those party operatives: "I said, 'Don't press (Cadman), 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 I said, 'Don't press it."'
The Liberals have already sent a letter to the RCMP asking for an investigation into whether the entire incident could violate the bribery provisions in Section 119 of the Criminal Code. The Mounties said Thursday they're examining the request.
Harper is clear on the tape that he never expected the overtures to succeed. Cadman did in fact vote to rescue the Martin government.
"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."
Transcript of author's tape of Harper sheds light on Cadman case
OTTAWA - Transcript of a portion of author Tom Zytaruk's tape of a 2005 interview with Stephen Harper, then leader of the Opposition, for his biography of the late Chuck Cadman:
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."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 10:50 PM