Thursday, May 19, 2005


Shit hitting the fan

The allegations are flying fast and furious over promises made or not made. Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal alleges that the Liberals offered him and his wife plum posts if they helped their minority government survive.

CTV news has the best stories with audio files.

Two questions linger from the clip:

1 - It isnt clear what is offered to them. There is a mention of the Senate, but listen close it isnt a firm offer.

2 - With only 1.3 minutes of tape, there is only a fraction of the story here.

In fact, PoliticsWatch has listened to the full eight-minute tape. It reports:

At no time during the tape does Murphy make an explicit offer to Grewal, and he carefully chooses his words and speaks about hypothetical situations. The tape suggests that Murphy is more interested in Grewal abstaining than having the MP crossover to the Liberal side.

Murphy also says that it is a "bad idea" to "have any kind of commitment that involves an explicit trade." However, Murphy tells Grewal that there are "other members of your current caucus who are facing the same dilemna that you face," suggesting the Liberals have been talking to other Tories who may be considering crossing the floor or abstaining.

"I don't think it's good if anybody lies, or if anybody is asked the question, 'Well is there a deal?' and you say, 'No.' Well you want that to be the truth," says Murphy. "And that's what I want. I want the truth to be told."

On the tape, Murphy proposes the concept of Grewal abstaining from the vote and using the following excuse, which sounds eerily familiar. "That can be done on the basis, those members can do it on the basis, 'Well look, my riding doesn't want an election, doesn't want one now. Thinks it's the wrong time to do it.'"

Murphy explains to Grewal that abstaining is a better option than crossing the floor and could allow for future talks. "If someone abstains in that environment who has exercised a decision based on principle, (it) still gives him the freedom to have some negotiating room on both sides.

"Then the freedom to have discussions is increased." Murphy described the next step for an MP who has abstained against the wishes of his party leader.

"A person can say, 'Look, I obviously abstained and created some issues' and then they can say, 'I'm thinking hard about what the right thing for my riding and the contribution I would like to make.'" Murphy goes on to say, "In advance of that explicit discussions about Senate, not Senate I don't think are very helpful and I don't think can be had in advance of an abstention tomorrow."

He says discussions could be held later. "You can easily say, if you don't like, you can stay home or stay back where you are or if you do like we can make an arrangement that allows you to move." Although the Liberals are now saying that it was Grewal who approached them, on the tape Murphy suggests that should be clarified at a later date. "It's much like Belinda where there is a third party who is independent of both sides," Murphy says. "So you didn't approach. We didn't approach."

FYI - It is against the law to pimp out offices or posts. Under Section 119 (1) of the Criminal Code,

Every one who ... being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, corruptly
(i) accepts or obtains,
(ii) agrees to accept, or
(iii) attempts to obtain,
any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment for himself or another person in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by him in his official capacity.

This day just got way more interesting.

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