Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal has repeatedly suggested that he was approached by the Liberals in the lead up to the vote last week that nearly toppled the government. They offered him a senate appointment or another patronage appointment in return for his vote on the budget. In Canada the Prime Minister has the sole authority to appoint Senators, Judges, and Supreme Court Justices. There are no filibusters in Canada, only directives from the supreme Leader. No checks and balances here.
Conservative MP Inky Mark had suggested before Grewal that the Liberals were doing this to him. It's not a wild stretch of the imagination to assume that the Liberals, if anyone they would approach, would be Inky Mark. He has had a history of less than dedicated loyalty to the party he belongs to - whatever party that is from day to day.
Gurmant was smart enough to record his conversations. And the Conservative Party released 8 minutes of conversation where Tim Murphy effectively asks, without explicitly saying, for Grewal to abstain, or vote with the budget, in return for a patronage appointment.
The Liberals are demanding all 4 hours of conversation be released. They are also spinning this as a conspiracy by the Conservative Party to muddy the Liberal Party name. Of course an HRDC boondogle, a Gun Registry Billion dollar accounting error, and a multi-million dollar Sponsorship mess later, the Liberal Party is still more concerned about other people muddying its name rather than itself muddying its own name.
The Tories are not calling an investigation. The Liberals are claiming this is proof that the Tories don't want to get to the truth. Confused? Don't be. I understand perfectly why the party won't call for an investigation headed by the Mounties.
It's been a concern for a while now that the Mounties have become too politicized in recent years. It's gotten so bad that some members of the separatist Bloc Quebequois have called on the Mounties to stop investigating the Sponsorship Scandal and to turn over files to the Ontario Provincial Police, or another provincial police force for fear of bias.
I have no doubt that there are concerns that the Liberal friendly Mounties are probably seen by more than a few members of the Conservative Caucus as a wing of the Liberal Party.
The Liberal Party spin has been that Grewal was the one asking Murphy for the appointment, not the other way around. Although by listening to the tapes you wonder how the Liberal Party can have any credibility at all after hearing the blatantly incriminating comments Tim Murphy makes on the tape in question. Grewal makes a good point in all of this:
Although the Liberals have insisted they repeatedly turned down Mr. Grewal's requests, the Conservative MP said that is false.
"Does it take four hours to say no? And if they said no at one time, why would they start talking to me again?" he said.
Good point. If Grewal was really the one initiating the request, and it was turned down by the Liberal's then why did they keep on talking to him for 4 hours? Even if Grewal did initiate the request it tells me one thing: Tim Murphy, if he didn't break the exact letter of the law, he did break the intent of it.
The tape is littered with vague comments from him, that could easily mean what Grewal says it means, but it's just vague enough to place some reasonable doubt to cover his own behind.