Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Perjuring PM?

On Friday evening, it was revealed that Harper's expert witness found that the Cadman tape was not altered. A couple days later, that story seems to have dropped off the radar, but it's really significant.

In 2005, Conservative-turned-independent MP Chuck Cadman voted with the Liberal government, passing the budget by a single vote and preventing the government from falling. At the time, Cadman was battling malignant melanoma. After his death, his widow, Dona Cadman, revealed that her husband had been approached by two Conservative Party officials with an offer of a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote against the Liberal budget. Under section 119 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to bribe an MP.

At the beginning of this year, a tape-recorded interview by Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk came to light, in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that he had approved of making an offer to Cadman.

Zytaruk asked, "The insurance policy for a million dollars, do you know anything about that?"

Harper responded, "I don't know the details. I know that there were discussions. This is not for publication?" He went on to explain that the offer to Cadman was "only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election," and he failed to address specifically the allegation of a million-dollar insurance bribe.

Last March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sued St├ęphane Dion and the Liberal party for defamation over allegations made linking Harper to the affair. So as to avoid demonstrating malice, the Liberals were forced to remove allegations from their Web site.

This August, Harper testified. During cross-examination, he was asked about Zytaruk's question regarding the insurance policy and responded, "That is not the question as he put it. He has done some editing there.

"What I do know is that this answer is not the answer to this question, I think there's been some editing in this question, so I don't think it goes from this question to this answer."

Harper tried to delay the proceedings until after the election, but on Friday lawyers for the Liberal party filed an analysis of the recording by Harper's own audio expert. His findings?

The key portion of the recorded interview contains no splices, edits or alterations.

The best information available to the public now suggests that Prime Minister Stephen Harper made verifiably false statements on a material matter while under oath in a court of law.

Mr. Harper has already made history with his defamation suit, which seems to have been engineered to silence any discussion of the matter until after the election. He is the first sitting prime minister ever to have filed such a suit. If Canadians return him to office tomorrow, he may also become the first sitting prime minister ever to be charged with perjury.

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