Friday, June 03, 2005

The Grewal drama continues

CBC

NDP Leader Jack Layton has called on federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the prime minister's chief of staff, Tim Murphy, whose voices are on the tapes, to step down during the investigation by Shapiro.

Grewal alleges Murphy and Dosanjh offered him and his wife, Tory MP Nina Grewal, plum positions if they crossed the floor to the Liberals ahead of a crucial budget vote.

The British Columbia MP released copies of the tapes to the public on Tuesday and the Conservatives handed them over to the RCMP.

The Conservatives say the alleged Liberal bribes may have violated anticorruption laws under the Criminal Code, an offence which carries a 14-year prison sentence.

Dosanjh suggested Thursday that the tapes had been tampered with and that parts of the conversation are missing.

On Thursday, two independent audio experts hired by the CBC and Canadian Press said they believed the tapes may have been altered.


Though by tonight on CBC radio they were reporting that the tapes had been altered when the experts said that it "sounded like it could be an edit, or just that the copy was poor" and that it "couldn't be proven" that it was an edit.

CTV

After analyzing a 46-second segment of recordings of Grewal speaking with Dosanjh, audio expert Steven Pausak said Thursday that there appears to be a break in one of the tapes.

"It appears to be altered," Pausak said.

"This brief segment at the beginning shows that it's not continuous, and it should be."

The Conservative Party said late Thursday that small gaps occurred when the master tapes were transferred to CD.

But Pausak said he found an entirely separate abnormality that couldn't be explained by transferring.

Pausak, who once worked for the Ontario government and now testifies in trials, said there is a discontinuity in the audio file.

"I'm talking about alteration. I am trying to avoid the word tampering,'' he said.

"When you are using the word 'tampering', that means intent, right?

Most of the time there is no way to show intent through the examination of the recording. You just see that it's altered.''

Grewal denies tampering with the evidence.


Globe and Mail

Small Dead Animals

This is a party that never got a chance to bury their dead from the Chretien-Martin wars. The wounds hadn't begun to heal before the heavens opened up to pour Adscam on them. And while there may be glee and hope in some quarters that the accusations of tape tampering will save them to fight another day - these people aren't idiots. They know as well as the rest of us what is on those tapes, and that the Prime Minister has been caught in a public lie. There are now signs of breaks in the ranks.

At a personal level, extended contraversy and dissent is hard enough on a leader - for a micro-manager like Paul Martin, having matters spiraling out of control on a weekly basis has got to be excrutiating and exhausting. He certainly appears out of sorts at times. Then, there's a longtime habit of deflecting questions ("Did you have lunch with that man?") directed at him in Question Period to other ministers.

This sometimes works at a tactical level, but as a general strategy, it's a loser. At some point, a general understands the importance of rallying his troops and leading by example - of stepping into the fray and facing down the enemy come hell or high water, of taking his share of hits like a man.

Instead, Paul Martin uses his ministers as cannon fodder. They have to be tiring of it.

There seems to be more at work than mere lack of moral fibre or personal stubborness - I think there's genuine fear. I don't think it's fear of the opposition, or fear of the media or the public. It's the fear of a man who hears the unsheathing of a knives - at his rear. The dithering has always been coupled with stammering, and a strong tendency to avoid eye contact when pressed to answer questions. These days the stammering seems more pronounced, the eyes evade a little more wildly. To me - admittedly just a lowly Canadian who sees the PM only in brief television clips - Paul Martin sometimes looks downright spooked.


Angry

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper should take the lead in the face of Paul Martin's dithering and announce with regret that until the matter is resolved, Gurmant Grewal is excluded from caucus. Mr. Harper needs to make the case that the Conservatives operate under different ethical rules than the Liberals. It's not a pleasant step to take, but then true leadership often requires making unpleasant choices.

Losing Grewal at least temporarily won't really hurt the Conservatives at all as he isn't an important MP or even a particularly impressive one and it's not likely that we are going to be having another major confidence vote any time soon and anyways Grewal has burned all his bridges in regard to the Libs.

Monte Solberg

Gee have you noticed that Ujjal Dosanjh has dropped the line that Gurmant Grewal wouldn't take no for an answer. Ujjal was suggesting that Gurmant came to the Libs begging to get on the good ship corruption and was turned down because he was looking for a position in exchange for his vote. That of course is illegal.

But if that's true then why didn't those highly ethical libs call the police?

Of course the line doesn't work very well now that we can hear Ujjal on tape talking about cabinet posts and Tim talking about that Liberal welcome mat covered in all that nice comfy fur, which was a crazy thing for Tim to say.

It was a crazy thing to say not because it suggested corruption (although it did), it was a crazy thing to say because it suggested the use of fur.

Tim should know by now that in Canada you can be perceived to be corrupt and the average Liberal voter will just shrug his shoulders. They seem to view corruption as just another lifestyle choice. But Tim you must never even joke about FUR! Yeesh man, what were you thinking?


More musings on whether Grewal should stay in Tory caucus

...Grewal also has a certain amount of accounting to do. As someone who's been active in politics in the Lower Mainland I can certainly attest to the fact that Mr. Grewal does not have the best reputation in the province. I don't know that he has broken any laws but he has failed to uphold the highest standards. Paul Martin has already had plenty of time to start cleaning out the Liberals and has failed to do much more than change some of the players. Stephen Harper must do better. It's time to consider if Gurmant Grewal belongs in the Conservative Party caucus.

Captain's Quarters

A senior Liberal MP wants the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Tim Murphy, and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh suspended from their posts until an investigation takes place into the growing scandal over the secretly taped negotiations between the two men and a Tory MP who was considering crossing the floor.

Sarnia MP Roger Gallaway says the situation is "totally odious" and "it shows the underbelly of politics that I think is quite unacceptable."

"[Conservative Leader Stephen Harper] will have to deal with [Tory MP Gurmant Grewal, who made the tapes], but we have to deal with our own," Mr. Gallaway said. "The use of the words 'Senate' and 'foreign posting,' even if no offer was made, is totally odious. There are several MPs who are remaining silent but who think Murphy and Dosanjh have crossed the threshold of acceptable political discourse."


The Liberals have been stabbing each other in the back for years and have managed to hang together and keep winning thus far, that said, they were never in as weak a position before either.