Stephen Harper, the current Prime Minister of Canada, has actually threatened to sue some members of the opposition, including Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. In fact, he actually has filed a notice of a libel suit against them.
Why, you may ask? Well, the Liberals are alleging that Harper knew and approved of Canada’s newest scandal.
The allegations surround Conservative MP’s allegedly trying to bribe a former-Conservative-turned-independent Chuck Cadman. This former Tory was instrumental in propping up the former Liberal minority government under Paul Martin.
Now, the allegations are that the Conservatives offered a cancer-striken Cadman a million dollar life insurance policy for his vote against the Liberal budget in 2005.
This is a prett serious allegation and Harper is treating them as such. Bribing an MP is a federal offence, and if Harper knew or approved of it, he could be in some trouble himself.
So not only does Harper want the Liberals to take down all notes about the case on their website, he also is suing for “any electronic or paper data that the Liberals may have collected that relate to the case.” That is pretty interesting, because it carries with it overtones of trying to cover things up. Note that none of the allegations against Harper have been proven, so this is in no way implying his guilt.
However, demanding any evidence of the case at hand is probably a bad PR move. The smart thing would be for him to come clean and come out with strong statements against the allegations. Interestingly enough, it looks as if Harper’s former (and probably again soon) leadership rival, Peter Mackay, is distancing himself from the situation as much as possible.
The allegations stem from Cadman’s widow, and comes out on the eve of the release of a book about Cadman’s life written by a Vancouver journalist. Apparently the journalist and author Tom Zytaruk, has an audio tape that he claims has Harper discussing the offer.
Since the Liberals were too timid (and rightly so, since they are weak at the moment) to bring down the Conservatives at the budget vote last week, this may prove to be the ammo they need to vault themselves back in power. This can be their sponsorship scandal, if these allegations are proven.
This is not the first time audio tapes have come back to haunt the Conservatives. Anyone remember the Gurman Grewal scandal from a few years back?