Harper and Bribery

Today’s headlines were interesting. Conservatives using the RCMP as their political goon squad to turf people out of events and pre-screen them. But Harper’s said he’s sorry and, I’m sure, has promised to never do it again. This is a good little quote from the Toronto Star though:


Today’s headlines were interesting. Conservatives using the RCMP as their political goon squad to turf people out of events and pre-screen them. But Harper’s said he’s sorry and, I’m sure, has promised to never do it again. This is a good little quote from the Toronto Star though:

“The first time he fielded reporters’ questions Tuesday, he passed the matter off as a “staff” issue. The girl, Awish Aslam, was told she was removed from the hotel conference room because she had posted a picture of her and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on her Facebook site, suggesting that local organizers had pre-screened pre-registration lists for signs of political trouble.”

The other day I mentioned the story Lawrence Martin told in “Harperland” about how fraud convict and Harper’s right-hand man Bruce Carson helped out with the Environment Ministry when Rona Ambrose got into trouble trying to kill Kyoto. By way of showing how key Carson really was, the Toronto Star has a story on how Carson was also “the guy” on the Afghan file:

“But starting in 2007, Carson was a regular participant in daily telephone briefings on Afghanistan involving senior officials from departments such as foreign affairs, defence, RCMP, justice and corrections.”

But the story I wanted to relate in today’s blog is the story of bribery, involving an MP named Chuck Cadman, a journalist named Tom Zytaruk, and of course, the Harper conservatives. On pg. 136 of “Harperland”, Lawrence Martin tells this story. Chuck Cadman was a Reform Party MP who found out he was dying of cancer, lost the Conservative nomination, ran as an independent, and won in 2004. Paul Martin’s government was facing a confidence vote on its budget in 2005 which would have triggered an election.

“Cadman had to be mindful of his life insurance policy. If an election was held right away and he lost, he would no longer be a sitting MP and his family would stand to lose a lot of money on the policy when he died. In the prelude to the vote, both the Liberals and the Conservatives tried to convince him to come to their table. Two of Harper’s most powerful players, Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley, went to see him… But half an hour before the vote, Cadman decided to throw in his lot with the Liberals…”

“Cadman died just a few months later. His biography, written by Tom Zytaruk, “alleged that the Conservatives had in fact offered Cadman several inducements, including a million-dollar life insurance policy, to vote with them. If true, such an act was illegal, tantamount to bribery. His wife, Dona Cadman, confirmed the story, saying ‘If he died I’d get the million dollars. [And] there was a few other things thrown in their too.’

“Harper denied that such an offer had been made. But Zytaruk had a taped interview with the prime minister that complicated the situation. In it, Zytaruk talked about the insurance policy, asking Harper, ‘Did you know anything about that?’ ‘I don’t know the details. I know that there were discussions,’ said Harper. ‘This is not for publication?'”

The Conservatives then tried to argue that Zytaruk’s tape was doctored and sued Zytaruk for $3.5 million, dropping the lawsuit when the forensics showed that the tape hadn’t been doctored (pg. 137).

More filthy politics. And there’s an endless supply with Harper, especially if he’s re-elected.

I’ll try to get to Maxime Bernier (the one who left secret files at his girlfriend’s house, pp.146-7) and the firing of Linda Keen for being too careful with nuclear safety (pg. 128) tomorrow…

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.