A few weeks ago, Aaron offered this comment:
Gee whillikers — for a couple of Canadians, you two sure are focused on the elections down here! Isn’t there anything interesting going on where you are?
Usually, the answer is No, there isn’t anything interesting going on in Canadian politics.
But now we have a scandal! And not a typical, boring Canadian-grade scandal, either. The scandal involves, allegedly, an attempt to buy the vote of a Member of Parliament who was dying of cancer at the time.
If the allegations can be substantiated, it wouldn’t just be dirty politics: it would constitute a criminal offence. And the guilty party would be the Conservatives, led by our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
Chuck Cadman was sitting as an independent Member of Parliament in May 2005. The Liberals had a tenuous minority government at the time. The government would stand or fall based literally on a single vote. (At issue was a Liberal budget: traditionally, if Parliament votes against a budget, the government is deemed to have “lost the confidence of Parliament” and an election is held.)
The Globe and Mail broke the story yesterday:
OTTAWA — The widow of former B.C. MP Chuck Cadman says two Conservative Party officials offered her husband a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote to bring down the Liberal government in May of 2005.
The offer, which was summarily rejected by the dying man, is outlined in a biography of Mr. Cadman by Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk that is due to be released on March 14. A copy of the manuscript, including an introduction by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, has been obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quoted in the book, Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story, as confirming that a visit took place, and that officials were “legitimately” representing the Conservative Party. But he says any offer to Mr. Cadman was only to defray losses he might incur in an election.
Cadman’s widow is the source of the story. She has confirmed her account in a telephone interview with CTV news.
The vote was held on May 19, 2005. Cadman, who had been battling cancer for two years, died on July 9, 2005.
The Liberal Party has submitted a formal request to the RCMP, asking Commissioner William Elliott to open a criminal investigation.