Book says Conservative officials offered B.C. MP inducement for vote
Stephen Harper knew Conservative party officials were making a financial offer to independent MP Chuck Cadman in exchange for his vote to topple the minority Liberal government in May 2005, a new book charges.
Harper was Opposition leader when two party operatives offered Cadman, who had terminal cancer, a million-dollar life insurance policy, according to the book.
In an audio tape released to Torstar News Service by the publisher of Like A Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story, it is clear that Harper knew of the offer when he was interviewed by author Tom Zytaruk in September 2005.
When Zytaruk asked Harper whether he knew of the offer, Harper said: "I don’t know the details. I knew that there were discussions, uh, this is not for publication?"
Zytaruk told Harper that the interview was "not for the newspaper. This is for the book."
Harper said: "I can tell you that I had told the individuals — I mean, they wanted to do it — but I told them they were wasting their time.
"I said Chuck had made up his mind he was going to vote with the Liberals. I knew why, and I respected the decision, but they were convinced there was financial issues … but I said that’s not going to change the decision," Harper said.
"I said ‘don’t press him, I mean, you have this theory that it’s, you know, financial insecurity, and … if that’s what you say, make the case,’ but I said ‘Don’t press it,’" Harper said.
Asked about the insurance policy, Harper said, "it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election, okay? That’s my understanding of what they were talking about."
Harper denied yesterday that there was any financial offer made to Cadman. The RCMP confirmed last night they are examining the Liberals’ claim the incident violates the Criminal Code.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said "not only was trying to bribe Chuck Cadman an insult to his integrity and his honour … but it was against the law."
In an interview with CTV News yesterday, Dona Cadman stood by her story, outlined in the book, that the Tory officials had met with her husband to woo his vote.
"Two gentlemen had visited him, offered him a million-dollar life insurance policy and a few other things," said Cadman, who is the Conservative candidate in the Surrey North riding once held by her husband.
Asked whether she considered it a bribe, she responded, "Yes, in a way."