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June 2, 2005
Tapes Edited: Dosanjh

The tapes that Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal took of conversations between himself and Liberal Party leaders have been spliced and edited to mislead listeners, Ujjal Dosanjh protested today. Dosanjh claimed that Grewal has altered evidence to make the Liberals appear to have offered a quid pro quo in return for Grewal's support or at least his abstention:

As the New Democrats filed an official complaint with the Commons Ethics Commissioner calling for an inquiry and the Conservatives insisted that senior officials in the Liberal government had tried to buy an MP's vote, Mr. Dosanjh charged that the recordings are not only badly translated but pieced together from different conversation and edited to cut out sections.

In a written statement he issued yesterday, he alleges, for example, that it appears there are "two obvious cuts" where the phrase "cabinet is quick" is spliced into a recording to make it appear as though the Health Minister is indicating Mr. Grewal could expect a quick cabinet appointment.

In another case, according to the statement, it appears the word "deniability" had been spliced in from another conversation, where Mr. Dosanjh suggested that Mr. Grewal might get an appointment as a parliamentary secretary, as current Public Works Minister Scott Brison did initially when he defected from the Tories in 2003.

The Tories did not let that accusation sit too long:

"Was it spliced on the grassy knoll? Where's their evidence for this? Do they just say these things?" asked Tory MP Monte Solberg. "I think the evidence points to them trying to buy a vote."

This latest defense presents a danger to the Liberals. Up to now, they've all insisted -- from Paul Martin down -- that nothing on the tapes amount to evidence of criminal behavior. Dosanjh's new charge appears to acknowledge just the opposite: that the transcripts clearly show Dosanjh and Martin's chief of staff Tim Murphy did their best to convince Grewal that specific rewards would await him if he crossed the aisle in advance of a confidence motion. Otherwise, why would they have been edited?

That pits the Liberal defense on the chance that someone can prove deliberate editing of the tapes. After having played chicken once and lost, it's surprising to see Dosanjh try it again. If they cannot prove that edits have been made, or can conclusively prove that no edits took place, Dosanjh will have given away the game.

Another component of Martin's defense came under attack, this time by BQ leader Giles Duceppe. Martin has claimed that the tapes show only that Grewal tried to sell his vote rather than the Liberals attempting to buy it. But as Duceppe pointed out, that explanation creates the question of why the Liberals never reported this ethical and criminal lapse on Grewal's part:

Bloc Qubcois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the Liberals' defence is crumbling.

"They say an MP wanted to sell his vote," he said.

"Why didn't Mr. Martin immediately notify the RCMP, and say, listen, there's an MP who approached us who wants to sell his vote?"

Why indeed? Either Martin and Murphy had no qualms about listening to the sales pitch, if you believe the Liberals, or the offer came in the other direction. No third option exists. It appears that the Liberals have begun to run out of arguments with which to defend themselves, and like any organization reaching desperation, have switched to the shotgun-excuse method to see what sticks.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 2, 2005 12:06 PM

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» Grewal tapes spliced? from Stephen Taylor - Conservative Party of Canada Pundit
Tonight there are allegations from the Liberals that the tapes are spliced and doctored to make the attempted bribery of Gurmant Grewal seem... um... a lot... worse? You can't blame the Liberal spin though; this is a logical path to take while runni... [Read More]

Tracked on June 2, 2005 9:38 PM

» They've been altered! from Black Sheep Press
On CBC this evening they were reporting about how they had a forensic audio expert listen to a copy of the Grewall tapes and his conclusion was that they might possibly have been altered but it couldn't be proven. The exact phrase I believe was that ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 3, 2005 12:45 AM

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