Buckets of Data

May 31, 2005

May 31, 2005: Edmonton Journal: Tories Backing Off Confidence Votes…

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 10:05 pm

Tories backing off confidence votes: Exhausted MPs skip question period
Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Page: A7
Section: News
Byline: Anne Dawson
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: CanWest News Service CanWest News Service

OTTAWA – Attempts to topple the Liberal government this spring have been abandoned as opposition parties conceded Monday they cannot continue the high-stakes brinkmanship they have practised in recent weeks.

After a month of high drama on Parliament Hill ended in failure two weeks ago for the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois when they lost a vote of confidence on the budget, the House of Commons on Monday was a wasteland of exhausted MPs, some 80 of whom did not even bother to show up for work.

In fact, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper ducked out of question period after he asked his first round of questions, about 10 minutes after it started, and was not seen again.

“We’re prepared to have an election if the government tries to jab through things that we think would damage the public. But … I’m not going to tell you that we’re running out there looking to push a confidence motion to have an election. You can’t take the country to the brink every week and be perceived to be responsible,” said Tory MP Monte Solberg.

In explaining the poor attendance and lack of energy in the Commons, Solberg said it is usual that on “Mondays, people are pretty tired typically coming in (from their ridings to Ottawa), but insisted everyone will get “fired up” in the coming weeks.

Although the official Opposition has its first opportunity to defeat the minority government today in what is called an opposition day, which allows the opposition to set the agenda, Conservative House leader Jay Hill announced his party will bring forward a motion to expand the mandate of the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, instead.

With Gomery scheduled to report his findings by the end of the year, it is highly unlikely the Liberals would change the entire mandate of the inquiry to allow the judge to press criminal charges, as requested by the opposition. As well, the vote is not a confidence matter, which means even if the government loses the vote on the motion, it is not bound to act.

During Monday’s question period, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe also hammered away at the government over the suspicious taped recording of backroom negotiations between the prime minister’s chief of staff, Tim Murphy, and B.C. Tory MP Gurmant Grewal.

They have called for an RCMP investigation into the taped conversations, in which the two men were negotiating the future possibility of a plum posting for Grewal and his wife, Tory MP Nina Grewal, in exchange for their support on the budget.

Although it has been almost two weeks since Grewal came forward to accuse the Liberals of attempting to bribe him with a diplomatic post, the Conservatives have yet to release the entire transcript of the tapes.

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May 31 2005: CP Reports: Tapes Say PM Was Ready To Talk Deal…

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 10:03 pm

Tapes show PM ready to talk deal: CTV: Grewal offered gov’t post, broadcaster says
Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Page: A5
Section: News
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Prime Minister Paul Martin was ready to talk with a Conservative MP about defecting just before the crucial budget vote, taped conversations between senior Liberals and the Tory show, CTV News reported Monday.

The four-hour tape also shows that Gurmant Grewal was offered a government position within two weeks of the vote, CTV said. Only a short segment of the tape has been made public.

Martin has denied that an offer was made to entice Grewal and his wife Nina, who is an MP, to defect or abstain from the vote.

“No offer was made — that means no offer was made,” the prime minister has told the House of Commons.

Officials with the Prime Minister’s Office could not be reached for comment on Monday night.

The bulk of Grewal’s secretly taped conversations with Tim Murphy, Martin’s top aide, and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh may be released today, the CTV said.

The Liberals survived the budget vote, in part, because Tory Belinda Stronach agreed to cross the floor of the Commons and become a cabinet minister.

Conservative House Leader Jay Hill has said the party will be turning the tapes over to the RCMP soon.

Grewal has said he was offered an ambassadorship and his wife , a Senate appointment, if they would abstain from the budget confidence vote. Grewal has said he never intended to accept any offers, but was trying to gather evidence.

The Liberals, in turn, have said the Tory called them.

Ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro may also announce today whether he will conduct an investigation into the allegations of Liberal deal-making.

The NDP and Bloc have called for a RCMP investigation.

May 31 2005: CBC Reports: Grewal Releases Secret Tapes

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 10:01 pm

The Conservatives release translated transcripts of hours of tapes between Grewal and senior Liberals and say the tapes will be turned over to the RCMP. Dosanjh issues a statement, saying, “It is clear to me that the recordings have been altered.” Prime Minister Paul Martin also questions the tapes’ authenticity.
CBC STORY: Grewal releases secret tapes

May 31, 2005. Grewal tapes mounted at Grewal website

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 5:31 pm

From May 31, 2005, the Grewal tapes were mounted at this site, http://www.gurmantgrewal.ca/audio.asp, which looked like this:

GREWAL-WEBSITE

May 31 2005: 1st Edition/version of Grewal Tapes are finally released

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 12:39 am

Buckets Reports: Here

As was noted above, the Conservatives have released the Grewal tapes here, where there are four MP3s (and accompanying transcripts) of a number of conversations:

  1. SK tel.mp3 (8 minutes, 26 seconds)
  2. tm-ud meeting.mp3 (40 minutes, 30 seconds)
  3. tel ud tm.mp3 (21 minutes, 45 seconds)
  4. tm meeting.mp3 (3 minutes, 59 seconds)

All together this comes to about 1 hour and 15 minutes of conversations. All the reports, however, were of four (4) hours of tapes.

Are there other tapes? Where are they?

May 31 2005, Bucket’s Reports: CPC Leaking Drips and Drabs of Tape Recordings To Specially Selected Journalists

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 12:36 am


Who is leaking Grewal’s tape?
CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reports two new facts about the Grewal tapes: (1) that Martin knew of the discussion, and (2) that Grewal would get a reward within two weeks of crossing.

[A further point. It is also being reported (not in the link above) that Fife is saying the tapes might be released today. Since only the Conservatives will know when they will release the tapes, this fact can only come from the Conservatives.]

This, however, is surely intolerable. They have had the tapes for a week and have so far surrendered them neither to the RCMP or to Parliament’s ethics commissioner. Only eight minutes of four hours have been released. And now they are surreptiously leaking selected details to the press?

May 30, 2005

May 30, 2005: Hansard Deals With Some Grewal Matters

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 12:33 am

See Full Hansard For This day HERE.

Buckets gives a highlight of things to note:

  • Duceppe asked the PM to confirm that it was Murphy who was on the tape; PM answered that no deal was made.
  • Michel Guimond (BQ of Montmorency-etc.) noted that the tape records Murphy saying ‘we can make an arrangement to that allows you to move’ and asked the PM to acknowledge that this was a breach of s. 119 of the criminal code. Tony Valeri answered that the matter is being considered by the Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner.
  • Guimond also asked why Murphy had not resigned while the matter was investigated. PM answered that no deal was made.
  • Jack Layton asked PM why the government had not launched an RCMP investigation. PM answered that it was not the government’s role to launch such an investigation. He called on Grewal to release the full takes.

May 28, 2005

May 28th: Edmonton Journal Background on Grewal

Filed under: Marsden,Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 9:54 pm

Is he telling the truth? Doubts linger about Gurmant Grewal: Conservative MP says the Liberals tried to recruit his vote, a charge they deny. However, his past is checkered with other incidents of conflicting stories
Edmonton Journal
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Page: A17
Section: Insight
Byline: Peter O’Neil
Dateline: OTTAWA
Source: Vancouver Sun; CanWest News Service

OTTAWA – Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal, who sparked a national furor and a possible police investigation by secretly taping his talks with senior Liberals about joining the government, has been a media magnet since he arrived in Canada and began aggressively seeking political office in the 1990s.

He does boast a number of achievements

He was the only member of the former Canadian Alliance caucus to get a private member’s bill passed, and he’s part of the first husband-and-wife team in Canadian history to sit in the House of Commons. He helped his wife Nina get elected in a B.C. riding adjoining his last year.

But Grewal, who arrived in Canada with Nina in 1991, has also been the target of harsh criticism from political opponents and even supposed political allies since the mid-1990s.

A year ago, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s office openly questioned his judgment, and this week caucus colleague Randy White said: “I don’t know who to believe” regarding the Grewal tape controversy.

Grewal has said he engaged in a deliberate sting operation to prove the Liberals were unethically offering him a bribe, while the Liberals say it was Grewal who sought patronage plums in return for his and Nina’s votes.

Both allegations, if proven in court, would result in conviction under the Criminal Code’s bribery section, which allows a hefty maximum sentence of 14 years.

Grewal, in an interview with the Vancouver Sun, said he’s a victim of inaccurate media coverage and unfair attacks by opponents. He also says he isn’t recognized for his strong stands on policy issues, which include his sponsorship of a private bill that passed in 2003, giving members of Parliament greater ability to scrutinize federal regulations

He cites his opposition to gay marriage, his positions on foreign affairs issues, and his recent proposal to require Canadians to post bonds if they want visas for visitors from abroad.

“People should not be afraid of making tough and controversial decisions,” he said. “The media will only talk about things which are creating controversy.”

LIBERAL TIES

Grewal’s first brush with political notoriety came during an incident in B.C. during the mid-1990s that bears remarkable similarities to his current predicament.

In 1995, Grewal decided he wanted to run as a candidate for Gordon Campbell’s B.C. Liberals, who it was widely assumed would defeat the New Democratic Party government.

Grewal, with the help of political organizer Prem Vinning, signed up so many members from the Indo-Canadian community he appeared sure to secure the nomination in a riding that Campbell and his top aides wanted for Reni Masi — the party president at the time.

An apparent truce was reached when Campbell, Vinning, Grewal, and dozens of community leaders met in Vinning’s house. Grewal was photographed raising the hand of the anointed candidate.

But Grewal said he was trapped, had no idea what the meeting was about, and didn’t plan on stepping aside. He soon quit the Liberal party and later ran, and lost badly, as a candidate of the former B.C. Reform party.

“I never agreed, but they held my hand and raised it up,” he recollected Thursday. “There were so many people, it would really look stupid in front of people if you say no, no, I’m not withdrawing. They are making me, forcing me. … I thought the pressure is so much around here, so I held my hand and raised it.”

Grewal then went to the media, claiming publicly Sandy Powar, the B.C. Liberal party secretary, tried prior to that meeting to bribe him by saying he could be named a deputy minister in a Campbell government if he stepped aside. Grewal said he believes he still might have a tape of that conversation.

Vinning, when told about Grewal’s comments, said they were “disgusting.”

LINKS TO DESPOT

Grewal was born in India and studied agriculture at a university in the Punjab. He married Nina in 1982 after spotting her in a matrimonial want ad.

A year later they moved to Liberia, where Nina’s parents once lived. The country had been ruled since 1980 by Samuel Doe, who had assumed power in a bloody coup.

Grewal taught business at the University of Liberia, and he and his brother ran a company selling agricultural supplies and importing telecommunications equipment.

They left in 1990 after Doe was overthrown and savagely executed. The Grewals landed in Canada a year later as economic immigrants.

It was in 1995, when Grewal first ran for political office, that he found himself having to deal with his supposed link to Doe, the Liberian despot known as one of Africa’s worst human rights violators.

A reporter learned Grewal was rejected as a provincial Liberal candidate because he was supposedly not well known in the community. Grewal responded by sending out a resume that stated he “recommended to and then helped the president of Liberia to launch Green Revolution in the country.”

He also claimed to be honorary vice-consul of Liberia in Canada, the Vancouver Province reported in 1997, citing a copy of the resume obtained by the newspaper in May 1995.

Grewal confirmed Friday he sought the post, but never became a Liberian representative in Canada.

The Liberian government “asked me if I would like to be vice-consul or honorary consul and they were considering it, but it never happened,” he said.

When media reports began suggesting he was an actual adviser to a ruthless African dictator, Grewal complained he was a victim of inaccurate media reporting.

He said this week his link to Doe wasn’t much different than a Canadian citizen writing to the health minister complaining about a local hospital’s inadequate services.

“If someone will try to label me with president of Liberia in any form or shape that would be … a misrepresentation of the association.”

HARPER DEFIED

Grewal had another brush with notoriety last year, shortly before the federal election, when the Vancouver Sun revealed outspoken right-wing commentator Rachel Marsden, who was then facing a criminal charge, was working in his office using the name Elle Henderson.

Marsden pleaded guilty to a stalking charge against a Vancouver radio personality after her employment with Grewal ended.

Grewal acknowledged Harper’s office objected to Marsden’s hiring, but he went ahead anyway because he believed she was talented and “innocent until proven guilty” of the harassment charge.

Jim Armour, then Harper’s director of communications, confirmed at the time Grewal hired Marsden “against the express wishes” of Harper and the party.

Though Grewal denied at the time Marsden was hired on his taxpayer-funded office budget to help on party matters, the MP was hit with a token $75 fine by the House of Commons after it was discovered Marsden improperly used the office e-mail to recruit party members for Grewal’s nomination.

Grewal, who said Marsden used the e-mail for party purposes without his knowledge and was told to stop, defended his decision to hire Marsden.

He also said he didn’t believe anyone was trying to hide her identity.

May 26, 2005

May 26, 2005: CBC Reports Indo-Canadian Community Not Happy With Grewal

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 9:51 pm

Indo-Canadians upset at Surrey MP’s allegations
Last updated May 26 2005 09:24 AM PDT
CBC News
VANCOUVER A leading Surrey newspaper columnist says Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal’s disclosure that he secretly taped conversations with senior Liberals is an embarrassment to the province’s Indo-Canadian community.

B.C. Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal
Grewal has produced recordings with federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff that he says prove the Liberals offered him a bribe to side with them on the budget last week.

The Liberals say it was Grewal who wanted a deal to cross the floor, and was rebuffed.

* RELATED: Secret tapings latest controversy to cloud Parliament Hill

Rattan Mall of the Indo-Canadian Voice says many Indo-Canadians feel humiliated by the whole affair.

“And they’re playing these games with intrigues and alleged bribes and negotiations,” he says. “It makes the whole community look bad, and that’s why the community, I think, is really angry.”

Talk show host Harpreet Singh says its not just Indo-Canadian politicians who look bad, but all politicians.

“Some people in the community feel the image has been tarnished, but mostly feel that it’s a politician’s work. This thing, what has happened, has brought disgrace to the entire political system.”

Grewal recorded four hours of conversations with Liberals, but has only publicly released a few minutes of the tape.

The complete tapes are being turned over to the RCMP, and it will be up to the Mounties to decide if there’s something to investigate.

The ethics commissioner has also been asked by both the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to investigate Grewal’s claims.

May 26, 2005: Edmonton Journal Reports: Volpe Confirms Chats

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 9:50 pm

Volpe confirms chat about Grewal
Edmonton Journal
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Page: A8
Section: News
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Immigration Minister Joe Volpe says he had no interest in helping a Conservative MP who alleges Prime Minister Paul Martin’s chief of staff offered him rewards in exchange for his abstention from last week’s crucial budget vote.

Volpe confirmed Wednesday that Tim Murphy, Martin’s top aide, “alerted” him to a conversation Murphy had with Tory MP Gurmant Grewal, a conversation secretly recorded by Grewal that’s at the heart of allegations that the Liberals tried to buy him off.

Grewal said last week he was offered an ambassadorship and his wife, Nina, also a Tory MP, a Senate appointment if they would abstain from last week’s narrow confidence vote in the House of Commons, a vote the Liberals survived by the slimmest of margins.

In the taped conversation, Grewal asked Murphy to ask Volpe if he would back off allegations that Grewal and another Tory had offered to aid immigrants in return for

money, allegations being examined by the RCMP.

Grewal was making “a series of requests, including some nice things to be said by me,” Volpe said Murphy told him.

“I said, ‘Look, I’m not going to say anything that’s going to interfere with an impartial third-party investigation.’ ”

Volpe, who was in Toronto to deliver a luncheon speech to an audience at the University of Toronto, said Murphy didn’t ask him to take any action regarding Grewal.

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