Thursday, May 26, 2005

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

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.