May 3, 2005: Liberals deny having offered Inky Mark an ambassadorship
Liberal minister denies Tory claim
Last Updated Tue, 03 May 2005 19:18:11 EDT
OTTAWA - A cabinet minister has forcefully denied charges that the Liberals have offered a Conservative backbencher an ambassador's job in order to give his party an advantage in Parliament.
Peter MacKay, the Conservative deputy leader, on Tuesday said the Liberals had called opposition members to offer them plum appointments.
Inky Mark, a Conservative member of Parliament from Manitoba, said a Liberal cabinet minister called him Friday and offered him an ambassadorship to resign his seat in the House of Commons. Mark would not name the individual, telling the CBC, "I don't need the Liberals ...I have a solid base to work from."
Reg Alcock, the president of the Treasury Board and the minister responsible for Manitoba, told CBC News that only he and Prime Minister Paul Martin would be authorized to make such an offer, and neither has done so.
"There has been no offer made, no offer contemplated," he said. "This is an outrageous claim."
MacKay compared the alleged Liberal tactic to "a person falling off a roof" and grasping at anything within reach to stop plunging to the ground.
Providing no names, MacKay told reporters in Ottawa on Monday night that "a number" of Conservatives had been approached to take seats in the Senate and other positions.
Alcock said MacKay should name names. "Why don't we ask Mr. MacKay to put a single fact on the table," he said.
Conservatives vow to topple government
The allegations come on the heels of the Conservative party's decision to go ahead with a plan to topple Martin's Liberals within two or three weeks and force a general election this summer.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper emerged from a two-hour caucus meeting on Monday night to say his MPs were united in their determination to bring down Martin's minority government sooner rather than later.
Reg Alcock (file photo)
"I think there is a unanimous view that the Conservative party cannot support the government," Harper told reporters.
"We cannot support its program. We cannot support a government that is mired in these kinds of corruption scandals," he said.
FROM APRIL 7, 2005: Brault alleged donations to Liberals linked to sponsorship work
Harper was referring to the ongoing public inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, which is shining unfavourable light on the actions of Liberal politicians, supporters and party officials in Quebec.
Pressure is mounting on all sides as the Liberals and Conservatives juggle all the factors to make sure their side would win a confidence vote.
At least three MPs are seriously ill and have not been regularly attending sessions in Parliament.
All MPs have been told to stay close to Ottawa or be ready to fly there quickly in case an important vote suddenly crops up.
Numbers game preoccupying Parliament
To defeat the government, the Conservatives must combine with the Bloc Québécois and at least one of the three Independent MPs to earn 154 votes on a confidence motion.
There are 308 seats in the House of Commons, but only 307 are occupied at the moment.
The Labrador seat is vacant because the Liberal MP representing the region died in December and a byelection won't be held until May 24.