Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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

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.