June 1, 2004: CBC reports that Harper 'didn't pressure Grewal' to make tapes
Tories didn't authorize secret tapes: Harper
Last Updated Wed, 01 Jun 2005 22:04:30 EDT
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Wednesday he didn't pressure Gurmant Grewal to record private conversations with top Liberal officials, but defended the B.C. member of Parliament's right to secretly tape the meetings.
Grewal alleges that Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the prime minister's chief of staff offered him and his wife, Nina, also a Tory MP, Senate and diplomatic positions if they abstained from voting against last month's Liberal budget.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper speaks Wednesday.
RELATED STORY: Martin, Dosanjh question authenticity of tapes
Harper said Grewal informed him of the tapes on May 16, three days ahead of the crucial vote, and asked whether he should take a meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin to discuss crossing the floor. The Conservative leader said he told his MP no.
Harper said the tapes show Grewal couldn't be bought and expose Liberal tactics.
"The Liberal party has denied in the past ... that they attempt to buy off members of Parliament. They've lied about that," said Harper. "We know several instances where they've done it. What the tapes of Mr. Grewal show is exactly the process they use."
Harper defended Grewal's actions, saying "a person has the legal right to tape their private conversations."
In the business of politics, "you should assume you're on the record at all times," said Harper.
He says he's convinced Grewal has handed over all of the recordings and believes his MP's version of events.
"I have to rely on Gurmant's word," said Harper.
The Liberals insist Grewal approached them with an offer to cross the floor.
While the tapes do not include explicit offers, they do suggest the Liberals were courting the pair of Tory MPs and hint toward future rewards.