Law society complaints filed against Liberals
Jun. 14, 2005. 05:11 PM
OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has filed complaints with two law societies against three Liberals — former Ontario premier David Peterson, federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the prime minister’s chief of staff Tim Murphy.
In separate letters of complaint written yesterday, Tory John Reynolds says the three — all lawyers — offered Conservative MPs compensation in exchange for their support in key confidence votes on the Liberal minority government’s budget.
Reynolds alleges the actions of Peterson, Dosanjh and Murphy compromise the integrity of the legal profession.
He says they also could violate Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code, which prohibits people from offering members of Parliament ``valuable consideration, office, place or employment” to influence their work in any way.
In letters to Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada, Reynolds says Peterson, Ontario Liberal premier from 1985 to 1990, and Murphy may have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and Canada’s Criminal Code.
In a letter to the Law Society of British Columbia, he says Dosanjh may have violated the provisions of its Professional Conduct Handbook, as well as the Criminal Code.
Reynolds provides transcripts he claims indicate that Dosanjh and Murphy offer a cabinet position to Tory MP Gurmant Grewal or a ``significant position” for Grewal’s wife Nina, also a Tory MP, in exchange for their votes.
He also provides transcripts he says indicate that Peterson offered former Tory Belinda Stronach a cabinet position in exchange for crossing the floor to the Liberals.
Stronach left the Conservatives last month to become human resources minister in Paul Martin’s Liberal government.
Stronach said today that she was considering her options when she ran into Peterson and his wife Shelley, who had been “dear friends” for years.
She said told Peterson of “serious concerns” she had with the coming vote and the direction that the Conservative party was taking.
“I had to make a very, very tough decision which I agonized over and it was a question of fate and circumstance.”
Asked if Peterson offered her a cabinet post, she said: “I’m in this for reasons of public service,” and Peterson was a ``go-between.”
Spokeswoman Lisa Riley said the Law Society of Upper Canada only comments if a disciplinary hearing is called.
Grewal recorded his conversations with Dosanjh and Murphy.
The prime minister says he authorized the talks, but no job offers were made in exchange for votes. The Bloc and NDP have asked the RCMP to look into Martin’s involvement.
Dosanjh says portions of the tapes were altered to erase parts of conversations, and to move other parts to suggest wrongdoing.
The conversations and a meeting with Dosanjh and Murphy took place on the eve of a confidence motion that threatened to defeat Martin’s government.
Grewal has said he recorded two to four hours of audio, but only 90 minutes were initially released publicly. RCMP have the recordings.
Parliament’s ethics commissioner is also investigating. A spokesman says the commissioner must decide whether to agree to an NDP request to include Martin in the probe.