July 29, 2005: G & M report that Grewal ignored Harper order
The Globe and Mail :
By BRIAN LAGHI
Friday, July 29, 2005 Updated at 5:00 AM EDT
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Ottawa — Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal continued to secretly tape talks with a Liberal Party official over the possibility of switching parties last May even though he says his own leader told him to stop.
In a statement released yesterday, the British Columbia MP said that Stephen Harper told him to stop the taping after Mr. Grewal said he had the possibility of taping Prime Minister Paul Martin.
"When I told Mr. Harper that I had an opportunity to meet with and tape the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper told me to end the taping process," Mr. Grewal said in the statement.
According to the dates of conversations on his own website, Mr. Grewal met with and taped a conversation with Tim Murphy, Mr. Martin's chief of staff, the next day.
Yesterday's admission suggests that Mr. Harper has continued to keep Mr. Grewal in the party even though the MP appears to have disobeyed him.
Mr. Grewal issued the statement yesterday as a clarification to an interview he gave to a B.C. newspaper.
The newspaper story said Mr. Harper had approved the efforts to tape Mr. Murphy and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh over talks that would have seen him move to the Liberal side of the House.
In his clarification yesterday, Mr. Grewal said he informed Mr. Harper of what he was doing, but that "no approval was sought or given."
Mr. Harper himself told the media earlier this year that he spoke with Mr. Grewal on May 17, the day before the last Murphy taping, when the Conservative Leader was in Regina meeting the Queen during her visit to Western Canada.
Mr. Harper did not say at that time whether he forbade Mr. Grewal to continue to tape.
He said he did not know that Mr. Grewal continued to make recordings, but defended Mr. Grewal all the same, saying Mr. Murphy should have known that all conversations are on the record.
He also said he was not aware that Mr. Murphy had been recorded subsequent to his May 17 chat with Mr. Grewal.
"My view in this business is that you assume you're on the record at all times," he said.
Asked yesterday if Mr. Grewal had broken the rules set down by the leader, a spokesman for Mr. Harper said that would be up to the party's MPs to decide.
"That's a decision that he and the caucus will have to make -- what to do," William Stairs said. "I can't speak for him."
Mr. Stairs said the real story is the role Mr. Dosanjh and Mr. Murphy played in the drama, and their discussions of a possible reward for Mr. Grewal should he cross the floor. Mr. Grewal could not be reached for comment last night.
Meanwhile, the Conservative caucus meets next week and the Grewal affair is almost certain to continue to be among the discussions. Some MPs have quietly expressed concerns that Mr. Grewal has become a drag on the party in British Columbia.
The RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner are investigating the taping matter, which led to Mr. Grewal leaving the Commons for a short time on stress leave.
The B.C. MP has been involved in a number of controversies over the past few months, which he says are attributable to a Liberal smear campaign. In the B.C. article, he said he has every intention to run in the next election.