Thursday, June 16, 2005

June 16, 2005 "No Cabinet Job Was Promised" Re Belinda Stronach Crossing

Thu, June 16, 2005

No cabinet job was promised
Before Stronach defected: Grit
By STEPHANIE RUBEC, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER

OTTAWA -- Belinda Stronach was handed a plum cabinet job only after deciding to join the Liberals, says a spokesman for the prime minister.

Scott Reid, the Paul Martin's director of communications, says negotiations over Stronach's responsibilities in a Liberal government weren't launched until she had made up her mind to leave the Conservatives.

'EXCEPTIONAL'

But Reid said former Ontario premier David Peterson didn't have to exert too much pressure on Martin to secure a cabinet post.

"In Belinda Stronach's case, her talents are exceptional and obvious," Reid said of the millionaire auto-parts heiress.

"There was never any question that someone of her stature was going to enter cabinet."

Reid outright dismissed complaints by the Conservatives that the Liberals lured Stronach over with a cabinet post.

"She made it clear that she was going to cross the floor," he said. "She had made her decision that she could no longer tolerate a party led by Stephen Harper that was narrow and that was ungenerous."

Conservative MP John Reynolds has complained to the Law Society of Upper Canada about Peterson's role in negotiating Stronach's cabinet post.

He asked the Law Society Monday to investigate whether Peterson broke the Criminal Code by negotiating the plum position.

"It's a joke. The whole issue is a farce," Reid said of the complaint.