Monday, June 20, 2005

June 20, 2005 Martin says Grewal Not Welcome As Liberal Candidate.. Harper Regrets Putting Wrong Tape On Website

Paul Martin says he wouldn't welcome Gurmant Grewal as a Liberal candidate

Canadian Press

Prime Minister Paul Martin and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper cross paths as they take turns at a live radio show in Ottawa, Monday. (CP/Fred Chartrand)
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OTTAWA (CP) - The Conservative MP who says he was offered a plum job with the Liberals if he crossed the floor would no longer be welcome in the party.

Prime Minister Paul Martin said Monday he doesn't want Tory MP Gurmant Grewal in his caucus.

Martin told CKNW radio that Grewal could buy a membership in the Liberal party if he wanted to, but would be prevented from standing as a candidate.

"Well, someone can buy a membership," he said, "but if your question is do we want him as a candidate, the answer is unequivocally no."

Grewal came under scrutiny after he secretly taped discussions with the federal health minister and the prime minister's top aide about his future.

Experts said the tapes had been altered.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he doesn't regret backing Grewal:

"I don't think there's anything wrong with blowing the whistle and I don't think there's anything wrong with somebody trying to bribe you. What's wrong is if you take the bribe, and he didn't."

Harper, who was interviewed immediately following Martin, did say it was regretful that "the incorrect tape was posted on our website."

Grewal went on stress leave after the tape incident.

Told that Martin doesn't want Grewal now, Harper replied: "After (Grewal) turned down their offers to join them - that's kind of the old fable of the sour grapes, right?"

Harper sidestepped answering whether Grewal would be welcome to run again as a Conservative.

"In the end the various authorities will sort this out," he said.

The RCMP is examining the tapes and Parliament's ethic commissioner has also been asked to look into the affair.

© The Canadian Press 2005