RCMP will not launch criminal investigation into Grewal tapes
OTTAWA (CP) - The RCMP will not launch a criminal investigation into the Gurmant Grewal affair, saying there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a probe into allegations of bribery and related wrongdoing.
In a statement Friday, the Mounties said they have reviewed complaints surrounding surreptitious audio recordings the Conservative member of Parliament made of conversations with Liberal MPs last spring. The RCMP say they listened to the tapes, interviewed those involved and determined no criminal investigation is warranted.
"We're pleased that the RCMP has cleared Mr. Grewal," said Williams Stairs, the communications director for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
"We were confident all along of his integrity and the RCMP has confirmed our judgment," Stairs said.
Grewal, MP for the B.C. riding of Newton-North Delta, was unavailable for comment.
Grewal claimed that Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff, had offered him and his wife Nina, also a British Columbia MP, positions if they joined the Liberals just before a crucial budget vote May 19.
Dosanjh said he was pleased to hear of the RCMP decision.
He was, however, critical of Harper's support of Grewal through what he called an "unseemly affair."
"I think it is important, however, for Canadians to reflect with concern on the fact that this sorry episode had its origins in the scheme by Mr. Grewal and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition to publicly besmirch my reputation and integrity with allegations of vote buying and bribery based on surreptitiously recorded tapes," Dosnajh said in a news release on Friday.
Also troubling Dosanjh was the fact that the tapes contained edits and splices.
Experts said the tapes may have been altered.
The minority government survived the vote with the support of the NDP and independent MPs.
Speaker Peter Milliken, a Liberal, broke the tie with his own vote, keeping Martin in power and averting a spring election.
In June, two Opposition parties asked for investigations into Martin's role in the secret-tapes affair.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe asked the RCMP to investigate, noting it is a criminal offence for an MP to sell his vote.
NDP Leader Jack Layton also asked Parliament's ethics commissioner to investigate Martin's role, too, after the commissioner, Bernard Shapiro, concluded that Murphy is not a public office holder and is therefore out of his jurisdiction.
"Mr. Murphy co-operated fully with the RCMP review and is pleased with the outcome," Melanie Gruer, a spokeswoman in the Prime Minister's Office, said Friday.
Grewal made headlines again in June when he was seen a Vancouver airport trying to get someone to take an envelope full of audio tapes to Ottawa.
He later went on stress leave.
The RCMP cleared him of wrongdoing in the airport incident but are still investigating complaints that contributors to Grewal's 2004 campaign have not received tax receipts for their money.
The Conservative party has said the cheques went to a supplier for campaign expenses.
Grewal has called allegations part of a Liberal party strategy to tarnish his image so the Liberals "can get off the hook (for) the taping incidents."
Dosanjh, a former NDP cabinet minister in British Columbia, said the donations were made "long before" he joined the Liberals and entered federal politics.
According to Elections Canada, a campaign contribution can be made directly to a candidate but receipts must be issued and funds must be deposited into the campaign or riding association account.