Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal who so surreptitiously endeavored to entrap Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh in a qui pro quo for his, and his wife’s, support of the Liberal budget bill has suddenly taken a leave of absence(follow the chronology)—due, we are led to believe, to stress. Understandably, the stress and growing dread of being found out as a fabricator of tape recordings you earlier alleged to be proof positive of Liberal corruption and influence peddling would be enough to make even the fiercest political animal retreat. Now that the entirety of the recordings have been released—a full four hours!—a number of independent experts say that portions have been doctored. But why the suspicion?

It took Mr. Grewal, with the sage advice of his party it is assumed, over two weeks to release all of the tapes; initially, only a tendentious hour and thirty minutes were released—of which, predictably, reflected poorly on Mr. Dosanjh and Mr. Murphy, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.

And now even his wife, Nina Grewal, has distanced herself from the matter by saying “Nobody approached me, I wasn't part of any negotiations.” Mrs. Grewal is also avoiding the press, choosing to leave her office in the East Block through the back doors. Calls to her riding office are being directed to her husband’s office, who is away on leave.

Stephen Harper doesn’t need this. After the Liberals passed their budget bill (more work still needs to be done in committee) whispers about the fate of Stephen Harper’s leadership were soundless, out of respect, but various. Then Tapegate or Grewalgate, what have you, prefigured a grave outcome for the Liberals, insofar as Grewal’s allegations were true. Even if it were the case that the tapes proved ambiguous on the question as to who initiated the meetings, Liberal involvement carried its requisite stench of impropriety.

During this time Harper was strong in his fulminations, and with good reason: the tapes appeared to implicitly convey the Liberals attempt to buy Mr. Grewal’s vote, along with his wife’s.

At the very least it has now been proven that the tapes were doctored, and, as they were in Mr. Grewal’s possession this whole time, questions surrounding his motives have arisen. Mr. Grewal’s leave of absence is only evidence of the doubt Stephen Harper has on the matter. The truth may still lie somewhere in the abstracted middle, but for Stephen Harper and the Conservative party the perception isn’t helpful.

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