Friday, February 29, 2008

Vote Tory or we'll shoot the puppy

Allegations are swirling in Ottawa that when he was Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have been aware of attempts to bribe an MP to vote against the government of the day and cause it to fall, and furthermore, to have approved them. The MP in question was Chuck Cadman, an MP who had left the Tories to sit as an independent. Cadman was dying of skin cancer at the time, and allegations suggest he was offered a $1 million life insurance policy (among other things) in return for his vote to topple Paul Martin's minority government in a budget vote in 2005. Cadman apparently did not take the bait, and voted with the government. He passed away within months of that vote.

I'm not a fan of the Tories, but up until now I'd have had to rate their performance as a government as tolerable, particularly economically... though I strongly oppose their plans with regard to our military involvement in Afghanistan. But if this is true, it's one of the slimiest things I've heard come out of Ottawa in... well, ever. Bribing a dying man by appealing to his worries over his family's future, in order to get him to aid in toppling a duly-elected government against his own better judgement? If it doesn't quite qualify as treason or blackmail, it certain would qualify as attempted bribery of a Member of Parliament under the Criminal Code. If it turns out to be true, and Stephen Harper is implicated, then he must resign, immediately — as must the two shadowy, as-yet-unnamed figures who supposedly made Cadman the offer. If not, Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, acting on behalf of the Queen, must exercise one of the few remain royal prerogatives and dissolve the Harper government, call an election, and let the people decide.

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