Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Another drop in the bucket

Ryan Thiessen has published some thoughful notes on today's tapes at his blog. He suggests that if we had more tapes, we'd probably hear more about Volpe and the RCMP investigation. This is surely right. The whole Volpe exchange is clearly very high on Grewal's agenda. Ryan also suggests
Certainly, Murphy and Dosanjh crossed the line into sleaze by implying that benefits could come, but no specific offer was made. In the end it seems there is no smoking gun, and just a lot of slippery manoeuvring to incorporate plausible denial. This doesn't mean that the Liberals look good -- they do not, not by any standard. But they clearly knew the law and knew how to walk to the very edge of the line without crossing over.
I suspect that that is not quite what is going on here. Why don't they offer him a cabinet post? Not because, I suspect, it would be wrong to lure him with one. It seems to me that it is likelier that it is because they simply don't want to make him a cabinet minister. They are willing to let him become a Liberal back-bencher. But not a lot more.


Anonymous ryan said...

That's a good point -- I suppose if they didn't actually intend to make him a cabinet member it's less likely that the Liberals were toeing the line of illegality. If they were just tricking him it is a different sort of game altogether. It still makes them look bad (especially in light of Stronach's defection) but that is likely the defence Murphy and Dosanjh would use if this would ever be attempted to use against them criminally.

And like you, I see some logic in this. Grewal is not a good politician, he was forced out of the BC Liberal Party and attracted scandal in the Conservative party before this. He's always seemed like a chump, and doesn't have sort of magnetism or positive profile that Belinda Stronach brings to the Martin cabinet. Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach would likely have been ministers in a theoretical CPC government, so it's hard to claim that they could not belong in a Liberal government. But Grewal belongs in neither, I doubt that even the CPC would make him a minister after his recent immigration scandal.

Because of Grewal's weakness, the scandal looming over his head, and the fact that he's just not a good politician -- it would have looked really bad if the Liberals had promoted him to cabinet after switching over. This adds further credence to the idea that Murphy and Dosanjh were just toying with him.

That said, is their toying with him still a form of vote buying? At the very least they are offering him hope of benefits to come and it still looks like ugly politics. I think the Liberals avoided outright criminality, and probably got enough plausible deniablity to keep their supporters who have stuck with them through Gomery. After all, don't we already expect our politicians to do this sort of things when they make deals like this?

2:01 AM  
Blogger buckets said...

Interesting points. A lot would be clarified if we had the pizza tape. My guess--Dosanjh makes it clear that there can't be a cabinet post and says that direct to cabinet would be unthinkable. What he didn't know in that conversation was that Belinda would cross the very next morning. This is why the Dosanjh tape of the next day (2Conversation-Tim Murphy-UjjalDosanjh-GurmandGrewal) has so much 'well, I guess, cabinet right away is theoretically possible (but appropriate in your case)'.

10:34 AM  

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