Friday, July 29, 2005

Martin: Grewal tapes story different every day

Tories change story on Grewal every day: Martin

TIMMINS, Ont. (CP) - Prime Minister Paul Martin says he's not concerned by new reports surfacing on the Gurmant Grewal secret tape scandal. Martin says the Tories have never been clear on the unsavoury affair, in which Grewal secretly recorded a cabinet minister and the Liberal's chief of staff as they supposedly offered up a plum position to switch sides.

Grewal now says he made the tapes against the instructions of Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper.

Grewal made the statement Thursday to clarify an interview with a B.C. newspaper, which reported that Harper had approved the taping.

Martin dismissed the comment while visiting Timmins, Ont., saying the Tories have contradicted themselves repeatedly on the issue and that he'll let them handle "their own problem."

Harper would not comment on what position he had taken on the taping.

Martin gave little weight to Grewal's attempt to distance Harper from the scandal.

"The Conservative story changes every day, it's impossible to follow what they're saying," Martin said.

"There's no consistency in it, they contradict themselves virtually within their own statements."

"I think I'll just let them handle their own problem," Martin continued.

Grewal claimed that Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, Martin's chief of staff, had offered him and his wife Nina, also an MP, positions if they joined the Liberals just before an important budget vote May 19.

Grewal issued the statement Thursday to clarify an interview he gave to a B.C. newspaper, which reported Harper had approved the hidden tape recorder.

"When I told Mr. Harper that I had an opportunity to meet with and tape the prime minister, Mr. Harper told me to end the taping process," Grewal said in the statement.

Harper has defended Grewal in the past, saying Liberal staff members should know all conversations are on the record.

The RCMP and Ethics Commissioner are investigating the taping.


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