Thursday, August 04, 2005

Grewal: Harper is confused about chronology; I did not defy him

Final update: See now my most recent post where I conclude that Grewal is probably right (see here).

In Did not defy leader: Grewal in today's Surrey Leader, Grewal says that he did not defy Harper. Here's the text:
By Dan Ferguson Staff Reporter
Aug 03 2005
MP says Harper's comments created confusion over dates

Newton-North Delta Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal says he did not defy party leader Stephen Harper by continuing to record conversations with key Liberals after Harper ordered him to stop. "I am a team player," Grewal told The Leader Tuesday.

The issue arose after Grewal issued a written statement last week that appeared to show he was told to stop taping on May 17, yet recorded at least two more conversations on May 18.

Grewal said the meeting where Harper told him to stop taping occurred on May 18, not May 17, as Harper has said. In an interview aired June 1 on CBC radio, Harper said he first spoke to Grewal briefly "on Monday, May the 16th" then discussed the matter in more detail the next day, May 17.

"He (Harper) may have added to the confusion," Grewal commented

The Surrey MP has said he secretly recorded conversations to prove that the minority Liberal government was engaging in vote buying by offering plum appointments to him and his wife if they would switch parties.
Off the top of my head, I'm not sure what to believe. I have a hard time believing that Harper will have gotten this wrong--getting all those little facts correct are what a Party Leader has a staff for.

If Grewal is correct, however, we may need to rethink my argument about the chronology of those days

Update. In his phone call to Murphy (the second call on the phone-call tape), Grewal mentions that he had just finished a caucus meeting and arranges to meet Murphy at 10 am the following day (the 18th). So there was a caucus meeting on the 17th. Harper said (on June 1) that Grewal had mentioned discussions with Liberals at the caucus meeting on the 16th (here, with my analysis here) and told him to stop taping by phone the next day. According to Grewal, he told Harper at the caucus meeting of the 17th with the phone-call on the 18th.

Was there also a caucus meeting on the 16th?

Update 2. Looking through old news, several stories mention that the conservatives held an emergency caucus meeting on the evening of the 17th that lasted two hours. (Whether this is relevant yet remains to be seen.)

Update 3. Harper was in Regina on the 18th for the Queen's visit, but was in Ottawa on the 16th to meet with McGuinty. The regular Conservative caucus meeting is held on Wednesdays.


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