Cabinet right away revisited
Since the first version of Grewal's tapes were released on May 31st, one of the more damning quotes coming from Dosanjh's lips was his assertion that 'Cabinet right away is possible'. There are two related issues here. First, what do these words actually mean. Second, how has that meaning been obscured by the editing of these tapes.
Let's start with the second question. Here is the first transcript (released, with a highly edited tape of the conversation, on 31 May):
Like much of the May 31st tape and transcript, this section was heavily edited. We were able to see at least part of the problem when the Conservatives released a new version of the transcript on June 5th. In yellow are words that were edited out of the May 31st transcript, but included in the June 5th one.
Even the June 5th transcript, however, did accurately portray what was in the tapes (as we already knew: here and here).
Over the last few months, with the help of a few Punjabi-speaking friends, I've put together the following transcript and translation of this exchange. On the right is a translation; on the left is a transcript of the Punjabi/English words actually spoken. What this shows, however, is that the transcript of June 5th left out two passages: the words in red and blue (the two Conservative transcripts are marked with red and blue where these words fell out). Here is our version of this exchange:
So, let's turn to the other question: what does this exchange mean?
UD Koi nahin, panj-ku minute lagde hai, car vich hee tiyari kar layee dee hai (Pause) (1:50) I … I think, ihde naal tuhade layee easy ho gaya hai… It’s OK, it takes about 5 minutes, I prepare in the car itself. (Pause) I … I think it [i.e., Stronach's defection] has made the things easier for you… GG Haan, ih taan hai Yes, that’s true… UD ihi tusi chahune ho and that’s want you want GG Ih taan hai. Naale do galaan clear ho gayeeyan hun. Ik taan easy ho gaye, dooja, ih hai ki kal nu kujh ih na kahen ki, baad vich karange kujh. hosakdi hai (2:08) right away, ihde layee. That is true, Moreover, two things have become clear. Firstly, it has become easier. Secondly, they shouldn’t say that they'll do something later. It can happen right away, for her. UD (2:11) Cabinet right away hosakdi hai Cabinet can be done right away GG Uh uh Yes UD (2:15) Cabinet right away hosakdi hai Cabinet can be done right away GG Uhu, (2:18) right away ho sadki hai, kyonki vacancy kaafi lambe arsey to chali aa rahi hai, want the Parliament to work, (2:21) shortage hai members di Yes, it can be done right away, since the vacancy has been there for a long time, want the Parliament to work, there is shortage of members UD Actually, you don’t want to lose the advantage. If you do it right away, you lose the advantage of numbers. Those are issues … Actually, you don’t want to lose the advantage. If you do it right away, you lose the advantage of numbers. Those are issues …. GG
Anyway, let’s talk
Anyway, let’s talk
Once the text is complete, that becomes pretty clear. What was edited out? First, the red edit. Grewal asserts that "they shouldn’t say that they'll do something later. It can happen right away, for her." Who is "they"? Surely the Liberals. Who is 'her'? That is clear from the context: since Dosanjh arrived, Grewal and he had been talking about that morning's block-buster news; only three hours before, Belinda Stronach had dropped her bombshell: not only did she change parties and become a Liberal, she also was made a cabinet minister 'right away'.
What was the second edit (in blue)? It's difficult to see how this could mean anything other than Grewal demanding that if the Liberals want parliament to work, they will give him a cabinet post right away, too.
Why were these sections edited out? Because they showed that Grewal's claim to have been offered a cabinet post was false. It had been Grewal who had demanded a cabinet post; this exchange was excised precisely because it showed that.
What was Dosanjh's reaction to this? To Grewal's 'it happened right away for her', he acknowledged that 'cabinet right away is possible'. Was this an offer of a cabinet post? Grewal clearly did not think so now -- he vigorously asserts that if the Liberals wanted parliament to work, they would meet his demand -- or 20 minutes later to Murphy, when he complains that the Liberals have not made clear either what position he would get or its timing (see here). No, Dosanjh was merely acknowledging that the Liberals had just made Stronach a cabinet minister 'right away'--he could hardly deny it given that morning's events.