Monday, November 07, 2005

FAQ 4a. Can you provide an overview of the negotiations as a whole?

The negotations that the Grewal tapes contain were revealed to the public in dribs and drabs. There was the eight minutes of tapes on May 18th; the heavily edited tapes of May 31st; followed by the fuller tapes/transcript of June 2-5. All of this was accompanied by assertion, counter-assertion, direction, and mis-direction of both sides during the entire period.

Here is, I think, how the negotiations went in outline, cutting out the courtship rituals. What I place in square brackets I regard as [reasonable supposition], double square [[less certain speculation]]; what I leave unbracketed I regard as demonstrated to a reasonable level of certainty by entries in this blog.

  1. Kalia tapes. [Grewal approached the Liberals through an intermediary (Sadesh Kalia)], whose role was to bring Dosanjh and Grewal together. [Before the negotiations proceeded to the next stage, the Liberals will have committed themselves to unchallenged Liberal nominations for both Gurmant and Nina.]

  2. May 16. Pizza date. Grewal and Dosanjh met and, over pizza, [Grewal laid out his price--a seat in cabinet immediately and a senate seat or diplomatic post for Nina [[if she lost the next election]]. Dosanjh argued that a seat in cabinet right away was impossible; he advised Grewal against asking for the senate seat.]

  3. May 17. Stronach defection hits the news.

  4. May 17. Grewal, Dosanjh, and Murphy meet. Grewal insists that Belinda's example proves that his request for a cabinet post immediately, [which Dosanjh had ruled out the night before], was in fact possible; Dosanjh implies that the most Grewal can expect is [a position as parliamentary secretary after a decent interval]. Murphy arrives. After complaining bitterly about Volpe's behaviour, Grewal asks for a senate seat for Nina and fishes for a cabinet post for himself. Murphy explains that a senate seat is impossible and ignores the hints at a cabinet post. Grewal asks that an apology with Volpe be arranged to 'open the door' for further negotiations. The meeting ends.

  5. Dosanjh phones Grewal. Dosanjh explains that a clear deal is impossible; that neither he nor Scott Brison were given clear promises; an apology from Volpe will not be made until an understading is reached.

  6. Murphy phones Grewal. They arrange to meet at 10 am the next morning.

  7. 18th. Grewal and Murphy meet. Murphy suggests that Grewal can keep 'the door open' to further negotiations by abstaining in the coming non-confidence vote. In return, a public apology from Volpe will be arranged. Grewal knows that he cannot do this and still remain a Conservative and says as much. If he voted against his party he would be expelling himself from the Conservative Party without suitable recompense. He therefore declines. [In essense, he is offered an apology for an abstention. This is not enough.]

  8. After lunch, Dosanjh phones Grewal and strongly hints that Volpe will apologize if Grewal decides to cross the floor, and that a position as Parliamentary Secretary will follow after a decent interval.

  9. Murphy phones Grewal. Poor reception on Grewal's cell phone requires Murphy to hang up and try again. Murphy coaches Grewal on what to say if he does cross. Grewal informs Murphy that he 'won't do anything until the uncertainty element is removed'. Both sides leave it there.
It was later that evening that Grewal announced that he had been approached by the Liberals and offered a Cabinet post and Senate seat if he would abstain from the next day's vote.

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