Sunday, November 20, 2005

New transcript for the Dosanjh-Grewal phonecall of the 17th

As I've shown many times, whoever prepared the transcript of the tapes did a very poor job (for a light-hearted version, see my post "F with a possibility to resubmit").

What is surprising is that even the later, corrected, versions are so poorly done. I noticed this again the other day while trying to straighten out the chronology of the phone calls (here). Below is a transcript of Grewal's first phonecall with Dosanjh, from May 17th. Yellow marks words that are in the June 7th transcript, but absent in the May 31st tape. In red are words that I can hear that are either not in either transcript or are there wrongly (in such cases, the originals are struck through). [Punjabi words are between square brackets.]

GG [How're you? ]

UD [Are you alone?]

GG [Yeah, I'm alone now, we can talk. Earlier, I was busy with representatives of] small businesses.

UD [Tim told me to call.] I think, as I said earlier, no Prime Minister would ever want to compromise himself with that kind of, appropriate um approach, um, because he want to be able to say, you know, 'I didn't make a deal with anybody, there was no deal'. You came and we accepted you, if that happens. If we did show there was an offer, and you want to be able to say that honestly. That's why I was suggesting to you, what I was suggesting to you. And that was the uh, uh, that was the difficulty that Tim had.


UD And, and you saw that. And I, and I think that, that you know, from my perspective, I told you that's the way about how my conversation went with the Prime Minister about when I came. You know it's what happened with Scott Brison, he essentially came as a back bencher, and, and stayed a back bencher, then was Parliamentary Secretary.

GG No, no, he came directly.

UD No, not in the Cabinet, not in the Cabinet.

GG Ah, that's right.

UD He was made a became the Prime Minister's Parliamentary Secretary.

GG Uh huh.

UD But then, that's a conversation for Tim, and you know that's how the deals are made these things happen. I think I just wanted to call you that to let you know, um, um. You should talk to me and Tim tonight, um, um, you want to be up there without the intent. (inaudible) You know that's one the things; that's how it is. So I think that you need to seriously think about the understanding of how these things happen and that it is a matter of trust and it's a matter of the Prime Minister being able to appropriate these positions when the time is right.


UD Prime Minister is never going to say to you that I'll give you X and go say that I never said that. He has to have, you have to be able to say that I did not make a deal. That's very important. That's why these kinds of deals are not made in that, in that fashion. Um, so, if, if you think about it, if, if, if you think it is appropriate, what we're preparing to do, give me a call, you have my cell right?

GG Yes

UD My cell number — usually I have it with me, but I have …

GG (inaudible: 8 seconds)

UD The understanding has to be one, together. And, and, then, and if there is an understanding that then Volpe would happen before you speak. OK? Um, Volpe won't be difficult. The ethics commissioner, there is nothing we can do. It is an independent thing. (inaudible: 5 seconds) we can then … we can … get Volpe to talk to you and we'll try to prevail upon him. I'm obviously unable (inaudible) understanding, right?

GG [We want to talk with goodwill, it is stumbling block that should be out of the way irrespective of what we do.]

UD Volpe, will talk with him, but it will be a package deal, it has become part of the big thing. And, and, it has to happen. Because, the understanding has to be based (inaudible). Understanding is there then we will prevail upon, will try and prevail upon budget day what's his name … Volpe … [goes out and say, well we will talk with him. It will be a package.] I mean, he might say look I'm right and you guys are wrong, right, but we will have to persuade him. (laughs) Right.

GG [Whatever Ethics Commissioner is doing, let the Ethics Commissioner] handle it. [But whatever he said wrong, he created the mess deliberately.]

UD [I can understand you views, xxx xxx xxx] if we did not rest of the discussion, then I could have talked to Volpe, now as we are engaged in the this is part of a larger discussion, until we reach an understanding, [how can the Prime Minister care about it his issue]. All this is package of understanding, it will have to be all together. If it is all together, and if we then succeed in getting direction a retraction from Joe, then you proceed with your end of it, do you follow? (parts of Punjabi inaudible)

Yes. OK we will see, thank you bye bye.
Most of the errors are mere incompetence. There are, however, three points where the changes support a false version of the story that Grewal had promulgated.

First, note the effect of leaving out Dosanjh's assertion that "it's a matter of the Prime Minister being able to appropriate these positions when the time is right". This contradicts Grewal's assertion before the tapes were released that he'd been offered a cabinet post. (See here, for example.) Here Grewal is clearly told that he'll have to wait.

Second, note the reference to Volpe at the end of the conversation. Dosanjh says "If it is all together, and if we then succeed in getting direction a retraction from Joe, then you proceed with your end of it, do you follow?" The actual words spoken show that it is an apology that is being arranged; the edited version obscure this.

Third, both Conservative versions of the transcipt have Dosanjh saying that if an understanding were reached, "we will prevail upon, will try and prevail upon budget day." If you listen to the tape, Dosanjh clearly says if the "understanding is there, then we will prevail upon, will try and prevail upon what's his name, Volpe". Again, this means the conversation was not about making a deal for Grewal's vote in the next days' confidence vote, but about arranging an apology with Volpe if Grewal were to change parties. That's not the version that Grewal had put forth in his news conferences. (Grewal had said that he'd been offered a cabinet post and a senate seat for voting with the government: here.)


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