Monday, September 07, 2015

Missing recordings revisited (1): the pizza tape

One question that remains unanswered is something that I raised three times in the two days following Grewal's release of some of the tapes ( May 31st ; June 1st ; June 2d): has Grewal released all of the recordings that he made?

I think it is likely that he has not, and in a series of posts, I'll explain why
  1. In the first few days after Grewal revealed the existence of the tapes, he claimed to have had four hours of tapes. You can see this for yourself by going to the CTV story Grewal says he wanted to show Grits were dirty and click on the Video Link to the left with the title "CTV News Vancouver: Renu Bakshi speaks with Gurmant Grewal 3:41" (direct link, here.) About a third of the way into the tape, you see Grewal being interviewed:
    Renu Bakshi: Grewal said he had no intention of accepting the offer, but he strung them on to expose what he calls vote buying. He says he secretly taped nearly every conversation, including a face-to-face with health minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

    Grewal: He ordered pizza and we talked for about two hours. And thereafter he says, ok, that he has spoken to the prime minister.

    Renu Bakshi: How many minutes of tape in total do you have?

    Grewal: I didn't count, but it would be maybe two-and-a-half hours or three hours; including the telephone conversation, four hours.
    The context implies that Grewal included the pizza date among the tapes that he had. Also, Grewal thinks that he has roughly four hours of tapes (including the phone calls). In the end he released just short of two hours. He says the pizza date was about two hours.
  2. The Ethics Commissioner reports that Grewal states that had purchased his recording equipment earlier that day and tried to record his conversation with Dosanjh:
    While he had the tape recorder with him during his evening meeting with Mr. Dosanjh, it did not function properly, despite his efforts to fix it. As a consequence, he did not record the meeting.
  3. In their press release of June 2nd (also called the 'suicide note'), the Conservatives quote two brief passages of a Punjabi conversation between Grewal and Dosanjh that they claim had been inadvertently left out of the tape and transcript that they had released on May 31st. The Conservatives released a new transcript a few days later (June 5). But only one of those two fragments can be identified there (see here). Here is a scan of the other fragment:
    These words appear no where else among the released tapes. This is a fragment of a tape that hasn't been released.

    Where does it come from? The speakers are Grewal and Dosanjh, and according to the Conservative clarification (aka the 'Suicide note'), the exchange is in Punjabi (confirmed that the English here smacks of 'translationese'), which suggests Murphy wasn't present. Could this be a fragment of a recording of the pizza date?
Now, Grewal admits that he tried to record this meeting, but says that he failed (#1, above). But we only have his word for this, and he seems to have thought that he did have such a recording when describing his recordings to Bakshi on the 19th (#1, above). Finally, the fragment of conversation released in the 'suicide note' (#2, above) must come from somewhere and its contents fit well with what can be deduced as being the theme of the pizza date: Grewal asking for a cabinet post ("I want to be a somebody"), Dosnanjh demuring ("Cabinet wrong"). This is, on the whole consistent with Dosanjh's account of the pizza date: that he had explained his own recruitment into the Liberal party, which he claims did not include any promise of a cabinet post. It also makes sense of the beginning of the next day's meeting. The topic on everyone's mind was the defection of Belinda Stronach. Grewal starts with a rebuttal: the Liberals "shouldn’t say that they'll do something later. It can happen right away, for her."