Audio tape indicating Canadian PM involved in bribery alleged to be doctored

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Conservative Party of Canada is now considering a 2005 recording of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussing "financial considerations" offered to the late Member of Parliament (MP) Chuck Cadman to have been "doctored".

The tape contains a conversation between Harper and Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk, whose book "Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story" claims that Conservative party officials had offered a C$1 million life insurance policy to Cadman in exchange for a key swing vote against the Liberal Party, one of Canada's other main political parties. At the time of the alleged bribe, Cadman had already been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Conservative MP James Moore told reporters today that the tape had been altered, "including the insertion of a fabricated sound-bite." However, he would not comment on whether or not the edits had changed the meaning of Harper's words.

The Liberal party had submitted the recording as evidence that Harper was aware of the Cadman insurance offer. Cadman's widow, Dona Cadman, has confirmed that the offer was presented to her husband. Conservatives deny the allegation, but say that party representatives had offered him a loan for campaign expenses if the MP were to rejoin the party.

Harper has filed a lawsuit against the Liberal party, the Canadian government's official opposition.