Monday, March 3, 2008

A Brief Foray into Politics...

Generally speaking, I've preferred to steer clear of matters political on this blog, but this merits an exception to that rule. In a word, the Conservative Party, with the knowledge of then-Leader of the Opposition Stephen Harper, is alleged to have attempted to bribe the late independent MP Chuck Cadman into voting against the government on a crucial budget vote in May 2005. Had this occurred, the government would have fallen. The allegation surfaced via a soon to be published biography of Cadman, and is attested to by Cadman's widow as well as his daughter and her husband. The "financial incentive" offered was, according to Cadman, a "million-dollar life insurance policy", though it's not absolutely clear that that's what it was. Still, something was offered and the evidence comes from none other than Harper himself.

Now, we might ask whether this sort of thing is commonplace, whether this is "business as usual". And perhaps it is. But a bribe is a bribe, and justifying it along the lines of "but everyone else does it!" is hardly acceptable. Plus, offering "financial incentives" in exchange for votes is illegal, pure and simple. While it's debatable whether there is enough evidence for making a criminal case out of this, trial by election does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and it seems amply clear that a financial offer of some sort was made. That's enough for me.

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