Well, let’s run this down, shall we?
Feb. 28: Stephen Harper’s voice appears on a Vancouver reporter’s tape; the then-opposition leader says “I know there were discussions” by people “legitimately representing the [Conservative] Party” with the dying MP Chuck Cadman with regard to “financial considerations.” Details of what, precisely, Harper was referring to remain blurry and in dispute.
March 13: Harper files a $2.5 million defamation suit against the Liberal Party of Canada over allegations surrounding the tape. This makes him the first prime minister in the history of the country to sue the opposition. Says the prime minister: “I look forward to seeing the leader of the opposition actually let this go to trial so he can hear the whole truth and admit his own role in it.”
Sept. 3: In a transcript of sworn testimony filed at Ontario Superior Court, Harper says he authorized a visit by his campaign manager to Chuck Cadman before the 2005 vote. From Harper’s testimony:
“Maybe I should add to you where this came up firstly,” he said. “This is when Doug Finley called me through my executive, Ray Novak, on the 18th, and he asked permission to approach Chuck Cadman on behalf of the party to get him to rejoin the caucus, and that the story was that Chuck wanted to vote with us in Parliament as he usually did, and that he would want to rejoin the caucus and fight with us in an election campaign, but that he couldn’t because he didn’t have, you know, he didn’t have the financing, he would have lost the election, et cetera, et cetera”.
Oct. 10: Court-ordered audio analysis by the expert Harper hired shows that the relevant portion of the tape — the part everyone quotes — contains no splices, edits or alterations.
Oct. 19: Dona Cadman, the newly-elected Conservative MP for her late husband’s Surrey North riding, calls Tom Zytaruk’s book “very factual.” When asked about a letter to a newspaper from her daughter Jodi, demanding that Harper and MP James Moore apologize to Zytaruk for impugning his work, Dona Cadman declines to comment, except to say, “I’m just proud of Jodi.”
Nov. 17: Harper’s lawyer in the defamation case against the Liberals steps down.
(In perhaps unrelated news: Ex-Tory candidate wins lawsuit:
(“Ontario Superior Court Justice Denis Power said the party had no right to renege on the deal with Ottawa lawyer Alan Riddell, a candidate in Ottawa South… Party officials first denied there was a deal and then, when Riddell went public with details of the deal, said he had violated the agreement… ‘There is no agreement and he hasn’t been paid anything,’ Harper said in December 2005, referring to Riddell, a member of the Conservative party for 20 years.”)