Liberals' Cadman fixation
Some random observations from watching things in the Commons this afternoon, which is the last real chance to see the tension in earnest for the next couple of weeks. Fridays are kind of a fake days in the chamber and tomorrow Stéphane Dion will be in Vancouver. So this was the last chance to get a sense of tone and political dynamics before Parliament goes on a two-week break.
|Independent MP Chuck Cadman voted with the Liberals during a budget confidence vote in the Commons on May 19, 2005.|
Many of us have been wondering why the Liberals keep hammering away at the Chuck Cadman story every day in the House. That's the story — for those who've been away — that Conservatives allegedly offered the dying, independent MP a $1 million life-insurance policy in exchange for his vote in May, 2005.
It's an important story, to be sure, but there are other issues out there, not the least of which is the whole question of whether the government interfered in the U.S. elections, which even Harper agreed last week was a better story.
I've come up with three reasons for the Liberal fixation:
1. To prove they're not scared of this libel threat. Harper did formally launch the legal case today against the Liberals for alleging he took part in a bribe. He's suing the party for a whopping $2.5 million but he's not pursuing individual cases he threatened against Dion, Deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Opposition House leader Ralph Goodale.
Harper said repeatedly that his family has been hurt by all this. Why does that sound strange?
2. Because they think there's something there — I got that from a Liberal official today when I asked. In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the right one.
3. And then, maybe quite significantly, there are the by-elections on Monday. The Liberals aren't worried about the two Toronto by-elections, but the ones in Saskatchewan and Vancouver are worrisome for them. There's a fantastic site, called the Elections Prediction Project, which deems those two by-elections too close to call for Monday.
And where was Cadman from? Yes, Vancouver. And where will Dion be tomorrow? Yes, Vancouver.