Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The "Doctored" Tape

One has to wonder, why James Moore took to the air today, armed with expert opinion, declaring the Harper tape a fake:
The Conservatives say a 2005 audiotape in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to confirm that a financial offer was made to MP Chuck Cadman in exchange for his vote against the government is a fake.

The Tories say two expert analysts they hired have confirmed that the audiotape was doctored, specifically by inserting a sound clip that wasn't present in the original version.

I don't know if the tape was "doctored", but all that is relevant, and Moore avoided this fact, was the part where Harper mentioned "financial considerations" unedited, the voice authentic? I know what I heard, and nothing offered today changes that.

That aside, the really intriguing part of Moore's press conference was the timing. People will remember that as soon as this scandal started Conservatives were claiming the tape was doctored. That was THREE months ago, does anyone really believe the Conservatives just received these conclusions from the "experts" today? Please.

Why re-open, what amounts to a dead story? Conservatives will claim it is all part of a simple motivation, clear the PM's good name. I suspect it is something else entirely, because claiming the tape is fake just brings attention back, back to a place that the Conservatives have already argued is resolved. Conservatives already had the RCMP, re-introducing this tape claim doesn't really help Harper politically, or does it?

What I think was really happening today, a pre-emptive strike to scare the Liberals into formally apologizing, so that this legal case doesn't move forward. I see Moore today, as not an attempt to clear the PM, but an attempt to apply pressure on the Liberals, and in so doing, spare the Conservatives a potentially damaging disclosure in court, the prospect of key witnesses under oath. Now that an election is unlikely, it is entirely possible that this court matter will unfold in the quiet months ahead, the Liberals seem quite willing to move forward. Harper's initial threat of legal action, is actually looking less and less attractive, it could well turn out, irrespective of the final outcome, that there will be embarrasing moments for Harper and cronies.

This press conference today just doesn't pass the smell test, it was just odd, particularly the timing. Three months later, the RCMP investigation a dead end, the whole affair completely forgotten in political circles, and yet Moore throws out an allegation of fakery. This assertion means more digestion of the facts, more replaying of said audio, more dicey political coverage. Voluntarily drawing attention to an old issue, doesn't seem consistent with the Harper approach, which is why we must look at today in the wider context of the court action. Putting this tape into question is really about pressuring the Liberals to apologize, or come to some early resolution, that eliminates the chance of Conservatives, coming before a jury, squirming in their seats. There is much more here today than a simple matter of the "doctored" tape. What looked like a show of strenght, is probably more correctly an admission of future fear.


Steve V said...

I would add, Moore argued the tape was actually longer, but specifically didn't deny that the released portions weren't real, just a matter of the full story, as though the rest somehow contradicts a clear, by any definition, comment from Harper.

Anonymous said...

Grewal tapes - same story, remember?

I just don't believe them - are the so-called experts named, non-partisan?

catherine said...

This is definitely connected to their libel case and I think you are right that they are trying to frighten the Liberals.

The Conservatives got the tape from the author and the author was there for the conversation and did the taping. He has said the tape was legitimate. The Toronto Star also reported that the Conservatives are not suing the author or asking that the books be pulled off the shelf, they are only going after the Liberals. Doesn't seem like there could be anything very much wrong with the tape.

Steve V said...

"The Toronto Star also reported that the Conservatives are not suing the author or asking that the books be pulled off the shelf, they are only going after the Liberals."

Bingo! Wouldn't you go after the guy who doctored the tape??

Anonymous said...

Surely after this latest fiasco...chuck cadmans'loving wife will come out with a rebuke of this lie concerning her friend who wrote this story about her dear and loving husband...they are lies by the conservatives to make liberals stop using this tape in election ads.

bigcitylib said...

Steve, Check out Kady's live blog of the press conference. The reporters there seemed equally unimpressed, and made you're point about the "financial considerations". You're also right I think about Tory reasoning, but I think this one is going to backfire on them.

Steve V said...

Thanks BCL. Here is Kady's entry, if anyone is interested:


Dr. Tux said...

I think there might be some dam building going on here. The Conservatives are trying to scare Liberals from using this tape in any ads during an election.

Would liberals use a tape during an election if they knew, or suspected it was doctored?

Steve V said...


That could well be. I certainly think this announcement today is linked to some potential problem in the future.

I wonder how many reporters are trying to track down Zytaruk, or ask Dona Cadman is she believes he would do such a thing?

knb said...

I agree with you Steve. I think their case was likely hampered by the tape so they had to get it out of the proceedings or as you say, stop the proceedings.

catherine said...

From Hill Times, April 7, 2008:

Can you comment on the Conservatives' allegation that the tape you released of your conversation with Mr. Harper was edited? Was it edited in any way, shape or form?

"You'd have to agree that I would be thoroughly insane to do something like that. Of course it's not edited. The tape that's been released has been released in its entirety, it's unaltered, unfiddled with, un-whatever you want to call it. It was just a real quickie interview on Dona Cadman's doorstep/driveway. It's not like Stephen Harper invited me out for steaks or something to discuss this at length. He was on his way somewhere and I was just fortunate enough to catch him to give me a response to this thing. I appreciated his candour, that he spoke to me, and didn't give me a no comment or anything."

Steve V said...


Thanks for the link :) I wonder if this court action today is to make sure the Liberals can't use this for the libel suit?


And there it is... What kind of an idiot would doctor a tape that has the Prime Minister on it. Was he just setting the groundwork for his new book "Life Inside Prison: My Story". It's all just so absurd, and judging by the reaction of the press, Moore just raised more questions.

knb said...

Your welcome. Odd times these.

Anonymous said...

Just smoke and mirrors. They know no matter what you say, a certain number of people will believe it.
Incompetence, fear-mongering, deception. The world needs Canada, not u.s. lite.

catherine said...

"The Liberal Party has been caught using a doctored tape to make serious criminal accusations against the Prime Minister of Canada on the eve of an expected election campaign," said Moore. [from CTV]

what eve? is this the eve that lasted a year?

James Curran said...

Tux is right. The Conservative motive is that they think we are going to tumble them tomorrow and they didn't want this to be a campaign ad.

Anonymous said...