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.