Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Grewal Tapes Are Finally Released

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal finally released more of his infamous tapes with various Liberal Party officials today. Not all of them -- not by no means all of them -- but enough to give a glimpse of Grit strategy during last month's budget showdown.

What's been released on Mr. Grewal's website so far are 4 sets of conversations, with audio files in MP3 format and transcripts, in English, in PDF format. The three Liberal officials involved are B.C. organizer Sudesh Kalia, federal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Paul Martin's aide Tim Murphy.

The Conservatives are claiming that this is proof of the nefarious levels the Liberals would stoop to in order to stay in power (well, duh -- ed.) The problem with that argument is that the tapes still have not been released in their entirety -- allowing the Liberals to claim that the Tories aren't telling the whole story.

There is, in particular, the idea that Grewal may have been attempting an unethical entrapment by recording what was supposed to be a private conversation. Have a look at this analysis by the CBC's Larry Zolf, which lays out some of the ethical issues involved.

It will take a while for the Conservatives to release everything, since apparently a lot of the conversations took place in Punjabi and thus require translation. I will say, though, that it's probably not a good idea for the Tories to handle this matter because it still smacks of stage management and photo-opportunism.

Far better, I think, to turn the raw tapes over to the RCMP and let them worry about translations and feeding the media. Such a move would give off a scent of impartiality, which is going to be important if you want to avoid the stench of partisan motives.