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Not being intimidated

I was worried that the National Post's lawyers had reacted to the libel suit by PMO Chief of Staff Tim Murphy by going into full duck-and-cover mode. The Post had nothing on the Grewal story in yesterday's paper, and Coyne still has not made available the column that started it all. The paper usually manages to do good work, but Chairman David Asper tightly orbits planet Liberal and could have shut down this story.

But in today's Post, Coyne follows up his uppercut on Murphy with a roundhouse (subscriber only) that should have him staggering:

'He started it' is not a defence

It has now been one week since Gurmant Grewal, MP, first made his sensational allegations that senior members of the Liberal government had offered him a public office -- a bribe, in effect -- in exchange for his abstention in last Thursday's budget vote. The same offer was allegedly extended to his wife, also an MP. As evidence, Mr. Grewal produced an eight-minute tape he had secretly recorded of a conversation between himself and Tim Murphy, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, a snippet of what he now says are four hours of tape-recorded conversations, not only with Mr. Murphy but with Ujjal Dosanjh, the Health Minister.

The Liberals have had a week, then, to come up with an innocent explanation for all this. They have not done so. Instead, they have attempted to change the subject. Mr. Grewal approached us, they insist. In some versions, he is described as having asked for a public office; in others, it is maintained that he wanted the government to call off an RCMP investigation into his affairs, launched just days before at the behest of Joe Volpe, the Immigration Minister. And when they rejected his advances, Liberal ministers chime in unison, he "wouldn't take no for an answer."

This is utterly irrelevant, even assuming it was true. If Mr. Grewal had corrupt objectives in mind, it seems odd that he would tape himself in the act, still odder that he would tell the world of the tapes' existence. A more plausible explanation, if indeed it was he who first approached them, was that he set out to lay a trap for them. Fine: It was within Mr. Murphy's and Mr. Dosanjh's power not to fall into that trap.

There's lots more. Pick up the Post today and read the whole thing. But I will quote Coyne's conclusion, which is something I've been saying for a while:
Finally, the media has a responsibility. There are allegations that a crime was committed here, allegations serious enough to warrant an investigation. And not just any crime, but one that strikes at the heart of our democracy. Do we just shrug and leave it at that -- because the Liberals won the vote? Or do we pursue this?
In other words, "Can you give me a hand here, guys?"

UPDATE: Coyne has the latest column up on his site. What also must be read is the intro to the column where he cruelly mocks Jeffrey Simpson's lame hand-waving over the affair.


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Thanks Bruce. Hey, how about reproducing the whole Coyne piece for those of us who can't go and pick up the post?

What? You can't afford a buck? C'mon!

Oh right, it's a long walk to the newspaper box for you. Well, I'll see what I can do...

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