I wrote the other day about the odd behaviour of Art Hanger, chair of the Justice Committee, when he walked out of the meeting rather than hold a vote on whether or not to uphold his ruling.
Well, there is an interesting article today in the Chronicle Herald that mentions Hanger's behaviour, while introducing us to some new players and old colleagues of his, into this affair.
The journalist Stephen Maher, explains how he ran into Dan Wallace after a committee meeting last week. (If you've forgotten, Mr. Wallace was Chuck Cadman's executive assistant and while he wasn't in the actual office when the alleged offer was made to Cadman, he was there, presumably outside the office.) Maher tried to speak to Wallace, but his article points out that Wallace did everything except run out of the building to avoid him.
After the meeting, I approached him in the hallway outside the committee room where he and another man were waiting for an elevator.
"Mr. Wallace," I said.
He appeared not to hear me. "Dan Wallace?"
He moved to go down the stairs, without ever looking at me, and I followed him.
"Mr. Wallace, can I ask you a question?"
The elevator arrived. He got on and I followed him.
He got off the elevator.
"No, you can’t ask me a question," he said and made to go down the stairs.
I made to follow him, at which point he got on the elevator again.
I stepped on.
"I’m going up anyway," I said, at which point he got off and I decided to leave him alone.
Bizarre, but as Maher says, it's likely that Harper's team has put the fear of God in him.
Maher goes on to say that Hanger, who is a big law and order guy is obviously not interested in looking into this matter. It begs the question, is he too being pressured to take this out of the public eye? Hanger doesn't strike me as a man who could be intimidated, so I guess that question will just hang out there for a while.
Here's the interesting part though. Two of Hanger's former colleagues who are no longer beholding to this government are speaking as if the offer did occur.
Some of Mr. Hanger’s old colleagues from the Reform days — former MPs who knew Mr. Cadman well — believe that someone offered Mr. Cadman something, and that the powers that be in the Conservative party will try to prevent anyone from finding out what.
Randy White and Val Meredith are so confident in the integrity of the Cadmans that they speak about the million-dollar offer as if it were fact.
"It doesn’t surprise me that an attempt was made," Ms. Meredith said in a telephone interview.
Not only do White and Meredith believe that an offer was made, White reinforces the claim by saying:
"I hear there was an offer made in Ottawa once with regard to the mayor, and somebody was involved in that," he said, laughing. "I don’t know who that was, but you might want to check it."
Last year, Ottawa mayoral candidate Larry O’Brien met with fellow candidate Terry Kilrea to persuade him to give up his candidacy. Mr. Kilrea says Mr. O’Brien, who has been charged with bribery, promised to talk to B.C. Tory MP John Reynolds to arrange a federal appointment for him.
It's difficult to tell from that passage whether or not White is serious or not, but it does bring Mr. fix-it Reynolds back into the picture.
Ron Wood, a Parliament Hill veteran who worked for Mr. Reynolds, says his guy wouldn’t have done it, but someone else likely offered something to Mr. Cadman.
"I don’t think that either Chuck or Dona would have invented this thing," he said. "It’s possible there were other conversations that went on."
It's one thing when the opposition parties are going after the Con's on these issues, but when ex-party members and staffers see Cadman's story as not only credible but likely, I'd say the Con's have more trouble on their hands than they anticipated .
It's difficult to tell what Hanger's real motivation is here, but it does shine a bit more light on it. What is apparent though is that the Con's seem to be going to extreme lengths to keep this thing buried.
Suing the Lib's, keeping Wallace quiet, speaking of only one meeting, blocking procedure at committee, writing statements for both Dona Cadman and Wallace (allegedly) and offering no credible alternative explanation.
This government is not just looking bad, it's looking scary. Something tells me we are going to see more cracks in something that they've done their best to keep impenetrable.