Cadman's daughter backs up mom's bribe story

The daughter of Chuck Cadman has backed her mother's story that the Conservatives offered the Independent MP a bribe of a million-dollar life insurance policy to vote against the Liberals in 2005 and bring the government down.

The daughter of Chuck Cadman has backed up her mother's story that the Conservatives offered the Independent MP a bribe of a million-dollar life insurance policy to vote against the Liberals in May 2005 and bring the government down.

Cadman's daughter, Jodi Cadman, told CBC News that her father, a B.C. member of Parliament who was battling cancer at the time, discussed the offer with her and her mother because he couldn't talk about it publicly. Cadman died in July 2005.

"He just said, 'I have something to tell you,' and he told me that he was offered a life insurance policy, that my mom and myself would be taken care of," Jodi Cadman said.

"When he told me, actually I have to admit, I burst into tears because the position he was put in," she said.

"To turn down the thought that my mom and me would maybe be taken care of financially at a time when there was no gain for himself broke my heart that he was put in that position."

The allegations, which have been strongly denied by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, were first made by Cadman's wife, Dona, in a forthcoming book, Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story. Excerpts from the book were leaked Wednesday.

Dona Cadman is quoted in the book as saying: "That was on him, so that if he died, I'd get the million dollars." She adds that her husband was offended by the offers.

Federal Liberals have asked the RCMP to investigate the allegations. They sent a letter to the Mounties on Thursday, noting that under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal for anyone to try to influence a member of Parliament by offering financial incentives.

New Democratic MP Pat Martin has also put a motion before the federal ethics committee calling for an investigation of the allegations

On May 19, 2005, the then governing Liberals were facing a crucial vote on a budget amendment. The minority Liberals needed Cadman's vote to stay in power while the Conservatives, led by Harper, needed Cadman's support to force an election.

Cadman sided with the Liberals, ensuring Canadians would not have to head to the polls for a summer election.

In the book, author and Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk writes that Chuck Cadman was visited by two Conservative party representatives in his office two days before the crucial vote and presented with a list of enticements to side with their party, including an offer of a million-dollar life insurance policy.

On Thursday, Harper said there is "absolutely no truth" to the allegations. 

Cadman himself said in a national television interview that there had been no offer to win his support, Harper said.

But Harper is quoted in the book, and he appears to confirm that some sort of financial arrangement was offered to Cadman. CBC News has obtained a copy of the audio recording of the interview.

"The insurance policy for a million dollars, do you know anything about that?" Zytaruk asks.

"I don't know the details. I know that there were discussions," Harper replies on the tape. "This is not for publication?"

"This will be for the book, not for the newspaper," answers Zytaruk, who works for a Surrey newspaper.

Harper goes on to explain on the tape that the offer to Cadman was "only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election." He adds that the offer was carried out by people who were "legitimately representing the party."

He also tells Zytaruk that he knew there was little chance Cadman would agree.

"They wanted to do it, but I told them they were wasting their time. I said Chuck had made up his mind," Harper says on the tape.

In a statement issued Thursday, Tory insiders Doug Finley and Tom Flanagan said they met with Cadman on the day of the vote to talk about his possible move to the Conservative fold.

"We offered ways that we — as campaign officials — could help Mr. Cadman in the Conservative nomination process, and if successful, wage a competitive campaign in a general election," the statement said.