VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sued journalist Tom Zytaruk and the opposition Liberal Party, demanding that Zytaruk turn over the original recording of an interview with him, so Harper can use it in his defamation lawsuit against the Liberals. The underlying lawsuit involves allegations that Harper knew of a plan to bribe a dying lawmaker for a vote.
Harper demands the original tape of his Sept. 9, 2005 interview with Zytaruk. Harper claimed in his original lawsuit, in Ontario Superior Court, that “the defendants have committed the torts of defamation and misappropriation of personality and used and exploited an edited and doctored audiotape that has been falsely portrayed to be a true and accurate copy”.
The underlying controversy alleged that Harper’s Conservative Party offered dying MP Chuck Cadman a $1 million life insurance policy in exchange for his vote on May 19, 2005. Cadman died in July 2005. His wife, Dona, makes the bribery allegations in a forthcoming book, “Like A Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story,” according to Canadian press reports.
The allegations caused a political firestorm in Canada. Harper’s recent lawsuit, in the British Columbia Supreme Court, cites a July 14 letter from Zytaruk’s counsel, that states, “If he releases the tape, he will need a guarantee that it will be returned in the same condition in which it was released. I would like to see the both of you agree to pay liquidated damages of $100,000 if you screw up the original tape.”
Harper wants Zytaruk summonsed to appear in court, with the tape. He is represented by David Sutherland with Gowling Lafleur.