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Martin disowns Liberal embroiled in alleged bribe controversy

[PoliticsWatch Updated 6:30 p.m. January 13, 2006]

Prime Minister Paul Martin. 

OTTAWA  —Prime Minister Paul Martin has asked a B.C. Liberal candidate to cease campaigning as a Liberal, hours after an NDP challenger accused him of trying to bribe him. 
 

The story, first carried by Neale News, was the buzz on political blogs Friday in the hours before Martin made the decision.

In a "sworn statement," NDP Abbotsford candidate Jeffery Hansen-Carlson alleged that on January 10 he was invited to the Liberal campaign offices of his challenger David Oliver by Oliver's campaign manager Gordy Kahlon. 

"They requested from me a statement to the press, to my supporters and volunteers, which would be a directive to support the Liberals out of fear of what the Conservatives will do to our community and our country, based on the assumption that the NDP is not a big player in this riding," Hansen-Carlson's statement said.

"If I was to sell out the NDP they guaranteed me a win in the next local general election and they also said a job in Ottawa would be waiting for me if Mr. Oliver did in fact win the riding.

"They discussed that I would be a 'hero,' that the option to join the Liberal Party would always be there and that they would be prepared to bill this political move as being my own, to net me even more respect from within the Liberal ranks."

Speaking with reporters in Hamilton, Martin said he had "zero tolerance for that kind of thing."

The NDP has written a letter to Elections Canada asking for an investigation. 

The riding has been held by Tory MP Randy White since 1993. White is not running in this election. 

White won the riding in rout in the last election with 61 per cent of the vote, nearly 20,000 votes ahead of the second-place Liberal challenger. The riding has voted for a conservative party in every election since 1974. 

The Liberals cannot field another candidate in the riding because nominations are closed. Martin also said the Liberal party will return to Elections Canada any of the $1.75 per vote the Liberals receive in the riding after the election. 

Tories release their platform

They're two days later than the Liberals and the NDP, but the Conservatives released their platform to reporters on Friday. 

> Conservative Fiscal Plan

The platform contains $75 billion in new initiatives, including $45 billion in tax cuts and $30 billion in new spending. 

The Tories have been rolling out new announcements each day of the campaign so there were virtually no surprises in the platform. 

The Conservatives have also left $23 billion for what Conservative Leader Stephen Harper calls "flexibility."

Reporters pressed Harper about how much of that will be used to address the fiscal imbalance issue involving provincial transfer payments, a cause he has championed in this campaign. 

"I am not saying $23B is for the fiscal imbalance," Harper said. " We are not negotiating the fiscal imbalance in the middle of this campaign."

Prime Minister Paul Martin dismissed the Tory platform and said it reminded him of the deficit running budgets the Conservatives tabled before he became finance minister.

Vote Selector 2006 

In response to the avalanche of e-mail PoliticsWatch has received over the past few weeks, we are please to announced that our 2006 Vote Selector Quiz will be launched on Monday, just in time for the election.

The popular PM Picker matches users with their preferred candidate based on responses to a series of questions. 

This year's quiz will include the hottest issues of the 2006 campaign. 

Take the quiz and tell your friends beginning Monday. 

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