Chuck Cadman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chuck Cadman
Cadman votes during a confidence vote on the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 19, 2005
Member of Parliament for Surrey North
In office
June 2, 1997 – July 9, 2005
Preceded byMargaret Bridgman
Succeeded byPenny Priddy
Personal details
Charles Cadman

(1948-02-21)February 21, 1948
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
DiedJuly 9, 2005(2005-07-09) (aged 57)
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Political partyReform (1997–2000)
Canadian Alliance (2000–2004)
Independent (2004–2005)
SpouseDona Cadman (1969–2005, his death)
OccupationEngineering technician

Charles Cadman (February 21, 1948 – July 9, 2005) was a Canadian politician and Member of Parliament (MP) from 1997 to 2005, representing the riding of Surrey North in Surrey, British Columbia.

Originally a Canadian Alliance MP, Cadman won re-election as an independent after losing a nomination race in his own riding.[citation needed] This history garnered him national media attention when, on May 19, 2005, Cadman cast a deciding tie vote to save a minority Liberal government supported by the NDP that the Conservative party at the time was trying to defeat to trigger an election.

Early life[edit]

Cadman was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and grew up in North Bay, Ontario. He was a guitarist with a band called The Fringe, which toured Canada. He also played backup to The Guess Who on CBC Television. He eventually settled in Surrey, British Columbia. He attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology and became a certified electrical and electronics engineering technician. He worked for ten years as a microfiche camera technician for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. He married Dona Cadman in 1969; they had two children.

Political career[edit]

On October 18, 1992, Cadman's 16-year-old son Jesse was stabbed to death in a random street attack by a group of young people. In response to Jesse's death, Cadman and his wife Dona created the group CRY – Crime Responsibility and Youth – and counselled teens likely to become violent. He also campaigned for a tougher Young Offenders Act.[1] His activism against youth violence propelled him into politics, first to carry on his fight against youth violence and for victims' rights. He was first elected to Parliament for Surrey North in the 1997 election as a member of the Reform Party of Canada. He introduced a private members bill which proposed to raise the maximum jail term for parents whose children commit crimes while under their supervision. This bill was later incorporated into Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act in November 2000. He was also known for wearing a ponytail and blue jeans in Parliament.

He was re-elected under the banner of the Canadian Alliance in the 2000 election, and was appointed Justice Critic. However, prior to the 2004 election Cadman lost the nomination for the Conservative Party to Jasbir Singh Cheema, a former television news anchor who brought a very large number of new party members to the vote. Cadman was also diagnosed with cancer in early May 2004 and underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his groin. He then ran as an independent in that election and was elected. He heard about the election call from his hospital bed.

He was the only candidate not affiliated with a party to win a seat in the 2004 election, and remained an independent, refusing offers to rejoin the Conservatives. Originally sitting as the only independent in a minority government, Cadman held considerable power. (Carolyn Parrish, David Kilgour, and Pat O'Brien – all elected as Liberals – would later sit as independents.)

2005 budget vote[edit]

On May 19, 2005, Cadman flew to Ottawa for a confidence vote not long after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Cadman voted with the government on the 2005 budget, which had incorporated amendments proposed by the NDP, and forced a tie in the House of Commons. The tie was broken by Peter Milliken the Speaker of the House of Commons, who voted in favour of the Liberal budget (who explained he simply did so because the Speaker traditionally votes to continue a government). The budget was later passed in Cadman's absence on June 23, 2005. In an interview after the budget vote, Cadman said he voted in favour of the budget simply because he was obeying the wishes of constituents who did not want to face another election a year after giving the minority Liberals their shaky mandate.

Allegations of bribery, the tape, the lawsuit[edit]

Dona Cadman says that her husband told her that prior to the vote, two Conservative Party officials, later suggested to be Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley, offered her husband a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote against the Liberal budget in May 2005, the rationale being replacement of the life insurance that is part of an MP's compensation package (since Cadman was not running for re-election and would thus not die an MP if he voted down the government).[2] An audio tape suggests then-opposition leader Stephen Harper was not only aware of a financial offer to Chuck Cadman but gave it his personal approval.[3][4] According to Dona Cadman, Harper "looked me straight in the eyes and told me he had no knowledge of an insurance policy offer. I knew he was telling me the truth; I could see it in his eyes."[5] Cadman's daughter also acknowledged that her father had been disturbed by the offer. Harper later stated in an August 2008 court deposition that he personally authorized an offer made to Cadman in 2005; however, this offer was of the normal amount offered to a candidate running in an election campaign.[6][7] The Conservative Party, based upon analysis by forensic experts who concluded that the tape was edited, asked an Ontario court to order to Liberals to stop using the tape. But neutral expert testimony showed that the tape has not been edited.[8][9]

Under section 119 of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to bribe an MP. Accordingly, Opposition Liberal party Intergovernmental Affairs critic Dominic LeBlanc asked the RCMP in February 2008 to investigate the allegation that the Conservatives had offered Cadman a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his support on the budget vote. In May 2008, the RCMP announced that there was no evidence to support charges.[10]

James Moore, Conservative MP for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam told a news conference June 4, 2008, that two top audio specialists found that the tape[11] in which PM Stephen Harper confirms financial considerations had been offered to Chuck Cadman had been altered. But LeBlanc said on June 5, 2008, that the Tories have not been clear about what they claim was doctored on the tape. He said the Tories have also forgotten a huge part of the allegations – the testimony of Cadman's widow, Dona Cadman. In her affidavit, Dona Cadman "repeats very clearly her recollection of her husband's words to the effect that two Conservative operatives ... offered him a million dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote", said LeBlanc.[12]

Tom Zytaruk, the reporter who made the recording said "I know I didn't doctor any tape. So in a sense all this stuff that [Conservative MP] James Moore is saying is meaningless. I know what happened."[13]

In early July 2008, Dona Cadman swore an affidavit that challenged some of Tom Zytaruk's assertions. She denied specific public accounts by Zytaruk of how he came to meet Harper that day, and he professed himself "extremely surprised, disappointed and deeply distressed" by her statement.[14]

Political libel chill[edit]

Liberals redoubled their use of the Cadman material – some[who?] argued that the RCMP inaction was possibly due to political interference while others argued that the standard of proof for criminal law was too high to satisfy when an official was willing to commit perjury. Neither of these allegations were made through official channels.[citation needed]

However, the bald statement that "Harper knew of Conservative bribery" did appear as the title of a press release. In a rare political libel case, Prime Minister Harper filed a libel lawsuit against the Liberal Party over statements on the party's website regarding the Chuck Cadman affair published under this title.[15]

With the filing of the suit, open political comment on the case effectively stopped, an example of libel chill.

The suit was settled in February 2009 after Michael Ignatieff took over leadership of the Party.


On July 9, 2005, Cadman died at his home after a two-year-long bout with malignant melanoma.[1][16] Cadman's memorial service was held on July 16, 2005, at Johnston Heights Church in Surrey. Over 1,500 people were in attendance: in addition to family, friends, and politicians of all parties in the church itself, Cadman's constituents packed the neighbouring assembly hall and courtyard to pay their last respects by watching the service on television screens. Speeches honouring Cadman as a family man, parliamentarian, and advocate for victim's rights were made by Cadman's daughter, Jodi, Prime Minister Paul Martin, BC MLA Kevin Falcon, BC MLA Dave Hayer, Surrey City Councillor Penny Priddy and several others.

On 15 March 2008, Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk published a biography of Cadman entitled Like A Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story, in which the bribery allegations are explored in depth.[17]

His widow, Dona, endorsed Penny Priddy as Cadman's successor in the 2006 federal election. Priddy, a longtime member of the New Democratic Party, had been friendly with the Cadmans for many years despite their sharp political differences. Dona Cadman subsequently reconciled with the Conservatives and was elected to her husband's seat in 2008. She only held it for one term before it fell to the NDP in 2011.

Electoral record[edit]

2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Independent Chuck Cadman 15,089 43.79% * $67,419
New Democratic Jim Karpoff 8,312 24.12% +16.77% $42,786
Liberal Dan Sheel 5,413 15.71% −13.16% $62,788
Conservative Jasbir Singh Cheema 4,340 12.59% −48.32% $68,848
Green Sunny Athwal 658 1.91% $6,169
Christian Heritage Gerhard Herwig 460 1.33% $5,235
Communist Joyce Holmes 93 0.26% −0.22% $512
Canadian Action Roy Tyler Whyte 85 0.24% $444
Total valid votes 34,450 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 254 0.73% +0.29%
Turnout 34,704 55.4%

* Note: Chuck Cadman's share of the popular vote as an independent candidate declined by -12.31% from his share as the Canadian Alliance candidate in the 2000 election.

Note: Conservative Party vote is compared to the total of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative vote in the 2000 election.

2000 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Alliance Chuck Cadman 19,973 56.10% +9.30% $54,054
Liberal Shinder Purewal 10,279 28.87% +0.71% $60,897
New Democratic Art Hildebrant 2,619 7.35% −11.70% $6,657
Progressive Conservative Dareck Faichuk 1,714 4.81% +1.65% $2,651
Green Brian Lutes 556 1.56% +0.75%
Independent Gerhard Herwig 285 0.80% $2,138
Communist Tyler Campbell 174 0.48% $189
Total valid votes 35,600 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 192 0.54% −0.13%
Turnout 35,792 55.4% −6%

Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to the Reform Party vote in the 1997 election.

1997 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Reform Chuck Cadman 16,158 46.80% +9.84% $56,674
Liberal Clayton J. Campbell 9,723 28.16% +1.82% $55,219
New Democratic Judy Villeneuve 6,579 19.05% +1.93% $44,861
Progressive Conservative David Sikal 1,093 3.16% −10.64% $11,791
Christian Heritage Allen Gray 291 0.84% −0.65% $1,573
Green Suzanne Shephard 280 0.81%
Independent Donald I. Knight 200 0.57% $10,505
Canadian Action Vlad Marjanovic 87 0.25% $2,335
Natural Law Anthony Quance 70 0.20% −0.43%
Marxist–Leninist Mardi Couture 42 0.12%
Total valid votes 34,523 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 234 0.67%
Turnout 34,757 61%


There is a Chuck Cadman fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[18] Archival reference number is R13269.


  1. ^ a b "Chuck Cadman". The Globe and Mail. July 11, 2005. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  2. ^ Gloria Galloway and Brian Laghi. "Tories tried to sway vote of dying MP, widow alleges". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  3. ^ Panetta, Alexander. "Harper heard on tape discussing financial inducements for late MP". The Canadian Press. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  4. ^ Zytaruk, Tom. "Harper on Cadman". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  5. ^ Dona, Cadman (2008-03-03). "Dona Cadman's full statement". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  6. ^ Cornell Catana Reporting Services (2008-09-04). "Stephen Harper, Sworn: Cross-Examination by Mr. Paliare" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  7. ^ Tim Naumetz (2008-09-04). "Harper testifies he authorized offer to Cadman". Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  8. ^ "Audio expert says Cadman tape not altered". CBC News. 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  9. ^ CBC story 4 June 2008
  10. ^ "No charges to be laid in Cadman Affair: RCMP". CBC News. 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  11. ^ The Star. Toronto Archived from the original on 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2010-04-30. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ News Staff (5 June 2008). "Tories using Cadman to distract from Bernier: Grits". CTV. Archived from the original on 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  13. ^ Mason, Gary. "Tories trying to bully an honest reporter over a 'split-second' tape glitch". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  14. ^ "Cadman's Widow denies authors story". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  15. ^ "PM threatens to sue Liberals over Cadman allegations". CBC News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  16. ^ "Independent MP Cadman dies". CBC News. July 9, 2005. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Conservatives made million-dollar offer to MP Cadman: book". CBC News. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  18. ^ "Finding aid to Chuck Cadman fonds, Library and Archives Canada" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-05-14.

External links[edit]