Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Joe Clark: Sleeping With the Enemy

Wed, September 1, 2004
Joe Clark? Sleeping with the enemy?
By BILL RODGERS, OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF

A ONE-TIME loyal supporter of Joe Clark is attacking the former PM for "sleeping with the enemy." Newfoundland Tory MP Loyola Hearn, one of the architects of the new Conservative Party, launched his assault after learning Clark flew to Germany and Afghanistan last February on a personal invitation from a Liberal cabinet minister.

Some of the details of the trip were revealed in an access to information request obtained by Sun Media. Hearn says the timing of the trip with former defence minister David Pratt is highly suspect because it came shortly after Clark split from the new Conservative Party and just weeks before he expressed his support for Paul Martin's Liberals. He sat in Parliament as an independent.

"It's hard to think that somebody of Joe Clark's supposed stature would play games behind the scenes," Hearn said.

"You know, that's sleeping with the enemy," he added. "All of this shows that he certainly had to be pretty cozy with the Liberals."

The trip took Clark and Pratt to Munich for a conference on defence policy and Kabul where Canada was in command of the allied forces.

Clark, however, suggested there was nothing secret or sinister about his travels, telling Sun Media: "The visit was public and was covered by (television) and other media."

Defence department news releases about the trip made no mention of Clark.

Pratt denied there was any political motivation for inviting Clark on the trip.