The Green Party has threatened legal action over a YouTube video that purports to show leader Elizabeth May calling Canadians "stupid."
"It’s an attempt by the Conservatives through a front website to attack the credibility of Elizabeth May," Green spokesperson John Bennett told The Tyee. "They took what she said, cut it up, then put it back together."
But the man who made the video, Conservative political activist Stephen Taylor, denied doctoring the tape.
"I produced the video," Taylor told The Tyee in an e-mail. "The audio is taken unedited from an episode of TVO's The Agenda."
“You can go to TVO website, you can compare the time frames," Taylor said in a telephone interview. "The audio is undoctored."
Green spokesman Bennett insisted the tape was spliced, and threatened legal action.
"Stephen Taylor is a surrogate for the Conservative Party," Bennett told The Tyee. "We're considering legal action. TVO is considering legal action as well."
Bennett said the Tories leaked the video anonymously through a blog website so that they could deny any hand in its creation.
"The Conservative Party has nothing to do with this production. I’m acting independently as someone who wants to see them elected," Taylor said.
Conservative spokesperson Mike Storeshaw also said the party was not involved.
“(May’s) representative should take off the tinfoil hat and join us in the real world,” Storeshaw told The Tyee. “We’re not in the business of making staged videos.”
In the disputed clip, May appears to say: “I think Canadians are stupid… I fundamentally agree with that assessment."
The video was posted to YouTube and Stephen Taylor's website on Wednesday. A blog called Buckdog posted an item about the YouTube video sometime last night. And widely read Bourque Newswatch posted a link to Buckdog morning.
The Greens initially threatened legal action against Buckdog. But the Canadian blogger took the link off his site, and replaced it with correspondence from the Green Party.
Taylor is a fellow at the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which bills itself as "a builder and supporter of conservative research, training and communications vehicles."
“I’ll let the video speak for itself, people can verify it online," Taylor said.
Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Hook.