Skip to comments.Liberals set the mark for corruption (Canada's Drift Toward Banana Republic Status)
Posted on 03/20/2005 8:17:48 AM PST by GMMAC
Liberals set the mark for corruption
Gomery Inquiry shows this government even worse than Divine's in Saskatchewan
The Edmonton Journal
Sunday, March 20, 2005
I used to think the Saskatchewan government of Grant Devine was the most corrupt in modern Canadian history. Now I'm not so sure.
Since moving to Montreal last month, the judicial inquiry into the Liberals' sponsorship program, headed by Justice John Gomery, has uncovered a networkof corruption so vast it tainted nearly every aspect of Ottawa's operations in Quebec in the 1990s.
I'll admit it's hard to beat the Devine government. In their scandals (which mostly involved faking government travel claims and diverting the proceeds to party coffers and private accounts), 21 Tory MLAs or staff members were charged and 16 convicted. Four people served jail time, including the former deputy premier. And the Saskatchewan Conservative party was forced to disband in disgrace.
But consider what Gomery has learned about the Liberals so far. Between 1994 and 2000, Ottawa, among other things, used the Business Development Bank of Canada -- a supposedly arms-length Crown corporation -- to funnel payments to a government-friendly television production company. Ottawa would pay the BDC hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the bank would pass the money on to the producers so it was harder to trace the money back to the government.
This is the same federal bank pressured by then-prime minister Jean Chretien to lend more than half a million dollars to an associate of his in an unrelated Quebec scandal -- the Grand-Mere affair. The Chretien associate did not qualify for the loan, but Chretien wanted the bank to give it to him so he could keep open a hotel he owned next to a golf course Chretien owned. Under direct pressure from a prime minister, the bank relented.
The Gomery commission has also heard of double-billing, over-billing, fake billing, expensive gifts, lavish trips, and even a "cigar club." It's bad enough the Adscam conspirators were bilking Canadian taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars (the sums in Devine's scandals pale by comparison), and diverting that money into Liberal campaigns, Liberals' friends' pockets and near-useless flag-waving events, they were also living large on the taxpayers' dime while plotting their schemes.
Monthly, sponsorship players from within the Liberal government, the senior bureaucracy and Crown corporations would meet at fancy restaurants and private clubs in the Ottawa area to decide who got how much from the sponsorship scandals. While determining which friendly ad agencies to bestow commissions on and which events to grant funds, the Adscammers would eat multi-course gourmet feasts, smoke Cuban cigars and down expensive wines -- all on our tab, too, symbolically laughing at Canadians behind their backs.
Quebec ad agencies used third-party companies to channel huge donations to the Liberal party and to prominent Liberal candidates. Others pressured employees to donate. Still other executives made employees contribute, then reimbursed them from company funds. Sponsorship contracts were dangled in front of ad executives as carrots for giving money to the Liberal Party. How could they resist? Forty percent "commissions" were common under the sponsorship scheme simply for passing on federal funds to real (if worthless) events.
One executive, Jean Lafleur, handed out $31 million in federal cash over six years, of which he and his family were allowed to pocket $12 million personally. Gilles-Andre Gosselin dispersed $20 million and kept $8 million in just two years. In perhaps the most incestuous Adscam deal, Lafleur hired the minister who created Adscam, David Dingwall, to lobby the federal cabinet to give more money to VIA Rail, itself an Adscam player and recipient. In a twist of intrigue worthy of Kafka, sponsorship monies were paid to a sponsorship ad agency to pay the sponsorship program's founder to lobby the source of sponsorship cash -- Ottawa -- for even more sponsorship money for a Crown corporation that was already dispensing buckets of sponsorship cash. Over just seven months, Dingwall received $133,500 from Lafleur ($19,000 a month).
There was even a half-million-dollar annual slush fund established within the sponsorship program to fund events primarily in Chretien's riding and the riding of Alfonso Gagliano, who replaced Dingwall as Adscam minister.
And don't forget, while all this was going on, the HRDC scandal was also unfolding. Ottawa pumped more than $300 million in job-creation grants into Quebec in 1996-97 and set up what has been described as a "parallel, private government" to administer it. Before any Quebec company received HRDC funds, its request had to be vetted by Liberal party officials and riding executives. At one point, a Liberal party staffer was placed within the Quebec regional office of HRDC to review all job-creation funds.
And all of that was on top of Grand-Mere and the grants and "loans" to Ottawa-favoured companies such as Bombardier and on top of the normal patronage orgy -- the appointments to federal boards and courts, the awarding of federal contracts, the subsidizing of local construction and so on.
Not even at its most active and most arrogant was the network of corruption within the Devine government in Saskatchewan even a shadow of the web the Liberals wove within Quebec before and after the 1995 Quebec referendum.
Their excuse has always been that it was about saving the country. Nonsense, it was all about enriching themselves and their friends.
© The Edmonton Journal 2005
Careful Canadian Libs, there is a FReeper revolution underway there. You are about to get the ZOT.
Make that an Islamic terrorist cradling Banana Republic.
Why are people such greedy theives? I may disagree with Liberals, but crooks like these folks belong in jail.
If you don't really believe in anything, you might as well just steal all the money. There's nothing else left.
Canada needs a Rebellion, again. ;^)
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
The ZOT? From who?
*shrinking into chair*
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