Saturday, April 09, 2005

Canadian Adscam Scandel and the Prime Minister

Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters has an update on the Canadian Adscam Scandel and how it has impacted the Prime Minister's office:

"Testimony continued in public at the Gomery Inquiry on Friday, and much of it devastated the Liberal Party and its former leader, Jean Chretien. Witnesses tied Adscam efforts directly to Chretien's staff, including his brother Gaby, for the first time since the publication ban was lifted earlier this week:

STAFFERS OF former PM Jean Chretien received secret payments to fund his victorious 1993 Shawinigan election campaign from a Montreal ad firm lobbying for federal contracts, the Gomery inquiry heard yesterday. Former Groupaction Marketing employee Alain Renaud said two years after the election, Chretien's brother Gabriel personally set up meetings for him with a senior PMO staffer and top Liberal officials in a bid to open the floodgates of federal contracts.

Renaud, who was hired by Groupaction founder Jean Brault in 1994 to bring in federal contracts, added to his former boss's explosive testimony about secret donations to key Liberals. ...

Renaud said Brault showed him a $30,000 cheque payable to Chretien's then chief of staff, Michel Fournier, during the 1993 federal election campaign.

"Were these cheques for the campaign of the Liberal Party or Mr. Chretien's campaign?" commission lawyer Bernard Roy asked.

"Mr. Chretien's campaign," Renaud replied.

Renaud tied the payments from Groupaction directly to the people around Chretien. He recounted $50,000 in payments between Jean Brault and Fournier -- Brault only admitted to $6,000 -- that went to Lib spokesman Daniel-Yves Durand in 1993. Renaud also testified that when business ran slow from the government, he went directly to former Quebec president Michel Beliveau, and that Beliveau would contact Chretien's chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, in order to rectify the situation. Renaud told the inquiry that he redirected more than a million dollars in sponsorship money back into the Liberal Party in return for all of this access and the advertising contracts Groupaction received from the Sponsorship Program.

Canadians may ask themselves where Chretien falls into all of this. The people he hired certainly appear to have their hands into the corruption up to the armpits. The closest that anyone has directly testified so far about Chretien's involvement is his brother, who appears to have been instrumental in making Sponsorship Program arrangements and clandestine payments. However, Renaud also testified that Brault showed him a $30,000 check made out to Fournier in 1993 but intended for Chretien:

Jean Brault, whose dramatic testimony at the sponsorship inquiry has rocked the country, donated $30,000 to ex-prime minister Jean Chretien's victorious 1993 campaign in the hopes of landing future federal contracts, the inquiry was told Friday.

Former Groupaction employee Alain Renaud testified that a year after the Liberals swept to power in 1993, Brault showed him a $30,000 cheque payable to Michel Fournier, who served as Chretien's chief of staff when he was Opposition leader. ...

"(Brault) said he invested a fair sum in the Liberal campaign and he would surely get federal government contracts,'' Renaud said under questioning from chief inquiry counsel Bernard Roy.

"Were these cheques for the campaign of the Liberal party or Mr. Chretien's campaign?" Roy asked.

Renaud replied: "Mr. Chretien's campaign."

Brault's alleged investment certainly paid off, if true. That $30K brought in $60 million in contracts. If that can be corroborated, it provides yet another strong link between the corruption and Chretien's inner circle -- and beyond that, the core of the Liberal Party."

This is a pretty damning series of revelations.

The question will be whether the opposition parties, (namely the Conservatives) will have the Cajones to push for a non-confidence vote and new elections?

I guess we will find out on Thursday of this coming week.

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