Monday, April 04, 2005

Adscam: Jean Brault's Testimony Continues

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has another installment in the Abscam Scandel which threatens the Canadian Government. In this piece, Jean Brault's testimony continues:

"This installment of the testimony of Jean Brault at the Gomery Commission comes from Friday and follows the first installment. Today;s testimony is still being rebuilt from notes and may not be ready until tomorrow. Again, I want to caution people that this is a single source of information, although I did receive independent confirmation about the first installment from two separate sources. Bear in mind that the witness has not yet been cross-examined as well.

The Martin Connections

So far, Jean Brault has testified that in addition to the roughly $250,000 (US) his company legitimately gave to the Liberal Party, they made almost $250,000 in under the table contributions (cash donations, or donations funneled through employees or other companies), and put party workers on the payroll for an in-kind contribution value of about $200,000. Most of Brault’s testimony seems to implicate the circles around Jean Chrétien and Alfonso Gagliano – who are all persona non grata in the “new” Liberal administration of Paul Martin - but there seem to be few direct links to the new regime.

However, Brault's testimony does appear to indicate that those links do exist.

Brault was invited to join a consultative committee for Rogers Cantel – a Canadian mobile phone company, chaired by former Liberal cabinet minister and key Martin ally Francis Fox. (Fox later served as Martin’s Principal Secretary when Martin became Prime Minister). At one of the Cantel lunches, another former Liberal minister and Martin organizer Jacques Olivier told Brault that he should “Stick to Corriveau. He will open doors for you.” (Olivier was referring to key Chrétien ally Jacques Corriveau, who Brault brought in as a subcontractor on advertising contracts.) This shows that two of Martin’s key Quebec organizers knew what was happening with government contracting and sponsorships.

Another connection is through Liberal organizer – and former assistant to Fox – Yvon Desrochers. When Brault was asked about direct political interference in the awarding of sponsorships, he mentioned that Desrochers and Corriveau pushed hard for approval of federal money for the renovation of the Corona Theatre in the riding of Liberal cabinet minister Lucienne Robillard (who still sits in Paul Martin’s cabinet as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs), even though there were indications of construction problems. The person responsible for transferring the funds was told to “cut the check and don’t ask questions.”

Close ties link Fox, Olivier, Desrochers, Martin fundraiser and former hockey star Serge Savard, and another one of the Adscam firms – Claude Boulay’s Groupe Everest – and all are connected with the Martin, not Chrétien, wing of the Liberal Party in Quebec. (Desrochers later committed suicide after the discovery of another corruption scandal, the Montreal International Aquatic Games, in which millions of dollars went missing.)

Brault testified to other links to people identified with the Martin regime. Among the people Brault put on his payroll (while in fact working for the Liberals) were Georges Farrah – who later served as a Parliamentary Secretary under Paul Martin – and John Welch – who is now Chief of Staff to Martin’s current Heritage Minister, Liza Frulla. (He was urged to hire Welch by Denis Paradis, a Liberal MP who also served as one of Martin’s Parliamentary Secretary.)

Brault said that Gagliano crony Joe Morselli told him he could “solve potential problems” and “talk to Denis” – meaning Liberal cabinet minister Denis Coderre, who also served under Martin.

So links have emerged in Brault’s testimony to many of the people that Martin kept on as ministers or Parliamentary secretaries – even though Martin assured Canadians that he had thoroughly questioned all of his ministers and ensured that none of them had any involvement in the Adscam controversy.

If Brault’s testimony holds up, the reputations of Chrétien, Gagliano, and their teams will be shredded. But it looks like the reputations of Paul Martin’s Ministers, MPs, and organizers are going to be pretty tattered by the end of this as well."

How long will this Canadian government survive? Will Paul Martin resign?

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