Monday, April 04, 2005

Gomery Commission Uncovers Canadian Corruption Scandal

Hans Mast has a good timeline and links to the events uncovered in Canada today and previously:

Breaking News by Hans Mast

You have probably not heard of the Gomery Commission and the work that they have been doing to uncover the Canadian Liberal party's corruption. Here's a brief time-line:

  1. Gomery commission commissioned to probe Liberal corruption

  2. Publication ban issued

  3. Blogs: Silenced! Charged!

  4. Captain's Quarters (one of my favorite blogs) does an extensive write-up.

  5. is charged with contempt of court for linking to CQ.

  6. Canada bans CQ

Captain's Quarters writes that Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open:
A political scandal involving the Public Works Ministry, a government effort called the Sponsorship Program, and allegations of corruption in the ruling Liberal Party has Canada abuzz with rumors of payoffs, Mob ties, and snap elections. For the last two years, Canadian politics has been gripped by the so-called “sponsorship scandal” – tens of millions of dollars in government contracts which were funneled into advertizing firms closely connected with the Liberal government for little or no work, but with shadowy rumours that much of the money found its way back into Liberal coffers. Prime Minister Paul Martin, himself a Liberal, appointed the Gomery Commission to investigate these charges and determine whether to bring charges against government officials for corruption and malfeasance. (See the blog Small Dead Animals for some excellent background on the case.)

Most of the testimony heard by the Commission has been public, but Judge Gomery has decided to create a publication ban on the testimony of three key witnesses...

On Thursday, Jean Brault began his testimony – subject to the publication ban – and revealed a massive pattern of corruption going to the highest levels of the Liberal party and government. Brault testified to hundreds of thousands of dollars of bogus transactions designed to benefit the Liberal Party of Canada over a period from 1994 to 2002.

Most of the illegal campaign contributions involved Brault either hiring “employees” -– who were in fact working full time on Liberal Party activities –- or paying invoices for Liberal Party campaign expenses (which were never declared as such) or making untraceable cash donations to Liberal officials. In exchange for helping the federal Liberals in Quebec, Brault received millions of dollars in federal advertising contracts...

In exchange for these large contracts for little or no work, Brault kicked back generously to the Liberal Party, putting Liberal organizers on his payroll while they continued to perform party work (including, at one point, Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien’s brother, Gaby Chr├ętien), paying invoices to other companies for work actually done for the Liberal Party, and giving large donations -– in cash -– to the Liberal Party through Renaud or Liberal Party organizer (and close associate of Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano) Joe Morselli.

Towards the later part of the sponsorship program, the friends and associates of former Public Works ministry official and ambassador to Denmark Alfonso Gagliano, some of whom have been linked to organized crime, played a larger role in the schemes.

At one point, Gagliano associate Tony Mignacca told Brault that if he didn’t rehire Renaud (who had left Groupaction to start a new company), he would lose his newly acquired contract with Via Rail – Canada’s state-run passenger rail service. Brault broke down in tears after he recounted this testimony. At a meeting in 2001 with Joe Morselli, Brault said that he arranged to have the meeting in an overheated room in a restaurant – so that Brault could ask Morselli to take off his coat and ensure that he wasn’t carrying a body pack.

This is just the beginning of Brault's testimony. If the Gomery Commission can corroborate Brault, then the reek of corruption goes through all levels of the Liberal party and may explain their ability to out-campaign the Conservatives. After all, they've siphoned off hundreds of millions of government dollars to promote their own party and to guarantee their monopoly on power. They hijacked the Canadian tax base to fund their own campaigns and hide the financial trail.

More will be forthcoming, but it isn't difficult to understand why Liberal politicians have begun to panic already.

Some people wanted to hear it from a "reputable" news organization. They got it:

But the gag order, which applies across Canada, did not prevent some of the testimony from leaking into the public domain over the weekend through a U.S.-based web log. It ran a report mixing some factual material with editorial commentary. [emphasis mine]

Remember Rathergate? Did you see many MSM's reporting that at first either?

Captain Ed started a Canada category to keep us up to date. Click on it to find his complete writings on the subject.

Good stuff!

I will post more as it becomes available.

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