Sunday, October 28, 2007
Tackling Official Corruptions...the Canadian Way..
Federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser..started the ball rolling after an article in a Daily Paper Globe and Mail questioned the Government in what it suspected as "fraud" in Sponsorship Program...
Tackling Official Corruptions, the Canadian Way..
Corruptions by Elected Officials and Public Servants are happening in almost Every Government and Country anywhere. It is endemic to most countries where Governments are weak and to some where Poverty and Widespread Inequity are the realities of everyday existence. But First World countries are not exempt, not even in our case to which a few years ago the now famous Sponsorship Programs Scandal was exposed and made every Canadian wondering why such corruptions of the scope unimaginable would ever happen in this Country so Proud of its Transparency and Accountability of the people who were elected to led.
What is the Sponsorship Program?
It was the Federal Program set up in the wake of 1995 Quebec Sovereignty to help promote Federalism and the money was supposed to be used to raise Canada’s profile in Quebec.
How the Scandal was exposed?
In 2002 the PM of the day, Jean Chretien was forced to address the issue when the Globe and Mail, a major daily paper, Under the Access of Information Act, tried to find out why the Government paid $550,000 to the advertising firm Groupaction Marketing for a report that could not be found, and no one at the Public Works ministry or the ad firm could answer it.
PM Chretien called on federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser to look at the matter. She found out a lot to launch a full investigation and ask the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to get involved as well..
Short of two years later, Fraser released her explosive report, and not shy to use the words such as “appalling”and “scandalous” to describe how the Liberals abused the system.
She found out that money in the amount of $100 millions were paid to various communications agencies in the form of commissions and fees and said the program was basically designed to generate commissions to the said companies than to benefit Canadians.
That Public Works officials “just broke every rule in the book” awarding contracts to the company Groupaction which was paid millions. Details of federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s report can be checked here (auditor’s report 2004)>
PM Chretien had already resigned after 11 years and Paul Martin replaced him as the Party Leader and PM and Martin promptly called on Justice Gomery to conduct an Inquiry and promised to resign if there was evidence that he knew of the frauds in the program. Final reports didn’t implicate Paul Martin, but he resigned after the Liberal lost the government after the election that was called when the Parliament lost the confidence of the Government due to the Scandal.
Justice Gomery's Reports phase 1 and 2 can also be read here..phase 1> and phase 2 and final report>
Important note: Both PM Paul Martin and former PM Chretien appeared before the Inquiry to give testimonies under oath. For PM Martin it was the first time since Canada was Six Years old that a sitting PM appeared before a Public Inquiry.
The RCMP was also involved, investigating allegations of fraud beginning in May 2002.
Justice Gomery's reports were conclusive and painted the picture clearly of what happened to the program. Who were responsible and also recommended to the Government of measures to strengthened accountability in governance.
RCMP criminal investigations resulted in Criminal Charges and Convictions for the officials and business people involved in frauds and conspiracy.
Former PM Chretien against his strong protestation was implicated lightly as not diligence in his watch, but absolved of any direct knowledge of fraud committed by his party members and officials. He was a Good Prime Minister and still other than this scandal during his Eleven Years as PM, will be remembered as One Great Leader and a very distinguished career for his decades of government service in many other positions.
PM Paul Martin was not implicated as having any knowledge of the ongoing scandal while Finance Minister during the time.
Although he lost the government due to the scandal and resigned as party leader, he came out clean and his reputations untarnished. Another Good Leader who didn’t have much chance to prove himself, but proved it in another capacity as Former Finance Minister, bringing Canada to a healthy budget surplus, that is still enjoyed by the current government, from deficit in previous years. A very successful businessman in his private life, a well respected family man and he has done a good job to his country and people in public and private.
Thus, we have concluded one of the biggest scandals in our history as a nation born some 140 years ago (1867). We may have some in the future, but I believe that if it ever happens again, we have the resolve to face up to it and have the courage to deal with it squarely and in our own way bring each and everyone to proper resolution...
For indepth details and related items you may go tothis site>
And for more readings here arethe top 10 scandals in Canadian Political History>...some were just scandals and remained scandals while others were later proven more than just scandals, some funny, some serious..