Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 3
April 04, 2005
Adscam: Brault 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 collapse of 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.
Posted by Captain Ed at 08:04 PM Comments (35) TrackBack
CQ Media Notes (Updated!)
Despite having a ruined voice thanks to a lingering bout of laryngitis, I spent most of my work breaks juggling telephone interviews with Canadian media outlets. For the most part, they wanted to know why I broke the publication ban. I told them I don't believe in restricting free speech, either in Canada or in the US or anywhere else, and if a government has corruption problems, making them a secret hardly helps clean it up.
For CQ readers in Vancouver, I will appear on CBC's television news program this evening, in my very first TV appearance. Bear in mind that I look like hell today and sound worse, so be kind in your judgment. I do not know whether CBC will post the video to their website, but hopefully at some point we'll get a look at it.
Lastly, I understand that comments have stopped functioning, which may either be a hosting problem or a Typekey problem. My service is checking their side to see if the problem is on the server. I'll lok forward to getting comments back on line shortly, and of course, I apologize for the inconvenience.
UPDATE: Comments should be fixed now! However, due to the extremely high traffic coming through the server, the comments program has to be "killed" if you take longer than 20 seconds or so to type it in. One way of getting around this is to type your comments in Notepad first, then simply cut and paste them into the Comments box. HM is trying their best to keep all services running while the load is so high...
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:25 PM Comments (16) TrackBack
Adscam Information Grows
I expect to have more information today on the Adscam testimony, as well as more background information on why this matters to both Canadians and Americans. That may come later in the day, probably in the early evening. In the meantime, if you have found this site and are looking for the original post, you can find it here. Also, I've created a new subcategory for Canada, which will have all of the updates on this story. Bookmark it and check back often.
Winds of Change has a great post on the scandal. Be sure to read it. Don't forget Small Dead Animals, which has a lot of background on Adscam.
My web hosting service, Hosting Matters, has done an excellent job handling the huge boost in traffic coming from CQ's new Canadian readers. I hope if you experience any slow loading or error messages that you remain patient. They know that traffic will go up even farther today and are doing their best to "clear the decks" for you. If you are looking for a hosting service that gives great support and proactively watches your back -- and charges very reasonable fees -- then definitely check out Hosting Matters. Thank you for your patience!
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:49 AM Comments (6) TrackBack
Canadians: Linking To CQ May Be Bad For Your Freedom
After CTV named Captain's Quarters on their news program last night, the site got swarmed with tens of thousands of visitors, leading to some slower response times (sorry!) and a "magnitude" increase of traffic for blogs who I've linked, especially on this story. However, if you've linked your blog to CQ and you live six or seven hours north of me, you may receive a summons from your government, according to this report from the London Free Press this morning:
A U.S. website has breached the publication ban protecting a Montreal ad executive's explosive and damning testimony at the federal sponsorship inquiry. The U.S. blogger riled the Gomery commission during the weekend by posting extracts of testimony given in secret Thursday by Jean Brault.
The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts "Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open" and promises more to come. The owner of the Canadian website refused to comment yesterday.
Inquiry official Francois Perreault voiced shock at the publication ban breach, and said the commission co-counsel Bernard Roy and Justice John Gomery will decide today whether to charge the Canadian website owner with contempt of court.
"We never thought someone would violate the publication ban," Perreault said. "Maybe we were more confident than we should have been."
The Canadian website in question is Nealenews.com, which linked to my post on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It only provided a link back to my site; it carried none of the testimony itself. In fact, it's still headlining a link to CQ despite the threat of legal action.
In an age of instant communications and greater freedom of the press, one would think that this kind of publication ban would obviously prove futile, especially when dealing with the kind of corruption that the Gomery Commission is investigating. However, if Perreault is to be believed, no one even considered the notion that someone might talk. Either M. Perreault is hopelessly naive, or he gets the Captain Louis Renault award for being shocked, shocked that free speech goes on in a democracy.
However, despite the publication of the material in an American blog and its review by thousands of Canadians, the Gomery Commission insists that the information is not public. Perreault warns Canadians that any link to CQ or even a mention of the blog name in any Canadian publication could lead to prosecution:
Perreault warned that even if Brault's testimony has been outed by a U.S. website, it doesn't mean it's now public information.
"Anyone who takes that information and diffuses it is liable to be charged with contempt of court," Perreault said.
"Anybody who reproduces it is at risk."
Well, you've been warned, my Canadian neighbors.
UPDATE: The Globe and Mail interviewed me yesterday, and published this Jane Taber article:
The explosive testimony given out of the public eye last week at the Gomery commission began appearing on websites yesterday, capping a weekend of frenzied rumours about snap elections and covert political meetings in Ottawa.
Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay even suggested yesterday that the testimony, which is under a publication ban, could lead to criminal charges against senior Liberals. ...
The publication ban does not restrict Americans from publishing or broadcasting the details of the in camera hearings. Still, the blogger joked that he isn't planning any vacations soon to Canada.
"It's an interesting story. It's fascinating," he said. "First off, I think it's a terrible thing that you guys can't publish this. This is the type of thing that a free press exists for is to hold their government accountable. ..... It should be you guys reporting this."
The fact that the testimony is now circulating on the Internet and by word of mouth calls into question the effectiveness of the publication ban, Mr. MacKay said. ... Mr. MacKay said his party is considering whether it should appear before the inquiry to fight the ban.
Mr. Duceppe [Bloc Quebecois] wouldn't say whether the Bloc will seek the lifting of the publication ban.
"I want to talk to our lawyers first, to see the implications of what's happening in the United States," he said, referring to the Internet blog.
Said Mr. MacKay: "There is no question that if it is in fact now being circulated and is out publicly in the States or elsewhere, that this sole purpose of having the ban in place has just evaporated. There is no point. So once somebody has violated the ban there is no purpose in having it there."
Taber reports that McKay plans on challenging Prime Minister Paul Martin in Parliament today to answer for the information that has already arisen from the Brault testimony. It could be an interesting day in Ottawa.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:09 AM Comments (19) TrackBack