Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 5
April 06, 2005
Publication Ban Decision Tomorrow
Justice Gomery has put off a decision on lifting the publication ban on Adscam testimony until tomorrow, in part because Liberal cross-examination of Jean Brault took longer than expected:
Mr. Justice John Gomery decided late in the day Wednesday that he needed more time to consider whether to allow the testimony of Mr. Brault to be reported in the media after Mr. Brault completed his time on the stand.
Judge Gomery is to make a decision Thursday morning.
If he lifts the ban, it may start the ball rolling for opposition parties to pose a non-confidence motion in the Liberals and potentially bring the government down. Opposition parties believe that Mr. Brault's testimony is extremely damaging to the Liberal Party.
If the ban gets lifted, expect the media to explode with information. Based on a few conversations I've had with some Canadian journalists, they cannot wait to tell you this story.
Posted by Captain Ed at 08:59 PM Comments (18) TrackBack
Adscam: It's Not Just For Liberals Any More
The Toronto Sun has developed its own independent sources into the Sponsorship Program scandal, uncovering more corruption at Groupaction while Jean Brault testifies under a publication ban at the Gomery Inquiry. The Canadian website Angry in the Great White North points out the article by Greg Weston, who reveals that the Liberals were not the only beneficiaries of the political shenanigans at Groupaction:
A MONTREAL advertising firm that received more than $40 million in AdScam sponsorship contracts paid huge kickbacks to both the federal Liberal party and the Quebec separatists, senior executives of the company have told Sun Media. "I remember seeing the cheques," one former Groupaction executive said of payments to the federal Liberal party in Quebec.
The man spoke on condition that he not be identified until he testifies at the Gomery inquiry sometime over the coming weeks.
The exec said the president of Groupaction, Jean Brault, made no secret around the company about where the kickback cash was going and for what.
"He spoke to me about it ... having to pay money back to the Liberal Party" in return for contracts.
But the source makes clear that the separatist Parti Quebecois duplicated the Liberal efforts to launder political contributions through Groupaction and its employees. This may come as a shock to Canadians, as the Sponsorship Program was specifically designed to help the Quebecois feel more comfortable as part of the Canadian nation:
The $250 million in sponsorships that the previous Liberal government pumped into Quebec was supposed to help fight the separatists after the near-miss referendum in 1995.
But another former Groupaction executive, Alain Renaud, said that while the firm was getting millions of dollars in federal sponsorship money, it was secretly cutting cheques to the separatist Parti Quebecois.
Renaud said that in one transaction, a total of about $90,000 was given to the PQ as part of Groupaction's getting a $4.5-million advertising contract for the Quebec liquor board, called the SAQ.
Groupaction apparently won the contract in a competition when a bagman for the Parti Quebecois had a meeting with the firm's top executives.
One of those executives told Sun Media: "The bagman came by and said: 'Well, you won the bid, and all that's needed now is a signature, and the documents are on the minister's desk to be signed, and it's going to cost you fifty grand.' "
Renaud recalled about $45,000 a year in donations were to be paid to the PQ for two years.
In other words, a good part of the $250 million that Canadians spent out of their tax money to hold onto Quebec went not only to the Liberal Party for their re-election efforts and personal gain -- it also went to the separatists that the government wanted to rebut.
How's that for irony?
If this comes out in the Gomery Inquiry, expect PQ to demand standing as the Liberals have received to cross-examine witnesses. That legal standing may wind up being the Scarlet Letter of Adscam.
Posted by Captain Ed at 01:56 PM Comments (12) TrackBack
Adscam Trials Delayed Until June
Justice Lise Côté postponed the trials of Jean Brault and Chuck Guité until June 2nd, far shorter than the September date the two men requested to prepare their defense. The shorter date calls into question whether Justice Gomery will lift the publication ban as had been anticipated in the event of a postponement:
A Montreal judge has postponed the criminal fraud trials of ad executive Jean Brault and former bureaucrat Chuck Guité until June 6, putting into question whether a ban on explosive testimony Mr. Brault provided at the sponsorship inquiry will be lifted.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Côté decided Wednesday to put the two men's criminal trials over until June 6. They were supposed to have begun on May 2, but Mr. Brault and Mr. Guité argued that they did not have enough time to prepare for that date. They had asked that their trials be delayed until September. ... The ban was instated to ensure that the jury at Mr. Brault's trial not be tainted by information out of the Gomery inquiry.
It difficult to say what move Judge Gomery will make now that Mr. Brault's criminal trial has been delayed only one month.
I don't think that the extra four weeks will make much difference to Justice Gomery on lifting the publication ban. What will impact the decision is how much of Brault's testimony has already escaped the ban through CQ and other websites, and the tremendous public interest the information generated in Canada. If Gomery thinks that more compelling information may come out, he may decide that a full disclosure to the public, including cross-examination by Liberal lawyers, will serve Brault better than a selective release through a single source. That decision would be the correct one, of course, and the decision he should have made in the first place.
Interestingly, Gomery had given Liberals standing in the inquiry, which allows them to cross-examine witnesses such as Brault. Today he denied standing to Conservatives and BQ, stating that their parties have not been directly affected by the testimony. In a subtle way, Canadians should understand from that decision that the witnesses have testified to significant wrongdoing by Liberal politicians and bureaucrats, but have not implicated anyone else.
If I hear more from my source, I will post it as soon as I'm able.
Posted by Captain Ed at 12:55 PM Comments (13) TrackBack
Scandale Des Commandites
The following is a translation of the two installments of Jean Brault's testimony at the Gomery Inquiry into French, for the benefit of readers in Quebec. The translation was kindly provided to me by CQ reader P.E. from Montréal. The bulk of the post will be in the extended comments; just click on the link below to read the entire post.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:37 AM Comments (30) TrackBack