February 27, 2004

Frost Hits the Rhubarb

The Tentacles Creep Closer to Jean Carle -- and Others

Dangerous twist to cleanup -- Suspensions cast more shadows on Chrétien's regime -- But latest move could be trouble for all Liberals Feb. 25, 04, Susan Delacourt, The Star, Ottawa

When Prime Minister Paul Martin's government reached into the ranks of the Business Development Bank of Canada to mete out punishment yesterday to crown corporation chiefs, it took a significant political step — one that casts yet more shadows on the regime of Jean Chrétien.

The move also threatens to focus more attention on the deep, dark politics of the controversy, which could have the effect of tarring all Liberals, whether of the Chrétien or Martin stripe.

[. . . . ] Jean Carle, a former director of operations for Chrétien, someone so close to the former prime minister that he once bunked in his basement, went to the BDC after he left government.

Once there, the court testimony showed, he made it his mission to get the institution working in the interests of the federal sponsorship program — or at least its goals of increasing the federal government's visibility in Quebec.

Carle also was instrumental in helping push Beaudoin out the door of the BDC.
In other words, the power and the objectives of the Chrétien PMO were making themselves felt in a crown corporation that is supposed to operate at arm's length from its political masters.

This, too, is the rap against Canada Post and VIA Rail in the sponsorship scandal, and why their top executives were disciplined yesterday.

[. . . .] But simply: The Auditor-General probed how Liberals treated their friends; the Beaudoin case exposed how Liberals treated their enemies. Neither painted a pretty picture of Liberal politics in Quebec during Chrétien's time in office.

[. . . .] Now, by linking the BDC affair to the sponsorship controversy, he has to also explain why a former finance minister didn't know of what was happening at a crown-owned bank.


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