March 04, 2004

Da liddle guy from Shenanigan gets his Revenge

If for nothing else, I must thank Diane Francis for her new title for Chretien. I think I will even start referring to his old scandal--or should it be this one?--as Shenanigate. In her National Post article entitled, It's not just Tammany on the Rideau, (Sat. Feb. 28), she explains how Chretien dodged the bullet which went on to hit Martin. He prorogued Parliament a few days before the Auditor-General's devastating report on the sponsorship scandal was to be tabled. He then quit office before he could be tarred with the breaking news. It reminds me of how Pierre Pettigrew emerged white as snow from the HRDC fiasco, while Jane Stewart was left to fend off the scandal he had created. [How poetic the justice -- were he to suffer the same fate as Pelletier, late of Via Rail. NJC]

Francis accuses the government of flagrant disregard of the public purse. She mentions the grand theft that the gun registry and the HRDC symbolize, but then zeros in on the other wastages of tax dollars.

Still others are the routine patronage excesses of pigs at the trough, like the Grand Oink of them all--Adrienne Clarkson--who will go down in the annals of Ottawa history as the Marie Antoinette of Governors-General. Her 5.3 million arctic swing, on behalf of her champagne-socialist consort and 59 friends, was let-them-eat-cake-behaviour that should have netted her the Bastille, or le blade.

Then Francis is off on the sponsorship scandal that involved crown corporation misdeeds, theft, money laundering, and corruption of the RCMP. Quite an impressive list of chicanery in anybody's books. Chretien might have dodged the direct flight of the bullet, but it will surely ricochet back to critically wound him, and his legacy. The first internal audit on the sponsorship program revealed the rot as far back as 1996. Chretien sat on that report, hoping that it would never come to light. However Fraser's more thorough audit in 2002 blew the lid off this boondoggle. Fingers started pointing in every direction. Chretien choose that as an appropriate time to scuttle off to China to do some more dubious business with people of Duhaime's ilk.

Diane Francis has a number of suggestions to stem the sleaze that I hope is super-glued to the Liberal government. Term limits, free backbencher votes, an independent investigation based on the Auditor-General's reports, and rotating the media reporters that cover the government. She thinks maybe this would end the cozy relationship between the government and the media / bureaucrats.

© Bud


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