Gomery!
November 1, 2005 7:08 AM   Subscribe

The first Gomery report is out today. The US doesn't yet have a monopoly on political scandal. Today, the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities releases its first report. At 10:15 this morning, Judge Gomery reads his statement. Who are the players? And will it bring down the government?
posted by GuyZero (70 comments total)
 
Hm, first time FPP and, in retrospect, I think I may have omitted a few details in the summary. Go easy.
posted by GuyZero at 7:13 AM on November 1, 2005


I think that the end results of this report will be a great boost to the Canadian Civil Service as it will force more/better auditing and transparency and help to keep politics out of where they don't belong. I'm glad we're taking this seriously and nipping it in the bud rather than letting things slide they way they have in the US.

As to whether Martin should be to blame, I think it's Jean Chrétien's fault all the way, even if his original motives (keep Québec in Canada at any costs) might have been legitimate. I don't buy this Conservative "if it's tied to the liberals than it's Martin's fault just as much" bullcrap.
posted by furtive at 7:17 AM on November 1, 2005


Hm, the headline on CBC seems to say it all: "Gomery blames Chrétien for sponsorship flaws". Perhaps it would have been more dramatic if I waited 15 minutes and lead with that. Ah well.
posted by GuyZero at 7:26 AM on November 1, 2005


I don't buy this Conservative "if it's tied to the liberals than it's Martin's fault just as much" bullcrap.

Except Paul Martin was the minister of finance. That is the guy writing the cheques. They are all a pack of complacent thieves who grew far to comfortable with power. Sadly the opposition is made up of separatists, xtian taliban and mustachioed lefties and probably couldn't push the liberals out of office even if it turned out they were hiding bin Laden.
posted by srboisvert at 7:30 AM on November 1, 2005


I can't put it any better than Warren Kinsella.
posted by generichuman at 7:32 AM on November 1, 2005


The report seems to blame Chretien. I think that Martin has been dealing with this fairly well and I think he's going to come out of it ok.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:34 AM on November 1, 2005


I don't buy this Conservative "if it's tied to the liberals than it's Martin's fault just as much" bullcrap.

Except Paul Martin was the minister of finance. That is the guy writing the cheques.



And what Gomery said to that was:

"The Department of Finance and its minister have no oversight role for other departments' expenditures, other than setting the financial context via the fiscal framework," the report said.

As a result, Martin "is entitled, like other ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct."
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:42 AM on November 1, 2005


I would like more explanation as to what this sentence is supposed to mean: setting the financial context via the fiscal framework
posted by raedyn at 7:44 AM on November 1, 2005


I think that Martin has been dealing with this fairly well and I think he's going to come out of it ok.

I think more than ok--I'd guess many voters are like me: reluctant to vote for the Convervative whatever Alliance or the NDP, but uncomfortable with the idea of voting for the Liberals and thereby giving tacit approval to their despicable shenanigans. If Martin will have been exonerated from responsibility it will be much easier to cast a vote for him and hope that this and other parties have learned a lesson about the abuse of power and the public trust.

(Yeah, right).
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:48 AM on November 1, 2005


Martin "is entitled, like other ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct."

What he is entitled to and what he deserves are two very different things. The guy was the second in command and in fact had control over most of the liberal party for quite some time before he became it's official leader.

There is zero chance he was out of the loop on this. He has managed to insulate himself well but don't doubt that he was, at the very least, aware of what was going on.
posted by srboisvert at 7:50 AM on November 1, 2005


I would like more explanation as to what this sentence is supposed to mean: setting the financial context via the fiscal framework

I suppose it means that the Finance dept. sets the top-level budget, but that the departments spend the money they're allocated as they see fit. If the department of heritage goes out and blows their budget on beer and strippers, then the finance guys find out about it in the newspapers like everyone else.
posted by GuyZero at 7:53 AM on November 1, 2005


srboisvert: Clearly, you must have some evidence regarding Martin's awareness of the situation that Gomery lacked access to. If you're right, this would change everything!

Please forward such evidence, and I'll contact the CBC directly with it.
posted by Jairus at 7:53 AM on November 1, 2005


The guy was the second in command

I think that "second" is the key word here. Let's assume he knew what was going on. What was he going to do--have Chretien whacked? Commit political suicide by leaking the story to the media?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:55 AM on November 1, 2005


On the other hand, if he actively participated in the sponsorship program or accrued some benefit himself that would be an entirely different matter.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:58 AM on November 1, 2005


srboisvert, Martin was not the number two man, Manley was. He also took over Martin's job when Martin was pushed out of cabinet. Martin was reponsile for the budget, but he wasn't expected to be a micromanager. If a department needed cuts, Martin didn't say where or how, he just said how much. Most of us knew this already, Gomery came to the same conclusion. I also think the Liberals needed a slap and chances are they'll get another one, but don't see how Martin was responsible for this.
posted by furtive at 8:07 AM on November 1, 2005


It had never occurred to me that the U.S. might have a monopoly on scandal...we did not invent it. It will be here long after we try to change things or become a less important power.
posted by Postroad at 8:07 AM on November 1, 2005


As an american, I laugh at your puny scandals!

This barely rates up there with Travelgate.
posted by delmoi at 8:12 AM on November 1, 2005


delmoi: all things considered us Canucks still have it prett good.
posted by furtive at 8:18 AM on November 1, 2005


As an american, I laugh at your puny scandals!

As a Canadian, I give thanks for our (comparatively) puny scandals.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:19 AM on November 1, 2005


It had never occurred to me that the U.S. might have a monopoly on scandal.

Well, no, in general, probably not. But in the MeFi context, the "scandal" tag nets several US scandals and... three posts on the Gomery commission. Apparently there aren't any scandals in the UK, Australia or New Zealand. *shrug*
posted by GuyZero at 8:21 AM on November 1, 2005


I think a secretary at the passport office in Calgary stole some pens. This proves that Martin is both corrupt and incompetent. Fire that bastard now!
posted by Elpoca at 8:30 AM on November 1, 2005


Post Gomery news conference by Jack Layton, who has the sole clout to force an early election:

Statement: "Towering rage! Corruption!!! Kickbacks!!! Thunderous anger! Disgusted on behalf of all Canadians! Liberal scandal, not a Quebec scandal!!!"

1st question: "So will you take the country to an election?"

Layton: "Well, we haven't actually talked about that" (digs toe into carpet….)

Right.

Ergo: Will it bring down the government? Not this year.
posted by Mike D at 8:39 AM on November 1, 2005


This is more or less what I expected from Justice Gomery. I see no reason why Martin should be expected to take blame for this other than being the current leader of the party which the abuse happened under.

What outside observers, and some eager scandalmongers in Canada need to remember is that Martin was not a close confidant or even a real ally of Chretien's. They were rivals, and lead rival factions within the Liberal Party. Martin most likely knew something was wrong, probably didn't know the extent, or any real details, and couldn't really do anything about it. What could he do?

If he knew enough to stop the abuse, which is possible, he probably could have betrayed his party by leaking the details to the press and calling for an investigation while Chretien was still Prime Minister. This would have destroyed him politically, and probably put Harper's Conservative basilisk and the Bloc in power in some kind of grotesque mockery of a coalition. To argue that this would somehow be better for the country than what has happened with Martin as PM and the Gomery Inquiry is seriously deluded.

The Liberals have effectively governed for more than a decade. There are problems that need to be addressed, including this scandal, and the issue of corruption and patronage in general. However, the current government has done its job well. It's telling that Harper has so little to criticise the government about that he is actually complaining that not enough is being done to reduce the surplus. Oh, and those dastardly gays. Oh, and the Liberal's betrayal of the US by not going to Iraq, but he hasn't brought that up in a while.

I hope Canadians don't forget what a mess the last Conservative government left us with, what with our deficit/GDP ratio outpacing Italy, and the rampant corruption that went with the Mulroney years.

Martin has tempered his hawkish fiscal policies with a commitment to spend future surpluses evenly divided between new spending, tax cuts and continuing to pay off debt. The Conservatives don't have a platform to stand on, and are openly courting the Bloc for a possible coalition. What more reason does someone need for giving the Liberals another mandate?

Are they perfect? No. Are they the lesser of two evils? Hardly. They are generally competent, and only marginally corrupt. That I can handle. Just please, keep Harper and Duceppe away from the reins. Please.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:57 AM on November 1, 2005


Turns out I am a seperatist; I fully support Canada's seperation from Quebec. A referendum should be held in all nine non-Quebec provinces immediately, with, for historical inconsistency if nothing else, the very clear question of, "Do you support the immediate seperation of Canada from Quebec?" Should the referendum pass, Quebec would find itself it's own sovereign whatever-they-want. We'll need our transfer funds, army, health care system, currency, education system, and RCMP back the next day, if they could organize it. An ambassador would be sent to the UN posthaste to declare to the world, should there be any confusion, that Canada dumped Quebec, and not the other way around, and that they did it first, no matter what Quebec told New Brunswick the day before the referendum.

Then, and only then, could Canada and Quebec both get exactly what they want. Canada would be free to start courting other provinces immediately. She's had her eye on Vermont, the little whore.
posted by jon_kill at 8:58 AM on November 1, 2005


Martin will call an election within thirty days. He will disgrace himself and his party if he doesn't live up to that promise.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:59 AM on November 1, 2005


Thirty days of the final report. Which is expected by February.
posted by Jairus at 9:00 AM on November 1, 2005


What's the alternative to Martin? Bush LightHarper? I don't think so.
posted by clevershark at 9:00 AM on November 1, 2005


jon_kill -- go back to Fark, will ya.
posted by clevershark at 9:01 AM on November 1, 2005


clevershark, I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about. Please point out the farkish elements of my post.
posted by jon_kill at 9:06 AM on November 1, 2005


jon: I don't really favor separation (I don't really think Canada is whole without Quebec). That said, seperation might just be a good thing. If Quebec wants back in Confederation (they will), they will have to agree to a constitution drafted on terms not so favorable as the ones they rejected the first time. No "Night of the Long Knives" this time. Say goodbye Notwithstanding Clause. Say goodbye languauge police.

The Notwithstanding Clause really bugs me. Trudeau really should have just rammed through the constitution without the provinces' consent. I really don't see how placating Quebec and other whiny provinces was worth putting a "but not if you really don't like it" clause in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:06 AM on November 1, 2005


Ah, final report. That's good news because it means I will be back in the country for the election.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:07 AM on November 1, 2005


Oh, and Clevershark: Boobies!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:08 AM on November 1, 2005


The funny thing is that this scandal has cost more to investigate than money was squandered... 100 million dollars? That's a large Starbucks coffee for every man, woman and child in the country.

I love Canada. All we need is a real opposition party.
posted by anthill at 9:23 AM on November 1, 2005


anthill, that's what the NDP is for. The Liberals have already establised themselves as the dominant fiscal conservative voice in Canada, and we need the Alliance social conservativism like we need a hole in every head and a church in every bedroom. Just forget about the Bloc.

The NDP will become the leftist opposition, and the Liberals will become the centre-right party of fiscal restraint.

That is my sincerest wish for this country.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:28 AM on November 1, 2005


What outside observers, and some eager scandalmongers in Canada need to remember is that Martin was not a close confidant or even a real ally of Chretien's.

What outside observers need to know as well is that during the time of this scandal taking place, Martin was the finance minister in control of where all the big cheques went.

I don't believe Gomery said that the cheques were small enough that Martin didn't have to sign off on them.

He may not have been in on it, but he certainly was criminally incompetent, in my opinion. The same way anyone in absolute control that allows abuse to happen, even if it isn't their direct fault, is considered tainted.
posted by shepd at 9:43 AM on November 1, 2005


I don't believe Gomery said that the cheques were small enough that Martin didn't have to sign off on them.


I'd have to have a look at a government cheque, but I believe that they are signed by the President of the Treasury Board, not the Finance minister.
posted by smcniven at 9:52 AM on November 1, 2005


I live on the West coast of Canada where the Gomery report's chief feature of interest is that it reminds us of the existence of Eastern Canada.
posted by slatternus at 9:54 AM on November 1, 2005


The official web site presents the preliminary report in a very nicely organized and classy way.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:16 AM on November 1, 2005


/waves at slatternus from Eastern Canada
posted by kika at 10:19 AM on November 1, 2005


From The Globe and Mail:

But, in terms of Mr. Martin, Justice Gomery said his role as finance minister during the run of the program means he was not involved in supervision of spending by either the Prime Minister's Office or Public Works. Government Services Canada entitles him ”to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct.”
posted by Jairus at 10:27 AM on November 1, 2005


“Ministers are not responsible for what they do not know about the actions and decisions of the PMO and other ministers, or about the administration of departments other than their own,” Justice Gomery said.

(Forgot that last bit in my post.)
posted by Jairus at 10:27 AM on November 1, 2005


The Bloc serves me quite well...they give me a protest vote without the risk that they might accidently get in power (unlike Harper's Conservatives), while representing my region rather effectively and having a very liberal social agenda. Gilles Duceppe seems a bit scary to most Canadians, but in french he's pretty decent. As for the whole separation thing, there I'm on the fence (It sure would be nice if houses cost what they did 10 years ago here). sorry for the derail.
posted by furtive at 10:28 AM on November 1, 2005


shepd, the scandal wasn't that the money was spent, but that is was given to firms run by Chretien's cronies' cronies, who then funneled that money back to the liberal party. Martin is not necessarily incompetent or corrupt here. Read the article.

Also, did you read the rest of my post? If Martin knew enough to stop the abuse, what could have he done differently, and how would it have helped the country?

On preview, most of this has already been said, but still.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:34 AM on November 1, 2005


I'd have to have a look at a government cheque, but I believe that they are signed by the President of the Treasury Board, not the Finance minister. - smcniven

Well the multimillion dollar Gov't of Canada cheques that I see at work are "signed"* by the Receiver-General of Canada (that's who you write your Income tax cheques to) and Deputy Receiver General of Canada. The Minister of Public Works and Government Services is the Receiver General. So uhh... that was Alfonso Gagliano, who Gomery IS saying is partly responsible for this mess.

*I put "signed" in scare quotes because no one actually takes a pen and signs the cheques. They're electronically printed on every CCTB, CPP, & GST cheque issued by our government. Consider this: In fiscal year 2003-2004, the Receiver General issued approximately 226 million federal payments. (source) No one can sign that many cheques.
posted by raedyn at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2005


furtive, would you mind elaborating a bit on what appeals to you about seperatism? I have never had the opportunity to ask a relatively articulate person who holds at least some seperatist sentiment.

This isn't a snark, I am genuinely interested.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:37 AM on November 1, 2005


raedyn: Close enough (Receiver-General not Treasury Board) guess on my part. The key point I was trying to make is that the Finance minister does not "sign" the cheques. He dictates financial policy and sets the overall government budget, but Treasury Board and Public Works handles to day-to-day expenses/revenue stuff.

As for signing of cheques, you are right again. Way too many items for it to be done manually. Heck, I've seen the "Arm" in action for everything from 1 letter to 4000 letters. Although that is probably a different process from "signing" cheques.
posted by smcniven at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2005


For the record, I am not an apologist about the scandal. I'm outraged that it happened, and feel betrayed by the people who did this, for the damage it caused to both my country, and my party. It's absolutely shameful. I hope those responsible are prosecuted and convicted.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:47 AM on November 1, 2005


Except Paul Martin was the minister of finance. That is the guy writing the cheques.

No, this is the guy who comes into an office filled with deputy and assistant deputy ministers, policy analysts and assorted administrative staff. I doubt he signs more than a half-dozen of anything a year. He is responsible for what goes on in his office, sure, but I don't expect the ministers in a parliamentary government to know how every million (or even how every few hundred million) is spent.

He's certainly not responsible for how other ministries spend the money that they budget for and are allocated. Not even a tiny, infinitesimal bit.

There is zero chance he was out of the loop on this.

The report suggest that there is a 100% chance that he was out of the loop on this. I trust Gomery's opinion more than, well, anyone's when it comes to this particular issue, so I'm gonna have to fall on the side of Martin being non-culpable in any way.

I'm not a strong Liberal supporter; I have voted NDP in every federal election save one (the last one, where I did vote Liberal). This report could have (essentially) brought down the government. Now, it will keep it propped up.

The Conservative response to the report, however, will, I suspect, determine whether or not they remain the official opposition or whether they end up with a dozen seats after the next election. Canadians will not stand for Haprer and his colleague calling the report biased or incomplete or the like. If he accepts it gracefully and moves on to the next issue, Harper has a chance to remain Opposition leader.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:53 AM on November 1, 2005


smcniven:
And I was backing you up, providing more information that you didn't have at your fingertips. We're in agreement.

There's a great deal of misconceptions about how government functions that I like to clarify whenever I have the opportunity. I care for 3 reasons: 1 - I'm civil servant, 2 - I'm an on & off political science student, and 3 - I am a political aware and concerned citizen, and as such, I think it behooves us all to have as much correct information about our government as possible.
posted by raedyn at 10:55 AM on November 1, 2005


"The first Gomery report is out today."


Well G..o..lly!
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:58 AM on November 1, 2005


If Martin knew enough to stop the abuse, what could have he done differently, and how would it have helped the country?

Well that's not difficult. If you are in power and are being asked to abuse that power you do at least one of the following:

(a) Resign.
(b) Blow the whistle.
(c) Try to stop the abuse.

I see that not one of those options was chosen and that leaves the man morally deficient in my books. I don't think the morally deficient should run the country. But then again I swore not to vote liberal again for life after their leader punched a protester in the face. The entire party is responsible for these misgivings when they don't stand up to their leaders' inappropriate, irresponsible, wreckless actions.

Martin is unquestionably responsible for allowing the government to budget 1/4 BILLION dollars (that's over $10 from every pocket of every taxpaying Canadian) to run simple advertisements in Quebec regarding only one topic. That in itself is a clear abuse and even if the money weren't backdoored is reason enough to question competence.

I just hope to God Chretien gets jail time for this; how he got away with assault was legendary, so I doubt it.

I will enjoy the schadenfreude from the amount of damage the liberals have done to this country (and not just financially) that won't be uncovered until another party runs parliament. The present government has been rotten to the core since 1996. A decade (Martin refuses to allow the breakup of the government until 2006 despite the cries of Canadians for it) is plenty of time to cause serious damage to a country.
posted by shepd at 11:24 AM on November 1, 2005


I see that not one of those options was chosen and that leaves the man morally deficient in my books.

Um....looks to me like options (b) and (c) were chosen.

Martin is unquestionably responsible for allowing the government to budget 1/4 BILLION dollars (that's over $10 from every pocket of every taxpaying Canadian) to run simple advertisements in Quebec regarding only one topic.

No, he's responsible for allocating funds requested by the ministries. He's certainly not responsible if a secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans steals pens just as he's not responsible if some other ministry blows all their money on graft and mismanaged shenanigans.

I will enjoy the schadenfreude from the amount of damage the liberals have done to this country (and not just financially) that won't be uncovered until another party runs parliament.

I suspect that you won't, because it is unlikely that you will ever see another party in power in your lifetime. You will certainly nevr see a socially conservative government in federal power.

And ten bucks from my pocket? I'm underemployed and I wouldn't blink twice if I lost ten bucks in the washing machine. Minor, niggling corruption like this, which pales against the corruption under the Mulroney government, is a small price to pay for the good government we get. You have never had it so good.

And I think that Chretien should have punched that fuckwit twice, and twice as hard.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:32 AM on November 1, 2005


The NDP will become the leftist opposition, and the Liberals will become the centre-right party of fiscal restraint.

I agree that the conservative parties in Canada are ridiculous and that Harper has a better chance getting elected in the states than here, but let's not forget about the fiscally conservative, enviro-friendly alternative: The Green Party. They gained some headway (and financing) this past election... wouldn't it be great if Canada maintained a three party system... Liberal, NDP and Green?
posted by Hanover Phist at 11:32 AM on November 1, 2005


There is zero chance he was out of the loop on this. - srboisvert

There is no defence for the people that were part of this scheme. But let's keep it in perspective. The entire sponshorship program, including the legitimate expenditures, was worth $332 million over ten years (source). To me and you that's a lot of money. But total expeditures of the Canadian Goverment is around $200,000 million - per year (source). Meaning that over a ten year period the government spends about $2 trillion.

On federal government scales, the amount of money lost in the sponsorship scandal is surprizingly small. I got my head around it this way:

Think of each million dollars as one pile of money. Over ten years, the Canadian goverment spends 2 million of these piles. Of those 2 million piles (each with a million bucks in them) only 332 piles went to the sponsorship program. 332 is 0.01% of 2 million. Not a significant percentage.

Say you make $50,000 per year. 0.01% of your income would be... $5. Do you know where every $5 dollars of your budget goes? I bet not. I'll bet the change you drop on the ground over the space of a year is as least that.

I find it possible and unsurprizing that Paul Martin didn't know where 0.01% of his budget was going. Especially since some of those expenses were legitimate, and it wasn't his job to make sure each dollar was spent correctly.
posted by raedyn at 11:42 AM on November 1, 2005


Hanover, most Canadians prefer their nuts without wings, and for better or worse the Greens need to shed their wingnut hippie Greeneace image if they ever want to make any headway in provincial or federal politics. Hell, Adrienne Carr couldn't even must more than, what, 9% of the vote in her own riding after running the strongest Green campaign ever seen in BC?

A name change might help.

They've been trying to position themselves as a fiscally conservative party, but it hasn't helped very much at all. And, to be honest, I don't buy it, either.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:46 AM on November 1, 2005


Certainly I believe if Martin knew what was going on, he had a moral responsibilty to stand up and do something about it. But I have yet to be given any reason to believe he knew.
posted by raedyn at 12:03 PM on November 1, 2005


Earth to ShepD, Earth to ShepD, come back to reality! Come back to reality!

I understand you're a rabid entrepeneur and despise all that is governmental interference with your satellite television piracy support services and all that. this is good: it helps keep balance.

But making shit up and then making outrageous claims about culpability for that made-up shit is just a little too much.

Please go read the Gomery report in detail, and get back to us with a more lucid understanding of what Martin is and is not responsible for. Your rants are completely out-of-tune with reality.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:03 PM on November 1, 2005


The Green Party is more than a little scary once you really start digging into their platform. It is very conservative, and I think it would cause harm to Canada.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:03 PM on November 1, 2005


But then again I swore not to vote liberal again for life after their leader punched a protester in the face.

I believe it was not a punch, but the legendary Shawingan death grip


posted by bumpkin at 1:20 PM on November 1, 2005


Well, fff, maybe I'm wrong here, but in *my* books a leader is responsible for what he leads. Martin presently leads the liberal government. The liberal government is incredibly corrupt, vis as vis the sponsorship scandal. Martin continues to lead this government. Need I say more?

The right action is for Martin to, right now, say enough is enough, and call an election. But instead he has blocked that possibility for another few months.

You'll be happy to know, fff, that another few thousand dollars of our money was just spent investigating my store, again, and not getting anywhere, again. /me hearts RCMP officers. I give them 15% off on any purchase (ID required)!

I think a modified quote from Robocop will serve the liberal party well: "The liberals are scumbags, those that lead the liberals into corruption are scumbags, and scumbags see the judge on Monday morning. Now get out of office, and take the rest of the party with you!"

Those that don't think the $10 is a big deal are welcome to send me $10 anytime.
posted by shepd at 3:28 PM on November 1, 2005


I am really enjoying the fact that of all the possible days when Gomery could have released the report, he chose today. No doubt all honourable members and former members are entirely innocent.
posted by ecco at 4:06 PM on November 1, 2005


raedyn: I want you to stop for a moment and ask yourself: is 300+ million dollars a lot of money? I don't care how much it is in relation to how much Canada spends per year, I just want to know. Is it a lot of money?

For example, if that 300+ million dollars could have been spent on, say, improving Education or Health care, would that have been perhaps a better use of funds?

People often quote the fact that all the money wasted turns out to be around $5-10 per Canadian. Yeah, $10 isn't a lot of money. If a government agent came up to me today, demanded I hand over $10, I would think it's a bit odd, probably would object, and if I lost the money, well, it is only $10.

But $10 times around 30 million Candians is a lot of money. It doesn't matter how much it works out per person, or how much it is in relation to how much the government spends per year. It's a lot of money being waster, period. The rest is completely unrelated information that serves simply to obscure that fact.
posted by vernondalhart at 6:18 PM on November 1, 2005


I eagerly await the lawsuits.

But I imagine they'll be prosecuted in a halfassed Canadian way, which means nothing much will come of it all.

Sigh.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:32 PM on November 1, 2005


vernondalhart: If the absolute value of the money were at issue, the 80 million being spent on the inquiry would hardly be in the public's interest.

If you're going to be outraged, focus on the most serious charge: The money was used for kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party [pdf] (Guess which one.)
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:47 PM on November 1, 2005


I'm not claiming not to be outraged about what the money was used for - just that I hate hearing the argument "Oh, it only works out to be so-and-so dollars per person, so it really can't be that big of a deal, can it?"

And yeah, the 80 million (!) that was spent on the inquiry... I think we can all agree that it would have been so much better had this... simply never happened.
posted by vernondalhart at 7:15 PM on November 1, 2005


It's not my intention to minimize the fact that over $100 million dollars was taken from the public coffers. I can think of many many ways that money could be better spent. The only point I was attempting to make is that I find it believable that Martin didn't know what was going on.
posted by raedyn at 7:32 AM on November 2, 2005


I find it more believeable that Martin had an inkling of what was going on, but not so much as to make it worth risking his career by attempting to blow the lid off it.

IMO the tatters of the Conservative party should be sent to the grave, may they rest in peace. The Liberal party is the new right-wing party, and they have nothing to offer Canadians as we head into the new century: no new ideas, no good plans, no nothing. This leaves us with the NDP, who we'll never trust to run the country; the Bloc, which can never win; and a bunch of fringe parties that are too looney to contemplate.

So basically, the country is leaderless. Ugh.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 AM on November 2, 2005


believeable that Martin had an inkling of what was going on, but not so much as to make it worth risking his career

Sure, it's "believable". So is the opposite. You can't just look deep into his eyes and decide if he's guilty, unless perhaps you are Robocop. I've heard of no real evidence against Martin, and neither apparently has Gomery. Good enough, for now.

"no new ideas, no good plans, no nothing."

If only some politician would promise exactly that, he'd get my vote. When they promise fresh new ideas, visionary plans, and lots of exciting new adventures in government, it does not make me happy.
posted by sfenders at 4:48 PM on November 2, 2005


If we continue drifting along rudderless as we have since... oh, I dunno, Trudeau or Mulroney, pick your poison -- we're going to be in a heap of trouble: we will lose Canada as a proper sovereign nation, and end up as another Guam.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:34 PM on November 2, 2005


Yeah, but the choice isn't between drifting and steering for the mirage on the horizon. I say let's drop anchor for a while. Damn, I'm getting all conservative in my old age. Okay, so let's all drop anchor for a while, enjoy some socialized medicine, practice some fiscal prudence, and find some good stuff to legalize. Yes, vote for me, and the country will stay as much as possible like it already is, except for all the bad parts.
posted by sfenders at 5:56 PM on November 2, 2005


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