Government of Canada ordered to Pay Jean Chretien Over Sponsorship Case

Julian Wolfe
December 23rd, 2011

Former prime minister Jean Chretien smiles as he arrives at a conference in Montreal, Thursday, April 14, 2011. (Graham Hughes / The CANADIAN PRESS)
The election of 2006 was an election where the Conservatives placed repeated attacks against the Liberal Party for something called ad scam. The attacks were effective enough to get them into power and to slowly finish off the party. While many Canadians who bought the propaganda have declared and condemned the Liberal party as corrupt, evidence suggests that there was no link to Jean Chretien or even the Liberal Party.


In compensation for legal costs, the Canadian government has been ordered to pay former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his late chief of staff $200,000 in compensation.


The Conservatives are disappointed in the ruling urging that in all decency, the Liberals should be giving that money back to tax payers.


"It is our belief that the Liberal party must pay back the millions of dollars stolen from taxpayers through the sponsorship scandal," said Carl Vallee, PMO spokesman.


"We call on Jean Chretien to give this $200,000 back to taxpayers on behalf of the Liberal party."


The two men challenged the Gomery commission which concluded that the former PM and his top aide bore some responsibility for the system of illegal kickbacks that came from the sponsorship program.


Gomery made a big spectacle out of the affair calling it a “spectacle” and predicting “juicy” evidence to come. Gomery also said that signature-embossed golf balls that Chretien had given out in his home town were “small-town cheap.”


In 2008, Chretien and his late chief of staff won their bid in federal court to have the report struck down on the basis of Gomery’s bias against them.


"The nature of the comments made to the media are such that no reasonable person looking realistically and practically at the issue, and thinking the matter through, could possibly conclude that the commissioner would decide the issues fairly," Federal Court Judge Max Teitelbaum said at the time.


The federal government, run by the Conservatives, appealed the decision and lost in 2010. Chretien was then rewarded $25,000 in compensation for legal costs despite asking for $70,000 in February 2011. The $200,000 is associated with the original federal court review, despite asking for $300,000 after detailing the $400,000 that he spent on legal fees.


In the end of the day, these two men fought for their reputation which was being actively attacked by the Conservatives in an attempt to smear the Liberal Party of Canada. The real corruption happened in a Quebec industry independent of the Liberal Party and the guilty parties have already been sentenced.


Now, as for the Conservatives asking Chretien hand over the money he fairly and clearly won over slander, when will Stephen Harper pay for the full cost of his trip to the hockey game in the United States? When will Tony Clement give back the money that he misspent in his riding on gazebos and the G20 fiasco? When will Peter Mackay hand over the over $1 million in expenses that he has incurred including both helicopter and unnecessary plane rides and the money for his spending spree overseas at luxury hotels? When will Canada’s head of the military give back the full amount of the cost of his trip, using a publically funded military jet to go to a vacation in the Bahamas? When will the Conservatives clean up their own act – including in the case of the 2006 election where election fraud was found? What about their petty attack against Irwin Cotler, calling Liberal supporters and posing as Liberals to convince them that he was resigning and that they should vote Conservative? The Conservatives have quite a bit on their plate and really shouldn’t be talking about accountability.

It just goes to show that the Liberal sponsorship scandal was indeed a fully overblown ordeal, inflated by Conservative spin and Conservative friends. As it stands, Gomery could not conclude formally that Chretien or his aide knew anything and there is no evidence tying Chretien or his aide to ad scam which was completely the responsibility of the independent company that was part of the sponsorship program. But, what is inflating the obvious misuses of public money under Harper’s watch? And what excuses him for his members’ gross misconducts?

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   Categories: Conservative, Liberal, Scandal

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