(This column was published in the North Shore News on Mar. 31, 2004)
Senior RCMP used for political purposes
By Leo Knight
WE are so smug as Canadians.
When we think of corruption, we think of the Mexican cops who solicit bribes from tourists to augment their meagre wages.
Or, we ponder the absolute dictatorships of a Mugabe or a Suharto and cluck our tongues.
And, in doing so, we turn naively from the systemic corruption that brought us the Adscam scandal or the shocking coverup in the Sidewinder affair.
But not us.
Oh no, we are too pure.
But when we look at the situation presented to us by the diversion of $100 million of taxpayers' money and the mentality that went into funneling money into Liberal party-friendly advertising firms as "commissions" for nebulous or non-existent return, we get outraged.
And, when the government of Prime Minister Paul Martin tries to convince us that the trouble is behind them and we should no longer be concerned, we need to look at that with a healthy dose of skepticism.
But the corruption that is systemic goes far beyond the $100 million missing in the Adscam swindle.
Or even the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle or Shawinigate, to name just of few of the Liberal messes which have resulted in not only taxpayer outrage, but criminal investigations.
On Saturday night on television, W5 news program took a hard look at a subject which has been featured in this space a dozen or so times over the past five years.
That is, the penetration of our immigration system in our High Commission in Hong Kong and the resulting attempts to hinder the investigation of the situation.
Inherent in their story is the coverup of whatever it was that former foreign services officer Brian MacAdam and then RCMP Insp. Garry Clement found when they watched their intelligence files disappear before their eyes in the Immigration's CAIPS computer system.
Strong words especially in discussing the actions of a political party holding power as a government.
It wasn't the third rate burglary of an office in the Watergate complex that toppled the presidency of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
If you'll recall, it was the fumbling, bumbling attempts to cover it up that forced the woeful wave from the south lawn of the White House that defined his presidency.
But, more importantly, it was the efforts of the media who refused to accept the White House spin.
The media kept the heat on the subject.
And so it is with the government of former prime minister Jean Chretien and illustrates the ultimate shame of the senior management of the RCMP for allowing their offices to become a political pawn of the prime minister's office.
As illustrated in the W5 story, a number of successive investigations pointed out the corruption and the penetration by Asian organized crime figures.
Every time a Mountie at the sharp end of things tried to garner support for the resources to properly investigate the situation, which, I might add, was all about selling the sovereignty of our country for money - a type of corruption which makes all others pale in comparison, they were told to back off.
The two men who tried to fight the rising tide of corruption were themselves crushed.
They were crushed by those who had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
They were former foreign services officer Brian MacAdam who discovered the problem in the first instance, and RCMP Cpl. Robert Read who refused to take no for an answer as he tried to do his duty to his police oath as he saw it.
It's heartening to see a major media newsmagazine such as W5 take on this subject albeit, a little late in the game.
It's so important to keep this issue alive.
I said back in September of 2000 in this space: "This is, and I don't say this lightly, the biggest scandal this country has ever seen."
I believe that statement is more true today than ever.
Don't get confused about the reality of Adscam.
Yes it's scandalous.
But it's only about stealing taxpayers' money.
The Hong Kong High Commission scandal is about selling the sovereignty of our nation and then co-opting the RCMP into participating in the coverup.
It should make your blood run cold.