column was published in the North
Shore News on
Mar. 15, 2000)
scandal needs full RCMP probe
By Leo Knight
then there were 19.
least that's how many police investigations we have been told
about relating to the job grant scandal plaguing the federal
at that it's been like pulling teeth trying to get accurate
information from anyone in government let alone the minister
responsible, Jane "Dough" Stewart.
in Ottawa have suggested there are many more investigations yet
to be revealed to the public, which seems to be a little
shell-shocked with the daily revelations.
enough, although I suspect not for the prime minister, none of
the investigations include any of the 459 projects flagged by
that damning internal audit that exposed this mess in the first
forget the load of codswallop Jean Chretien served up to the
Canadian people from the outset of this scandal when he stressed
there were only 37 projects of the 459 examined that had
it was true the audit flagged the 37 projects saying they
required further review, Chretien said the rest of the thousands
of projects were fine.
that's not true. It remains to be determined whether that was
just political damage control or the prime minister was
deliberately misleading the House. Given that three of the
investigations involve the PM's own riding and his pal, Rene
Fugere, is in this up to his chin, I suspect the latter may be
is a long-time Liberal high-flyer and crony of Chretien. He
never registered with the Office of the Ethics Commissioner as a
lobbyist even though that is clearly the role he has taken. He
seems to have a miraculous way of greasing the bureaucratic
wheels to obtain grant money merely by asking.
to all of this 14 investigations relating to federal funding
under the umbrella of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
On Monday, Mounties announced charges of fraud and forgery in
three of the cases involving attempts to get money from the
of the files under investigation in which charges have yet to be
laid involves a company called Planta Dei Pharma Inc. The
company is now bankrupt and had secured $915,000 in funding from
the ACOA and a further $70,000 from Jane "Dough's"
the police investigations, despite the forensic audits, despite
the findings of the internal audit, Jean Chretien has all but
announced he is now going to seek a third term in the top job.
has not called for anyone's resignation nor has he disciplined
any of the myriad of civil servants who have failed utterly in
RCMP has yet to step in and set up a broad investigation.
not like they need a complainant to initiate such action. As the
federal police force, it is not only within their jurisdiction
but, I would argue, it is also their duty to find out what is
Liberal party of Jean Chretien has been using these grant
programs as their own political slush fund, buying our votes
with our money and greasing the palms of their friends.
There is absolutely nothing in any of this that merits the dispensing of so many dollars.
HRDC ministry itself has admitted that many of the "jobs
created" numbers are not realistic.
government that claims to "create" jobs hasn't got a
listening to the pathetic bleating from Stewart one might think
that she either believes what she is saying or she, too, is
suppose we are no longer shocked by the spectre of a politician
lying. It seems as though we expect it. Why do we no longer get
angry when our government throws our money around for their own
benefit while waiting rooms in hospitals begin to look like
seems to be no doubt that our system is broken. Our supposed
democracy functions more as a dictatorship. Power is centralized
in the office of the prime minister. Cabinet ministers have
little power to do anything not sanctioned by the unelected
power brokers surrounding the PM, and backbenchers might just as
well stay home for all the clout they have.
poll released this week suggests that over 60% of Canadians
think Jean Chretien should retire. Most, however, think he is
doing a good job. One wonders what those people surveyed think a
bad job is.
Liberal government of Jean Chretien is at least as corrupt as
the Brian Mulroney crowd. The various police investigations may
yet reveal that Mulroney was a virtual boy scout compared with
the current crew.
the public cannot get upset by this scandal then truly, I
despair for the future. The corruption, patronage and
feather-nesting will continue with our hard-earned dollars until
we, as a country, finally say enough is enough.
air must be cleared for Canadians to have any respect remain for
our so-called leaders.
money taps at HRDC must be shut off immediately. Likewise for
the Department for Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
all the other tools of corruption used by those intoxicated with
power in Ottawa.
the RCMP needs to shed its political yoke and re-assume the
arm's length relationship with this government, step in and
conduct a thorough and far-reaching investigation.
Enough is enough.