Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Corruption, thy name is...

It was said, back in the day, that the people of Chicago had a tremendous tolerance for corruption.
I’ll tell you what… Chicago was filled with fire-breathing reformers compared to an apparent majority of people in Canada.
The carefully-projected image of a hard-working honest country to our north is being blown apart, almost day by day, with revelations of more and more scandals with links to the Liberal Party, which now operates a minority government.
It seems the Liberals have developed the habit of looking at the federal treasury as their own rather lucrative piggybank.
There’s a national gun registry in Canada. It was only supposed to cost “a few” million. Try two billion dollars (Cdn). With a nation of only about 30 million people… that figures to about $67 for every man, woman, transgendered, and child in Maple Leaf land. Where did all that money go? Nobody seems to know.
We are, however, finding out where some of the money for the Sponsorship program went. That was a program designed to promote Canadian unity during the mid-90s heyday of Quebec separatism. Well, Canada’s auditor general, Sheila Fraser, figures that a lot of that money -- nine figures worth of money -- couldn’t be justified. And an inquiry now well under way is pointing out that some of that money wound up in the coffers of the Liberal Party.
That was happening during the Jean Chretien era in Ottawa. Chretien has since been “retired” by a putsch led by current Prime Minister Paul Martin, who built a reputation for fiscal responsibility while finance minister in the Chretien regime.
Last week, Martin admitted that he was, in effect, asleep at the wheel while the Liberals were looting the sponsorship program.
Martin, though, is looking less and less like a Mr. Clean. Look at some of the other stuff that has been going on…
* A former adviser to Chretien has raised some serious questions about contracts that Martin’s finance ministry gave to a company that… guess what… is tied tightly with Martin’s eventually-successful bid for Liberal leadership.
* People with close ties to Martin (and Chretien, too) are turning up as players in the United Nations’ Oil-For-Food scandal. In fact, the infamous Saddam Insane put $1 million of his Oil-For-Food profits into a company owned in part by… Paul Martin.
* The peculiar anti-freedom publication bans in Canada may be hiding another scandal involving key federal Liberal political operatives in British Columbia, as Andrew Coyne ( reports, quoting the Globe and Mail.
But my friends north of the border tell me that it’s quite likely that even if a no-confidence vote topples the current Martin government, the Liberals have a better-than-even chance of retaining control of the government.
And why am I whistling “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” the Cher hit from the early 1970s, as I’m writing this?????