Justice John Gomery lifted the lid on the sponsorship scandal a bit more on Friday and this slid out:
Top civil servant (Chuck Guite) funnels money from a secret Liberal Party slush fund to a Liberal businessman (Jean Brault) to help the Liberals win the next election. Oh, and fight separatism. He then taps the businessman for over a hundred thou in cash and goodies. The businessman bills the taxpayer to cover the cost of the goodies.
Win-win all around, providing you're on the Liberal Party kickback gravy train.
While Liberals everywhere now carry the taint of sleaze on them, they don't notice, because to them it's the sweet perfume of power. They don't even worry about Gomery's initial report, now expected Nov. 1.
But like most Canadians, we're anxious to see what he says. In fact, we have a special interest because The Black Rod has unearthed the true beginning of Adscam.
We found Patient Zero!
Thirteen years ago, a book called "Money on the Run-Canada and How the World's Dirty Profits are Laundered" was published by Penguin Books. It was written by investigative reporter Mario Possamai.
It was a hard, dry read, full of boring and complicated details of money laundering scams.
And so it sat on a library shelf all these years, almost forgotten. And then one day recently, for no particular reason, someone cracked it open and discovered
Chapter Nine --Of Bagmen and Slush Funds.
And suddenly, everything old was new again. It read as if it was written yesterday. A secret slush fund. Fighting separatism. Even the characters was familiar.
"On April 19, 1970, a handful of Canada's most powerful businessmen met privately at the elegant Montreal home of financier Paul Desmarais. What brought them together was the worrying rise of the Parti Quebecois, a growing force in the Quebec provincial elections that were about to be held."
"Within days of the gathering, a secret anti-separatism fund was up and running. It was controlled by a trusted Liberal Party bagman. The fund came to light more by accident than design - as a result of theft charges laid against the bagman. It briefly illuminated a usually murky side of Canadian politics-how confidential pools of money are (often legally) raised, laundered, and spent."
The group raised $55,000, "a hefty sum in the days before the inflationary ravages of the lates 70s and early 80s."
"The money did not go directly to the separatist-fighting Liberal Party or into its regular account at Montreal Trust. Instead the money went to veteran Liberal bagman Louis de Gonzague Giguere, Pierre Trudeau's first Senate appointee."
Giguere was known (affectionately, they say) as "Giggery Bill" on account of his backroom skills. He was Chief Liberal Party Organizer for Quebec in the 1963, 1965 and 1968 elections. He was eventually charged with influence peddling and with theft of left-over slush fund money. He was acquitted, reluctantly, by the judge who said he couldn't be sure who, if anyone, had been defrauded. (Watch for that defence in Adscam.) Giguere died in June, 2002 at the age of 90.
"According to Giguere, the contributions stocked a secret fund to "fight separatism in all its forms."
Within days of getting the money, he quickly began dispensing it.
"On April 27, 1970, a cheque for $3,000.50 went to JEAN CHRETIEN, then a federal cabinet minister."
Jean Chretien. Patient Zero.
The first cheque from a secret slush fund to fight separatism goes to Jean Chretien, who, years later, oversees a secret slush fund to fight separatism by handing out cheques to friends of the Party?
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
What's that smell?
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