Saturday, February 12, 2005

Sponsorship Idol

I've been getting some interesting feedback on the last few posts about the Gomery Inquiry so I'll spill a bit more virtual ink on this topic (since I think this story is now going to get very little attention outside of Quebec until the final report is published).

First up is TDH who has a very good blog I encourage everyone to check out. From what I've seen of it, the guy is ten times more effective at attacking Martin than Stephen Harper will ever be.

TDH rightly points to the puffball questions Mr.Finkelstein lobbed the PM's way. Don Martin compared the questioning to "watching future federal court judges filling out their job applications". I'd personally compare it to Ben Mulroney interviewing contestants on Canadian Idol. This is quite surprising considering Chretien got treated like he was in Nuremburg on Tuesday. Not that JC would mind - I'm sure he was itching for a fight and he gave a lot better than he got.

TDH brings up a previous statement by Stephane Dion which draws Martin closer to the program. I'm also surprised that we heard very little of letters by Akaash Maharaj and Terrie O'Leary drawing Martin closer to the program. Instead, we got a series of questions of the sort:

"Mr. Martin, tell us how you rescued Canada from economic ruin."
"Mr. Martin, of all your budgets, which was your favourite?"
"Mr. Martin, when writing a budget, what font do you prefer?"

Don't get me wrong, it was sort of interesting to learn everything accomplished by the Department of Finance between 1993 and 2002, but I'm not sure it was worth 60 million dollars and the spectacle of seeing two Prime Ministers testify. And for the record, I believe Martin when he says he was out of the loop on Quebec. Mainly because Paul Martin would be the last person Jean Chretien would trust on Quebec. Martin messed up badly when he spoke during the referendum (he was ridiculed for saying a yes vote would cost Quebec a million jobs), he opposed the Clarity Act, and he associated with separatists (Chretien likely feared that if Martin were Prime Minister, he'd do something stupid like name a separatist as Minister of Transport). Of course he was out of the loop on Quebec.

I do think Martin's painting himself to be a bit naive as to when he actually learned about the program. But he has to get re-elected and both him and Chretien likely didn't find out about how bad things were until it was too late to do anything. Well, except bring in campaign finance reform which Jean Chretien did (over the protests of a certain Lasalle-Emard MP). But Mr.Finkelstein was too star struck to ask the tough questions so instead we got Ryan Seacrest.


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