Taking One for the Team
Alex Himelfarb, whose job depends on Paul Martin’s good graces and therefore has no real reason to make the PM look bad, dropped this fun little tid-bit of news yesterday at round 2 of the Gomery Inquiry, which has now moved from Salem to Montreal.
Apparently, Chretien offered to take the heat over Sheila Fraser’s report but Paul decided not to take him up on the offer. Presumably Martin was worried that Chretien would not have the common sense to run across the country screaming “This scandal is outrageous! There was political direction! LIBERALS ARE TERRIBLE!”. He was also probably concerned that Chretien would not call a judicial inquiry, robbing Paul of the chance to appear before Gomery and spend 6 hours explaining how he solved the Mexican Peso crisis.
Or maybe he was just in a hurry to get to 24 Sussex Drive. Maybe, to quote George Bush, he “misunderestimated” the effect of the report. Maybe he wanted to show he was an agent of change, as Paul Wells speculates. Maybe he thought he’d look decisive by “getting to the bottom” of the scandal. Maybe he just couldn't stand the thought of asking Chretien for a favour.
I don’t particularly care about the reason. The reason this interests me is that there are still quite a few Martin Liberals in Calgary who insist the sponsorship scandal was a ticking time bomb left by Chretien, as pay-back to Martin. Oops – guess not.