7:49 am: The Globe & Mail has a sneak peak in today's paper - shocking! Who could have seen this coming? Given that PMPM is the only person to have an advance copy of the report, it's safe to assume this leak came from him. And - gasp! The leak makes it sound like Paul got off scott free! And it's all Chretien's fault! Well, I guess we know what the talking points will be today.
7:58 am: The anticipation is growing (since no one in the PMO leaked me the report last night). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get named in the report!
8:18 am: We've just obtained this e-mail, leaked to us by the Board:
8:23 am: Here's the report. It's a long one. Remember, if you want to buy that special someone the perfect Christmas gift, it's only 49.95$.
You can find major findings here.
8:29 am: The Blame Game. Here are the relevant paragraphs:
"Mr. Pelletier failed to take the most elementary precautions against mismanagement and Mr. Chretien was responsible for him," the commission chairman wrote.
However, Gomery said there was no evidence that either man was directly involved in Corriveau's "wrongdoing," entitling them "to be exonerated from blame for Mr. Corriveau's misconduct."
Also implicated is former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, "who chose to perpetuate the irregular manner of directing the sponsorship program."
As a result, Martin "is entitled, like other ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct."
The chief channeller of those payments was Guite, who seemed to be operating with little or no supervision from his deputy minister at Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ranald Quail.
"The commission accepts all of Mr. Brault's testimony as credible," Gomery wrote.
8:47 am: Chretien's lawyer, David Scott, has said he'll give Chretien a recommendation to take strong action in response to this report, hinting at legal action. This would definitely keep the story alive well into the next election.
8:49 am: Here's your morning smile. Courtesy of Scott Reid: "No one in the Prime Minister's Office leaked the report to the media last night."
9:06 am: Jack's at the podium! Time for a lecture on the environment and private health care.
9:14 am: Jack sounds annoyed but there's no way he agrees to bring down the government this week. And, no surprise, we get a ton of questions on private health care. "We're here to make Parliament work", "we're listening to Canadians", "we care about making a difference", "let's focus on saving puppies and orphans"...
9:40 am: Harper's at the podium. Nothing we haven't heard from him before. Some people will say he sounds too harsh and angry but, really, in this situation, I can't see any other way for him to sound. He's trying to frame the election as "voters holding the Liberal Party politically accountable".
9:43 am: I'll be taking a break from the updates so that I don't get fired, but I'll be back this afternoon with more reaction from the politicians, news people, and bloggers. Before I break, let me leave you with this thought: If Scott Reid claims the PMO did not leak the report to the press who did? It sounds to me like Scott Reid just implied that Judge Gomery leaked his own report, or a renegade worker at the printing press did (waiting until the report was in the hands of the PM, before he did so).
10:28 am: OK, I lied (call an inquiry), one quick update. I have gotten twelve e-mails from the Liberal Party this morning with various talking points on this report. Eek!
12:45 pm: Alfsonso Gagliano is on the list of ten people who are being banned from the Liberal Party. Interesting...
Oh, and I'm now up to 12 e-mails from the Liberal Party on their response strategy.
2:45 pm: Chretien is about to speak now and one imagines this will be the most interesting press conference of the day. Everybody knew how Martin, Harper, Layton and co. were going to react. I'm not sure anyone can say for certain what Chretien will say. Stay tuned.
3:11 pm: Chretien reminds people that he was the one who started to crack down on this scandal, calling in the AG and RCMP. He then says Gomery was wrong, wrong, wrong and wonders why the Judge would trust certain parts of Guite's testimony when, let's be honest, Chuck Guite is about as credible as Myriam Bedard. And...LAWSUIT!!! That should be interesting.
3:19 pm: "I haven't taken questions in a while so I'm kind of excited to do it again" - here we go!
When asked about the party banning people for life, Chretien gets off the line of the day: "Well, I never knew the party had that power. If I'd known I had that power...well...I might have used it on several occasions. For example, when Monsieur Lapierre left the party to found the Bloc Quebecois, I would have banned him for life." ZING!
3:29 pm: Chretien defends his record ferociously - on Iraq, on campaign finance (and gets a jab at Steve LeDrew in), on Kyoto. "One thing about me is I was always willing to make a decision"...gosh, I wonder where that one is directed?
Chretien is definitely coming across extremely forceful. I suspect a lot of people will be put off, but I'm loving this on sheer entertainment alone.
The reporters are trying to goat him into taking shots at Paul but, by and large, he's resisting. He agrees that Martin knew nothing and shouldn't have known anything.
A lot of shots at Bernard Roy on the bias angle...not surprisingly.
Paul Wells gets the hardest hitting question in - I didn't catch all of it, but I'll be curious to see his opinion on the response he got.
3:47 pm: Apparently Alfonso Gagliano is considering running as an independent in the next election. That would be fun, if nothing else.
4:03 pm: You can follow other bloggers' take on Gomery here.
6:51 pm: OK, here's the full text of Chretien's smack-down on Lapierre:
Reporter: "Today it was announced that some people would be banned from the Liberal party for life. What do you think of banishing someone from a party for life?"
Jean Chretien: "There are various statutes in various provinces. I never thought I had that power. If I'd had it, well...(laughter).
I may have used it on many occasions, in particular, regarding Mr. Lapierre when he founded or helped found the Bloc Quebecois. I would have banished him for life. I'm not sure he's going to be a federalist if things go badly here. So I would have given him his walking papers in person."
10:00 pm: Time for the National - this should give everyone a good idea of what the media reaction will look like in the papers tomorrow. And that doesn't bode well for the Liberals. Martin's "exoneration" is glossed over and the report is repeatedly called "a scathing report with scathing consequences which are downright scathing".
10:17 pm: Paul Hunter says the NDP won't bring down the government right away, but Layton is leaving the door open to force an election in late November or December. I do think the opposition parties will try and force a vote before Martin can bring in a budget since it will be full of goodies. Also, the Liberals going down on a harshly worded resolution would help frame the election question.