The Election: Day 39 (Scandal plagues Liberals)

The Canadian Press carried a story tonight characterizing the RCMP as "Martin's undeclared but powerful campaign rival."


"OTTAWA (CP) - Paul Martin could be forgiven for feeling these days as though he's running against an undeclared but powerful rival: the RCMP.

The Liberal leader's campaign promise of a $500-million package to help the elderly, the disabled and family caregivers was obscured Friday by word police were looking into more allegations of mismanaged tax dollars in Quebec.

While Conservative rival Stephen Harper was detailing plans for child care and Jack Layton described the NDP version of a gun-crime crackdown, Martin found himself confronted with the latest whiff of scandal to plague his flagging campaign.

Martin's daily news conference was dominated by questions about a published report that the RCMP is looking into a controversial grant.

Last month, police interviewed two officials at the Department of Canadian Heritage about the expenditure, which went out to a little-known group called Option Canada, which has since disbanded.

The questions were focused on the distribution of about $300,000 of the total grant.


Both Layton and Harper welcomed the chance to hammer home the message that Martin's struggling Liberals are synonymous with scandal.

"If the Liberals are re-elected, this is what Canadians can look forward to, a government pre-occupied with ongoing scandals, corruption and police investigations," Harper said in Bolton, just northeast of Toronto.

"They have to be dragged kicking and screaming and protesting into accepting that anything wrong could possibly have been done," said Layton." "

Meanwhile the Captains Quarters blog explained why the RCMP got interested in cold case.


"One of the questions regarding the sudden re-emergence of the Options Canada scandal is what suddenly prompted the RCMP to take another look for the missing $4.8 million. We assumed that the upcoming release of a new book on the controversy over Liberal management of government money, The Secrets of Options Canada by separatist journalist Normand Lester, might have put pressure on them to at least review their data. A source within political and media circles, however, says that the RCMP received more information indirectly from Lester's own investigation.

The book, which will only publish in French, includes juicy details about the apparent theft of $300,000 by somebody who had acted as a bookkeeper to Options Canada, and an attempt to cover this up. Apparently, the bookkeeper and Options Canada signed a hush-hush agreement which allowed the bookkeeper to keep the money as long as he (or she) remained quiet about its origins. Lester got ahold of a copy of this agreement, and somehow, a copy of it was leaked back to Heritage Canada bureaucrats late last year. It was these bureaucrats who, in a CYA move, decided to call in the RCMP.

In other words, the thieves at the top needed to keep the thieves at the bottom from blowing the entire scam -- and foolishly committed an agreement to paper. If this bears out, it would almost certainly mean at least one criminal investigation for corruption, and perhaps another for conspiracy to obstruct justice."

Meanwhile today Jack Layton unveiled proposals to crack down on gun crime. He unveiled a tough-on-crime message Friday, proposing mandatory minimum sentences and a pledge to try 16-year-olds charged with gun offences as adults.

Layton's plan included:

A four-year minimum sentence for illegal possession and sale of restricted weapons such as handguns and automatics.
A four-year minimum sentence for importing illegal guns
Tougher border controls, including arming customs officers.
Supporting reverse-onus legislation for bail on all gun-related crimes and making sure bail conditions are strictly followed.
Layton said he would also change legislation so that young offenders 16 and over who are charged with gun offences are tried as adults.

For more details see the CBC

As Martin was peppered with questions about the latest RCMP investigation,Stephen Harper expressed disappointment in what he called yet another example of an investigation of the Liberals which casts federalism in a "terribly negative light."

"If the Liberals are re-elected, this is what Canadians can look forward to: a government preoccupied with ongoing scandals, corruption and police investigations," said Harper. "We need a government that will clean up those scandals and be able to focus not on damage control, but on the real priorities of ordinary working people and their families." See the CTV

ADSCAM has come back to haunt Martin big time. This time one of the individuals involved, Claude Dauphin, former President of Option Canada, was a close adviser to Martin. Martin is treading water as he attempts to make some headway in his stalled campaign. He tries to move forward by making some policy announcements but almost every day he is hit by new reminders of Liberal mismanagement and corruption.

Martin must be wondering every day, "What will I hit be with next?"


Anonymous said...

I was planning to vote Liberal because I'm afraid of what Harper might do. But with all the scandal surrounding the Liberals I don't think I can vote for them again. I guess I'll have to hold my nose and vote Conservative....

Anonymous said...

Have you seen that the CONs are going to rescind the Liberal tax cut from 165 to 15% for low income Canadians. Keep that up and they'll be in opposition forever.