Captain's Quarters neatly sums up Jean Brault's second day of testimony with an account that not only reveals the depths of corruption within the federal Quebec liberal organization, but also gives the lie to Paul Martin's repeated claims of innocence in the whole affair.
Quoth the Captain:
Brault was invited to join a consultative committee for Rogers Cantel – a Canadian mobile phone company, chaired by former Liberal cabinet minister and key Martin ally Francis Fox. (Fox later served as Martin’s Principal Secretary when Martin became Prime Minister). At one of the Cantel lunches, another former Liberal minister and Martin organizer Jacques Olivier told Brault that he should “Stick to Corriveau. He will open doors for you.” (Olivier was referring to key Chrétien ally Jacques Corriveau, who Brault brought in as a subcontractor on advertising contracts.) This shows that two of Martin’s key Quebec organizers knew what was happening with government contracting and sponsorships.
And all the while, Paul Martin has been running around performing his best Captain Renault imitation, claiming to be shocked, SHOCKED, to find bribery and fraud going on in here!
But wait! There's more!
Another connection is through Liberal organizer – and former assistant to Fox – Yvon Desrochers. When Brault was asked about direct political interference in the awarding of sponsorships, he mentioned that Desrochers and Corriveau pushed hard for approval of federal money for the renovation of the Corona Theatre in the riding of Liberal cabinet minister Lucienne Robillard (who still sits in Paul Martin’s cabinet as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs), even though there were indications of construction problems. The person responsible for transferring the funds was told to “cut the check and don’t ask questions.”
Close ties link Fox, Olivier, Desrochers, Martin fundraiser and former hockey star Serge Savard, and another one of the Adscam firms – Claude Boulay’s Groupe Everest – and all are connected with the Martin, not Chrétien, wing of the Liberal Party in Quebec. (Desrochers later committed suicide after the discovery of another corruption scandal, the Montreal International Aquatic Games, in which millions of dollars went missing.)
Throughout all of this, Martin has been able to make at least a barely plausible claim that the Adscam corruption had nothing to do with him and his machine, but with Chretien and Gagliano.
But really, how could he not have known?
Paul Martin spent nearly 15 years building a party within the party, taking over ridings and provincial party machines from Chretien's people, until, like an anaconda, he squeezed the life out of his opposition. He knew all of the players in Quebec, some of them since the 1960's.
He couldn't have been elected dogcatcher, let alone prime minister, without encountering the shady characters and schemes who populate the Quebec wing of the Liberal party.
He knows, as well as anyone, how political business is done in Quebec. It's been done the same way since the glory days of Maurice Duplessis, and it will always be done this way--backdoor deals, under-the-table kickbacks, secret commissions, padded payrolls, tollgating.
Martin doesn't want to get to the bottom of this, because he's been lying right down there all along.