Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Chuck Guite Speaks!

The on-again, off-again, on-again publication ban on sponsorship boss Chuck Guite's testimony has been blown right off.

From CTV:

After being implicated by so many witnesses since the commission began, it appears Guite has decided not to go down alone.

Throughout his week testifying in Montreal, Guite named names including the prime minister's.

Guite testified that back in 2000, he was told that then-finance minister Paul Martin had intervened to ensure a Liberal-friendly ad firm wouldn't lose its lucrative contracts with the federal sponsorship program.


"The minister had spoken with both ministers and the volume of business would be maintained," Guite testified. He claimed he was assured (Benson & Vickers) contracts with two federal departments -- Industry under John Manley and Finance under Paul Martin -- were safe.

Guite also claimed ad contracts were routinely handed out to reward ad agencies that did election work for the Liberals.

"It was politically driven," he said, explaining that he was constantly being told to help out the party's friends such as ad executive Jacques Corriveau.

Accused of exploiting a personal relationship with former prime minister Jean Chretien, Corriveau has denied the two were close.

But in his testimony, Guite said that in 1994, then-public works minister David Dingwall told him a different story.

"If you ever meet someone in bed between Jean Chretien and his wife, it'll be Corriveau," recalling Dingwall's remarks. "His comment was, you'll look after him."

In the broad sweep of his testimony, Guite even suggested Chretien's wife wielded influence over the sponsorship program.

Guite told the commission that Aline Chretien chose some of the promotional items purchased by the government. Guite said she pointed out her favourite watch, that he promptly ordered.

"We used to refer to those as Madame Chretien's watches."

These are a just few highlights from Guite's testimony. He's had a week to tell Gomery where the bodies are buried, so they can dig them up and bury Martin their place.

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