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April 6, 2005
Adscam: It's Not Just For Liberals Any More

The Toronto Sun has developed its own independent sources into the Sponsorship Program scandal, uncovering more corruption at Groupaction while Jean Brault testifies under a publication ban at the Gomery Inquiry. The Canadian website Angry in the Great White North points out the article by Greg Weston, who reveals that the Liberals were not the only beneficiaries of the political shenanigans at Groupaction:

A MONTREAL advertising firm that received more than $40 million in AdScam sponsorship contracts paid huge kickbacks to both the federal Liberal party and the Quebec separatists, senior executives of the company have told Sun Media. "I remember seeing the cheques," one former Groupaction executive said of payments to the federal Liberal party in Quebec.

The man spoke on condition that he not be identified until he testifies at the Gomery inquiry sometime over the coming weeks.

The exec said the president of Groupaction, Jean Brault, made no secret around the company about where the kickback cash was going and for what.

"He spoke to me about it ... having to pay money back to the Liberal Party" in return for contracts.

But the source makes clear that the separatist Parti Quebecois duplicated the Liberal efforts to launder political contributions through Groupaction and its employees. This may come as a shock to Canadians, as the Sponsorship Program was specifically designed to help the Quebecois feel more comfortable as part of the Canadian nation:

The $250 million in sponsorships that the previous Liberal government pumped into Quebec was supposed to help fight the separatists after the near-miss referendum in 1995.

But another former Groupaction executive, Alain Renaud, said that while the firm was getting millions of dollars in federal sponsorship money, it was secretly cutting cheques to the separatist Parti Quebecois.

Renaud said that in one transaction, a total of about $90,000 was given to the PQ as part of Groupaction's getting a $4.5-million advertising contract for the Quebec liquor board, called the SAQ.

Groupaction apparently won the contract in a competition when a bagman for the Parti Quebecois had a meeting with the firm's top executives.

One of those executives told Sun Media: "The bagman came by and said: 'Well, you won the bid, and all that's needed now is a signature, and the documents are on the minister's desk to be signed, and it's going to cost you fifty grand.' "

Renaud recalled about $45,000 a year in donations were to be paid to the PQ for two years.

In other words, a good part of the $250 million that Canadians spent out of their tax money to hold onto Quebec went not only to the Liberal Party for their re-election efforts and personal gain -- it also went to the separatists that the government wanted to rebut.

How's that for irony?

If this comes out in the Gomery Inquiry, expect PQ to demand standing as the Liberals have received to cross-examine witnesses. That legal standing may wind up being the Scarlet Letter of Adscam.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 6, 2005 1:56 PM

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