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April 21, 2005
Liberals Handed Out Judgeships For Political Favors: Witness

Paul Martin may have even more corruption to explain in his extraordinary televised speech tonight, as new allegations that his Liberal Party handed out positions on the judicial bench in exchange for political favors has rocked Canada this afternoon (via NealeNews):

A former senior Liberal organizer fingered as the man who demanded cash payments from the ad firm Groupaction has fired back with explosive allegations that a small network of party chieftains doled out contracts, sponsorship deals and judicial appointments to Liberal stalwarts in exchange for their work on election campaigns.

The new claims, which threaten to inflame an already tense Parliament Hill, were broadcast last night on Radio-Canada even as Prime Minister Paul Martin's aides worked on a statement that is to be delivered on national television tonight.

Benot Corbeil, who served as executive director of the Liberal Party of Canada's Quebec wing in the late 1990s, told Radio-Canada that of the 20 or so lawyers who volunteered for the party during the 2000 federal election, some "seven or eight" were appointed to the judicial bench.

"Anyone who wanted to be a judge or win mandates needed to have friendly relations with those people," he told the network.

Corbeil also said he received his marching orders from "a senior Liberal" who was neither an MP nor a cabinet minister, and whose identity he plans to reveal when he testifies at the Gomery inquiry in the coming weeks.

Corbeil, identified by former Groupaction president Jean Brault as a Liberal insider who sought $400,000 to cover party bills during the 2000 election, insists he didn't keep a set of secret books for the party, even if he admitted during the interview to accepting a cash-stuffed envelope from Brault on one occasion.

Asked whether his political masters, who included former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, knew about the illicit donation, Corbeil said "everyone knew what was happening."

Now on top of money laundering, the Liberal Party also had a scheme that could have protected it from prosecution for its misdeeds. After all, if the Liberals handed these positions out so blithely to party operatives, it would behoove the judges to help keep a lid on any other political corruption, lest their own appointments come under scrutiny. The Gomery Inquiry has managed to squeeze hard enough in other areas, though, that the guilty now want to play a little misdirection. If you think I'm bad, the strategy seems to be, you should see what So-and-So was doing.

The news could hardly come at a worse time for the Liberals. Already reeling from the effects of the previous Gomery testimony, the new scandal comes right on top of their efforts to handcuff the opposition from calling new elections. Martin is supposed to go on television tonight and ask Canadians for patience while the judicial system goes through its process. Now Canadians will have to ask themselves if they can trust a judicial system that apparently has been corrupted by Liberal politicians using bench appointments as political payoffs.

What does Martin have left to offer Canadians at this point? His resignation?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 21, 2005 4:27 PM

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This really stinks badly! Here's brief time-line: Gomery commission commissioned to probe Liberal corruption Publication ban issued Blogs: Silenced! Charged! Captain's Quarters (one of my favorite blogs) does an extensive write-up. CQ is down rig... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 5:30 PM

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