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May 6, 2005
Does The Buck Stop At Bliveau?

Michel Bliveau continues his testimony at the Gomery Inquiry today, and it looks like Bliveau may be taking one for the team. Despite testifying that two prominent Adscam operatives had been suspected of running illegal fundraisers by Liberal Party leadership, Bliveau claims that the $300,000 spent from illicit Sponsorship Program money is his responsibility alone:

On Thursday, Mr. Bliveau told the Gomery inquiry how he dealt with the party's financial emergencies by asking for more than $300,000 in cash from people connected to the sponsorship program.

Mr. Bliveau is the first party official to back up in testimony claims that illicit cash payments were used to cover party expenses while Mr. Chrtien was prime minister.

A jittery Mr. Bliveau acted repentant and insisted he acted alone and never informed other Liberal officials. "It was me and no one else. I'm taking the responsibility."

In every political scandal, one person usually tries to shield the leadership from blame by taking it themselves, thus allowing the big fish to claim innocence of any wrongdoing. Here in the States we call it "plausible deniability,", and that's what Bliveau has tried to provide here. In this case that may prove hard to sell. The $300K came from Jacques Corriveau, a close associate of Jean Chrtien, and one would expect that relationship to have more impact on party politics than the one between Bliveau and Corriveau. Put simply, why would Corriveau deal with Bliveau when he has access to Chrtien?

In fact, Bliveau has a history of shady deals involving government money. Andrew Coyne and Angry in GWN both note Bliveau's involvement in flipping Placeteco, a firm for which Bliveau worked, so that Chrtien crony Claude Gauthier could strip the debt from it and force the Canadian government to pay it instead:

In 1998, Mr. Gauthier bought a plastics manufacturer called Placeteco Inc., with the help of a loan from the National Bank. The company was then in bankruptcy proceedings. Yet not long after, the struggling company received a $1.2-million TJF grant. Once again, the Prime Minister's office had intervened, urging bureaucrats in charge of the file, who had expressed reservations about the company's eligibility for assistance, to do "everything legally possible" to see the grant went through. ...

In fact, they did more than that: the money was placed in a secret trust fund, in violation of federal spending rules. The trust fund was managed by Gille Champagne, a fundraiser for Mr. Chrtien. Mr. Champagne then signed the money over to Mr. Gauthier -- who used it to pay back the bank. Indeed, documents revealed that had been the condition on which the loan was made. Yet the condition on which the grant was made was that it be used to "create jobs." When, a short while later, the company went bankrupt, other creditors were aggrieved to learn the bank had been bailed out ahead of them, with public funds. They were perhaps more aggrieved when, thus relieved of its debts, the company was repurchased by Mr. Gauthier.

It's a great way to improve one's financial standing, if one has the friends to make such funding available.

In other testimony, Bliveau also corroborated Jean Brault's testimony regarding the activities of Joe Morselli and Beryl Wajsman. Bliveau testified that their illegal fundraising activities were brought to the attention of Jean Chrtien's chief of staff Percy Downe, but that the Liberal Party, specifically Alfonse Gagliano, continued to use them for Sponsorship Program work. That again connects the Prime Minister's office to the illegal activities of the Liberal Party, a damaging admission from a man who seems intent on protecting the current leadership from the taint of corruption.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 6, 2005 11:59 AM

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» Just Plain Creepy from Mindless in Ottawa
Now, what, you may ask, is the salary of "El president" of this tax payer (that's you loser) funded institute? Ha Ha Ha Ha, go back to Timmies and be glad your Liber(crimin)al masters let you keep enough of your money each month to buy a Double Doubl... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 9:09 AM

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