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May 9, 2005
Beryl Wajsman Interview At CQ

This evening, I had the pleasure of speaking at length with Beryl Wajsman, the president of Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal and an upcoming witness for the Gomery Inquiry looking into Adscam. Our first contact came when Beryl posted an unsolicited statement in CQ's comments section, which I reposted separately to ensure that everyone had a chance to read it.

Beryl, it turns out, is a man who does not remain silent gladly. As his statement suggests, he is a man of strong opinions and convictions, a man who speaks bluntly, and someone who needs little prompting to discuss difficult subjects. Despite the differences in our political viewpoints, I found Beryl very convincing and his enthusiasm contagious.

Over the next couple of days, I plan on transcribing the interview and posting it in serial form. I don't want to try quoting Beryl without having a transcript in front of me, as he already has his frustrations with what he believes is lazy reporting in the Canadian media leading to some damage to his reputation. For that reason, among others, he cannot wait to appear before Gomery and tell his story to the Inquiry.

However, as he made plain during our interview, he sees the Gomery Inquiry as a red herring -- a machination that allows Prime Minister Paul Martin to deflect attention from his own peccadilloes. According to Beryl, the structure of the Gomery Inquiry makes it almost impossible for any evidence given to it to be used to prosecute criminal or civil cases afterwards. Beryl speaks about Martin's scandals in some detail during our interview, as well as his connections to the Power Corporation, Total Group, the Desmarais family, and Saddam Hussein. He told me that the Canadian media has focused on Gomery instead of Martin's much more extensive (and expensive) financial manipulations simply because Gomery stories write themselves, and the media doesn't have to lift a finger to get the updates.

If you expect to get inside scoop on Adscam corruption, you won't find it in this interview. Beryl didn't do any work for the Sponsorship Program, and as his upcoming testimony will show, he burnt his bridges at the Liberal Party well before Jean Brault alleges that Wajsman was present at a cash drop (which reporters mistakenly attributes as an accusation that he took a payoff, which isn't what Brault said at all, according to Beryl). He does give an insider's look at some of the players involved in the scandal, though, including Martin, Alfonse Gagliano, and Daniel Dezainde, for whom Beryl has unusually harsh feelings. Dezainde was driven crazy because he could not stomach the reality that I had brought this new coalition of Italians, Jews, blacks, Lebanese, Indo-Canadians, etc into the heart of the partys center of power which is the Finance Commission. (The fact that Dezainde works as Jacques Saadas press secretary and Saada is Jewish is irrelevant. Its just a job for Dezainde. And Saada had asked me to introduce him to the Jewish leadership some five years ago. He was never involved with the community per se.) He also gives his own unique analysis of Canadian politics and talks about his plans for the future.

I hope that over the next few days, you'll keep up with the posts of this extraordinary interview as I get them transcribed. Beryl's is a voice that not only should be heard, it practically demands it.

NOTE: If anyone is more practiced than I am at transcriptions, let me know if you'd like to give me a hand with the task.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 9, 2005 9:51 PM

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