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May 24, 2005
Canadians Paying For Liberal Party PR Offensive

In a further twist to the Adscam scandal that has rocked Canada and nearly cost the Liberal Party its ruling status, records revealed at the Gomery Inquiry show that the Liberals have set up a "war room" for Gomery-related public relations using taxpayer money:

The Liberal government has set up a war room -- at a cost of about $1-million to taxpayers -- to handle the fallout from the Gomery commission.

Documents obtained by CanWest News Service through the Access to Information Act reveal the rapid-response war room, which is in almost daily contact with the Prime Minister's Office and the government's top bureaucrat, Alex Himelfarb, is operating out of the Privy Council Office.

The cost of the strategic office, which does everything from prepare answers for Question Period in the House of Commons to keeping the PMO abreast of testimony at the inquiry, covers the salaries of staff and expenses.

Paul Martin, in effect, has defended his party's money-laundering and tax-fraud operations by using even more taxpayer money for a public-relations campaign. In effect, it resembles the UN's oil-for-food defense, where they have continued to use the money that Turtle Bay took from the Iraqis for managing the program in order to cover up the corruption that took billions from the victims. While Martin's chutzpah has the virtue of a much smaller scale, it has the exact same vice of stealing from the same victims a second time to cover up the initial crimes committed against them.

The timing on this revelation seems suspiciously helpful to the Grits as well. Why didn't anyone mention this before the no-confidence vote? Perhaps because it might have affected the votes of the independents, such as Chuck Cadman. One wonders how he feels about his vote now, the one that kept the Liberals in office to continue their exploitation of tax money for their own political purposes.

Jack Layton also bears responsibility for this continuing embarrassment; the NDP leader should have insisted on full transparency on any such arrangement that could reflect poorly on his decision to ally himself with Martin and the Liberals. If he did insist on it and was not informed of this new scandal, then he should pull out of the alliance and call for a new confidence motion immediately. If he didn't bother to insist on disclosures, or if he knew about this and abetted it, then the NDP should demand his resignation, for incompetence if nothing else. If the NDP remains allied with the Grits, they have to accept complicity for the ongoing corruption this represents.

I seem to recall Canadian voters expressing discomfort with Stephen Harper's putative "hidden agenda". Have they had enough of Paul Martin's to finally demand a change?

UPDATE: Newsbeat1 has been keeping up with the forensic accountants and their testimony today. Be sure to keep checking back in with them.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 24, 2005 12:15 PM

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» Canadians foot the bill for Grit's PR from Cold Fusion
According to the Post, us taxpayers are paying a million dollars for a team of Liberal strategists to handle the Sponsorship scandal. Is this outright illegal? I really have no idea, but I doubt it. Is it a little sleazy? Absolutely. In fact it's mo... [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2005 8:29 PM

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