Sponsorship: The scandal that won't
[PoliticsWatch updated 5:00 p.m, August 9, 2007]
|Montreal businessman Jacques Corriveau
appeared at the Gomery inquiry in 2005.
OTTAWA -- It's been more than two years since the Gomery inquiry stopped hearing witnesses, yet
there continues to be a new development in the sponsorship scandal every month.
In July, the RCMP raided the
home of Jacques Corriveau, the Montreal businessman and crony
of former prime prime minister Jean Chretien. Although
Corriveau has never
been charged by the RCMP, Justice John Gomery accused him in
his final report of being "the central figure in an elaborate kickback scheme."
So far, five people have been charged in connection with the scandal. Ad man Jean Lafleur plead
guilty to 28 fraud-related charges and was sentenced to 32 months in
jail and ordered to pay $1.56 million in restitution. Chuck
Guite, the former public works bureaucrat who oversaw the
sponsorship program, was found guilty of 5 counts of fraud and
sentenced to 42 months in jail. Guite is appealing his conviction. Jean
Brault of the firm Groupaction plead guilty to five
counts of fraud and was sentenced to 30 months in jail. Paul
Coffin plead guilty to 15 fraud-related charges, was sentenced
to 18 months in jail. He was released in July 2006 after serving
three months. One ad man, Jacques Paradis, was acquitted on
fraud charges earlier this year.
With the raid on Corriveau's home, the RCMP's investigation appears
to be alive and well. Before he left politics, Jean Lapierre,
who served as former prime minister Paul Martin's Quebec
lieutenant, said he had heard that there would be five to seven more
people charged this year in relation to the scandal.
This year Conservative government appointed a former Quebec
separatist cabinet minister, Daniel Paille, to investigate
past government polling practices that were part of the auditor
general's chapter on sponsorship. However, the government appears
reluctant to broaden the scope and investigate sponsorship outside of Quebec.
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