March 24, 2004) OTTAWA
- Olympic gold medallist Myriam Bedard today described a culture of nepotism and loyalty to Groupaction at Via Rail in the latest appearance before the Commons committee investigating Adscam.
"Every advertising project we worked on, including graphic design and printing, had to go
through Groupaction," Bedard told the Commons public accounts committee.
And that included jobs that were unnecessary. Bedard claimed that Via would pay the same amount of money to Groupaction each year for projects that were "just copies of the previous year's advertising campaigns."
At times her testimony was shocking and inexplicable.
When asked why she was fired from Via Rail in early 2002, Bedard said, "My personal analysis of all that is that when I was fired three or four days later there was a cabinet shuffle in Ottawa."
"For some reason they had to get rid of me immediately."
That cabinet shuffle saw former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano leave Ottawa.
She said the reason that they had to get rid of her was because of her questioning of what she viewed as overbilling by Groupaction.
Bedard also said she was told that Canadian racing legend Jacques Villeneuve received $12M (U.S.) to wear the Canada logo on his racing suit. However, a list of sponsorships on federal files shows that Groupaction gave Villenneave just $4,500 in 1997-98 for sponsorships.
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