delivers his scandal timeline
February 12, 2004) OTTAWA
- Prime Minister Paul Martin today opened a press conference on the sponsorship scandal by clearly outlining a timeline of what he knew about the program and when he knew about it.
"It is very important for public confidence that as prime minister I be clear about the degree of my knowledge about this matter," he said.
Martin explained it the following way:
1997 - Sponsorship program launched. "We all understood what it was about," he said.
2000 - Questions regarding management problems began to be raised after an internal public works audit was made public.
2002 - Deputy minister of public works tells a Commons committee that the department detected no sign of dishonesty of fraud and the problems were only administrative. That same year Auditor General Sheila Fraser unearthed problems with contracts given to communications firm Groupaction.
"That is when I began to understand that what had occurred went far beyond administrative failures and involved possible criminal conduct," the PM said. "But even then, no one understood the full scope of what was involved until the Auditor General's report came out recently."
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