Corruption inquiry clears Canada's PM

There was no evidence that Mr Chretien knew about kickbacks organised by a Quebec businessmen involved in his programme to promote national unity in the French-speaking province, Justice John Gomery concluded.

But he must bear political responsibility for the programme which he created. It allowed senior members of his Liberal Party to funnel millions of dollars into their Quebec coffers, Mr Gomery said.

"The public trust ... was subverted and betrayed, and Canadians were outraged, not only because public funds were wasted and misappropriated, but also because no one was held responsible for his misconduct," Mr Gomery said.

The scandal paralysed parliament for months earlier this year. Mr Martin survived a confidence motion by a single vote in May, after he pledged to dissolve the House of Commons and hold new elections after the final Gomery report was released. The second and final report, with recommendations, is due to be released in February.

Mr Martin was "exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct" in the report. The roots of the scandal go back 10 years when a federal advertising programme was set up to restore national unity after Quebec almost won its independence.

The Liberal government's response was to earmark C$100m (£48m) to soothe the angry separatist emotions that flared throughout the country. The campaign included hoisting the national red-and-white maple leaf flag throughout Quebec, among other things.

There was only one problem: the companies that received the money did little or no work. It was the largest cash disappearing act the country had ever seen and it occurred on Jean Chretien's watch.

The Liberal Party has had a virtually hegemonic rule over the country since 1993, but news that millions of dollars had been diverted united opposition parties normally at war and cost the Liberal Party its majority rule. And when the auditor general Sheila Fraser joined the chorus of outrage, Mr Martin called in Mr Gomery to hold an inquiry.

The confessional floodgates burst. In March, Jean Brault from the advertising firm Groupaction Marketing said he was coerced to make back-door donations in exchange for government contracts. He said he paid C$1.2m to Liberal supporters, who essentially did no work.

When the judge accepted Mr Brault's evidence as "credible", the Conservative Party and Bloc Quebecois joined forces to try to topple the government.

Mr Gomery called the scandal a "story of greed, venality and misconduct".

Mr Gomery said that Mr Chretien had ignored warnings and "must share the blame for the mismanagement that ensued".

Mr Chretien has in turn called into question Mr Gomery's credibility.

Mr Martin became involved in the scandal when, as finance minister, he pumped an extra $50m a year into the national unity reserve. but Mr Gomery concluded that Mr Martin was not responsible for keeping tabs on how funds were spent.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £38,000

£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Software Development Project Manager - Kingston Upon Thames

£55000 - £60000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Experienced Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders