"Ad exec Brault gets 2 1/2 years in jail"
That was the headline on Page 4 of the Vancouver Sun on Saturday May 6, 2006. Canadians spent months being treated through media to the spectacle of what was popularly referred to as the "Sponsorship Scandal" which, if we are to believe the accusations, involved the some $250 of government spending in an exercise to hold Canada together. We understand further that this was allegedly a top to bottom scheme which had its embryonic beginnings in the the office of the prime minister Jean Chretien, without the apparent knowledge of his then finance minister Paul Martin. In the gloom of numerous restaurants, board rooms and ministerial offices a plan evolved with collusion of a long list of ministers and bureaucrats, far too long to list here, to defraud the government and Canadian tax payers to the tune of $250 million. In order to make the plan work it would be necessary to enlist the help of outside agencies; advertising agencies to be precise.
The scheme came unglued, due in part to the bungling Liberal member of Patliament Alfonso Gagliano.
Outrage and fury filled the the public airwaves. How could this fraud have perpetrated? We all wanted to know. An inquiry was needed. Finger pointing and name calling ensued. Mr. Gomery walked us through the lengthy process, made his report and recommendations and now Jean Brault, not Jean Chretien, is on his way to jail. Chuck Guite, Paul Martin, Jean Pelletier and Alfonso Gagliano continue to ply their trade, in or out retirement. Gomery is content in the knowledge that justice has been done. One or two admen will be incarcerated to a few years.
A small price to pay for the loss of $250 million. The system and those who support can breath easily once more.
This has been as sinister a look at the inside workings of Ottawa as one could possibly wish for. The Conservative Party of Canada has been the benefactor of this scandal; some might argue that Canadians have benefitted in an odd and serendipitous way in that those mentioned above delivered the country to the more repsonsible management team under Stephen Harper. Be that as it may, the sentencing of one or two admen in this fraud should be regarded (though it clearly is not) as a failure of our judicial and criminal system.