Jane Taber had to write about it, but you didn’t have to go to Jane to read it. Every newspaper reported it; to them it was the highlight of Chretien’s testimony. Like him or loathe him, Jean Chretien upstaged his testimony yesterday by criticizing Judge Gomery’s small town cheap comment and signature golf balls by pulling out the golf balls of other ‘small town cheaps’ such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and even the law firm of Gomery’s daughter. There’s no doubt that he hijacked the inquiry with his political stunt and it is infuriating that it detracts from the pursuit of the truth, yet it was “the best political theatre of the season”.
It accomplished three important objectives for Chretien
- It parlayed perfectly into the embattled ex-PM’s sordid strategy of tearing down Gomery’s image of objectivity.
- It dominated the news cycle instead of the very fact that Don Teflon Jean was finally on the stand for his potential role in the largest government corruption scandal in Canadian history.
- It was funny, adding an air of likeability to Chretien’s character in the eyes of the public (whom are generally not paying as much attention to this inquiry as they ought to be).
It’s rumoured that Warren Kinsella orchestrated the entire event and for his part in what he does best, I say “Bravo”. Well played.
Theatre aside, this is also about justice and if Chretien gave political direction in defrauding Canadian taxpayers for partisan political gain, I hope that Gomery tees him up.