I just acquired a leaked copy of Prime Minister Paul Martin’s weekly radio address. The message is a partisan one and is selective of the facts.
You can download the address here, or listen to it tomorrow on the radio.
What follows is a transcript of the radio address with my snarky comments in bold.
[funky yet bland music]
And now… Prime Minister Paul Martin’s weekly radio address, brought to you by the Liberal Party of Canada.
Good morning from Ottawa. A year and a half ago, I asked a respected judge, Mr. Justice John Gomery to conduct an inquiry into what went wrong some years ago in the sponsorship program, and what must be done to ensure such a thing never happens again.
Paul Martin called the inquiry, yet it was the Auditor General Sheila Fraser which uncovered that the Liberals in Public Works had “broke just about every rule in the book”. Paul Martin called the inquiry because the Liberal Party was caught.
This week, judge Gomery presented his first of two reports. I accepted his findings and conclusions.
Paul Martin’s emphasis here is that Judge Gomery’s work is really only half done. Gomery’s first report detailed political handling of the program through senior levels of the Liberal government with responsibility going all the way up to the Prime Minister and his cabinet (which included Martin at the time). The Judge’s second report will detail how to fix the damage. This report will come no matter which party is the steward of reform. The first report details who is guilty (the Liberal Party’s “culture of entitlement”) and that’s all Canadians need to pass judgement on a party that has been in power for the past 13 years.
What happened in the sponsorship program was an abuse of trust.
abuse of trust… abuse of power… abuse of decency… abuse of Quebec… of federalism… of law… of principles… of the courts… of our democratic institutions…
That’s why I went before Canadians this past spring and took responsibility as Prime Minister for getting the facts out and holding to account those that betrayed the public trust and for reforming the way government works.
Taking responsibility is about more than words;
and about more than patting yourself on the back…
it’s about action. I cancelled the sponsorship program on my first day as Prime Minister.
Because the Liberal Party was caught. It was a no-brainer.
I fired, from his diplomatic posting, the former minister who was responsible for the program.
Fired Gagliano? No-brainer. However, now you’re going to pay the guy (David Dingwall) who hired Chuck Guité a severance of $500,000? I thought the whole point of Gomery was to end the “culture of entitlement”.
I have ordered my government to sue 31 people and companies for upwards of $60 million. We put in place new controls and watchdogs to monitor spending.
Yet, the government of Canada has not yet sued the Liberal Party. Isn’t this the part of the culture of entitlement? Is the Liberal party entitled to determine its own level of guilt while more than $40 million is still unaccounted for?
The story that unfolds in the Gomery Report is troubling, but it is a story that needed to be told in full, and in public.
Unfortunately, Gomery didn’t have the mandate to look into chapter 5 of the Auditor General’s report which investigated the links between Earnscliffe, the Minister of Finance (then Paul Martin) and government contracts. This chapter of the AG’s report was omitted from the mandate of Justice Gomery. It doesn’t appear that the Prime Minister is sincere in saying that the story “needed to be told in full, and in public.”
In the coming months, Judge Gomery will be writing a second report, one every bit as important as his first.
“Waiting for Gomery” is becoming a cliché, Mr. Prime Minister. We know that the Liberals are guilty of corruption. This statement is not even a partisan jab anymore; it’s the finding of a judicial inquiry.
He’ll recommend steps to build on our reforms and further improve the way government works.
Stephen Harper has actively done this by writing his draft legislation: The Federal Accountability Act. Instead of passively “waiting for Gomery” and then waiting for Liberals to tell us why Liberals should clean up the mess they’ve made of the good governance of this country, Stephen Harper has tabled a solid proposal for reform.
As I pledged, within 30 days of receiving that report, I will call a General Election, giving you the opportunity to pass judgement on my response to the facts about sponsorship, on the reforms that I have undertaken, and the overall performance of the government that I lead.
The Canadian public will also pass judgement upon the crimes committed by the Liberal Party. Paul Martin neglected to mention this as he does not take responsibility for the “culture of entitlement” created by his party.
Thank you. Enjoy your Sunday.
This has been Prime Minister Paul Martin’s weekly radio address, brought to you by the Liberal Party of Canada.
UPDATE: I received the PM’s address by email from a friend with the subtext of ‘look what I dug up’. I received this email on Saturday. A couple of you have emailed me and have mentioned that the PM’s address was available on the LPC website on Saturday (likely the origin of my emailed copy). This means a few things:
a) if we can still call this a leak, it was leaked by the Liberals (and thus probably cannot be called a leak)
b) this is not a very smart move by the LPC to release the file a full day before it was to be released on its intended medium (the radio). This gives plenty of time for opposition researchers and armchair pundits (like myself) to rip it apart and point out the half- and non-truths of the address.
c) the Liberal webmaster must not work on weekends (or at least, on Sundays).
So, in the interests of the self-correcting blogging medium, I submit this for clarification.