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Canada: Auditor General's report reveals massive fiscal irregularities


A few years ago I had mentioned the word corruption in connection with deplorable financial activities by some Canadian politicians. Some people took me to task then for using the word corruption. They said that only such a finding in a court of law would give one the right to call questionable monetary practices by government officials corrupted.

I believe that was in connection with the release of the Auditor General's report that identified a considerable number of financial discrepancies, about $1 billion in total, in the five percent of financial records that had been selected at random and examined in detail.

If we assume that a five-percent, Stop Welfare for Politiciansrandomly-selected sample is representative of all of the records it was taken from, it is reasonable to assume that in all likelihood the total of misappropriated money would have been in the order of about $20 billion dollars. None of the Canadian media ever bothered to make such an extrapolation. I wrote to a few Canadian conservative journalists about that, but they kept quiet about the possible and likely total of $20 billion that got lost or handed over to cronies of the Liberal Party.

In November 2003 Sheila Fraser, Canada's Auditor General, released a new report, again identifying massive misappropriation of money by government organizations. This time two extreme left-wing dailies mentioned the word corruption in connection with the sordid situation.

Will Martin be able to avoid the fallout?

By JOHN IBBITSON
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail [2004 02 11]

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser only uses the word once, and yet it permeates her report. That word is fraud.

Between 1997 and 2001, no less than $100-million of taxpayer money was diverted from government coffers to Quebec advertising agencies with close ties to the Liberal Party — for no discernible reason.

....You will need to decide how far political corruption reached into the Jean Chrétien government, and how much responsibility the current government must bear....

[Full Story]

The Toronto Star, more left-leaning than the Globe and Mail, was less direct in condemning the Liberal pork-barreling.

Toronto Star, Feb. 5, 2004. 01:00 AM

Strange times in our capital

JAMES TRAVERS

....Sheila Fraser, the Auditor-General and Ottawa's most articulate critic, will deliver what is expected to be a devastating report on corruption just days after the most infamous landmark in former prime minister Jean Chrétien's hometown, the Auberge Grand-Mere, was torched by arsonists....

[Full Story]

Interestingly, talk radio and TV in Ontario, in the heartland of Canadian liberalism, was strangely silent yesterday about the rot.

However, the CBC website quoted an opposition MP this morning:

"This report proves that this prime minister was the most senior minister in the most corrupt Canadian government in living memory," said the Conservative party's Jason Kenney.
Full Story

The federal government's sponsorship program that receives so much warranted attention ($250 million misappropriated) right now is only a small part of what Sheila Fraser identified.

There seems to be no doubt that Jean Chretien is at the heart of the problem, but let's hope that people don't forget that Paul Martin, our current prime minister, was Canada's finance minister and the head of some of the financial committees involved in the scandal. Paul Martin claims that he did not know what was going on and blames Jean Chretien.

Martin, who spoke immediately following the report's release, said he took action as soon as he could.

"We didn't wait a day, we didn't wait five minutes, we acted," said Martin, who announced an independent public inquiry into the issue.
Full Story

Whether he knew or not — keep in mind that Sheila Fraser's report was in the hands of the federal government since November 2003 — he still carries the responsibility for what was done under his tenure as finance minister. If he weasels his way out of this, what will he weasel his way out of during his term as prime minister?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is slated to get to the bottom of a number of the misappropriations. However, the RCMP is hardly in a position to be impartial in the affair. It labours under a conflict of interest. Even the RCMP received massive amounts of the money that the politicians so freely slushed around. Moreover, the chief commissioner of the RCMP reports directly to the prime minister.

It seems to me that the RCMP is no more likely to find anything wrong than the Gestapo was to find that Hitler didn't have a clean bill of health. After all, the RCMP never before found any wrongdoing by any of Canada's prominent politicians when there was not only smoke but definitely fire.

Paul Martin is the owner of Canada Steamship Lines (a corporation that Maurice Strong helped the Martin family to acquire). Most of the ships (largely bulk carriers, many self-unloading) owned by CSL are registered in the Bahamas. CSL had been involved in a long row of very bitter labour disputes for mistreating and exploiting its employees. The associated strikes, litigation and demonstrations had religiously been kept out of the Canadian media. Some of those strikes took place in Australia. They made the news there but not in Canada.

When Paul Martin was to become prime minister, the question was raised whether he would be able to keep himself at arms length from CSL. He admitted to CSL having received $137,000 from the federal government. It later emerged that he slightly understated that figure. The total of federal grants and loans received by CSL during Paul Martin's term as finance minister runs to $161 million.

All three opposition parties fired a barrage of questions about $161 million in government contracts won by Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. over the last decade. The company's decision to base its international affiliate in Barbados for tax reasons also found its way into opposition crosshairs.
Full Story

Amongst other things, Paul Martin's CSL supplies virtually all of the road ballast used in the eastern USA — good old Canadian bedrock, far more solid than the Canadian Liberal Party's politician's reputation.

At any rate, the next federal elections are expected to take place in about two months. The criminal investigation by the RCMP will be a long way from being finished by then. What's a little bit of patronage and corruption amongst friends. It will roll off the Liberals like water off a duck's back, and the Liberal Party is expected to win again in a landslide victory.

INDEPTH: Highlights of the auditor general's report

The CBC is government-funded and depends for its existence on the Liberal government's largesse. The Conservatives would love few things better than to dismantle the CBC.

Anyway, cut through all of the political hype, propaganda and distortion and go to the Auditor General's report.

(If you arrived here by following a link from another page, you may wish to read this page from the beginning, so that the following is put into context.)  Many of the problems that befall Canadian families and leads to their break-up are the consequence of deliberate government policies that evolved and are being actively pursued, ever since the 1960s.  Those Liberal campaign poster for 2004 Canadian federal electionspolicies aim at the systematic, planned destruction of the traditional nuclear family.
   Will the sign shown to the right work for the Liberals in the upcoming 2004 federal elections?
   The Lawn signs are ready, but will it do any good to downplay the name of the party (see lower left-hand corner of sign) and to emphasize the face and name of the man that signed the cheques during his term as finance minister?  Will it help to erase the memory of the Liberal's or the finance minister's involvement in so much financial chaos, mismanagement and corruption?
   Do the Liberal's truly think that Canadians are that gullible?

The colour for the signs is a good choice.  It brings to mind another party in another country that had set itself the goal of eradicating the traditional nuclear family, so that a better socialist country could be built from the remaining rubble and ruins of society. 
   That party's colour was red, too, and it brought corruption, financial ruin and social chaos to the country it ostensibly ruled with an iron fist, the USSR.
   Do we want to go down that road?  If you can't make up your mind yet, have a look at what Lorne Gunter thinks of the Liberals' Martin-centred ad campaign.

_______________________

See also:

  • Ted Byfield's commentary on Canadian Taxes in the May 11, 1998 issue of the Alberta Report:

Canada is now the world's top nation — when it comes to paying taxes, that is

  • Maurice Strong & Paul Martin, Part 2

Champagne socialist full of bubbles: Maurice Strong profits from pushing leftist ideas

Edmonton Journal, Friday 18 July 2003, p. A18
By Lorne Gunter

Levant claims Strong has "never stopped pressing for a world where the UN's resolutions would be enforced as the law in every corner of the Earth." And Strong has made it clear he sees no harm in carbon taxes, air travel taxes and financial transaction taxes that raise billions or even trillions annually to fund a super world bureaucracy where he and others can influence world affairs without every grubbying themselves by seeking approval from -- ugh -- voters.

This is the man Paul Martin wants to make a senior economic and environmental adviser in his PMO. But that's no surprise, either. Levant details how Strong hired Martin to be his personal assistant at Montreal's Power Corporation, even before Martin had left university, and later helped Martin get his stake in Canada Steamship Lines, the company that is the source of Martin's personal wealth, not to mention his pride and joy. Martin's enthusiasm for Strong's counsel goes way, way back.

On CSL's use of "flags of convenience":

For example, the CSL “Innovator” had a labour agreement, a Bahamanian flag and an Indian crew. But when CSL pooled some of its ships with a German company, it sold them the Innovator as part of the deal.

The Germans gave it a new name, a Liberian flag, and a Filipino crew. CSL then leased the ship right back – and its labour agreement no longer applied.
...
"It’s no different than dealing with sweatshops, he uses sweatships – same thing. He applies the same kind of rules – he may not apply them but he knows what they are – that is why he goes offshore with his vessels."

In an interview with the new prime minister on December 19th [2003], Mary-Lou Findlay, host of As it Happens, asked Mr. Martin about his image problem with Canada Steamship Lines - specifically CSL’s foreign flagged ships. Called flag-of-convenience ships (FOCs) they allowed Mr Martin (and now allow his sons) to pay a quarter of the Canadian wage rate, avoid paying taxes altogether, and to ignore Canadian labour standards, health and safety laws and environmental regulations. Experts in the field estimate that each ocean-going ship saves on average $700,000 a year from this unethical practice....

Like it or not, we are all Paul Martin watchers now. We should all keep an eye on the length of his nose.


Pinocchios: Martin Copps, Chretien – Courtesy Tim Rotheisler & The REPORT
Pinocchios – Courtesy Tim Rotheisler & The REPORT
(Paul Martin on left — keep an eye on the length of his nose.)

White RoseThe White Rose
Thoughts are Free

__________________
Posted 2004 02 11
Updates:
2004 04 05 (added comment about Liberals' 2004 elections lawn sign)