Steve Harper used the Chretien-era "sponsorship scandal" as a springboard to power. Even though Paul Martin was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Gomery Commission, Harper didn't hesitate to smear Martin anyway. It's also helpful to recall the actual scope of misappropriation calculated by Gomery.
In the end the Commission concluded that $2 million was awarded in contracts without a proper bidding process, $250,000 was added to one contract price for no additional work, and $1.5 million was awarded for work that was never done, of which $1 million had to be repaid.
Three culprits were tracked down and sent to prison, Chuck Guite, Jean Breault, and Jean Lafleur. While AdScam was peddled by Harper as a theft of $200 million, it was actually $3.25 million, that's all. And for that, Martin paid with his job even though he was cleared of any involvement. Layton and Harper smelled blood and went for it. That's politics.
So, how does that stack up with Tory perfidy since Harper took power in January, 2006? Now AdScam really begins to look like chump change. Let's begin with the G8 spending scandal and the $50-million bucks Tony Clement slathered all over his riding. Recall Auditor General Sheila Fraser's findings that the Harper government lied to Parliament and much of the gravy Clement poured into his riding had very little, if anything, to do with the G8 summit.
There's the "in and out" scandal involving illegal transfers of donations from the federal Tory office to individual ridings to circumvent election spending laws.
And the ETS scandal in which a Harper public works minister, Michael Fortier, a $400-million dollar contract to a Montreal company which which he'd had previous dealings. When a competitor complained about conflict of interest and flaws in the bidding process, a newly appointed Crown Attorney who had been a failed Conservative candidate brought charges of bid-rigging against the whistle blower.
And, of course, the scandal about torture of captives in Afghanistan which sent Harper & Co. scurrying for cover in contempt of Parliament. Don't forget Harper's despicable attempts to smear diplomat Richard Colvin for telling the truth.
Sprinkle a dollop of the Cadman Affair and Maxime Bernier's romance with a woman linked to organized crime and the Hell's Angels.
Gently fold in a heaping scoop of instances in which Harper & Co. used government funding for partisan political purposes.
Lisa Raitt and the "sexy" isotope fiasco scandal.
Harper's (lack of) integrity commissioner who received more than 200-complaints from whistleblowers and upheld exactly - zero. Of course she resigned in disgrace with a handsome severance package.
Odious Bev Oda's doctoring of documents can't be overlooked. Nor can Harper's decision to install disbarred lawyer and veteran criminal Bruce Carson in the PMO.
And, of course, there's this:
That's right, 26-million bucks advertising a programme that was already finished, blatant misappropriation of government revenues for sheer partisan advantage. Theft? That's your call. But, remember, it is TEN times the amount lost in AdScam.
And, who can finish without mentioning what may be Harper's most devious, undemocratic and authoritarian scandal of them all, gagging the Armed Forces and the public service and transforming them into political agencies of the PMO which obstructs all contact between them and the Canadian people. You have to have the moral turpitude and instincts of Joseph Stalin to do that to your own people.
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