Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Waiting for Gomery: The Fraser Institute's Take

Yesterday the Fraser Institute released a report on the Gomery Inquiry testimony. It summarizes most (if not all) of the financial links between individuals and organizations identified by the Inquiry and the Liberal Party of Canada. Allow me to quote from the executive summary:
  • This study finds that at least 565 organizations and individuals are identified in reports and testimony related to the Gomery inquiry.
  • The original 2003 Auditor General sponsorship and advertising report cited only 71 organizations. The activities under investigation are therefore quite widespread.
  • The people identified in these reports and testimony are politicians and bureaucrats (government insiders), and political party members and business people(government outsiders). This paper finds that almost all of them have an exclusive financial link to the Liberal Party of Canada (hereafter referred to as the Liberal party). They donated at least 40 times more to the Liberal party than to all of the other main political parties combined from 1993 to 2003.
  • This paper finds that these individuals privately donated at least $3.9 million to the Liberal party and received at least $7.4 million in private payments from the Liberal party from 1993 to 2003. The Gomery inquiry forensic report found only $2.5 million in Liberal party donations.
  • The same people also received public (tax funded) payments from the federal government, and this was the underlying incentive that encouraged inappropriate behaviour and relationships.
No, I wouldn't expect Canada's mainstream media to report too much on this: for one thing, everyone's suffering from Gomery exhaustion, and for another, the Fraser Institute's always been known as a Tory-leaning think tank. And now that Parliament's on summer break, everyone's tempted to cut the Grits some slack after what they've all been through.

However, for you bloggers who need a quick and dirty summary of just exactly what's at stake in the sponsorship scandal, this report is pure mercury-cored ammunition. At 37 pages, it won't take long to read (a third of this is a list of the witnesses and organizations mentioned in Inquiry testimony), and any backbench MP worth his or her salt should gather plenty of talking points to whack Paul Martin with when Parliament resumes in the fall.