Going to Burn a Sofa

Historically speaking Liberal and Conservative governments know the price for one united Canada, and it is spelled SCANDAL?

The federal sponsorship scandal has been talked of as an historic scandal and people have questioned the legacy that Jean Chrétien has left behind.

The truth is that historians will likely argue over the scandals significance for years and not settle on a true history of the event until 90% of those involved are dead.

Whether we like it or not Jean Chrétien will likely be remembered for having gotten us beyond the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty, and not the ensuing Scandal.

For example, most people know that Sir John A Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada, and with his Scottish wit, charm and the formation of a transcontinental railway helped to draw together this great nation. Without the railway Canada may have been much different, as British Columbia had insisted upon a national railway to join the Confederation of Canada.

Most people do not remember that in order to accomplish this Conservatives had accepted large sums of money in campaign funds, from railway promoters, during the 1872 elections, and MacDonald made huge overtures to the Canadian people to prove that as he said, “These hands are clean”.

McDonald had the so-called Pacific Scandal and Chrétien the Sponsorship Scandal but the outcome is we still have one Canada.

I think that it is fair to say that, looking at the progress of the Gomery’s inquiry it is hard not to wonder if spending over $60 million to inquire into the loss of $100 million is not like burning your sofa to find a lost dime.

(A modified version of this Rant has been published in the February 11th 2005 Ottawa Citizen pg A15 – letter to the editor submited by myself and modified somewhat by the letters editor)


One thought on “Going to Burn a Sofa

  1. Bill, I disagree. You question the historical significance of the Sponsorship Scandel by parallelling the event to the scandals of a prime minister, which you deem insignificant.

    While I do agree that we will not see the outcome till many years from now, I believe it is fallacious to compare men from two completely different time periods. Patronage was an every day occurrence during the time of Sir John A. There was almost no form of accountability, and the Canadian public was aware this was how governments worked.

    To compare Chrétien to a man from this period is to ignore over a hundred years of development towards responsible government. Canadians now expect responsibility, transparency, and accountability.

    I put this question to you. What has been most associated with former U.S. president Richard Nixon: his background peace deals with China, or the Watergate scandal?

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