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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Oh, shit 

Separatism's unlikely ally
Quebecers were angry enough last spring about the idea that they could be bribed into continued loyalty to confederation by a few garden show sponsorships.
Thus, 50 seats for the Bloc last June.
But now its even worse.
The Toronto Star notes that there is no real secret about what the Gomery inquiry is hearing, publication ban or not. Since 2002 the Star has been publishing stories about the story behind the story of the sponsorship scandal ". . . Liberals took a system they inherited from Brian Mulroney's Tories and fine tuned it until federal advertising, polling and communications contracts worth millions were being used to pay the party's bills in Quebec and beyond."
So let me get this straight -- the Liberals have been saying for the last year that they secretly spent millions in sponsorships because they were trying to keep the country together. But actually there was a secret inside the secret. They were actually secretly spending the money to help the Liberals continue to get elected.
Oh, Quebec will hit the roof. And the rest of us should too.
I suppose Chretien and Galiano could have talked themselves into seeing this as "keeping the country together" by preventing the Bloc from getting elected.
Sorry, folks, that ain't gonna cut it.
The Star writes "Should Gomery find that Liberals were breaking the law as well as the rules not to rescue the country but to hide the costs of campaigns before passing the bills to taxpayers, the already diminished brand will be in the dumpster. For those who care more about the country than the party, the consequences are ominous. Strategists are already connecting the dots that lead from another strong Bloc Quebecois election result to leader Gilles Duceppe's expected defection to the Parti Quebecois, then to the anticipated defeat of Premier Jean Charest's unpopular Liberal government and, finally, to another referendum. Instead of crushing separatism, the Chicago tough-guy tactics used on Chretien's watch have given new life to a cause prematurely judged to be on life support . . . Nor is the rubbery asymmetrical federalism preached by Stephen Harper and practised by Paul Martin reassuring. Facing a strong, impressively deft Duceppe, a weak prime minister would have trouble resisting the transformation of an already loose federation into one worth considerably less than the sum of its parts; or worse. That's the opposite of what Chr├ętien wanted, intended and spent his long life in politics trying to achieve. But once unleashed, dark forces are hard to control and the genie of the Quebec sponsorship scandal is now wandering free, wreaking havoc. By the time its evil work is done, Jean Chr├ętien, the life-long separatist-fighter, may find his place in history rewritten as the movement's misguided secret weapon."

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