Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Those whom the gods would destroy they first make all powerful.
Those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud
Hubris is the description for just about all political administrations who have been in power long enough to believe their own press releases. Occasionally, that happens in about three days (ie, the Bush administration), but usually it doesn't happen until at least one successful reelection, maybe two.
When Hubris strikes, it ain't pretty.
Chretien obviously had a bad case of it before he (finally!) left. As witness the Gomery inquiry report today -- the key paragraphs in this Globe story are these:
. . . Judge Gomery said Mr. Chrétien must shoulder at least some of the responsibility for the program's problems. Mr. Chrétien, he said, chose to run the program from his own office and to have his own staff take responsibility for its direction. For those reasons, he said, Mr. Chrétien "is accountable for the defective manner in which the sponsorship program and its initiatives were implemented."
"Good intentions are not an excuse for maladministration of this magnitude," he said. "The Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff [Jean Pelletier] arrogated to themselves the direction of a virtually secret program of discretionary spending to selected beneficiaries, saying that they believed in good faith that those grants would enhance Canadian unity." Each, Justice Gomery said, had testified during hearings that they believed the program would be administered responsibly by Mr. Guité, who ran the program from its inception until 1999. But they also did not verify that assumption "even though they had created a program lacking all of the normal safeguards against maladministration."
"The assumption was naïve, imprudent and entirely unfounded," Justice Gomery said. Similarly, he said, Alfonso Gagliano, who was public works minister from 1997 to 2002, chose to continue with the "irregular manner" of directing the sponsorship program adopted by Mr. Pelletier, when he took office. "Contrary to his testimony to the effect that his participation was limited to providing political input and making recommendations about events and projects to be sponsored, Mr. Gagliano became directly involved in decisions to provide funding to events and projects for partisan purposes, having little to do with considerations of national unity." Just as Mr. Chrétien must accept responsibility for the actions of his exempt staff, so must Mr. Gagliano, Justice Gomery added.
The Quebec wing of the Liberal Party, Justice Gomery also said, "cannot escape responsibility for the misconduct of its officers and representatives." He said two successive executive directors "were directly involved in illegal campaign financing and many of its workers accepted cash payments for their services when they should have known that such payments were in violation of the Canada Elections Act."
Not only should they have known better, its quite likely that somebody TOLD them not to do it this way. Somebody said, this isn't right. Somebody said, you should be following the rules. And they ignored that aggravating bureaucrat, that stick-in-the-mud, that useless twit who couldn't get with the tour, that annoying naysayer who wasn't 'onside' with the program. So they remained secure in the comfortable belief that their cause was just and their aspect noble, so pure were they that they could not possibly be doing anything wrong, just cutting a little unnecessary red tape . . .

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