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Tarnished Legacy: Analyzing the Gomery Inquiry Report

01-Nov-05 07:19 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Today was of historical significance to Canada, but not so much as the overwhelming media coverage would lead one to believe.  At least that’s the hope.  The preliminary report of the Gomery Inquiry into the advertising sponsorhip scandal involving senior members of the governing Liberal party of Canada finally was released this morning and along with it came very predictable reactiion from the various parties involved.  But what does it all mean for an average Canadian in the end?
Disappointment.  Like many Canadians I liked and on occasion voted for the party of Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his Liberal party.  And while I accept the report’s findings he’s not culpable legally for any wrongdoing, I do feel he bears responsibility for not knowing what was going on.  This evening, he offered a number of arguments in his own defence – basically stating that it’s a tough job running a country like Canada, which is no doubt true.  But if one wants to be Prime Minister, one should be ready to accept the consequences of their leadership.  And stating that mistakes were made and that numerous good decisions were made that by far outweigh the bad isn’t good enough for me to avoid being severly disappoiinted.  I wanted to have my faith in Chretien merited by a legacy that was scandal-free and now there’s absolutely no chance of that, whatever the ultimate cocnclusions of the inquiry may be.
Worry. Rumblings of another referendum on a separation question are beginning again in Quebec.  The scandal’s orgy of corruption and abduction of taxpayer funds has angred everyone in the country, but in Quebec the seperatists have used it as an excuse to show that somehow Canada is far too corrupt to function properly (nevermind the linkages which exist between the scandal participants and the seperatist Parti Quebecois).  And living as I do in Ottawa has me a little worried: what if the separatists are able to leverage this to their advantage and win a referendum on soverignty?  Would Canada be at risk of decending into civil war with federalist Aboriginal population unwilling to seperate along with Quebec?  Would the economic impact of such political uncertainty damage the economy?  Wouldd I have to move back to my home city of Winniepeg to be away from all the trouble?
Anger.  Canadians are taxed close to death as it is.  And now, it’s learned that in an effort to spend money on keeping Canada together, not only has the problems associated with Canadian unity been exacerbated and the money siphend toward fueling the cause of Quebec seperatism, but people who were already fairly weell-off appear poised to get away with their crimes.  An injustice has been done to me as a taxpayer, to my country as Canadian and to my sense of fairness in what former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau called "a just society".  I’m outraged about all of it, and I want to see someone pay.
These are my reactions, and I daresay many of my countrymen share these feelings.  Likely they could be added to.  But even worse is a sense of frustration – because I don’t think the political leadership our country finds itself with at the moment is really up to the task of fixing this mess.
So all I’ve got left with at the end is hope.  Hope that these feelings are shared by my fellow Canadians – both in and out of Quebec – and that we collectively look for a solution to the problems which cased this calamity and the new problems caused by it.
For if we can’t, we shall pay for it again very dearly I’m afraid.
Categories: News and politics
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Terry Glavin


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