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Paul Martin's connection to Adscam

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A 10 year old memo written on May 30, 1994 by one of Martin's top assistants, Terrie O'Leary, noted that Martin "agree[ed] that it makes the most sense for the [Finance Dept. Advertisement] strategy to be developed by Gingko/Groupe Everest in collaboration with the market researchers, rather than another agency." Everest is an ad firm that is currently embroiled in the sponsorship scandal. Its owner, Claude Boulay, previously testified that his company, as well as himself, worked for Paul Martin for free during his leadership race and even during the 1997 federal election. Furthermore, he testified that his company's facilities were often used by the Liberal cabinet ministers for retreats.

When Paul Martin took over from Jean Chr├ętien, he created a 'transition' team to assist him in assuming his new role of Prime Minister. This team consisted of Earnscliffe consultant Mike Robinson, former assistant Terrie O'Leary, and also, former solicitor general Francis Fox. Francis Fox was president of strategic relations with Rogers/Cantel before he became a senior advisor to Prime Minister Paul Martin. According to Jean Brault's 'devastating' testimony regarding Groupactions' involvement in the sponsorship scandal, Francis Fox was present at Rogers/Cantel committee meetings where Jean Brault met politicians that would give him 'leads' to sponsorship contracts. In fact, Brault testified that Francis Fox's principal secretary Yvon Desrochers directly interfered when awarding sponsorship contracts.

Previously, Chuck Guite testified that he recalled that he had a telephone conversation with Terrie O'Leary who told him that "Paul would prefer (Earnscliffe)" for advertising contracts. Earnscliffe is an advertising/consulting firm which has very close ties with Paul Martin and was a large supporter in his leadership bid. In return, Earnscliffe's owners David Herle and John Webster, who are also the national Liberal Co-chairs, donated nearly 3 million dollars to the Liberal party through #55555 Inc. In total, Earnscliffe has earned over $6 Million dollars in government contracts under Martin's watch. The question remains is whether Martin deliberately diverted contracts toward Earnscliffe, which is operated by Liberal party members, who then diverted money through #55555 Inc and back to the Liberal party. A phantom company with no previous history turned out to be the largest contributor towards the Liberal party in 2003; this definitely seems odd. Why else would a company, whose financial statements are private, donate millions of dollars to the Liberals? Similarly, Groupaction was given millions of dollars in contracts. Government contract money would be 'washed' through Groupaction before it was illegally returned to the Liberal party disguised as donations. When Martin was running for leadership, Shelia Copps dared Martin to reveal who donated to his leadership campaign. Mr. Martin responded that the money was in a 'blind trust' and he did not know who contributed. Why the secrecy?

With all these connections it is hard to believe that PM Martin did not know about the sponsorship scandal. Paul Martin has long had a reputation of having a micro-management style of dealing with business and politics. Mark Kennedy of the Ottawa Citizen wrote that Martin was "never keen on traditional hierarchy, [he] would often call junior bureaucrats directly to ask them about a memo they had prepared for their bosses." Kennedy also mentioned that because of his micro-management style he often "brought stacks of files home on weekends" and was a considered "workaholic". Martin states that he had no idea what was going on with the sponsorship scandal; he had to many other things to worry about and as a manager, obviously has many things going on that he is unaware of. However, Paul Martin is someone who usually has a great deal of understanding of everything that goes on under his nose. Martin has received support and advice from individuals that are implicated in the scandal; also, his micro-management style likely indicates that he would have at least been aware of the widespread corruption in the government advertising network. If Paul Martin's closest advisors had knowledge of the sponsorship scandal as far back as 1994 then he is lying when he states that he had no idea what was going on. Mr. Martin is either the most incompetent politician in the history of Canada or he had prior knowledge and is lying to Canadians.

Written By:
M.K. Braaten
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