Here's a brief review of the essential facts, to keep you up to date. It won't take but five minutes...
1. Shreiber/Mulroney Scandal
It 's hard to believe, but this sucker has been kicking around for over 15 years, making it the by far the longest running scandal in Canadian history.
The latest incarnation has Judge Jeffrey Oliphant looking into the dealings between world renown briber, Karlheinz Schreiber and ex-PM Brian Mulroney. Depending on which nose stretcher you believe, Mr. Schreiber gave either $225,000 or $300,000 in cash to Mr. Mulroney after he left office. Mr. Mulroney conveniently forgot to declare this money as income to RevCan for many years, but did make a mea culpa to the agency when he realized that the story about the payout was about to become public. No reasonable explanation for the payment has yet to be made and the burning question about possible payola in the acquisition by Air Canada of Airbus airplanes will probably never be answered. Between Schreiber, Mulroney and the gaggle of dead witness', it unlikely we'll ever learn the truth...
2.Water Meter Scandal
This juicy scandal was touched off by the revelation that a senior member of Montreal Mayor Tremblay's team, Frank Zampino vacationed on the yacht of one Tony Accurso, part owner of a consortium that was bidding on a $350 million municipal contract for water meters. According to Zampino, the company's successful bid had nothing to do with their close personal relationship and that it was also strictly coincidental that Mr. Zampino landed a job, (after leaving municipal politics), as a senior executive in a company related to the water meter contract and owned Mr Accurso!
Remember Mr. Accurso's name, you'll be hearing it often.
3. Sponsorship Scandal.
Did you really think this scandal was over?
It lives on, years after the Gomery Inquiry laid bare a 10 year old scheme whereby Federal government money was funneled to certain Quebec advertising agencies (who did little or nothing to earn the money), who then kicked back a portion of the funds to the Liberal Party of Canada. Several players have already gone to jail, but one company, Groupe Polygone and it's president Luc Lemay is still negotiating a settlement in relation to a $35 million claim by the crown. Recently, the company went to court to demand that certain media revelations be kept confidential. It seems that the information in question was leaked by someone who was not supposed to do stuff like that, and by the company's logic, the public should not be allowed to hear the damaging evidence.
Of course, in keeping with the Canadian principle of transparency and the public's right to be informed, Judge Jean-François de Grandpré, sided with the company and issued a gag order. urgh.....
When ethical questions were raised over at Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, auditor-general Michel Doyon examined the real estate transactions of the agency, in the 2 year period after the Mayor Gérald Tremblay's Union Montreal party privatized the SHDM, (over the objections of the city’s legal department.)
The auditor concluded that the SHDM sold some of its $300-million worth of real-estate holdings either without “the required authorizations” from the city, at “less than their fair market values” or without trying to obtain the best possible sale price.
“I recommend that the SHDM turn the matter over to the police for investigation,” Doyon writes.The SHDM sold 4 million square feet of land in the east end of Montreal, for a quarter of its evaluation to Construction Frank Catania et Associés.
A parcel of land in St. Laurent was sold to a private developer for one dollar, five days after the city bought the land for $733,000. The lucky purchaser? A company owned by our good friend ---Tony Accurso.
By the way, the Canada Revenue Agency is also investigating three companies owned by Accurso for alleged tax fraud.
Tony's may be a busy guy, but he sure is careful about having his picture taken. Considering all the publicity surrounding him, you'd think Googling his name would bring bring up hundreds of photos, not so. Try it.
This file is being sent off the the Sûreté du Québec (Provincial police) for investigation, where it is sure to languish for several years, as in the case of........
5. Outremont CCI Scandal
Eighteen months after seizing documents, the Sûreté du Québec doesn't seem to be any farther along in their investigation of the cost overruns in the building of Centre communautaire intergénérationnel (CCI) in Outremont.
The project was the brainchild of ex-mayor Stéphane Harbour, who you might recall, was forced to resign because of excessive expenses (including a $6,000 booze bill charged to the city, for a secret watering hole in city hall) in an affair that became known as "Whiskeygate." The file of this grandiose project has the fingerprints of two old city hall favorites, Franck Catania and of course, our favorite son,-- Tony U-know-Who!
The Parti Québécois has attacked the Quebec Liberals, claiming that they redirected money originally slated for economic development in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region to companies run or controlled by Liberal supporters.
The PQ charges that the Fonds d’intervention économique régional Boréal (FIER-Boréal), which was supposed to invest in high-tech ventures in the region, has invested more than $6 million in Quebec companies, but only one of which was in the Saguenay.
The rest of the money—two-thirds of which was provided by the Quebec government—went to Montreal area companies. The kicker is that, over $1 million of that money went to companies that had as shareholders, two of the fund’s three administrators. Pietro Perrino and Valier Boivin, who both happen to be Liberal party hacks deny any wrong-doing.
“Not only was the money not invested in the Saguenay,” says PQ MNA François Legault, “it was invested to enrich some little friends of the Liberal party.”
Raymond Bachand, Quebec Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who was peppered by embarrassing questions in the National Assembly, promised a full investigation by Investissement Québec.
This one is just getting started. What fun!