Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yet another Liberal scandal: Option Canada

Sheesh, leave the computer for a few hours and yet another Liberal scandal blows up.

The Globe & Mail:

The RCMP is looking into a controversial $4.8-million grant that was awarded to a pro-Canada group at the time of the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty, officials have told The Globe and Mail.

The money went out more than 10 years ago in three disbursements to a little-known group called Option Canada, which has since been disbanded.

On Dec. 23, 2005, the RCMP quizzed two officials at the department of Canadian Heritage about the 1995 expenditure. It remains unclear to how the entire grant was used, but a source said that there are questions surrounding the distribution of an amount, believed to be $300,000.
It seems that the RCMP were called in by Canadian Heritage:

However, an official at Canadian Heritage said the department called in the police after hearing that Option Canada was the focus of an upcoming book by Quebec investigative journalist Normand Lester.

“Various information led us to believe that there were possible irregularities in the management of federal funds and it's in that optic that we asked the RCMP to look more closely at the matter,” Heritage spokesman Jean-Guy Beaupré said.

Mr. Beaupré said the RCMP has yet to determine whether it will launch a full criminal investigation.

Crucially, there is a tie-in to the sponsorship scandal (oh what a tangled web....)
In his report into the sponsorship scandal, Mr. Justice John Gomery said that an advertising agency called BCP Group Inc., which worked on the federalist side, received some of the Option Canada funds.

“From September 15 to October 5, 1995, shortly before the referendum, BCP invoiced Option Canada for a total of $2.6-million (including taxes) for media purchases and advertising related services,” Judge Gomery's report said.
Captain's Quarters had advanced warning of this, and writes follow-up here.

As usual, Angry has much more here and here.

Blog comment here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


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