02 November 2005

Go read Gomery

As much as there will be a bunch of people running about telling you what Gomery said about the sponsorship scandal, the easiest thing to do is read it for yourself.

Consider this:

"Prior to November 1993 [i.e. under the Mulroney administration] ... the selection and engagement of advertising agencies to assist the government in its advertising activities were openly done on a political basis. ... Advertising and communication agencies having Liberal Party sympathies or connections had little or no chance of getting government business."

"[Then, after the Liberals came to power], what appears to have been a sincere attempt to depoliticize an openly biased procurement policy was subverted almost from the very beginning."

or this:

"Just as it is important to identify persons who failed to fulfill their responsibilities or who might have been guilty of misconduct, it is equally important in this Report to identify persons who, on the basis of the evidence, are innocent of any misconduct or mismanagement. Such persons who, in the publicity surrounding the Commission or elsewhere, might have been accused or suspected of improprieties, are entitled to have any blemishes to their reputations explained or removed."

and this:

"One of the main purposes of a public inquiry is to enable concerned citizens to learn firsthand what occurred when allegations of the improper use of public funds have been made. By following the public hearings they are able to arrive at informed opinions as to who might be held responsible for any errors or mismanagement that might have occurred affecting what the Inquiries Act calls "the good government of Canada." The first role of the Commissioner is to conduct hearings that serve to facilitate the understanding of the public, while ensuring at the same time that the presentation of the evidence is done fairly and dispassionately, to avoid premature or unfounded conclusions from being reached which risk damaging the reputations of persons innocent of any wrongdoing, impropriety or negligence."

What Justice Gomery has accomplished herfulfillsls exactly the mandate he received.