column was published in the North
Shore News on
Mar. 8, 2000)
‘Shovelgate’ a mystery
By Leo Knight
are now 10 separate police investigations and three forensic
audits into aspects of the grant scandal dubbed "Shovelgate."
in the admission made by Stewart, she said, "There are two
police investigations and seven RCMP investigations."
Freudian slip on the politicization of the Force, or does the
federal government no longer consider the RCMP to be police?
four weeks now Human Resources (HRDC) Minister Jane Stewart has
been weathering a barrage of accusations and demands for her
head in the daily 45-minute theatre of the absurd, Parliament's
Question Period does seem rather appropriately named, judging from the responses (or lack thereof) emanating from Stewart and Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
The opposition asks the questions and the government ducks, dodges, bobs and weaves, stalls, spins and sometimes, even lies, but it never actually answers anything.
"Dough" tried bravely to hold her ground from the
outset, but now has taken to sprinting past the baying media
pack as she leaves the Commons to return to her money dispensary
-- sorry, uh, office.
despite the pounding, she has managed to provide some brief
moments of mirth, albeit unwittingly.
Feb. 16, the beleaguered minister attempted a counter-attack
against her main critic, Reformer Diane Ablonczy:
Speaker, I say again that I am very proud of the investment that
went to this company and ensured that 156 citizens of my
community who were not working before now have employment.
real issue here is that day after day the Reform party stands up
and undermines the effect of the Transitional Jobs Fund and the
Canada Jobs Fund, but day after day I received phone calls from
the offices of individual members and letters from the offices
of individual members. The Reform party cannot suck and blow at
the same time."
unfortunate choice of words evidently as the House erupted with
shrieks of laughter.
Speaker, Gilbert Parent, struggled to regain control of the
House as Bloc MP Suzanne Tremblay, according to Hansard, kept
asking, "What did she say? We did not get the
struggling with the ungentlemanly raucous laughter, suggested to
the honourable members, "My colleagues, sometimes some
words are more difficult to translate than others, so we should
stay away from it."
choice, Mr. Speaker, now back to reality.
addition to the police investigations, Stewart was backed into a
corner by a Bloc MP over the issue of a grant given to a
numbered company in his riding of Rosemont in Montreal, only to
see the business shut down and move to the prime minister's
riding causing a further loss of 20 jobs in Rosemont.
has now emerged that the situation is also the subject of a
lawsuit filed by the owners of 9027-6072 Quebec Inc.
lawsuit alleges that George Goldberger and Mavitizis Stamatios
forced their company to close its doors after the new partners
(3393062 Canada Inc.) pulled out with no explanation and set up
shop in the PM's riding.
to the lawsuit, in return for promising they could deliver
substantial government grants, the owners of the Rosemont
company folded their assets into Goldberger's numbered company
and was abandoned when the grant of over $150,000 was delivered
Jane "Dough" was questioned about it in the Commons,
she immediately resorted to her standard responses.
she also indicated a significantly raised level of knowledge
when she said the business was re-located as a "business
decision." Unfortunately for her, Goldberger contradicted
truth will emerge in this grant at some point. What puzzles me
greatly is the Canadian public's apparent apathy in not reacting
to this huge scandal.
week a poll was released in Ottawa showing that the majority of
Canadians were angry about "Shovelgate," but almost
50% said they would still vote for the Liberal party again.
does it take to shake their faith in this government?
is it simply because there is no apparent alternative to the
knows there is no one currently in opposition who seems to
possess the "Royal Jelly" so to speak.
up anyone who thinks they could stand another Joe Clark
Duceppe and his Bloc Quebecois are definitely not le choix
Manning is busy trying to carve out a palatable alternative, but
seems to have alienated a significant portion of the old guard
in his party.
infighting in Reform at this crucial point in its history will
ensure St. Jean the Arrogant will be able to keep control of the
inherent incompetence, corruption and arrogance in the face of
the Canadian taxpayer is shocking. More shocking is the fact
that Canadians have not been screaming from the ramparts.
fact that there are now 10 separate police investigations and
three forensic audits suggests to me that the Mounties really
need to step in and conduct a thorough, overall investigation of
what has gone on with this billion-dollar boondoggle.
It's really beginning to look more like criminal activity and not just sleazy politics.