Painful irony

For those who closely followed the testimony given before the Gomery Commission earlier this spring, Justice John Gomery’s initial report on the Liberal sponsorship scandal, issued yesterday morning, contained very few bombshells.
If anything, by laying the blame at the feet of former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his cronies while exonerating the current occupant of 24 Sussex Dr., the report gives Paul Martin the very wriggle room he’s sought all along to say he’s the one who has been cleaning up the mess and working to get the misspent funds repaid.
What impact Justice Gomery’s report has on the next federal election—in terms of whether the Martin Liberals form a majority government, hang on to another minority, or get turfed from office—remains to be seen.
But in fact, in the grand scheme of things, that’s of minor importance. The real consequence is that the report will strengthen the Bloc Quebecois’ hold at the federal level (all but preventing any party from achieving a majority anytime soon)—and very well could lead to the Parti Quebecois winning the next provincial election.
And if that happens, you can bet another referendum on sovereignty won’t be far behind.
What’s so painfully ironic is that the ill-fated sponsorship program was spawned in the aftermath of the 1995 Quebec referendum, which very nearly broke the country apart, in order to raise the federal government’s profile in La Belle Province and keep those evil sovereignists at bay once and for all.
In the end, sadly, it will prove to have had just the opposite effect—leaving the future of our country in as great a peril as ever.