Hey Canadians: Remember the sponsorship scandal?
One of the "worst offenders" in Canada's Liberal sponsorship scandal has plead guilty to 28 of 35 counts of fraud this morning. Jean LaFleur turned himself in after an international warrant was issued for his arrest. The guilty plea brings back into the spotlight the enormity of this scandal--which robbed Canadian taxpayers of $250 million and shifted the balance of political power and trust in this country. It could certainly be argued that our current Conservative government was only able to come to power because of distrust in the Liberal party after the scandal came to light. With Harper's grip slipping around Kyoto and other issues, this seems like the perfect time to remind Canadians why he's there in the first place, doesn't it?
The 28 charges to which he pleaded guilty cover the period between 1996 and 2001. He defrauded the government of about $1.57 million through bogus contracts to advertise such events as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Canadian Grand Prix, the Montreal Expos and the Molson Indy car races in Vancouver and Toronto. Lafleur's advertising agency was paid $37 million in fees by the federal government to handle sponsorship contracts. Of that amount, Lafleur and members of his family pocketed $12 million in remuneration. At the same time, they gave $67,000 to the federal Liberal Party.