Thursday, May 26, 2005

PMO drawn into Adscam

Yesterday, for the first time, a direct link has been made between the sponsorship scandal and the Prime Minister's Office. Gaetano Manganiello, currently on leave from his job as press office manager for the PMO admitted in sworn testimony that in 1998 and 1999, while working at the offices of the Quebec branch of the Liberal party, at least part of his salary had been paid by one of the Adscam contractors, PluriDesign Canada Inc. What is more, he pointed out that at least two more people working for the Liberal party at the time, also received part of their salary from the same firm. In addition to their salaries, he admitted that for a period of 8 months he drove a van provided by Groupaction, another Adscam firm, for Liberal party activities, and once he moved on, he handed the keys to his successor.

True to form, the Liberals are trying to spin this as proof of their honesty. The PMO even went so far as to put out a statement saying:
"We're proud of the honesty and directness Mr. Manganiello showed. . . . Hopefully, Canadians will see his appearance as evidence that this Prime Minister and this PMO are wholly committed to seeing the commission's work discharged successfully."
As Captain Ed points out at Captain's Quarters, there was nothing preventing the PMO or the Liberal party from coming out and admitting these payments and favors prior to this. It's like looking to be rewarded for admitting you stole a cookie from the cookie jar when your mother finds the crumbs on your shirt.

Sadly, for a lot of Liberal supporters, the main focus of this story will be the statement from the PMO and how it shows that Martin is fully behind the investigation, not the fact that people working directly for him have received illegal payments from firms given millions of the publics money by his party.

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