The Shotgun Blog
Friday, May 13, 2005
Calling John Rae
Jim Duff, for Canada Free Press;
Gomery watchers have grown accustomed to hyperbolic descriptions of the various testimonies, but as someone who spent the past year interviewing Alfonso Gagliano, Beryl Wajsman and others for a book, I can honestly say nothing surprised me until this past week, when former PLCQ director-general Benôit Corbeil told the commission that whenever the perennially cash-strapped Quebec wing needed money, a call would be made to John Rae, executive assistant to the office of Power Corp. chairman Paul Desmarais. According to Corbeil, Rae would then call Banque Nationale president André Bérard to ask that the party's line of credit be increased. In three years, PLCQ's debt soared from $30,000 to more than $3 million.
Why would a senior advisor to the chairman of a publicly traded corporation, a trusted confidant of both Jean Chrétien and the current PM, make a call to a bank president on behalf of the Liberals' Quebec wing? Which hat was Mr. Rae wearing when he allegedly made those calls? One has difficulty believing this service was in exchange for access and influence, given that the LPCQ's president at the time was Françoise Patry, whose day job was ‹ and is ‹ serving as administrative assistant to Power Corp. chairman Paul Desmarais and his wife Jacqueline.
Was Mr. Rae acting on behalf of Power Corp. in guaranteeing the Quebec wing's line of credit? That would beg the question of why one of Canada's largest financial-services conglomerates was acting as a guarantor for a political party. If so, did Power Corp. make a declaration of this liability to shareholders or list it for tax purposes as a donation in kind?
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Power Corp - when were you going to come into this?
People in the States (and Canada) freak out about companies like Halliburton (much less really immoral companies like Enron). But, if Power Corp was an American company, there would be so many investigations, outcries, articles about it in lefty mags, etc., etc., it would be an even bigger byword for everything wrong with corporations than Halliburton (especially since it really is crony capitalism, and more).
So, good thing Desmarais and co. are HQ'ed in Canada. And made some good matches, financially and matrimonially. The Maple Leaf hides a multitude of sins.
(Not that, as an American, I'm bitter about this, or anything . . . ;^) )
Posted by: Anne Elliot | 2005-05-13 4:16:00 PM
A couple of weeks ago nationally syndicated radio host Sterling Fox interviewed someone who outlined the connections between Power Corp, the UN, Oil-for-Food, Chretien... After a few minutes of explaining the details, Fox asked breathlessly;
"Now, tell us - how does this tie into the Bush administration?"
Posted by: Kate | 2005-05-13 4:50:03 PM
Finally the Desmarais name has come to light.
What have all these men in common?
They all benifited greatly by the Desmarais family and Power Corp.
Posted by: Durward | 2005-05-13 7:10:54 PM
Scandal Ridden Political Connections:
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-13 8:00:00 PM
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