Sponsorship Scandal

Between 1995 and 2001, the federally funded Sponsorship Program, intended to combat separatist sentiment in the province of Quebec became a vehicle for directing public funds amounting to tens of millions of dollars to political supporters of prominent Quebec Liberals.

Financial irregularities were first exposed by the 2004 Auditor General’s Report prior to the 2004 General Election, leading Prime Minister Paul Martin to appoint Justice John Gomery, to lead an inquiry which will file its final report in December 2005. For a timeline of events leading up to that report see CBC News: The Origin of a Scandal
Explore the issues: Sponsorship Scandal, accountability of elected persons, governance

Adscam angers Canadian voters – but will the Conservatives bring the house down?

Top Canadian Story: April 16 2005

Political strategists are scrutinizing polling data following the first real evidence of corruption among Liberal insiders surfacing at a public inquiry. The allegations of corruption have governing Liberal Party reeling in what was already a tippy minority government. The electorate is angry, but the anger is loosely targeted and any moves by the opposition to seize the opportunity may backfire.
According to the National Post 47% of Canadians do not want an election, compared with 37% who favour an immediate election call. Regional breakdowns show the appetite for a snap election is weakest in Ontario, where 51% of respondents in the province disagree with calling an election immediately over the alleged corruption. Only 32% want an immediate election in Ontario.
For Steven Harper’s Conservative Party, who must look to Ontario’s 103 seats to swing an election, the situation is particularly risky. Harper may be able to convince Ontario not to vote Liberal, but convincing them to vote Conservative is another matter. Jack Layton’s NDP and an upstart Green Party may be successful in gaining votes meant to punish the Liberals, and will not bear the negative perception of being the party that forces an unwanted election.
April’s revelations did not bring new misconduct to light, but served as the “smoking gun.”