Conspiracy theory

Here’s a first – L. Ian MacDonald made me laugh this morning, and not in the usual derisive, cynical way:
Paul Martin said he was unaware, because as finance minister and chief financial officer of the government at the time, he was out of the room when it all happened.
This is, of course, in reference to the so-called Quebec Sponsorship Scandal. What I love about this scandal:

1. It conveniently makes people stop talking about Paul Martin’s steamship company.
2. It generously adds to the western Canadian perception that Quebec is the centre of the federal universe, that Quebec is one big scandal-ridden mass of corruption, and that Quebec is bad, bad, bad.
3. It gives the media an excuse to print yet another unfortunate close-up of Paul Martin, complete with large, cavernous nostrils.
4. It lends itself rather well to my personal theory, which is that the apparent rift between Martin and Chretien is really a well-orchestrated political manoeuvre* designed to ensure the re-election of the federal Liberal party.
But here’s the thing – as MacDonald points out, how happy should we be that the guy who was the Finance Minister and essentially responsible for government spending knew nothing? Sure, it can be argued that the Finance Minister can’t be expected to personally account for every penny spent by every department, but when we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, spent by the PM on potentially shaky deals, do we really believe that no one stuck a head inside Martin’s office and said “you might want to check this out.” After all, isn’t that what the Finance Minister is supposed to do? Check the finances?
Oh well, at least no one’s naked or pierced.
*The theory:
-In an effort to make the same old Liberal party look different, Martin stages a grandiose exit, full of huff and puff.
-Having established a very public rift between himself and the current PM, Martin meets ‘unofficially’ with the provincial leaders – thus killing two birds with one stone: it makes Martin look like a real Maverick who is a thorn in Chretien’s side, and it makes him look like an unstoppable workaholic who works well with the provinces.
The rationale:
-This is not your father’s Liberal party – despite the fact that Martin is only four years younger than Chretien.
-Whatever bad stuff we dig up was the other guy’s fault, and since everyone knows they hated each other, how can the current guy be responsible?

4 Replies to “Conspiracy theory”

  1. Cool theory, and easily believed. But shouldn’t the first item be that CHRETIEN stages a grandiose exit? (Not “Martin,” as you’ve written…)

  2. No, I was referring to Martin’s precipitous exit in May of 2003, prior to the whole “road to the legacy” departure tour of Chretien, which wrapped up in December.
    Martin was the only cabinet minister who was running for the leadership who was “pushed out” – Sheila Copps, for instance, held a cabinet post while actively seeking the leadership.
    So when I refer to the grandiose exit, I am talking about Martin’s departure, which allowed him to create a credible distance between his leadership and the actual Liberal government (“actual” at the time, which would be ‘former’ now).
    Chretien’s grandiose exit is another thing altogether!!

  3. yay! some one noticed!
    Yes, indeed, three really long, horrible days. But today is better than yesterday, which was waaaaaaay better than Saturday. So there’s hope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *