Monday, April 11, 2005

Good Old Canadian Political Sleaze

We may be in the midst of the federal Liberal sponsorship scandal, but it's not as if Canada has been immune in the past to the kind of political doodoo we normally associate with Europe or Third World countries.

In fact, we have a pretty interesting history when it comes to good old fashioned sleaze, from bribes to our first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald in exchange for the contract to build the transcontinental railway to the Munsinger Affair under Diefenbaker, during whose term of office our deputy minister of defense had a long affair with a German hooker who may have been working for the KGB.

Then, of course, there was our minister of customs and excise during Prohibition who hired bootleggers to "guard the border" and there is the small matter of the federal Liberals in the 30s accepting over $1 million in bribes in exchange for the right to dam a river in Quebec. And then of course there's Brian Mulroney, who lost about one minister a year to allegations of wrongdoing, favouritism, conflict of interest, or all of the above.

The CBC and the History Television have some background.

To add to those lists:
  • Baie des Chaleurs scandal - railway kickback scandal that brought down the Quebec government of Honoré Mercier in 1891
  • Bingogate - brought down British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt, involved the skimming of charity funds for use by the ruling NDP provincial government in 1996
  • John Edward Brownlee scandal - United Farmers of Alberta Premier during the Depression, he was destroyed by a sex scandal. He was found guilty of having "seduced" a young woman
  • Duplessis Orphans - several thousand orphaned children were falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of the province of Quebec, Canada and confined to Church-run psychiatric institutions in the 1940s and 1950s. The false labelling allowed the provincial government to earn tens of millions in federal subsidies. Many of the children were exposed to beatings, electroshock torture, sexual abuse, and neglect
  • Fast Ferry Scandal - a leading factor in the defeat of the B.C. NDP in 2001
  • Manitoba Legislative Building Affair - allegations of corruption during the construction of Manitoba's present legislative building led to the fall of the Roblin provincial government in the First World War period
  • Ontario Bond Scandal - led to the fall of the United Farmers of Ontario government of the early 20s
  • Pipeline Scandal - Diefenbaker Tories defeat Liberals in midst of scandal over pipeline to move Alberta oil to the East
  • Rivard Affair - drug dealer whose escape from prison in the mid-6os led to the downfall of federal justice minister Guy Favreau
  • Saskatchewan Tories scandal - Although Premier Grant Devine himself was never accused of criminal wrongdoing, several members of his Cabinet were sent to prison as the result of a massive kickback scheme that operated during his second term from 1986-1991
  • Tainted Blood Scandal
  • The list goes on...
Now whoever said Canadian history was boring?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm


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