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Gomery's Blinders and Canadian Federalism

Ruth Hubbard and Gilles Paquet

Publication Year: 2007

In 2004, Paul Martin asked Justice John Gomery to lead a public inquiry into potential misspending in the federal Sponsorship Program, a relatively small investment of taxpayers' money to try to convince Quebeckers of the benefits of Canadian federalism in the aftermath of the 1995 referendum on Quebec separation. The Gomery inquiry chose to focus exclusively on the sordid details of the money laundering and paid no attention to the deeper causes and sources of the problem: the dysfunctions of an existing centralized governing apparatus that is tearing the fabric of the country apart and the collusion of centralizing groups defending the status quo.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Governance Series


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pp. v

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pp. 1-10

It began in such a small way, with a federal cabinet minister asking the Office of the Auditor General, in late winter 2002, to look into the circumstances surrounding three small Canadian government contracts given to a Montreal firm (Groupaction), between 1996 and 1999, for sponsorship activities in Quebec. ...

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The $100 Million Mirage

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pp. 11-19

In a democratic system, there is a need on occasion for super-professionals (judges, auditors, etc., who stand above the fray) to intervene. They are asked to cut the Gordian knot of problems that are not apparently resolvable by political deliberation or to provide I'heure juste on particularly ...

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The Fabric of Society

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pp. 19-26

The governing of modern democracies has evolved significantly over the past three or four decades. The traditional big-G centralized institutional order—top down, state centric, autocratic, hierarchical, bent on imposing sets of rules—has slowly been eroded (much like the power of ...

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The Quail Enigma

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pp. 27-40

The inquiry led by Justice John Gomery into the sponsorship affair kept many people riveted to their television screens. It pertained to a relatively small amount of taxpayers' money (less than seven-tenths of 1 percent of the $19-$20 billion annual budget of the responsible department, Public ...

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Gomery I: Flawed from the Beginning

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pp. 41-52

It may seem a little incongruous to refer to Kafka when analyzing the first report of Justice John Gomery on the sponsorship affair. Yet this report has a Kafkaesque flavour. As his journal attests, Kafka was often distraught and even led, on one occasion, to divide a sheet of paper into two columns to ...

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Gomery II: Fear of Blurring and Lack of Temperantia

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pp. 53-74

Justice John Gomery's phase one report, Who Is Responsible? (Gomery I), filed in November 2005, landed like a grenade. His phase two report, Restoring Accountability: Recommendations (Gomery II), filed in February 2006, generated more of a whimper than a bang. Reforming is not as entertaining ...

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What Justice Gomery Failed to See

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pp. 75-96

Taking a careful look at the Gomery proposals to repair the public governance apparatus before rushing into implementing them may be crucial but is hardly sufficient. One must also go beyond Justice Gomery's myopic analysis of proximate causes of the sponsorship saga and look at the dynamics that ...

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pp. 97-112

The thawing of the ethos that one is sensing may not be as dramatic a transformation as the sort of true perestroika that some are calling for, but maybe this is the only sort of transformation that Canadians are willing to envisage or are even capable of—a polite revolution (Ibbitson 2005). How Canada will steer itself in today's interconnected ...


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pp. 113-114


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pp. 115-120


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pp. 121-128

E-ISBN-13: 9780776616049
E-ISBN-10: 0776616048
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606415
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606417

Page Count: 137
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Governance Series