INDEPTH: SPONSORSHIP SCANDAL|
CBC News Online | Dec. 17, 2008
Dec. 17, 2008
Nineteen criminal charges, including fraud, are filed against Gilles-André Gosselin, the former high-ranking ad executive at Gosselin Communications, a company involved in the federal sponsorship program.
The Gomery commission found that his Ottawa-based company handled $21 million of sponsorship contracts, which earned the agency $1.4 million in commissions and $8.2 million in production costs.
Former sponsorship ad exec facing criminal charges
June 26, 2008
The Federal Court strikes down Justice John Gomery's finding that former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his chief of staff shared some responsibility for the federal sponsorship scandal. The Harper government would later appeal the ruling.
Key Gomery finding involving Chrétien, Pelletier struck down
Justice John Gomery, who has been a lawyer and judge for 50 years and who presided over the inquiry into the sponsorship scandal, retires from public service. Radio-Canada would later announce that Gomery will be a legal commentator for the TV network and its all-news channel RDI.
Gomery new legal analyst for Radio-Canada
April 5, 2007
Quebec's provincial police arrest former ad executive Jean Lafleur at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. Lafleur faces a 35-count fraud indictment over allegations related to 35 contracts worth $1.6 million for his alleged role in the sponsorship scandal.
Police arrest Lafleur at Montreal airport
Jan. 24, 2007
Federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion suggests the party might welcome back Marc-Yvan Côté, one of 10 Liberals expelled from the party while Paul Martin was prime minister for their roles in the sponsorship scandal.
"We can't sideline people who make mistakes forever," Dion tells the Quebec newspaper Le Soleil.
Dion hints at taking back Liberals ousted in sponsorship scandal
Dec. 21, 2006
Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismisses a number of key recommendations made by Justice John Gomery, the head of the sponsorship inquiry, that would have reduced some of the power of the Prime Minister's Office and protected civil servants from political interference.
Harper rejects key Gomery proposals
Dec. 12, 2006
The Conservative government's Federal Accountability Act, which came in the wake of the sponsorship scandal and aims to clean up the way government does business and make politicians more accountable, receives royal assent from Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean.
Accountability Act signed into law
Oct. 7, 2006
Brault was granted full parole after serving five months of a 30-month sentence. National Parole Board commissioner Pierre Cadieux said in his written decision that Brault was a low risk to re-offend and had a job waiting for him. He also noted that Brault suffered from health problems that required hospitalization during his time in federal prison.
Brault granted parole after serving five months
July 7, 2006
Quebec Court of Appeals Justice François Doyen rules that Chuck Guité can be released on $20,000 bail pending the appeal of his fraud conviction in June 2006. Guité must also surrender his passport.
Guité free on bail while appealing fraud conviction
June 22, 2006
Retired superior court judge Jean Moisan releases his report noting the Parti Québécois got $96,400 from ad exec Jean Brault's Groupaction ad agency between 1995 and 2000. Moisan says those funds were funnelled to the PQ by contributions from Groupaction employees who were later reimbursed by Brault.
Although Moisan says PQ officials knew about the contributions, the report doesn't say PQ politicians were aware of them. He also says the Quebec Liberal party received more than $8,000 in disguised contributions, but wasn't aware of them.
Although the contributions cited in the report violate the province's electoral law, the chief electoral officer says most of the wrongdoing took place more than five years ago, which is too long ago for his office to take legal action against those involved.
Sponsorship exec channelled $96,400 to PQ, judge finds (June 21, 2006)
June 19, 2006
Chuck Guité, the former head of the sponsorship program, is sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.
Guité was convicted of all five charges of defrauding the federal government after seven days of jury deliberation on June 6, 2006.
Crown prosecutors wanted a jail sentence of three to four years for Chuck Guité, the former federal bureaucrat convicted of fraud for his role in the federal sponsorship scandal. The defence recommended a two-year sentence.
Guité sentenced to 42 months in prison(June 19, 2006)
June 6, 2006
A jury convicts Chuck Guité, the former head of the sponsorship program, of all five charges of defrauding the federal government after seven days of jury deliberation.
Guité faced five counts of fraud totalling $1.5 million. His trial in Montreal heard that he authorized more than $2 million in contracts to Jean Brault's Groupaction Marketing Inc. without proper competition. Guité also doubled the value of one contract to $500,000 without demanding any additional work, testimony revealed.
Chuck Guité found guilty of fraud
May 5, 2006
The trial of Chuck Guité, the former head of the sponsorship program, begins in Montreal.
Advertising executive Jean Brault is sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud related to the sponsorship scandal and the federal gun registry.
Sponsorship player Brault sentenced to 30 months
April 25, 2006
Montreal's La Presse reports that the Liberal government agreed on Jan. 23 - election day - to subsidize Jean Pelletier's legal challenge of the findings of the Gomery inquiry. Reg Alcock, then-president of the Treasury Board, committed to paying up to $40,000 of Pelletier's legal bills, in addition to about $565,000 in legal bills the government paid for Pelletier during the Gomery inquiry.
Ottawa subsidized legal costs for Chrétien loyalist: report
April 7, 2006
The Quebec Court of Appeal overturns Paul Coffin's conditional sentence, and orders him jailed for 18 months. A lower court had sentenced Coffin to two years less a day to be served in the community, and ordered him to give lectures on business ethics. Coffin pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud, involving $1.5 million.
Appeal court orders Coffin jailed
March 29, 2006
Chuck Guité tells a judge that he can't afford a lawyer, and will be representing himself when his trial begins in May.
Pleading poverty, Guité will act as own lawyer at fraud trial
March 13, 2006
A report by the Canadian Press, using documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, says taxpayers will spend more than $14 million on legal fees for the federal sponsorship inquiry, including more than $1.3 million to lawyers who helped Jean Chrétien, Alfonso Gagliano and Chuck Guité.
Lawyers' bills in sponsorship scandal top $14 million
March 2, 2006
Advertising executive Jean Brault pleads guilty to five of six fraud-related charges and will proceed to trial on only one, a charge of conspiracy. Brault, the former head of Groupaction Marketing, admitted to paying salaries to Liberal party workers who never did any work for his company. He was one of three high-profile ad executives charged in the scandal.
Ad exec pleads guilty to sponsorship fraud
Feb. 1, 2006
Justice John Gomery releases his final report. It is expected to serve as a road map for future governments to ensure public money is spent wisely and whistles are blown if something goes wrong.
Shift powers to restore trust in government: Gomery
Jan. 23, 2006
The Liberals lose the federal election to the Conservatives, who pick up enough seats to lead a minority Parliament.
Conservatives celebrate minority government victory
Nov. 30, 2005
Former prime minister Jean Chrétien files a legal challenge of Justice John Gomery's findings. The challenge argues Gomery's findings are not supported by the evidence.
Chrétien had made it clear when the report was released that he would launch a challenge. He had 30 days to do it and waited until the last day.
Chrétien challenges Gomery report in court
Nov. 28, 2005
The Liberal government falls after a vote of no confidence.
Liberals lose confidence of the House
Nov. 1, 2005
The first report of the Gomery inquiry is tabled in Parliament. Justice John Gomery concludes that former prime minister Jean Chrétien was not directly involved but must bear some of the responsibility for the scandal because the sponsorship program was run out of the Prime Minister's Office.
He says that people close to Chrétien were involved in an orchestrated plan to illegally finance the Liberal party in Quebec.
The report says that former prime minister Paul Martin, Chrétien's finance minister at the time, is not at fault.
Oct. 14, 2005
A Quebec judge turns down a request by lawyers for Chuck Guité and Jean Brault to keep in place a publication ban on some of the testimony by the two men. Earlier in the week, Justice John Gomery said the ban was no longer needed as the trial for the two men would not be held until May 2006.
During the inquiry, Gomery banned publication of small parts of both men's evidence. The testimony involved the relationship between Guité and Brault. It was a relationship in which both benefited financially from the other.
New testimony shows financial link between Guité and Brault
Oct. 12, 2005
Justice John Gomery says he'll release more testimony from the sponsorship inquiry that had been covered by a publication ban. But the ruling won't take effect until after a Quebec court decides whether to grant a request by a lawyer for Chuck Guité to block the release. Guité is the former civil servant who once ran the program and is facing fraud charges, along with ad executive Jean Brault.
Gomery may release more banned testimony on Friday
Sept. 21, 2005
Chuck Guité and Jean Brault plead not guilty to six charges of defrauding taxpayers of $2 million through the government's sponsorship program. Guité is the former bureaucrat who ran the program. Brault is the former owner of Groupaction Marketing, one of the companies awarded millions in sponsorship contracts.
Sept. 19, 2005
Advertising executive Paul Coffin is given a conditional sentence of two-years-less-a-day to be served in the community. Coffin had pleaded guilty to 15 fraud charges in May. As part of his sentence, he is ordered to observe a curfew of 9 p.m. on weekdays and to speak publicly about his experience. The Crown had sought a sentence of 34 months in prison. Coffin admitted defrauding the federal government by taking $1.5 million between 1997 and 2002 for doing little or no work. By the time of his sentencing, he had paid back about $1 million.
June 17, 2005
After four-and-a-half days of final arguments, the Gomery inquiry wraps up. Justice John Gomery prepares to sift through thousands of pages of testimony as he prepares to write his report.
Lawyers ask Gomery to protect Chrétien's 'extraordinary reputation'
May 31, 2005
Paul Coffin, the first person charged in the federal sponsorship scandal, pleads guilty to 15 charges of fraud related to the sponsorship program. Coffin had originally faced 18 charges, but the Crown withdrew three in exchange for the guilty plea.
Coffin pleads guilty to fraud in sponsorship program
May 24, 2005
A team of forensic accountants release a report at the Gomery inquiry that concludes that the federal government spent $355 million on sponsorship programs. Auditor General Sheila Fraser had reported the figure was about $250 million. But the Kroll Lindquist Avery Report determined that the program actually started in 1994 and not 1997 as Fraser had said.
Auditors dig up millions more spent on 'sponsorship-related' activities
May 20, 2005
In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Joe Morselli – one-time Liberal Party lead fundraiser in Quebec – insists he is the victim of a grudge. He was accused of questionable fundraising tactics and of taking envelopes stuffed with cash that were left on a chair in a Montreal restaurant by ad executive Jean Brault.
Liberal fundraiser denies 'taking party hostage'
May 18, 2005
The Liberal Party of Canada issues a news release saying the party has set up a $750,000 trust fund. The money will be used to repay the government of Canada if the Gomery Inquiry concludes that the party received money "inappropriately as a result of activities related to the Sponsorship Program."
Liberals set up sponsorship trust fund
May 16, 2005
A Quebec Superior Court judge sets Oct. 3, 2005 as the date for the fraud trial of Chuck Guité and Jean Brault. The two men face six charges related to the awarding of contracts under the sponsorship program. A lawyer suggests the trial may delay the release of Justice John Gomery's report.
May 4, 2005
Justice John Gomery lifts the publication ban on most of Chuck Guité's testimony. It was the second appearance before the inquiry for the former head bureaucrat at the sponsorship program.
In November 2004, Guité testified there was no political interference in sponsorship contracts. This time, he said the process was "150 per cent politically driven."
Guité alleges Martin link to scandal
April 27, 2005
Paul Coffin, head of Coffin Communications, told the inquiry that he repeatedly produced fake invoices, over-billing the federal government for thousands of dollars for work that was never done on sponsorship projects. He said much of it was at the request of Chuck Guité. It was an allegation Guité denied when he testified a week later.
Guité asked for fake invoices, ad man testifies
April 15, 2005
Jacques Corriveau, a longtime Liberal organizer and a friend of former prime minister Jean Chrétien, admits he lobbied for sponsorship contracts when he wasn't registered to do so. But he denied ever asking anyone to divert sponsorship contract commissions to the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party to pay election expenses.
Corriveau admits lobbying for sponsorship contracts
April 11, 2005
Serge Gosselin denies that he was ever put on Groupaction's payroll at the request of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada.
At the inquiry, Alain Renaud testified that he never funnelled cash from Groupaction contracts to the Liberal Party of Canada, contradicting testimony from his former boss, Jean Brault.
Witness contradicts some of Brault's testimony
April 7, 2005
Justice John Gomery lifts the publication ban on much of Jean Brault's testimony. He tells the inquiry that he was repeatedly asked to give cash donations to the Liberal party and put election workers on his payroll in exchange for federal sponsorship contracts.
Brault alleged donations to Liberals linked to sponsorship work
April 4, 2005
Following testimony by head of Groupaction Marketing Jean Brault, the federal Liberal party requests an RCMP investigation into whether the party itself was a victim of fraud.
March 29, 2005
Justice John Gomery grants a partial publication ban on the testimony of three key witnesses in the inquiry. Paul Coffin, Jean Brault and Chuck Guité are all facing criminal charges. Their lawyers have argued that publishing their testimony at the Gomery inquiry would taint potential jurors in the criminal trials.
March 18, 2005
Former Quebec advertising executive Bernard Thiboutot tells the inquiry he masked payments to the Liberals by funnelling five cheques worth $57,000 to Liberal party organizers through an employee's consulting company. He worked for Groupaction advertising executive Jean Brault.
March 16, 2005
Gilles-Andre Gosselin, a former Montreal advertising executive, loses his cool when asked if he profited from insider trading. He is questioned about meeting an official with Ottawa's tulip festival in April 1997. The meeting took place before he was awarded a federal contract to promote the event.
March 1, 2005
Jean Lafleur, former head of Lafleur Communication Marketing, tells the inquiry that he socialized with Liberal cabinet ministers, but never received political direction from the Liberals. Lafleur says he received direction from Chuck Guité, the bureaucrat who ran the program.
Ad exec denies getting political direction from Liberals
Feb. 28, 2005
Prominent Quebec advertising executives and their employees begin testifying about their role in the sponsorship program after hundreds of subpoenas are issued.
The first major witness to take the stand is Jean Lafleur, former head of Lafleur Communication Marketing. Lafleur's company received more than $30 million in sponsorship contracts.
Quebec ad firm received millions from Ottawa
Feb. 20, 2005
Gomery inquiry could cost $80 million: report
Feb. 10, 2005
Former prime minister Paul Martin appears as a witness. It marks the first time in 130 years that a sitting prime minister has testified before a public inquiry.
Martin says as finance minister, he was never involved in the process of deciding how money was spent. Once a department's budget was approved, his role was over.
Martin says he never discussed sponsorship fund with key players
Feb. 8, 2005
Jean Chrétien testifies before the inquiry, saying he was ready to go to great lengths to avert another referendum in Quebec after the close referendum results in 1995.
In a stunning move, the former prime minister takes a swipe at the head of the inquiry, Mr. Justice John Gomery and his recent comments to the media.
After a lengthy day of testimony, Chrétien opens his suitcase and identified one by one a number of golf balls initialled by very influential people from small towns, including one with the seal of the President of the United States.
Chrétien calls scandal-plagued sponsorship program 'necessary and right'
Feb. 7, 2005
Jean Pelletier, Jean Chrétien's former chief of staff, makes no apologies for the scandal-ridden sponsorship program.
Pelletier won't apologize for sponsorship role
Feb. 4, 2005
Jean Carle, a close aide to Jean Chrétien and a former vice-president at the Business Development Bank, confirms he agreed to conceal details about a $125,000 sponsorship deal.
Chrétien aide recounts phoney paper trail
Feb. 4, 2005
Former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano ends four days of testimony, saying the sponsorship scandal has "ruined his life." He says he can't find a job and the ordeal has been hard on his family.
Gagliano again insists on innocence
Feb. 2, 2005
Gagliano says he was unaware of details of sponsorship program
Feb. 1, 2005
Gomery acknowledges it was a mistake to speak to the media, but refuses to step down as head of the sponsorship inquiry.
The federal government approves an additional $39 million for the inquiry, bringing the total cost to $60 million.
Gomery refuses to step down
Jan. 31, 2005
Chrétien team argues for Gomery's removal
Jan. 27, 2005
Inquiry head John Gomery threatens to take the federal government to court to force the release of confidential cabinet papers.
Gomery threatens court action to get secret papers
Jan. 25, 2005
Lawyers for Jean Chrétien deliver a 25-page submission to the public sponsorship inquiry demanding that Gomery step down, claiming that he has lost objectivity.
Chrétien lawyers want Gomery out
Jan. 20, 2005
Former Canada Post CEO appears before sponsorship inquiry
Jan. 11, 2005
Chrétien's lawyer questions judge's objectivity
Dec. 16, 2004
In an interview with the National Post, Gomery says he is coming to the same conclusion about the sponsorship program that Auditor General Sheila Fraser did. He also calls Chuck Guité a "charming scamp." He later had to defend his comments and insist his objectivity had not been compromised.
Gomery defends comments on program
Dec. 14, 2004
Sponsorship inquiry told producer given extra fee
Dec. 13, 2004
Ad firms paid for no work, sponsorship inquiry hears
Nov. 24, 2004
Witness tells sponsorship inquiry Guité was best man for the job
Nov. 23, 2004
Guité says PMO accepted free passes
Nov. 22, 2004
Guité won't have to explain differences in his testimony
Nov. 18, 2004
Immunity should not be waived for Guité: panel
Nov. 9, 2004
Drop parliamentary privilege for Guité, lawyer asks
Nov. 8, 2004
Never monitored ad agency billing or contracts, Guité tells inquiry
Nov. 4, 2004
Guité tells conflicting stories on Martin's interference
Nov. 3, 2004
No competition for sponsorship jobs: Guité
Nov. 1, 2004
Bureaucrat signed sponsorship deals to keep paper moving
Oct. 29, 2004
Gagliano defends sponsorship program
Oct. 28, 2004
Guité must testify in public, inquiry rules
Oct. 27, 2004
Martin close to ad scandal firm, Opposition says
Oct. 26, 2004
Gomery inquiry will call Martin to testify
Oct. 25, 2004
MPs' protection blocking sponsorship probe: Gomery
Oct. 22, 2004
Former Guité aide says no guidelines for sponsorship
Oct. 21, 2004
The RCMP arrest Jacques Paradis, a former employee of Publicité Martin, a company that was awarded a sponsorship contract of more than $300,000. The Mounties allege that Paradis submitted bogus invoices for almost $100,000 in 1998.
RCMP make sponsorship arrest
Oct. 20, 2004
Sponsorship inquiry told ad agencies called frequently
Oct. 19, 2004
Sponsorship manager an alcoholic, inquiry hears
Oct. 14, 2004
Liberal ties May have carried weight, inquiry told
Oct. 12, 2004
Government paid thousands for golf balls
Oct. 8, 2004
Sponsorship probe hears from dead man
Oct. 6, 2004
Martin would have known about sponsorship fund, inquiry told
Sept. 29, 2004
Draft 1996 audit pointed to sponsorship problems, but not final report
Sept. 28, 2004
Chrétien's lawyer given rough ride at sponsorship inquiry
Sept. 27, 2004
Top civil servant says Chrétien not accountable for sponsorship scandal
Sept. 23, 2004
Lawyers for Guité, Gagliano, say clients were hard-working public servants
Sept. 22, 2004
Sponsorship problems were flagged 5 years ago
Sept. 15, 2004
Guité hand-picked to head sponsorship program: memo
Sept. 14, 2004
Chrétien signatures focus of sponsorship inquiry
Sept. 13, 2004
Liberals can't cross-examine sponsorship witnesses
Sept. 7, 2004
Testimony begins at the public inquiry into the sponsorship program.
No mention of sponsorship until 2001: Fraser
Aug. 12 2004
Canada Post president André Ouellet tenders his resignation following allegations of excessive spending and questionable hiring practices. Prime Minister Paul Martin accepts his resignation a day later.
Aug. 4, 2004
André Ouellet sends a fax to Revenue Minister John McCallum defending his actions as president of Canada Post. The letter, more than a dozen pages long, addresses all the issues brought up in a recent audit, the minister's office says.
Ouellet defends Canada Post practices
July 30, 2004
New audit blasts suspended Canada Post president
July 29, 2004
Revenue Minister John McCallum gives suspended Canada Post president André Ouellet seven days to respond to a new audit, which says Ouellet disregarded hiring and expense account rules and intervened in contract tendering.
July 26, 2004
Problems persist with federal ad programs, review suggests
July 20, 2004
Taxpayers should pay Guité's inquiry bills: judge
July 5, 2004
Chrétien, Gagliano, Guité granted standing at sponsorship inquiry
June 15, 2004
Former employees of Lafleur Communications say their boss asked them to make donations to a Liberal candidate in the 1997 federal election. They say the company asked them to write the cheques and later paid them back.
Sponsorship ad firm asked workers to donate to Liberals
May 27, 2004
Former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano launches a $4.5-million lawsuit against the federal government and Paul Martin for wrongful dismissal, lost wages and personal damages.
Gagliano launches $4.5-million suit against PM
May 23, 2004
Prime Minister Paul Martin calls an election for June 28, 2004. The dissolution of Parliament effectively puts an end to the work of the public accounts committee and to the chances it would release a report before Canadians went to the polls. The Liberals lost significant support in Quebec and wound up with the country's first minority government in 25 years.
May 18, 2004
The three opposition parties release a report claiming the public accounts hearings into the federal sponsorship program exposed a "gross abuse of power" that reached up to the Prime Minister's Office.
Opposition says sponsorship scandal extends to PMO
May 12, 2004
Members from all opposition parties accuse the Liberals of trying to cover up the scandal by shutting down the investigation.
Sponsorship probe shutdown a coverup: Opposition
May 11, 2004
The Liberal majority on the public accounts committee votes to end hearings on the sponsorship scandal and to begin working on an interim report.
Commons committee ends public hearings into sponsorship scandal
May 11, 2004
Ottawa ready to sue over misspent sponsorship funds (CBC story)
May 10, 2004
Chuck Guité, a former director of the sponsorship program, and Jean Brault, founder and head of Groupaction, are each charged with six fraud-related charges by the RCMP. The two men plead not guilty during a brief court appearance and are released on bail.
RCMP charges 2 with fraud in sponsorship probe
May 6, 2004
Liberal MP moves to shut down sponsorship probe
May 3, 2004
Auditor General Sheila Fraser stands by her report on the federal sponsorship program. She says none of the testimony from the heads of ad agencies would force her to change her conclusions.
Auditor general stands by report
April 29, 2004
Ad exec disputes auditor general's claims
April 27, 2004
John Hayter, president and CEO of Vickers and Benson, one of Canada's largest advertising firms, says the auditor general's report has embarrassed his industry.
Witness says sponsorship scandal has 'embarrassed' ad industry
April 27, 2004
New 'whistleblower' bill gets rough ride in committee
April 23, 2004
In his second day of testimony, Chuck Guité, the former director of the federal sponsorship program, says one Quebec communications firm appeared to get a big fee for little work because its contribution was verbal advice. The chair of the public accounts committee, John Williams, says he can't write a report on the hearings yet because Guité "stonewalled" the committee.
Guité gives second day of sponsorship testimony
Committee says Guité 'avoided' tough questions
Witness 'stonewalled' us, says committee chair
April 22, 2004
Chuck Guité, who oversaw the federal sponsorship program from 1996 to 1999, testifies before the committee and denies any wrongdoing, saying he did all the necessary paperwork.
Guité testifies that he broke no rules
April 20, 2004
Isabelle Roy, an aide to former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, contradicts Gagliano's testimony, saying the minister was regularly involved in the sponsorship program.
Former aide contradicts Gagliano's version of events
April 19, 2004
Former Groupe Everest president Claude Boulay tells the committee his agency did not misappropriate any public funds. Two ad executives Jean Brault and Gilles-André Gosselin do not appear to testify as scheduled.
Ad exec defends sponsorship commissions
April 13, 2004
AG report not accurate: Ouellet
April 7, 2004
Former Via Rail president Marc LeFrançois files a $2.7-million wrongful dismissal suit against the federal government, alleging he was suspended for "politically opportunistic reasons."
Former Via chief denies wrongdoing, launches wrongful dismissal lawsuit
April 6, 2004
Former Via Rail president Marc LeFrançois says Via Rail never issued "fictitious invoices" relating to the sponsorship program.
Jean Pelletier, who had been Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's chief of staff, testifies that the Prime Minister's Office did not direct spending in the federal sponsorship program.
PMO didn't give sponsorship orders: Pelletier
April 5, 2004
David Dingwall, federal public works minister from 1993 to 1996, denies rules for tendering advertising contracts were bent during his tenure. He says he created strict guidelines for tendering contracts, but that the department managed the programs.
Dingwall denies knowledge of 'rule-breaking'
April 1, 2004
The Liberal majority decides to make public the sealed testimony of Chuck Guité. The testimony, given two years before to the public accounts committee, addresses the approval of advertising contracts to Groupaction Marketing Inc.
Liberals use majority to release sponsorship testimony
March 30, 2004
Jean Pelletier, the former chairman of Via Rail, launches a lawsuit accusing the railway and the federal government of defamation and illegal dismissal. He seeks more than $3 million in damages.
Pelletier to sue Via, federal government
March 30, 2004
In a breakfast with print reporters, Chrétien calls the sponsorship scandal "an administrative problem" and says wrongdoers should be jailed.
In a speech given the same day in London, England, Chrétien defends his "record of good governance and competent administration." He also criticizes faultfinders who are "paralysing" government.
Sponsorship scandal an 'administrative problem': Chrétien
Chrétien delivers thinly veiled criticism of Martin government
March 29, 2004
Norman Steinberg, the Public Works Department's top auditor, is the second senior civil servant to contradict Gagliano's testimony in his appearance before the public accounts committee.
March 25, 2004
Appearing before the committee, former sponsorship program manager Huguette Tremblay contradicts Gagliano, saying he had weekly meetings with Guité, issuing directions on how to spend the sponsorship money. Gagliano had told the committee he met with Guité only three or four times per year and wasn't involved with program spending decisions.
Gagliano met weekly with sponsorship director: bureaucrat
March 24, 2004
Former Via Rail employee Myriam Bédard testifies that the president of the company told her Groupaction was involved in drug dealing.
Bédard comments electrify sponsorship probe
March 19, 2004
Gagliano continues his testimony, saying that he fulfilled his obligations as minister of public works by ordering an internal audit when he became aware of irregularities in the department.
'I took action,' Gagliano insists
March 18, 2004
Former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano testifies before the committee, saying he is the innocent victim of the sponsorship scandal.
Auditor General Fraser reappears before the committee to testify on how files were handled in Gagliano's office, describing a "flagrant lack of documentation."
Gagliano denies blame for sponsorship scandal
March 17, 2004
11 key bureaucrats in sponsorship fiasco to appear before committee
March 15, 2004
New appointments to Crown corporations will be 'merit-based'
March 11, 2004
Allan Cutler testifies. The former public works bureaucrat says former sponsorship program director Chuck Guité was the "controlling influence" of the program, and that irregularities went back as far as 1994.
Guité 'real culprit' in sponsorship scandal: whistle blower
March 10, 2004
Quebec scouts pulled into funding fiasco
March 5, 2004
Prime Minister Martin fires Marc LeFrançois, the president of Via Rail. "A change is necessary at the highest levels of Via management in order to restore public confidence," says Martin.
March 4, 2004
The RCMP says internal reviews support its position that mishandling of sponsorship money during its 125th anniversary celebrations was the result of administrative errors, not wrongdoing.
RCMP defends handling of sponsorship dollars
March 3, 2004
Chrçtien aide linked to sponsorship scandal
March 1, 2004
Jean Pelletier is fired as chair of Via Rail over the comments he made about former Via employee Myriam Bçdard.
Ranald Quail, a former senior civil servant who oversaw the program through much of the 1990s, testifies. He says he never questioned how tens of millions of dollars were spent because proposals were signed by people at the highest government levels.
Pelletier fired from Via Rail
Feb. 27 2004
Former Olympic gold medallist Myriam Bçdard says she was forced to leave her job in the marketing department of Via Rail after she questioned some transactions with an advertising company.
Via Rail chair Jean Pelletier dismisses Bçdard's comments, calling her a "poor, single woman" who is "looking for pity." He would later apologize.
Via chief apologizes for 'pitiful single woman' remarks (CBC story)
Olympian says sponsorship scandal cost her Via job
Feb. 24 2004
Martin suspends the heads of three Crown corporations: Michel Vennat, president of the Business Development Bank of Canada, Via Rail president Marc LeFrançois and Canada Post president André Ouellet.
Anderson denies role in sponsorship scandal
Feb. 19 2004
The committee calls for copies of all cabinet documents related to sponsorship program as the inquiry is set to start in weeks.
Sponsorship inquiry to begin within weeks
Feb. 17 2004
Treasury Board president Reg Alcock tells committee civil servants who come forward as whistleblowers won't lose their jobs, but he says there will be no protection for civil servants involved in criminal activity.
The announcement comes as Auditor General Sheila Fraser says she will release the names of government and Crown corporation employees who were allegedly involved in the scandal-plagued federal sponsorship program later in the week.
Fraser to name names in sponsorship controversy
Feb. 16 2004
Martin refuses to say whether he would delay an election call in the wake of mounting criticism over the government's sponsorship program.
Chrétien refuses to comment on the sponsorship scandal, telling reporters to direct their question to the present government.
Martin will appear at sponsorship inquiry
Chrétien ducks queries on sponsorship scandal
Feb. 15 2004
Martin promises to resign if there's evidence he knew about fraud in the federal sponsorship program.
Appearing on CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup the former prime minister tells callers he didn't know any details about the spending, and he's personally angry and will get to the bottom of the scandal.
PM puts job on line in sponsorship inquiry
Feb. 14 2004
John Williams, chair of the public accounts committee, says criminal charges could be laid against those connected to mismanagement of sponsorship program dollars.
MP predicts charges in sponsorship scandal
Feb. 13 2004
Martin doesn't recall a letter sent to him in 2002 by a Liberal party official that suggested taxpayers' dollars were being diverted from the sponsorship program for "partisan purposes."
The names of 11 civil servants and politicians interviewed during the auditor general's investigation are released.
'I have nothing to regret': Gagliano
- Four past public works ministers: Ralph Goodale, Alfonso Gagliano, Don Boudria and David Dingwall.
- Pierre Tremblay and Chuck Guité, former directors of the sponsorship plan.
- Marc LeFrançois, president of Via Rail, and Christina Sirsly, a Via vice-president.
- Jim Judd, secretary of the Treasury Board.
- Ran Quail, former deputy minister of public works who oversaw the troubled sponsorship program.
- Guy McKenzie, former executive director of Communications Canada.
Feb. 12 2004
Martin maintains he wasn't in the loop on Quebec issues because of his deteriorating relationship with Chrétien. Martin doesn't directly accuse Chrétien of wrongdoing, but says it was obvious that some civil servants were told to break rules following some "political direction."
Testimony before the public accounts committee begins.
Martin demands that any minister who knew about the scandal and did nothing should resign. Martin also says he's prepared to testify at a judicial inquiry.
Fraser tells the public accounts committee that problems with how sponsorship program money was being handled was a concern as far back as 2000 but that Ottawa ignored her concerns.
Opposition scorns PM's sponsorship program denials
Martin says he was in dark over scandal
Internal auditor warned of sponsorship problems in 2000: Fraser
RCMP wants out of sponsorship probe
Feb. 11 2004
Martin denies knowing particulars about the sponsorship program while he was finance minister, saying that the acts "were perpetrated by a very small group of 10 to 12 people within the 14,000 who work for Public Works."
Martin compared to Nixon in sponsorship debate
Gagliano ready to talk about sponsorship program
Feb. 10 2004
Auditor General Sheila Fraser's report reveals that the federal government mismanaged hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars between 1997 and 2001.
Prime Minister Paul Martin calls for a public inquiry, to be headed by Quebec Justice John Gomery, into how the sponsorship program was handled.
Martin also fires Alfonso Gagliano as ambassador to Denmark.
Auditor general gives details of 'scandalous' sponsorship program
Ambassador Gagliano fired as critical report released
Dec. 13, 2003
On his first day as prime minister, Paul Martin cancels advertising sponsorship program. Martin also announces Communications Canada, the arm of the Public Works Department responsible for the troubled program, will wind down by March 2004.
Dec. 12, 2003
Paul Martin is sworn in as prime minister; appoints Stephen Owen new minister of public works. Goodale becomes finance minister.
Nov. 13, 2003
Two days before federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser is to release her report on the federal sponsorship program, Chrétien prorogues Parliament; his October 2002 ethics bill dies on the order paper.
Sept. 15, 2003
Parliament resumes, weeks before Liberals will elect new leader at November convention. Opposition repeats calls for judicial inquiry into sponsorship program, demands recall of Ambassador Gagliano from Denmark. Public Works Minister Goodale says the government has "toughened rules and procedures" and stopped doing business with the firms in question.
April 28, 2003
Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale announces Ottawa's new federal advertising policies. They include:
Goodale unveils new federal ad rules
- A stipulation that 80 per cent of advertising work be done in Canada by Canadians, replacing a previous rule requiring that all work be Canadian.
- An increase in the number of suppliers eligible to bid on government contracts.
- The introduction of independent fairness monitors to help with the bid process.
- A switch from paying on a per-commission basis to hourly rates, a policy that will be reviewed within 24 months.
- The issuance of an annual report on federal advertising activity.
Oct. 23, 2002
Prime Minister Chrétien unveils a new ethics package that includes a new code of conduct for MPs and requires lobbyists to disclose more information.
Sept. 17, 2002
RCMP raids the offices of Groupaction in Montreal; removes files and documents.
May 29, 2002
Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale says that RCMP officers are looking at more files from his department and that new files had been referred to the police.
May 21, 2002
The public hears that Groupe Polygone, a Quebec company, received almost $40 million in government sponsorship contracts in the past five years.
May 8, 2002
Auditor General Sheila Fraser releases a report saying federal bureaucrats broke "just about every rule in the book" in their dealings with the marketing firm Groupaction. The RCMP will look into $1.6 million in federal contracts awarded to the Montreal advertising firm.
Auditor general refers Liberal contracts to RCMP for investigation
May 6, 2002
RCMP expected to investigate Ottawa corruption allegations
March 20, 2002
Boudria calls for an audit of the two reports by Groupaction. He says the auditor general will have the option of asking for a refund or bringing in the RCMP to investigate. A committee looking into Gagliano's qualifications as a new ambassador doesn't allow any questions about his 25 years in politics.
Liberals, opposition argue over Gagliano's credentials
March 19, 2002
The missing report is found, but it's nearly identical to another report delivered to the government in October 1999 at a cost of $575,000. Both reports evaluated the impact of government sponsorships of recreation, hunting and fishing events. Both documents contain the same spelling errors, while the later report contains recommendations for events that had already taken place. Boudria places the blame on Gagliano, his predecessor in the post.
Auditor General to probe suspicions of double billing
March 12, 2002
Neither newly-appointed Public Works Minister Don Boudria nor Groupaction can find a report worth $550,000 that should have been delivered in February 1999. Boudria says the study may never turn up. The report was to have suggested ways for the government to improve its visibility at cultural and sporting events.
New minister can't find old report
Jan. 15, 2002
After a major cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appoints Gagliano ambassador to Denmark. Opposition leaders call it a patronage appointment for a longtime Chrétien loyalist.
May 23, 2001
Federal Ethics Counsellor Howard Wilson releases a report clearing Gagliano of any conflict of interest in awarding contracts to the advertising companies that subcontracted their printing business to his son's company.
Oct. 11, 2000
An August 2000 internal audit appears on the Public Works Department website indicating the government is not keeping a close watch over the advertising agencies responsible for sponsoring sporting and cultural events. Groupaction is one of those agencies.
Internal Public Works report (PDF - Adobe Acrobat required)
Aug. 26, 2000
Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano comes under fire for awarding contracts to advertising companies, including Groupaction, which subcontracted their printing business to Lithographie Dickson, a company that hired Gagliano's son, Vincenzo, as its director of marketing and business development in 1999.
May 1, 1999
The federal government issues a $615,000 contract to Groupaction to report on whether the government is getting its money's worth from its sponsorship of hunting, fishing and other recreational events. Those sponsorship deals were handled entirely by Groupaction. The company later produces a 20-page report listing projects that are looking for government money.
Oct. 30, 1995
The Quebec referendum ends with the No side winning by a narrow margin. Shortly after, the federal government begins a pro-federalism advertising campaign to boost its profile in the province. Groupaction Marketing Inc. is one of the advertising agencies chosen for the contracts.