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PM to address nation on sponsorship


Canadian Press


Wednesday, April 20, 2005



Prime minister Paul Martin. (CP/Tom Hanson)



OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Paul Martin will make an extraordinary nationally broadcast address to Canadians on Thursday on the sponsorship program and the paralysis in Parliament.

He will turn to Canadians in what could be the final days of his minority government, with polls showing the 12-year Liberal stranglehold on power may be coming to an end.

A new Decima Research poll shows that revelations at the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship scandal have cost the Liberals significant support to the benefit of the Conservative party.

The Conservatives stand at 35 per cent nationally, compared to 28 per cent for the Liberals and 18 per cent for the NDP.

Parliament has been bogged down in acrimonious debate for weeks as opposition parties jockey for position in a threatened spring election.

''We're clearly in an exceptional circumstance,'' said Scott Reid, Martin's communications director.

''While he will not be proposing that Parliament be dissolved or prorogued, he will be direct in saying what he has done and what he believes should be done to address the current situation.''

The opposition reacted to Martin's prime-time TV appearance with disdain.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe characterized it as ''absolute panic,'' while the NDP said it was another slap at Parliament, where such national pronouncements should be made.

Peter MacKay, deputy leader of the Conservatives, called it a diversionary tactic.

''We're suffering parliamentary paralysis because of this prime minister's inability to deal with the affairs of this House,'' he said.

Martin has ''an opportunity to address this House every day in question period. This to me is a diversionary tactic. They're playing games.''

The other parties have all demanded equal air time.

And the Tories, not to be outdone, used the Commons Public Accounts committee Wednesday to serve notice of a non-confidence motion.

The motion will be debated a week from Monday, May 2, but would still require further procedural manoeuvring before it could bring the government down.

If all that wasn't enough, former Liberal cabinet minister Alfonso Gagliano - an apparent linchpin in the sponsorship program - was quoted Wednesday saying Martin's actions will lead to the break-up of Canada.

Gagliano, the former Public Works minister, Chretien confidant and Liberal party lieutenant in Quebec, told the Ottawa Citizen the inquiry has set the stage for another referendum.

''And goodbye Canada. This is the end - thanks to Paul Martin's leadership,'' said Gagliano.

The discredited former minister's comments threatened to revive the corrosive civil war between the Martin and Chretien wings of the Liberal party.

Chretien hasn't commented on the recent damaging sponsorship testimony, even as it spins closer and closer to him and polls show a slim majority of Canadians hold him personally responsible.

Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan refused to publicly call out Chretien on Wednesday, but came close.

''Obviously that would be up to Mr. Chretien to decide. I'm not going to comment on that,'' said McLellan.

''Those who are responsible know who they are. In a system in which you hope to retain the confidence of the public around its integrity, those who are responsible should step forward and take responsibility.''

© Canadian Press 2005
 

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^^^^^^^^True but anything will help. For a man that was a good finance minister he has become the biggest pussy of a PM this country has ever seen.
Even before Gomery you would never know we even had a PM.
 

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I question as to whether he was a good finance minister, either. He could read a speech with the best of them, but is actually stammering and blubbering on the fly and Martin took the easy route and balanced the budget on the backs of the provinces and military. He spilled little blood at all in Ottawa.
 

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I'd like to say that this is clever on Martin's part but I can't say I didn't see it coming.
It's too bad in a way...in another time Martin would have made a good PM. As finance minister he did do some good work and I was happy to see him take the top job. Unfortunately he's turned out to be a waffler. If he ran independantly I'd vote for him providing it turns out he had nothing to do with Adscam.
 

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I would say he was a decent Min of Finance. Sure he did it on the provinces back but the point is it he still did it. It had to be done and now with 8 balanced budgets in a row, we are very strong for it.
 

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^Well, federal finances are strong but the provinces and the services they provide are still dealing with the damage going on ten years later. And if it had to be done, why must it necessarily mean dumping their deficits on the provinces rather than cut their own government spending in any meaningful way?

Is Martin really worthy of praise for taking the easy road?
 

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As Finance Minister I rather have a mediocre health care system then a bankrupt nation having to rely on the IMF, which we almost did.
 

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^I agree, although I think that we must not destroy our social system just to shave off a couple of years off of the payment of the debt. If too much is taken out of the system like in education, it may make us less able in the future to pay down the debt as rapidly.


On an other note, it's great to see Mr. Dithers quake in his loafers.
 

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It wasn't a case of either-or. But Martin turned it into that for lack courage and not cutting federal programs outside of defence in any meaningful way. Heaven forbid should some federal bureaucrats lose their jobs rather than force provinces to layoff nurses instead. But then Martin could have done this under advisement from Chretien so then why should he take any credit because it's hard to reconcile the stammering-bumbling-weakling PM he is with the strong finance minister he supposedly once was. We also know he has a problem with his ethics and a tax dodger by reflagging his ships to beat paying Canadian taxes. And he had the nerve to lecture the premiere of Newfoundland about flags. Williams lowered the maple leaf for his province. Martin did it to beat taxes...
 

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Now that its over, and we see there was nothing of substance to say that the networks will bill the Liberal party for the 6min of primetime ad space.

Beyond that, I think that this was a huge blunder for Martin because he has set up a situation where the only part of public opinion that was going for him (the lack of support for an election so soon after the last one) is virtually gone. Its going to be hard to ride that public sentiment when he is guaranteeing an election himself as soon as Gomery reports. I cant see anything in his speach other than that which is new, and none of the other stuff has had much of an impact so far, and I cant see that changing now. All that he is accomplished is to torpedo his only advantage in the polls right now, and to appear absolutely desperate on TV. He also gave all three oposition leaders an opportunity to shine, particularly Jack Layton who mentioned all of the things that Martin could have done in the last year to show Canadians that he was capable of governing.
 

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Well atleast he took responsibility for the Liberals actions.
But I wholeheartedly agree with him on one count...........have an election AFTER the enquiry is complete. As much as I think the Liberals are as crooked as a dogs hindleg, these are still allegations. The Gomery Enquiry must be aloud to finish and hats off to Martin stating that he will call an election within 30 days.
Right now NOTHING is getting done. This nation is on cruise control. We don't even have a damn budget. Apparently the gov't will run out of money by mid-June. I know that really means nothing but it exemplifies the situation this country is in.
Hold an election now and ALL pieces of legislation fall and the whole process starts over. Whoever wins, I think no one will get a majority, has to bring in a new budget and then the house won't sit til the fall........That will have made 18months with nothing happening. Canada has problems and we have to get on with the task at hand. I think it might come back and haunt the Conservatives if they bring the government down.
They maybe ahead of the Liberals in the polls but the polls have shown consistently that Canadians do not what to go to the polls right now and it might turn out to be the Conservative's Achilles Heal if they try to bring the government down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PAUL MARTIN and JACK LAYTON will meet in tomorrow to possibly join the forces of the LIBERALS and NDP!
 

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Man I wish we have a sponsorship scandal each year. Loads of announcements comes after the scandal lol, $300 million for Great Lakes security, money for Winnipeg Human Rights museum, Toronto's waterfront, TIFF, and so on. Hey and maybe an announcement with Ontario and the Feds to fix the $23 billion gap is coming.
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^
True, nobody knows how to buy a vote like a Liberal. It might just what Ontario and Toronto need.
I also think its great that Martin and Layton are talking. Layton says he may pass the budget if he gets changes and Layton is a very strong supporter of urban affairs and funding so that could be very good news.
 
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