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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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2/11/2005

Well, Someone is Lying

During his appearance before the commission on Tuesday, Mr. Chrétien drew Mr. Martin into the web, saying Mr. Martin ”always agreed to set aside $50-million a year for expenditures related to national unity that would be decided upon during the course of the year.”

But Mr. Martin contradicted Mr. Chrétien's statement, saying he didn't know about the reserve until the 1996 budget. He had been finance minister since 1993.

"You were never involved in any discussion with the prime minister or anybody in his office about what kinds of expenditures would come out of the unity reserve?" asked Mr. Finkelstein.

"No, I was not," Mr. Martin answered.
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Martin is opting for the Sgt. Schultz, "I see nothing" defence. 50 million a year is just not worth the attention of the Finance Minister who is all about "set(ting)the financial context" and then washing his hands of responsibility.

But what about Chretien's allegation of Martin's always having agreed? Well Martin is dancing here. His position is that he never discussed "sponsorship" per se. Or any of the other details for that matter.

So who is telling the truth? It is possible that Chretien, every year, had a quiet chat with Martin during which he said something like, "Same again on National Unity." and Martin replied, "Your call Jean." Yep, that's the only way that one or the other Liberal Prime Minister is not lying....