Liberal Party responds to Gomery investigation
Statement by Doug Mitchell
Monday April 4, 2005
Because of the publication ban, you'll understand that I'm quite constrained in what I can say publicly at this time.
For that reason – and out of respect for this commission's work, I will not take any questions. However I do have a few brief comments to make on behalf of my client, the Liberal Party of Canada and its Québec wing.
First, I think it is important to remember always that it was Prime Minister Martin, acting on behalf of the Liberal government, who established this commission of inquiry. There are serious questions to be answered, which can only be answered after all the evidence is heard and the Commission files its report. It is at this point that misconduct must be accounted for by those responsible. The Liberal Party has a critical interest in seeing that all the truth comes out and that it comes out in full - in order to lift this shadow of suspicion that has unfairly and incorrectly been cast across the thousands of honest and dedicated people who work on behalf of this Party.
Second, it is equally important to remember that when Mr. Martin inherited the Party, he found its financial condition to be precarious. In particular, the Quebec wing of the party was some $3 million in debt. This is hardly in keeping with assertions that the party was receiving substantial benefit through inappropriate means.
Third, the government has launched suit on behalf of the people of Canada to recover $41 million dollars that it believes was inappropriately disbursed. Of that, I remind you that fully $30 million dollars is being sought from M. Brault whose testimony is banned from publication precisely because he is currently under criminal indictment.
Based on recent evidence, including that of Mr. Brault, my clients have instructed me to seek full standing for the Liberal Party of Canada at this inquiry. With full standing, the Party will have the right to cross-examine witnesses, more fully participate in determining the veracity of various allegations and help to ensure that anyone who may have violated the trust placed in them by the Liberal Party is exposed. The party is inalterably committed to ensuring that the Gomery commission completes its work and reports to all Canadians on its findings.
At the same time, I have also been directed by my clients to contact the RCMP to ask that they investigate the possibility that the Party itself may have been the target of fraud or other harmful acts by certain individuals. I have done so.
The Liberal party believes, as Prime Minister Martin has said clearly and repeatedly, if there were individuals who broke the law and therefore, broke faith with the Liberal Party of Canada– who abused its name, its history and its tradition then they should face the full consequences of their actions.
To be clear, this – using inappropriate means to gain undeserved benefit - is not the way the Liberal Party of Canada conducts itself. This is not, as some have harmfully suggested, a reflection of the political culture or acceptable practice of politics in the province of Quebec. This is, if proven to be true, criminal action, plain and simple. There is no party more committed to seeing the truth revealed than the Liberal Party of Canada because it is its name and members who have been stained by these individuals and their actions.