Alfonso Gagliano, former Canadian public works minister, testifies at the Gomery Commission in 2005. (Dimitrios Papadopoulos / QuebecPress.com)

Alfonso Gagliano, former Canadian public works minister, testifies at the Gomery Commission in 2005. (Dimitrios Papadopoulos / QuebecPress.com)

LETTERS: High time to honour their oaths

Editor: Re: Low rode to higher ground, Dec. 15 letters.

Editor:

Re: Low rode to higher ground, Dec. 15 letters.

I agree with letter-writer Ken Calder that successive governments in Ottawa have failed to display trust and integrity.

It is not surprising that only 38.2 per cent of eligible voters turned out to cast a ballot in the recent byelection (Liberals return after 64-year-drought, Dec. 13).

There is no doubt that elected members of Parliament dating back to the mid-1990s have taken the oath of office and have subsequently committed numerous breaches of ethics and even criminal offences. As a result, the voting public has lost the trust and confidence in our MPs.

The last two governments in Ottawa have not taken a lesson from the previous government in power for two terms, beginning in the mid-1990s. The “sponsorship scandal” perpetrated by the Liberal government under prime minister Jean Chrétien was the worst example of corruption and fraud in Canadian history. The RCMP investigation lasted for over 10 years and alleged that several million dollars in kickbacks and benefits were received by the Liberal party on contracts awarded which defrauded the federal government.

Charges of fraud against the government, forgery and laundering proceeds of crime were laid. High ranking liberals were convicted and some received jail terms. One business man received $6 million for little or no work done.

The Gomery Commission was subsequently called by prime minister Paul Martin in February 2004 after a report by the auditor general found unexplainable irregularities in the program. The commission took almost two years for the final report with a cost to taxpayers of over $60 million. Gomery concluded that the prime minister shared blame for the mismanagement of the program.

Shortly after the Conservatives took power in 2006, a Conservative MP remarked that the ‘sponsorship scandal’ shocked Canadians and eroded their confidence in the federal government, adding it’s ironic to see the Conservatives involved in a scandal of their own with the Senate.

It’s time that all members of Parliament and the Senate honoured their oath of office and restored public confidence.

Bill Parrott, Surrey