Heather Mallick is better than you. Just ask her.

Right-wing people seem to be in a real stiffy of a rage these days, much more than the left, who are quiet and aghast. I was drifting rightwards once, but I don't like crowds. Crowds to the left of me, crowds to the right, here I am stuck in the middle and not sufficiently angry.

Why haven't you true believers on the hard right unbent and raised a glass to your own triumphs? Isn't success a nice pink pacifier? Your designated idiot runs the United States and brown-skinned people are having a fairly rotten time of it. Liberal-minded Jews are maintaining a tactful silence while Ariel Sharon lumbers about.

The world is yours, all you angry people.

Gee, Heather sounds positively blissful, doesn't she? If only I could achieve that level of wisdom and bemused detachment.

What a fraud is our Ms. Mallick. I've been re-reading Lord of the Rings again (you know what's coming now, don't you? It's a LoR comparison... shield your eyes) and I think Heather Mallick is most like Wormtongue. Of course, all her false flattery is directed at herself but we'll have to live with that imprecision. Try not to get angry about it, okay?

Debate continues to rage over the question of exactly how stupid Art Eggleton is, Andrew Coyne comes to the defence of Eggleton's intelligence.

The Liberal majority plainly accepted Mr. Eggleton's "defence" of his actions, given in two hours of testimony before the committee: I'm an idiot. I didn't fully understand what I had been told, or when I had been told it. I didn't mean to mislead Parliament. I just made a mistake. As Carolyn Parrish, MP, put it: "Mr. Eggleton goofed. His intent was not malicious, nor was it intentional." You see? Even his intent was not intentional. Good old addle-headed Art. Not much for brains, but his heart's in the right place.

Not so fast. As reassuring as it is to be told that the Minister of Defence, in time of war, is incapable of following the simplest briefings, it won't wash. For Mr. Eggleton did not merely mislead Parliament, but also, it appears, the committee. He was not just mistaken about when he first knew about the prisoner transfer; his explanation of how he came to be mistaken is implausible in itself. He has not just contradicted himself, but his top military brass.

This is puzzling, but encouraging...

Jean Chretien has directed his Ministers to release those expense records that had been ruled confidential only months ago. I guess I've become kind of cynical because I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Does this have anything to do with leadership positioning? Is it a strategic retreat in a longer campaign?

Why is it so hard for me to accept that the Chretien Liberals are simply doing the right thing? Years of experience.


Why is the Globe & Mail so frugal with the details? The National Post has a much more detailed version of the same story.
Among the details left out by the Globe is the fact that;

Opposition MPs yesterday welcomed the Liberal volte-face, though they accused Mr. Chrétien of staging "a pre-emptive strike" to quiet a growing controversy on the eve of hearings into the issue by a Commons committee.

Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau...urged Mr. Chrétien to reverse the policy before the Liberal government faced a costly, time-consuming legal challenge it stood to lose.

John Williams [Alliance MP] said yesterday he remains uncertain whether the Prime Minister's directive represents a "reversal" or simply "a waiver" of the new policy for Cabinet ministers and their political aides.

See? Cynicism is always the best policy. According to this reading the move is indeed a strategic retreat in the face of upcoming scrutiny by a committee, the secrecy ruling has not been rescinded but simply over-ridden by the PM, and the policy can be changed back as easily as it was changed. I think I'll hold off on my Liberal Membership for a little while yet.

I love it when a plan falls apart

Conflicting versions of 'truth' in the Canwest empire...

Last week Murdoch Davis, editor-in-chief of the Southam News division of CanWest, sent a letter to the editor of the Leader-Post.

In it, Davis explained how local managers at CanWest-controlled papers – like the Leader-Post and the Halifax Daily News – set their own editorial policies.

Then the Editor of the Halifax Daily News weighed in...

There are facts. There is truth. All journalists know they don't always coincide.

In his March 7 letter to The Leader-Post, Murdoch Davis states that the infamous column by Stephen Kimber was "declined by management" of The Daily News in Halifax.

This is factual, in that I am a manager at The Daily News and I did spike the column.

However, it is also factual that I and other editors had been urged repeatedly by Mr. Davis to get his advice on any prospective commentary that might run contrary to Southam Publications' rapidly changing editorial policies.

To my profound regret, I did so in Mr. Kimber's case. Mr. Davis told me in colourful terms that publishing the piece would be a career disaster, at least as far as Southam was concerned.

Those are the facts. I'll leave the determination of the truth where it belongs, with your readers.

I love it... Poor old Murdoch is done in by the power of convergence. Looks like Canwest will have to come up with a National damage control policy.


More Fun Quotes.

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West--Nepean, Lib.):
"This discussion is out of order. We had an election. The clerk counted. The clerk declared who was elected chair. It's over. It's done. Maybe the committee should move on with its business."

Ms. Catterall was trying to get the Finance Committee back to work after some nitpickers had pointed out that the deciding vote which elected the new Chairwoman was not a legitimate vote. Thankfully other Liberal Members, including the Liberal Chair who had been the beneficiary of that dubious vote, insisted on straightening out the matter before 'moving on'. Much hilarity ensued...

Mr. Scott Brison: Mr. Discepola is saying he abstained. Unless we're using the new math, an 8-7 vote would be impossible with a fifteen-member committee if Mr. Discepola abstained. I trust Mr. Discepola.

An hon. member: One member has already left.

If Columbo was there, he would have asked that departing member to stay for just a moment longer I bet.

The Clerk: In terms of the members I have on this list, fifteen members are registered members.
Mr. Lorne Nystrom: There are fifteen registered members. Is Mr. Discepola one of them?
The Clerk: Mr. Discepola is a member, yes.
Mr. Lorne Nystrom: Therefore, if Mr. Discepola abstained, the count is impossible, Mr. Clerk.
Mr. Scott Brison: We would accept mathematical impossibilities on the heritage committee, but this is the finance committee.

At this point, the spanking new Liberal Chair decides that discretion is the better part of valour and adjourns.

Act II

The Chair: We're back in session.
Before I give the floor to Mr. Cullen, I'll tell you that, from what I can piece together, it would appear to me that there was a substitution for Mr. Discepola. Mr. Discepola walked into the room but did not vote, but that would not have allowed that substitute—
Mr. Nick Discepola: I was here before 80% of these members. How could I have been substituted for? Who substituted for me?
The Chair: As I understand it, Mr. Duplain [Co-operative Liberal Stooge] was here as a substitute.
Mr. Nick Discepola: When I asked him, he said he didn't know what he was here for.

Is this great comedy or what? Personally, I would have given Ms. Catterall a punchline right here... Something like; "He learned pretty quick though, didn't he?" and then hit the canned laughter hard.

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr. Discepola. Order.
I didn't see the vote, and I didn't count the vote. I can tell you, though, that I'm not prepared to take the chair on any committee when I'm not endorsed by the people around me, so we're going to resolve this.
Mr. Roy Cullen: Madam Chair, in the interest of getting on with the business of the day and of Parliament—and I appreciate all the support offered by the people opposite and on this side—I think I will withdraw my name so that we can get on with the business of government.

Aww, isn't that nice?

If I was a little handier with html I would add one of those 'quote of the day' features. In the present case, I'll just put in an interesting quote the old fashioned way. Marleau and Montpetit are the authors of the Big Book o' Rules used in the House of Commons and it is constantly quoted as the final authority on Parliamentary Procedure. During the recent fiasco of the Finance Committee choosing a new Chair. The Clerk quoted from page 803 of Marleau & Montpetit;

“On occasion, committees have had recourse to a secret ballot. This is done only when the committee members express a unanimous desire to proceed in this manner. "

That strikes me as being more than a little circular; there is no requirement for a secret ballot unless the issue is contentious and any contentious issue will, by definition, rule out unanimous consent. In other words, you can have a secret ballot only if nobody cares how their peers are voting. If the matter is trivial enough to allow unanimous consent then it's likely too trivial to bother with a secret ballot. I think opposition members should start requesting a secret ballot on all votes no matter how trivial. You'll either begin to establish a series of precedents or, more likely, simply force the majority to declare themselves opposed to the principle of the secret ballot over and over again.

Which brings up another thing that bothers me... Whenever unanimous consent is denied in Parliament, either in committees or in the full House, Hansard records the denial as SOME HONOURABLE MEMBERS. I think that any denial ought to be attributed to an individual or at least to the House Leader of the party that is denying consent. It's a small thing really but it's slightly jarring that the person or persons who are denying unanimous consent are themselves anonymous. In the case of a vote to allow a secret ballot, as above, the persons who deny their peers the right to secrecy are themselves voting in secret.

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Beware the ides of March.


Jean Chretien will not rely on Anecdotal Evidence in deciding his stance on Zimbabwe.
Like many Zimbabweans, I recently bought myself a Zanu-PF membership card, purely for protection. I hear you say "Shame on you Trevor". True. But did I have much choice? You see, I have to visit my relatives in the townships and the rural areas and the card has become a passport which all of us must carry. In certain instances it has saved lives.

The card has become a critical part of the survival kit in these difficult times. The other part is chanting Zanu-PF slogans with gusto.

Link Via Natalie Solent

It's Liberal Bashing Time!

Your weekly round-up of all that's slimy, crooked and smelly in Canadian Politics. Put on your goggles and keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Liberals pay $62M to allied PR firm
Company 'dominates' sponsorship program

A Montreal firm with close Liberal ties has dominated the federal government's sponsorship program by landing about $62 million in contracts during the past five years, breaking the government's contract policy rules in the process.

Groupaction Marketing Inc. has landed more than 25 per cent of the $240 million in sponsorship contracts during the Public Works Canada program's first five years, creating what Treasury Board calls "market dominance" that is out of keeping with government policy on awarding contracts.

That's right folks... Over 70% of all contracts go to Quebec firms and Groupaction accounts for 25% of that action. Leaving only 45% of that $40 million per annum to be divvied up between other Quebec firms.

Groupaction is closely linked to the Liberal party, with several senior members having worked for the Liberals during federal elections, and the company having donated $112,162 since the Chrétien government took power.

No time for democracy
This week, the Opposition noted that the Liberal government cut off debate on a matter of wide public interest for the 75th time since coming to power in 1993.

Closure and time-allocation are the principal tools available to the Prime Minister's Office to ram legislation through Parliament with little scrutiny. The supposed purpose of the House of Commons being to hold government accountable by debating its actions, their use amounts to an end run around Parliament by the Prime Minister's Office.

Chrétien and Bush remain chilly allies
PM, known as 'Dino' at White House, heads to Washington
Mr. Chrétien comes to Washington tomorrow for a meeting and dinner with Mr. Bush. The Prime Minister said yesterday he plans to raise Canada's concerns over possible changes to U.S. government policy on nuclear attacks when he visits Mr. Bush.

How long will it be before Bush decides to drop the pretence that Chretien is a 'valued friend' and tells him to stay the hell at home and solve his own problems? Perhaps someone could take Dino aside and explain to him, quietly but forcefully, that competent governments plan for the worst case scenario and work to bring about the best case. That's why you don't see George W. pleading with separatists "Please, please, please, just give us one more chance!!!" while his entire country teeters on the edge of disaster.

Stumbling down the garden path, oblivious to all danger, is only an option when you are a small power under the protection of a large power. Please don't embarrass us further by acting like an equal when it's your own policies that have brought us so low in the first place.

Whistle-blower fears review will fall off 'radar screen'
The former head of the Canada Lands Company is worried the federal government has shelved plans to reform the governance of Crown corporations and agencies.

I think Mr. Grant is going to have to live with his fears. That sucker is shelved.

Government plans to halt Eggleton inquiry
Enough witnesses already called, Liberal MPs say
The government signalled yesterday it is unwilling to continue the inquiry as Liberal MPs argued vehemently against opposition requests to seek more evidence after going through a preliminary round of 11 witnesses.

Liberal MP Joe Jordan, parliamentary secretary to Mr. Chrétien, bluntly told the committee he will vote against all opposition motions for more witnesses when the committee resumes sitting tomorrow and accused the opposition MPs of mounting a political fishing expedition to embarrass Mr. Eggleton.

Well, this bashing stuff is kind of fun but it's time to but my pronostication skills to the test... Here's one more paragraph from this story;

The chairman of the committee, Liberal MP Peter Adams, said once the committee finishes voting on the opposition witness list a report for the Commons could be ready within two weeks.

I predict that the report will find 'that Mr. Eggleton inadvertently mislead the house'. The report will be unusually strong in it's condemnation of a sitting Cabinet Minister and Eggleton may even resign with a mea culpa about losing the confidence of the military and stepping aside for the good of the war effort. With that refreshing display of honourable behaviour, Chretien will announce a summer date for the By-elections and prorogue the parliament in the 1st week of April to resume in Sept. 2002.
You read it here first.

New Census numbers mean seven new MPs. Three for Ontario and two each for Alberta and B.C. In the next election Ontario will elect 106 Members out of the 308 total.

Considering how little value is provided by backbench MPs, perhaps it is time to reduce the number of Members by 20% to 246 seats.
That would eliminate 55 seats from the current number saving us over $7,000,000 in annual base salary alone. Throw in the pension plan, the perks, the free flights, the election expenses, the staff allowances, etc... etc... etc... and you're looking at a minimum $25 million per year that could be eliminated and no one, except 55 unemployed MPs, would notice the slightest change in their lives.


Edward Greenspon comes out with a pretty strong statement in a National Post opinion piece today. He calls Milosevic's trial a 'lynching'.

The first two minutes of the Milosevic trial told me all I needed to know. This is a lynching. Normally, lynchings are done outdoors. Here, the lynching has been brought indoors. Instead of a tree and a rope, there are May and Del Ponte. The problem with lynching is that it's fatally flawed as a process, whether the man who gets hanged is innocent or guilty. The result is certain. A kangaroo court is one in which legal procedures are largely a show, and the action "jumps" from accusation to sentencing without due process. No matter how long a trial takes, if the result is inevitable, then it's a show trial. The accusers might as well shoot Milosevic. At least, it doesn't soil the process.

Chretien's "Canadian Compromise"

To the surprise of no one, Robert Mugabe was re-elected in Zimbabwe. To the surprise of one person, Jean Chretien, he achieved this victory through cheating, intimidation, beatings, detentions and various forms of thuggery. Now that democracy is officially dead in Zimbabwe you can count on Chretien to speak out, in a week or two, about the 'danger to democracy' in the region. Chretien wants to lead the Axis of Nevilles.

Arrggh! She's at it again...

Judy Rebick is complaining that 9/11 has made life more dificult for the left in Canada;

The Canadian left has traditionally relied on a certain element of anti-Americanism; Canadian identity has been formed in the last few generations by declaring the many ways in which we're unlike Americans.

Rebick says that as though it were something to celebrate rather than something shameful. If you can't define yourself on your own terms than you really are nothing at all. I read a very interesting essay in Dissent Magazine just last night. It asks the question, Can There Be a Decent Left?

A few left academics have tried to figure out how many civilians actually died in Afghanistan, aiming at as high a figure as possible, on the assumption, apparently, that if the number is greater than the number of people killed in the Towers, the war is unjust. At the moment, most of the numbers are propaganda; there is no reliable accounting. But the claim that the numbers matter in just this way, that the 3120th death determines the injustice of the war, is in any case wrong. It denies one of the most basic and best understood moral distinctions: between premeditated murder and unintended killing. And the denial isn’t accidental, as if the people making it just forgot about, or didn’t know about, the everyday moral world. The denial is willful: unintended killing by Americans in Afghanistan counts as murder. This can’t be true anywhere else, for anybody else.

The radical failure of the left’s response to the events of last fall raises a disturbing question: can there be a decent left in a superpower? Or more accurately, in the only superpower? Maybe the guilt produced by living in such a country and enjoying its privileges makes it impossible to sustain a decent (intelligent, responsible, morally nuanced) politics. Maybe festering resentment, ingrown anger, and self-hate are the inevitable result of the long years spent in fruitless opposition to the global reach of American power. Certainly, all those emotions were plain to see in the left=s reaction to September 11, in the failure to register the horror of the attack or to acknowledge the human pain it caused, in the schadenfreude of so many of the first responses, the barely concealed glee that the imperial state had finally gotten what it deserved. Many people on the left recovered their moral balance in the weeks that followed; there is at least the beginning of what should be a long process of self-examination. But many more have still not brought themselves to think about what really happened.

Up until a few years ago, I considered myself a leftist and I still am 'left-leaning' on very many issues. But the left in Canada has become so irrelevant, so immature, so bloody stupid in so many ways, that they are doing more harm to their own causes than the right ever dreamed of doing. I highly recommend that Dissent Essay, lots of plain language about the moral failure of the left. It ought to be required reading for Rebick and her ilk.


More on that Groupaction report.

Just an additional detail from a story in this mornings Globe & Mail.

Groupaction was in the news before when the Globe and Mail found that it received a $575,000 contract to evaluate federal sponsorship of hunting and fishing shows and to list events that could be candidates for federal sponsorship.

The first half of the contract was not done, but the company did produce a 122-page report listing about 1,300 cultural and sporting events across Canada.

I just did a Google search for 'cultural & sporting events in Canada'. Results 1 - 10 of about 33,100. Search took 0.08 seconds. Now I'm only a moderately skilled typist but I think I could produce a 122 page report listing 1300 cultural and sporting events by the end of business today. Hell, if that kind of report is worth $575,000 I'll even promise the Liberal Party a $100,000 donation. I'd be pretty pleased to make $475,000 for a day's work. Excuse me, I have to go call Public Works.


Rick Glasel writes about Mike Harris;
So Mike wants to take on Jean?

More power to him I say, this country needs all the help it can get. However, premiers haven't been very successful on the federal stage. Look at Stanfield and Roblin, or even Tobin, for that matter. The premier from the twentieth century that I admired the most was Peter Lougheed, and he resisted a determined campaign to draft the little lawyer from Calgary into federal politics. Mike Harris is no Peter Lougheed, although his French may be a bit better. Lougheed abdicated the Conservative throne because he knew he couldn't win seats in Ontario and Quebec, and he knew that only a national party can win federally. Even with 100 seats in Ontario, Chrétien still wouldn't be PM, if he hadn't been able to buy seats in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.

High profile provincial conservatives like Harris need to publicly take a stand in favor of the federal PC's and privately steer money and volunteers in the same direction, so that in 2-3 years when the next federal election comes around, there are a large number of quality candidates running. Unless Canadian politics have gone completely bananas, a political party that looks like it could run the country with even a hint of competence will push the Liberals out of power. Joe Clark isn't the issue, outside of Paul Jackson and a few other homophobes in Alberta, Canadians don't hate him, they just don't want him running the show without help. As far as the NDP and the rest of the left wing go, they are just as irrelevant as the Alliance. About 10% of the voting population lives on the lunatic fringe, and unless you can bunch them up in higher concentrations in places like Halifax or Penticton, the NDP and Alliance won't win seats any time there is more than one credible national party. Quebec is a distinct society, so I won't make any predictions there, but it is possible to boot the Liberals out even if they sweep Quebec. You just can't afford to get skunked in Ontario.

Good points, Rick. I'd love to see Harris jump to the federal level, not because I am terribly enamored of the man, but because he would be, right from the start, a genuine threat to all the established players. Like you, I certainly hope he would sign on with the PC's rather than the Alliance. I'm sure he's prudent enough to wait to see where the chips fall with the Alliance leadership before he makes any commitments anyway. It'll be interesting to see what transpires.
Damian Penny alerts his readers to another odious missive from Judy Rebick. Damian objects (quite rightly) to Rebick's casual reliance on suspect numbers from Afghanistan but my beef is with the entire tone of the thing.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Rebick says 'that there isn't much to celebrate.'
In fact, she complains that;

When the president of NAC resigned barely a month after her election, it didn't make even a ripple in the news. NAC is a shadow of its former self and most provincial women's advocacy groups have disappeared.

Memo to Judy: It's not the evil patriarchal oppressors that have destroyed your clubhouse. It is precisely because you don't bother to listen to yourself that no one else is listening. This entire screed testifies to the fact that you have no interest in objective commentary or advocacy. It's plain that you are writing for (and listening to) only the terminally disaffected and have long since abandoned any pretence of addressing a larger audience. Well hey, it's your time... we'll overlook the fact that it's our money.

With the possible exception of women's hockey, it's been a very bad year for women in Canada.

What do you mean 'possible?' True hockey fans (and there are millions of us) celebrated the women's gold medal every bit as proudly as we did the men's. Even that horrible troglodyte Don Cherry was unstinting in his praise for the courage and class of the women's hockey team. As a Canadian hockey fan I wonder why you are so grudging in your acknowledgement of these outstanding Canadian athletes? Is it because they fall outside your preferred worldview of women as victims? Is it because you can't argue that they were patronized or trivialized by the media or the public? Or is it simply that an unqualified celebration is incompatible with your larger message of woe?

British Columbia is the worst. The grisly story of that pig farm outside Vancouver reminds us whose life is important and whose isn't in our society. The fact that the disappeared were women, prostitutes, drug addicts and mostly aboriginal made their lives less important to the police who failed to put the necessary resources into stopping a serial killer. It's a lesson for those who think racism and sexism no longer exist in mainstream Canada.

I'll give Rebick her due. That point is well made and sadly legitimate. It's too bad that Rebick did not expand on the point or simply end her complaint there. Sadly, that was not to be...

Rebick has one paragraph for 50 murdered woman and follows that up with 5 paragraphs on the devastation wrought by the B.C. government of Gordon Campbell.

So is there anything to celebrate on this International Women's Day? Some would say we should celebrate the liberation of women in Afghanistan. I'll hold my applause there.

Second, if the warlords take over from the Taliban, the situation of women may not be much better, as Dr. Sima Simar told a Toronto audience just before she returned to Afghanistan to become deputy prime minister in charge of women's rights. Between the warlords and the Taliban, "the choice of women was to be raped or to be prisoners in their own homes," she explained.

You'd wonder why these glaring inconsistencies don't even appear to raise an eyebrow among some people. Dr. Sima Simar is returning to Afghanistan (presumably returning from exile) to take up the role of deputy prime minister and Rebick doesn't see much worth celebrating in that because the warlords have not been magically transformed into a battalion of sensitive new-age guys. If Rebick and her NAC cronies wish to be taken seriously then they ought to get serious. It would not kill you to admit, every once in a blue moon, that something positive has happened. The Taliban outlawed women's participation in society. There is no equivalence between an official misogyny and a misogyny expressed in lawlessness. The fact that Rebick doesn't recognize - or will not admit to - that difference is absolutely stunning in it's dishonesty. Afghani women are a very long way from being free but they have taken a giant step forward and only a ideologue could fail to see that. Only a fraud could claim it doesn't matter.

It is these social movements around the world that are fighting back against the savage anti-woman, anti-people policies of the Gordon Campbells of the world.

To recap... The overthrow of the Taliban may, or may not, be a net benefit for women. It's simply too early to tell.

Gordon Campbell, on the other hand, is a clear and vicious enemy with 'savage, anti-woman, anti-people policies'. Pretty much sums up the question of why Judy Rebick and her type are marginalized, doesn't it?
That's One Hell of a Catch, that Catch-22

Reporters at the Regina Leader-Post newspaper who pulled their bylines last week to protest changes to a story critical of CanWest Global Communications Corp., the broadsheet's owner, have been disciplined.
Four of the journalists who spoke to other media outlets regarding the incident were suspended for five days without pay, while the other six were given letters of reprimand.

Here's how it works; 1) Journalists working for Canwest Global Communications Corp. are allowed to express any opinion that has not been specifically or implicitly forbidden; 1(a) expressing an opinion that has been forbidden is allowed, but forbidden opinions will not be published; 1(b) expressing an opinion that has been forbidden - but is allowed - but is unpublished - will not be punished in any way. 1(c) decisions of the editors are final.

2) Speaking to anyone outside of Canwest Global Communications Corp. about 1) is forbidden and will be punished.

All opinions are allowed even those which are forbidden. Forbidden opinions can be freely expressed within the Corporation but may not be expressed outside of the Corporation. Therefore; freedom exists inside the Corporation and only those views expressed outside the Corporation may result in punitive action. Views that have not been specifically forbidden may be submitted to the Corporation for consideration, if the view is found to be forbidden it may be freely expressed inside the Corporation and it will not be published, if the view is not forbidden it may, or may not, be published.

All questions should be delivered, in triplicate, to the Corporation.

Parody is Impossible

Ottawa can't find $550,000 report

A few passages from the story;

The Chrétien government has paid a company with close Liberal ties a total of $550,000 to produce a report of which no trace can be found, documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show.

Documents also show, in a separate $575,000 contract signed with the government, Groupaction agreed to undertake two specific tasks, but the company only delivered on one. Groupaction said it did a partial job after reaching an agreement with the bureaucrat in charge of the program.

It will now prove difficult for the government to defend the $1.1-million in contracts to a generous Liberal donor, with little to show for its payment but 122 pages for the second report.

Groupaction and an affiliated company gave $70,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada between 1998 and 2000.

In a letter written to the government this year, Groupaction said that three copies of the final report were delivered to Ottawa in early 1999, but that the company did not keep a paper or electronic version of the $550,000 document.

Groupaction defended its work. Mr. Desjeans said he was told by employees that the first report was voluminous,

Ah! Well at least it was a 'voluminous' report that disappeared. I'd hate to think that we had been ripped off.