February 08, 2005

Still swingin' from Shawinigan

It turns out it's as hard as ever to get the last laugh on the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien. You'll recall Justice Gomery had referred to the sponsorship program's purchase of golf balls with the former Prime Minister's signature on them as "small-town cheap." Here is the end of Chrétien's appearance at the Gomery inquiry today:

MR. SCOTT: And then finally, Mr. Chrétien, may I conclude this inquiry by asking you about the golf balls? First of all, did you order golf balls, that is you personally, with your signature on them -- your signature and the maple leaf on them?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: No, I did not order them myself.

MR. SCOTT: Those golf balls existed, as we can see again from -- if you look at Exhibit JC-3 under Tab 17 ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Page 25.

MR. SCOTT: Page 25. Thank you, sir. There are only three of us here to find this page. And there are golf balls shown on page 25 and page 26, and those golf balls they may be here now but they were when the photographs were taken, were in your storage archives; is that correct, sir?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. These are the balls that were not used.

MR. SCOTT: So they still exist and are unused; correct?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: They still exist.

MR. SCOTT: And do I understand that they represent about half of the golf balls that were made?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes.

MR. SCOTT: And where did those golf balls come from?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: You know, what happened is -- I have to explain to the Commission is when we are travelling abroad, social things arrive and we gave little gifts or received little gifts, and at the beginning in '94, I received golf balls from presidents of the -- from the President of the United States, and I received many. They were giving the same balls to the bodyguards who were with me and so on as a courtesy thing, as a souvenir. So we decided that we had to do the same thing, and so we had -- somebody said "We should have balls with your name on it."

MR. SCOTT: All right. Now, these golf balls that we see in the photographs of which there are many remaining, Exhibit JC-3, were those golf balls that were given out in your capacity as the Prime Minister to, for you have given examples of, officials of other countries?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. It was not used for the unity file. When the government -- when the Prime Minister or any minister had some things to buy, the buyer for the government is the Department of Supply and Services. So we have to request there, even the Prime Minister, to buy for us.

MR. SCOTT: All right. So were any of these golf balls given out at your own golf tournament ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Never.

MR. SCOTT: --- the fundraiser for the Liberal Party?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Never.

MR. SCOTT: And were golf balls ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Not these balls. There were some given ---

MR. SCOTT: All right. Who paid for those?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: --- or caps given in my riding.

MR. SCOTT: And who paid for those?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: But we paid for it. The association paid for it.

MR. SCOTT: All right. Come back to these golf balls then that are in the photograph. You said you got golf balls from others.

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes.

MR. SCOTT: Who did you get them from, Mr. Chrétien? Do you have some examples?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes, yes. I have a ball here with the seal of the President of the United States and signed by a Texan by the name of George Bush.

MR. SCOTT: All right. What other ones?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: I have one here signed by a gentleman from Tennessee, Al Gore with the Capital Hill on the ball.

MR. SCOTT: Just stopping you there, if I might, sir, ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: No, no, no, it is too much fun. I have one here that was given to me -- these balls here were given to me -- a very nice presentation, Mr. President, by a small-town guy from Hope, Arkansas. Look at the nice box. His name, his seal, the ball, nice box and the ball you open and there is a ball signed again by the small-town guy of Hope, Tennessee, signed Bill Clinton and the seal.

MR. SCOTT: What seal?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: The seal of the presidency of the United States. Here I have one from another guy from Texas from small town Crawford, Texas, George W. Bush with the seal of the presidency and his name signed. Here I have one from a small town-guy, I guess, from Manila, Philippines, President Ramos, plus the flag of his country, and it is very common. I have one here by a very well-known group, Ogilvie Renault. You know them? Mr. Roy and Mr. Mulroney and Mademoiselle Gomery are all members of that firm. I cannot call them small town and call them Westmount cheap. It would be an oxymoron.

MR. SCOTT: All right. Mr. Chrétien, did you receive those golf balls from the persons you have identified?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. Only one that was given to me by another; it is from George W. Bush. The others I received them from them.

MR. SCOTT: And did you give them golf balls with the maple leaf and your signature on it?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes, and I gave them to their bodyguards and/or their partners who were playing golf with us.

MR. SCOTT: Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner.

THE COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr. Scott. Is that all for the witness? Thank you, Mr. Chrétien.

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Thank you, Mr. Commissioner.

THE COMMISSIONER: We will adjourn until Thursday at 1 9:30.

Posted by anatole at February 8, 2005 11:45 PM
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