[QODLink]
Archive
Canadian PM apologises for scandal
Canada's embattled Prime Minister Paul Martin has made a rare, nationally-televised address to apologise for a corruption scandal within his Liberal Party.
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2005 01:52 GMT
Paul Martin's government is threatened by the scandal
Canada's embattled Prime Minister Paul Martin has made a rare, nationally-televised address to apologise for a corruption scandal within his Liberal Party.

The scandal hit headlines when an auditor-general's report found millions of dollars in a national unity fund had been diverted to Liberal-friendly advertising firms to promote federalism in Quebec following the narrow defeat of a separatist referendum in the French-speaking province.

The scandal outraged the public when it was uncovered in 2002 and contributed to the Liberal Party's loss of its majority in parliament after federal elections last June.

Calling it an "unjustifiable mess", the prime minister on Thursday pledged to call an election within 30 days of an inquiry report on the scandal.

"Those who are in power are to be held responsible, and that includes me. I was the minister of finance and knowing what I have learned in the past year, I am sorry that I was not more vigilant," Martin said. 

"Those who have violated the public trust will be identified and will pay the consequences."

Martin was finance minister under then-prime minister Jean Chretien when the corruption was alleged to have occurred.

Final report

The final report on allegations of money laundering and kickbacks within the Liberal Party is due on 15 December.

Justice John Gomery is overseeing an ongoing federal inquiry in Montreal concerning allegations of kickbacks and money laundering by Liberals during Chretien's leadership.

"Let Judge Gomery do his work," Martin said in taped speeches in English and French. "If so much as a dollar is found to have made its way into the Liberal Party for ill-gotten gains, it will be repaid to the people of Canada. I want no part of that money."

The scandal has riled Canadians and prompted the opposition Conservative Party to threaten a no-confidence vote that could bring down the government and trigger a new election.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.