Probably at the time it seemed like a nice little gesture, make a phone call, have someone at the Business Development office take a look at the file, cut a cheque. Yep, that little hotel in Quebec just seemed like business as usual. But from that little hotel comes the dark side of politics, a side that may make Paul Martin's job of governmental clean up guy a little harder to push forward.
Almost lost in the blazing headlines of the Auditor General's report on sponsorship, was a little court ruling at the same time that said; the former president of the Business Development Bank, Francois Beaudoin suffered a vendetta at the hands of associates of the former Prime Minister Jean Chretien. His apparent sin, not approving a grant for an inn in Jean Chretien's riding.
In a well thought out and comprehensive report Toronto Star columnist, Chantal Hebert connects the dots and fills in the blanks, at just how dark things could get in the era of Jean Chretien. Ruined reputations, petty vindictiveness, scandals all keep percolating under the surface. It's like a game of pop the mole. Bad news appears like the mole from one hole to another, bang on one, another pops up.
In fact the recent suspension of BDC president Michel Vennat, has nothing to do with the ongoing sponsorship scandal investigation, but rather the shocking revelations of the Quebec court in the matter of Mr. Beaudoin vs the BDC. Further investigation of the circumstances of Beaudoin's departure from office and the handling of the affairs at BDC, can't be leaving the current Prime Minister hopeful that the bad press will end any time soon. The continual stream of bad news, must be giving him pause at the idea of approaching the electorate any time soon.
It had been thought that the saga of the inn would close with the retirement of Jean Chretien. Yet here it is back on the front pages, like an abscess on a tooth, flaring up waiting to be treated. The Eagles have a song about a famous Hotel, somehow the lyrics seem hauntingly appropriate for the current mess:
We are all just prisoners here
Of our own device
And in the master's chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast
Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
Relax said the nightman
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave