Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Arrests in HRDC Fraud

I always hated the use of the word "boondoggle"... makes us sound really old.

Anyway, did any of you see this in any newscasts? Neither did I... buried online at CTV. Convenient.
Police arrest six more in HRDC boondoggle probe
Updated Wed. Dec. 20 2006 6:36 PM ET
Canadian Press

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Police have made six more arrests in a long-running investigation into the HRDC "boondoggle", and the Conservatives are drawing links between the accused and the Liberals.

The arrests by police in Peel Region, near Toronto, are the latest echo from a scandal that became known as the "billion-dollar boondoggle" when it broke in 2000.

Human Resources Development Canada, a now-defunct federal agency, made grants and contributions to projects designed to provide skills training through local organizations.

In January 2000, an internal audit showed sloppy paperwork and poor accounting in a number of project files. Auditors extrapolated their findings in 460 files to the entire program, suggesting potential problems in the handling of up to $1 billion.

However, later audits found real problems with only a small percentage of projects.

Investigators said Wednesday that they have identified $3 million that was allegedly defrauded by the six accused and their corporations from 1999 to 2004.

The accused are from Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville.

Four of the them -- Harbhinder Bajwa, John Danson, Laura Mikos and Harvinder Rakhra -- are charged with fraud and bribery

The other two -- Phillip Goodman and Peter Rethazy -- are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

A police task force previously charged 21 people for similar fraud offences.

The Conservatives issued a news release noting that people with the same names as those charged are listed as past donors to the Liberal party according to Elections Canada.

"Given the Liberal record of scandal, waste and mismanagement, Canadians are wondering about the strange coincidences involved of individuals being charged having the same name as those who were donating to the Liberals," Dimitri Soudas, deputy press secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said in a news release.

The Tories said three of the suspect donations were made to the riding association of Jane Stewart, who was human resources minister in charge of HRDC.

"Canadians may see eerie similarities to the sponsorship scandal -- as a government program is being defrauded by individuals, who could be the very same individuals who were then donating money to the Liberal party and to Liberal riding associations."

At the time of the HRDC scandal, Stewart downplayed the size of the problem, saying poor accounting may have lost track of money, but little or no money actually disappeared.

HRDC was reorganized and renamed Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Chretien, who strongly defended the minister and the department, called an election in 2000 after the worst of the HRDC scandal had blown out -- and won a third majority.

However, the HRDC scandal was eventually seen, along with the subsequent sponsorship scandal as evidence of, at best, Liberal laxity with public money and, at worst, Liberal tolerance for corruption.
So, now we have a couple of names to work with... let the games begin!
Donations to the Liberal Party of Canada, via Elections Canada

HARVINDER RAKHRA - TOTAL - $1357.10
2000 - Liberal Party of Canada - $534.00
2002 - Liberal Party of Canada - 35103 York West - $433.10
2003 - Liberal Party of Canada - $390.00


LAURA MIKOS (she's the stingy one of the bunch...)
2002 - Liberal Party of Canada - 35007 Brant - $342.40


JOHN DANSON - TOTAL - $4296.02 (he's not so stingy...)
2000 - Liberal Party of Canada - $849.00

2001 - TOTAL - $2468.12
35103 York West - $1000.00
35081 St Paul's - $250.00
35075 SCARBOROUGH - EAST - $250.00
35014 Don Valley West - $250.00
35013 Don Valley East - $500.00
35006 BRAMPTON WEST - MISSISSAUGA - $218.12
(for the record, all six of these are from the same Toronto postal code)

Wow, he really increased his donations from 2000... maybe he had a little extra cash to spread around? One might come to such a conclusion. Now, on to the following years...

2003 - Liberal Party of Canada - $678.90
2004 - Bennett, Carolyn / St. Paul's - $300.00
(NOTE: no accusations towards Ms. Bennett, she likely would have known nothing)
All of them only donated during or shortly after the time frame that money was going missing from the HRDC. Of course, it could be mere coincidence, as our system DOES assume one is innocent until proven guilty.

We (the CPC) put out a press release with some of the same info, but I can't get to the website right now to post the link.

3 Comments:

  • At Thu Dec 21, 01:05:00 AM EST, Blogger vicki said…

    Will we see Jane Stewart held accountable? And when will we see any charges for Adscam?

     
  • At Thu Dec 21, 03:25:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To Vicki:

    I hate to be cynical or pessimistic, but if Stephane Dion wins the next election, I suspect (I would like to be wrong) the answers to your questions would be "never" and "when pigs fly." Otherwise the answer to each one would probably be "eventually."

    Brian in Calgary

     
  • At Thu Jan 11, 08:17:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually... It was on the front page of the Toronto Star.

    Although I wouldn't expect that any Conservatives read anything besides the Toronto Sun!

     

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