Thursday, April 28, 2005

Coffin Nails

The tales of greed, fraud, corruption and wretched excess pouring forth from the Gomery inquiry would test the patience and temper even of Solomon.

So it's not surprising to hear Mr. Justice Gomery blasting Paul Coffin.

From today's edition of The Globe and Mail:

Mr. Coffin admitted his firm being picked to handle government contracts after he lied when he answered the government questionnaire for the selection process.

He claimed to have a branch office in Ontario, inflated the number of employees he had and enlarged his volume of sales by a third.

”I guess that's part of the advertising business. The right to exaggerate seems to be built in,” Judge Gomery said.

The amount of business you're getting from the government is going up like a rocket, it's coming to you through Mr. Guité, Mr. Guité is administering the program--and yet the two of you never talked about it?” a skeptical Judge Gomery asked.

”You're close friends, having diner with your wives. What did you talk about when you're going on his boat or playing golf or going to diner? It's very difficult for me to believe that the subject was never mentioned.”

He (Coffin) said he became a staunch Conservative because he opposed Pierre Trudeau's national energy program.

But after a decade of supporting the Tories, once they were out of power, he only gave them $400. Instead, between 1999 and 2002, he donated $29,300 at Liberal fundraisers.

”Why the conversion? Did you have an epiphany like St. Paul on the road to Damascus?” Judge Gomery asked.

”It would appear that you were getting substantial business from the government . . . so you thought it was good business to show up at (Liberal) functions and it wasn't going to get you any business to show up at poorly-attended Conservative functions.”

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