February 18, 2004
Ottawa: Liberal MP Dennis Mills says the sponsorship scandal is like a cancer eating away at the party – and the public trust.
But Prime Minister Paul Martin did the right thing to battle the disease by calling a public inquiry, the Toronto politician added Wednesday on his way into a caucus meeting.
Mills warned the party’s recovery will be slow and likely won’t come by early April when many think Martin might call an election.
“The prime minister is obviously passionately committed to getting the cancer out of the patient and so I don’t want to speculate on how long it’s going to take.”
Quebec Liberal candidate Jean Lapierre, referring to the fact that Martin is dealing with a problem from Jean Chretien’s government, compared the scandal with an inheritance.
He said it’s like having a house full of new furniture and finding a rotten fish in the fridge.
The sponsorship scandal burst wide open last week when the auditor general reported that $100 million was paid in commissions to Liberal-friendly Quebec ad firms for little or no work.
Mills said the fiasco has hurt faith in the government.
“I think it’s beyond the party. I think this is something that certainly has touched all of us as Liberals but it also involves the government of Canada and on our watch we’ve been given the trust to do things properly and something has slipped here.”