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Canadian PM appears before scandal inquiry commission

[JURIST] Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin [official website] testified Thursday before a judicial inquiry commission [Gomery Commission website] on his role in a corrupt government program originally intended to promote national unity following a close referendum on separation by Quebec. During the program's operation Martin was Finance Minister in the Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chretien, who testified Tuesday [Globe and Mail report]. In his own testimony today Martin sought to distance himself from the initiative, claiming that he set budgets but that he was not responsible for how the money was used. The program allegedly resulted in contracts worth $100 million being awarded to advertisement agencies friendly to the Liberal Party [political party website] that did little work. Martin's testimony marks the first time a sitting Canadian prime minister has testified before such an inquiry since Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first premier, appeared before a commission investigating a railway scandal in 1873. Read excerpts [text] from Martin's testimony. CPAC has a live webcast of Martin's testimony, which continues until 5 PM ET today. CBC News has in-depth coverage of the Gomery Commission and more on Martin's testimony.

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