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Former Canadian PM wants court to oust sponsorship inquiry chair

[JURIST] Lawyers for former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien [CBC News profile] filed a motion in Canada's Federal Court [official website] Thursday to remove Justice John Gomery [CBC News profile] from the chairmanship of a judicial commission of inquiry [Gomery Commission website] investigating Chretien’s involvement in improper payments made by a defunct national unity program. Last month Gomery refused to step down after Chretien's lawyers alleged that he made comments in media interviews that displayed "a reasonable apprehension of bias". The formal court filing comes after an exchange between Gomery and a witness in which the Justice suggested there was "a conspiracy of silence" about the unity program that resulted in $100 million in contracts being awarded to advertising firms with close ties to Chrétien's Liberal Party. The filing asks the Federal Court to order Gomery to step down, but does not ask that proceedings be halted. Chretien testified before the inquiry last month [JURIST report]. Canadian Press has more.

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