[JURIST] A former federal civil servant found guilty [JURIST report] earlier this month of defrauding the Canadian government of more than $1.6 million in the so-called sponsorship scandal [JURIST news archive] that helped bring down Canada's Liberal Party government in January was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison Monday. After seven days of deliberations, a jury in Montreal convicted Chuck Guité [CTV profile], a former bureaucrat in the Department of Public Works and Government Services [official website], of all five charges against him. Justice Fraser Martin of the Quebec Superior Court [official website] expressed disappointment that Guité did not show any remorse and said that he deserved a stiff sentence because he was in a position of trust when he committed fraud.
Guité was in charge of the sponsorship program [CBC backgrounder] established to raise the profile of the Canadian federal government after voters in Quebec narrowly defeated a 1995 referendum [CTV backgrounder] to declare the province sovereign. The program allegedly awarded lucrative contracts to ad agencies in the province in return for little or no work. In April, advertising executive Paul Coffin received an 18-month prison sentence [JURIST report] after pleading guilty to 15 counts of fraud. CBC News has more. From Montreal, the Gazette has additional coverage.