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Canada sponsorship inquiry judge denies role in appeal of bias ruling

[JURIST] Retired Quebec Justice John Gomery [CBC profile], the head of the now-concluded judicial inquiry [official website] into the federal sponsorship scandal [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], told the Canadian Club of Montreal Monday that he played no role in Friday's move by the Canadian Conservative party government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official profile] to appeal two Federal Court rulings [JURIST report] on the scandal involving the formerly governing Liberal Party [party website] and former prime minister Jean Chrétien [official profile]. The Federal Court ruled in June that Gomery was biased against Chrétien [judgment, PDF] and his chief of staff Jean Pelletier [judgment, PDF]. The court also set aside a portion of the inquiry's findings, including a conclusion by Gomery that Chrétien and Pelletier had erred in their oversight of a sponsorship program, in which millions of dollars were given to advertising agencies friendly with the then-ruling Liberal Party, in return for little or no advertising work. CBC News has more. The Montreal Gazette has local coverage.

Gomery's first and second reports [text and materials], released in November 2005 and February 2006 [JURIST reports], outlined the results of his inquiry and included recommendations for controlling prime-ministerial power. The investigation began after Liberal Party Prime Minister Paul Martin, Chretien's successor, acknowledged allegations [JURIST report] of money laundering and kickbacks to Quebec advertising firms and took full responsibility for the misuse of public funds. After the reports has been issued, Gomery criticized [JURIST report] the ruling Conservative Party [party website] for ignoring his recommendations on limiting government corruption and abuse of power. In June 2007, a former Canadian advertising executive was sentenced to 42 months in prison [JURIST report] for bilking the government of almost $1.6 million as part of the scandal.

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