Yesterday, Judge Gomery released the second half of his report. In this report he detailed a number of recommendations (18, to be exact) which he feels will restore accountability to Ottawa. CTV has their report here. They mention that Harper's Accountability Act and Gomery's Recommendations are similar in many respects, but also have their differences. As an aside, I think it would be interesting to compare Gomery's Report and Harper's Accountability Act. PoliticsWatch has a little to add, and also reminds us that "though the scandal has been the subject of news stories for almost six years now... there has only been one guilty plea so far from an ad man who received sponsorship funds."
There is an interesting comment in the opening statement of the report.
In recent years, academics and political observers have recognized the growing power of the executive arm of government, both in the Prime Minister's Office and the bureaucracy. At the same time, they have observed that Parliament, its members, and its committees have been gradually becoming less relevant, and weaker, with the effect that Parliament as an institution no longer fulfils its traditional role as a check on the exercise of the power of the executive, represented by the office of the Prime Minister, his advisors, his appointees, and the most senior bureaucrats.
It is from this persepective that Gomery writes his recommendations. There must be a way to keep the elected representatives relevant. There must be a check on the power of the Prime Minister. Without it, democracy begins to break down and we have what is in effect an elected dictatorship.
The second interesting comment in the opening statement is this:
For anyone looking in my reports for specific sanctions against individuals who may have acted improperly, you will be disappointed. The terms of reference which gave me the mandate to conduct this inquiry specifically prohibit me from "expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization", and I am instructed" to ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing criminal investigation or criminal proceedings". Investigations and criminal proceedings are still ongoing and I am unable to comment on them, or to answer questions on specific individuals or their actions.
I am happy to see this statement. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Martin, made far too much of the "fact" that Gomery would be telling us who was responsible for the Sponsorship Sacndal. Sadly, much of the public bought this lie, and never read the terms of the Commission. Had he been able to assign criminal culpability however, Martin still would have gotten off I think.
I think I'll flip through some of this report this afternoon. I doubt I'll read it all though. If I do, I may post some more thoughts.