Death of a dog and pony show

I am very sorry, though unsurprised, that the massive online archive of testimony from John Gomery’s now utterly discredited vanity parade has now been removed from the innertubes, because I would have liked to point to specific incidents of towering boneheadedness on the part of Judge Gomery and his cast of twits for posterity’s sake. The day the lead commission council ambushed Jean Chrétien with Elections Canada donation information that turned out to be incorrect and misinterpreted, as a single call to Elections Canada would have told them, for one example. The entire transcript of Neil Finklestein’s Olympian day-long suck-up to Paul Martin, for another. Alex Himelfarb’s coerced second appearance, in which the Clerk of the Privy Council was called back for no other reason than to contradict the testimony of the former prime minister, which he stubbornly declined to do while politely making plain his contempt for the entire line of questioning (“I was disappointed when the auditor general said every rule in the book was broken. I was kind of hoping there was one rule that didn’t get broken”).

There was more, which the testimony won’t show. The list of Liberals arrested, it is important to emphasize, for serious wrongdoing — not a one of whom was apprehended because of testimony before Gomery. The months-long buildup to the release of the mystic “Kroll audit,” which would, Gomery’s flak assured everyone, blow the lid off of the whole sordid business — followed by the disappearance of the Kroll audit from everyone’s attention three minutes after that wet firecracker failed to detonate. (Gomery’s flak later wrote an insider book, which makes no mention of the dud audit.)

Later generations will not believe it all happened. Yet Gomery’s failure is now complete. His final report was released in two volumes. A broad consensus of thoughtful Canadians, along with the current prime minister, dismissed the second out of hand. And now the first has been laughed out of court.

When Judge Teitelbaum writes, apropos Gomery’s interview with Don Martin (“small town cheap”), “The nature of the comments made to the media are such that no reasonable person looking realistically and practically at the issue, and thinking the matter through, could possibly conclude that the commissioner would decide the issues fairly,” he is plainly saying Gomery should have taken one look at Martin’s column and recused himself. But that would have taken a certain level of intellectual seriousness.

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