Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Is Paul Martin struggling with his own definition of 'is'?
The question Prime Minister Martin will simply not answer: "Did you have lunch with Claude Boulay?"
He was asked the question at least five times in the House of Commons today. He refused to answer every time.
Why is this important?
Martin testified before the Gomery inquiry he hardly knew the man. Boulay is the president of Groupe Everest, one of the advertising firms involved in the sponsorship scandal.
However, Alain Renaud, a Liberal lobbyist and ad firm employee, contradicted that testimony by telling the inquiry he saw Martin and Boulay lunch together during a Liberal party convention.
Going so far out of his way to avoid answering the question suggests Martin doesn't want to publicly contradict himself - or perhaps even open the possibility that he may have perjured himself at the inquiry.
The question then becomes: can you have lunch with someone while still hardly knowing the man?
Or maybe it depends on what the definition of "is" is.....
UPDATE (Thur. April 14, 4:02pm): Well, today, Martin still seems to be struggling with his own definition of "is", but at least he's come up with an answer.
He says he never had lunch with Boulay since forming government. He also said he never discussed any sponsorship contracts with the man. If he did have lunch with him in 1990 he can't remember.
So, that's the story he seems to be settling on. It took him over a day.
Harper suggests Martin did in fact discuss sponsorship matters with Boulay since as late as 1997, when an event in the program came into existence. Not before, as Martin claims.
But, then again, why quibble over such things? 'Is' and 'lunch' are only words, aren't they?
For the record, it should perhaps raise some eyebrows when it takes someone over a day to settle on a story to tell the public. It should perhaps also raise some eyebrows when that story seems to be taken out of a manual on how to install a refrigerator into the wall of your kitchen. It's very technical.