Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Gomery, Chretien and Martin

The Gomery inquiry into the Chretien-regime sponsorship boondoggle has now switched venue to Montreal. We'll now be subjected to investigations into the minutiae of where the money went. Frankly, much of this is irrelevant. The earlier testimony from Messrs. Chretien and Martin has already revealed what went wrong.

Let's take the R.H. Jean Chretien first. His defence was that he was not a micromanager - and he'd instructed his underlings to make sure they followed all proper procedures. Well this simply doesn't cut it.

If a CEO of a private corporation put up the same type of explanation with regards to an important project that had gone awry - he'd be quickly carted away. In business, a competent CEO will always want to be kept up-to-date on the status of critcal projects - including where the money is being spent. The sponsorhsip program WAS important. It wasn't a project to build a bridge in Lethbridge. Jean Chretien was not a competent CEO.

Now onto Paul Martin. His defence was that he was only the Finance Minister - and that his responsibilities ended with the production of a budget. Now is the business world, the responsilbilities of the CFO (or other top financial officers) only begin with budget! A large part of the job of a CFO/Controller is to design and implement control strategies, mechanisms, procedures etc. to ensure that the budgeted money goes towards fulfilling the purposes defined in the budget.

The fact that the spornsorship program was being "managed" outside of normal "channels" should have been a red flag to both these gentlemen. The fact that they failed is indicative of garden variety imcompetence.

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