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Canada's AdScam Blown Open Thru The Power of Blogs


Canada’s Sponsorship Scandal, alternatively known as AdScam or Canadagate, has been fascinating to watch from a citizen’s rights and media perspective. It is making history in Canada because Bloggers, and those who frequent their sites, have been the driving force accessing and disseminating information traditional print media has not been able to convey. Find out more about the justice system in Canada, ownership of the media, and the best books on ethics.


April 17, 2005

What is AdScam?

AdScam is a pejorative term coined to describe the shocking and appalling revelations emerging from an inquiry being conducted by Justice Gomery.  The origins of this inquiry stem from a report by Sheila Fraser, the Auditor General of Canada, which indicated major inconsistencies in the expenditure of Federal monies earmarked to enhance Canadian Unity in Quebec.  In summary, the testimony thus far paints a picture of flagrant money laundering, kickbacks, fraud and corruption reaching to the highest levels within the Liberal government.


Justice Gomery had imposed a publication ban on the testimony from the inquiry with the initial purpose of trying to ensure a fair trial for witnesses who were facing possible criminal prosecution. However, the proceedings were public and the explosive nature of the testimony led one or more morally guided observers to breach the publication ban by leaking information to a United States based weblog –


The Power of the Blog


Site visits to CQ’s website skyrocketed to 500,000 visits a day, with the majority of these visits originating from Canadian and Government of Canada domains.  Subsequently on determining that the majority of the testimony was not self-incriminatory, Justice Gomery lifted the publication ban and the rest of the non-techno world was treated to what the bloggers already knew - damning evidence pointing to the highest levels of the Liberal government itself.


Had it not been for the courage of the observers at the Gomery inquiry believing that there was a moral imperative that the Canadian people be made aware of the corruption within their own government, combined with the Blogosphere – the Canadian public might yet be in the dark.


In the interim period before the ban lift, government threatened to sniff out all people who had visited the site, disseminated information from the site, or linked to the site and warned of serious repercussions.  In situations where power is not subject to transparency, abuses will certainly occur.

Kudos also go to Kate McMillan from Saskatchewan, whose Blog, has steadfastly continued to peel the layers of government abuse of power.


Canada’s Media Control


Virtually all Canada’s print and broadcast media is controlled by a small group of entities, most with ties to the Liberal party. A majority of the Board of the CBC have been appointed by the Liberal government. CanWest Global is owned by the Asper family, with strong connections to the Liberal Party.  They own: The National Post, The Montreal Gazette, The Ottawa Citizen, The Windsor Star, The Regina Leader-Post, The Saskatoon StarPhoenix, The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun, The Vancouver Province, and The Victoria Times Columnist

You may want to start getting your news from multiple sources and logging on to "a-few-good-blogs".


Blog Versus Traditional Media Paradigm


Helen Connell of the London Free Press, describes the paradigm shift in Bloggers versus the traditional media:


“The only people who really enjoy freedom of the press are the people who own one.

That old cynical view of the media used to hold a lot of truth but now, thanks to the Internet, as long as you're plugged in you have the chance to capture the eyes and ears of the world.

It started with bloggers, people who go online and report the facts (as they see them) and pontificate on just about any issue that catches their fancy. Podcasters are a techno-step ahead, allowing people to download audio files to play onto their computers or iPods.

 There is something refreshing, scary and just a little pathetic about this new medium, but whatever you think of bloggers and podcasters, they were inevitable. They represent a new generation of young people who are anything but passive about information and communication.

The media play a huge role in defining who we are and how we live. Without open media, ideas would shrivel and democracy would waste away.”


Did you know that the Queen’s Printer, which sounds like a government run business is actually owned privately, and is been awarded an inordinate amount of government business in a non-competitive format? QP is owned by St. Joseph Corporation, whose majority shareholder is the Gagliano family.



Bloggers’ Websites to Watch On This Topic


Books On Ethics


When I took a Philosophy course at UCLA the professor commenced the class saying, “And now I am going to teach you how to think.” 

Why not brush-up on your thinking—click on titles for direct purchase.    We welcome your suggestions.


Platos Ethics One of the most important books on ethics to read. It is the foundation of subsequent philosophers and thinkers.


A Companion to Ethics, by Peter Singer  A great introduction to all aspects of ethics. It leaves no area untouched: everything from Buddhist ethics to deontology, consequentialism, virtue theory, the nature of morality, and much much more is covered here. Indeed, I would say that anyone who wants a survey of this area of philosophy need look no further.

Ethics, Peter Singer   To capture the essentials of what we know about the origins and nature of ethics, Peter Singer has drawn on anthropology, evolution, game theory, and works of fiction, in addition to the classic moral philosophy of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Kant, and Confucius. By choosing some of the finest pieces of writing, old and new, in and about ethics.

The Lesser Evil, Michael Ignatieff. This is an essential starting point for liberals and civil libertarians in grappling with the difficult moral and political challenges posed by the war on terror. Michael is a Canadian teaching at Princeton University a renowned speaker and consultant to governments. Read this review in the PrincetonUniversityPress. Authro Bio

Electronic Media Ethics, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel  Ethics "Unless we can grasp and reclaim the theory of a free press," warn Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, "journalists risk allowing their profession to disappear." The Committee of Concerned Journalists defined nine "clear principles" of journalism, which Kovach and Rosenstiel explore in great detail. The first principle is, "Journalism's first obligation is to the truth." The last: "Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience."

Further Links

The Ethics Resource Center: The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization whose vision is a world where individuals and organizations act with integrity.

CNews: News website with great page to all columnists writing in Canada

Please email us with your comments.




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