Prime Minister Jean Chretien's involvement with the BDC's $615,000 loan:
Wheeling Dealing with the Grand Mère Inn between 1988 and 1996

Nipawin - December 2, 2000 - by: Mario deSantis


The purpose of describing Jean Chrétien's wheeling dealing with the Grand Mère Inn is to
better understand the motivations guiding our leading politicians. Jean Chrétien has been in
politics for 37 years, and he has recently stated that to be in politics is a very rough game
and that he began as a penalty killer(1). I must say that I am really naive, because I thought
that to be in politics was to serve the public rather than being a penalty killer. But then, if I
am naive, what I am going to tell my sons James and Rico, that they must believe in this
man who began politics as a penalty killer?




It is a dilemma, and the only way to cope with it is education and common sense. And
therefore, we are going to use education and common sense to understand the wheeling
dealing of Mr. Chrétien in the Grand Mère's affair.




In the last article, I described the basic definitions of fraud, ethics and abuse of power(2) ,
and now I would suggest that as you read about Mr. Chrétien's wheeling dealings, it would
be a good idea to reinforce the understanding of legal terms by visiting the Encyclopedia
Britannica(3). All the information gathered in the Grand Mère's affair has been obtained
from our major national newspapers(4) and in summarizing this information I have tried
to maintain as much as possible the same original English construct. The wheeling dealing
of the Grand Mère's affair for the period 1988 to 1996 follows:




1988: Jean Chrétien and two partners buy a golf course in Grand Mère,
Que., for $1-million. They also pay $250,000 to buy the
adjacent hotel's operation the Grand Mère Inn. The hotel
operation loses money till 1993 when it is sold to Yvon
Duhaime, an old friend of Chrétien and a well known Liberal.




1993: Yvone Duhaime buys the hotel operation from the Prime Minister
and his partners for $225,000, even though the operation has
been losing money since 1988. Duhaime's previous business
venture, Hotel des Chutes, had racked up $150,000 in unpaid
liabilities, and now Duhaime, as an astute businessman and
friend of Chrétien, pays the Prime Minister and his partners
by obtaining a $225,000 government-backed
(taxpayer-backed) small business loan from the local caisse



blind trust

1993: Mr. Chrétien (all his holdings were put into a blind trust after his
1993 election) sells his 25% interest in the golf course to a
businessman named Jonas Prince for $300,000. Mr. Prince
promises to make payments over three years but doesn't. It
appears that Mr. Chrétien has no knowledge(5) that he has
retained the ownership of his 25% share of the golf course till
January 1996, even though he has the responsibility to file
income tax return as everybody else. Mr. Prince's price means
that the golf course has a market value of $1.2-million, while at
the same time it has an accumulated debt of $3-million.




1994: In December, Mr. Duhaime buys the hotel building and acreage for
another $225,000 by borrowing from the caisse populaire.




1996: In January, Mr. Chrétien learns that Prince never paid for his 25% share
of the golf course. He notifies Howard Wilson, federal ethics
counselor, and leaves the problem(6) to his trustee to solve.




1996: Mr. Duhaime borrows more to build a banquet hall to be used by the hotel
and golf course, spending more than $800,000. Cost overruns
force the caisse populaire to threaten foreclosure. It's owed
1996 onward: refer to future articles.
  List of relevant political and economics articles


Penalty killer' PM plays rough, Hugh Winsor, December 1, 2000, The Globe and Mail


Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's involvement with the BDC's $615,000 loan: Lack of Common Sense Democracy, by Mario deSantis, November 30, 2000


Encyclopedia Britannica, you may search this site for many legal terms such as Tort Law, Criminal Law, and so forth


The author acknowledges the following news organizations: National Post, Canadian Internet Network, The Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Press. The author read articles written by Robert Fife, Andrew McIntosh, Joël-Denis Bellavance, Peter Shawn Taylor, Andrew Coyne, Gordon Gibson, and Diane Francis of the National Post; Paul Adams and Daniel LeBlanc of The Globe and Mail; Lawrence Martin and Kate Jaimet of The Ottawa Citizen.


Criminal law: Ignorance and mistake, Encyclopedia Britannica. An excerpt: Ignorance of the law, on the other hand, is... generally held not to excuse the actor; it is no defense that he was unaware that his... conduct was forbidden by criminal law.


Note on the problem: with all the wheeling dealings affecting the buying and selling of businesses and property rights around the Grand Mère Inn, Mr. Chrétien's has both the legal and ethical problem that he didn't know he owned 25% of the golf course. As a principle, ignorance cannot be claimed for avoiding legal responsibilities. Mr. Chrétien sells his 25% share of the golf course in October 1999.