Wednesday, September 21, 2005

From the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy

September 21, 2005

Critical Update on the Sponsorship Scandal

This week marked a critical point in the Sponsorship Scandal.

Paul Coffin, the first person convicted of fraud in the scandal, received an outrageously light sentence on Monday, after pleading guilty to 15 charges of fraud. He received a conditional sentence of two years less a day, which will be served in the community. Instead of going to prison, the judge has ordered that Coffin observe a 9:00 pm curfew and give lessons to students on business ethics.

A conditional sentence with no time in prison is simply not severe enough for 15 counts of criminal fraud involving $1.5 million of public money.

The prosecutor had appropriately asked the judge for at least 34 months in a federal penitentiary. No matter how remorseful Coffin is, no matter how co-operative he has been, no matter how willing to repay his ill-gotten gains, punishment remains an essential aspect of criminal deterrence.

The absence of any element of punishment in Justice Jean-Guy Boilard's sentence sends a fearful message: namely, that politicians and their associates are exempt from the same sting of consequences for illegal actions meted out to everyone else.

For the criminal law to be effective, it must be feared equally by all.

Coffin is the first of three lower sponsorship operatives to be charged so far. Given the kid-glove treatment he got, what chance is there of seeing those truly responsible for this scandal brought to justice?


You can do something!



Email the Quebec Attorney General and encourage him to take this grossly unjust sentence to appeal.

You can do this in one of the following ways:

1. Use the letter sample below by copying and pasting it into a new email message; or,

2. Copy the sample letter below into a new email and edit it to suit your preferences before sending it; or,

3. Write your own letter and email it to the email addresses noted below.

Tell your friends to do the same.


Stay informed!


The Citizens Centre has put together the following resources to keep you informed:

1. Scandal Web Site - www.anticorruption.ca - This website has received rave reviews as the place to go to get information on the Sponsorship Scandal. Check it out and see what's new.

2. News Clippings - You can sign up to receive newsclippings on the Sponsorship Scandal by email, or view them online by going to www.ccfd.ca

3.
Campaign Updates - If you're getting this email directly from the Citizens Centre, then you're probably signed up to receive campaign updates on this issue. If you're not sure, check out your email subscription status by going to www.ccfd.ca
and clicking on "Subscribe" and then choose "Check status"


Sample email letter to the Attorney General of Quebec


Mr. Yvon Marcoux
Attorney General
Ministère de la Justice
Édifice Louis-Philippe-Pigeon
1200, route de l'Église, 9e étage
Sainte-Foy (Québec) G1V 4M1

Email address: ministre@justice.gouv.qc.ca

Dear Mr. Marcoux,

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to appeal the outrageously light sentence awarded to Paul Coffin on Monday, Sept. 19.

A conditional sentence with no time in prison is simply not severe enough for 15 counts of criminal fraud involving $1.5 million of public money.

Your prosecutor was quite correct in asking the judge for at least 34 months in a federal penitentiary. No matter how remorseful Coffin is, no matter how co-operative he has been, no matter how willing to repay his ill-gotten gains, punishment remains an essential aspect of criminal deterrence.

The absence of any element of punishment in Justice Jean-Guy Boilard's sentence sends a fearful message: namely, that politicians and their associates are exempt from the same sting of consequences for illegal actions meted out to everyone else.

For the criminal law to be effective, it must be feared equally by all. Instead, Paul Coffin will go on a lecture circuit to teach business students about ethics. Regardless of what he says, he will serve as an object lesson that if you know the right politicians, nothing too terrible will happen if you get caught in a criminal act. This is the hallmark of banana republics!

Please take this grossly unjust sentence to appeal. Surely the chance of success is high. If not, I despair for our country.

Sincerely,

(Your full name and address )


Send your email to:


Mr. Yvon Marcoux
Attorney General of Quebec

Email address: ministre@justice.gouv.qc.ca


Copy your email to:


Paul Monty,
Associate Deputy Minister, Public Prosecutions

Email address: pmonty@justice.gouv.qc.ca




Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy
203, 10441 - 178 Street
Edmonton, AB T5S 1R5
Phone: 780-481-7844
Toll Free: 866-666-6768
Fax: 780-481-9983
Web Site: www.ccfd.ca
Email: contact@citizenscentre.com



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