Hon. Peter Kent (Thornhill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister is now officially under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner over the awarding of a very lucrative clam harvesting licence to a group with both close Liberal and family ties. Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, remove the minister from the file, and restart the process?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously I am happy to work with the commissioner and answer any questions he may have.
My hon. friend spoke about family ties. It is important that he understand that Mr. Thériault is one of my wife’s 60 1st cousins. He is an employee of the largest Mi’kmaq first nation in New Brunswick and has been for over 15 years. Chief Sock has publicly said that Mr. Thériault was not involved in any way in preparing their submission, and he will not be benefiting in any way whatsoever.
Mr. Kent: And they got a contract, Mr. Speaker, without a boat…
How drearily typical of opposition jackals to see something sinister in the rich and rewarding familial bonds enjoyed by lucky spawn FishMin Dominic LeBlanc.
The honourable minister’s bestowal of a succulent Arctic surf clam quota on Five Nations Clam Co. of course had nothing to do with the involvement in the latter of former Liberal MP Todd Russell (Labrador), nor Edgar Sampson, brother of current Liberal MP Darrell Sampson (Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook), nor the aforementioned Gilles Theriault, cousin to Dominic’s delightful spouse, Jolene Richard.
Ethics Commish Stupor Mario Dion will sans doubt come to the same conclusion in ye fullness of time, but allegations of nepotism and hereditary troughing have always dogged our Dominic, who had the deck stacked against him from birth as son of the Rt. Hon. Romeo “The Codfather” LeBlanc.
LeBlanc the Younger took naturally enough to his taxpayer-funded birthright. In his days at U of T, he helped himself to Romeo’s parliamentary travel privileges to zip between New Brunswick and Toronto, once flying in on the government dime to protest the opening of the university’s wimmin’s centre.
When his father became Governor General, Dom had unlimited use of the government Challenger jets and he took full advantage, joining the Codfather on countless hops to exotic locales, free of charge.
During the ’98 ice storm, he tagged along on the Team Canada junket to Mexico and South America, the undisputed highlight, according to some delegates, was a touch-down in Sao Paulo and enriching cultural exchanges with the local working girls.
One of the last great freebies was a February 1999 G-G tour of Morocco, Mali and Tanzania, a conveniently-timed toot which allowed Dom, then a “consultant” for Melkior Resources, to tag along, save airfare and conduct a little biz whilst pretending he was part of the vice-regal entourage.
Upon Romeo’s retirement, Dominic put aside laddish things and took over the family business, elected MP for Beauséjour in 2000 (defeating Dipper Angela Vautour on his second toss). His subsequent marriage to Jolene not only solemnized his relationship with her countless pork-loving cousins, but with her father Guy Richard, the Liberal wheeze and retired judge, who also just happened to be chairman of the three-member Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of New Brunswick, AKA gerrymander-in-chief.
The May-December coupling (he was then 40; she 48), nearly went off the rails when Jolene discovered Dom had been getting a Vic Toews-style legover with Jolene’s babysitter (she had a child from a previous marriage.)
The exposure of his affair prompted LeBlanc to issue a bizarre apology to Jolene in the Moncton Times & Transcript in which the priapic pol professed his sorrow for causing such “hurt” to his future wife. A few weeks after the grovel appeared, the relationship resumed and they married in 2003.
Mercifully, none of his father-in-law’s disinterested fiddlings with riding boundaries would impair any of Dominic’s five subsequent re-elections.
Speaking of prominent and intimately-connected New Brunswick families, readers will no doubt recall Dominic’s last dance with the Office of the Ethics Commissioner, vis-a-vis his thick-as-thieves friendship with James D. “Jim” Irving.
His chief of staff, Vince MacNeil, is required to “screen” him from any dealings with Irving’s company, J.D. Irving Ltd., its affiliates and subsidiaries.
Dom and Jim’s bibulous binges are the stuff of legend. The grisly duo tootled around for years on the Irving family jet, getting vastly over-refreshed on frequent flights from Ottawa to Dom’s riding.
Frank Flashback: Prior to his election in 2000, Dom sought the support of Grit fixer Dick Carpenter, who owned a fishing lodge on the Miramichi. Carpenter named his price and a couple of weeks later, a corporate jet touched down in Chatham, NB, disgorging Dom, pals Justin and Sacha Trudeau, plus papa Pierre for what would turn out to be his final weekend in the great outdoors.
Whose jet? That’d be Jim “Oily” Irving’s, Jim’s daddy.
Soon after the trip, the old trampoline artiste took ill and never recovered. Only the most churlish of critics would accuse Dominic of depleting the Trudeau patriarch’s dwindling strength for his own political gain, but the versatile self-promoter did manage to finagle himself a place with papa on the great statesman’s funeral train, skillfully edging his bulk into news shots of the grieving sons (that’s enough Liberal inbreeding!!–ed.)