Prime Minister &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/ 20/91/368/11789_latinAmerica.html ' target=_blank>Paul Martin returned to the airwaves Friday, expressing regret that he did not know about the sponsorship scandal sooner and vowing that the government would go to court to keep the Gomery inquiry going if necessary.
Only 12 hours after delivering a national, televised address, Mr. Martin appeared on CTV's Canada AM, again saying that Canadians need to hear all of the Gomery commission's findings .
He also said Ottawa would take legal recourse if a challenge by former prime minister Jean Chrétien to the proceedings proves successful. Mr. Chrétien has mounted a legal challenge to the sponsorship inquiry, which he has called biased. The court has agreed to start hearings June 7, informs the Globe and Mail.
The governing Liberals have been embroiled in a corruption scandal, involving millions of dollars of government money. The money was paid to advertising companies in the primarily French-speaking province of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/04/23/4015.html ' target=_blank>Quebec, in the late 1990s. An auditor-general's report in 2004 found that little or no work was performed and that normal accounting practices were virtually non-existent.
A subsequent public inquiry has heard explosive testimony including allegations that the Liberal party received kickbacks from the same agencies.
The advertising money was supposed to promote national unity and federalism in a province that had narrowly voted against separating from the rest of the country.
In his nationally-televised broadcast, Mr Martin apologised to Canadians. Even though he has never been personally linked to the scandal, he took some responsibility as he was the finance minister at the time the alleged corruption took place.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building