Despite the apparent wishful thinking (or perhaps delirium?) of some, the ‘JetGate’ scandal is far from becoming ‘DeadGate’.

The long-awaited report from OBA chairman Thad Hollis, who offered his resignation this week, has certainly highlighted this.

He persevered with this investigation, and that he even launched it in the first place, is something to be commended.

Pity the investigation was only launched effectively as a damage control exercise when the story got out of the OBA’s spinning control.  

The report leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and raises more questions than it answers.

Are there any consequences for those involved?

• How will this be prevented from happening again?

• What was the money actually spent on?  The report is quite vague on this, but with rumours abounding of voters being effectively bribed for their vote with groceries or utility bills being paid, failure to address this key question is going to haunt them for some time. At the very least the OBA has been exposed as Astroturf.

We also don’t know if this was the only secret account. Perhaps Mr Hollis doesn’t know himself. 

All we know is that it is one secret account where foreign investors (who had casino gambling interests) helped finance the OBA, who also spent public monies on a consultant devising a strategy to ditch an election promise of holding a referendum on casino gambling.

Mr Hollis states that he came across matters of equal concern to JetGate while investigating, but he’s not at liberty to report on them, or, it seems, to investigate.  

Hardly builds trust in the OBA, in terms of accountability or transparency.

Minister Pat Pamplin-Gordon, when in Opposition, said that ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’, after all.

This brings us to the most important aspect of this report — the need for campaign finance reform.  

The lack of campaign finance laws has deformed our politics for far too long, and leads to what can only be described as legalized corruption, where commercial interests effectively buy political parties.  

We need campaign finance reform and we needed it yesterday. 

Jonathan Starling is a former independent political candidate. 



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