Canada suspends execs in ad scandal

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[Montreal] The heads of three major government-owned Canadian advertisers have been suspended as the investigation continues into misuse of some $76 million of $190 million in government sponsorship dollars funneled through local ad agencies, mainly in Quebec (AA, Feb. 16). Marc Lefran‡ois, president of VIA Rail, and Michel Vennat, president of Business Development Bank of Canada,, have been suspended without pay. Andre Ouellet, president of Canada Post, has been suspended with pay, pending an internal audit. VIA Rail, BDBC and Canada Post were all cited in the report criticizing misspending on sponsorship released last month by Canada's auditor general. Messrs. Lefrancois and Vennat have until March 1 to argue why they shouldn't be fired. In another move, Alfonso Gagliano, fired last month from his post as Canada's ambassador to Denmark, will be the first witness to appear before the parliamentary committee investigating the sponsorship scandal, in connection with his earlier role as Minister of Public Works.
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