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Special

Canada's Prime Minister, the UN Secretary-General and Louise

by Marinka Peschmann, Special to Canada Free Press

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Canadian coincidences are piling up in the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program. Fox News reported on Tuesday that Annan's #2 Blocks Oil-for-Food Scrutiny. Kofi Annan’s #2 is Canada's Louise Fréchette. Louise Fréchette served under Prime Minister Paul Martin when he held the title of Canada's Minister of Finance.

According to Fox News, "Four years into the seven-year Oil-for-Food program with graft and mismanagement by then rampant, Fréchette intervened directly by telephone to stop United Nations auditors from forwarding their investigations to the UN Security Council."

Born in Montreal, Louise Fréchette has served directly under UN Chief Kofi Annan since March 1998. According to UN documents, in November 2001, she proposed an initiative that led to a meeting to coordinate ‘anti-corruption activities’ within UN agencies.  Her endeavor played a role in a February 2002, "Report of the Interagency Anti-Corruption Coordination Meeting," that reads in part; "There are plans to develop a more coherent UN ethical infrastructure through an interagency working group. It was suggested that monitoring the trust level of UN staff with regard to internal anti-corruption efforts would be useful."

The UN Anti-Corruption panel "agreed that there is a link between the credibility of the organization championing reform, the integrity of the individuals involved in the fight against corruption, and the effectiveness of the anti-corruption effort." Incidentally, the Interagency Anti-Corruption Group, instigated in part by Fréchette’s initiative, met with the First Session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption. As CFP previously reported, "The United Nations Convention Against Corruption will not be ratified until early 2006," 10 years after the Oil-for-Food-Program began.

It appears the impartiality and credibility of the Volcker Committee's Investigation into Oil-for-Food is growing grim, exacerbated by Fréchette’s troubling actions during the Oil-for-Food Program, and her colliding work history with investigators and possible defendants. According to Fox News, "When [Louise] Fréchette served as Canada's ambassador to the United Nations from 1992 to 1995, her boss during most of that time was Canadian Deputy Minister Reid Morden, who is now executive director of the Volcker team." Fréchette’s current boss, Kofi Annan appointed Paul Volcker, to investigate the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program. The Volcker committee and Reid Morden have "no comment" at this time concerning Fréchette.

After leaving her first post at the United Nations, Louise Fréchette returned to Canada serving from November 1994 to June 1995, under then Minister of Finance Paul Martin, as his Associate Deputy Minister. Paul Martin held Canada's Minister of Finance position from November 1993 until June 2002, becoming Canada's 21st Prime Minister on December 12, 2003. Together, in 1995, Martin and Fréchette worked on several issues including the Halifax G-7 Summit, and participated in the "Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade." Inquiries to Prime Minister Martin's office were not answered as of press time.

Louise Fréchette joins the illustrious Canadian connection in the UN Oil-for-Food Program, where there is her former boss, Prime Minister Martin who replaced Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Jean Chretien’s daughter, France is married to Andre Desmarais, the son of Paul Desmarais. Desmarais is the chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Canada's Power Corporation, and the largest shareholder and director of France's TotalFinalElf. TotalFinalElf was one of the largest benefactors of Oil-for-Food contracts. According to the Financial Post, "In 1974, Desmarais, Sr., made Martin president of Canada Steamship Lines and then in 1981, he made him spectacularly rich by selling the company to him and a partner for $180 million." As CFP previously reported, Canada, the seventh largest contributor to the United Nations, will not investigate the Oil-for-Food Program.

UN’s Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette who is headed for Sierra Leona after visiting Liberia to "emphasize the world body's zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers" was unavailable for comment.

Marinka Peschmann is a freelance writer whose first book collaboration, the best-selling The Kid Stays In The Picture; was made into a documentary. She's contributed to several books and stories ranging from showbiz and celebrities to true crime and politics.












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