Monday, November 26, 2007

Mulroney/Schreiber refresher - for the big hearings

Before getting into the Mulroney/Schreiber matter, once again, here's another listless poll keeping Canada in minority government territory, although this report included a satisfying bit:
"They can't seem to move above 40 per cent in support with any consistency. For one reason or the other, the Conservatives are still a tough-sell in Canada," said Bricker, noting that the favourable conditions the government has enjoyed recently usually produces majority support.
You can never hear that stuff enough...:) Performances such as this weekend's environmental horror show certainly don't help the Conservatives at all. Keep up the fine work there, Harpie...

And things are about to get worse. This week is the supposed commencement of the Mulroney/Schreiber hearings at the Commons Ethics Committee. Let's refresh our memories for a moment, shall we?

Schreiber wrote to Harper's office about 7 plus months ago. Harper claims not to have seen the correspondence.
In that package of material, Schreiber said he entered into an agreement with Mulroney, while he was still prime minister in June 1993, to provide him with cash payments in exchange for services.
Subsequent to that letter, Schreiber wrote again to Harper in or about the first week of October. Coincident with that time frame, there was an effort to ramp up Schreiber's extradition, where in one instance Schreiber's counsel were given 12 minutes notice of a hearing.

Further, Luc Lavoie, Mulroney's spokesperson, confirmed last week that Mulroney did in fact receive money from Schreiber while still an MP.
The spokesman said Mr. Mulroney accepted the first envelope of $100,000 in cash from Mr. Schreiber while still an MP for Baie Comeau, Que., about one week before an election was called. But he quickly added that the question of when Mr. Mulroney paid income taxes on the payments isn't anyone's "Goddamn business." (emphasis added)
This Lavoie statement raises legal questions that need to be answered, as put so succinctly by one Warren Kinsella this past week.

If these legal questions were indeed investigated by our Justice Department, and it's been reported that the Justice Department were preparing briefings of some sort in 2006 and in 2007, then why was an internal review put a halt to by our Conservative government?
Then, early this year, the Conservative government closed an internal investigation into whether the Mulroney settlement should have been reconsidered, in light of $300,000 in cash payments paid by Mr. Schreiber to the former prime minister. Mr. Mulroney has said the payments were to help Mr. Schreiber start a pasta business and he did nothing wrong.

Last week, Eddie Goldenberg, who was former prime minister Jean Chretien's chief adviser, said the Liberal government likely would not have settled the lawsuit with Mr. Mulroney if it had known about the cash payments.
Seems that such reported facts should have been investigated by our Justice Department and acted upon, on our behalf, instead of the apparent stonewalling and hand-sitting that occurred. Just a few questions to ponder, once again, on the eve of such hearings. Rafe Mair has a number of good ones today as well.

And on a minor note, I noticed Far N Wide on Friday suggesting that people are not talking about the Mulroney/Schreiber story round the water cooler. Well, here's some anecdotal evidence to suggest it's well known after all, maybe not so "discussed" but vividly understood...overheard in an appliance store this week when a customer entered and expressed that they wanted to pay for an appliance order in cash...store owner expresses surprise at the desire for this out of the ordinary cash transaction but then replies, "Well, if it's good enough for a Prime Minister, then I guess it's good enough for me!" To which all present knowingly and heartily laughed.