Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mulroney-Schreiber: the Christmas comes early edition

1. Well, actually, I really don't know about that. But it's what Schreiber's promising the House Ethics Committee when he returns today, having reviewed his wealth of information. Way to set the expectations sky high there, Karlheinz. Better be good.
German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber is promising to reveal something significant as he returns to Parliament Tuesday to testify about his dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Schreiber, who has been fighting his extradition to Germany for eight years, also told CBC News he has been granted bail and will walk out of an Ottawa jail Tuesday morning.
Yes, the federal government suddenly gets a case of the cooperative bug. What gives guys? So much extradition bluster for so long and now, heck, let him out on bail. Looks like Eddie Greenspan got to them. Not nice being pilloried on the front pages by one of the top criminal defence lawyers in the country. People start to pay more and more attention when the likes of Eddie take direct aim at the PM himself.

2. Now Schreiber's big Christmas present can't be this, can it? That former Liberal cabinet minister Andre Ouellet was pushing the Bear Head project so Thyssen could build its armoured vehicles in Canada? Yawn. While it's fascinating to see that Schreiber was able to get someone to pick up the mantle on this project in the post Mulroney years, unless there's some allegation that Ouellet was paid while in office to so advocate the project, I fail to see the earth shaking nature of this report. Sure it's another high profile pol thrown into the mix who may have fallen for Schreiber's pitch. But there's no allegation of money changing hands here. If Ouellet was convinced it was a legitimate project, there's nothing to this story. Now if there's more, fine. Let the chips fall where they may, as I said early on with this thing. But if there isn't any more to this story, and it reads as if there isn't, then I'm not sure it amounts to much by way of expansion of the story. To wit, here's Ouellet in correspondence with John Manley who was nixing the deal on behalf of the Chretien government:
Mr. Ouellet added that the government was about to buy new light-armoured vehicles, and that the best solution was to ensure an open competition. That echoed Thyssen's call for a chance to bid on the contract.

Mr. Ouellet wrote that buying new vehicles "without a tendering process would go against the rules of equity."

In mid-1995, the Chr├ętien government effectively ended the project when it hired General Motors in London, Ont., to build a new fleet of wheeled light-armoured vehicles, which are currently deployed with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
Well, I'm sure Tom Mulcair will be very interested. Don't know who else will.

3. Poor Elmer MacKay's taken to leaving voice mails at the Globe to protest his innocence in the letter writing affair of the summer of 2006. You know, the letter Mulroney waves around as proof of his innocence that Elmer wrote for Karlheinz's John Hancock. Just tryin' to help his bud with that there letter to Mulroney professing Karlheinz's profound sorrow at their dust up. I mean, heck, who doesn't write letters like these, right? Lol....:)

And you know, how indeed was Elmer to know there was anything Machiavellian going on there? He's just a former national cabinet minister with no political sophistication. Poor naive waif, calling the Globe and trying to protect Junior.
In a voice-mail recording left with The Globe and Mail, Mr. MacKay acknowledged writing an e-mail to Mr. Schreiber last year, a large chunk of which ended up in a letter that Mr. Schreiber wrote to Mr. Mulroney.

The letter includes an apology from Mr. Schreiber to Mr. Mulroney and states that the former prime minister was the "best advocate I could have retained."

Mr. Mulroney and his former spokesman, Luc Lavoie, have quoted the letter to journalists as proof that nothing was improper about the $300,000 in payments he received in 1993 and 1994.

Mr. MacKay said he sent the e-mail to Mr. Schreiber in an effort to fix the relationship between the German-Canadian businessman and Mr. Mulroney, both of whom he considers friends.

"All I was doing, for whatever reason - I guess it was friendship or it was a desire to mediate between these two friends of mine, there was no personal gain in it for me - was to draft this e-mail over a year ago," he said.

"What they intended to do with it, or how it was going to play out, I didn't know."

Mr. Schreiber has said he feels he was duped into writing the letter to Mr. Mulroney, thinking that it would help him avoid extradition to Germany.
Why did Mr. Schreiber feel duped? Someone led him to believe the letter would be used to the end Schreiber sought. So was it MacKay or Mulroney? Or someone else?

Guess Elmer had to act, Junior's gettin' bad press down home. Nice picture accompanying that one, btw. Think there's nothing to worry about for Junior? Read that report, he's a long time Mulroney advocate.

4. Diane Francis yesterday helpfully pointed out some happy coincidences for Mr. Mulroney thus far during the Harper government:
There are other “intersections” between Mulroney’s paymasters and the Harper government’s behaviour, as pointed out by Brent Fullard of CAITI, Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors.
-- Mulroney is a director of Archer Daniels Midland Company which loved Stephen Harper’s policy to eliminate Canada’s Wheat Board.
-- Mulroney is on the board of Barrick Gold Corporation which loved Stephen Harper’s special trip, after the commonwealth gathering, with an African President on behalf of Barrick Gold operations.
-- Mulroney is on The Blackstone Group L.P. board which loved the Tories’ policy to eliminate the 15% withholding tax on interest paid by foreign private equity firms like itself on leveraged buyout debt.
-- Mulroney’s Blackstone loves the opportunities provided by Harper and Flaherty to tax and destroy income trusts which has sparked $65-billion in takeouts by foreigners and others.
Coincidences all? You tell me...

Happy hearings...the show continues today.