Thursday, December 13, 2007

Notes from the Mulroney appearance today

1. So Mulroney confirmed that he was trying to sell tanks, or as he put it today, "peacekeeping vehicles" or "light armoured vehicles," to whomever would listen:
After accepting the international payment on the retainer, and during the time two subsequent payments were made, I made trips to China, Russia, Europe, and throughout the United States of America where I met with government and industry leaders and explored with them the prospects for this peacekeeping vehicle either for their national needs, or for use in international peacekeeping initiatives either under their sponsorship, or under the sponsorship of the United Nations.
The word usage is very interesting isn't it? The "international payment?" As opposed to domestic? He claims not to have been retained to do domestic lobbying for Schreiber, so why the need to use such terms? P.r., of course. This was all about peacekeeping, you see, not Mulroney working as an international "peacekeeping vehicle" lobbyist. Which, I suppose, is all right if you're into that sort of thing. Whether a just departed Prime Minister of Canada should be, that's a question for others to make up their minds on.

2. Mulroney confirmed he did take cash as a sitting MP from Schreiber. That's big news in and of itself:
Mulroney flatly denied Schreiber's claim that the pair agreed to a business relationship in June 1993 while he was still prime minister.

"Not a word was breathed at Harrington Lake (the prime minister's retreat) about concluding any future business arrangements with him."

However, he said he did agree just a month later - after leaving office but still sitting as an MP - to lobby world leaders on behalf of Thyssen Industries, Schreiber's client, which was selling armoured peacekeeping vehicles. He added that he emphasized to Schreiber that he could not lobby the Canadian government.

As part of that deal, Mulroney said he accepted $75,000 in cash as a retainer
, followed by two more payments of equal amounts for a total of $225,000.
Um, hello? Appropriate authorities? People seem to be giving this a pass, as if the fact that he was no longer PM at the time is the overriding consideration. And why the one month gap in discussing a deal? Did Mulroney think it was OK to enter into it while still an MP?

And are there other statutes in play here from this admission beyond the much cited Parliament of Canada Act?

3. Mulroney did not deny that someone might have spoken to Schreiber, on his behalf, to lobby Harper on the pending extradition. Here's Mulroney denying he spoke personally to Schreiber:
On assertions in an affidavit by Schreiber, who's facing extradition to Germany, that Mulroney promised to speak to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his behalf:Mulroney: I have not spoken to Mr. Schreiber in seven years. That's a complete fabrication and it's an indication of the entire affidavit that has generated this feeding frenzy. Look, he succeeded. He got what he wanted. He's succeeding. He's sitting in his mansion over in Rockcliffe, chuckling. He organized this 7th of November affidavit. It's all false, demonstrably false. But he got his get-out-of-jail card. He's sitting over there and he got what he wanted. But one thing that he did do, and I point out to all members, I think he seriously misled every member of this House and all of you with this false affidavit. And it is false and I'll conclude, sir by this: How do we know it's false? Because he has repudiated every single important provision of it in different testimonies given under oath.
We don't know if anyone else spoke to Schreiber on Mulroney's behalf. Elmer MacKay was apparently involved in procuring a letter Schreiber wrote that was intended to supposedly signal, to someone, that all was OK between Mulroney and Schreiber, for the purpose of affecting the extradition. Schreiber's quite clear on why he wrote it. Wonder if anyone else will be.

4. Anyone peddling the notion that there's not enough here for a public inquiry, check out who they are and why. They're likely Conservative sympathizers. Enough said.

The money used by Schreiber to ensure Joe Clark would be undermined at the early 80's leadership review is a big red flag in this entire story. If it's true, Mulroney owes his prime ministership, at least in part, to this effort. That's tremendous motivation to be nice to someone in return. And Schreiber's testified to the large contracts he was able to procure from the Mulroney government during its term.

Now whether anyone cares enough about the integrity of the federal government and uncovering truths, we'll see.

5. Safety deposit boxes being used for cash and records not kept...doesn't look good at all.

6. And I couldn't agree more with this blogger that Mike Duffy needs to be mercifully yanked off the air. Duffy is long past his best before date.

That's all for now, will have another look at this much later tonight.