Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"This is why someone wanted to kidnap me and kick me out."

Highlights from today's hearings...

1. From the CBC:
Opposition MPs questioned whether it was ethical for Mulroney to accept a cash payment from Schreiber — who lobbied the government on behalf of German business interests — while he was still an MP. That first $100,000 payment was made in August at a Montreal hotel.
Um, ethical? Don't you mean "legal?"

2. Apparently Schreiber's Christmas reference was about his special little Mulroney binder (also from the CBC report):
Schreiber, who is facing extradition to Germany to face fraud and other charges, handed over a thick binder that he said contains all his correspondence with Mulroney.

"This is my entire correspondence with Mr. Mulroney," Schreiber said. "I wanted this to come out, and this is why someone wanted to kidnap me and kick me out."

"Don't tell me I'm not co-operative with the Canadian government."
You've got to hand it to the guy, he's a colourful little dude. "Kidnap me"...:)

And perhaps the Christmas reference also might include this set of materials handed over:
Schreiber also held up a second binder he said was his correspondence with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and a thick bound document, saying it contained his responses to all of the questions posed by MPs during his appearance at the committee last week.
It will be interesting to see if the Harper correspondence includes anything more than what's become publicly known.

All of Schreiber's documents really need to be met with a thorough subpoena, clearly.

3. Also new today, Jean Charest apparently received a cash donation from Schreiber in the amount of $30,000 for his leadership bid of the PC's. The Globe explains:
In 1993, leadership campaign contributions did not have to be publicly disclosed to Elections Canada, so it is not unusual that there would be no record of the donation.
Charest, meanwhile, says he never met Schreiber and it was $10,000 not $30,000. Big shrug from Mr. Charest on it who is none too happy to see his name in lights today.

4. Schreiber claims not to have donated to any other politician. Why then is the Globe continuing to rag on Andre Ouellet, as it does today? Here's what they write:
While the Liberals have tried repeatedly to implicate the current Conservative government in the scandal, they will have to answer questions of their own after The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that the Bear Head project was still alive after the Tories were banished to the back benches. Liberal cabinet heavyweight André Ouellet waged an intense backroom fight in the mid-1990s to rescue the project, according to federal documents obtained by The Globe.

The ministerial correspondence shows that Mr. Ouellet, the foreign affairs minister and Quebec lieutenant at the time, was a major booster of the plan.
Yet here's the CP report on Schreiber today:
Asked if he had ever paid any other Canadian politicians, Schreiber said he had not.
There's nothing wrong with advocating a project as an MP. Where's the "there" here other than the overall taint of having been a Schreiber initiated project? And I suppose Schreiber's statement that he never "paid" any other politicians needs some further questioning. Does this mean he never paid any to represent him or that he did not donate to any other campaigns?

5. It seems to me that this Committee needs to be re-jigging its schedule. It's not clear how much documentation they have to review now, what with these binders and perhaps other material that they should be looking at, but they need to devote a proper amount of time to it. And get advice on it. And Schreiber continues to profess inability to answer questions as he's had a lack of time to re-familiarize himself with material that spans over a decade now. This smacks of a makeshift political scrum because this Committee is only dealing with this matter superficially. I suppose it's all about ensuring there's enough on record to justify an expanded scope of the public inquiry. But the Committee should also be functional and thorough, in and of itself. To date, we're not seeing that.