Friday, November 16, 2007

From Lyin Brian To Litigious Brian

Pundits are asking why the old Mulroney Schreiber Airbus scandal is making news now.This is what happens when you publish your memoirs and start making front page news with your attacks on other party leaders. The press has a long memory.

Especially when you conveniently forget to mention you took a $300,000 kick back in cash that you failed to pay taxes on until much later. Even though this was 'news' back in 2003.

William Kaplan, A SECRET TRIAL, Brian Mulroney, Stevie Cameron, and the Public Trust, McGill-Queen’s, 2004

A SECRET TRIAL, wasn’t, I believe, written because Kaplan suffered a change of conviction about Brian Mulroney’s present status as an innocent in the Airbus Affair. It is a book of greater seriousness than that. Kaplan is a sophisticated lawyer, author, labour mediator, and a serious thinker about the viability of Canadian democracy.

Three matters, especially, conspired to re-focus Kaplan’s interest on the Mulroney record and the role played in it by Stevie Cameron. First he discovered that Brian Mulroney had not been candid with him, had perhaps deceived him, and perhaps deliberately. Kaplan had “unprecedented and unlimited access to Mulroney’s files” (p. viii), and to his person, during the research and writing of his defense of Mulroney book entitled Presumed Guilty, Brian Mulroney, the Airbus Affair, and the Government of Canada (1998). Kaplan recorded some of his conversations with Mulroney and quotes these to make his point in A SECRET TRIAL.

Kaplan concludes about the Mulroney/Karlheinz Schreiber relation: “I had been duped. Schreiber had been part of the Mulroney circle even before he [Mulroney] entered public life. In fact, he played an important behind-the-scenes role in Mulroney’s road to power.” (p. 13)

Kaplan was duped, the Liberal Government of the day was duped and so were the people of Canada. And so Schreiber languished in jail awaiting extradition to Germany out of sight out of mind. Then he start making noise. And the $300,000 cash payment made the news, again.

The CBC Fifth Estate digs it up again and reminds the public that Mulroney sued the Government of the Day, and the taxpayers forked over several million dollars for his retirement fund and oh yes he forgot to mention that little cash payment at that time.

The launch of Brian Mulroney's volume of memoirs was the publishing event of this year. But, in more than 1,000 comprehensive pages of anecdote and information there is one notable name missing--Karlheinz Schreiber--the German dealmaker at the centre of the darkest chapter of Mr. Mulroney's life. Linden MacIntyre and a fifth estate team report new revelations about the relationship between the two men as well as details about the attempt to cover the trail of the $300,000 cash the former Prime Minister received from Schreiber.

Mulroney review will consider bid to recoup cash from ex-PM

And when you value your personal reputation more than the political impact it will have you go from being Lyin' Brian to Litigious Brian.

Mulroney calls for public inquiry

No apology from Liberal MP sued by Mulroney

Mulroney's suit seeks $2 million in damages and punitive damages. Should he win the case, Mulroney wants the money to go to health care facilities in Ontario.

In the 1990s, Mulroney won a $2.1 million settlement from the government after police documents alleged he took kickbacks for the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada in the 1980s.

Why is the Harper Government implicated? Simple when Harper created his transition team in the early days of February 2006 it was staffed by old Mulroney cronies. In particular Derek Burney who is now on the Harper Panel on Afghanistan. The apple does not fall from the tree.

This reminds us once again of why Brian Mulroney ended his term as PM being the most hated Canadian and leaving his party decimated. He also alienated his right wing base which gave rise to the Reform Party of Preston Manning and Stephen Harper. He made politics all about him. And he is doing it again. And he will take the New Conservative Party and its not so New Government down with him.

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