Friday, December 14, 2007

The Game Has Changed

Prior to Brian Mulroney's testimony yesterday before the Ethics committee, everyone thought that Mulroney was trying to salvage his reputation as a former PM. Now it is clear that he's given up on that battle and is just trying to stay out of jail.

Mulroney's story about his meeting with Schreiber on June 23, 1993, while Mulroney was still prime minister (which was that they didn't discuss any business or financial transaction, but just said "let's keep in touch"), is as flimsy as it gets. There is independent, unassailable evidence to the contrary: shortly after the meeting, Schreiber set up a Swiss bank account with $500,000 in Canadian funds and code-named it Britan; and at their next meeting, in August of the same year, Schreiber showed up with an enveloped stuffed with thousand dollar bills. (Would people would do that for me when I say Let's keep in touch.)

Mulroney offered up this apparent lie because his back is to the wall. If he admitted to creating a deal with Schreiber while he was PM, he'd be in deep doo-doo. But by uttering such an obvious lie, Mulroney damages his own credibility even further than he has before. In the he said/he said game between Schreiber and Mulroney, Schreiber is emerging as the less uncredible of the two.

Mulroney didn't even try to explain away two serious matters - his not paying GST on the $225K or $300K he got from Schreiber, and his taking money under the table while an MP - but perhaps he's banking on the Canadian public letting it slide.

Meanwhile, the rest of the murky allegations around him - kickbacks, bribes, constant flows of cash, Airbus, Thyssen - all continue to be issues that need further scrutiny. Was, as Pat Martin suggested, the lobbying firm GCI a giant piggybank to funnel kickbacks to Mulroney? Were the Schreiber payments just one of many under-the-table schmiergelder arrangements Mulroney had? Was his lavish lifestyle supported by illegal activities? It's all very important, and if we really commit to getting to the bottom of it, we will.

If Mulroney were concerned about his reputation rather than about jail time or fines, he'd fess up to everything, take his lumps, and then have a clean slate to rehabilitate his name - by doing good works or writing useful books or something like that. It's not too late. But it doesn't seem very in character, does it?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agreed! When Mulroney left office, the PC Party gave him $4 million. Where did that money come from?

Yes! the CRA needs to audit, and cross-audit, the PC Party, Mulroney, the remains of GCI, etc.

5 of 6 Globeans believe Schreiber over Mulroney. If Schreiber is right about $300,000, then Mulroney lied to the Ethics Committee and CRA.

In tax court, the story with some documentation always beats a story of "Trust me, I'm a former PM."