Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Call for Another Inquiry

Finally, finally, finally, an official body is poised to get to the bottom of at least some aspects of Mulroney-related corruption. It's 25 years after most of this stuff took place (and more, if you count the arms dealer-funded ouster of Joe Clark as party leader). It's 15 years since the Chretien government settled out of court with Mulroney for $2.1M - in a case where Mulroney's cries of innocence have been found to be untrue.

The RCMP botched the investigation thoroughly, and by dropping it they seemed to imply that Mulroney was innocent. Media, particularly the Globe & Mail, W5, Harvey Cashore and Stevie Cameron, pursued the story when half the country angrily wanted everyone to shut up about it. Year after year they doggedly recovered more and more details, until finally Mulroney had to admit to taking large amounts of cash from Schreiber, and finally even Mulroney's own party had to call an inquiry.

Stevie Cameron was pilloried, completely unfairly - caught in a world of dirty politics trying to protect their own. She has mostly backed away from the story now, and it's interesting that the last thing she posted on her blog was the original anonymous tip she got, back in 1988, a hand-lettered note saying, "FRANK [MOORE] HAS ARRANGED FOR AIR CANADA TO BUY $2 BILLION WORTH OF FRENCH AIRPLANES, AND HE GETS A COOL 5% OR $100 MILLION. OF COURSE, THE FRENCH WILL PAY THE COMMISSION, BUT $300 MILLION WILL COME FROM OTTAWA, AND YOU KNOW YOU AND I PAY FOR THAT. CHECK IT OUT." 21 years on, and it's all being proved true.

After the Oliphant commission completes its work, we need a commission into how this egregious delay was allowed to happen. I know, I know: commissions cost the earth; but we can't live in a democracy where our prime ministers and their cronies are robbing the country blind and getting away with it. There's plenty of blame to go around in both main parties, so this doesn't have to be partisan.

My main concern is the utter incompetence of the RCMP: did they bow to pressure from the political bosses of the day? Did Chretien want to cover up Mulroney's wrondoing to avoid setting a precedent that might hurt him? And most importantly: How can we avoid, in future, a situation where a prime minister can be corrupt and get away with it?


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