The judge isn’t buying it. Nor should we. - Macleans.ca
 

The judge isn’t buying it. Nor should we.

COYNE: Justice Oliphant’s report leaves no doubt about Mulroney’s credibility


 

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

The word “inappropriate” appears literally dozens of times in the course of Justice Jeffrey Oliphant’s report on Brian Mulroney’s dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. It was inappropriate, the judge found, for Mulroney to have met so many times with Schreiber while he was prime minister and Schreiber was an unregistered lobbyist, inappropriate for him to have entered into business with him scant weeks after leaving office—and on the same file, the Bear Head project, for which Schreiber had been lobbying his government all those years—inappropriate to have taken payments from Schreiber in cash, inappropriate to have kept them in cash, inappropriate not to have deposited the money in a bank account, or leave any other record of the transaction, whether contracts, invoices, receipts, expenses, tax returns or even a decent thank-you note.

Well, no. “Inappropriate” would be the word if Mulroney and Schreiber had entered into a legitimate business arrangement—if Mulroney had never had any dealings with Schreiber before leaving office, or if the business had nothing to do with government, or if it were anything, really, that anyone could attest to or understand or even describe—but had kept no record of it and dealt only in cash and done everything else they could do to conceal it. Or “inappropriate” would perhaps serve if Schreiber, having had privileged access to Mulroney in office and having enjoyed such notable success at winning lucrative contracts from his government, had retained him immediately afterward for some sort of murky “professional services” agreement but at least had kept all the appropriate records and perhaps used the odd bank now and then.

But “inappropriate” does not begin to describe what went on here. Nor is it the judge’s most significant finding. Because Schreiber is not just a lobbyist, but a man with a long and distinguished career as an international arms dealer, whose cheerfully confessed modus operandi, when it came to winning government contracts in other countries, was to bribe the nearest politician. And the European manufacturers who hired him, in secret, to lobby the government of Canada did not just pay him a salary, as they did their in-house lobbyists, but agreed to pay him millions of dollars in commissions, prohibited under Canadian procurement rules, specifying that the agreements would become void in the event of a change of government. And while it has long been known that some of the millions Schreiber was paid, notably for winning the Air Canada contract for Airbus Industrie, went to Mulroney confidants, including his onetime fundraiser, Frank Moores, Judge Oliphant’s report is the first official finding that the money Schreiber paid Mulroney came from the same source (though there is no evidence that Mulroney knew this).

But even that’s not his most significant finding. It is not that Mulroney had done business with Schreiber, or that he made such strenuous efforts to conceal it. It is that he lied about it: lied to keep it a secret, certainly, but more tellingly lied after it was no longer a secret—notably in his testimony before the Oliphant inquiry. To be sure, the judge does not use such precise words. But on point after point, his meaning is unmistakable. He does not believe what Mulroney told him.

On his relationship, while still in office, with Schreiber: “Mr. Mulroney’s description of [it] as ‘peripheral’ is simply not in accord with the evidence I heard.” On how much Schreiber paid him, a point of some dispute between the two: “I have decided not to accept the evidence of either of them.” On what Mulroney did for the money: “I must view with skepticism Mr. Mulroney’s claim to have spoken to the leaders referred to . . . I am unable to conclude that Mr. Mulroney spoke to the Chinese leaders, as asserted by him . . . [I] question seriously the credibility of Mr. Mulroney’s testimony . . . I am not able to find that any services were ever provided by Mr. Mulroney for the monies paid to him by Mr. Schreiber pursuant to the retainer.” On Mulroney’s defence of his cash dealings as a mere error of judgment: “I confess to having a serious problem with that explanation . . . I found Mr. Mulroney’s evidence on this issue to be troubling at best and, at worst, not worthy of any credence.” On Mulroney’s decision to keep the money in cash, rather than deposit it in a bank: “I do not accept the reasons proffered by Mr. Mulroney.” And on and on.

I’ll just pause here and note: this is a former prime minister of Canada we are talking about. It would be extraordinary for any former prime minister of Canada to go before a legal proceeding of any kind and tell anything other than “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” But in the present case it is simply astonishing.

Let us try and put the best face on Mulroney’s behaviour. Let us suppose there was nothing untoward in his relationship with Schreiber, that it was merely, as Mulroney claimed, a matter of bad optics: that he feared the harm to his reputation if it were known he had had any dealings, even legitimate ones, with Schreiber, after the publication of the Justice Department’s letter to the Swiss authorities, accusing him (without evidence) of having taken kickbacks from Schreiber on Airbus and other deals. Perhaps that explains, if not excuses, the lengths to which he was prepared to go to conceal his activities at the time.

But after the terrible secret had come to light? Mulroney had four years to prepare his story, from the time the existence of the cash payments first came to public knowledge until he finally broke his silence in 2007. He had two cracks at it, once before the Commons ethics committee and again before the judicial inquiry. It cannot be argued that he was caught unprepared, or quoted out of context. If he had an innocent explanation, this was it. And now a judge has officially torn it to shreds.

(To be fair, the judge did believe Mulroney on some other points: that he did not formally agree to do business with Schreiber while still prime minister, that their agreement was international rather than domestic in scope, that he spent the cash as he claimed. There’s your headline: “Former prime minister of Canada’s testimony found credible, in parts.”)

Judge Oliphant was particularly scathing on the subject of Mulroney’s testimony in deposition for his celebrated 1996 libel case against the government of Canada, in which he claimed, inter alia and under oath, that he “had never had any dealings” with Schreiber. Judge Oliphant not only found that Mulroney knowingly misled the court on that occasion, but dismissed his defence of the same testimony before the inquiry as no less tendentious. “For Mr. Mulroney to attempt to justify his failure to make disclosure in these circumstances by asserting that [the government lawyers] did not ask the correct question is, in my view, patently absurd . . . What the question called for was a clear, complete, forthright answer. And that answer was not forthcoming from Mr. Mulroney.”

Now, all of this was apparent enough before the report. But now we have, not a journalist, but a judge ruling that Mulroney’s story is not credible: that is, that a former prime minister of Canada lied to a judicial inquiry about his cash dealings shortly after leaving office with an acknowledged dispenser of bribes, who made millions of dollars from contracts obtained from his government, some of which was used to make the payments (though, again, there is no evidence Mulroney knew this).

But do not leave it at that. Because what is significant about this is not, surely, the fact that he lied, but the reason he did. Why would Mulroney go so far as to give false and misleading testimony before a judicial proceeding, not only to conceal his dealings with Schreiber, as in his libel trial, but even after they were exposed? We do not know the answer to that. But what we do know is this. The innocent explanation has now been discredited, thoroughly and officially. Which can only leave us with a not-so-innocent explanation.

When people carry on the way Mulroney and Schreiber did, it is not merely “inappropriate”: it is suspicious. And when, called to account, they still lie about it, well, even suspicious isn’t quite the word.


 

The judge isn’t buying it. Nor should we.

  1. Coyne…….hopefully you got everything off your chest now and you can let this thing go. It is done whether you believe it is finished or not.

    The judge has delivered his report. Mulroney has to bear the consequences of his actions with a diminished reputation and a significant negative impact on his legacy as PM.

    I think there was something fishy that went on but after 20 years it is time to move on. Give it a rest Coyne. No one is listening anymore.

    • I'm still listening. There's good reason to suspect the former Prime Minister lied under oath as part of his successful libel suit. I certainly hope that case is revisited, with appropriate consequences at the ready.

      • We already know that Mulroney is a crook. But why is the Canadian taxpayer paying $16 million to find that out again? Harper wants his crony cleared? Frankly, Mulroney should be stripped of the pension he got for being PM. The Tories took money away from women's groups but they have plenty for this BS attempt to excuse bribe taking. Enough. I don't ever want to see Mulroney again.

      • Actually, Mulroney didn't win a successful libel suit – the government of Canada settled out of court. An important distinction when it comes to discussing returning the money paid to him.

        If Mulroney had won the libel suit, it would be easy to counter-sue. As it now stands, because we settled out of court, I don't believe we have any legal recourse?

        • Well, we could bring him up on charges of perjury. And then set bail at.. oh.. off the top of my head.. say 2.1 million or so? Just an arbitrary figure.

    • Oh hollinm you're so delightfully clueless about the ways of the world, it's almost bashful!

    • If Mulroney lied under oath then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just as any non-politician would be. Equality under the law is essential.

    • This is why these guys keep getting away with it. People like Coyne would rather bury their head in their %$#.

      • sorry meant hollinm

    • Wow, lots of comments from nonlisteners. So I guess the way to get ahead as a journalist is to write stuff nobody cares about.

    • Feel free to stop listening, hollinm. Kindly allow those of us, still troubled by ongoing obfuscation to conceal the indefensible, to keep paying attention. Many thanks.

      • madeyoulook…..we are talking about returning the $2.1 settlement. At least that is what I am talking about. The Government of Canada libelled the PM and there is no denying it. There was no libel trial as some have alluded to. It was an out of court settlement and therefore I suspect there is no way to revisit that settlement.

        Now if you want to talk about Mulroney's testimony I agree that it would appear that he was less than truthful. That is not up to the government to pursue but the RCMP. Do I agree the whole thing smells you bet.

        However, after 8 years of investigation by the RCMP concerning Airbus with no evidence of wrongdoing sometimes it is best to put our high dudgeon in our back pockets and move on.

  2. Wrong. We honest Canadians still care. The story should not end here. It is time that the price is paid. The lable of inappropriate will soil the image of all future prime ministers especially the conservative ones. The conservatives have stood by him probably knowing the the whole affair smelled very bad.

    • Bert…..don't be so dramatic. No future PM will be impacted by a former PM's personal actions. How much are you prepared to spend? We already spent $16 million on the inquiry. We saw what the got us. Diddly Squat! The RCMP spent untold millions investigating Airbus as has the CBC's Fifthe Estate.

      While it may make you feel better continuing to waste taxpayers money I say enough is enough.

  3. What is inappropriate is that nothing will be done about this! We keep saying that we should hold these people (especially a PM) to higher standards but we all know that this kind of thing goes on all the time and time after time, they simply walk away without paying the consequences. We all know what would happen to us if we pulled the same stunt (fines, jail, bank accounts locked out). We also know that there is nothing we can do about it because we know how ruthless the government can be to those who make noise and we are all afraid to be the target of such a powerful force. We praise the fact that we live in a country that is "free" but we really are not free. We can only speak our minds to a certain point and look out if we go beyond that point. Right now we have a secret society in our government that refuses to open the books on what they do with our money! Now that is "Absurd".

    • "Absurd" – also FRIGHTENING. If this former PM with his blatant crimes is untouchable, where does that leave other PMs?

  4. We also have government that is spending a BILLION dollars to sit around and stroke egos (because nothing relly gets accomplishedat these things). Anyone ever hear of teleconferencing or meeting at a military base? Shouldn't our elected officials be spending our money wisely in these economic times? And now we have a PM that was finally caught red handed taking "kick back" money and no less suing us for saying so even though it was true? And all this in the last month. I think at the very least, this should set a precedent for all of us. Now we all should be able to tell the government what they can and can't look at reguarding our personal finances and when and where they can do it. We shouldn't worry anymore about what we claim as expences if we own a business. If we think it's a legitimate expence, then it must be so. We should be able to perjure ourselves whenever we see fit with no consequences. And if all else fails we can just say we made a "serious error in judgement".

  5. Sounds pretty silly doesn't it, yet we are watching it actually happen with our trusted politicians and we seem to be unable to do anything about it! The media must keep this stuff on the front page for as long as it takes. Come on you guys, before it is too late. The MP audit story is already dying! We can't let this keep happening.

  6. And while this is important, the economy with the truth of MBM, so much that was once thought important is now considered not worth reporting.

    The Bear Head project was exonerated. Of course this is hardly surprising when Hartt, Tellier, McKnight, Beatty, Campbell, and Burney all testified in absolute terms that there was no pressure from MBM or the PMO. No this exxoneration from what was considered the next smoking gun goes without comment.

    No, the dark uncovered reasons for Mr Mulroney's mistake are the story, and he deserves the sackcloth he now sports. But the reasons why….who knows, maybe even he doesnt know. Maybe they are as innocent as he has said, he knew some would interpret this in a Meta sense. Perhaps he really was tempted to hold onto the cash and avoid revenue Canada. Perhaps something else. We will never know the psychology…and at this stage MBM could tell you but who would believe him, certainly not AC.

    If you buy Oliphants report, then you buy his conclusion that there was no dealings while he was PM. Which is what everyone was supposedly really concerned about.

  7. Sorry, there is no excuse for what Mulroney did. He can say anything he wants now but the fact is he lied about the money and he lied about his relationship with Schreiber. I don't care if he was the King of England at the time, he still lied and got 2.1 million for doing so! Why are there people making excuses for him?

    • Ulm, no he got 2.1 million for the stupid libel that the government of Canada did when it picked the wrong wording for the letter. What might, I repeat, might have changed is that the government may have negotiated a little harder on the settlement. But that doesnt change the fact the government libelled a citizen. And it isnt like the money went to Mulroney personally, it paid for legal and other. So you are saying the government should be able to liable a citizen without having to pay a price.

      Nice.

      BTW I am not excusing his lying, I just think there were errors on all sides. Mulroney has most certainly paid a price, as has the Canadian public, spending at least the 16 million on Oliphant chasing what exactly?

      So explain to me why spending even more money trying to reduce the award for the acknowledged libel is going to improve anything? Other than a purient sense of piling on. Mulroney cant rehabilitate himself on this matter. It is done.

      • So if the RCMP investigates me and I lie and say I didn't do it, I can now turn around and sue them for libel even if it means they may find out later on that I did lie? Wow, what a concept! Is that really how it works?

        • The RCMP sent a letter saying that he was a thief to a foreign country in order to gain access to information. He was not a thief so that is the libel. The RCMP can investigate anyone they like, as long as they don't lie about the person they are investigating.

          • so he's not a thief?

          • Not that anyone has found any evidence of, let alone conviction for.

            But it is clear you arent interested in facts you simply want to "hang" a figure of personal hatred.

          • Brenda, that's not even close to being correct. The RCMP never lied about anyone and they never implied anyone was a thief.

            The RCMP sent a letter to the Swiss authorities asking for assistance in their investigation in tracking down Swiss bank accounts in connection to bribes being paid with respect to AirBus. Brian Mulroney's name was mentioned (amongst others) in connection to these accounts. Somehow this letter was leaked to Mulroney, who released it to the media and then launched his defamation suit!?

            Only we find out many years later (after Mulroney's defamation suit is settled out of court) that the RCMP's original suspicions were correct – Karlheinz Schreiber did indeed have a Swiss bank account set aside for payments to Brian Mulroney!

            So if Mulroney didn't perjure himself during his trial, we would never have settled out of court.

        • But thats not we he fibbed about. He wasnt complete an honest about the extent of his relationship with KHS. Even if he had said at the trial that he took 225,000 is cash from KHS and said what it was for…Oliphant agreed it was for the international consulting arrangement…..that would not have changed the libel the Government issued.

          It may, repeat, may have changed how hard the government negotiated if they felt they could get away with not paying costs…all that would have meant is that the government wouldnt have come to an agreement and it would have been up to a judge to rule…it was a negotiated settlement.

          MBM did not lie about Airbus in that trial, and that was the subject of the libel…once again, that doesnt excuse MBM's economy with the truth but the government still engaged in libel, read in your own motivation as to why.

          • "fibbed"?

  8. Saying Mulroney's actions were "inappropriate" seems much too mild; how about "illegal"?
    Accepting bribes, lying under oath, breach of the public trust………I'm sure a good lawyer could find a few more.
    A diminished reputation is too small a price to pay.
    Mulroney should be forced to give the $2.1 million back, and he should be in jail. He's a criminal.

    • Well, dont you think a judge would have used that word if he thought he could. A criminal….really….your evidence of a crime is what exactly.

      The commission of wrong was the Government of Canada's letter that libelled a citizen. That isnt in dispute. I am sure if you had been libelled you would want at least the cost of defending yourself as the award, along with the apology and correction.

      • Vince…I think some of the lefties on this board are too thick to get the point. The RCMP libelled a former PM by suggesting he was involved in a theft/ fraud. That was the libel.

        Whether Mulroney committed perjury I will leave to others to comment on. However, you cannot take a libel back and to suggest the settlement would have been different is revisionist. There will be no repayment of the $2.1 million no matter how loud the Mulroney haters yell.

        • Perjury, maybe….like you thats for others to figure out. But dont worry, Mulroney will be hounded by people chasing him to the law society, for that very reason. Its all rather pointless. Especially when what we were originally concened about was if the improper influence was exercised and rewarded on the Air Canada purchase, and there is still no evidence of anythign improper after 25 years. But maybe we can get a picture of MBM jaywalking and get him for that as well.

      • Well, don[']t you think a judge would have used that word ["criminal"] if he thought he could.

        All right. No one can be that obtuse without doing it on purpose, perhaps for payment. So we unpaid mere citizens will just have to keep bringing up that OLIPHANT WAS NOT PERMITTED TO ATTRIBUTE CIVIL OR CRIMINAL WRONGDOING.

        • " No one can be that obtuse without doing it on purpose, perhaps for payment"

          Ahh yes. the only official poition allowed is Mulroney is a criminal, any other one means idiocy or payment. Only one thought allowed…burn him he is a witch.

          No Oliphant wanst allowed to attribute criminal liability, so why are others? Why read criminality into something that isnt even implied. And what is the point anyway….If you buy Oliphant you get all of his conclusions, some of which touch on Airbus….as in no evidence Mulroney knew the source of funds….well thats about all you need to clear, and hardly surprising given that some of us have been talking about the stupidity of that point from day one. So in some ways Mulroney has paid tax on income he never should have recognized, since he apparently didnt perfomr the service.

          Bottom line: after burrowing deep into Mulroney he was cuaught on something quite unrelated. Yawn. Hardly worth it and the 10's of millions spent, not including the CBC money on numerous wrong headed documentaries. All that money and state power used to chase one citizen.

          • Very weak try. YOU are the one trying to reassure us that no criminality was noted. YOU need the reminding that no criminality COULD have been noted. And, in addition to a typing course, it seems you STILL need that reminding.

            I am NOT saying (I never have) that "the only official po[s]ition allowed is Mulroney is a criminal." What I am saying is that anyone using Oliphant (to try to convince us he isn't a criminal) is either dense or trying desperately to lie to us. I am not sure which one you would be more proud of: are you that thick or are you a misrepresenter?

    • $2.1 million back plus interest

  9. This was a while ago and I wasn't living in Canada back then, but didn't a few members of Mulroney's cabinet end up in jail? How awesome would it be for him to join them?

    • Good evidence of Mulroney derrangement syndrome. Despite the fact that he has been examined 6 ways to Sunday and there are no criminal matters found against him the fantasies exist.

  10. Yes we are still listening. What arrogance! Does he really think we are so stupid? We want our 2.1 million back. Mulroney will never end up in jail because he has more political connections than Conrad Black. What a fine example Mulroney is for all those people who do not declare income on their tax returns.

  11. An excellent column Andrew. Canadians should not let this drop. These situations arise because Canadians do not demand full accountabilty. That is why they most assuredly will occur again.

  12. I'm thinking of starting a new political party and it is called

    WHP of Canada if you wonder what it means it is the

    "White Haird Party" of Canada maybe just maybe we can get
    justice for us seniors

  13. I came to Canada looking for a better life for my family and a more just and fair government. There are many uneducated corrupt politicians in my country that do not know the harm they are doing to their country by enriching themselves at the expense of other people.

    The ex-prime minister of Canada, a lawyer by profession, lied to use because he knew he had done something wrong. We should not take this incident lightly because we might end up with a different Canada. A Canada with educated corrupt politicians that know exactly what they are doing.

  14. Please, everyone, please, read the Oliphant report and then shut up. This continuing drizzle of rehashed criticism is making Macleans Magazine a yawn inducer.

  15. To compound Mulroney's abuse of privilege, when he finally owned up to the payments from Schreiber, he cut a deal with Revenue Canada to pay taxes on only a portion of the amount he declared.

    Mulroney has creeped me out since he first appeared on the national stage as a Conservative Party leadership candidate in 1976. Even then, he behaved as if he'd arrived on earth to serve as Canada's political messiah. Personally, I think his main purpose since then has been to give the words "smarmy" and "unctuous" a useful place in the English language.

  16. I think that is Mulroney hoped drag it on so long that we begin to yawn, but Mr. Coyne is right this is unbelievable – a disgrace

  17. There was a lot of criticism of Harper when he distanced himself and the Conservative Party from Mr Mulroney. It looks entirely appropriate now. It seems that Quebec politicians behave a lot like their colleagues in corrupt South American democracies like Peru or Argentina.(and this should be a grave warning)

    My only question Mr Coyne is what can we do? Mulroney didn't even have to pay for his own defense!

  18. Why would Mulroney go so far as to give false and misleading testimony before a judicial proceeding, not only to conceal his dealings with Schreiber, as in his libel trial, but even after they were exposed? We do not know the answer to that.

    That's the question I have been asking since KadyO was giving us the play-by-play here. How bad must the truth really be that Mulroney should continue to hide it, that we know he's hiding it, and that he must know that we know that he is hiding it?

    • "that we know he's hiding it, and that he must know that we know that he is hiding it"

      call the 1-800 line now to hear Madeyoulooks latest pshychic prediction, because he KNOWS.

      • If you do not KNOW that Mulroney has been hiding stuff from us, you are either (a) really not trying that hard, or (b) trying too hard in the wrong direction. Much like the either-or situation in which you have placed yourself above, I am afraid that neither of those two possibilities is particularly flattering.

  19. Amazing that it's taken this long for it to be recognized officially that Brian Mulroney is a liar. Really. Canadians are sheep.

  20. totally agree ..what more need be said…this case will be studied by poli. sci. 101 for eons to come and moist papers will agree this is a national disgrace and b.m. should be a red faced political party leader!

  21. "Lyin Brian" – it has been said before and now it is more evident – he will lie about anything. Isn't it funny, KHS is in jail and he is the one with more credibility that an ex-prime minister who is awarded 2.1 million for lying. "On the Take" a good read and a few more thoughts about our most hated prime minister. It has always been evident with his "better than thou" "smug" attitude he has only been in it for himself – always! He hides cash money and then gets a deal to reduce the tax payments on it . Does anyone think that he would have declared it if it would have been kept a secret? I want the same deal on my incomel!
    I also want:
    My 2.1 million back – because he did Lie under oath!
    Prosecute him for perjury.
    Remove the Order of Canada – because that is an award for the most admired people in Canada – and he is NOT!
    Slimy politicians! And Cretian and his liberals were no better.

  22. I just want our money back. If our present Government has any balls they would go after Beloney Mulroney for the 2 million plus interest.

  23. Airbus if investigated would show how much grease money went to Mulroney lackeys to the tune of millions. Therein lies the real crime. FOLLOW THE MONEY

    • Gary……First of all most of the key players have died i.e. Frank Moores. The RCMP investigated the issue for almost 8 years and found nothing on which they could prosecute. KHS is not talking and probably will not talk because that will see him in prison for the rest of his life.

      You are funny……FOLLOW THE MONEY……it was cash and there is no paper trail if in fact bribes were paid. CBC's Fifth Estate (taxpayers) has been after Airbus for 20 years and has not been able to find a thing that would prove that politicians were bribed. They have speculated but there is no proof.

      Do I think the whole thing stinks. You bet. However, the old expression throwing good money after bad is apt in this case. All would like to see criminals prosecuted and punished but there needs to be evidence upon which a conviction can be obtained. At this time this is lacking and so it is time to move on.

      Canadian taxpayers have paid enough on a hunt that has led nowhere.

      • "and so it is time to move on. "
        Not until he pays back the money or just maybe we'll let him of the hook if he would only fess up and tell the truth.

        • bepele….good luck with that. You can keep the tinfoil hat on but it will not change anything. Mulroney has paid the price with a diminished reputation and legacy. That is more punishment for him than paying back a relatively small amount of money.

          Harper has no basis to get the money back. There is nothing knew here period full stop. Surely your mind can be moved into more important issues affecting the county today. However, if you want to vex about a former politician/ PM that has not been in power for 25 years have at it.

  24. Yes the irony of it. During the Mulroney years I too ran afoul of Revenue Canada. A single parent struggling to pay back student loans and working 80 hours a week.. Because I wasn't in the position to generate tax write off''s I owed money that I also wasn't in a position to pay. So they garnisheed my wages. Worked to more hours to compensate for the huge loss of income and owed more taxes as a result. I was stuck in that viscous cycle for years. Why didn't I get the same deal that Brian Mulroney did? Especially galling because all of my income was above board. I will never forget those years of struggle and the utter exhaustion that permeated every day of my life and every time I hear the saga of the brown envelopes stuffed with cash I get angry all over again.

  25. Excellent article Mr. Coyne, but how many other politicians do we have today with Mulroney style ethics? It seems to me that Canada's press gives our politicians and establishment far too easy a ride, far too often. Let's have more old-fashioned investigative journalism

  26. I'm still listening Mr. Coyne, and I love you for writing this.

    (No, for those of you with your minds in the gutter, not that way; I love him for putting aside his "talking head" role and showing that the state of our democracy and the integrity of our country actually means something to him. I love him for caring enough to say something even if – especially if – "no one's listening".)

  27. Excellent column, Mr. Coyne.

    Mulroney should be investigated for accepting bribes and charged with perjury. And he should be made to return the 2.1 million with interest.

    People who say that we should drop the matter are missing the point. We need to start demonstrating that politicians are not above the law.

  28. I completely agree that we've wasted time and money on this inquiry. But unlike some others here, I don't think it's because we've spent too much time and money, but that we've spent both of those foolishly. I am one who thinks the enquiry should go much much deeper.

    We don't seem able (politicians, public and press) to bear to look at the much larger systemic issues that challenge our democracy at its foundation. I'm constantly astounded at how few rocks we actually look under. We divert ourselves looking under the smaller rocks but leave the boulders alone.

    Mulroney STOLE the PC leadership away from Joe Clark (who was at least an honest man), due in very large part to the "grease money" from the company behind KHS and Airbus used to fly in his supporters. He then used that leadership to bring in Free Trade, which then gave those companies access to the U.S. through us. I wish someone would look at THAT.

  29. Canadians knew long ago that Brian was lyin…..it's our RCMP who many still trust to investigate matters of great importance that is shocking ie air India bombing, Income trust slander to the liberal party, their actions in the Mahar case….I mean honestly why do we trust them to investigate still?

  30. Lying is one thing;- we all do it once in a while. But lying under oath, in front of a judge and being a former Prime Minister of Canada, is quite another. It is so low , so amoral and so criminal that it makes me sick to think of it ! And we elected this disgusting subspecies of a human being into office. A. Coyle's excellent article shows that the bigshots in government do not pick their predecessors eyes out ,so to speak. Canada is definitely on the slippery slope toward south american style government.The Canadian electorate is either too disgusted, too dumbed down or simply too apathetic to speak out about this situation. And the next government will be conservative; want to bet ?

  31. Those commenters suggesting that enough is enough – we've spent millions on this and shouldn't spend any more – Lyin' Brian has already been punished enough because of the loss of his reputation, etc. etc etc. – here's why enough ISN"T enough.

    Of all of the maladies that plague contemporary Canadian democracy, "apathy" is arguably the biggest. In my home province, the last provincial election saw slightly north of 50% of eligible voters being sufficiently moved to show up and vote. And the trendline isn't going the right way.

    The reason Mulroney shouldn't be allowed to "close the chapter" without further repercussions is because doing so further fuels apathy. It would be conceding that not just your average Cdn pol, but the highest pol in the land, is no longer expected to maintain even a modicum of trustworthy, ethical behaviour: taking cash from known bribers? no problem! – lying under oath? hey, let he who is without sin! – failing to disclose income, then getting a sweetheart deal when it looks like CRA will find out? that's how I roll!!

    The democratic deficit in Canada is already so profound, it cannot risk any further blows – Mulroney should be disbarred, charged with perjury and sued to return the 2.1 mill he got under false pretenses. Then we can "close the chapter".

    • Amen!

  32. hey just out of the blue the wild rose party initials are
    TWRP.

  33. Mulroney makes Karlheinz seem like a nice honest bandit. A few traces of gunpowder, but no slime.

  34. Actually, there is an easy way to get back our money regarding the Mulroney thing. A movie.
    We'll call it "The Weapons Dealer". Dick Cheney will star as Carl-Heinz. Scott Feschuck as a shady client. Mr Steyn will star was Lion Brian. Our former beloved GG of 5th Estate Fame stars as The Crown Attorney, a cross between Bill Grissom of CSI and Jim Garrisom of JFK. She's out to get her man! Willian Shatner as the Perry Mason Type defending lawyer.
    Filmed very economically using already existing sets at the CBC, Canada's own Ben Johnson stars as a Kanuck Mr.T., who is out to "pity the fool that tries to sell Canada bad weapons".
    First, we insure our non-floating 1960's era X-Brit diesel Subs, for a few billions. The insurance pays off that mess! In the final scene of the movie, they are accidentally destroyed!
    Movie cost: About $15-Million. Straight to TV & DVD Revenues, $20-million. Profit $5-Million.
    Laughs? Priceless. A new film genre is created the Situation Comedy Historical Drama.
    Who knows? The US may want to pick it up as a new reality TV show in the fall.

  35. I don't want the money back. I want him tried for perjury. A couple days picking up litter on the side of the road in an orange jumpsuit and I'll happily call it even.

    • I hear you there. Heck, as a taxpayer I think I'd even be willing to cough up a bit more money to see that happen!

  36. Bravo Andrew Coyne. I paid very close attention to the Oliphant report when the judge made it public on TV. I also read Harvey Cashore's book The truth shows up. The question "where did the 20 or so million $ go"? is still unanswred. If Mulroney was willing to lie for 3 hundred thousand $, how do we know he is not lying for millions? RCMP should reopen the airbus investigation. The 2.1 million $ should be returned to them and used to pay for it. Denis . Comment as a guest