General

Like father, unlike son?

Peter MacKay is telling reporters he warned his dad, Elmer, to steer clear of Karlheinz Schreiber, of whom he said he was “leery.” He said he had held this opinion for “a number of years.”

That period would seem to have begun sometime after 1992, when the younger MacKay was employed for some months by Thyssen Industries, one of the companies Schreiber was then representing, in this case on the infamous Bear Head project to build light armoured vehicles — in Nova Scotia, as it happens.

MacKay says at the time he “had no idea who Mr. Schreiber was or what his association was with Thyssen.” So how did he get the job then?

Other questions: when did the younger MacKay first become aware of who Schreiber was? When did he become “leery” of him, and why? And why did his father ignore his warnings?

UPDATE: Luc Lavoie has signed off as Mulroney’s spokesman. This is a shocker. Luc was with Mulroney from the very beginning of his travails, twelve long years ago — about a quarter of the $2.1-million settlement was paid to Luc for his services — but now, now, he doesn’t have enough time for the job?

BACKDATE: It is, recall, the elder MacKay to whom we owe the pleasure of Schreiber’s presence in this country. After Schreiber fled his native Germany, a warrant for his arrest outstanding, and one day after the arrest, in May 1999, of two executives at Thyssen with whom he had conspired to bribe German political figures — this time in connection with a scheme to sell German tanks to Saudi Arabia — it was MacKay senior who flew over to Switzerland to bring him back to Canada. He even bought him his ticket.

This incident has always been a bit of a puzzle. Why did Schreiber need MacKay to come and get him? Schreiber is a Canadian citizen. He’s worth millions. Why couldn’t he buy his own ticket?

And of course it was MacKay, along with Marc Lalonde, who bailed Schreiber out when he was arrested later that year, each posting $100,000 to assure the courts he would not flee yet a third country. A former solicitor general and a former justice minister.

After he had been released on bail, Schreiber stood outside the court, cameras rolling, and delivered himself of this statement:

It is, I think, a great pleasure to have friends. I have always had friends in my life. And I will never let a friend down. So they came here to get me out. I will never do anythng to harm them.