At the close of his testimony, Mulroney was the picture of graciousness.
“Mr. Mulroney, you’ve been on the stand for I think the longest of any witness I have either been involved in as a lawyer or in 24 years as a judge,” Justice Jeffrey Oliphant told Mulroney at the inquiry in Ottawa.
“I want to assure myself before you leave, sir, that you feel, despite probing questions that may have been asked, that you leave here feeling that you’ve been treated fairly and with respect.”
Mulroney said he believed he was treated “very fairly and with great respect.”
“The probing questions I thought were appropriate and didn’t either bother me or offend me in any way. So the answer to the question is very much in the affirmative. And I thank you sir for your kindness.”
Well, isn’t that nice? All civility and respect. Except I remember how Mulroney closed his testimony to the Ethics Committee, back in December ’07:
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Mulroney.
Clearly there are some discrepancies between the testimony that we have received from two witnesses. It would appear that there will be more questions of interest and we likely will be asking you, once again, to come back some time in February or later, and we hope that you will be able to come back to further clarify, if necessary, any outstanding matters and I share with you the extension of the wish to all, a very Merry Christmas.
Right Hon. Brian Mulroney: I thank you, Mr. Chairman, in particular for your courtesy.
The Chair: Thank you, sir.
And we all know how that ended up: Mulroney refused to obey the committee’s summons to reappear, and has since taking to slamming the committee and its chairman. In his Oliphant testimony, he called it a “national disgrace” and a “kangaroo court,” while Paul Szabo, the chairman he was so careful to thank before, was now referred to, witheringly, as its “distinguished chairman.”
Still, it was smart of the commissioner to get him on the record. Makes it harder to launch the inevitable legal challenge. Not impossible, but harder.