Say anything

Is there anyone, anywhere, who will support even one line of what Brian Mulroney has told the Oliphant inquiry? Not only are there no supporting documents, no paper trail, no witnesses to corroborate any of the fantastic account he has given of his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber — aside, that is, from Forgetful Fred Doucet, his faithful retainer and fellow recipient of Schreiber’s largesse — but on key points he is flatly contradicted by people in a position to know. Or indeed, by his own evidence.

“I cancelled the project. I killed the deal.”

Well, no:

Repeated claims by Brian Mulroney that he cancelled the initial version of the Bear Head armoured vehicle project while he was still prime minister are being challenged by a former Mulroney chief of staff.

Norman Spector contends that Mulroney, in his testimony before a public inquiry, has offered an inaccurate picture of his handling of the project backed by businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

“What we’ve learned about Mulroney is that he’s very slippery with words and evasive with his testimony,” Spector told The Canadian Press. “He didn’t cancel the project in any incarnation. He never cancelled it.”

[D]uring four days of testimony last week at the inquiry headed by Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, Mulroney asserted that he had ditched the original proposal after Spector informed him in late 1990 that it would cost taxpayers too much…

Mulroney pointed to that decision, in his first day on the stand, to rebut any suggestion he had been unduly influenced by Schreiber in personal meetings held to discuss the project….

In later testimony, Mulroney suggested he had ordered Spector to put an end to the project, and that Paul Tellier – then the country’s top bureaucrat as clerk of the Privy Council – was in the loop as well.

“When I gave Spector that directive, and he spoke to the clerk of the Privy Council – passing on exactly what I had said, this matter is dead – that is the end of it in that configuration as far as I am concerned.”…

[But] memos from Tellier continued to flow through the bureaucracy and Mulroney has acknowledged he held subsequent meetings with Schreiber, minister Elmer MacKay and Fred Doucet, a former prime ministerial aide who had signed on with Schreiber as a lobbyist.

Mulroney never followed up by issuing explicit orders to kill the project, Spector said in a weekend interview after reading media accounts of Mulroney’s testimony.

“It is not true to say he cancelled it, or he instructed me to cancel it,” said Spector. “That never happened. I deny that categorically.

“There were four articles.”

Well, no:

Brian Mulroney told the Oliphant Commission Tuesday that The Globe and Mail suppressed a story about him, prompting the newspaper’s editor-in-chief to reveal that the former prime minister tried to strike a deal in 2003 to block an article that said he received cash payments from Karlheinz Schreiber…

Statement from The Globe and Mail Regarding Oliphant Inquiry

Toronto, ON (May 19, 2009) – In testimony at the Oliphant inquiry today, Mr. Mulroney raised a number of points regarding The Globe and Mail’s 2003 articles written by William Kaplan.

The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon has sent a letter directly to the inquiry counsel Richard Wolson clarifying and correcting a number of points of fact:

▪ Mr. Mulroney made reference to a supposed fourth article planned for a November 2003 Globe and Mail series authored by William Kaplan and alleged that the article was suppressed by The Globe and Mail. No such fourth article was ever contemplated. The number of articles in the series was always three.

▪ Mr. Mulroney contacted Mr. Greenspon on a number of occasions asking him not to publish the third article in the series – in which Kaplan revealed that Mr. Mulroney had accepted cash payment from Mr. Schreiber.

▪ In at least one of the conversations, Mr. Mulroney offered to trade information in exchange for The Globe not publishing the third story. He said his information was explosive and would be of greater interest than the cash payments.

▪ The Globe and Mail emphatically declined Mr. Mulroney’s offer and ran the third story of the series that revealed for the first time that Mr. Mulroney had accepted cash payments from Mr. Schreiber.

▪ Mr. Greenspon told Mr. Mulroney if the story he was offering was true and verifiable that it would be in his interest to tell it anyway and that The Globe and Mail would pursue it. Mr. Mulroney did and The Globe investigated it and found it was not verifiable.

“I declared it all for $225,000 and paid full tax on it.”

Well, no:

Mulroney only paid tax on half of Schreiber’s $225K

Mulroney’s tax break revealed

I had nothing to do with tax deal, Mulroney says

Mulroney struck deal to conceal Schreiber’s name from tax filing

On and on it goes. This is a former prime minister of Canada. Under oath.

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