Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Friday, December 14, 2007


My impression of the Mulroney testimony

There are two different ways to learn about how Brian Mulroney did during yesterday's testimony in Parliament.

You can read and watch the news reports from the media, which have been generally critical of his explanations.

Or you can watch the testimony yourself, where Mulroney essentially hit out of the ballpark almost every question thrown at him — and he did it with flair, style, and conviction.

The media has generally cherry-picked clips and segments to present to its audience. They tend to depict Mr. Mulroney in an unflattering manner.

However, what these clips often don't show is how Mulroney fared against his questioners. That's something that's left out in much of the reporting and analysis.

A handful of MP's had their best shot at the guy. And he almost always came out of each exchange looking better than the other guy.

It was a masterful performance.

Did it fully explain his dealings with Schreiber? No. Yet, he apologized, said it was the biggest mistake of his life, and reiterated time and again that he did nothing illegal.

They took their best shot at him, and he came out relatively unscathed and smiling. That's what happened yesterday. That's what the actual testimony reveals if you watch it, instead of relying on the media to give you their version.

The problem I have with this whole charade is that on the important points, both Mulroney and Schreiber are pretty much on the same page.

They met at Harrington Lake in July 1993. Both agree no money changed hands and no specific business deals were arranged.

They met at Montreal airport and either 75,000 or $100,000 in cash changed hands. Mulroney was no longer PM, although still an MP. For the record, the Conservative Government had a bare 6 weeks left in its mandate and in any event Campbell dropped the writ on September 7. To all intents and purposes, Mulroney was no longer functioning as an MP and was moving on to the next phase in his life. In any event, at that time it was not illegal for a Canadian MP to be hired to lobby foreign governments on behalf of a foreign company.

There were two more payments in cash to Mulroney when he was no longer an MP.

Now you can argue that it was questionable to accept cash, and certainly stashing it all in safety deposit boxes indicates some intent not to pay tax on it. Sleazy, yes, but since the tax was eventually paid, not illegal. As I understand it, cash received under arrangements such as this is not taxable until the arrangement is concluded. In this case, when Schreiber was arrested, I guess Mulroney assumed the arrangement was concluded. Whatever, the tax was paid, Revenue Canada is apparently OK with the arrangement, end of story.

My point is that a lot of this is questionable, arguably sleazy and not what one would want or expect from a former PM. However, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL under the rules in place at the time.

The RCMP and the Chretien government did their damndest to find evidence of Airbus kickbacks to Mulroney, and failed abysmally. A further public investigation is unlikely to turn up any more "evidence" particularly since a number of the key players have gone to their just rewards.

Both Mulroney and Schreiber agree that nothing improper happened while he was still PM. Everything else relates to the conduct of a private citizen and any criminal wrongdoing should be referred to the RCMP, not handled through a very expensive public inquiry.

We seem to be sinking into something that is rapidly approaching McCarthyism. I personally find there is only so long I can say "Tut, tut, tut" to Mulroney. Time to move on.


Is there a full, unedited version of the video online somewhere?



You can try this direct link: Brian Mulroney

Alternatively, you can go to this link, CTV Mulroney search page , and click on the "Brian Mulroney" link at the top with a camera symbol beside it.

Either one of those should give you a CTV video popup, which contains all the segments of the Mulroney testimony.


Thanks for the links.

I am not particularly interested in the Mulroney affair, but I enjoy watching masterful verbal exchanges.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?