As I have been watching the hearings into the Mulroney - Schreiber affair this week, and seeing former PM Brian Mulroney testify, it has occurred to me that this man, a distinguished lawyer, seems to have forgotten what it means to testify under oath -- that one is supposed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Plenty of reference has been made to his Airbus lawsuit a number of years ago. He was asked if he had ever met Karlheinz Schreiber. He said "only once or twice." He now claims that he was being truthful because he thought he was responding only to how many times he met Herr Schreiber regarding the Air Canada / Airbus contract. But that really wasn't the question at all. And we now know that their dealing go back quite some time.
It is a matter of fact, for instance, that Schreiber flew in jetloads of PC delegates to Winnipeg for that party's policy convention that led to Joe Clark deciding he didn't have enough support -- even though he got 67%, more than plenty to stay on. There is simply no way Schreiber would have done this if he knew it wouldn't work, nor if Mulroney had no intention of running for the party leadership.
There is also the business of Mulroney and Schreiber meeting for the exchange of monies. Mulroney now says it was a huge mistake not to insist on payment in the form of a cheque, rather than cash. Mulroney also says that even though he received the money in 1993, he did not claim the income until 1999, saying the money was a retainer and not meant for his own consumption, but for services to be rendered in the future.
While that may be technically accurate, it is rather interesting he would have waited a full six years before reporting the income, at a tax rate that would have been more favourable to him (remembering that both the federal Liberals and the PQ in Québec had slashed income taxes, in particular in the upper brackets).
I really don't think Schreiber has told the whole truth. But Mulroney has sure chosen a convenient way to justify his actions. This is so like Bill Clinton when he defined sexual relations as what Monica Lewinsky did to him and not what he did to her -- in other words, by saying she "serviced" him he was telling the truth. No one bought it then and no one still buys it now. Along the way, he made some pretty unsavoury friends that only now we're getting around to fighting.
And quite frankly, no one's buying it from Mulroney either now. It's time for him to set the record straight once and for all. What was the money for, did he actually render the services he was paid for as a lobbyist, and why would he even want to deal with a man long under investigation in Germany for tax fraud? And don't forget, Mulroney during his time in office heaped loads of praise on Robert Mugabe. That should say something in itself.
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Did they ask Mulroney if he requested that the monies paid to him be paid in cash?
It seems like an obvious question, but if they haven't asked it, it might be an oversight.
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