Friday, December 14, 2007

Barbara Yaffe on Mulroney Scandal

While Mulroney may not have done anything illegal (although that is far from certain) I should certainly think that what he did was unethical on the face of it. He took money for lobbying when he was still PM. He did not declare the cash he took as income for years and only when it was clear the truth would come out. I wonder if there were any penalties assessed by the income tax people? Mulroney also denied that he ever had business dealings with Schreiber at the time he was awarded a settlement of over 2 million. This is not even mentioned in Yaffe's article.
Who knows what else happened earlier that is so well buried we will never uncover it. Mulroney spent most of his time attacking others and he certainly does not apologize for what he did. He is the smoothest mellifluous piece of sleeze that Canada has ever had as prime minister.

Analysis: Barabara Yaffe on Mulroney scandal

Barbara Yaffe
Vancouver Sun

Thursday, December 13, 2007

At this point few would argue with Brian Mulroney's own assessment of his behavior: His dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber reflected conduct unbecoming of a prime minister.

The former Conservative prime minister was both indignant and forceful in long- awaited testimony before a Commons ethics committee today.

He argued that while he exercised poor judgment, he did nothing illegal or unethical in relation to the Parliament of Canada Act.

It was a good performance. But importantly, not quite sufficient to remove the stain that will surely mar Mulroney's political legacy.

Mulroney, during a three-hour session in Ottawa, confirmed much of what had disturbed Canadians in past allegations put forward by the German-Canadian businessman.

There is simply no way to explain away the fact that a former PM of Canada - on three occasions over 1993 and 1994 - accepted fat envelopes of cash in hotel rooms in Mirabel, Montreal and New York.

Further it's difficult to understand why such a distinguished Canadian stashed the cash - three payments of $75,000 in $1,000 bills - into safety deposit boxes, in New York and at his home in Montreal. (Schreiber contends three $100,000 payments were made.)

It's also perplexing that Mulroney waited as long as five or six years to declare and pay taxes on that money.

The fact that Mulroney accepted the first cash installment in August of 1993 is also of concern.

The money was paid as part of a deal for future services by Mulroney; he was to lobby internationally on behalf of a German company, Thyssen, producing light armoured vehicles. But Mulroney was still an MP at the time.

But taxpayers should not ever have to worry that an MP's private business interests might affect his voting inclinations in the Commons. Mulroney was repentant about having accepted the payments.

He apologized and described his action as "dubious...a serious error in judgment.

"I apologize and accept full responsibility for it. I should have declined the offer. By not doing so I inadvertently created the impression of impropriety."

If Mulroney had accepted the cash payment once, Canadians might be able to accept the guy had a lapse in judgment. But the payments were made over the course of more than a year. It's a stretch to characterize it as a simple mistake or an error in judgment at a given point in time.

The best line of the event so far was uttered by NDP MP Pat Martin, who told Mulroney: "I am not calling you a liar but I don't want anybody here to think I believe you."

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