Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office was sent letters seven months ago containing the allegation that he says prompted his announcement yesterday for an independent probe into the relationship between Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber.
In explaining his reasons for launching the review yesterday, Mr. Harper cited "new allegations" contained in an affidavit recently sworn and filed by Mr. Schreiber in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. One of those allegations, Mr. Harper said, was that Mr. Mulroney discussed a financial agreement with Mr. Schreiber at the former prime minister's summer retreat two days before Mr. Mulroney's official resignation.
However, that allegation was contained within a letter that Mr. Schreiber forwarded to Mr. Harper and dated March 29, 2007. Enclosed in Mr. Schreiber's letter to Mr. Harper was another letter that the 73-year-old German-Canadian had earlier sent to Mr. Mulroney. The package included an alleged summary of all his meetings and dealings with the former prime minister as well as Mr. Schreiber's take on the summer meeting at Harrington Lake.
Mr. Schreiber wrote in the letter to Mr. Mulroney: "During the summer of 1993 when you were looking for financial help, I was there again. When we met on June 23, 1993 at Harrington Lake, you told me that you believe that Kim Campbell will win the next election.
"You also told me that you would work in your office in Montreal and that the Bear Head project [a business proposal] should be moved to the Province of Quebec, where you could be of great help to me. We agreed to work together and I arranged for some funds for you."
Sandra Buckler, spokeswoman for Mr. Harper, said the letter was received by the Privy Council Office and was not forwarded to Mr. Harper.
"Even if it had been, it is unlikely Prime Minister Harper would have seen it," Ms. Buckler said in an e-mail late Friday.
The contents of the letters touch on many of the unproven details in the affidavit submitted to court.
Also mentioned in the letters is a meeting that Mr. Mulroney had with Mr. Schreiber in Zurich in 1998. Mr. Schreiber's letters don't detail what was discussed at the meeting. His only comment to Mr. Mulroney on the meeting is: "I left with the impression that you were in good shape."
The letters also outline Mr. Schreiber's alleged meetings in 1999 and 2000 with Mr. Mulroney's long-time friend and adviser Fred Doucet.
Mr. Schreiber's affidavit filed in court states that Mr. Doucet asked Mr. Schreiber to sign a document "in order to confirm the terms of our agreement" and in his letters forwarded to Mr. Harper his language is similar.
"When I met with Fred again, he asked me to sign certain agreements concerning our business relationship. I refused to do so," one of Mr. Schreiber's letters states.
Although most of what Mr. Schreiber sent to Mr. Harper is his correspondence to Mr. Mulroney, he did write a few words for Mr. Harper personally.
He questions why, after Mr. Harper campaigned on the issue of accountability, he wouldn't call a public inquiry into the Airbus affair.
"How would this work with the Accountability of the Conservative Government and the election promise: Let's clean up government."