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Mulroney transcript

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Following are transcripts of key exchanges between former prime minister Brian Mulroney and members of the Commons ethics committee:

• With Bloc MP Serge Menard on the question of Mulroney accepting cash payments from lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber:

Menard: Do you realize, Mr. Mulroney, that the way in which you acted in this matter did not make it appear as if it were a legitimate transaction?

Mulroney: But Mr. Menard, the transaction was not only legitimate, it was perfectly legal. But I will concede that the circumstances may lead to some apprehension or some notion of impropriety.

Menard: You were acting like someone involved in an illegal transaction.

Mulroney: No, I was not acting like someone involved in an illegal transaction, but like someone involved in a legal transaction, but one which raised certain questions, however.

• With New Democrat MP Pat Martin on the nature of Mulroney's arrangements with Schreiber:

Mulroney: It's an entirely legitimate business proposal that he proposed and I accepted. And the only . . . dubious part about it — which I've acknowledged — is that I ought not to have accepted the payment in cash.

Martin: If you said that you put the money that you took in New York City into a safety deposit box, do you have a safety deposit box in Switzerland? Do you have access or have you ever had access to a safety deposit box in Switzerland?

Mulroney: No sir.

Martin: You sued the government of Canada for $50 million for saying you took money from Karlheinz Schreiber and you received a $2.1-million settlement. Now, I believe that you did, in fact, take money from Karlheinz Schreiber and I believe that if the Government of Canada knew you had taken money from Karlheinz Schreiber, you would not have received that settlement. They probably would have fought that court battle to its logical end. Are you willing to give that $2.1 million back to the people of Canada now that we know that you did take money from Schreiber?

Mulroney: No. I took compensation from Schreiber for serious work done on his behalf around the world. I was paid to execute this mandate that he articulated in court. And I have also. . . .

Martin: Why did you deny even having any dealings with the man?

Mulroney: That's completely false.

Martin: Well, by omission you led us to believe that you had virtually no dealings with the man in sworn testimony.

Mulroney: I did not omit anything. I explained to you that in the province of Quebec the manner in which. . .

Martin: I think you're splitting hairs, sir.

Mulroney: I'm not splitting hairs.

Martin: You're splitting hairs and the country isn't buying it. . . . I'm not calling you a liar, Mr. Mulroney, but I don't want anybody here to think I believe you.

• With Liberal MP Ken Dryden:

Dryden: Mr. Schreiber is at least a shadowy character and has been for a long time. I understand how first contacts happen and how mistakes can be made, but why did your association with Mr. Schreiber go on year after year? Why was the money exchanged in cash? Why in different cities? Why in hotel rooms? Why, Mr. Mulroney? Why?

Mulroney: He was known in Canada — Alberta, Ottawa, Montreal — he was known in Canada as a successful businessman, hard-driving but successful. So that's the Karlheinz Schreiber that I knew and met. His associates involved people like Marc Lalonde and Allan MacEachen, and this was reassuring because these are people of the highest quality. You ask, why in cash? It's because, as he has said to me and then said publicly, it's because he was an international businessman and as he said: ‘I only dealt in cash.' I hesitated. He told one of the papers: ‘Do you think Brian Mulroney would have accepted a cheque from me?' Of course I would have. Because in those days, 15 years ago, he was known to me only as a respectable businessman. But he said that he only dealt in cash. I've acknowledged, sir, that this was a mistake in judgment and I have apologized for it.

• On assertions in an affidavit by Schreiber, who's facing extradition to Germany, that Mulroney promised to speak to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his behalf:

Mulroney: I have not spoken to Mr. Schreiber in seven years. That's a complete fabrication and it's an indication of the entire affidavit that has generated this feeding frenzy. Look, he succeeded. He got what he wanted. He's succeeding. He's sitting in his mansion over in Rockcliffe, chuckling. He organized this 7th of November affidavit. It's all false, demonstrably false. But he got his get-out-of-jail card. He's sitting over there and he got what he wanted. But one thing that he did do, and I point out to all members, I think he seriously misled every member of this House and all of you with this false affidavit. And it is false and I'll conclude, sir by this: How do we know it's false? Because he has repudiated every single important provision of it in different testimonies given under oath.

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