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Globe editorial

What he said, and didn't say

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Yesterday's hearing shows MPs again were woefully out of their depth when probing the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. ...Read the full article

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  1. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: The editorial says "With the odd exception -- notably the Bloc Québécois's Serge Ménard and the NDP's Joe Comartin -- MPs again proved woefully out of their depth." It seems fairly vain of the G&M to think that a group of experienced hostile MPs was somehow inadequate for going after Mulroney. Yet all the G&M editorial board can come with is that they need "Clearer answers...on the purpose behind the payments", that Mulroney needs to explain his "bizarre behaviour". What answers were unclear? The behaviour may have seemed bizarre to the Globe (not to me), but where's the criminal implication? The Globe also demands an inquiry into whether Scrieber bankrolled Mulroney's "ascent to the Conservative leadership" and "his nine years in office". Is the Globe alleging Mulroney received illegal payments from Schrieber during his years in office? Unless the Globe can support statements like that, they are just muckraking.
  2. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: The Globel article on the same story "Mulroney's six-year tax gap" ends with several paragraphs where they report what the committee did not ask Mulroney "MPs did not use the opportunity Thursday to ask Mr. Mulroney to clarify his 1996 testimony that he only had “coffee&8221; once or twice with Mr. Schreiber after leaving office." and "MPs did not ask Mr. Mulroney about a meeting with Mr. Schreiber in a hotel in Zurich in 1998, after the lawsuit with Ottawa was settled but before Mr. Mulroney paid his taxes." What kind of activist reporting is that, stating what MPs didn't ask? Unless the Globe can source such statements to some of the participants in the story, then the Globe is, itself, becoming part of the story, and stating, as opinion, what it thinks should have been asked. In my opinion, it is unethical for the Globe to sneak in editorial statements like those and have them appear in a news story. If my memory serves me right, Globe stories previously passed off US admin WMD accusations with nary a comment about what lawmakers "did not ask".
  3. Allan Martel from Canada writes: There is no doubt that Mr Mulroney acted completely honourably throughout this entire sordid affair. He agreed to take some of the cash because Hans' pockets were bulging and, after all, it was raining outside. Then he took more cash - probably because his safety deposit box at home in montreal was not quite full yet.

    Then, more cash, delivered in the US and subsequently "integrated with Mulroney's cash flow". Notice to the Canada Revenue Agency only when it suddenly appeared that tax evasion was on the horizon, no expense records, no paper trail whatsoever.

    I remember stashing $1000 bills secretly so as to make investments that I did not want others to know about. I was 8 years old at the time and playing Monopoly. I won that game but have ever since had the lingering feeling that I won it unfairly. I now see that others are less troubled than I would be.
  4. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: Allan Martel from Canada writes "I now see that others are less troubled than I would be." On the contrary, I'm very troubled by your monopoly cheating confession. I shudder to think what profession you've taken up since. Back to Mulroney, though. It's an issue for Revenue Canada, if anything. The payments happened after Mulroney was no longer PM -- OK one happened two days before -- did he use his high office to influence government decision-making after receiving that money? There's no evidence of that. Should he have declared the money as income i.e. was he evading income tax? Maybe. That's the only open question that has been raised by the inquiry so far -- yours and G&M innuendo aside.
  5. Allan Martel from Canada writes: Shannon White

    i never said that I cheated in Monopoly. I just hid part of the money i earned during the game and then had a stash to make surprise investmants later. No cheating - within the rules - yet still troubling as perhaps being unfair.

    No need also to attack me nor to accuse me of innuendo either. If you choose to believe what Mulroney says about the money then you are part of a small minority indeed.
  6. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: Sorry about the monopoly statement, Allan. I misunderstood. Actually, that was a pretty clever thing to do as an 8 year old.
  7. Jedburgh Abbey from Canada writes: Was this "Monopoly: the Bavarian Edition"?

    Seriously, the point is not that Mulroney didn't break the law, the point is that a former Prime Minister of Canada was accepting (for whatever peaceful purpose) $225 000 from a notoriously corrupting lobbyist -- in cash no less. Obviously the transfer of money was related to the fact that he had been PM. Incredibly enough, it is possible to disgrace yourself in the pages of history and exemplify a lobbyist culture of corruption without breaking the law. The argument for keeping the investigation going, both in the papers and officially, is that we need to put the fear of God into ministers so that they will distance themselves from Schreiber types in future. Otherwise this sort of intertwining of lobbyists and politicians will continue, albeit on a less spectacular scale.
  8. Ron Pacific from Victoria, Canada writes: I was about to say that this whole inquiry is old news and we don't really need it. My opinion changed at 4:00 p.m. today when I read that Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's former assistant is a lobbyist for Taser International! I guess things really haven't changed since the 80's!
  9. Andre Carrel from Salmo, Canada writes: So you stick a stack of $1,000 bills you took as an advance for expenses in a safety deposit box in New York, and then you go home to Montreal. Then what?
    Well, you charge your expenses to your VISA card, and when the bill comes in, you go back down to New York, open the safety deposit box, take out a couple of bills, go over to the bank to pay your account, and back to Montreal you go. Is that how international business people do it?
    What does it say about a man's business accumen when he run expenses into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, doesn't keep receipts, then declares the money spent on expenses as income, and then pay taxes on the expenses he incurred? (Can't imagine a housewife handling money that way).
    If all of this had happened before lawyer Brian Mulroney ran for the PC leadership, and if he had given the explanation he gave to the committee to the convention to demonstrate how he conducts his business, would anybody - including members of his family - have voted for him to become party leader?
  11. Logan Fields from United Kingdom writes: I've read the transcript of Mulroney's presentation to the committee, and it's a farce. Many obvious questions are missed. If this were a proper examination of what went on, the committee would be asking things like: -what were your specific terms of engagement by Mr. Schrieber? What were you expected to do for this money and were these expectations communicated to you? Were they documented anywhere? Was the amount of money negotiated, as one would usually expect in transactions of this type, for this amount of money, as an agency mandate for an audited public company? If so, please provide details of what the negotiations were? What issues caused the compensation to increase and/or decrease as negotiations progressed? - How and when did Mr. Schrieber activate you for your efforts on his behalf? What did he tell you about the opportunities you promoted on his behalf? How was it that you were in a position to effectively promote a technical military product, you yourself having no engineering background or military experience? Please provide specific details of the representations you made on Mr. Schrieber's behalf and the follow up contact you would, I would assume, have had with Mr. Schrieber to report on the work you were conducting for him? Were there successes? How were these dealt with between you? Were the terms of your engagement ever adjusted following your work? - etc. etc. etc. This should take a few days, I figure. But in kangaroo court, Canada's finest made kangaroos of themselves. Let me say this, the idea of a politician receiving an envelope stuffed with $1000 bills in a hotel (and, bless,... the detail that it also contained a brochure for an armoured car, which I'm sure Mr. Mulroney studied carefully and with great technical nous) with an undocumented mission to sell said armoured car on unspecified terms without any further contact, performance review or even a phone call to update the situation is patently absurd.
  12. Old Edmonton Man from Edmonton, Canada writes: I have some cash, for the goodness of my heart, I am travelling to Ottawa soon and will be distributing cash in big envelopes. MPs, please line up. No need to rush. You will get your share. You don't need to do anything for me. Just travel to China, Russia or Hawaii and meet some people you know are going to die soon.
    Tell you what: take them, put them in your safety deposit boxes and take $1,000 at a time. You know the rules. The bank will not ask you questions if you are only producing $1,000 a day, everyday, at different banks, especially if you show them your MP passes. The bank employees should have been briefed by now. Our former PM have done it many times and it is completely legal.
    If anyone asked you about it, just display your family as props.
    Haha, so laughable.
  13. pierre lefebvre from Brossard, Canada writes: Much is said about how much Mulroney got from Schreiber or GCI. Where is the list of Canadian beneficiaries of Schreiber? This question challenges both Liberal and Conservative parties and holds truth to the political underworld of favors in Canada. Hopefully a full Johnston inquiry will disclose those missing links.
  14. Kim Huynh from Montreal, Canada writes: As a common citizen, my guess is that when you do "business" with cash only, no receipts, no trail of official papers, contracts or otherwise, you want to hide something from the tax man. So sad that while Mr Mulroney has tried hard to put his legacy well above his political arch rivals, his deeds in this affair, the so-called big mistakes has put him below the normal bar for personal and public integrity. 300k or 225K is irrelevant and based on the results so far, the question would become whether or not we should spend another 30M or so to dig deeper for the bullshit?
  15. Emma Hawthorne from Canada writes: Our shabby and intellectually flat political system is on display and simultaneously in the dark on understanding international lobbying as practicesed by the wily Mr. Schrieber. Canada should resolve to pay all outgoing PMs $300,000 a year minus any government pensions they already receive.
  16. Vickky Angstrom from Canada writes: I keep trying to think of something funny to say, but the situation is so absurd that normal satire fails completely.
  17. David E from Canada writes: As shady as Schreiber is, it's clear that he's far more credible than Mulroney. Everything Schreiber has said has turned out to be true. The same can't be said for Lyin' Brian. And when Mulroney has told the truth, it appears to be because he no longer had any other choice.
  18. pierre lefebvre from Brossard, Canada writes: Omissions and lies challenge intent. Trust is at jeopardy as a result of it. Perception is reality Brian and we need to go to the bottom of it with the Johnston public inquiry. Your actions must match your disclosures in the end and ultimately restore your credibility.
  19. Tiu Leek from Here, Canada writes: It seems as though quite a few people don't want any more facts to come out. And I'm not just talking about conservatives either.

    The CBC and CTV both seem to be talking the stance that we've found out all we're going to, it's Brian's word against Schreiber's, and there's really nothing more to say.

    Combined with the reluctance of M.P's from several different parties to ask any real questions, I'd say something's going on here.

    I mean, really. All one of them has to do is ask Mulroney if he accepted funds from foreign politicians for the explicit purpose of furthering his political career.

    Once he denies it under oath, he's toast, because presumably Karlheinz has the evidence trail to prove otherwise.

    What I don't understand is why the media also wants the whole mess to simply go away. What do they know that we don't?
  20. stephen ottridge from Canada writes: Has anyone else wondered at the discrepancy between the $300,000 and the $225,000 that Mulroney claimed. Yes $75,000 and that would go a long way to pay tax on $225,000.
  21. KEN CAMPBELL from Canada writes: All the people who want to get to the bottom of this particular story do not seem to realize we are already there.How much more do we need to know about the failure of human ethics to fall flat when exposed to huge amounts of money,and how many of these ever so honest MPS would turn down cash in brown envelopes given the opportunity. Extend the same situation to the public at large and it is not too difficult to figure the result especially when nobody seems to be getting hurt and the cash is not taxpayer money. If some wish to demonstrate the story reflects badly on parliaments honour and dignity look around, the current crop seem to doing a pretty good job themselves without picking on a couple of con men.
  22. Raj Rama from Toronto, Canada writes: I agree with your article, there are too many unanswered questions, innuendos, etc. Mr. Mulroney asked for a public inquiry, he should be allowed to clear his good name and that of PM Harper who was unfortunately dragged into this very old file by a desperate KHS, these are very serious allegations from KHS and he should be held accountable for them. I hope Dr. Johnston appoints a special investigator with a mandate to report publicly, that would be cheaper & hopefully faster than a full Royal Commission. Germany wants KHS [ ], so we should work as quickly as possible to send him there to face Justice as well. I hope KHS writes a book about his business/ political dealings and journeys, I watched his interview with Peter Mansbridge One on One show on CBC last night at 9:30 EST and he appears to have led an interesting life to say the least. Maybe the Fifth Estate can feature him again. I wonder if the book publishers are lining up with deals and cash? Have there been any articles written about a comparison of KHS to Adnan Khashoggi [who allegedly was connected to every shocking event that has occurred since 1960, usually by no more than one or two degrees vs. six degrees] or any similar 'businessmen'?
  23. Robert Miller from Halifax, Canada writes: I agree completely with your article. The so-called investigation of these bozos will do nothing to restore anyone's faith in the integrity of the office of the Prime Minister of Canada. Somewhat ironically, most MPs in Canada are actually lawyers, but it seems like it's a case of those who can do, and those who cannot MP. To prove my point, consider that Peter MacKay has a law degree, and doesn't fully understand the meaning of a signed contract (ie. MacKay-Orchard agreement.) A full inquiry is needed to regain the public's confidence in the Federal government...
  24. Robin Hannah from Canada writes: I don't trust Schrieber or Mulroney as far as I can spit, what a pair of lying creeps, and unfortunately I agree that this Parliamentary ethics committee was way in over its head, and sometimes its partisanship was woefully showing. On all sides. But I enjoyed watching our Parliamentarians at work, in a civil fashion, more than I've enjoyed them in many years - i.e., the grotesquerie that is now Question Period. It was fascinating government, and live TV, in action.

    This Canadian now wants an objective inquiry. Schrieber and Mulroney have had their melodramatic days in the sun. I want them, and their phalanx of lawyers, to settle down now into telling us the truth at last. Admit it all, then get the hell out of town in disgrace. Brian Mulroney, as suggested elsewhere in The Globe & Mail, was one of our "greatest Prime Ministers", because of his accomplishments for Canada. I disagree.
  25. Emma Hawthorne from Canada writes: Given that whatever government tolerates now will become the new status quo, shouldn't someone look into the issue of an MP receiving a payment while in office? That's the key question now.
  26. Shannon White from Waterloo, Canada writes: To any observer, it seems that Mulroney received $300,000 from Schreiber, Mulroney did not intend to declare this as income, and that later, when it became apparent that Schreiber's business dealings would come under scrutiny, Mulroney did declare the income. Because of the way Revenue Canada handles such late reporting, there was nothing necessarily illegal in that. As for ethical, well, it's possible Mulroney convinced himself that the money was just for expenses, but to the impartial observer, it definitely seems unethical.

    As for questions about Bavaria, Joe Clarke, et al, so far that's all hearsay and innuendo. And it's not the question at hand. We cannot let a very specific allegation about a post-PM action by Mulroney act as an excuse to give air-time to every rumour and lie spouted by the Mulroney-haters (of which there are many).
  27. petras vilson from Ottawa, Canada writes: So Hans (a long-time lobbyist) paid a great deal of money to an ex-Prime Minister (fact) to lobby for an armored-vehicle project that never got off the ground. Why the howling indignation by the Globe ? Where's the smoking gun ? Where's the crime ?

    In four appearances Hans has provided nothing of additional interest or substance despite his 14,000 documents he needs alot of time to review - delaying his unwanted trip home to Germany of course.

    The RCMP investigated for what TEN years ? and found nothing on Mulroney.

    The Globe has chased Mulroney for what TWENTY years now ? and found nothing criminal.

    Maybe this is it... a old-time politician and an old-time lobbyist. Where's the news here ?
  28. Yogie Bear from The Forest, Canada writes: The inquiry was called a year ago......what's the hold-up??????????????

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