Nov 29, 2007

The Schreiber Farce: What's the Crime?

Let's see if I have this right:
  • Mulroney was Prime Minister from September 1984 until June 24, 1993; and
  • He ceased being the leader of the Progressive Conservative party before he ended his term as Prime Minister.

And, Schreiber says in his unsubstantiated affidavit, he paid Mulroney $100,000 in the following time frames:
  • August, 1993;
  • December, 1993; and
  • December, 1994.

Neither the timing of these payments, nor the payments themselves, are reasons for criminal, civil, or parliamentary concern. Nor is the Canadian Revenue Agency interested, because Mulroney has paid taxes on those amounts ... late or not.

The allegation that Liberals and the NDP are piously frothing over is the Schreiber allegation that the basis for these payments, the supposed agreement between the two men, was made two days prior to Mulroney's departure from public office on June 24, 1993. At the committee hearing though, Schreiber apparently indicated this "agreement" might have been made later. Kind of important, eh?

Yet no one on the House Ethics Committee asked Scheiber today, "what evidence can you give us to support this (or that) date". No one. Isn't this a bit strange?

Is there a hard-copy agreement between the two men, or was it a "gentlemen's agreement"? That question wasn't asked either. Very strange. If there is no hard copy agreement, Schreiber and his lap dog Liberals are going to look pretty foolish trying to prove such an agreement was made on the date claimed. Mulroney can claim the allegation is false, and then it's a matter of choosing between the word of a man desperately trying to stave off extradition to Germany (where he faces fraud and corruption charges), and the word of a former Prime Minister.

But there's more. If an arrangement was discussed prior to Mulroney's departure from public office, what is the crime? After all, the first Ethics guidelines and the Office of the Ethics Counsellor were not created until December 1993! Before that there were only loose guidelines governing ethical conduct.

So what's the crime? And, after 14 years, does anyone seriously believe that a court of law would enact any meaningful sanction against Mulroney if, in Schreiber's and the Liberal's wildest dreams, this farce got that far? Statute of Limitations, anyone?

Maybe Schreiber has a valid non-performance claim against Mulroney. Maybe not. But the matter is for a civil court to decide, not Parliament.

What a farce! Aided and abetted by the media sheep.

Postscript: The most odious part of this Farce Day was later, when Iggy got up in Question period and demanded to know what Peter McKay's father had said to him about the Mulroney payments. Odious, truly odious. This farce has gone on too long.

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