Brian Mulroney eludes
indictment for bribery
If a former president of the United States admitted that, shortly after leaving office, he received wads of cash in hotel rooms from a shady lobbyist, the ensuing uproar would result in
front-page outrage, congressional hearings and criminal charges.
Fortunately for Brian Mulroney, he lives in Canada.
The latest development in the Mulroney Airbus saga raises more questions than answers.
What we do know is that only two months after Stephen Harper’s Tories took office last year, the Justice Dept sent a query to then-minister Vic Toews about the possibility of setting aside Mulroney’s $2 million libel settlement with the federal government. The grounds? Mulroney had been less than honest about the nature of his lucrative relationship with veteran lederhose polisher Karlheinz Schreiber.
Since the Tories were elected on an anti-corruption platform, it was assumed they would have an interest in getting to the bottom of the Airbus affair. But it was not to be. The Justice inquiry was shut down, raising eyebrows in Ottawa that Mulroney's role as an adviser to Harper may have played a part in the decision.
Many Canadians are still unaware of the last chapter in the Mulroney bribery saga because most Canadian news organizations — including the CBC — are pretending it didn't happen.
The Corpse had the story first, thanks to investigative hack Harvey Cashore, who acquired the Justice briefing note in October by way of an access-to-information request. But Corpse management, terrified of lawsuits, refused to approve any story until they had comments and interviews from the principals involved in the case.
The Corpse also cooked up a deal with the Globe and Minion that it could have the briefing note and its own story, but only after CBC aired it first.
Alas, their flagship (dinghy shurely?-ed.) news program The National couldn't convince enough participants to go on camera. So, much dithering later, the CBC killed the story. Weeks went by, and the Globe continued to sit on it too. Then someone tipped off Canadian Press and forced the Globe to go with its version on Jan. 24. Apart from the Globe, CP and a couple of CanWest papers with 80-word squibs, no other media outlets touched the latest installment of l'affaire Mulroney.
The only group more timid than Canadian media on the subject of Mulroney is the Liberals themselves.
Flayed by the Tories in the House over the bulging envelopes of cash distributed as Adscam party favors, the Grits chose to bite their forked tongues.
Why? Airbus fatigue? To spare poor Allan Rock further embarrassment?
Or is there some back scratching going on between the parties? Maybe a quid pro quo that if the Liberals lay off Mulroney, the Tories will leash the Mounties in their investigation into senior Grit Ralph Goodale and the income trust leak (shurely not serious?!-ed.)?
One of Jean Chretien’s former lieutenants is said to be pressuring the Dionistas to get up in the house and ask the Harperites why they closed the file only two months after taking office.
If that happens, even the national media might even be emboldened to stick their heads out of their shells.
With notes from Frank Magazine.