The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

April 9, 2009

The Quebecer Mulroney – Schreiber Affair

Filed under: News and politics — thenonconformer @ 11:43 pm
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In Canada the powerful few SEEM TO  too often to abuse public trust, offices   obviously. Six days of Brian Mulroney testimony  from  a man who rose to Canada’s highest elected office only to plunge to the depths of pocketing suspect cash gave the honest  law-abiding, taxpaying citizens morbid facts about the abuse of the legal, tax system again in Canada.. Brian he destroyed any of our remaining public faith in public officials, and our false   assumption that we all equally share the burden of paying income tax. It would be unwise for you to tuck $225,000 in household safes and a bank deposit box, keep silent about it for six years and then expect to pay taxes on only half. And yet this is what Brian Mulroney admitted to doing and he was wrongfully  given a tax break for doing so as well.” Brian Mulroney paid income taxes on only half of the $225,000 he received in cash from German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber, a public inquiry has heard. Next “The most disturbing of those deals – and the one now most likely to trouble Stephen Harper – is the decision to pay Mulroney $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit over the 1995 letter Canada sent to the Swiss about the RCMP Airbus investigation. What the federal government didn’t know when it wrote that cheque was that Mulroney’s relationship with lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber went well beyond the occasional cup of coffee to three memorably large cash payments.’ Now on top of all that  Mulroney’s legal bill to cost taxpayers $2 M Brian Mulroney’s six days of testimony have left taxpayers on the hook for $2 million in legal fees. Taxpayers will again pay Brian Mulroney’s legal costs.  

“Since Mulroney said he raised Schreiber’s business interests with foreign officials, Wolson wanted to know why he hadn’t treated some of the $225,000 as earned income and declared it for tax purposes. Not only that, Wolson said, but Mulroney could have deducted some of his travel expenses from the income and reduced his tax bill.

Mulroney told the inquiry he hadn’t been sure he documented the expenses in enough detail, so he didn’t try to reduce his tax owing by claiming them on what he earned.

He also said his activities were in turmoil in the mid-1990s because “three years were blown out of my life” when word leaked that the RCMP had named him in an investigation of alleged wrongdoing in connection with the $1.8 billion sale of Airbus aircraft. Mulroney successfully sued the government for libel over the investigation”

“Brian Mulroney served as Prime Minister of Canada, head of our government, from September 1984 through June of 1993.  Now, years after Mulroney has left office, another political scandal harkening back to his days in office is causing him and his successor much discomfort. 

Brian Mulroney was the last man to hold the prime ministers office as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  That party fractured into multiple pieces partly as a result of Mulroney’s failures and unpopularity.  His failed attempts to amend the constitution and bring the province of Quebec on board as a signatory led to the departure from his party of several Quebec based members of parliament to form the separatist Bloc Quebecois, a movement which still holds significant representation in the national parliament after six federal elections.  The other major movement born out of disaffected Progressive Conservatives was the Western based Reform Party of Canada.  Reform wanted to bring the party and the country further to the right of the political spectrum.  The party ran candidates in three federal elections, becoming the Official Opposition party at its peak, before attempting to merge with the remaining rump of the Progressive Conservatives.  That first attempt, through a process called the United Alternative created a new party called the Canadian Alliance (officially the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance party, but the acronym CCRAP quickly led them to abandon most of their name).  The Alliance ran candidates in only one election, barely advancing the seat count of the old Reform Party.  This led, finally, to the real merger of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance (the order of the words changed to avoid the CCRAP tag) into simply the Conservative Party of Canada.

After years in the wilderness, the Conservatives returned to power in 2006 with the election of current Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, in a minority parliament situation.  Harper has since won re-election in 2008, but still only managed to secure another minority government.

In the interim, the details involving former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber slowly started to come to light.  About a decade ago Canada’s national police force the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) accused Mulroney and a provincial politician of accepting kickbacks fom Mr. Schreiber over the sale of Airbus passenger jets to Air Canada, then a publicly owned airline.  Mulroney launched a very public lawsuit against the government for $50 million for defamation, and an out of court settlement won Mulroney a public apology and millions in legal fees.

Since then it has emerged that Mulroney did accept some $300,000 in cash payments from Schreiber (money exchanged hands in envelopes in places like New York city hotel rooms), though the two men disagree as to what the payments were for and Schreiber is reportedly suing Mulroney for the money claiming non-performance.  At least one of the payments was made while Mulroney was still a sitting member of Canadian parliament, though after he’d left the prime minister’s office.

A government inquiry into the whole sordid affair is now getting underway.  Stephen Harper, current leader of the reconstituted Conservative Party and prime minister of Canada, has tried to distance himself from Mulroney to avoid being tarnished by any whiff of scandal.  Reports say he has ordered his MPs to cut off all contact with Mulroney and his office approved a leak to the media claiming that Mulroney was no longer a member of the party.  Mulroney’s spokesman has denied that his boss had left the party, claiming that he would “always be a Conservative for his entire life”.

A brouhaha has opened up within the party between Mulroney loyalists and the old Reform Party members who came into politics because of their loathing for the man.

The scandal, as it unfolds, could lead to criminal charges against a former Prime Minister of Canada, could lead to the fracturing of the Conservative Party of Canada that took a decade to recover, at least in part, from the last mortal blow Mulroney helped deliver to it and could alter the Canadian political landscape significantly.  Of course, its also possible that the whole things will blow over, that Mulroney will not be found to have broken any laws and that the Conservatives will patch over their differences and carry on.”

Let’s be fair about it, Brian Mulroney had already  a long time ago had become one of the most despised Prime Minister of Canada, Despised so much that his whole Progressive Conservative party next failed to exist as a federal part..  and this latest is just the crumbs on an already bad cake…. Conservatives are no virgins now as well..
Hey Quebec civil servants, in the federal taxation department , the Simard Beaudry affair have also clearly proven recently to be corruptible. Mayor Gérald Tremblay to suspend a $355-million water-meter contract this week while the Canada Revenue Agency investigates three companies owned by Antonio Accurso for alleged tax fraud. One of Accurso’s companies, Simard-Beaudry Construction Inc., is part of a consortium that was awarded the meter contract – the largest the city has ever awarded. The suspension is in place until the city’s auditor completes an investigation into how the contract was awarded.

This isn’t the first time the Simard-Beaudry construction firm has been embroiled in scandal. In 1994, Mario Beaulieu, Simard-Beaudry’s then-owner, was forced to resign from the Canadian Senate after the federal ethics watchdog discovered that his company had received a lucrative contract to repair the Champlain Bridge. At the time, sitting senators were not allowed to “be party to federal contracts.” Simard-Beaudry continued to win a slew of municipal and provincial public works contracts after Beaulieu, a former Union Nationale finance minister, was appointed to the Senate by Brian Mulroney in 1990.  Beaulieu resigned quietly.

And we have the alleged corruption of another Quebecer now too.. Lawyer claims former Liberal minister offered contracts for party fundraising  A Vancouver lawyer claimed under oath that former Liberal justice minister Martin Cauchon offered him federal prosecution contracts if he bought a table at a fundraising dinner for ex-prime minister Paul Martin, according to documents filed with the Supreme Court of Canada.
 The Liberal Shawinigate  and  Adsam affair has already given Quebec a bad reputation in the WEST. 
The controversy surrounding former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s involvement in two properties in his riding is rooted in events that are more than a decade old.  But the details were only made public after a series of media reports, a lawsuit and a barrage of questions raised by a united opposition in the House of Commons. Chrétien sold his stake in the Auberge Grand-Mère resort just before becoming prime minister and sold his shares in the Grand-Mère Golf Course shortly after that.   But he wasn’t paid for the golf course shares until 1999. The issue at the heart of the debate was, when exactly did Chrétien stop having an “interest” in the properties? Years after opposition members first cried foul, the owner of the Auberge Grand-Mère faced bankruptcy and arson charges, and the former president of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) successfully sued his old workplace for wrongful dismissal. 
The former executive director of the Liberal Party’s Quebec wing, Benoit Corbeil, has been arrested and charged with fraud.  The serious criminal charges Mr. Corbeil faced are part of the fallout of the Sponsorship Scandal where, under the watch of the previous Liberal government, millions of taxpayer dollars disappeared, with much of this money later turning up to fund the partisan activities of the Liberal Party itself. Unsealed warrant shows Montreal firm made enormous profits Documents reveal Le Groupe Polygone Editeurs got $475,000 from Ottawa for television ads that cost $7,300
The sponsorship scandal, “AdScam”, or Sponsorgate, is a scandal that came as a result of a Canadian federal governmentsponsorship program” in the province of Quebec and involving the Liberal Party of Canada (mostly its Quebec branch), which was in power since 1993 up to January 2006. The program was originally established as an effort to raise awareness of the Government of Canada’s contributions to Quebec industries and other activities in order to counter the actions of the Parti Québécois government of the province that worked to promote Quebec separatism.

The program ran from 1996 until 2004, when broad corruption was discovered in its operations and the program was discontinued. Illicit and even illegal activities within the administration of the program were revealed, involving misuse and misdirection of public funds intended for government advertising in Quebec. Such misdirections included sponsorship money awarded to ad firms in return for little or no work, which firms maintained Liberal organizers or fundraisers on their payrolls or donated back part of the money to the Liberal Party. The resulting investigations and scandal affected the Liberal Party of Canada and the then government of Prime Minister Paul Martin. It was an ongoing affair for years, but rose to national prominence in early 2004 after the program was examined by Sheila Fraser, the federal auditor general. Her revelations led to the government establishing the Gomery Commission to conduct a public inquiry and file a report on the matter.

In the national spotlight, the scandal became a significant factor in the lead-up to the 2006 federal election where after more than twelve years in power the Liberal Party of Canada was defeated by the Conservatives who formed a minority government that was sworn in on Monday, February 6, 2006.

It was later proven that a small part of the money, nearly $100,000, was indirectly funneled from Groupaction and Jean Brault to the Parti Québécois in illegal donations. This is ironic because money destined to promote Federalism was donated to a separatist party, and because the separatist movement was using this scandal as an example of federal corruption. As soon as the Parti Québécois received the information they immediately refunded the money.  

 QUEBEC – ADQ leader Mario Dumont claimed this morning that Premier Jean Charest had a “grand strategy” to hide “unprecedented” losses at Quebec’s pension fund manager. In a news conference Saturday, he came close to calling Charest a liar, claiming that Charest’s statement that he has no information on the Caisse losses is “not honest” and “in itself unbelievable.” He claimed that Charest had deliberately blocked in September the nomination of an ADQ supporter, businessman Jean-Guy Desjardins, in favour of a Liberal supporter, Richard Guay, as president of the Caisse in order to control information coming out of the Caisse. “He planned in advance that during the campaign he would be able to keep the information hidden,” Dumont said. “He put in place the mechanism and the people that would allow him to hide the truth from the people until the end of the campaign.”  Charest has stated that he wants the Caisse to remain autonomous and doesn’t want to politicize the Caisse by forcing it to reveal how much money it has lost because of the financial crisis.  “I agree it should remain autonomous,” Dumont said. “It’s him who has politicized the Caisse. It’s him who blocked a nomination in favour of a Liberal.” Dumont claims the Caisse, which manages $155 billion in pension funds and automobile insurance contributions, has lost about $30 billion in the last few months because of the collapse of global markets. The Caisse is reported to have sold at a loss about $10 billion in securities to meet its financial obligations. The Caisse has stated that the figure is smaller but refuses to give an exact number.Caisse president Guay took an unexpected leave of absence Nov. 12 claiming “fatigue” even though he assumed command only three months ago. He is supposed to return Dec. 10, but there are rumours that he will not come back. 

Now also add to this Quebec’s Minister of Finance, Monique Forget, who always seemed to forget me too,  her  sudden resignation  from politics and thus who will not be around to answer what she also knows about this affair.. It sure looks like a cover-up…

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