Yesterday, I wrote the Senate would hear a question on Brian Mulroney and Airbus. Today, it happened:
Terry M. Mercer (Liberal):
Honourable senators, I rise today to direct questions to the Leader of the Government in the Senate regarding a more than 10-year-old story of corruption in high places, a story called the Airbus scandal or the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney had what has been characterized as an unusual financial relationship with one Karlheinz Schreiber, a relationship shrouded in industry, which involved others as well.
Canadians will remember that Mr. Mulroney brought a lawsuit against the Government of Canada for alleged damage to his reputation regarding monies that he denied having received from Mr. Schreiber. These allegations have been pursued against Mr. Mulroney through the Canadian Department of Justice and the RCMP.
Mr. Mulroney was subsequently awarded a magnificent sum of $2.1 million to satisfy his hurt feelings. It has since been revealed that Mr. Mulroney may have lied under oath about receiving monies from Mr. Schreiber.
There is now evidence that Mr. Mulroney received three allotments of $100,000 cash at various hotels in Canada and the United States from Mr. Schreiber. It was unclear whether the cash was in brown envelopes, whether they were $100 bills, $20 bills or whether the envelopes were slipped over or under the table.
It is now apparent that Mr. Mulroney's defence, who joined the initial stages of the court proceedings, has unravelled, exposing Mr. Mulroney's real behaviour.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm that new proceedings have begun against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies paid to him by the Government of Canada?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)), Conservative:
I thank the honourable senator for his question. The premise of the question is totally false, and there is nothing more to be said on this matter.
According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, the Department of Justice explored the possibility last February, after this government took office, of setting aside the 1997 $2.1 million settlement with Mr. Mulroney because of allegations that the former Prime Minister had indeed accepted $300,000 in cash from GermanÂCanadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.
Recently released documents show that a department official prepared a draft briefing note outlining how, under Quebec law, the government might seek to set aside Mr. Mulroney's settlement. The draft briefing note was written shortly after CBC program, The Fifth Estate, aired a documentary that described allegations that Mr. Mulroney accepted cash from Mr. Schreiber that had been withdrawn from Swiss bank accounts linked to the Airbus affair, information that I spoke about earlier. This information also reveals that the then newly Minister of Justice, Vic Toews, office requested the briefing note in the first place. On February 9, the minister's office asks for information on the Schreiber case.
I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate again: Can she confirm that new proceedings will begin against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies since the government's own Department of Justice is wondering why this settlement was ever made in the first place? When will Canadians get their money back?
I thank the honourable senator for his question. Again, what he states is totally false. I invite him to repeat those statements outside the chamber.
Mr. Mulroney has done nothing wrong or illegal and the premise of the honourable senator's question is false. This matter is settled and there is absolutely no truth to what the honourable senator has just stated. There is no truth to The Fifth Estate program, which appeared at this time last year. The matter is closed. Mr. Mulroney is a wonderful individual, was a very good Prime Minister and does not deserve this kind of treatment.