i'd settle for a good old fashioned public execution, it would be worth the money
Recoup Money From Mulroney, Opposition Urges
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | 10:46 PM ET CBC
Opposition MPs are demanding the federal government recoup the $2.1 million paid to former prime minister Brian Mulroney in an out-of-court settlement of his libel suit against the government 13 years ago.
That suit was based on Mulroney's claims that the RCMP defamed him when it wrote a letter accusing him of taking kickbacks for Air Canada's purchase of Airbus jets in 1988.
Mulroney was prime minister from 1984 to 1993.
The opposition's calls came in response to a report released Monday by the Oliphant Commission looking into Mulroney's dealings with German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.
In his report, Justice Jeffrey Oliphant called into question the testimony Mulroney gave to Department of Justice lawyers in 1995 before the settlement was reached.
Mulroney told the Oliphant Commission that at the time, he did not reveal his business dealings with Schreiber to the lawyers simply because they didn't ask the right questions. But Oliphant called that claim "patently absurd."
In his 1995 testimony, Mulroney said he and Schreiber merely had coffee from time to time.
Later, it was revealed that he, in fact, accepted at least $225,000 in cash from Schreiber after he left office.
Oliphant was appointed by the federal government two years ago to determine what the money was for, where it went and whether the cash relationship between Schreiber and Mulroney was appropriate.
In Monday's report, he ruled that although the money changed hands only after Mulroney left office, the dealings between the two were "inappropriate."
The terms governing Oliphant's inquiry barred him from looking directly into the Airbus affair " the allegations that Mulroney and Schreiber were involved in a kickback scheme over the 1988 purchase of Airbus aircraft by Air Canada " and the libel settlement.
Nevertheless, the opposition has argued that since the inquiry found that Mulroney did have inappropriate business dealings with Schreiber, he misrepresented the nature of his relationship with the businessman during the testimony on which his libel settlement was based and hence should forfeit that money.
'Do the decent thing'
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, who was in cabinet at the time of the settlement, says the government of the day did what it had to do based on the information it had at the time.
"And it now appears that that information was deliberately false," said Goodale.
NDP MP Wayne Marston said Mulroney should volunteer to give the money back to taxpayers.
"I think he should do the decent thing and return the money to Canadians," Marston said. "And if he's not prepared to do that, it's up to the government to go after it."
In question period Tuesday, Liberal MP Marlene Jennings asked whether the government was going to try to recuperate the money, and the accrued interest, paid to Mulroney.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the government will respond to Oliphant's report in "due course."
"The recommendations … [were] tabled yesterday," said Nicholson. "They are now with the appropriate authorities, and we'll look at any or all recommendations that come out of that process."
But before question period, Conservative backbencher David Tilson said he doesn't see any grounds to reopen the settlement.
"There isn't a court in this land that will set aside a settlement that has been made in good faith by two parties unless there is some sort of fraudulent activity. And at this stage, I haven't seen any," he said.
Mulroney has not responded to the report or to the calls to return the money but did release a statement Monday.
"I genuinely regret that my conduct after I left office gave rise to suspicions about the propriety of my personal business affairs as a private citizen," the statement said