By The Associated Press - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
EW YORK, N.Y. – Airbus is dropping lithium-ion batteries from its new A350 airplane…
EW YORK, N.Y. – Airbus is dropping lithium-ion batteries from its new A350 airplane because of uncertainty surrounding the technology that has led to the grounding of Boeing’s 787.
The European planemaker said late Thursday that it has decided to revert to nickel-cadmium batteries for the A350. The plane is a wide-body jet rival to the 787 and is expected to make its first flight around the middle of the year.
Airbus says it does not expect the battery switch to delay the A350.
Federal officials grounded the 787 last month because of problems with its lithium-ion batteries that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing.
Airbus says the A350 uses batteries in a different setup to the 787, making it unlikely that it would face the same problems.
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM - 0 Comments
As carriers park old fuel-guzzling jets, plane makers are battling to win sales and crush newcomers
Business travellers flying between New York and Singapore recently learned they will no longer be able to make the 15,000-km journey on a single non-stop flight, the world’s longest. Singapore Airlines said it decided to cut the 19-hour route because it’s no longer profitable as oil prices rise and big corporations cut back on their travel budgets.
But what’s been bad for airlines and their customers—a shaky global economy and expensive jet fuel—has been a boon for plane manufacturers. Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS are assembling jetliners at Mach speed as airlines increasingly park older, fuel-guzzling jets and replace them with more efficient models. Boeing’s long-range 787 Dreamliner, for example, promises a 20 per cent reduction in fuel burn and a 30 per cent reduction in maintenance expenses. More than 800 have been ordered by airlines at a list price of up to US$243 million each.
Demand for other models is also running high. Boeing now churns out its 777 model at a rate of 8.3 planes a month, up from seven, the fastest it has ever made a twin-aisle plane. Last month, rival Airbus inaugurated a factory in Toulouse, France, for production of its A350 jet, which competes with the 787.
An all-out battle for market share is brewing as forecasts call for huge growth ahead. Boeing estimates North American airlines alone will buy 7,290 airplanes worth $8 billion between now and 2020. But analysts warn the future is not at all certain. “It’s all about fuel prices,” says Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Virgina-based Teal Group. Older aircraft will once again look economical if the price of oil falls below $70 a barrel, he says. Conversely, if it goes above $110, many airlines will be losing too much money to contemplate multi-billion-dollar plane purchases. Continue…
By Peter Shawn Taylor - Friday, July 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
Book by James Fallows
China dominates the global economy by cranking out iPads on the cheap for other countries. Its long-term aspiration, however, is to turn itself into an advanced, knowledge-based economy the equal of its Western rivals. Fallows, a long-time China hand and national correspondent for The Atlantic (not to mention flying buff), argues convincingly that the surest test of such an ambition can be found in the complex business of designing, building and flying airplanes.
Chinese leadership recognizes the significance of a successful air industry. Its latest five-year plan proposes an ambitious aviation agenda with 150 new airports under construction. And Chinese airlines are expected to triple their fleets within a decade. But while centralized control, massive investment and lots of low-cost labour have made China what it is today, achieving air superiority means the country will also have to harness the conflicting notions of innovation, flexibility and openness. It’s no sure thing.
By Gustavo Vieira - Monday, December 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
A patent dispute between Airbus and a Boeing ally centers around a fuel-saving device
Next time you’re seated in the window seat of an airplane, take a close look at the wings—chances are you will see a fin-like airfoil protruding from the tip. Winglets, as they’re called, have been fitted to airliners since the ’80s, but Airbus has come up with a new name for them: “sharklets.” It’s part of an effort to escape a patent on the increasingly important technology that’s held by a close partner of Airbus’s main rival, Boeing.
To the naked eye, the difference between sharklets and winglets is in name only. Their purpose is to cut down on fuel—between 3.5 to seven per cent—by reducing aerodynamic drag, which they do by literally slashing through the air. The best bang for the buck is in mid- to long-range flights, when cruising speed is sustained for longer periods, consequently compensating for the winglets’ added weight.
In the Airbus versus Boeing battle, modern winglets have become a selling point for customer airlines under pressure to find greater fuel savings. Airbus will install its 2.5-m sharklets on its popular A320s, which are beating its Boeing competitor, the winglet-fitted 737, by the hundreds in firm orders in 2011.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 9:47 AM - 43 Comments
In five years, over 50 commercial airplanes crashed in loss-of-control accidents. What’s going on?
With low clouds and a fine mist hanging in the morning air, the pilots of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 anticipated a routine approach to Amsterdam’s busy Schiphol Airport on Feb. 25, 2009. But instead of touching down gently on the runway, the white and red Boeing 737 dropped out of the sky and slammed into a muddy field just short of the airport, smashing into three pieces. Nine people died, including all three pilots. Another 84 were injured.
Investigators attributed the crash to a faulty radio altimeter, aggravated by pilot errors and oversights. Radio altimeters use radio waves to measure a plane’s altitude—a key piece of equipment, which is why a 737 is equipped with two of them. But what nobody in the cockpit of Flight 1951 realized was that the malfunctioning altimeter happened to control the 737’s auto-thrust systems. So while the co-pilot was busy monitoring the autopilot (which used data from a different altimeter), and Capt. Hasan Tahsin Arisan was watching the co-pilot as part of a training exercise, and a third “safety” officer was supposed to be watching everyone to make sure nothing got missed, the auto-thrust erroneously engaged its “retard” mode, thinking it was just above the runway. The throttles were cut and the plane’s nose pitched up, causing the plane to drift into an aerodynamic stall. The flight crew tried to recover by returning the throttles to full power, but their initial efforts were thwarted by the confused auto-thrust system, which they forgot to disengage. There was no time for a second try.
By Bruce Parkinson, Takeoffeh.com - Friday, June 18, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 2 Comments
The Airline Pricing Obstacle Course, Boeing & Airbus Hear Footsteps As Competition Looms, and Water & Lights Show Is Next Step In Making Disneyland Grand
The Airline Pricing Obstacle Course
Airline pricing continues to make headlines for befuddling passengers. In the U.S., new ‘unbundled’ fees seem to appear every day. The latest is American Airlines charging from $9 to $19 for the privilege of boarding early – just after the premium passengers. Why would people pay for that dubious benefit? Mostly because high fees for checked luggage have spurred many passengers to bring only carry-on, creating a free-for-all battle for overhead bin space. In the UK and Europe, no-frills airlines continue to offer what look like jaw-dropping low fares, which can more than double when ‘optional’ fees are added. Carriers like Ryanair, easyJet and Flybe charge up to £30 to put a standard 20kg bag in the hold. Passengers also face fees for paying by credit card, printing boarding passes and selecting seats. Next month Ryanair will hike luggage costs by £10 if passengers don’t check in online. In today’s crazy airline landscape British tabloid News of the World says a ticket on British Airways can end up costing less than one on a no-frills carrier, because it doesn’t charge booking fees or to check in luggage. Here in Canada we can count ourselves lucky on some counts. Neither Air Canada nor WestJet have taken unbundling to the levels of airlines south of the border, never mind Europe. But even here, the final price of a flight can double from the advertised amount due to extra fees, fuel surcharges and government taxes. As reported this week, legislation was passed by Parliament three years ago that would force airlines to advertise the full cost of a ticket. But a last-minute amendment won by the airline lobby delayed the advertising provision until the government and industry held consultations. As another legislative session comes to a close, it appears that Transport Minister John Baird has for a second time reneged on a commitment to move the process forward. It looks like we’ll continue to need calculators to figure out the price of a flight for some time to come.
Boeing & Airbus Hear Footsteps As Competition Looms
While their own rivalry has certainly been fierce, Boeing and Airbus have pretty much enjoyed a duopoly in the large passenger aircraft market for many years. But that’s going to change as some of the fast-emerging BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – bring their own flying machines to market. Canada is striving for a piece of the pie too, with Bombardier set to take on the big guys in the 100-149 seat market with its CSeries, set to enter service in 2013. Other competitors include China’s Comac, Brazil’s Embraer and Russian companies Sukhoi and United Aircraft Company. Almost all of the new competition will be in the narrow-body market, because of the prohibitive cost of entry for wide-body construction. The price of developing new jets like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner or Airbus’s new A350 is estimated at more than $12 billion, making it unlikely that challengers will emerge until 2030 at the earliest. In the short-haul market, leaders Bombardier and Embraer will also see some new competition from Japan’s Mitsubishi. By 2014 the company hopes to be airborne with the first passenger aircraft to be built by a Japanese company since the mid-70s. It’s a beauty, too, with sleek lines, a dipped nose, a more spacious cabin than its competitors and perhaps most importantly, a highly fuel-efficient engine.
Water & Lights Show Is Next Step In Making Disneyland Grand
Five years in the making, a new evening water and lights show at Disney’s California Adventure in Disneyland has kicked off a $1.4 billion expansion. The 25-minute ‘World of Color’ show takes place in the Paradise Bay lagoon and features 1,200 fountains and water screens on which images of iconic Disney characters are projected. Lasers, fire, lights and music are other components of a show described by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs as “exhilarating”. The growth continues with a Little Mermaid attraction opening next year and a 12-acre Cars Land that will be unveiled in 2012. The expansion marks the continuation of plans to transform the original Disneyland theme park into a multi-day resort destination. The new attractions aim to piggyback on the popularity of Disney and Disney/Pixar characters, with the goal, Disney says, of “adding product that tells a story.”
Buying A New Knee In Bangkok
Medical tourism is fast becoming a worldwide, multi-billion dollar industry. In the U.S. alone it’s currently a $20-billion market but experts predict that to multiply to $100-billion by 2012. While Americans travel to overseas hospitals in order to pay as little as 10% of what they would pay at home, Canadians are going for different reasons – mostly to avoid long wait-times for things like hip or knee replacements or cardiac surgery. In the past, the bulk of medical travel has been for cosmetic procedures, but that is quickly changing as facilities improve around the world. As reported in trade rag OpenJaw.com, travel agency marketing organization Travelsavers has been researching the market for some time and has now made the leap with the formation of Well-Being Travel. Travelsavers member agencies in Canada and the U.S. won’t sell the medical services– they’ve teamed up with a company called Companion Global Healthcare for that – but they will arrange air and hotel stays based around state-of-the-art hospitals in places like India, Thailand and Turkey. Executive vice president of Well-Being Travel Anne Marie Moebes is definitely a convert. She required dental work priced at $18,000 in the U.S. and got it for $4,000 including airfare in Central America. She says “you could eat off the floor” in its partner hospitals which included Bumrungrad International in Bangkok and Anadolu Medical Center in Istanbul.
By: Bruce Parkinson
Bruce Parkinson is a travel industry journalist and regular contributor to Takeoffeh.com as well as sister company, OpenJaw.com
Photo Credits: embraer.com, disneyland.disney.go.com, wikimedia.org
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 3 Comments
Its new CSeries jet could launch it into the big leagues, or flop
UPDATE: Bombardier has reached a deal to sell 40 of its yet-to-be-built CSeries aircraft with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings, which operates six regional carriers in the United States. The deal, valued at little over US$3 billion, is Bombardier’s first in North America for the fuel efficient 110- to 130-seat family of aircraft. It includes options for Republic to double the size of the order down the road. Some observers have expressed concern about a lack of orders for the $3.4 billion CSeries project amid tough times for the airline industry. Prior to inking the agreement with Republic, Bombardier had firm orders for just 50 of the planes despite officially launching the program last summer. The CSeries is larger than Bombardier’s current line of regional jets and will compete head-to-head with smaller aircraft built by industry heavyweights Boeing and Airbus, a first for Bombardier. The first CSeries aircraft are scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Montreal in 2013.
Gary Scott has, fittingly, spent a lot of time among the clouds lately. The head of commercial aviation for Bombardier is just back from Europe to pitch the plane-maker’s new CSeries aircraft, a state-of-the-art jet that, once it rolls off the production line in 2013, would put Bombardier in direct competition with giants Boeing and Airbus for the first time in its history. Next, he is off to visit a potential customer on this side of the Atlantic. Then he wings his way to Singapore, where he was scheduled to meet with dozens of airlines and aircraft leasing companies at a six-day air show.
The globe-trotting is part of the full court press that Bombardier is putting on some 150 potential customers who have expressed interest in its US$3.4-billion CSeries project, a 110- to 130-seat family of aircraft that targets what executives believe is an underserved market. An idea first hatched six years ago, the CSeries will be bigger than Bombardier’s existing regional jets, which top out at around 100 seats, but would be distinguished from the smallest versions of Boeing’s 737 family and Airbus’s A320 family by more fuel-efficient engines, state-of-the-art technology and lightweight composite components.
So far, though, Bombardier has notched just two orders, with firm commitments for a meagre 50 planes (Germany’s Lufthansa has ordered 30, and a leasing company 20). And it backed away from a prediction that it would announce a third order before the end of the company’s fiscal year on Jan. 31. “We are in advanced state of discussions with some customers, but the timing of final contracts and orders is always difficult to predict, particularly in these difficult times,” says Scott. “I do anticipate an order coming from these discussions in the first half of the year.”
By Andrew Coyne - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 78 Comments
Six years later, Mulroney has yet to give us a convincing account of his deal with Schreiber. Can we really leave it at that?
He destroyed himself. Nobody did it to him. He was simply asked, respectfully, to explain himself. And he could not. If the former prime minister of Canada is now widely suspected of corruption, it’s all his own work.
Brian Mulroney was not on trial before the Oliphant inquiry, nor was the commission counsel, Richard Wolson, his prosecutor. Wolson’s job was simply to test the witness’s story, to see how well it stood up: whether there was any evidence to support it; whether it conflicted with others’; whether there were any internal inconsistencies. But mostly it was to let the witness tell his story. And the more Mulroney talked, the less believable he became.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 9:24 AM - 32 Comments
Is there anyone, anywhere, who will support even one line of what Brian Mulroney has told the Oliphant inquiry? Not only are there no supporting documents, no paper trail, no witnesses to corroborate any of the fantastic account he has given of his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber — aside, that is, from Forgetful Fred Doucet, his faithful retainer and fellow recipient of Schreiber’s largesse — but on key points he is flatly contradicted by people in a position to know. Or indeed, by his own evidence.
“I cancelled the project. I killed the deal.”
Repeated claims by Brian Mulroney that he cancelled the initial version of the Bear Head armoured vehicle project while he was still prime minister are being challenged by a former Mulroney chief of staff.
Norman Spector contends that Mulroney, in his testimony before a public inquiry, has offered an inaccurate picture of his handling of the project backed by businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.
“What we’ve learned about Mulroney is that he’s very slippery with words and evasive with his testimony,” Spector told The Canadian Press. “He didn’t cancel the project in any incarnation. He never cancelled it.”…
[D]uring four days of testimony last week at the inquiry headed by Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, Mulroney asserted that he had ditched the original proposal after Spector informed him in late 1990 that it would cost taxpayers too much…
Mulroney pointed to that decision, in his first day on the stand, to rebut any suggestion he had been unduly influenced by Schreiber in personal meetings held to discuss the project….
In later testimony, Mulroney suggested he had ordered Spector to put an end to the project, and that Paul Tellier – then the country’s top bureaucrat as clerk of the Privy Council – was in the loop as well.
“When I gave Spector that directive, and he spoke to the clerk of the Privy Council – passing on exactly what I had said, this matter is dead – that is the end of it in that configuration as far as I am concerned.”…
[But] memos from Tellier continued to flow through the bureaucracy and Mulroney has acknowledged he held subsequent meetings with Schreiber, minister Elmer MacKay and Fred Doucet, a former prime ministerial aide who had signed on with Schreiber as a lobbyist.
Mulroney never followed up by issuing explicit orders to kill the project, Spector said in a weekend interview after reading media accounts of Mulroney’s testimony.
“It is not true to say he cancelled it, or he instructed me to cancel it,” said Spector. “That never happened. I deny that categorically.“
“There were four articles.”
Brian Mulroney told the Oliphant Commission Tuesday that The Globe and Mail suppressed a story about him, prompting the newspaper’s editor-in-chief to reveal that the former prime minister tried to strike a deal in 2003 to block an article that said he received cash payments from Karlheinz Schreiber…
Statement from The Globe and Mail Regarding Oliphant Inquiry
Toronto, ON (May 19, 2009) – In testimony at the Oliphant inquiry today, Mr. Mulroney raised a number of points regarding The Globe and Mail’s 2003 articles written by William Kaplan.
The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon has sent a letter directly to the inquiry counsel Richard Wolson clarifying and correcting a number of points of fact:
▪ Mr. Mulroney made reference to a supposed fourth article planned for a November 2003 Globe and Mail series authored by William Kaplan and alleged that the article was suppressed by The Globe and Mail. No such fourth article was ever contemplated. The number of articles in the series was always three.
▪ Mr. Mulroney contacted Mr. Greenspon on a number of occasions asking him not to publish the third article in the series – in which Kaplan revealed that Mr. Mulroney had accepted cash payment from Mr. Schreiber.
▪ In at least one of the conversations, Mr. Mulroney offered to trade information in exchange for The Globe not publishing the third story. He said his information was explosive and would be of greater interest than the cash payments.
▪ The Globe and Mail emphatically declined Mr. Mulroney’s offer and ran the third story of the series that revealed for the first time that Mr. Mulroney had accepted cash payments from Mr. Schreiber.
▪ Mr. Greenspon told Mr. Mulroney if the story he was offering was true and verifiable that it would be in his interest to tell it anyway and that The Globe and Mail would pursue it. Mr. Mulroney did and The Globe investigated it and found it was not verifiable.
“I declared it all for $225,000 and paid full tax on it.”
On and on it goes. This is a former prime minister of Canada. Under oath.
By Andrew Coyne - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 2:02 PM - 41 Comments
Mulroney’s apparent total naiveté about corrupt international business practices prior to “1996 or 1997″ is hard to understand.
Bribery and corruption in international business had been a matter of public knowledge since at least the 1970s. The Lockheed scandal — which exposed widespread use of bribery of public officials to win contracts in several European and Asian countries — led to passage of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977, prohibiting American companies from offering bribes overseas. Two decades of subsequent discussion culminated in adoption of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1997. (Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act was proclaimed in December 1998.) It is hard to believe that Mulroney would have heard nothing of this, whether as a lawyer, a successful businessman or in nine years as prime minister.
It is all the more remarkable in light of his own involvement, as prime minister, in the crusade against corruption’s kissin’ cousin, money laundering.
For example, Mulroney would have been an attendee at the 1989 G-7 summit in Paris, which created the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering. According to its website,
The Task Force was given the responsibility of examining money laundering techniques and trends, reviewing the action which had already been taken at a national or international level, and setting out the measures that still needed to be taken to combat money laundering. In April 1990, less than one year after its creation, the FATF issued a report containing a set of Forty Recommendations, which provide a comprehensive plan of action needed to fight against money laundering.
And it was the Mulroney government that first made money-laundering a crime in Canada in 1989, after similar legislation in the United States (1986) and Australia (1987). It was followed by passage of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act (1991), which “required financial institutions to introduce a system to keep records and to identify clients in order to preserve financial trails for large financial transactions (over $10,000.)” The regulations went into effect in 1993 — a year that was also significant for another reason:
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the RCMP and the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) signed. This MOU called for voluntary reporting of all suspicous transactions that might indicate money laundering activities.
So if his government was taking all these vigorous steps to control the use of, inter alia, cash transactions to conceal evidence of crimes, how could he been so innocent of Schreiber’s possible motives for dealing in $1000 bills? And why was he personally so allergic to depositing the money in a bank account?
By Andrew Coyne - Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 7:10 PM - 13 Comments
One of the thorniest issues raised by Brian Mulroney’s testimony is the question of what connection, if any, he had with Franz Josef Strauss, the late chairman of Airbus and noted benefactor of conservative politicians around the world — including Mulroney, as it happens. It was Strauss’s money that Karlheinz Schreiber contributed to the dump-Clark movement at the 1983 leadership review, paving the way for Mulroney to become Conservative leader and, a year later, Prime Minister.
Now, if Mulroney did know Strauss, it wouldn’t mean that he knew that Strauss had helped in his rise to the top. And even if he knew anything about that, it wouldn’t mean that he had anything to do with the Airbus deal. All the same, Mulroney was categorical in his 1996 examination: “I did not know Mr. Strauss myself, nor did I know any of his family.” No cup-of-cofffee equivocation here — this time it’s a flat denial:
Q: Is it not a fact that Franz Josef Strauss was the chairman of Airbus?
A: I have no idea.
Q: You have no idea of who Franz Josef Strauss is?
A: Oh, yes, I do.
Gérald Tremblay (one of Mulroney’s lawyers): The question is: “Is it not a fact that he was chairman of Airbus?”
A: I… I knew of Franz Josef Strauss; I didn’t know him personally, I never met him, but I knew of him as the Premier of Bavaria and as a Minister of Finance in the Federal Republic. I had no idea what his other occupations may be.
Yet his former appointments secretary, the self-described “gatekeeper” to his office, Pat MacAdam, tells a very different story. MacAdam has said or written on different occasions over a space of more than a decade — to William Kaplan in 1994, to the fifth estate in 1999, in his newspaper column in 2007– that Mulroney and Strauss were “old friends,” that Strauss was “a good friend of Mulroney’s [in] years gone by,” and that “Brian Mulroney was pretty thick with Franz Josef Strauss.”
Then there’s the question of Max Strauss, Franz Josef’s son, one of the family members Mulroney professes not to know. MacAdam is on record repeatedly saying that, before Mulroney became Prime Minister, Schreiber “used to show up with Strauss’s son,” that “the son used to call on him [Mulroney] as a courtesy call,” that Schreiber would “come in with Max Strauss …
oh, maybe five, six, seven times a year.”
(CORRECTION: Beware of ellipses. A closer examination of the transcript of that 1999 interview suggests that “five, six, seven times a years” is a reference to the number of times MacAdam saw Schreiber, not the number of times Schreiber and Strauss visited Mulroney’s office together. On the other hand, MacAdam also says that Schreiber was “a close friend of Mr. Mulroney’s. They knew each other long before Mr. Mulroney became an MP and leader of the opposition. I don’t know where they met, maybe through the Strausses.”)
Now, MacAdam has said different things on other occasions. In 2001, he told the fifth estate that the younger Strauss visited only once, for 30 seconds. He also said he didn’t think Mulroney had ever met the senior Strauss.
At the Oliphant inquiry, under oath, he stuck to the “one visit” version with regard to Max. But he insisted, repeatedly, that Mulroney knew Franz Josef.
MS BROOKS: “Mulroney was pretty thick with Franz Josef Strauss.”
MR. MacADAM: I don’t know that. I know that they knew each other.
One of these gentlemen is clearly mistaken.
By Andrew Coyne - Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 1:45 AM - 18 Comments
What Mathias seems to know is mostly false. It is a much larger story. The money came to BRITAN. This money was not for me. I know who BRITAN was. Now there is a big story for you. For the moment it is not relevant to my role, but I know I wasn’t BRITAN, and I know who BRITAN was…
I will tell you at an appropriate time about BRITAN. It is not immediately germane to the thing we are talking about but I can tell you that [it] is mind-boggling. It is f***ing mind-boggling.
— Brian Mulroney, interviewed by William Kaplan on October 4, 2003, entered in evidence in support of Kaplan’s testimony to the Oliphant inquiry. Mulroney was trying to convince him not to report on his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber, prior to the story’s eventual publication in the Globe and Mail on November 10, 2003. “Mathias” is the reporter Phil Mathias, from whom Kaplan had first learned of the cash payments in March of ’01.
POSTSCRIPT: As it turned out, BRITAN was Mulroney — or at least, the Navigant team of forensic accountants believe it is highly likely it was. Their report to the Oliphant inquiry said the evidence supports a “strong inference” that the money in the BRITAN account was (mostly) Airbus money. And while it’s impossible to state with certainty where the cash Mulroney was paid came from, the report notes the withdrawal dates match closely with the dates the three payments were made, as do the amounts (in Schreiber’s version). Which, of course, doesn’t prove Mulroney knew anything etc.
But maybe the forensics have it wrong. If so — and if Mulroney knows who BRITAN was really for — wouldn’t now be the “appropriate time” to tell us?
By Andrew Coyne - Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 5:32 PM - 13 Comments
Is it possible Brian Mulroney is just making it up as he goes along? I know we were all told how well prepared he was for cross-examination, but the more he fleshes out the details under questioning, the more bizarre his already fantastic story becomes.
Yesterday he told the Oliphant inquiry three extraordinary things we hadn’t heard before.
One: The reason he agreed to be paid in cash, despite his initial “hesitation,” after Schreiber explained that he was “an international businessman,” was because he knew that’s the way they did things in Europe. North America, people paid by cheque. Europe, they “had different approaches.” No European businessman he’d ever personally dealt with, mind you. But, you know, he was “generally aware” of the practice.
What he was not at all aware of, however, was the reason they did things that way. Only years later, after he had joined the boards of several international companies, did he learn that these European businessmen were actually using the cash to pay bribes to politicians. Why, do you know, in Germany they could even write it off on their taxes?
But as of 1994, when he accepted the last of three cash payments from Karlheinz Schreiber, he was not aware that European defence and aerospace industry representatives were in the habit of bribing politicians with cash — still less that Schreiber was in any way acquainted with this art. The RCMP’s 1995 allegation that Schreiber had been doing just that on behalf of Airbus did nothing to shake his belief in Schreiber’s integrity.
Not until 1996 or 1997, he says, did he start to understand what European businesses did with their cash, and not until Schreiber’s 1999 arrest in Toronto on fraud and tax evasion charges did he at last realize what kind of man he was dealing with. At which point he decided to declare all the cash Schreiber had paid him on his taxes, without claiming any expenses.
Two: The other reason he did not demand to be paid by cheque was because, at the start of his post-political career, he did not have any support staff. He had not yet begun work at the Montreal law firm of Oglivy Renault, and was living north of Montreal. Had he an office, and staff, and had he met with Schreiber in the more businesslike setting of his office, rather than in hotel rooms, he might have suggested that a cheque would be more appropriate.
But that still doesn’t explain why he left in in cash. On that subject, he had less to offer. Typical was this, verbatim exchange:
Q. Why didn’t you put the money in the bank?
A. Well, I brought it home and I left it there.
Q. Why did you not put the money in Cansult [his consultancy business] or in a bank, to create transparency?
A. I simply wasn’t thinking that way at the time. I’d begun the process like that and maintained it like that.
Perfect. Why did you do it? Well, you see, it’s what I did.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:48 PM - 23 Comments
We have entered the realm of the surreal: Mulroney doing Mulroney. That is, performing for the commission his testimony in deposition for his 1996 libel trial, with his lawyer Guy Pratte, taking the part of Claude-Armand Sheppard, the government’s lawyer in 1996.
The effort is to explain why his testimony to that event was not, in fact, misleading, or was not intended as such, even if it had that effect. On this deconstructionist analysis:
- It’s not relevant to a libel suit related to accusations of taking bribes from Schreiber whether he took cash from Schreiber.
- He gave a full and accurate account of his meetings with Schreiber, including the coffee shop meeting in the lobby of the Queen Elizabeth hotel, that did not mention $75,000 cash drops.
- He was volunteering all relevant information when he said he had no bank accounts outside the country but did not mention the safety deposit box at the Chemical Bank in NYC.
- He was wholly truthful when he said he did not know anyone in Strauss’s family, when he did not mention meeting Max Strauss.
- And when he said he “had never had any dealings” with Schreiber, that should be understood to mean he had never had any dealings to do with Airbus. That is, it should be understood in a context of discussiions about Airbus, but not in a context of multiple cash payments totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:25 AM - 10 Comments
As we wait for Brian Mulroney to resume his testimony, a few thoughts on yesterday’s proceedings:
Easily the strangest part was Mulroney’s overall attempt to frame the issue: that the reason he went to such absurd lengths to cover up his involvement with Karlheinz Schreiber — the wads of $1000 bills, the safety deposit boxes, the not declaring it on his income taxes etc — was because of all the “innuendo” about his alleged involvement in the Airbus affair, as peddled by Stevie Cameron, the fifth estate etc. And of course, the “scarring” experience of being named in the letter of request to the Swiss.
First problem: Cameron’s book didn’t appear until late 1994. The first fifth estate broadcast on Airbus was in March of 1995. The story of the letter of request broke in November 1995. Mulroney took the first payment in August of 1993, and the last, if memory serves, in December 1994. He was so scarred by innuendo in 1995 that he was taking cash in 1993. Uh-huh.
Second problem: Even if there was chatter earlier than that, it still doesn’t make any sense. You’re so worried that people might believe you had taken bribes from Karlheinz Schreiber while you were Prime Minister that you take wads of cash from him after you were Prime Minister? Of all the people on this earth that you could find to take wads of cash from, you choose him?
Third problem: There’s privacy, and then there’s just plain skulking about. Mere embarrassment or concern for reputation might explain why he would be shy of talking about his dealings with Schreiber. But envelopes of cash? Safety deposit boxes? No receipts, no invoices, no expenses, no tax returns, no paper trail of any kind? And you perform this ritual, not once, but three times?
Beyond that, most of the day was spent explaining away his many contacts with Schreiber over the years: the meetings, the letters, the birthday telegrams, the autographed photos, the invitations (from Schreiber) to holiday together, etc. He denied what he could, minimized the rest, and anything left over he forgot. We’ll see how that stands up in cross-examination. One meeting, two, you could forget. But how many were there, dozens?
And I was struck by how many times he blamed his friends Fred Doucet and Elmer MacKay for whatever contact he did have with Schreiber. They made him write the telegram. They arranged the meeting. Etc. Doucet is certainly in bags of trouble, after the evidence he gave the commission (and the ethics committee). Is he being cut adrift?
Final thought. All day long, Mulroney’s lawyer was having to rein him in (though not nearly enough — did we really need to hear about his childhood, or Trudeau’s taste in architecture, or how he single-handedly turned Newfoundland into a “have” province?). And his rambling tongue may cause him problems. For example, asked whether he knew of Schreiber’s involvemnt in bankrolling the dump-Clark campaign, led by his good friend Frank Moores, at the 1983 leadership review in Winnipeg, Mulroney gave the expected answer: No. But rather than leave it at that, he went on to denounce the very idea (the “canard,” in fact — one of my favourite words) that there was any airlift of Quebec delegates to the convention. This is one of the better documented episodes in Canadian political history. Mulroney’s official biographer, L. Ian MacDonald, even boasts about the “$250,000 in cash” Moores had to spend on delegates. The Sawatzky biography tells of a Mulroney organizer from Quebec showing up with 186 delegates in tow, and plunking down $56,000 in cash and certified cheques on the spot to pay for their registration.
Ah but that was long ago, when people weren’t so darn judgmental!
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 11:44 AM - 5 Comments
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 12:29 PM - 18 Comments
A former senior executive of Bear Head Industries says he had no idea former prime minister Brian Mulroney was working for the company promoting its proposal to build light-armoured vehicles in Canada in the early 1990s.
Greg Alford, then vice-president of Bear Head’s corporate affairs, was testifying today before a public hearing probing Mulroney’s business dealings with German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber and the $300,000 in cash Mulroney received for unsuccessfully lobbying for Bear Head.
“No,” said Alford when asked whether he knew whether the former Progressive Conservative PM was working in any capacity for Bear Head beginning the summer of 1993.
So. Mulroney says Schreiber hired him to lobby for Bear Head internationally. Schreiber says he hired him to lobby for Bear Head in Canada. But the vice-president of Bear Head testifies that he’s not aware of Mulroney having done any lobbying for the firm, period.
Which doesn’t prove Schreiber didn’t hire Mulroney to lobby for Bear Head; Schreiber says he kept it a closely guarded secret. But there’s precious little evidence that he did, other than the list of dead foreign leaders Mulroney told the ethics committee he’d buttonholed. For his part Schreiber, though he complains that Mulroney did no work on the file, can’t explain what work he expected him to do and admits he never followed up or asked for progress reports.
Let me advance a tentative hypothesis: the whole lobbying-for-Bear Head story was a sham. Whatever reason Schreiber had for slipping Mulroney $300,000 in cash after he left office, it wasn’t to lobby for Bear Head — though it suited both Mulroney and Schreiber to say it was.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 10, 2009 at 7:31 PM - 6 Comments
Glen Pearson raises Brian Mulroney’s foreign policy legacy to wonder why more isn’t being done for Abousfian Abdelrazik.
Rob Silver wonders why anyone would want to associate with a former prime minister who left office with the lowest approval rating in history.
Douglas Bell suggests everyone watch the Fifth Estate tonight.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 3:04 PM - 19 Comments
It seems Fred Doucet has some ‘splaining to do…
Fred Doucet, Brian Mulroney’s former chief of staff, received a list from Air Canada detailing how many Airbus aircraft had been delivered to the airline in the early 1990s, contradicting Mr. Doucet’s sworn testimony that he has “no knowledge at all about anything involving Airbus.”
The fax, as well as three letters written by Mr. Doucet, are the first indication that someone in Mr. Mulroney’s inner circle expressed interest in the airplane sale before it erupted as a public scandal.
The airplane delivery schedule received by Mr. Doucet outlines how many Airbus A320s were delivered to Air Canada between 1990 and 1993. The date stamp indicates the former prime ministerial aide received the fax on Aug. 27, 1993, at 3:50 p.m.
At that time, Karlheinz Schreiber was sitting in the back of a limousine on his way to Quebec’s Mirabel airport to meet Mr. Mulroney and pay him at least $75,000 in cash – a meeting that Mr. Doucet has previously acknowledged he arranged. That payment, as well as two other cash payments Mr. Schreiber made to the former prime minister shortly after he left office, are the focus of a coming public inquiry.
The fax, as well as three previously undisclosed letters written by Mr. Doucet, were supplied to The Globe and Mail and CBC’s the fifth estate by Mr. Schreiber. The letters, which were written between 1992 and 1994, make a number of references to the airplanes, and in one instance Mr. Doucet uses a code word, “The Birds,” to describe the jetliners.
“Should the documents prove to be genuine, this new evidence has blown the whole Airbus affair wide open,” said Paul Szabo, a Liberal MP and the former chair of the House of Commons ethics committee, which last year launched a probe of the cash payments accepted by Mr. Mulroney.
After reviewing the documents for the first time last night, Mr. Szabo said he will consult with parliamentary lawyers because the material “raises questions of contempt of Parliament.”
A CBC News investigation has learned that on the same day Mulroney received his first envelope of cash from German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber at a hotel in Mirabel airport, Doucet, who had arranged the meeting between the two men, received a fax from Air Canada outlining the delivery schedule of Airbus airplanes to Air Canada.
The Aug. 27, 1993, fax from Air Canada’s manager of investor relations, Denis Biro, itemized the delivery of 34 Airbus planes between 1990 and 1993.
That was important to Doucet because he was interested in determining how much money was left in the secret 1988 deal between Airbus Industrie and a Liechtenstein shell company, International Aircraft Leasing, or IAL.
The fax and other documents that Schreiber has provided to CBC News and the upcoming Oliphant Commission looking into the financial dealings between Schreiber and Mulroney appear to contradict Doucet’s testimony before the ethics committee.
In fact, letters and correspondence among Schreiber, Doucet, and lobbyist and former Newfoundland premier Frank Moores reveal that Doucet was involved in an in-depth effort to determine how much money was available from the Airbus deal.
NOTE TO THE PRESS GALLERY: Still think there’s no story here?
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, December 21, 2007 at 12:09 PM - 0 Comments
Mulroney’s 1996 testimony (transcripts: day one and day two) is hugely entertaining in other…
The 1996 Mulroney, for example, was greatly indignant at the suggestion that he had a Swiss bank account. Over and over he repeated:
I don’t have a bank account in Switzerland. I don’t have a bank account in any foreign country in the world. I never have.
After his ethics committee appearance, that absolute, unequivocal denial should carry this asterisk: *Except for a safety deposit box in New York City, where I kept $75,000 in cash.
The 1996 Mulroney was equally outraged that the RCMP, before approaching the Swiss authorities, had not first interviewed him. Had they done so, he said, he would have given them his full cooperation, in a way that would have put their concerns to rest. Over and over, he repeated: he would have answered all their questions, opened his books, given them everything they needed.
Would you like to examine my documents? Would you like to examine my bank accounts?
I had to file my income tax returns like everybody else. He could have had my income tax returns.
Anything that you need from me, from bank accounts to … to tax returns to whatever, I will give everything I have.
At the time, Mulroney would have known, though his listeners did not, not only that he had been paid a large sum of cash by Karlheinz Schreiber, but that neither his bank accounts nor his tax returns showed it. By his own admission, he had never deposited the money in any account (or not the kind that keeps records — see above), nor did he report the money on his taxes until 1999.
The letter of request was to gain access to Schreiber’s Swiss bank accounts. The money Mulroney was paid was drawn from one of those accounts. Had the police accepted Mulroney’s offer of “cooperation,” they would have known nothing of this.
All this, on top of his well-known — and spectacular — evasions with regard to his relationship with Schreiber. “We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice… I think I had one in the Queen Elizabeth hotel with him… I had never had any dealings with him.”
What is perhaps less well known is this exchange, at the very end of the first day, in which Mulroney describes that “cup of coffee” at the Queen Elizabeth.
Q. But the.., so I… perhaps I misunderstood. When you talked about having coffee with Mr. Schreiber at the Queen Elizabeth, it was in the period subsequent to November nineteen ninety-five (1995)?
A. No. No, it was after I left office in nineteen ninety-three (1993), and that’s when he told me, as I indicated to you, that, that he was dismayed that my Government had not allowed him to proceed with his desire to build this Thyssen Project. And that’s when he told me that he had hired Marc Lalonde to represent him, because he figured that Mr. Lalonde could prevail upon Mr. Chrétien and the Government to have this done in the East end of Montreal. Which, by the way, had they been able to do it, I… I… I thought it was a good project, and so I wouldn’t have been critical of anything.
He told me he hired Mr. Lalonde to do that, he told me he was contemplating legal action against my Government, that he had hired a prominent law firm in Ottawa, I think Ian Scott’s law firm, very distinguished lawyer, to take action against the, the bureaucrats in my Government who, he alleged, had frustrated the fact that he was never able to get a deal through. This deal. That was the kind of conversation we had.
A. He expressed the hope that Mr. Lalonde would be successful in persuading the new Liberal Government to agree to conditions that would enable him to proceed with the project. That was it.
Emphasis added. That was it. Not: And then he pulled out an envelope stuffed with $75,000 in cash and handed it to me. Not: This was in December 1993, the second of three such meetings in which Schreiber handed over envelopes full of cash to me. Not: But why am I talking about Lalonde? Schreiber hired me to represent the same project overseas.
Clintonian is hardly the word.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:12 PM - 0 Comments
Just going over the last time Mulroney testified — well, I was going to…
Just going over the last time Mulroney testified — well, I was going to say under oath, but this time he really was: at his 1996 deposition prior to his libel suit against the government of Canada. The testimony is notable for the number of things the former prime minister did not know or could not recall:
- He had “no specific recollection” of his first meeting with Schreiber, though he could say it was “in a business context” (he told the ethics committee it was “through the political process”)
- He didn’t remember whether it was in Alberta or Quebec
- He had “no idea” whether he was a political contributor
- He did not know of any relationship between Schreiber and Airbus (“not at all”) nor did he know of any commission sales agreement between them (“never”).
- He did not know that Schreiber was a friend of Franz Josef Strauss, although he said he read it later.
Talking of Strauss, what Mulroney did not know about Schreiber paled in comparison to what he did not know about Strauss. “I did not know Strauss myself,” Mulroney said, “nor did I know any of his family.” Mind you, “I knew of Franz Josef Strauss,” but “I didn’t know him personally. I never met him.”
What did he know of him, then? Well, not that he was chairman of Airbus, that’s for certain (“no idea”), although he knew that he was premier of Bavaria, and had been minister of Finance in the Federal Republic of Germany.
But met him? Never. Didn’t know him. Nor any of his family. What are we to make, then, of this recollection of happier times from Pat MacAdam, Mulroney’s longtime aide, in a recent newspaper column?
I remember the first time Karlheinz and Brian Mulroney met in 1984. The office of Brian’s longtime secretary, Ginette Pilotte, was on one side of Mulroney’s office and mine was the other bookend. We were the “gatekeepers.”
Max Strauss, the son of Bavarian premier Franz Josef Strauss, paid a courtesy visit. Brian and the senior Strauss were old friends. Karlheinz Schreiber, who was unexpected, accompanied Max.
Emphasis added. Could Pat’s memory be playing tricks on him? Getting on a bit, isn’t he? Except here he is saying the same thing on CBC Television in the fall of 1999.
“I met him [Schreiber] when he used to call on Mulroney. He was looking after the Franz Josef Strauss interests. The father, Franz Josef, was a good friend of Mulroney’s in years gone by. The son used to call on him as a courtesy call. I was the gatekeeper then, and kept the appointments, and he’d come in with Max Strauss … oh, maybe five, six, seven times a year.”
Good friends? Six or seven times a year? How could MacAdam be so mistaken? Or has he not had time to read Mulroney’s testimony?
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 10:55 PM - 0 Comments
The Chair:… Good morning, gentlemen.
Mr. Mulroney, I expect that you will recall the
The Chair: Good morning, gentlemen.
Mr. Mulroney, I expect that you will recall the rules, procedures, and traditions of the House of Commons. In particular, you will recall the general expectation that witnesses appearing before the committees testify in a truthful and complete manner.
We could proceed on this understanding; or alternatively, would you feel more comfortable being formally sworn in by the clerk of the committee?
Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (P.C., As an Individual): Proceed in this manner.
The Chair: Thank you.
The closer you look at this Mulroney business, the crazier his story looks. I’ve taken a first stab at unwrapping it. But several loose ends remain. For instance:
Mulroney says that, contrary to Schreiber’s testimony, the two men never discussed doing business together until their August 1993 meeting at a hotel near Mirabel airport, where Schreiber, after a few preliminary pleasantries about suing the government of Canada, suddenly produced $75,000 in cash and offered him employment.
The money, as we now know, came from the Britan account Schreiber maintained in a Swiss bank, stocked the previous month with $500,000 out of the millions in secret commissions he received, most of it from the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada. Bank records show that Schreiber withdrew $100,000 on July 27.
If we believe the former prime minister, then, Schreiber deposited the money into the Britan account, withdrew the cash, and brought it all the way across the Atlantic with him (are you allowed to bring that much cash into Canada?), just on the off chance that Mulroney might be willing to work for him — that is, before they had ever discussed it. It’s possible. But is it probable?
Mulroney’s deputy prime minister is among those who are finding it hard to suppress their doubts about his testimony. Which raises this question: Why wasn’t Mulroney sworn in? The chairman had the option of requiring him to do so, and Mulroney had the option of agreeing to, but neither chose to exercise their respective options. Inside the Queensway’s incomparable Lady K walks us through the implications. Upshot: Mulroney faces much less severe penalties if he’s found to have lied to the committee than Schreiber would.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, December 14, 2007 at 4:21 AM - 0 Comments
So, after all this time — four years since it became public knowledge that…
So, after all this time — four years since it became public knowledge that he took cash payments from Karlheinz Schreiber, fourteen years after the actual event — Brian Mulroney finally comes forward to explain… and explains nothing. Or rather, digs himself deeper. Those who might have been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt until now will have a harder time of it after the preposterous story he told the ethics committee today.
Let’s get a few things straight off the top. There are three sets of events about which we need answers. The first has to do with the circumstances surrounding the payments in cash Mulroney admits to having taken from Schreiber after he was prime minister, that is from 1993 on: what he did for the money, why he took it in cash, why there are no records of it anywhere, why he went to such elaborate lengths to conceal it, and so on.
The second has to do with a number of contracts for government business for which Schreiber was paid millions of dollars in secret commissions by his German clients in the 1980s — not only Airbus, but Thyssen and MBB: how those contracts were won, and what Schreiber did with the money, and whether the first had anything to do with the second. In particular, there is the question of Schreiber’s relationship, financial or otherwise, with several members of that group of Tories centred around Mulroney, going back to the days of the 1983 convention.
Each of those is significant, and troubling, in itself. They remain so, quite apart from whether anyone can connect the two — that is, whether the payments that we know Mulroney received from Schreiber after he was prime minister were in consequence of anything he did for him while he was prime minister. Continue…
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 6:34 PM - 0 Comments
I was going to post a list of suggested questions for tomorrow’s ethics commitee…
I was going to post a list of suggested questions for tomorrow’s ethics commitee hearing, but this cat beat me to it. It’s pretty comprehensive.
ERRATA: Aside from putting CGI for GCI throughout, I can see only one clear error in the piece — in question 4b, where it is stated that GCI had a commision sales agreement iwth Airbus. So far as I am aware, the only such agreement was with International Aircraft Leasing, Schreiber’s Liechtenstein-based shell company. Schreiber then paid Moores via a complicated chain of bank transfers.
As for omissions, if I think of any other pertinent questions I’ll post them.
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
Karlheinz Schreiber’s fourth day of testimony before the Commons ethics committee was the usual…
Karlheinz Schreiber’s fourth day of testimony before the Commons ethics committee was the usual farrago of teases, evasions, dropped questions, loose ends and general confusion. In all that, the Bavarian greasemonkey did leave the committee with a few leads to pursue. Highlights:
- He readily confessed to having bought the 1983 Tory convention that toppled Joe Clark from the leadership, in concert with Franz Josef Strauss (the Bavarian premier and chairman of Airbus Industrie at the time) and “maybe the Christian Social Union,” the party Strauss led and sister party to the ruling Christian Democratic Union. Schreiber talked of personally contributing $25,000, but it’s clear that much more money was spent than that.
For example, Schreiber and Strauss together bought a piece of property worth $369,000 from Frank Moores as a way of funneling money into the dump-Clark movement. Mulroney’s Quebec people flew almost 200 delegates to Winnipeg (out of a total of 2400 at the convention) on two jets leased from Wardair, together with $56,000 to pay their registration fees and, according to Schreiber, some spending money for their wives. L. Ian MacDonald, Mulroney’s former speechwriter, has written in his official biography of the former PM that the operation cost a quarter of a million dollars — in cash.
- Mulroney not only had “dealings” with him after he was prime minister, Schreiber said, and not only at the famous Harrington Lake meeting (which may have taken place before or after the June 25 resignation date — Schreiber has said both), but three months earlier, at a meeting with Mulroney and Elmer MacKay at 24 Sussex Drive, where Schreiber pitched the Bear Head project yet again — the one Mulroney allegedly killed in 1990, after first ordering his chief of staff to “get this done.”
- Schreiber said he told Mulroney at the time he paid him the $300,000 that the money came from the $4-million in “success fees” he was paid by Thyssen after it appeared the federal cabinet had given the project the go-ahead — an understanding in principle signed in September of 1988 by three cabinet ministers. This seems dubious: the money came out of an account set up to hold all of his secret commissions, including both Airbus and Thyssen money.
- He repeated his charge that the RCMP never interviewed him between the time that Der Spiegel first reported on his involvement in the Airbus deal in 1995 and the settlement with Mulroney in January 1997. The force had last week issued a textbook non-denial denial, insisting that it had interviewed Schreiber several times — between 2000 and 2006. Which is interesting, given that the Mounties formally discontinued the investigation in 2003.
- Schreiber at one point said Mulroney offered to finance his lawsuit against the government of Canada in Alberta. The case, in which Schreiber alleges the government and the RCMP abused their authority in their dealings with him, is significant for having first raised the notion that the RCMP were working with a confidential informant on the case — who turned out to be none other than Stevie Cameron.
- Mulroney was allegedly present at a meeting where the alleged scheme to divide the spoils of government business with GCI was discussed. According to Schreiber:
It was agreed upon — at least what Mr. Moores told me already in the eighties — that GCI would look after Mr. Mulroney, and that when Mr. Mulroney is no longer the Prime Minister, he would work with GCI…
This is what my understanding was from Frank Moores, and especially from Gary Ouellet, and when all this was discussed at the beginning – that GCI would do the business and get the lobbying business in all this – this was in the eighties. The discussion was one day in the Ritz-Carlton, and Mr. Mulroney was present.
It’s not clear from this whether Schreiber himself was also in attendance.
- Schreiber dropped the name of Benoit Bouchard, Transport minister from 1986 to 1988, as someone the commitee might want to interview, both with respect to Airbus and Bear Head. He coyly declined to offer further details.
- And then this incredible (possibly literally) passage:
I met quite often with Claude Taylor [Air Canada's chairman in the 1980s] and I didn’t mention it but I was then approached [by] other members of the board from Air Canada … who wanted just $400,000 from me or I would never get the Airbus contract done.
Never mind the $400,000 — what was he meeting with Claude Taylor about? At the time, no one knew that Schreiber had any involvement in the Airbus deal — certainly not that he was being paid commissions on it, since these were prohibited. So what would he and Taylor have had to talk about?
In other news, Schreiber could not name the lawyer in Geneva to whom Fred Doucet allegedly asked him to transfer money. He denied being the one who leaked the infamous letter of request to the Swiss authorities that formed the basis of Mulroney’s lawsuit against the government. And he denied discussing a deal with the RCMP in which he would agree to offer information in return for being allowed to stay
Comme Drudge, developing…