Harper announces full Mulroney
Politics Watch ® News Services
November 13, 2007, updated 5:30 p.m.
|Former prime minister Brian Mulroney and
Prime Minister Stephen Harper appear together at an event in
April honouring the former PM.
OTTAWA (PoliticsWatch.com) —
The financial dealings of former prime minister Brian Mulroney and
jailed German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber will be the subject of
a "full public inquiry" and a review by the RCMP.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the inquiry
during question period on Tuesday.
Just two hours later, the RCMP told a wire service that it
planned to review new allegations about cash payments to the former
Harper's decision comes after all the opposition parties and both
Mulroney and Schreiber pressed the government to hold a public
The prime minister had already announced he would appoint an
independent third party to review Schreiber's new allegations that
his arrangement to pay Mulroney $300,000 in cash was made while the
former prime minister was still in office.
"Given the conflicting information and allegations . . . and the extended time period over which the events referred to in various documents and allegations surrounding this matter have occurred, I have decided to ask the third party to advise the government on appropriate terms of reference for a public
inquiry," Harper said in a statement released by his office on
Harper has yet to name the independent third party and the date for
the inquiry has not been set.
Although Mulroney has been out of elected politics for 14 years, a
public inquiry into a former Progressive Conservative prime minister
is a potential ticking time bomb that may drag on for years for the
minority government which came to power promising to clean up
Already, Harper has been brought into controversy as Schreiber's
latest court affidavit says he provided Mulroney with a letter to
personally deliver to Harper at Harrington Lake last summer.
Schreiber, who is facing extradition to Germany, said he made
similar allegations about Mulroney in a letter he mailed to Harper
months ago, but the Prime Minister's Office denies having read the
In question period, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion accused the
prime minister of ignoring Schreiber's allegations for months.
"Karlheinz Schreiber has been the subject of extradition proceedings by the federal government for the past eight
years," Harper said. "I can assure the leader of the
opposition that when somebody writes on his extradition proceeding that is not handled by the
prime minister. That goes to appropriate government officials."
Schreiber's latest allegations have quickly altered the mood on
Parliament Hill, where just two weeks ago reporters were writing off
Dion's electoral chances after he publicly mused about raising the
The Conservative government now appears to be the party in panic
mode and the Mulroney controversy is affecting their ability to
Earlier on Tuesday, the government cancelled a press conference to
introduce its new Senate reform legislation. Senator Marjorie
LeBreton, who is one of Mulroney's closest confidantes still in
Ottawa, was to appear at that event.
The press conference was rescheduled to later in the day after
Harper announced the public inquiry.
LeBreton tried to distance herself and the Conservatives from the
"This particular matter does not concern the government, which I am a member of the
cabinet," LeBreton said at the press conference. "I'm very proud of the prime minister and the direction he has taken."
Harper has also told members of his government to no longer have
contact with Mulroney until his name is cleared. In the Senate
question period Tuesday, LeBreton said she supported Harper's
"I fully support what the prime minister said," LeBreton
said. "I believe it is the right course of action, and it is one that I have personally followed."
After question period, NDP Leader Jack Layton said the
allegations against Mulroney are serious.
"It's not a laughing matter when there are allegations of money changing hands involving a former
prime minister possibly being discussed during the time of
office," Layton said.
"I mean, this is the kind of thing you read about in other countries. You don't expect it to be happening here. It's a serious matter and I guess the, the full impact of it began to set in."
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