Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guy Lafleur in Court While Mulroney Laughs

It's a sad commentary on the Canadian justice system, that while Guy Lafleur is prosecuted for lying under oath, a much bigger fish, Brian Mulroney is given a pass, for doing essentially, the same thing.

Today, Guy Lafleur is standing trial, charged with giving false testimony, concerning his son's violation of bail conditions.

As anyone responsible for a deeply troubled or sick child knows, it is a situation that is all-consuming and debilitating for a parent. There's little doubt that Mark Lafleur was out of control, dealing with drug and rage issues that led to multiple charges, including kidnapping and assault.
While out on bail, Guy Lafleur was charged with keeping an eye out on his son, making sure that he respected a curfew while keeping his son away from drugs and alcohol.
The crown charges that Lafleur drove his son to a hotel in order for him to meet his girlfriend for an overnight tryst and then lied about it in sworn testimony.
What was important for me was that he respect his curfew and not use drugs or alcohol,” Lafleur said in court, at his trial. “Whether it was at our place or a hotel, it didn’t matter.”- Guy Lafleur

I can only imagine the battle that Mr. Lafleur waged to keep his out-of-control son on track. If he lied to keep his son out of jail for the minor offense, he should likely be forgiven his transgression, made in difficult and emotional times and out of love for a child. He didn't exactly lie about a murder. At any rate, Mr. Lafleur's vengeful treatment by prosecutors was so harsh, his very public arrest so humiliating, that it should serve as punishment enough.

Mr Mulroney is a horse of a different colour, a consummate liar and manipulator, a man who has scoffed at the justice system and who certainly deserves a comeuppance, yet our timid and reluctant justice system is just too plain scared of his power to do anything about it. Having seen what tangling with Mulroney has done to the careers of RCMP officers and Justice Department employees in the past, it seems that those who should be acting, are just plain gun-shy.

As Mulroney was leaving the office of Prime Minister back in 1993, accusations of corruption swirled about him, fueled largely by charges made in a book, 'On the Take: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years" written by Stevie Cameron, a Canadian investigative reporter.

The RCMP opened an investigation that looked into allegations that Mulroney had squirrelled away bribe money in a Swiss bank account. It was alleged that a German businessman, Karlheinz Schreiber, had paid Mulroney off to to insure that Air Canada purchase Airbus aircraft.
The amateurish investigation by the RCMP included a letter to Swiss authorities making these charges and requesting information about the alleged account that Mulroney was supposed to own.
Everyone but RCMP knew that the Swiss would rather eat their children then reveal this type of information and when they stonewalled, the investigation died.
When the contents of the RCMP letter became public, Mulroney sued the government for 50 million dollar in a defamation of character lawsuit.
During the legal proceedings, Mulroney testified under oath that he while he knew Mr. Schreiber, he had no dealings with him.
Here is what Mulroney said on April 17, 1996 while being examined under oath in relation to his lawsuit;

QUESTION. "Did you maintain contact with Mr. Schreiber after you ceased being Prime Minister?"

Mulroney: "Well, from time to time, not very often. When he was going through Montreal, he would give me a call. We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice." Mulroney elaborated, "when he's on his way to Montreal, he called me and asked me and I say perhaps once or twice, if I could come to a cup . . have a cup of coffee, with him at a hotel. I think I had one in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel with him. I had one in the coffee bar at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel."

Lacking hard evidence, the government eventually settled the lawsuit for about of 2 million dollars in Mr. Mulroney's favour.

Years later, facing mounting evidence, Mr. Mulroney admitted that he did indeed have a business relationship with Mr.Schreiber and that he had accepted, by his own admission $225,000 from Mr Schreiber in late 1993 and early 1994 (Mr Schreiber claims that the amount was $300,000). The money was paid in cash and wasn't declared as income to Revenue Canada until six years later when the story started to unravel. Mr. Mulroney went to Revenue Canada, made a confession and paid the taxes and penalities related to this undeclared income.

By his own admission, Mr. Mulroney lied under oath about the sordid affair. That Mr.Mulroney could sue the government based on such a blatant lie is a testament to his arrogance and moxie.

If Mr. Mulroney can convince the Oliphant inquiry that his dealings with Schreiber were kosher, good for him. The public has already come to it's own conclusions about his honesty.

But it's time that the justice system summon up some courage and act to punish Mr. Mulroney for lying under oath and wrangling money out of the government under false pretenses.

Otherwise how can we in good faith look Mr. Lafleur in the eye?

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