Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pursuing Mulroney Has Cost Taxpayers a Fortune

For most of us, making sense of dollar amounts that run into the millions isn't that easy. Usually, the biggest number we will ever deal with, is the mortgage on the house that we own and 99% of the time, it's under a million dollars.

The media has been up in arms with the revelation that the taxpayers are once again on the hook for Mulroney's legal expenses and the figure of $2 million has been bandied about in the press. While most of the discussion has been centered on the appropriateness of the government footing his legal bill, I was astonished that the size of the bill has garnered so little attention.

Breaking down the numbers to something more understandable makes it easier to understand the depths of this obscene spending spree.
It's a scandal that eclipses the original sin and one that should offend us deeply as tax-paying citizens.

Since the Oliphant Inquiry was officially launched last June, Mulroney's legal bill has been mounting at an average of $7,500 EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Yup, every day. If you consider that his legal team doesn't work week-ends and holidays that brings the number up to over $10,000 per day. Ouch!!!

By the way, that works to the equivalent of 2 lawyers, working 40 hours per week, for 9 months, charging $500 per hour assisted by a junior lawyer or clerk, at $125 per hour for each and every hour worked!

Nice work if you can get it!

That's a lot of money and resources to be spending to clear up a relatively simple matter, especially if you've got nothing to hide. An innocent man knowing that there's nothing prejudicial to be uncovered wouldn't need that type of effort.

While it's debatable as to whether Mr. Mulroney is entitled to get the government pay his legal bill, we the public should be able to see a detailed breakdown of the bill, since we're paying it. I'm sure it'd be interesting reading. Freedom of information, anyone?

As it turns out Mulroney needn't have spent the money. Commission lawyers, who also spent millions, came up with zilcho new.

If the Privy Council believes that they should pay the bill, shouldn't they have given Mulroney a budget, after which he'd be on the hook for excessive payments. As it is, there's zero incentive to be reasonable. Those of us who have hired lawyers professionally know without a budget, a law firm can gobble up fees faster than Ms. Pac-Man.
Having been involved in plenty of litigation over my career, I can tell you that the bill is obscenely excessive, period.
Nothing less than an outrageous ripoff.

There's been talk that the government should sue Mr. Mulroney for the 2.1 million dollars settlement money they paid Mulroney in 1996, in relation to his defamation suit. It seems that he wasn't forthright in his deposition when he described his relationship with Herr Schreiber.
Government lawyers have gone on record as saying that the deal would never have been made had Mulroney not misled them under oath.

It would be sweet revenge to tackle Mulroney in court, but the problem is, that we the public would probably be stuck paying his legal bills again!
That's the way it works for former pols.

It time to swallow hard and go on. We don't need Oliphant's final report. It' just cost another couple of million. Pursuing Mulroney over Airbus and Schreiber has cost taxpayers too much.
So far it's cost us;
  • It's been estimated that the Oliphant inquiry will cost in the neighborhood of $14 million. You know as well as I, that government estimates are usually off by 50%, so the true cost will probably be over $20 million
  • Mulroney's $2 million dollar legal fee paid by the Privy Council.
  • The $2.1 million settlement paid in the 1996 libel suit.
  • The related legal fees in that case, perhaps another $2 million
  • The cost of the long and unsuccessful RCMP airbus investigations- $3 million (a guess)
By the way, we haven't been told if the Privy council is paying the legal fees of the other politicians and civil servants who've testified. I'm sure Fred Doucet needed a lot of legal advice to help him craft his wonderful 'I can't remember a thing' testimony.

At any rate, the total cost of pursuing Mulroney must be close to $30 million dollars.

What can we buy for this money?.....Funding for 15-20 new permanent family doctors serving up to 200,000 patients.

Still think pursuing Mulroney was worth it?

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