On the Farm

On the Farm

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Oliphant Commission Part 2

It's been all-Pickton all the time but I'm taking a brief break for what I hope is my second (and last) Oliphant Commission post.

In Part 1 I told you about being subpoenaed by the Oliphant Commission; now I'd like to share the letter my lawyer, Brendan Van Niejenhuis, wrote to Nancy Brooks, one of the Commission lawyers who came to see us in Toronto.

June 12, 2009
Private & Confidential
Delivered Via Courier
Ms. Nancy Brooks
Senior Commission Counsel

Commission of Inquiry into Certain Business and
Financial Dealings between Karlheinz Schreiber
and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

P.O. Box 2740, Station "D"
Ottawa, ON KIP 5W7

Dear Ms. Brooks:
Re: Stevie Cameron

As you will recall, I act for Ms. Stevie Cameron in relation to the Commission.
In the course of the public hearings in Phase I of the Inquiry, some participants chose to make certain statements concerning Ms. Cameron. Most particularly, Mr. Mulroney and, to a lesser extent, Mr. Lavoie, testified about Ms. Cameron in a manner calculated to harm her professional and personal reputation. For example:

• "Stevie Cameron is the biggest Mulroney hater in Canada.
Everybody knows that. She fabricates, prevaricates, and has spent a
lifetime consumed with hatred, il wil towards the Mulroney family.
Everybody knows that." (Mulroney, May 13,2009,35265)

• "(the R.C.M.P.) Commissioner... indicated... that from the
beginning this thing had been a hoax orchestrated by Ms. Stevie
Cameron and by Giorgio Pelossi." (Mulroney, May 19,2009,40138)

• "rumours and innuendo... were nurtured by Ms. Stevie
Cameron" (Mulroney, May 12,2009,33249)

• "...Ms. Cameron and Mr. Pelossi were able in 1995,
September 29, 1995, to persuade the R.C.M.P. to write a false libelous
travesty to the Government of Switzerland about me on the basis of
statements, all of which turned out to be false - all of which turned
out to be false." (Mulroney, May 19,2009,40210)
• " . . . they began a 14-month multimilion dollar assault on me
based on evidence provided by Stevie Cameron and Giorgio Pelossi, a
convicted felon; Ms Cameron by then I believe a secret
representative, a secret police informant." (Mulroney, May 19,2009,

• "The quote/unquote 'reliable informants' - remember those
words - the reliable informants who supplied the false information to
the RC.M.P. were Ms. Stevie Cameron, by now herself a secret
police informant for the R.C.M.P...." (Mulroney, May 12, 2009,

• "The confidential source (who supplied 'completely false'
information) being of course Ms. Stevie Cameron" (Mulroney, May
13,2009,35191 to 35193)

• "(RC.M.P. Sgt. Fraser Fiegenwald)... was misled by Stevie
Cameron" (Mulroney, May 13, 2009, 36933)

• "I didn't know at the time that Ms. Cameron had accepted to
be a secret police informant for the RC.M.P. Garbage in garbage out
was the style." (Mulroney, May 13, 2009, 35300)"

• "...as you know, we all know now, it was a hoax, a hoax
perpetrated by Pelossi and Ms Cameron and the fifth estate, and all of
these people who rushed to judgment with such implacable hostility
that it's difficult to understand. It's blinded them to the facts...
Because they wanted so much to conduct a successful vendetta
against me, it blinded them to what was obvious for anybody who was
taking a look at it." (Mulroney, May 13, 2009, 35638-35369)

• "There are some people in the media - and you know who I'm
talking about - who are hell-bent on making certain that after 21 years
of inquiries and milions of dollars being spent in pursuit of me and
my family, that some significant degree of wrongdoing exists"
(Mulroney, May 19,2009,42475)

• ". .. the account had never existed. The milions had never
existed, and the whole affair was a pure fabrication, based on
information provided by a journalist who had become a police
informant." (Lavoie, May 4,2009,27532)

• "The bank account never existed. The five milion dollars
never existed. All that was a fabrication behind which was a police
informant who ended up being revealed as a journalist who had made
a career out of attacking Brian Mulroney" (Lavoie, May 4, 2009,

In a similar vein, Mr. Mulroney's closing submissions claim at paragraph 250 that "... history would later reveal that (Sgt. Fiegenwald) was himself responsible for leaking (the Letter of Request) to journalist/secret informant Stevie Cameron...".
These statements suggest, either directly or by clear inference, that:

(a) Ms. Cameron knowingly supplied false information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which resulted in the criminal investigation of Mr. Mulroney;

(b) that she was motivated by animus or malice towards Mr. Mulroney and/or the Mulroney family in doing so; and (c) that she knowingly agreed to be a confidential police informant in or about 1994.

Ms. Cameron has at all times taken the position that her professionalism and personal conduct fall outside the scope of the Commission's mandate and terms of reference. In other words, these ex gratia statements, which, in any event, do not rise to the level of probative evidence, are irrelevant to the Commission's work. I observe that no objection was made to this evidence being led (although Commission counsel did not lead or further explore it, and the Commissioner
eventually asked Mr. Mulroney to cease repetitive testimony concerning Ms. Cameron: May 19, 2009,41198 to 41199).

Nevertheless, Mr. Mulroney did appear to refer back to the issue yet again thereafter, at 42475, cited above.

Such objection, it seems to me, would have been appropriate both on
the basis of relevance to the Terms of Reference, and on the basis that neither Mr. Mulroney nor Mr. Lavoie have personal knowledge of any of the matters on which they expressed such forceful opinions. Of course, I understand as counsel that a variety of factors may be pertinent to deciding whether to make an objection or whether to simply reserve any position on the value of
evidence until closing submissions or other appropriate occasion.

Now that Mr. Mulroney in particular has so frequently adverted to my client and her conduct, I assume that the reason we have not received a further subpoena to testify as a witness is that the Commission shares the view that such evidence (whether or not legally admissible) is irrelevant to its mandate and need not be the subject of findings in its Report. I draw this conclusion
because, as you know, Ms. Cameron had no objection to testifying as a witness to the extent that she has personal knowledge of facts which are relevant to the Commission's mandate, and which were not the subject of a privilege.

Having said that, my client considers it appropriate that the Commission be apprised of her position on these matters. So that there is no doubt about the matter:

1. Ms. Cameron denies supplying false information to the R.C.M.P. at any time,
knowingly or otherwise. Ms. Cameron provided a selection of documents, principally news clippings and previously-published source documents, to Sgt. Fraser Fiegenwald in or about 1995. Despite her efforts to secure information about any investigation the RCMP might be conducting from Sgt. Fiegenwald for purposes of publishing a story or stories on any such investigation, Sgt. Fiegenwald provided very little information in that regard. In particular, Sgt. Fiegenwald did not supply her with the Letter of Request; that document was not leaked to Ms. Cameron, but to Philip Mathias ofthe Financial Post, by sources unkown to her.

2. Ms. Cameron denies being motivated by animus, malice or any other improper
purpose in her coverage or other activities relating to Mr. Mulroney and/or members of his family, staff, Party or Government. At all times, Ms. Cameron was motivated by her professional duties to, from time to time, the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Maclean's magazine, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the fifth estate and her publisher Macfarlane Walter & Ross. Her duties were those of an investigative journalist seeking to investigate and publish stories on matters of public concern, including the conduct of Mr. Mulroney particularly while in offce as Prime Minister of Canada. She conducted those duties under senior editorial supervision at all times, and neither she, her employers, or her publisher have ever been sued for anything she has published - including by Mr. Mulroney, who is demonstrably willing to pursue civil litigation in order to protect his reputation.

3. Ms. Cameron categorically denies being asked, or agreeing to be a "confidential police informant" in or about 1995. As noted above, in the course of attempting to obtain information from the RC.M.P. for journalistic purposes, she agreed to provide a selection of clippings and already-published documents to the RC.M.P. – an entirely appropriate action. Ms. Cameron was advised then, and at all times understood, that the fact that she provided this information would be disclosed if the investigation ever resulted in charges being laid. It was not until 2001 that, unknown to her, a new investigating officer with whom she had never met or spoken (RC.M.P. Supt. Al Mathews) assigned her a "code" as a confidential informant and applied ex parte for an Order that she be so designated. N one of this was brought to the attention of Ms. Cameron at the time. The question whether Supt. Mathews had acted in good faith in coding her as a "confidential informant" was litigated in 2004 before Then J.; he concluded that Supt. Mathews had acted in good faith, but found it unnecessary to determine whether, as a matter of law, Ms. Cameron was capable of being regarded as a "confidential informant".

Certainly, from January 20, 2004, this was an impossible position for the Crown to maintain, as Ms. Cameron unequivocally rejected that status in her letter of that date.

Supt. Mathews testified before Then J. on this issue in the course of the Eurocopter proceedings. In his testimony on June 30, 2004, he admitted that:

• The R.C.M.P. had greatly exaggerated the number and nature of communications between Ms. Cameron and investigators in its affdavit materials, and the actual number of contacts was "very tiny";

• Ms. Cameron's actual role was "peripheral" to the proceedings;

• Original versions of the material she provided were obtained directly from the source in the course of the investigation;

• She did not approach the RC.M.P.; rather, they requested her assistance;

• Giorgio Pelossi, not Cameron, was the principal informant or source at that stage of the case;

• None of the RC.M.P. procedures (such as "coding") that must be used in dealing with "confidential informants" were used in her case, until Mathews applied for an order to that effect in August, 2001;

• The R.C.M.P. file reflected that she had been told that her meetings with the RC.M.P. would be disclosed to the defence if charges were laid, which was inconsistent with a claim of confidential informant privilege;

• The very first time he contacted Cameron in October, 2002, she expressly told him that she had never considered herself to be a "confidential informant", even though he had chosen to "code" her and apply for a court order confirming that in August, 2001;

• She had no idea, and the RC.M.P. never advised her, that the issue of whether she was a "confidential informant" was being litigated in a secret trial in Toronto;


• The RC.M.P. file concerning her was a "mess" that did not contain the information normally needed to determine that a witness was a "confidential informant".

In the event that Ms. Cameron were called to testify about these matters, she would have testified to the above effect. While I realize the "Ethics Committee" testimony is not formally available to the Commission due to a privilege claim, Ms. Cameron's testimony under oath before the Committee on February 14,2008 may also be referred to in order to appreciate her position.

I have outlined all this to you for the simple purpose of ensuring that the Commission fully understands the particulars of Ms. Cameron's position, having received testimony (legally admissible or not) about her conduct, and can make whatever decisions it must make that may affect her, with notice as to what that position is. At the same time, should the Commissioner choose to make adverse comment about Ms. Cameron in his report based on any of the "evidence" before him, I wish only to respectfully advise you that Ms. Cameron of course reserves her rights to seek judicial review of such aspects of the Report.

As you know, Ms. Cameron has no wish to interfere with or distract the Commission from its important work. Please do not regard this letter as a departure from that position; rather, Ms. Cameron simply regards it as responsible to ensure that the Commission has the benefit of knowing her position, in the face of the aforementioned commentary by certain witnesses to the contrary.

Should you have any questions or concerns about anything herein, please do speak with me about them.

Yours truly,
Brendan Van Niejenhuis

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It's here: The end of the Pickton legal process

It's been a crazy few days.

Last week, almost three years after Robert William Pickton was found guilty on six counts of second degree murder, lthe Supreme Court of Canada upheld the guilty verdict and ruled against a new trial.

This week the Crown prosecutors stayed twenty counts of first degree murder against Pickton and the trial judge lifted most of the publication bans although a few remain in place.

What all this means is that I am getting closer to sharing the full story.

As most of you know, my new book on the case -- On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver's Missing Women (Knopf) -- will be released in a few days as an e-book and soon after that as a hardcover.

On the Farm will tell you how this particular serial killer came to be: his family life, his childhood experiences, his friends... and his gradual descent into violent crime. It tells the stories of the women who died on his farm but you will also meet women who escaped.

You will get to know his closest friend for many years, a woman who finally began to suspect her buddy of the worst crimes imaginable. You will meet the members of the police forces who brought him to justice -- after years of denial that a serial killer could be in their midst. You'll get to know the lawyers who spent years on the case, and the scientists and and students who toiled on the property searching every square inch of soil and buildings to look for evidence.

And finally, despite the horrific nature of Pickton's crimes, you will find heroes and heartwarming stories in the unfolding of this case-- the largest and most expensive criminal investigation in Canadian history.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Oliphant Commission: Part 1

Like many Canadians, I waited with great interest for Justice Jeffrey Oliphant's report on "certain dealings" between arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber and Brian Mulroney. And when it appeared on May 31, 2010, I was surprised by its severity towards our former prime minister. I expected a slap on the wrist, not a shellacking behind the woodshed.

My interest in Judge Oliphant's findings of the "inappropriate" relationship between Mulroney and Schreiber were very personal because I, too, had been subpoenaed by the Oliphant Commission more than a year earlier.

As far as I know I was the only journalist to receive a subpoena and the demands of the Commission shocked me.

They required all my research for my 2001 book, The Last Amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the Anatomy of a Scandal. And they defined this research to include everything in digital form, all interviews -- regardless of confidentiality --and anything I may have stored in archives. The subpoena also included research for other books that covered the same subject. The research still in my possession, some of which came from the CBC in my collaboration with producer Harvey Cashore, filled fifty binders. The rest, done for On the Take and Blue Trust, is now in university archives and access to this remains restricted.

Managing this subpoena would have been a nightmare but I was aided by the extraordinary generosity and kindness of lawyers at Stockwoods, a top civil litigation firm based in Toronto led by Paul Le Vay. Paul and his partners, including Brendan Van Niejenhuis, who worked with me for months, offered to help me pro bono, knowing I could never afford to fight a sweeping federal subpoena like this one.

We all agreed, however, that we would ask the Commission to pay for my lawyers' legal bills. After all, the government was paying for Brian Mulroney's lawyers. They also agreed to pay the legal costs for Mulroney's friend, Fred Doucet, after he was also subpoenaed; Doucet had argued that the value of his assets had dropped during the recent banking crisis. But when I applied for financial assistance for my own lawyers, the Commission turned me down. They did not explain why.

Stockwoods stood by me. The partners agreed to continue the pro bono agreement. We met with two lawyers from the Commission and when I asked why me, why not other journalists, they replied that The Last Amigo was their "road map."

It made no sense to me that they did not subpoena Harvey Cashore -- unless they didn't want to take on the mighty CBC -- but the Commission lawyers, who were courteous and pleasant despite the difficult circumstances, offered no explanation for this.

It took nearly a year but the final outcome was extraordinary: My research was safe. The Commission accepted the arguments put forward by Brendan Van Niejenhuis. Nothing except one access to information request I'd made many years earlier as well as the government response to it went to the Commission. Confidential sources and information remained confidential.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back in touch

Many people have sent notes for this blog over the last few months; I have not published most of them because they contained information that could reveal the sender's identity.
Several of these people told me they were concerned about this issue.

Some of you had information for me and asked for a response, but because you all are only identified as "Anonymous" I have no way to contact you privately. You can email me at stevie@steviecameron.com with your contact information if you want privacy.

I have published a few comments today, comments that do not request anonymity.

One is from Robby McRobb who complains he has sent me three notes that have not yet been published. (I have published one or two but they are all more or less in the same vein.)

McRobb worked for Mila and Brian Mulroney during their time living at Sussex Drive; he was an extra pair of hands around the house, a driver, a valued helper. He does not like my stories about him in On the Take and he does not like my work on Schreiber/Airbus or any other subject that might concern the Mulroneys. They are fortunate to enjoy such loyalty and support.

Among the unpublished notes that have come in, these are the most frequently asked questions:

1) Why haven't I been blogging or present in the media during the Oliphant Inquiry?
2) Did I watch the coverage of the Oliphant Inquiry?
3) Will I be updating The Last Amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the Anatomy of a Scandal?
4) Why is The Last Amigo not available in bookstores? Has anyone else done a book on this subject?
5) Was I ever sued by the Mulroneys or anyone else mentioned in my political books?

And here are the answers:
1) I wasn't blogging during the Oliphant Inquiry because I had been subpoenaed by the Commissioner.
2) I did watch a fair bit of the Inquiry, especially when Richard Wolson was questioning Mulroney.
3) Updating The Last Amigo is under consideration. But I wouldn't update; I would do a new book.
4) Why isn't The Last Amigo in bookstores? Quite simply, because it is out of print.

When Amigo was published in the late spring of 2001 it was not a success, despite containing the history of Schreiber's long relationship with Mulroney and other facts that have since become public (and are now very much at the forefront of events in Germany). The book was considered extremely dangerous; Maclean's magazine had agreed to publish an excerpt that had the details of the cash withdrawn for Mulroney but when the editor was abruptly fired and replaced by a new editor, Tony Wilson-Smith, the excerpt was cancelled. As well, concerns about possible lawsuits and other issues beyond my control resulted in the book being released late in the season, at a time when people were no longer interested in Schreiber or Mulroney.

The book was never published in paperback and even after the issue heated up again, the publishers, McClelland & Stewart, declined to re-issue it or to let me update it. (They also returned the ownership of the book and its contract to me.) That wasn't surprising -- at considerable expense M&S had commissioned two volumes of Mulroney's memoirs. Only one has been published so far.

Today, The Last Amigo is only available secondhand; I order my own copies from AbeBooks.com.

And finally, was I ever sued by anyone for anything in these books? No.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The original tip-off about the Airbus bribes

After hunting through boxes of archived research for my 2001 Airbus book, The Last Amigo, I found an anonymous note I received in 1988 when I was working at the Globe and Mail.

It's not easy to read here, so here's what it says:



The note arrived after the newspaper's February, 1988 Report on Business Magazine published a story I'd written called "Like Magic," about Frank Moores' lobbying firm, Government Consultants International. In this, I listed several of the company's clients including Messerschmidt-Bolkow-Blohm.

And about this company I noted:

"The German firm is part of a consortium that wants to sell Air Canada a plane known as the Airbus. MBB retained GCI early in 1985 to push its case. Moores came in for heated criticism in Parliament after his appointment to the board of Air Canada in March, 1985, tossed him into what was seen as a conflict of interest. He subsequently resigned from the Air Canada post."

Soon after the ROB story appeared, the anonymous letter arrived at the paper.
Unlike most anonymous letters I received, this one felt like the real thing.

I chased the tip for a long time but it was impossible to prove until 1999 and impossible - for legal reasons - to publish until 2001.

Someday I hope the person who wrote this note will get in touch again.