On the Farm

On the Farm

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mr. Mulroney's money

As several people prepare to tell the Commons Ethics Committee what they know about Brian Mulroney and money he received from various sources, I thought it might be useful to offer a brief review of some of what I have learned about all this myself.

  • Before Brian Mulroney was elected Prime Minister of Canada, a powerful cross-Canada network of fundraisers, led by Montreal Conservative senator Guy Charbonneau, offered a variety of ways to donate to his leadership campaign. One of the most interesting options, offered only to trusted insiders, was an account was set up for Mulroney in a downtown Montreal branch of Montreal Trust. Donors who were interested in privacy and who didn't require tax receipts could make out a cheque to Montreal Trust - Account # 830, and Mulroney could withdraw money from this account himself.

  • Shortly before Mulroney's 1984 victory, one fundraiser I know was offered a senatorship by Guy Charbonneau (who died a few years ago) in exchange for a contribution of $100,000 to Account 830 at Montreal Trust. The fundraiser said no, thanks.

  • While Mulroney was prime minister, his blind trust and other financial affairs were managed by Bruce Verchere, a Montreal tax lawyer who later shot himself. The whole story - or rather, the part I was able to tell - is in Blue Trust, a book published by Macfarlane Walter & Ross in 1998.

  • When I was researching a story about the Mulroneys' decorating expenses at 24 Sussex Drive, a story that appeared in the Globe and Mail in 1987, I discovered the PC Party was underwriting many of the costs - at least $324,000 worth. Buried in the receipts was one cheque on CIBC account number 72-1112 at their main Montreal branch on Rue Rene Levesque. This cheque, made out to the Mulroney's interior designer, Giovanni Mowinckel and bearing the signature of PC Canada Fund Chairman David Angus, had no logo or identification on it; a call to the bank confirmed that it was a PC Canada Fund account. But Robert Foster, the man who succeeded Mr. Angus in 1994 as head of the Fund, told me that the Fund only had one bank account and it was held in the CIBC in Ottawa.

  • Mulroney and his spokespeople always denied that he received any financial support from the PC Party while he was in office. When I interviewed Mr. Angus in his law office in Montreal on June 27, 1994 I asked him about reliable information I had obtained that Mr. Mulroney was receiving about $300,000 a year from the party. Another source, the Mulroneys' former chef, Francois Martin, had also told me that for several years he would go to the Prime Minister's Office to pick up envelopes of cash from Fred Doucet or other persons; the envelopes were always unsealed and contained thousands of dollars - he remembered amounts of anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 or so. The money, he told me, was "walking-around money" for Mila Mulroney. Martin also did banking for Mrs. Mulroney, taking envelopes of cash to deposit in her account at the Bank of Montreal on Wellington Street in Ottawa. (Many years later I met a former bank manager who handled the Mulroney accounts. He wouldn't talk about them but he did admit the work was often, as he put it wryly, "quite ... exciting.")

To my surprise, I enjoyed most of my interview with Mr. Angus despite the fact that he got angry a couple of times and had a lawyer there to record the entire interview. (It was Kathryn Chalmers, a partner in Stikeman Elliott's Toronto office.) Most of the time Mr. Angus, appointed to the Senate in 1993 by Mr. Mulroney, was courteous. I was accompanied by my research associate and fellow journalist Rod Macdonell, an investigative reporter at the Montreal Gazette. Each side taped the interview which lasted about two hours. Rod and I compared our tapes and transcripts and corrected them; we sent a copy of the final transcript to Mr. Angus for comments or corrections but received no response.

Here are a few of the questions and answers that relate to money provided by the party to Mr. Mulroney taken from a much longer interview; SC is Stevie Cameron and DA is David Angus and [square brackets] indicate necessary explanations of terms or identification of individuals.

SC: … Then we have also been told that the party supplemented Mulroney’s income by $300,000 a year, money that appears to have been on top of the money given for specific expenditures. And what you and I have talked about in the past are these specific expenditures, you know, when you said that when he and his wife are doing something political for the party, of course we support that. We’ve talked about that. And you’ve talked about that with Richard Cleroux [former Globe and Mail national reporter] as well, who’s been giving me some help with this. So on top of that, can you confirm this other statement I have?

DA: Make the statement and I’ll see.

SC: That the party supplemented his income by about $300,000 a year.

DA: No, absolutely false, totally false. He never had any moneys from the party other than to reimburse incident expenses that he occurred. That were incurred by him in his functions as leader of the PC party.

SC: OK, let me get that: I never had any money from the party except to reimburse him for expenses he incurred…

DA: for expenses

SC: for expenses he incurred

DA: As in fulfilling his functions as leader of the party.

SC: I could ask you this right now, but later on we’ve got Gerry St. Germain [former PC Party president] babbling on about the money. Do you remember that incident where Gerry St. Germain talked about the money? I’ll get to that in a second.

DA: OK. I don’t recall it, but you may…

SC: Well, he’s talking about income. [During the interview I read the following section of a newspaper story about PC Party President Gerry St. Germaine to Mr. Angus:]

On July 18, 1991, on the eve of the party’s national convention, St. Germain was questioned by reporters over a mysterious story that had surfaced in Ottawa about Mulroney’s earnings. An anonymous Revenue Canada official leaked a report to a member of the media that said Mulroney had filed a return for earnings in 1990 of about $300,000 — almost twice as much as the annual $164,200 he earned in salary and tax-free allowances from the House of Commons. The report, which was never verified as to its accuracy, said that in ‘89 Mulroney filed three T4 slips including one for pay from the party which added up to over $300,000. In interviews, St. Germain admitted the PC Party was regularly paying the Prime Minister extra money for expenses, but he refused to say how much that was. “The party does give assistance to the leader of a party, and what the Prime Minister actually declares as income is his business,” St. Germain said. “I haven’t got any information as to amounts. We do give assistance because there are certain things the Prime Minister has to do that relate to party functions.” He insisted the extra money was not a supplementary income; he told reporters the accounting arrangements were all open and above board.

SC: I’m saying here in the manuscript: "What he wouldn’t tell the media was how the payments were made. Was the money paid in lump-sum amounts? He wouldn’t say. What about receipts? Did Mulroney have to submit receipts? Again, no answer. Then, quoting Gerry St. Germain directly: 'I can only say to you if there was an allocation made and I am not part of that process, the accounting process, but the allocation is predicated on demand for political functions that do take place that involve the Prime Minister.'"

And then of course later that day he backs off entirely and says the PC Party doesn’t supplement the income of the leader.

DA: He probably checked, … I don’t know. All the first part, you’re assuming that the payment in the leaked document was true. The 300,000 never was pegged, no figures in the nature of income ever were pegged by the party to the Prime Minister, or when he was leader.

And as I said before and I’ll repeat, and I’ll put it to you in even a more extensive way: When he became leader of the party, he approached me, you know, and said that he’d had chats with former leaders, not only of our party, because things happen, from day to day, you’re traveling all over the country, and he said the party is probably going to incur, pay some bills in the normal course of events while I’m leader of this party. And some of them are going to be of a personal nature. And I would like you to keep strict track of the expenses of a personal nature and bill me on a regular basis. And I was given a letter to that effect, and instructed to behave in that fashion. And I monitored, and it was with an auditor, and every, periodically I would invoice Mr. Mulroney for any expenses that were paid by the party that we considered to be of a personal nature, and he would pay immediately.

And that lasted right through until he left last year. And I know of no other payments that were ever made to him by the party while I was chairman of the PC Canada fund, and I was the only chairman of the PC Canada fund throughout the years he was leader. [pause] As I say, none of the payments that were made in any stretch could be deemed to be income. In fact, I raised with him, when we were paying, rather than wait till October when he had time to gather all the receipts in of all the stuff where he had incurred expenses having a barbecue for the media, say, or for all the party executive or whatever at 24 Sussex. We’d pay on a regular basis, on a monthly basis a fixed amount, and I said, you know, we’d better make sure that this is , from a fiscal point of view, the right way to do it, I mean … you’d better check with your lawyers and so forth.

And then ultimately a tax ruling was obtained from Revenue Canada that we were doing it correctly, and I personally verified all of that. And as I say, there were never any large amounts. The only large amounts, by the way, that were ever paid over on his behalf and that I recovered by invoicing him later, were the Colvin Design ones, and that was all an arrangement made by Dr. Doucet. [Colvin Design was the interior design firm responsible for decorating the officials residences at 24 Sussex Drive and Harrington Lake, as well as Mr. Mulroney's parliamentary office and Mila Mulroney's office in the Lengevin Building.] You can ask me more, we’ve talked about it in the past, but that was, Doucet came to me saying that they’re doing certain things, renovations at 24 Sussex, that a massive project was being run by Colvin Design, that there were big expenditures up front and that they were going to require regular cash flow, and that there would be amounts in the range of 20 to 25 thousand dollars required on a regular basis, and I gave Doucet a whole lot of post-dated cheques so that he can…

But it isn’t, I never, ever had any concerns about signing authority, all those cheques were signed by two people in any event, they were done, they were handed, I personally handed over those cheques to Doucet, and they were given out, and then you know what all happened after that, and then one of my invoices, two or three invoices, was all paid by Mr. Mulroney out of his personal money.

SC: This is a sort of funny thing that’s come to me, basically through Richard Cleroux who is a very good friend and also assisted me on this book... and he’s helped me a good deal because he’s someone who’s done more work on travel expenses than I have, and I think this is where you and he did talk. He says that he has it from External Affairs officials… they set up a task force to handle the access requests from reporters about travel costs, and the general practice developed that when an access request was put in, then the PMO was told and then the money was recovered from the fund, in other words it sort of took the access request from the reporter to trigger the money from the fund…

DA: I don’t know any of that. What I do know, though, is that from time to time, it was quite analogous to the deal I had with Mr. Mulroney that, you know, when we felt there were some expenses that we paid that were of a personal nature, I would send him a bill. My understanding is that with traveling everything gets paid by the, whatever it is, the PCO, or the government, and when everything is being reviewed later on they say well that’s a personal expense, and so they would advise the Prime Ministers office that these particular events were of a personal nature, and they need to be reimbursed. And sometimes it was deemed that they were of a party nature. And so I would get a request to pay, and believe me I would scrutinize them, and I was known for being pretty damn tough on these things, and they would be paid if we felt they were appropriate to pay.

But yes it happened. I don’t know any of the reasons for it or whether it had anything to do with access or, … that was others.

And by the way, just on Richard Cleroux, I don’t think I’ve seen or spoken to Richard Cleroux for ten years. I knew him here in Montreal, we had a mutual friend and we would see each other socially. I may be wrong that we bumped in at a reception or something… maybe that was what Eric referred to and I don’t remember. No, I honestly don’t.

SC: I think he interviewed you about, I think he called you about when there was a trip to the Paris

DA: When was that, right at the very beginning?

SC: That was in, the trip was in ‘86, the access requests were made…

DA: That’s possible, but I don’t think it happened, but it might have, and did I give him the story? The answers?

SC: No, you gave him pretty much what you’re telling me, and I was afraid that I would have to have Richard’s kind of … and I would rather ask you about it

DA: That’s how it would work, and I don’t know the beginning part. But I know that from time to time , bills that had already been paid to the supplier, be it a hotel or a restaurant, I would have to give a cheque to the Receiver-General for Canada, and I would have copies of the bills all broken out.

SC: Well in terms of entertaining for 24 Sussex Drive and that kind of thing, did you cover any of those bills?

DA: No, but I assumed, and I guess I was told, certainly it was a good healthy understanding, that the expense money that I made available, that the party threw me, made available, to the Mulroneys, was to cover, in part at least, entertaining at their home. For party things. Other than state affairs.

SC: So you mean, I don’t understand this, Mr. Angus.

DA: Let’s say that he had a dinner there. I don’t know, I didn’t have anything to do with organizing any of the entertaining at Sussex, nor did I ever get a bill to pay for any that I can remember. I may be wrong, there might have been some bills that I was asked to pay. For printing invitations, I seem to recall one or two. And I seem to recall some musicians, you know, that played at a deal where all the party executive were there for a Christmas reception. Those, I would have felt, were party morale builders, and they were held from time to time, and the leader, you know, quite properly would bring in the troops.

And that, I felt that it was, that the party, the money we paid for expenses would come out of that, would be used for that. Wouldn’t be used for some personal thing.

SC: This is difficult, this is where you and I have…

DA: Well let’s clear it up.

SC: OK. You’re saying, would you give Mr. Mulroney, then , expense money ahead of time which would cover these and then he did…

DA: Yeah, I explained that to you earlier. I…

SC: I misunderstood you. I thought you only paid for expenses that he had. It’s like when I go on a trip for the Globe, I have to bring back everything, I pay for everything, and then when I come back they pay me back. But what you’re saying is…

DA: We tried to even out the cash flow so that they would have moneys available to them to pay these expenses on a regular, even sort of on-going basis. So an amount was worked out after a budgeting process in discussions with the Mulroneys. And then it was divided by 12, and a monthly amount was paid. I was concerned that there might be a tax consequence; a ruling was obtained. And everything went on fine. That’s how it was done.

And all the vouchers and everything were supplied through the principal secretary’s office, to cover all amounts.

That might explain the catch. Because… I gave a cheque to the chief of staff in trust, once a month, like clockwork.

SC: Are you going to tell me how much it was?

DA: It was a modest sum. Believe me. And again… I’m not going to ,but…I can only assure that you … I think you would be quite surprised at how low it was. And it was a function of my Scottish… It was hard raising the money ...

But it was all cleared with the board. Everything that was done with any one cent of party funds was known by the board of the PC fund. Everything that was going on, and I mean I didn’t come in and say today we bought three Le Devoirs, four la Droits and 99 baskets of tulips, you know, I said this is what is happening, if anybody wants to know any more details, here come and see me. We didn’t sit around, you know, we dealt with broad matters of principle. Like in a bank board meeting or anywhere else, you have… but I absolutely made it a rule… like you, I don’t like all this stuff that’s going on, or alleged to be going on behind the scenes, and the people who are being affected not knowing about it, and so when I took on this job I made it a condition, and I selected the board of directors myself, and they were all told, and they all bought into this thing, and there was full disclosure and it was all agreed that it would be confidential, and it was our indoor management. And that’s why, you know, I was reluctant and I still am to discuss about those matters, because that’s other people’s fiduciary stuff. But that’s, the process I don’t mind discussing.

SC: Well, that’s very helpful to hear about this monthly cheque that went to Doucet. Now, you said you got a tax ruling. Is there any possibility that…

DA: I didn’t say Doucet, I said to the chief of staff. And… I think he might have been in that role…

SC: Well he handled the Prime Minister’s money and so on until…

DA: … before he was the Prime Minister I think…

SC: Well no… until he left, and then it would have been the chief of staff

DA: And certainly I’ve told you it was him I gave the Colvin cheques to. He dealt with me, I arranged for these cheques in the order of $20 to $25,000, over a long period of time up to an amount, gave me the cheques, he released them, I’m here in Montreal… and I didn’t want to be, that wasn’t my job, my job was to collect money.

SC: Well then it wasn’t your job, but Doucet was releasing some of those cheques…

DA: Absolutely. And I knew he would…

SC: Three a day!

DA: Well, I wrote up the cheques and I knew they weren’t going to bounce.

SC: I wish I could say the same for my own. What about this tax ruling, is it possible for us to get a copy of it?

DA: From me, no. Because, you know, that was done by the lawyers, Mr. Mulroney’s lawyers. [Bruce Verchere was Mulroney's tax lawyer as well as his trustee.] And I think he would be the appropriate person, I mean Mr. Mulroney, to ask. But I originally raised the idea as I said, and I assured myself, even though I don’t have any personal liability for that, and I like to do things that are done in the proper way for all the players. And I’m very comfortable that everything that was done, that I had anything to do with, was done in a proper way.

SC: And there, I assume that at times, if this amount was modest, then sometimes there would be additional things that you would have to cover on top of this money that you gave every month, because there might be a trip or something like that… that… this is not a trick question…

DA: No, I’m trying to listen to it.

SC: … Well, I’m sort of rambling here, but you gave what you thought would work out for an annual amount and you divided it up by twelve, but what happens when something…

DA: There were some other amounts from time to time, and if we paid them, as I’ve told you, I would bill him if I felt they were personal. And he would pay that, you know, he would pay it back. And there were other items that were presented as not in the ordinary expenses… that that other, amount… you know, … they might ask me, or Gerry [St. Germaine] or Bill Jarvis or Peter [Elzinga], various party presidents I’ve worked with, would come and say, you know, do you think it’s appropriate for the fund to pay. And this was one of the things you may have heard where I’ve had disagreements with the party, because my condition with Mr. Mulroney, and he’ll confirm it, was if I’m going to be in charge of collecting money I want to be in charge of that, you know, the controlling of the spending, because that’s where I saw the mess was, there was no control. You know, there were almost no paper trails of what had gone on before, and I set it up, you know, to the best of my ability, on a businesslike basis. It’s a big-business party.

So they had to ask me, you know, on anything out of the normal to pay an expense like that. So I’m telling you there were to be paid.

SC: As chairman you would have had to know pretty well all of the fundraisers…

DA: The way it worked, in my formula, is there would have been one or more directors of the fund, which is a corporation, which is the chief agent of the party, from each province. BC, for example, only one. We would negotiate out of budget for how much BC was supposed to raise. That individual then would get a team of volunteers to work with him or her and run BC. And I guess there would be people on those teams that I might not know. And that was right across the country. But I met most of them.

SC: How do two guys like Mario Taddeo [a Tory fundraiser and land developer - along with an employee - shot in his office, in a gravel pit in Mirabel, Quebec on December 4, 1987] and Henri Paquin [a Tory fundraiser and land developer blown up in his car on October 12, 1988 by a remote control bomb in St. Laurent, a Montreal suburb] ever get to be…

DA: I’ve never heard of… oh, those were the two guys that were killed? They were never fundraisers. They never were, honestly.

SC: They didn’t raise a penny for the party?

DA: Not that I am aware of, never saw a nickel. What might have been the confusion there, and this happens often, is that the ridings, under the law, the local constituencies in every province — how many are there? There were 275, 292 now, or something — they all can raise money and they don’t have to disclose. I mean it’s one of the loopholes in the law. I went to the Lortie commission and spoke on this, filed a brief, and it’s a loophole that should be filled! I mean, you can raise in Eglinton, or Rosedale or wherever you live, $50-million, and pay it to the PC Party Eglinton and no one would ever know. Doesn’t have to be disclosed, that never came to me, never comes to the PC Canada Fund, every cent that was ever collected that we see there’s a record of. I have to give a receipt for everything over $99, and did, copies of every receipt was filed in two places, the thirtieth of June every year, full disclosure, it’s there, a list this year, do I have to tell you. That might be, I remember reading PC Fundraiser Murder in North End, and I never heard of the first, ever.

SC: So they were doing what the guys who were raising money for LaSalle were doing, they were just freelancing in their own riding…[In fact, Taddeo was a fundraiser for Public Works Minister Roch LaSalle while Paquin was close to MP Michel Gravel, who also obtained money for LaSalle.]

DA: I don’t know what you’re talking about there at all, you might want to tell me. LaSalle, Roch LaSalle?

SC: He was sort of interesting because they had fundraisers for him, basically retirement fundraisers for him when he was leaving, I think he had three good-bye parties, I know at one of them they raised $50,000. None of the money ever went to the party as far as I could see, it went strictly into a kind of a constituency account, and the big debate was over whether LaSalle had access to that account himself, as many people believed he did, or whether that was money for the riding. But you’re saying that’s the loophole that you have a problem with…

DA: I’m saying you’re right on to that, and it’s something that I think you could render a service, because it should be cleaned up. It’s one of the problems of our… Apart from this one thing, in my opinion, and I’ve spoken all over the world on the subject, and that we have the best political fundraising laws in the world. They’re transparent, there’s accountability, if the law is obeyed, it works. The one exception is at the riding level. Other than in the writ period. During the writ period, and I take it you know what I mean by the writ period, then it’s controlled and it becomes in effect, the official agent in each riding is like the PC Fund. They’re accountable, they’re subject to the law, they can go to jail for seven years if they don’t follow the law. And they have to give receipts and all that stuff. But for the rest of the year, or years, between elections, I am the treasurer, you know, people could say, of the Rosedale Liberal Association, and I mean, the party never sees the money. … I try to encourage all our ridings. And I went across Canada and I enlisted the support of the president and the party itself to put in a system where, if they sent in the money, we would then be able to give a receipt to the donor so it would be easier for them to raise money. See, when you do it the way I was saying in the loophole way with the ridings, they can’t give receipts, you follow, because… they can’t give receipts that are good for tax, I’m the only one who can give those receipts, the central registered person.

SC: You’re kidding. I didn’t know that.

DA: That’s what’s so, you see, so annoying to me with this stuff written when it’s just so clear that I couldn’t have done those things anyway, because the law doesn’t… a riding goes out and says look, I’m working for Joe Blow, the upcoming candidate in somewhere, Don Valley East and we’ve got you down for a hundred bucks, please send, they send in… it can go right in your jeans, your purse. Bye-bye. No one ever going to see it. However. So I try to get our ridings to send all their money into the fund with the names of the people who gave it. We would put it into the PC fund, issue a receipt to the contributor, and we would charge 15 per cent as an administration charge, that would get the name into our records, that would give the person a tax receipt, that would enable the riding to have better-kept records, and it would ensure controls, to avoid precisely what you’re saying. By and large we’ve succeeded in this, but you never know. You never knew.

SC: …I didn’t know that you could give money provincially. I know…

DA: In a constituency level… there’s a certain number of MPs here that have gotten into trouble. Seem to have been more from Quebec than other ones… but there’s been quite a few from Ontario too, and out west. But you don’t have any control over them. And some of those people that get elected, it’s the best job that they’ve had in their life, and they can’t read a balance sheet. You know, this was the reality, when Mulroney was running for leader he would say Trudeau has 95 Quebec MPs. I think 17 or 18 of them were functionally illiterate. Functionally illiterate. And yet they have this huge budget that the House of Commons provides them. You know, to hire their granny, and that’s what was happening. And these are the abuses that I think, you know, I would like to be on the record as saying need to be cured, and I did say in the Lortie hearings on more than one occasion that that was my one recommendation. Because it’s a huge…

SC: Well I know that in the leaderships, that people can give money.

DA: Same thing applies to the leaderships.

SC: Because in Mulroney’s Nova Scotia campaign for the leadership, you say you know nothing about it, I actually know a lot about it because I have all the documents on it.

DA: Well, did I send a cheque or not? I bet I didn’t.

SC: That’s why I asked you if you sent the cheque. Certainly you were asked for a cheque…

DA: Yeah, well, I was asked for hundreds of cheques, and my answer was no. But if I slipped up or someone acting in my name at the headquarters, I would like to know about it. So if you have any evidence that I paid that cheque to Montgomery, please let me know.

SC: Okay. Now I’ve just about finished… I wanted to … In the case of Mulroney in the leadership I won’t ask you any more questions about that because you say you were not on that thing, but just out of interest sake, in the leadership fundraising that was done in Nova Scotia where there was three ways you could give money to the Mulroney leadership campaign, and one was money that would be partly given… with Brian Mulroney, and I think you also marked PC on it, I’d have to get the documents, and that way a percentage would also go to the fund. But then you could give money to Mulroney’s campaign that would be under another name, or you could give it to Montreal trust account number 830. …

DA: Well, I honestly don’t know, but I can tell you if it’s helpful to you, but all three ways are very standard ways of raising money. Some people in leaderships like to cross party lines because their friend Joe is running for leader. It’s a great act of public service — they are really an NDP or a Liberal, but they… don’t want it to show that they gave a cheque to the Joe Clark campaign, or the David Angus campaign. So the fundraisers set up these accounts in a trust company, which is all there, … properly run. You can’t do that raising for the party because there’s only one person that can do it, and that’s the registered agent. The one where you’d make it payable to in brackets, like Brian Mulroney Leadership Fund (PC Candidate), the party had a rule that if it was given through the party, the party would get a 15 percent administration fee as I’ve described to you, and that money would go back so they’d get less money for their campaign, but nonetheless the people giving would have more incentive to give because they’d get a tax receipt.

SC: They’d get a tax receipt. OK.

DA: And the third way I forget which was just campaign Mulroney or something, where people are … proud to give and don’t want a tax receipt. Those are the three ways I know.

SC: In Nova Scotia, one of them was called CDM Investments, where David Chipman, Fred Dickson and…

DA: I don’t know that. But again, it’s like my February 22 fund, I just dreamed that up.

SC: I only have one or two more questions, then I’ll get out of your hair here. … I’m just curious, are you still on the board of Air Canada?

DA: I am.

SC: Do you know whether Air Canada, this just saves me a call to Air Canada… Don’t laugh, I mean it’s just a business question here. Do they, I know Trudeau got a free lifetime pass on Air Canada, all previous prime ministers get a free lifetime pass, Clark had one. Do you know if Air Canada still does that?

DA: I have a good idea of what their practice is, but I’d rather you phone them. It’s just, again, it’s a fiduciary… you know, we swear an oath, and that’s the way it is.

SC: You swear an oath when you’re in a board of directors?

DA: Not, like, putting your hand on a bible, but it’s the law. You know, It’s a fiduciary thing, and it’s all secret and private. And that’s sort of company law.

SC: Has anyone asked you about the [Paul] Palango book, the money…[Paul Palango was a former Globe and Mail National Editor]

DA: Nobody asked me about it, but I heard that it had a whole chapter on a marine case that I was involved in for about three years of my practice, because I’m a marine lawyer, so I bought it , it’s called Above the Law, and I… It’s got a lot of weird stuff in it.

SC: Did you see the little paragraph on Air Canada?

DA: I haven’t seen… I guess I was just looking at that ship collision.

SC: Well you should look at… there’s a paragraph in there in which Palango says that Mulroney leaned on the board of Air Canada to pay Frank Moores the $5 million for his role in doing the Airbus deal.

DA: Well that’s absolutely crazy. I saw something, I didn’t see it in that book, but what I did see was a whole lot of stuff in the newspapers about five weeks ago, where it was just crazy and I saw Claude Taylor and people denying… I was on the board at that time, and as you pointed out I still am, there’s never been any payments like that ever made to the knowledge of the board…

SC: I’m through, but I know Rod had a question he wanted to ask you.

DA: No. He’s out of order. But let me ask you a couple. First of all I asked you earlier there…


DA: You can ask the question.

RM: In one of the instances there was a cheque signed by you alone, … and I just wanted to know if that was common practice, that’s all. Those cheques you signed that you discussed earlier.

DA: Yes. There were many cheques that I signed alone. And … all accounts were audited, but the account that Mrs. Cameron referred to, and the cheque she referred to, that cheque was audited every three months. And I have a total file of letters saying it was handled in an above-board way.

But you were saying that your title is On the Take, I mean I don’t see anything here in your questions sort of…

SC: Mr. Angus, I already told you that I’m not saying that you’re on the take.

DA: Well what is this about , this on the take business?

SC: It’s a title that has not been formally decided upon, it may be called that, because we have…

DA: It sounds like money to me, that’s why, and you’ve said yourself that I was in charge of the money. And so I just wanted to know what you’re getting at.

SC: Mr. Angus, there’s a ton more money than anything that you were in charge of. I mean, you were in charge of the PC Canada Fund. And you have been very generous in your time and in your explanations. And I appreciate it, and I am not playing games with you. I wanted to know the answers to these questions.

DA: And I’ve given them. And I have seen this brochure, that your publisher I assume put out. Right?

SC: I haven’t seen… I don’t know what it is that she’s got here.

DA: Well, it says that you’ve written a book, and it says this, and I’d like to ask you about this… I used the expression earlier that a person in the public can draw inferences, they’re not sophisticated people like you and me, or Mr. Macdonell, that impugns something improper with stuff… I’m referring just to this one phrase, because I’d like to know where you’re coming from on this.

It says “On the Take uncovers the most effective political fundraising apparatus ever assembled in Canada, at its height raking in $25 million in a single year, that was built on a well-crafted system of rewards, from cozy dinners at 24 Sussex to fat government contracts with tender. It encompasses a widespread kickback scheme that made sure a number of politicians received 5 per cent of the value of every government lease or public works job they granted. It examines the disturbing degree to which the influence of organized crime penetrated the party in power right up to the cabinet level.”

Now, if you were me, you know, with my record and I’ve been a volunteer and you did that thing, I think it’s a fair question for me to ask you, what is this illegal fundraising thing built on organized crime?

SC: First of all I have to say to you that I think you’ve leapt to a conclusion in your sentence there that is not true.

DA: No, I just read there…

SC: … I’m not saying that your fundraising operation had anything to do with organized crime, but I am not prepared to talk about this book with you at this stage. I told you at the outset that I feel that your own reputation has never been sullied, that you and I have had our differences, you are the fundraiser of a very wealthy party at one time that isn’t now… I have had Elections Canada check for me all the amounts that have been raised by all the parties, they sent back a corrected version of a chart I had done, and it wasn’t $25 million, I hear it was $24.5, an extraordinary accomplishment

DA: ‘84

SC: No, I think it was 88.

DA: Well, 84 and 88 were election years.

SC: … But I am just saying to you I cannot discuss chapters of the book in which you are not involved…

DA: That’s your prerogative. All I’m asking is to be fair. That’s why I’m amazed you didn’t receive the letter cause you received my other letter… you told my secretary my manuscript was finished, I said could you then bring it, at least the parts related to me, so I could have a chance of giving my side of the story to the extent it may differ from yours. But can I assume you’re not saying I ran an illegal fundraising organization?

SC: Of course you didn’t, and I would never say that.

DA: I’m not saying you wrote that screed there, but that’s out in the public as you know, to promote the sales, it’s saying how many pages the book is, what the price is, so it’s obviously finished, obviously ready to go.

SC: It’s not ready to go. The main manuscript is done, what I have to do now is come to people like you and say, look at all the things we discussed today. I needed to hear your response. In some cases it changes what I write, and I have lots of time to do that. In some cases I will disagree with you. Because I have a source that I think is reliable, and you’re denying it, or you’re saying no that’s not true.

DA: Well is there anything that I’m saying where you have proof that I’m lying.

SC: Of course not. But I’m just saying to you that if I have a reliable source, you’re not going to give me the audited financial statements that you, or your receipts from Mr. Mulroney or anything like that. So I am taking your word for it.

DA: Right, and I wouldn’t be silly enough to sit here and, what would be in it for me to tell you anything but the truth to the best of my ability. And that’s what I’ve done. So I think it’s quite fair, first of all, to make sure as I think you’ve just confirmed, there’s nothing I’ve said that you say is a falsehood.

SC: I don’t believe that you’ve told me a falsehood. But I will be saying in this book some of the things you’ve told me.

DA: Other people have another version.

SC: Other people have another version.


foottothefire said...

and I thought all investigative journalists had been purged from this country.......outstanding journalism, incredible blog. Congrats, Stevie
PS Please come to Alberta. There where substantially more "creative" politicing and money on wings to keep an investigative journalist going for 30 or so years. Of course you'd still need a publisher.

jim said...

Well done. I have renewed espect for you.
Regards to Richard.
Jim Reed

jim said...

Excellent work.
I have renewed respect for you.
Jim Reed