Friday, November 16, 2007

Everything Old is New Again

Liberals believe they may find old news is good news

If there was anything that became immediately clear following the 2006 federal election, it was that the Liberals were very embittered by their defeat.

Often engaging in freakishly protracted conspiracy theories sometimes alleging that, despite the testimony of dozens of implicated figures and the absence of millions of unaccounted taxpayer dollars from government coffers, the Sponsorship Scandal was purely a work of fiction, many Liberals took it upon themselves to pretend that, somehow, the Conservative party's victory was the result of some great "neo-conservative" conspiracy.

It was, if you believe their rantings, all terribly unjust. Even if the sponsorship scandal did happen, it was surely no big deal.

"Right? Right?"

If one believed them then, one may wonder what to believe now, as they renew a 14-year-old witchhunt for a good old fashioned political scandal. Now, as the stench of political incompetence threatens to overwhelm the stink of corruption, they certainly must hope that the smell is at least as strong as that emanating from the stains left on their once-proud standard by the Sponsorship Scandal.

What has emerged has very closely resembled the conspiracy theory Mulroney referred to in a recent speech,complete with Ralph Goodale winking and nudging toward his theory of a nefarious Conservative plot to cover up the truth.

The most recent allegations raised against Mulroney have a good number of people very excited. Unsurprisingly, most of these people are partisan Liberals.

Yet, when one looks closer at the allegations themselves, all one finds is a suggestion that Mulroney discussed business dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber before he left office.

So apparently, the most recent charges against Brian Mulroney are that he discussed business that he planned to engage in after leaving office while he was still Prime Minister.

Considering that the RCMP could uncover no evidence of criminal wrongdoing into the matter of the cash payments themselves, a good many people may find themselves feeling (and looking) very serious when this is treated largely as an open-and-shut case.

As it turns out, however, Schreiber expects people to believe that he, a known fraudster, is actually a victim in this entire affair. "At the special request of Mr. Mulroney, I wrote a letter to [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] on July 20, 2006 suggesting to Mr. Mulroney that the public rhetoric regarding the sale of Airbus planes by Airbus Industries G.I.E. (the `Airbus Affair') and the conspiracy against me personally amounted to the largest political scandal in the history of Canada," Schreiber wrote.

The suggestion that Schreiber would be extradited to Germany to face fraud charges there amounts to a greater scandal than the abuses perpetrated under the Sponsorship Program, the blatant interference in Canadian politics by John F Kennedy, or the Igor Gouzenko affair?

To put it bluntly, surely this man fucking jests.

Likewise, surely Ralph Goodale, "Flying" David McGuinty and Stephane Dion jest if they feel they can somehow tag Mulroney's alleged and unproven misdeeds upon the current government. In fact, 66% of Canadians feel they can't. The 19% that figure the current government is somehow involved? It just might be safe to suggest that the vast majority of them are probably partisan Liberals.

Of course, there is another side of the coin. If Mulroney truly feels victimized by the proceedings as they have unfolded, he certainly hasn't done himself any favours. Acceping cash payments in a hotel room certainly provokes suspicion, even if Karlheinz Schreiber himself has suggested that the cash payments may have been paid for services rendered ranging from legal services, to consultation in a pasta machine business, to help selling Bearhead armoured vehicles to China (selling weapons to China itself being a fairly unsavoury practice).

As for the Liberals themselves, however, they already took it upon themselves to come after Mulroney once, and cost Canadian taxpayers $2.1 million. Whether or not Canadian taxpayers can buy Mulroney off on their account so cheaply again has yet to be seen.

In the meantime, perhaps the best the Liberals should hope for is a short-term boost at the polls, and the hope that perhaps Canadians will remain annoyed enough with Mulroney to not fall asleep amidst the wild gestriculations of their verious spokespersons.

At the end of the day, the Mulroney-Schreiber affair remains as it was: old news.

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