The spokesman said Mulroney accepted the first
envelope of $100,000 in cash from Schreiber
while still an MP for Baie Comeau, Que., about
one week before an election was called in
Ottawa. But he quickly adds that the question of
when Mulroney paid income taxes on the payments
isn't anyone's "God damn business."
government has called a public inquiry into
Mulroney's dealings with Schreiber after the
businessman filed a sworn affidavit saying he
entered into a business agreement with Mulroney
while he was still prime minister.
Schreiber also said in his affidavit, filed
in a lawsuit against Mulroney seeking to recover
the $300,000 in payments plus interest, that he
had written a letter for Mulroney to present to
Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a family
visit to Harrington Lake during the summer of
Mulroney's spokesman said the former prime
minister did not disclose his business
arrangement with Schreiber while testifying
during discovery for his lawsuit against the
Justice Department and RCMP because he was not
asked about it by government lawyers.
And he reminds people that the $2.1 million
paid to Mulroney to settle his libel lawsuit was
to cover his legal and communications costs and
did not include damages.
Lavoie, a former journalist, said Mulroney in
private makes no secret about the matter that
"this is the silliest thing he's ever done." He
explained that any savings Mulroney had when he
entered politics in 1983 were long gone 10 years
later as he left office.
He said the prime minister's salary was
nowhere near comparable to the one Mulroney
earned as president of a major corporation, Iron
Ore, prior to his political career.
"So when he left, he had no money. He was
optimistic, he was going back to his old law
firm but there is a difference between
optimistic and having the revenue," said Lavoie.
"So the man kind of - I wouldn't say
'anguished' - but worried about how the future
Lavoie recalled that Mulroney had a young
family that were still school age and "expecting
the type of lifestyle they had prior to joining
politics which is something he had probably
"So he was leaving politics - he had to go
and find a living."
The spokesman said Mulroney joined the law
firm Ogilvy Renault in Montreal while also
setting up a separate consulting firm to accept
contracts and retainers.
Lavoie said in August 1993, Fred Doucet, who
was described as "a well-known lobbyist for
Schreiber" contacted Mulroney.
"Doucet said Mr. Schreiber would like to have
you help him with his international business and
stuff. Would you accept to meet him and Mr.
Mulroney said 'sure'," said Lavoie. Living in a
cottage in the Laurentians while awaiting the
completion of renovations on his Montreal home
at the time, Mulroney was driven by the RCMP to
Chateau Mirabel to meet Schreiber while still an
MP in late August, 1993.
Lavoie said Schreiber told Mulroney that
during his pitch to the former prime minister,
he already had former Ontario attorney general
Ian Scott and Trudeau cabinet minister Marc
Lalonde on retainer as consultants.
"Then he said 'I would give you $100,000 a
year' and then he pulled out an envelope with
$100,000 and Mr. Mulroney said 'what is that.'
He said 'well, I want to pay you in cash.' So
Mr. Mulroney asked a few questions. 'Why would
you do this in cash' and all that," said Lavoie.
"And he said, 'well, I'm an international
businessman and that's the way I deal. I always
deal in cash.' And this is when Mr. Mulroney
admits today that he made a colossal mistake. He
should not have gone for it."
© CanWest News Service 2007