Why the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal matters


darkbeaver
Republican
#1
Why the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal matters



What I can’t fathom are the media pundits whose line of analysis is that what went on in the 1980s was the bad old days of influence peddling and that all this has happily been put behind us.



>by James Laxer
December 12, 2007
There are many Canadians whose interest in the Mulroney-Schreiber affair does not extend beyond the delicious anticipation of watching the 18th prime minister of Canada explain to a Parliamentary Committee why he accepted bags of cash which he took some time to declare as income.
The affair does have a much deeper importance, though, which is rooted in the way key decisions were made in Canada during the crucial decade of the 1980s. It was the decade when Canada signed on to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The FTA, and its successor NAFTA, drove a stake into the heart of Canadian democracy. Under the terms of these treaties, Canada was required to accord “national treatment” to U.S. firms, meaning that Canada could no longer discriminate in favour of domestic firms in its taxation and subsidy policies. Nor could Canada create new publicly owned firms to compete with U.S. corporations without paying out crippling financial compensation to them.
The Mulroney government made these concessions to the Americans without gaining unfettered access to the U.S. market in return. American trade law remained in place alongside the FTA, allowing the U.S. to mount countervailing duties against Canadian exporters to protect U.S. producers – as the United States has repeatedly done in the case of softwood lumber.
What has all this to do with Karlheinz Schreiber?
We know that, acting on the instructions of his Bavarian masters, whose leader was Franz Joseph Strauss, Minister President of Bavaria and the dominant voice in the Christian Social Union (CSU), the fervently right-wing partner in German politics of the more moderate Christian Democratic Union, Schreiber helped finance the overthrow of Joe Clark as leader of the Progressive Conservatives (PC).
In 1983, the PCs held a federal convention in Winnipeg and a review of Clark’s leadership was on the agenda. Strauss and his CSU henchmen saw it as their role to support the rise to leadership of conservatives of their ilk in the right-wing parties of the West. In their eyes, Joe Clark was an old-fashioned conservative, a red Tory who was too firmly Canadian for the new era of globalization. As was revealed in 2001 on the CBC program the Fifth Estate, Mr. Schreiber helped fund the effort to fly delegates to Winnipeg who would vote against the leadership of Joe Clark.
Schreiber explained that he gave money to Walter Wolf, a member of the group that was determined to dump Clark. Schreiber put it pithily: “It’s expensive to travel, right? For this is what Walter Wolf collected the money, and then get the people in which worked for you, and you paid their fare, and perhaps he said to you, they need some money for their wives, they want to go shopping, or whatever, for the hotels.”
When Clark received the support of 66.9 per cent of the delegates, short of the 70 per cent he felt he needed, he called on the party to convene a leadership convention – the convention at which Mulroney succeeded him as leader.
Schreiber and the Bavarians had played a role, quite likely decisive, in nudging the support to dump Clark above the thirty per cent level at Winnipeg. With Mulroney as PC leader and later as prime minister, Schreiber and his associates felt they had a man with whom they could come to understandings.
Franz Joseph Strauss, in addition to being the leader of the most right-wing brand of mainstream German politics in the post-war decades, was involved in the 1970s in the founding of Airbus, the European civilian aircraft manufacturer that challenged American Boeing for the multi-billion dollar business involved in selling aircraft to the airlines of the world. Strauss became chairman of Airbus in the late 1980s and held that position until his death in 1988.
For the past several decades, the Europeans and the Americans have been fighting a no-holds-barred struggle to sell their respective aircraft to the world. The Europeans have subsidized and bribed their way to success, while the Americans have used Department of Defense contracts to buttress their national champion.
Both sides wanted to sell their planes to Air Canada. In 1988, government owned Air Canada signed a contract to purchase 34 Airbus A330s and A340s. Both Boeing and the U.S. government were heartily annoyed by this victory for the European competitor. And the details of how this came about remain highly controversial.
What matters more than how the deal was or was not lubricated, is that during the 1980s Canada was being put out of the business of fostering national industrial champions so that it could play in the big leagues. And this benefited both the Europeans and the Americans.
If the Europeans got the Airbus contract, the Americans got the FTA, with all its arrangements that made it impossible for Canada to support its own industries. While neo-con Canadian politicians from Mulroney to Harper sold the line to Canadians that governments should stay out of the marketplace, the Europeans and the Americans spent billions ensuring the success of their industrial champions, with all the employment, technological, strategic and sleazy benefits that went with that.
What mattered when Karlheinz, everyone’s favourite Christmas uncle, helped replace Joe Clark with Brian Mulroney, is that the door was opened to the globalization deals in Canada in the 1980s that helped shove this country down the global ladder to the position we occupy today as suppliers of oil sands oil to the Americans and greenhouse gas emissions to the planet.
What I can’t fathom are the media pundits whose line of analysis is that what went on in the 1980s was the bad old days of influence peddling and that all this has happily been put behind us. Are they kidding?
When Brian Mulroney came to power and made his deals, Canadian democracy was fundamentally weakened. We live today in the nether world of plutocracy, in which those with big money ensure that they get the arrangements that favour them. They twist arms, fight wars, educate economists to peddle their line, and yes, they bribe wherever it is necessary.
James Laxer is an author and a Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto whose writing on Canadian politics can be read at jameslaxer.com.

 
Nuggler
#2
Yes indeed.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#3
I know it's not nice to watch people flounder, but these are powerful people and it's funny as hell when they swim in thier own ****.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#4
The post is correct in one aspect: the most serious part of this entire scandal is Mulroney's overthrow of Joe Clark financed by foreign cash. OUTRAGEOUS, despite the fact Idiot Joe helped by deciding 66% simply wasn't enough......I really don't understand how Joe ever was allowed to feed himself, much less become PM.

Still, what do we prefer? A insignificant petulant pompous idiot convinced of his own importance, or a corrupt, conniving, egotist with a persecution complex............

A pox on both their houses.

But Lyin' Brian using German money to buy the knife with which he stabbed Joe?

WAY beyond the Pale.
 
senorita
#5
Personally I feel like after a while people don't bother to care. You would think that it would be different when it involves well known figures. Oh well.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#6
Ya you're right but they'll care soon enough when they can't live like carefree idiots anymore.
 
Lester
No Party Affiliation
#7
Does anybody know what it would take to get out of NAFTA or renegotiate? is it even possible? or is this carved in stone.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Lester View Post

Does anybody know what it would take to get out of NAFTA or renegotiate? is it even possible? or is this carved in stone.

I believe the entire treaty can be cancelled by either side with six months notice............which, IMHO, would be economic suicide for Canada.
 
MikeyDB
#9
Colpy

And what gives you this opinion? If you ask many Americans right now, they'll tell you that NAFTA has worked against what they percive as their best interests and I'm not sure that NAFTA has meant anything to Canadians that would alter that...

Tell me more....
 
Colpy
Conservative
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeyDB View Post

Colpy

And what gives you this opinion? If you ask many Americans right now, they'll tell you that NAFTA has worked against what they percive as their best interests and I'm not sure that NAFTA has meant anything to Canadians that would alter that...

Tell me more....

Simple math.

Two thirds of our industrial production is for export.

86% of that goes to the United States.

Quote:

Canada and the U.S. enjoy the world's largest bilateral trading relationship. Nearly $1.9 billion in goods and services cross the border each and every day. Canada-U.S. trade has grown considerably since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989. Between 1989 and 2002, Canadian exports to the U.S. grew at an average annual rate of 9.3 percent while imports grew at 7.5 percent. Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. also increased tremendously, from $4.4 billion in 1989 to a peak of $90.7 billion in 2001 before falling off somewhat to $86.4 billion in 2002.

http://www.international.gc.ca/eet/r...ta-en.asp#part
 
MikeyDB
#11
Fine and would the proximity of these two nations have anything to do with this relationship? Is it more likely that Canada would have closer trade relations with say Australia than Europe? Isn't it really the case that the corporate hegemony that has thrown wonderful things like "Economic Summits" in Seattle and Quebec city are manipulating governments for the wealthy and NAFTA is about their wealth and their prosperity long before its about the average persons...?

How is an agreement that conflicts with the Canadian Weat Board and Softwood Lumber and Fishing (protected ground) and all the other areas of interest to businesses is the goose that laid the golden egg...up until Americans decide it isn't working to their favor and impose illegal tariffs and charge fines at the border ...emblematic of a system of "free trade" that's fair and equal to both signees?
 
Lester
No Party Affiliation
#12
Perhaps it's not such a good idea to have all our eggs in one basket - from what I understand U.S. also gets first crack at all our resources, and they must be supplied first before we can export to other Countries, Is this correct?
 
Socrates the Greek
#13
Dark Beaver please allow me to publicly recognize your literary ability. I sincerely mean that. Well said and 100%, the truth is the truth and no one can argue with the Truth.
Brian was not palm reading he was palm greasing!!!! ha hah
 
warrior_won
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Socrates the Greek View Post

Brian was not palm reading he was palm greasing!!!! ha hah

If only he had been growing hair on his palms... Then we could have shown the World what kind of person he really was. Sorry. A not so "inside" joke.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Socrates the Greek View Post

Dark Beaver please allow me to publicly recognize your literary ability. I sincerely mean that. Well said and 100%, the truth is the truth and no one can argue with the Truth.
Brian was not palm reading he was palm greasing!!!! ha hah

Thank-you for the compliment Socrates, your green reputation square is in the mail.
 
jwmcq625
#16
I don't think it really matters in the long run. If the Liberals had their way we would be completely shunning our largest, and natural trading partner, the United States in favour of trying to broker deals with the EU, who by they way want nothing to do with goods from Canada since they concentrate their trade within the EU itself.

The FTA and NAFTA have not been good for either Canada or the U.S.A. because they are not a a government concept, but instead they are the result of successive governments following an agenda set out by multinational corporations, whose only concern is in maximizing profits for their shareholders. By the way, has anyone checked out the retail prices in the large department stores? I have yet to see where true labour costs are reflected in the retail pricing of inferior products made in places like China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Brazil and other countries in the third world where the people are living in extreme poverty. The corporation moving to these third world countries has not improves the social conditions of these people, instead it has virtually further enslaved them, while we continue to pay the same retail prices as if the products were made in North America.

If we were smart, which we aren't, we would leave these products to rot on the shelves until these multinationals either move their operation back to North America or go out of business. It is not going to get any better, until the people hurt these multinationals where it hurts, in the wallet. Think of all the recalls just this year alone of dangerous products, including children's toys, that have been manufactured in China. It is bad enough that the Chinese tried to foist these dangerous products onto our children, but if we care about it at all, their own children are working in these unsafe plants being exposed to such things as lead paint and other toxins during the manufacturing process. We should be looking at the fact that these manufacturers who are being sponsored by major retailers are willing to put not only the people who work in the manufacturing process at risk, but our own children and grandchildren as well.
 
AndyF
#17
darkbeaver:

The ordinary citizen is asking, "Why isn't this a criminal case."

Take all the elements of this sit-com, replace the ExPM with a cashier at a local store, and you've got a police investigation complete with charges being laid.

Nixon move over you've got company.

AndyF
 
jimshort19
#18
Colpy, "The post is correct in one aspect: the most serious part of this entire scandal is Mulroney's overthrow of Joe Clark financed by foreign cash."

That revelation hit me in the gut when I heard it on the radio. How the press could focus on anything else, no matter what the money, is nearly damned equally incredible. The accusation is shocking, but the implications are sickening.

If Mulroney unfairly manipulated the leadership convention of the Conservative Party of Canada, legally or not, a related Crown judicial inquiry into the state of our democracy is warranted. If this happened once, perhaps it has happened before or will again. Where is our assurance? Where is the outcry?

I suppose that it is my duty to get the true dirt on this, such as it is available on the net at least. I suppose that I must. I've learned how naive I am day by day, decade on decade, and while I am old my lessons get more embarrassing - but this is a low blow.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by AndyF View Post

darkbeaver:

The ordinary citizen is asking, "Why isn't this a criminal case."

Take all the elements of this sit-com, replace the ExPM with a cashier at a local store, and you've got a police investigation complete with charges being laid.

Nixon move over you've got company.

AndyF

I think you're right Andy me or you would have been tazered for our own safety.
Or am I allowed to earn funny money from Krupp and Skoda.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by AndyF View Post

darkbeaver:

The ordinary citizen is asking, "Why isn't this a criminal case."

Take all the elements of this sit-com, replace the ExPM with a cashier at a local store, and you've got a police investigation complete with charges being laid.

Nixon move over you've got company.

AndyF

I think you're right Andy me or you would have been tazered for our own safety.
Or am I allowed to earn funny money from Krupp and Skoda?
 
jimshort19
#21
Here's a note (edited):

Foreign interests helped unseat Clark: Schreiber BRODIE FENLON
Globe and Mail Update
December 11, 2007 at 2:19 PM EST

Karlheinz Schreiber said Tuesday for the first time that foreign interests and money were involved in the campaign to unseat Tory leader Joe Clark at the 1983 Progressive Conservative convention.

Mr. Schreiber told the House of Commons ethics committee that the money he used to help arrange and pay for jets that transported anti-Clark delegates from Quebec to the convention in Winnipeg came from himself; the late Franz Josef Strauss, the chairman of Airbus Industrie; and probably from Mr. Strauss's political party, the Christian Social Union.

At that historic convention, Mr. Clark did not receive the support he was looking for in a leadership review. He then called a leadership race, which was won by Brian Mulroney.

"The money came from myself, and from the Strauss family, and probably from the [Christian] Social Union," said Mr. Schreiber, adding the amount he contributed was about $25,000.

But Mr. Schreiber went further Tuesday when he said the money they used for that endeavour came from German political and business interests. Mr. Schreiber has already testified that Airbus Industrie saw Canada in the 1980s as a "Trojan horse" for its entry into the North American market.

Mr. Schreiber told the ethics committee last week that the $300,000 in cash he paid Mr. Mulroney in three separate instalments in 1993 and 1994 came from a bank account containing funds he earned from companies whose projects moved forward under the Mulroney government.

He said Mr. Mulroney never asked that payments be made in a form other than cash, and that Mr. Mulroney did nothing for the money.

Mr. Schreiber said the conversation occurred when Mr. Mulroney was still in office and took place in the Ottawa offices of lobbyists Government Consultants International (GCI), a firm run by Mr. Moores.

"I nearly froze when he said, ‘I want you to make sure that GCI through you transfers certain amounts of money to an account in Geneva,' to a lawyer in Geneva, which is Mr. Mulroney's lawyer," Mr. Schreiber said.

"Why the hell would one send money to a lawyer in Geneva for Mr. Mulroney? What for? And now came his unbelievable answer: He said, ‘For Airbus.' And I hear myself, even today, saying what the hell has Mulroney to do with Airbus? And his answer was, ‘Are you naive?' "

Mr. Harper has also called for a public inquiry into this matter, saying he needs to protect the office of the Prime Minister. However, Canadians are split on the need for the public inquiry...

... So, Canadian labour lawyer cum business executive with big political apirations takes about $25,000 from foreign lobbyist desiring to sell products to Canada to pack leadership review meeting to topple the party leader to take over the country in the next election. This strategy suceeds. Then he takes $300,000 in cash for doing nothing. Meantime, maybe there's more funny stuff, but Canadians don't want to know. Fortunately Harper insists.

Canadians don't want to know. I'm with Harper on this one. This thing stinks for sure, and it stinks bad.
 
jimshort19
#22
Joe Clark has finally agread to speak to us about the Schrieber affair. Joe?

Joe, "ho ho ho ho ho... ho ho ho ho ho."
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#23
Joe Who was a solid Canadian that's why they eliminated him, he would have been ou best PM.
 

Similar Threads

18
Mulroney-Schreiber
by warrior_won | Nov 29th, 2007