Thursday, April 16, 2009


Thank goodness that Parliament remains on Easter recess. All the better for the watchers of politics and intrigue within Ottawa's "greenbelt" to concentrate on the Oliphant enquiry.

And; pundits, wags, commentators, wannabees and hangers'on have had plenty to watch as one of the two principal protagonists in this 20 year-old affair, Karl-Heniz Schreiber, details his version of his sordid relationship with a former Prime-Minister and the confidants who surrounded him.

Little wonder that three Canadian English language television networks, CBC Newsworld, CTV Newsnet and CPAC and carrying Schreiber's testimony before Commission lawyers "gavel to gavel". Lest I digress: Although CPAC's coverage is simultaneously translated, Canada's French language TV networks haven't shifted heaven and earth to mount their own coverage. Quebec, like no other province, maintains still a relationship of reverence with former Prime-Minister Mulroney...and of course the primary language (English) of the enquiry, is doubtless a significant factor in their choice of limited coverage.

The televised coverage of the enquiry has been riveting. The 75 year-old witness, Mr. Schreiber, claims that his tale will detail seven...count' scandals at the highest levels of the government and Canadian politics. He has so far invoked a litany of names, pretty much everyone short of the Queen of England, to both bolster his own credibility, and imply the scope and depth of the shenanigans: Helmut Kohl, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien, Marc Lalonde among the better known within his sights.

It's still early into the proceedings...there are after all more than 20 witnesses to be called. Mr. Mulroney will doubtless deliver his own much anticipated riveting version of the sordid relationship with Karl-Heinz Schreiber in due time. Now though, Mr. Schreiber has the spotlight he so covets and has been making good use of his several hours of fame. There are obviously many holes being chipped-away at his story. In the 20 years since the alleged Airbus scandal several key players have died. The real truth may never be known, and the Commissioner, Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, may eventually have to pick his way through the Schreiber version and the Mulroney version to come to any conclusion; real or interpreted.

For now, the Karl-Heinz Schreiber version is exposed: warts, zits, name dropping(s) included. His recollection of events, the fading memory, indeed his very credibility, are under the microscope. Still, I am nagged by that old dictum of which I was reminded just yesterday. To wit: "Even a broken clock is right twice every 24 hours".

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