Before summer's end there is substantial likelihood that Karl Heinz Schreiber will be deported from Canada to his native Germany where authorities there charged him more than 15 years ago with fraud, tax evasion and bribery.
When the inevitable happens, in a final sigh of relief Canadians from every corner will cheer - "good riddance!" I disagree, and let me be among the first to say "Thank You, Mr. Schreiber" for all you have done to expose a sordid and sleazy period in our country's political life.
Thanks to you Mr. Schreiber we know that pay-offs totalling more than $20-million in Canadian taxpayer money funnelled through Airbus Industries in Europe when Air Canada, then a Crown Corporation, bought more than 30 A-320 passenger jets back in the late 1980's. Thanks to you Mr. Schreiber we know that several close associates of yours and our former Prime-Minister, were among those who be benefited from those payments.
Thank-you Mr. Schreiber, because if not for you we would never know that the very same Prime-Minister, Brian Mulroney, entered with you into a shady (some might suggest sleazy) business arrangement which was kept secret for half a dozen years. Forensic accountants testifying at the Oliphant Enquiry say they are certain the money paid to Mr. Mulroney for that business relationship came from your Airbus pay-off account. What is clear is that the former Prime-Minister received cash amounts totalling from $225,000 to $300,000 to lobby on your behalf for a failed bid to build military vehicles in Canada...kept the arrangement secret for several years. In return for which, in a sweetheart deal with Revenue Canada, he paid taxes on just half of the $225,000 he claims you gave him. It may be legal, but what's "just" about that? Some Prime-Ministerial legacy indeed.
Because of his secrecy, and all you have since said and done Mr. Schreiber, the people of Canada apologized and paid Mr. Mulroney more than $2.1 Million to settle his liable claims against the Government. In the midst of the current Oliphant Inquiry we also know now that the the former Prime-Minister's expenses, as much as $2.5 million, will be paid by we taxpayers. Mr. Mulroney had an honourable career as a two term Prime Minister and Member of the Canadian Parliament. He richly deserves the lifetime pension he is receiving for that service. I think though that now exposed to the light-of-day, some may begin asking for our money back. The onus is on Commissioner Jeffrey Oliphant to be seen to administer justice on our behalf.
Mr. Schreiber although you may soon be leaving us for the fate that awaits you in Germany. In his six days before the Oliphant Commission your accuser, our former Prime-Minister, by his own account reduced you to a mere bit-player in one of the saddest chapters of our country's political life. In an attempt to salvage his own reputation, Mr. Mulroney instead ensured that his shadowy relationship with you and your colleagues remains enshrined forever as an historical sidebar to the legacy he so wishes to preserve.