Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2010 Mascots

Whether you like them not, you have to be impressed by the secrecy Vanoc was able to maintain, and how quickly the roll out has happened.

Personally, I like them, although I half expect them to transform into some sort of robot/spaceplane with rockets, lasers and strange psychic abilities.

Dear Mr. Rogers, My Phone Bill is Too High.

To Jim Prentice,

Bravo. Thank you for your start in breaking the oligopoly of wireless transmission.

We are 8-10 years behind Europe and Asia in the wireless phone game. This is a good start in getting more competition, better service, and lower prices.


Monday, November 26, 2007

51-2, we all lose

For those interested in Climate change, Canada just embarrassed itself again. At the Commonwealth meeting on Saturday, Mr. Harper scuttled any mention of real binding greenhouse reduction targets, once again showing he is the biggest greenwasher of them all. His speech after was nauseating, stating that the leaders of the Commonwealth had created a "significant statement" on climate change.

Perhaps Mr. Harper is a bit deaf.


Everyone knows it.
Everyone is ready for it. Everyone wants it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Karlheinz, the prince of pork

Let me start by saying I really like the Airbus planes. The seats are wider and more comfortable than the same era Boeings. But at least the Boeings don't have a funny smell. . . .

I will insert a large disclaimer right here. I do not have any more information on this topic than anyone else with a computer and a radio. I here the news and read the papers. All I can say at this point is their is a lot more to this story than we are currently getting, and it all stinks like a pork fat rendering plant that is in a state of disrepair so that half rendered, rancid grease seeps from every cracked pipe.

Here is my admittedly hazy understanding of the affair to date. Most of which is gleaned from the Globe and Mail article here. I've inserted comments in brackets and additional dates in italics.

1974: Karlheinz Schreiber makes his first trip to Alberta, looking for business opportunities (nothing wrong with that, lots of people go to Alberta looking for business opportunities)

1976: Brian Mulroney makes his first run at the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative party and loses to Joe Clark. Mr. Schreiber later testifies that he donated $25,000-$30,000 toward Mr. Mulroney's efforts. (Also nothing wrong here. Leadership contests are expensive and donations are welcome. Today it is not possible for one person to make such a donation, as one of Chretien's last moves was to limit personal donations to parties, and leadership races.)

1981: Mr. Mulroney, then president of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, begins his lunchtime meetings at the Mount Royal Club, plotting his second run for the leadership of the Conservative party, even though Mr. Clark had not stepped down. Among the confidants was Frank Moores, the former premier of Newfoundland. (Kind of sketchy, definitely not illegal)

Feb. 23, 1982: Mr. Mulroney sends a Telex to Mr. Schreiber's room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal, where the German-born dealmaker is celebrating becoming a Canadian citizen: "Dear Karlheinze (sic), Congratulations and best wishes on this important and first day of your new relationship with our country. It is a pleasure to welcome you to Canada." (really its the least he can do for someone who has been supporting him for 6 years.)

January 1983: Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark announces a leadership convention after receiving only 66 per cent support from delegates at a party meeting in Winnipeg, many of whom were flown in from Quebec. Mr. Schreiber later reveals that he gave money to the wives of anti-Clark delegates to go shopping while in the Manitoba capital. (hmm, probably not technically illegal, definitely a bit shady)

June 11, 1983: Mr. Mulroney is elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party, defeating Mr. Clark.

Sept. 4, 1984: Mr. Mulroney becomes prime minister designate.

March 7, 1985: Airbus Industrie, a European consortium, enters into a secret agreement with International Aircraft Leasing for assistance with the sale of aircraft to Canada — $500,000 per plane. Mr. Schreiber's embittered accountant later identifies International Aircraft Leasing as a shell company belonging to Mr. Schreiber. The contract stipulates that the agreement will be automatically terminated "in case of a major political change in the territory."

March 30, 1988: Air Canada's board of directors agrees to the Airbus deal — 34 A320s at a price of $1.8-billion. (There is no mention of any interference by Mulroney in this deal, which if there was would really fuel the scandal)

Sept. 18, 1989: Mulroney writes to Schreiber on the Prime Minister's letterhead: "Dear Karlheinz, Thank you for your letter of August 28. I too was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you. The recent General Meeting provided a tremendous opportunity for the PC party to reflect on its past success and to look ahead to a future that promises to offer Canadians countless opportunities both at home and abroad."

June 23, 1993: Mr. Mulroney sends a limousine for Mr. Schreiber to visit him at the prime minister's official residence at Harrington Lake, Que. Over the next two years, they meet three times in hotels and Mr. Schreiber gives Mr. Mulroney a total of $300,000 cash. (The thing to note here, is that according to Schreiber, WHILE MULRONEY WAS STILL PRIME MINISTER, they agreed to this $300,000 grand deal, either pay for the plane deal or pay for continued influence, also this is still an accusation not a fact)

June 25, 1993: Mr. Mulroney's last day as Prime Minister.

July 27, 1993: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $100,000 from his Swiss bank account — a Canadian funds account coded 'Britan.'

Aug. 27, 1993: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at a Montreal airport hotel and gives him $100,000 cash.

August, 1993: Mr. Mulroney rejoins his old law firm of Ogilvy Renault.

Nov. 3, 1993: Mr. Schreiber withdraws another $100,000 from 'Britan'

Nov. 11, 1993: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel's Gold Key Lounge and gives him $100,000

July 21, 1994: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $50,000 from 'Britan'

Nov. 21, 1994: Mr. Schreiber withdraws $50,000 from 'Britan'

Dec. 8, 1994: Mr. Schreiber meets with Mr. Mulroney at the Pierre Hotel in New York City where he gives Mr. Mulroney $100,000.

March 1995: The RCMP, in the midst of a criminal investigation into the Airbus deal, sends a letter of request to Switzerland, seeking access to Mr. Schreiber's bank accounts and alleging that Mr. Mulroney defrauded Canadians. (this was the cause of Mulroney's $50 million lawsuit. The letter was not written carefully, and implied guilt prior to having evidence or a trial.)

Nov. 18, 1995: The Financial Post publishes a story about the letter of request to Switzerland and the allegations. The same day, Mr. Mulroney announces he will sue the federal government.

April 17, 1996: Mr. Mulroney is examined as part of his lawsuit and when asked about his relationship with Mr. Schreiber and when they have met since he stepped down as prime minister, he says under oath: "Well, from time to time, not very often. When he was going through Montreal, he would give me a call. We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice." He elaborates: "Well, he doesn't pass through Montreal and visit me. He comes … when he's on his way to Montreal, he called me and asked me and I say perhaps once or twice, if I could come to a cup … have a cup of coffee with him at a hotel. And I think I had one in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel with him … the coffee bar of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel." (Mulroney fails to mention that he has received $300,000 in cash from Schreiber.)

Jan. 9, 1997: The federal government apologizes to Frank Moores, Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney.

May 7, 1997: Germans issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Schreiber for tax evasion. He has changed his primary residence to Switzerland and is not arrested.

Oct. 6, 1997: Mr. Mulroney obtains a $2.1-million settlement from the federal government

Sometime in 1998-1999 (exact date unavailable): Mulroney makes a voluntary disclosure to Revenue Canada regarding the $300,000 cash payments.

Feb. 2, 1998: Mr. Mulroney meets Mr. Schreiber in a private suite in Zurich. Mr. Schreiber says that Mr. Mulroney wanted to know if there was any evidence that could connect him to the cash payments.

May 7, 1999: Former Tory MP Elmer MacKay flies to Switzerland and meets with Mr. Schreiber. The next day, they fly to Toronto and then to Nova Scotia

Aug. 31, 1999: Mr. Schreiber is arrested by RCMP on a warrant from Germany

October, 1999: CBC producer Harvey Cashore obtains Mr. Schreiber's Swiss bank records, including the records of an account with the code name 'Britan.' There are four substantial cash withdrawals totalling $300,000. When Mr. Cashore tries to obtain an interview with Mr. Mulroney about the account, Mr. Mulroney's spokesman, Luc Lavoie, calls Mr. Schreiber "the biggest fucking liar the world has ever seen." (ha ha ha, what a great response. Schreiber is a diaper head. No interview)

Oct. 17, 1999: Before the CBC airs its piece on the mysterious bank account, according to Mr. Schreiber's Alberta lawyer, Robert Hladun, Mr. Mulroney makes two phone calls to Mr. Hladun, saying that he is going to send a letter to the CBC in an attempt to quash the show.

April 22, 2003: RCMP announces that the Airbus investigation is concluded, no charges

Nov. 10, 2003: Author William Kaplan reveals in The Globe and Mail that Mr. Schreiber paid Mr. Mulroney $300,000. Through a spokesman, Mr. Mulroney says the payments were made to help Mr. Schreiber promote his pasta business. (except that Mr. Schreiber has no idea about the stated pasta business, and there is no evidence he had started or intended to start a pasta business)

Feb. 8, 2006: The CBC's fifth estate show reveals that the $300,000 in cash came from a Swiss bank account connected to the Airbus Affair. The account had the codename 'Britan.'

Feb. 14, 2006: The federal justice department explores whether it should set aside Mr. Mulroney's $2.1-million settlement. In an e-mail, Assistant Deputy Minister Brian Saunders writes, "Research would be required to evaluate whether this new element justifies any attempt to set aside the settlement." The department decides not to proceed for reasons that have never been explained.

March 22, 2007: Mr. Schreiber sues Mr. Mulroney for the $300,000 plus interest, alleging that he has done no work for the money.

March 29, 2007: Mr. Schreiber sends a letter to the Prime Minister's Office addressed to Mister Harper. This letter outlines the cash arrangement that Mulroney and Schrieber allegedly came to while Mulroney was still Prime Minister. Harper currently alleges never having seen the letter.

May 11, 2007: The Ontario Court of Appeal dismisses Mr. Schreiber's second-last legal strike against his extradition, leaving him with only one last appeal to the Supreme Court.

July 26, 2007: A registrar in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice orders a default judgment against Mr. Mulroney and awards Mr. Schreiber $470,432.88. The decision is later set aside when a judge rules that Mr. Schreiber's lawyers went behind the back of Mr. Mulroney's lawyers to obtain the judgment. Mr. Schreiber's lawyers are ordered to pay some of the costs of the process

Oct. 4, 2007: An emergency injunction filed by Mr. Schreiber's lawyer, Edward Greenspan, saves him from being hauled off the to the airport in handcuffs to be surrendered to Germany. Mr. Schreiber's fate is undecided until Nov. 15, when he is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Nov. 9th, 2007: Stephen Harper announces that because of the new information (which was received by his office in March, but which only hit the media this week) he will appoint a third party advisor to look at Mulroney's cash dealings and see if a Public Inquiry is warranted. Opposition Parties call for a full judicial inquiry saying that a third party advisor is a stall tactic, and question why the PMO did not act on the information Mr. Scheiber sent in March. Mulroney also calls for a public inquiry to clear the issue.

Is a full judicial inquiry going to shed more light on this? Maybe, but one has to remember, these are very clever people, that if their has been any impropriety (I'm not saying there has, but I'm also not saying there hasn't, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more squire) it will be very well hidden. It is likely that it will take several years and several millions of dollars in judges, lawyers and court time to ferret the information out.

By which time the next election may have already come and gone.

So that leaves us citizens with many questions. Is Mr. Schreiber desperate to stay in Canada? You bet. Is he someone who would lie, cheat and steal to get ahead? Maybe. Are his allegations an elaborate to ruse to prevent getting deported? We have no way of knowing at this point. Is Mulroney as dirty as a pig, fresh from a day spent rolling in the sty? Its about as clear as mud. Is Harper implicated in covering up the scandal? We'll see.