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Toronto Star's Bro. Travers on Bro. David Johnston's Oliphant Commission terms of referenc

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Toronto Star

Travers: Mulroney inquiry link could hinder GG contender David Johnston's hopes

Thu Jun 3 2010

By James Travers, National Affairs Columnist

Brian Mulroney, Helmut Kohl, Karl Heinz Schreiber, Airbus, freemasons, freemasonry

Brian Mulroney, Stephen Harper, freemasonry

Brian Mulroney, Stephen Harper, freemasonry

David Johnston, University of Waterloo

David Johnston wrote the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry...
David Johnston, the highly respected University of Waterloo president, was chosen by Stephen Harper to write what proved to be constraining terms of reference for Justice Jeffrey Oliphant’s probe of the former Prime Minister’s relationship with Karlheinz Schreiber. Conservative sources here now say that Johnston’s name is among those submitted by eminent Canadians as possible Michaëlle Jean replacements.

But Johnston comes with a caveat. The inquiry he so significantly shaped passed other tests important to the Prime Minister. Barred from examining what Johnston dismissed as the “well-tilled ground” of Air Canada’s 1988 Airbus purchase, Oliphant could only add explanatory detail and damning conclusions to what was mostly known about Mulroney’s links to Schreiber, now jailed in Germany.

Johnston, who was paid up to $1,400 per day to craft the terms of reference, shared the ruling party opinion that an inconclusive eight-year RCMP investigation marked the useful end of the Airbus trail. But what the RCMP didn’t discover- and what the federal government should have known before paying Mulroney $2.1 million to settle a ‘90s law suit—was that after leaving office the former Prime Minister accepted up to $300,000 in cash from Schreiber.

Limited by the inquiry’s scope, Oliphant refused to speculate on any connection with the $1.8 billion Airbus purchase.

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