Travers: Mulroney inquiry link could hinder GG contender David Johnston's hopes
Thu Jun 3 2010
By James Travers, National Affairs Columnist
David Johnston wrote the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry...
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.