Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is Stephen Harper going to have a brown envelope moment?

One of the most enduring and most damning images from the Gomery Inquiry was the testimony about Liberal operatives taking cash payments "in plain brown envelopes" from people who left those envelopes on the table while they went to the bathroom.

Now we have another inquiry where we could have similar imagery. It has already been admitted by Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Schriber that Mr. Schriber gave Mr. Mulroney $300,000 in cash in three installments. Could we hear testimony from Mr. Schriber that he handed over these payments by giving Mr. Mulroney briefcases full of cash?

Brown envelopes and cash filled brief cases both have the image of being underhanded ways to pay off people. They have the image of being methods used by dishonest folks to hide payments for goods and services that are illegal, unethical or immoral. Mr. Schriber's testimony could be interesting to say the least.

There is also the issue of whether the revelations of this inquiry will impact the current government. After all these events took place over a decade ago, where one of the key players was the leader of a now defunct party.

Unfortunately for the Conservatives they and their apologists in the media have been assiduously cultivating, with some success, the image of a Party that is not much different from the old PCPC since the creation of the CPC. They even took on the old party's nickname "Tories". Does anybody think that Canadians that do not follow politics on a daily basis will make the distinction between the former Tory PM and the current "Tory" government?

As well, it is no secret that Mr. Harper's mentor for the past three or four years was Mr. Mulroney. It is not going to take much for Mr. Harper's opponents to remind Canadians of that fact. Hostility to Mr. Mulroney amongst all but his most ardent supporters is never very far below the surface. That can be witnessed by the fact that the GST cuts are so popular amongst Canadians. They know who gave it to them and they have still not forgiven. Having Mr. Mulroney back in the spotlight would be bad enough for the Conservatives. Having him back in the spotlight and being linked personally to Mr. Harper is even worse.

There is no predicting how this inquiry will go. It could turn out to be a boring exercise. However, there is a strong possibility for some fireworks that could burn the current government very badly. And if that imagery of cash filled brief cases comes to pass then the Conservatives will be in big trouble.

As an aside, it would be unfair to link Mr. Harper to the actions of Mr. Mulroney, as many Conservatives are now arguing. However, I would point out to the arguments Conservatives are using to defend Mr. Harper are the very same arguments Liberals used to defend Mr. Martin during the sponsorship scandal.

Payback is a bitch isn't it?


Blogger player_hater said...

The fact that the Gomery Commission vindicated Paul Martin, but that didn't stop Harper from accusing him of being involved shows how everything will backfire on him. Even as Prime Minister, Harper still calls Liberals corrupt. What is going to happen when Canadians find out that the government that came before the Liberals was not too clean, or the current Defence Minister will have questions to answer because he was on the payroll of Schrieber at the time.

November 15, 2007 1:05 AM  

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