Criminal lawyers in Montreal and elsewhere must wish their clients could also be tried by $14 million public inquiries whose terms of reference prevent delving into what is obviously the essence of the matter being inquired into.

It has now been determined that  Mr. Mulroney, while still an MP,  received secret cash payments of at least $225,000 from Karl Heinz Schreiber, a man presently in jail for failing to pay taxes on at least $20 million originating from an account in Liechtenstein set up by Airbus, a company which won a $1.8 billion contract from Air Canada, a company owned by Mr. Mulroney’s government. A fax has been produced from Mulroney’s closest advisor, Fred Doucet, sent to a high ranking Air Canada official inquiring about the contract. After righteously swearing  his  dealings with Schrieber were limited to a cup of coffee on a few occasions   Mulroney then received $2.1 million  from the federal government for damages caused by allegations by the RCMP that he had received payment for facilitating the deal . Apparently, failing to mention under oath that hundreds of thousands of dollars were exchanged along with the coffee is a detail not worthy of prosecution. Finally, the just concluded $14 million inquiry was prohibited by its terms of reference from inquiring into the Airbus deal!