Mr. Speaker, first, I regret to inform the House that the Canadiens have only two goals to Boston's one, but we know that it will only get better.
Second, I would like to inform you that it is my pleasure to be sharing my time with the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.
There is a lot that has been raised by the member opposite that I would like to deal with. We spent the last six months doing some of this I guess, but one of the questions was about my meeting with Karlheinz Schreiber.
Yes, I met with him a number of times, always in very public places and always to get information. I offered the same meeting with spokespeople for Mr. Mulroney because Mr. Mulroney is a very proud and important man. He does not meet with a member of Parliament; he has a staff that does that.
He had a Mr. Robin Sears who was to meet with me. He called three or four times to set up some meetings hoping that I would refuse I imagine. I accepted every time and he kept changing the time. On the fourth or fifth time, finally, he had to admit that he had no intention to meet with me, so we did not meet.
I spoke to many journalists who had done work on this. I spoke to many people who were named in the books that were written on these matters and got as much information as I could to prepare myself to ask relevant questions of witnesses. First, to see, and this is an important and sensitive question on this matter that spans 30 years, if we should be dredging the bottom again, should we be bringing that to the attention of Canadians, and should we be putting stress on a former prime minister and ministers that were named and some people who were still very active in the lobbying business in Ottawa whose names would be raised.
We had to find out whether it was worthwhile. One of the things that was of interest to me was how it had been set up going way back to the early 1980s and the people who were involved. The set up that was done put this person with the Prime Minister. There was a group that would decide who would do business and people would get rich this way and that way, and that is how the money would move around.
We can look around today and we see many of the same players and many similar structures. We see them around the government.
One of the things that concerned me was that our current Prime Minister had embarked on a great project of rehabilitating Brian Mulroney. He went so far as to call him a valued adviser and mentor. He put many of the people who were surrounding Brian Mulroney into key positions. A partner at the law firm, he put in public works. A former speech writer is now chief of staff at transport. Those are departments that do a lot of contracting. We have the Minister of National Defence who was a very close associate. We have a number of people like that, a number of MPs. The Minister of Justice was a parliamentary secretary.
I remember reading a story in the paper where the former minister of justice, now President of the Treasury Board, when he heard about the $300,000 cash payments to Mulroney, asked his department for a briefing. All of a sudden, no, he was not going to get a briefing.
I do not know if that happens very often in government. I had not seen any of that in my three years in cabinet. The minister could not get the briefing from his department. The minister was moved out and in comes a new one, the current minister who was a parliamentary secretary. All of a sudden there is no such desire to review these matters.
Therefore, I got very interested. I asked for a public inquiry in the House many times and the Prime Minister refused. Government members laughed at us across the way, laughed at us and reminded us of the $2.1 million that had been paid to Brian Mulroney because of the errors at that time. They made a joke of it until finally a letter comes out. Karlheinz Schreiber puts out an affidavit. He raises the question of a meeting with the Prime Minister.
Then all of a sudden there is a meeting with the Prime Minister and Brian Mulroney carrying a letter written by Karlheinz Schreiber negotiated by Elmer MacKay. When that affidavit came out, that was hard on the Prime Minister. For the second week in a row he ran to the national press theatre where he had not been in two years. There were no press conferences before and now, all of a sudden, he had to have many.
He said, at that time, that he was going to name an independent third party to advise him on how he should handle this matter. Then on that weekend Brian Mulroney told the newspapers that we have to have an inquiry. Of course, that was done through Luc Lavoie at the time. That was before Mr. Sears came along. Luc Lavoie was still the spokesman at that time.
On the Monday or Tuesday after a week break we came to question period and our leader pressed the Prime Minister on it. He said that he would ask that person to give him the terms for an inquiry. That is the first time there was talk of an inquiry. Before that it was laughter, denial and delay. There was no way that there would be one.
The person who was charged with doing the reference was Professor Johnston, a highly distinguished Canadian. I have no qualms with Professor Johnston. I do not wish to debate his recommendations. He did what he was asked to do. He did it to the best of ability and to what he believes is right.
We can pick apart everything he says but at the end of the day the Prime Minister of Canada has the responsibility to name a public inquiry. He can delegate any authority he wishes. He can get advice from anyone he chooses but the inquiry is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and he will have to answer for that.
If he now accepts these terms 100% as presented they are his and he must answer for those.
Some of the suggestions made I fully agree with but I have serious reservations when we are looking at a project such as Thyssen. We know the money paid to Brian Mulroney came from that project. Because of the signature of the federal government on the memorandum of understanding, $2 million were generated for the construction of the Bear Head project. A quarter of that was set aside: $500,000 in that account, $300,000 in cash paid to Brian Mulroney by Karlheinz Schreiber and $200,000 more available, exactly one-quarter of the commission.
A few weeks after leaving the prime minister's office, Fred Doucet received $90,000 out of those same commissions, the exact same amount that was paid to Frank Moores, Gerry Doucet and Gary Ouellet, the partners in GCI who were set up to do the business of the federal government. We see an agent of the prime minister leaving and collecting very shortly thereafter. Those are serious allegations.
Now the government is saying that we cannot examine those four gentlemen at a public inquiry. Regrettably, two of them have died, but two of them are still here. Fred Doucet is very much here. He is on the record as lobbying on many of the most expensive files the federal government is dealing with. He has a hand on the back of the current Minister of National Defence. He runs that puppet. He ran it at his leadership. That is his game. When he was in front of the committee I said to him that he was a Cape Bretoner and that he knew about the Bear Head project. I said that he had a direct interest in that and that I was sure he was following it.
The member for Burlington will remember the reply. Mr. Doucet said that he knew of the project in passing but that he did not have a big interest because his job at the prime minister's office was to organize international conferences. He said that he was not too much involved on that. However, a few weeks after he leaves office he receives $90,000 from that project.
Then we have Senator Lowell Murray, a distinguished gentleman and the minister for ACOA at the time. He tells us that in all that period that Fred Doucet was there that he approached him dealing with that many times when he was directly in the prime minister's office and when he was supposedly organizing these international meetings for the prime minister and working out of External Affairs.
We did not bring Senator Murray before the committee. All I know is what I read by Daniel Leblanc or by Greg McArthur but I believe it was LeBlanc who interviewed Senator Murray.
We need to go through a lot of information. We know Mulroney misled us at the committee and gave us misleading information, as he did when he did his examination for discovery for the $2.1 million. We also know that Fred Doucet misled us. Today a high officer of this country was brought up on contempt of Parliament. These people did no less than that person did. Perhaps the proof is less detailed but I believe a public inquiry can do that.