Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lavoie testimony, Part I: Luc & Brian, BFF

Former Mulroney Dep. Chief of Staff and PR flack Communications Director Luc Lavoie presented himself to the Commons Ethics committee on February 7. The following is NOT a transcript, so quote at your own risk ;) Time-stamps are approximate.

Luc & Brian, BFF
3:30 PM
Szabo (chair, LPC): (calls hearing to order; reminds cmte on pairing of witnesses-one witness is long and second shorter, less interest, so 2 rounds for 1st, less for second). Our first witness of the day is M Luc Lavoie, former communications director for BM, up to 2007. He's the exec VP of Quebecor Inc. On Dec 15, 2007, cmte gave list of priority witnesses, including yourself. Thanks for accepting invitation. I'll ask clerk to swear-in the witness (clerk swears in Lavoie).

Szabo (chair, LPC): I know that you've followed our proceedings and you're familiar with how they work. Certainly expected that you'll help us better understand certain matters. Refusal to answer not an option. As courtesy, don't speak too quickly for translators. Understand you don't have an opening stmt today, so we'll move directly to questions. M. Thibault?

3:33 PM
Thibault (LPC): thank you for being her, M Lavoie. First, I'd like to clarify: you said in media, in answering for BM, that he had in fact received 300K, 100K each time, in cash from Karlheinz Schreiber (KHS). Accurate?

Luc Lavoie: what I said is that I didn't have exact information

Thibault (LPC): you've been spokesman for Brian Mulroney (BM) for long time. Close relationship, professionally and personally. I fail to understand how you could answer that question w/o consulting your client, BM, on the matter.

Luc Lavoie: I never discussed the specific amounts w/BM. At no time. When I was answering those questions...

Thibault (LPC): the amounts discussed came from the meeting. When did BM tell you he received the money? Not when he got them, but when he received that money?

Luc Lavoie: informed in spring 2000 by BM's lawyer. Told he received a retainer, paid in cash, from KHS, and that there were 3 payments and the amount used in conversation w/o asking how much, he said 10s of 1000s of dollars.

Thibault (LPC): you told Cashore of CBC, that previous to this date that BM had NOT received money from KHS. At one point you used derogatory comments (*cough* "biggest fucking liar") in reference to KHS and exchange of funds. On what basis did you make those earlier stmts to media, that BM didn't receive funds.

Luc Lavoie: I remember very clearly those 4 telephone conversations w/journalist Cashore of 5th Estate and at NO time did he ask me about money paid to BM after he left his position...I was spokesperson for BM from 95-onwards, and the only thing discussed was money deposited in accts, in Switzerland having to do w/purchase of Airbus (AB), MBB helicopters and the Bear Head Project (BHP), so at no time during conversation was there any discussion regarding money paid AFTER he left PM-position. If you want to go to extreme position, I would have answered the same thing, b/c what we were talking about was something contained in letter sent to Swiss authorities in 95

Thibault (LPC): in Feb 98 BM met in hotel room w/KHS (note: this was the meeting in Zurich, when KHS allegedly reassured BM that there was no evidence linking him to cash payments). Aware of it?

Luc Lavoie: no

Thibault (LPC): you've been BM's spokesperson since 95 and he never told you?

Luc Lavoie: no

Thibault (LPC): subsequently, did he speak about that meeting?

Luc Lavoie: no, never heard about it

Thibault (LPC): the only knowledge of that meeting you found out through media?

Luc Lavoie: exactly

Thibault (LPC): did you ask questions?

Luc Lavoie: no

Thibault (LPC): you were his communications Director, he was your client, you worked closely with him, the question of KHS, this exchange of money was quite important but that discussion never happened? That meeting in 1998? Never talked about it?

Luc Lavoie: no

Thibault (LPC): excuse me, that's quite recent info. How do you feel about it, that BM never told you about it?

Luc Lavoie: I don't go into that...I was very proud to serve BM. Still proud of my friendship

Thibault (LPC): did BM inform you of the meeting he had in Harrington Lake in 93 w/KHS?

Luc Lavoie: no

Thibault (LPC): did he inform you about contract which, according to his testimony, was to do business internationally for Thyssen?

Luc Lavoie: at what time?

Thibault (LPC): during your professional relationship w/him

Luc Lavoie: well, before those things were made public, and then afterwards, from Nov 95, beginning of my involvement, till spring of 2000, no these matters were never raised. Starting in spring 2000, they were mentioned but never had detailed conversation on these matters

Thibault (LPC): when you were w/BM when he was PM, when was that?

Luc Lavoie: Jan 88 to Aug 91

Thibault (LPC): so when the settlement was signed, or agreement re: BHP, Thyssen, you were aware of that?

Luc Lavoie: no, wasn't aware of that

Thibault (LPC): you were the comm. Director

Luc Lavoie: was Asst Dep Chief of Staff (CoS). I looked after Operations.

Thibault (LPC): the file was one that was important in PMO. Heard that people came to visit BM, meetings w/Tellier, Spector, and that next CoS was involved in BHP as well. You tell us that you weren't aware?

Luc Lavoie: not at all, 'cept through media.

Thibault (LPC): it was a secret project?

Luc Lavoie: can't assume that, but a lot of things go on inside a PMO (ha! No kidding, eh?!)

Coming up next: Part II ("Why would an advisor give bad advice?")
Carebears courtesy of 'My Dog is my Hero'

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