Monday, February 18, 2008

Lavoie testimony, Part III: "I know you're no stranger to profanity..."

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. To return to the beginning of this series, click here: Part I.

"I know you're no stranger to profanity..."
3:56 PM
Wallace (CPC): like some clarification: can you explain what you did for the PMO from 88-91?

Luc Lavoie: Deputy Chief of Staff (CoS)

Wallace (CPC): role?

Luc Lavoie: charge of logistics, operations, organized international travel.

Wallace (CPC): you left that position and the next time you worked for BM was...95?

Luc Lavoie: hired as PR consultant in 95 to help him w/completely diff project, and then in Nov, this specific case (Karlheinz Schreiber, KHS)

Wallace (CPC): so when you were an employee of PMO, could you tell us if you had any involvement w/BHP?

Luc Lavoie: none, just recollect that simply there was a project to build light armoured vehicles (LAVs) in Cape Breton

Wallace (CPC): did you have any first hand knowledge of Air Canada purchase of Airbus (AB), while you worked in PMO?

Luc Lavoie: absolutely not

Wallace (CPC): in that role, did you have any knowledge of consulting agreement between BM and KHS, while you were in PMO? Any sense of that happening? And then, afterwards, in 1995, did you know?

Luc Lavoie: (asks Wallace to repeat and he does) No (no knowledge while in PMO). After 1995, didn't know of retainer till spring 2000.

Wallace (CPC): you're well aware of letter of request (LOR) to Swiss, the one that caused gov to pay settlement. That's why this cmte's been constituted. Want to know if there's new info that would lead us to make decision any differently. Your interpretation of why gov settled is different from what members of opposition are to give you an opportunity to tell us your impression.

Luc Lavoie: there was a letter sent in Sept 95 (LOR) which the drafter--b/c it was signed by public service, but I think the drafter was a member of RCMP--stating, w/o any attempt to make it qualified or conditional, that this letter was of upmost importance, that it had to do w/activities from the beginning of BM's term to the end of it...that there was a scheme wherein 5 mill had passed from accts in Liechtenstein to Zurich, and that acct could be opened w/code word "DEVON." And LOR sent as stmt of fact to Swiss authorities...and, btw, it's interesting that SEVEN drafts of that letter had been prepared of that LOR, b/c the first draft wouldn't trigger anything from Swiss; they went to factual stmts, not allegations, so that they would trigger Swiss to actually freeze accts. We found out, from letter sent by Attorney Gen of Switzerland, one that was later famous as chief prosecutor of war crime tribunal (Carla del Ponte), there never was any bank acct in Switz that belonged to BM. There was also a copy of letter sent to every member of board of Swiss bank corp (25 BOD). Also found that the sole source of info for the LOR was a journalist who'd decided to turn herself into a police informant, and I should be more specific, b/c Norman Spector provided affidavit. Leak from day 1...reason for settlement is that AG, RCMP had no evidence whatsoever to support horrendous libel.

Wallace (CPC): you claimed that BM might've reached an agreement w/KHS b/c he needed money. BM, in front of us, claimed that is just not the case. Still stand by your stmt?

Luc Lavoie: standing by quote, but put in context: having conversation w/two different journalists, and in both cases, the quotation was interpreted differently. BM was not a man who'd inherited millions of dollars, like some in past--and I'm not saying this in a derogatory way--he was not a rich man. I was saying, when you leave office, and you want to start a new career, you might be optimistic, and you're looking to get first pieces of business.

4:05 PM
Szabo (chair, LPC): Mr. Lavoie, one of the mysteries of all this--and Canadians REALLY want the answer--is was it 300K or 225K? In an article Jan 23, 2007, CP, Bronskill, Bryden "Justice Dept weighed reopening AB settlement..." quoting, "The RCMP informed Mulroney in the summer of 2000 that they were aware of the $300,000 retainer from Schreiber, Lavoie said. "There were formal contacts between the RCMP and Mr. Mulroney's lawyer in which it was made clear that they knew that."" YOU made the representation to these media in Jan 2007 that it was 300K. How do you explain discrepancy?

Luc Lavoie: the number "300K" was a fig that came up in G&M, he never denied it, and it became perceived as the truth, and he never fought back. And I never asked if that was the exact amount.

Murphy (LPC): thanks. I want to tell you that none of my questions came from the CBC (Conservatives laugh and jeer at this). Mr.'re in charge of PR for Quebecor. BM is chairman of board of Quebecor, correct?

Luc Lavoie: no, BM is chairman of board of Quebecor WORLD, a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc.

Murphy (LPC): following on Chairman's question, you said in response that this came from media. That's true, but it came from a quote from you...unless you're quarrelling w/Ottawa Citizen story that quotes you, quoting KHS, telling Citizen that he pulled out an envelope full of cash "and BM said, "What is that?" and (KHS) said, "I want to pay you in cash." "Why would you have to do this in cash?" said Mr. Lavoie. " YOU were told by BM that KHS gave him 100K in cash and then you told Ottawa Cit in 2007, highly charged media environment (Nov 2007). How can you say that the media made this up?

Luc Lavoie: I didn't say the media made this up. The figure 300K came in a story from Kaplan in G&M, which I never fought back upon. Never specifically asked was it 300 or was it less. I knew it was in the "tens of thousands"...

Murphy (LPC): would you at LEAST admit, from a professional point of view, that it was sloppy for you to quote w/o verifying that, in a quote coming from former PM?

Luc Lavoie: (glowering at Murphy; Not responding)

Murphy (LPC): I guess you won't (*snerk*).

Luc Lavoie: (smirking, smiling)

Murphy (LPC): the PM was here saying it was 75K b/c he wanted it to be the amount declared on his tax returns, not the 300k...that will remain a question that's out there. This consulting firm that BM made after he left office, did he ever give you the NAME of that firm? Do you know if he registered it w/in Ontario, Quebec or federally?

Luc Lavoie: I knew of an existence of an arrangement at his law firm that allowed him to have a separate consulting firm. I presumed everything was fine.

Murphy (LPC): well, I look at Aug 2, 1993 w/ Renault and Mulroney...other forms of games that will remain yours know of no name of consulting firm?

Luc Lavoie: no

Murphy (LPC): going back to your 587K, your firm's bill for services rendered, before the proverbial...hit the fan. I know you're no stranger to profanity, I've seen it here (*snerk*) ...

Luc Lavoie: why would you say that? (smiling)

Murphy (LPC): in Nov 95, you were on the case, taking care of your client's seems incredible to me, and YOU were the one who put credibility on the line, when you mentioned Mr. Schreiber's being the "biggest [] liar I've ever seen"

Luc Lavoie: I retracted that...

Murphy (LPC): you said it...

Luc Lavoie: I changed my mind...I would put him in the top three (laughter)

Murphy (LPC): don't cut into my time! (more laughter) We're on the trial of maybe the second biggest liar on the scene (chorus of Ooooooh!s)

Szabo (chair, LPC): time's up

Luc Lavoie: it was just starting to be fun

Szabo (chair, LPC): well, and I would just ask members to be judicious in their language. Let's be careful, here. Ok, Mr. Wallace...

Coming up next: Part IV ("Let's not get metaphysical here..."), or return to Part II ("Why would an advisor give bad advice?")
LOL Lavoie: home-made by kitty, but please feel free to steal (link-luv always appreciated)

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