Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lavoie testimony, Part IV: "Let's not get metaphysical here..."

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.

"Let's not get metaphysical here..."
4:11 PM
Wallace (CPC): thank you, Mr. Chair. Want to finish some of my questioning. This cmte's charged w/looking at new info that might not have been known at time of settlement. Is there any new info that this cmte doesn't know?

Luc Lavoie: no

Wallace (CPC): so your testimony today regarding the letter of request (LOR), which started lawsuit, was regarding that, in letter, it didn't just subtly accuse BM, it identified him as having done a criminal activity

Luc Lavoie: it was stated as fact

Wallace (CPC): in your view, settlement paid was b/c letter in such a form that it identified BM as a fact being involved in criminal activity

Luc Lavoie: when you're talking about payment, you're referring to 2.1 mill settlement? (Wallace affirms) That 2.1 was determined in arbitration process. He was never paid damages. The facts, as stated in LOR were completely wrong, they never had any evidence, they still don't, and the moment that the AG of Switzerland stated that there never WAS a Swiss bank acct for BM, the whole thing became a horrendous libel, which it was.

Wallace (CPC): ok. In our last meeting, we had former AG, Min Justice Rock here and he speculated that if he had known about agreement btwn KHS and BM AFTER Airbus (AB) (and nothing to do w/it), it might have had something to do w/level of settlement. Might have affected the amount. Would you like to speculate about whether you think it would have influenced things or not?

Luc Lavoie: I don't have the competence of Allan Rock, a well known top gun litigator in Ontario (laughter from cheap seats). Yes he is! (smiling at laughing goofballs). Thank you, Thomas. The reality is that I have a problem w/reasoning: you write in a letter that BM has 5 mill that he got as a kickback from sale of planes and helicopters and Bear Head Project (BHP)--you say he received 5 mill while he was in office, from a bank acct in Liechtenstein to a bank acct (that never existed) in write that and 25 members of board receive it, it leaks to the media, first to Agence France Presse (AFP) and then it makes the rounds, finally ending up in the Financial Post. And then you find that indeed, after he left office, he received 300K to do work for same person, KHS. So you go, "god, that would have been great, so I could keep torturing him for years!" And I have a serious problem with that. The libel was horrendous. They had to draft it 7 times so it got to level that the Swiss would act on it...

Wallace (CPC): when you say "they had to draft it 7 times," who are you referring to?

Luc Lavoie: we found out through litigation process, before settlement, that the way it works is that Dept Justice would send letter to correspondent in Switzerland, and they say, "if I send you this, will you freeze the acct," and they say, "no, that's not enough," so they give it some more torque, and go & go & go, and the 7th draft was way worse than 1st one. They knew they'd done no investigation. They could only rely on a journalist-turned-informant and a former Chief of Staff (Norman Spector), who said BM had cancelled BHP. That's was Sgt Fiegenwald said under oath in Eurocopter trial. This letter's extremely damaging. It leaks out. And now you say, "if we had known, after BM left office...300K was paid, then we could have kept going w/torturing BM and his family." It doesn't change the fact that he never had a Swiss bank acct, as confirmed by Swiss AG, he never had anything to do w/this treatment, as confirmed by your star witness. Never had anything to do w/MBB, confirmed by Eurocopter trial. If anyone says, "if we had known a little more, we could have kept torturing him some more..." I find this offensive...

Szabo (chair, LPC): (interrupting) Ok, ok...order.

4:18 PM
Ménard (BQ): you gave some explanations about BM's behaviour. You said his financial situation wasn't very good. BM contradicted that categorically. You know very well it's different to get people to feel pain of the rich (*snerk*), and by doing this, you exposed him to this're a PR guy.

Luc Lavoie: well, I was no longer in a PR firm

Ménard (BQ): but you're a professional. Extremely professional.

Luc Lavoie: I'll take that as a compliment, M Ménard (smirking). Just want to give you the context and tell you about the atmosphere. It was an error to do that in such a context.

Ménard (BQ): if such a transaction, why would he give an explanation of that type--why apologize? He doesn't need to apologize for getting a retainer for a genuine contract. Is that not the case?

Luc Lavoie: I'll leave it up to you to judge

Ménard (BQ): ask difficult question. I imagine you followed his appearance here. Is that the first time you heard him talk about the contract that he had w/KHS and the reasons that he had?

Luc Lavoie: no.

Ménard (BQ): he'd explained before?

Luc Lavoie: yes, a few times.

Ménard (BQ): did you know that he got the money in cash? Did you know that he kept it in cash, in safety deposit boxes?

Luc Lavoie: no

Ménard (BQ): aware of this mandate to do peacekeeping LAVs?

Luc Lavoie: knew it had something to do w/marketing of LAVs

Ménard (BQ): to China?

Luc Lavoie: not specific countries, just international

Ménard (BQ): but we know he said he went to many countries, France and even China 5 years after Tiananmen Square, w/image engraved in peoples' minds, the student run over by a tank

Luc Lavoie: (interrupting) but not a LAV... (Gah! I can't believe he said that!)

Ménard (BQ): no, but one of the most shocking images. France is quite proud and jealous of technology. When KHS was arrested, BM said he wanted to settle matters w/tax dept, and was in such a hurry that he paid taxes even on expenses he could have deducted. Do you believe that this contract even existed?

Luc Lavoie: take his word for it.

Ménard (BQ): (smiling) When you don't respond yes or no, you keep your credibility...

Luc Lavoie: there are some rules for non-responses...

Ménard (BQ): (smiling) let's not get 'metaphysical' here...(*snerk*).

4:23 PM
Hiebert (CPC): My colleague asked if you had any knowledge of certain decisions or projects while in PMO. At ANY point, while in PMO or at ANY time, did you have any knowledge of any wrongdoing, by any public official, with respect to BHP?

Luc Lavoie: no

Hiebert (CPC): while in PMO or at ANY time, did you have any knowledge of any wrongdoing, by any public official, with respect to AB?

Luc Lavoie: no

Hiebert (CPC): while in PMO or at ANY time, did you have any knowledge of any wrongdoing, by any public official, with respect to consulting agreement between BM and KHS?

Luc Lavoie: no

Hiebert (CPC): so you're telling us that you don't know of any wrongdoing, whatsoever, in any of these matters?

Luc Lavoie: no

Coming up next: Part V ("Szabo lets fly with an awesome (near) curse-word"), or return to Part III ("I know you're no stranger to profanity...")
Metaphysical Lavoie: adapted from this CP pic by Tom Hanson (ying/yang thing from here)

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