Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raising the Spector, Part IV: Hey! You invited *me*!

Former Mulroney Chief of Staff Norman Spector presented himself to the Commons Ethics committee on February 5. As with last Fall's testimony, the following is NOT a transcript, so quote at your own risk ;) Time-stamps are approximate. You can return to the beginning of this 'series,' by clicking here: Part I.

Hey! You invited me!

4:21 PM
Hiebert (CPC): you told us about the system of cash being used at 24 Sussex. Can you explain what relevance that has to our study?

Norman Spector: ask yourselves that. You're the ones who've asked an EX-CHEF to testify. I've been invited to test about BHP, and as citizen Canada, I feel responsibility to help. I'm here to tell you not to get diverted by these wild goose chases. We're looking for 10 mill dollars. Not looking for reconciliation of Stevie Cameron's book, what the chef may or may not have seen at 24's a vivid description, but you're chasing (from what I know), what I think you should do is subpoena bank transfers, etc. Find out what KHS has, if he has something, or whether he's just tearing the guts out of this country. He may have something (pounds fist). Let's find out! What are we waiting for? So, he'd stay in Canada. So what? We won't clean up our system of gov until we get to the bottom of this story.

Hiebert (CPC): best way is public inquiry. (huh?! The Cons are keen for an inquiry?) If you don't think the cash transfers aren't relevant, why are you bringing them up?

Norman Spector: I wrote about this in the afterward (to Kaplan's book). And you invited me!

Hiebert (CPC): we didn't invite you, it was members of the opposition (oh! You little shit!)

Norman Spector: you are ONE committee! (Old Man Tilson, the Conservative vice-chair interrupts: "We have no say over here!")

Norman Spector: ok, if we're talking about the conservative side of this cmte now...(*snerk*)

Hiebert (CPC): I'm asking you if you have any ethical or moral or legal concerns about these cash payments

Norman Spector: (lots of grumbling on CPC side; Szabo calms them down, so NS can respond) I find it interesting, your statement about the public inquiry, that it's the way to go, particularly when Harper, in Xmas interview said maybe we don't need one. And then we got the (Johnston) report suggesting very narrow area of inquiry. And I accept M. Ménard's disclaimer: that the 10 min rule is a problem. Kaplan suggested that...

Hiebert (CPC): Mr. Spector, can I take it from your avoidance of the question that you don't want to talk about the cash transactions?

Norman Spector: obviously I have no problems about them. Particularly since I'd been told they passed muster with CCRA. I wrote about that and it's been on the public record for over three years!

Hiebert (CPC): can I ask you one last question? (you're asking to ask?) Where did you get these docs?

Norman Spector: file from PMO, which I asked to have made before I left. Thought I was asking for records of only my involvement in this, but apparently there was more in the file. First time I looked was 2 wks ago, when I was preparing for this cmte. Big surprise.

4:25 PM
Lavallée (BQ): Would you say that the handling of cash was common practice at 24 Sussex?

Norman Spector: all I know is what I read in daily news

Lavallée (BQ): organized system?

Norman Spector: I've no info on that question.

Lavallée (BQ): with respect to GCI and Doucet, the lobbyist who had his own company w/brother. Did you see any others with such good access to BM or was Doucet chief?

Norman Spector: during my time there, it was just him.

Lavallée (BQ): no other guy had such access to the PMO? Did you recognize people who he brought in who didn't look like "scouts?" (Girl Guides)

Norman Spector: no

Lavallée (BQ): did you think that the 300K that BM got from KHS (or 225K) after 93, do you think there's a connection to AB?

Norman Spector: don't know

Lavallée (BQ): what acct did cheques come from? You said PC fund, but Stevie Cameron said that there was a special fund setup by former Sen. Charbonneau to meet needs of BM. She even has acct#, institution, Montreal Trust, #830.

Norman Spector: don't think there's a connection to Cameron's "version," but you'll see that for yourself.

Ménard (BQ): you told Le Devoir that you'd help cmte understand the motivation and behaviour of your former boss by referring to other files. You want to refer to other files?

Norman Spector: under impression that BM had one eye on life after politics and that he was courting people with power and money.

Ménard (BQ): what do you mean by courting?

Norman Spector: give two e.g.. (1) decision by National Post to kill story, BM named Conrad Black to Privy Council. Someone from outside named to Privy Council. Asper family was greatful for his intervention in Milgaard case, so it was extraordinary for PM to intervene in matter like Milgaard.

Ménard (BQ): not going to convince said you'd arrange for him to be reimbursed for expenses to the (PC) party. But you didn't see anything wrong with that? Did you not think that something needed to be changed?

Norman Spector: in MY day in the PMO, there was a system where payment 5K/month to PM in place, to my knowledge. Not a huge amount of money (it's NOT?!)

4:31 PM
Hiebert (CPC): at this point we've concluded that you have no new evidence with respect to wrongdoing and that you didn't think there was anything wrong/unethical about payment system setup for the former prime minister, but you've been quite adamant that we can find ways to avoid this kind of thing in the future. Are you aware of the "Accountability Act?" (BLECCHHH!) What other suggestions would you have for the cmte?

Norman Spector: first, to the preamble to your question, I HAVE presented new evidence...

Hiebert (CPC): of what?

Norman Spector: evidence of system of reimbursements that I was NOT aware of when I wrote the afterward to the Kaplan book. What I've written in Le Devoir and Globe, that's new evidence. I've said that I have no info about it, not in a position to cast judgement on its appropriateness. Before you put words in my mouth...(Hiebert tries to interrupt)....SECONDLY, I am aware of the reforms, and they should go some distance, but I'm also aware that the PM said he'd make Deputy Ministers accountable to cmtes of parliament and he's not done so. Fight between Public Accounts and PCO over protocol. Aware that lobbyist reg rules aren't quite what PM promised. One thing that would help: keep lobbyists from participating in political...should be kept out completely, including in media. Anyone reg'd as lobbyist, should be no special access to party in power. No debt to them. I think there's a legit role for industry, but should be based on expertise, not on so & so was in the War Room or so & so ran buses for campaign.

Hiebert (CPC): well, Mr. Schreiber...

Norman Spector: Spector!! (laughter)

Hiebert (CPC): ok, Mr. Spector...I'm still at a loss b/c you've said there's nothing unethical or illegal about payment system and I've given you opportunity to provide new evidence and I've heard none. If you're talking about the ...

Norman Spector: well maybe you should read the transcripts (?) and study them before François Martin comes to testify (*snerk*)

Continue to Part V ("The return of Grumpy Old Tilson") or return to Part III ("Brother, those ain't Girl Guides!").
Bored party-kitties courtesy of

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