Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raising the Spector, Part V: The return of Grumpy Old Tilson

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. This is the final installment of Spector's testimony. You can return to the beginning of this 'series,' by clicking here: Part I. Stay tuned for coverage of Fmr. Attorney General (and Minister of Justice) Allan Rock!

The return of Grumpy Old Tilson

4:35 PM
Mulcair (NDP): could you give name of the RCMP investigator who interviewed you?

Norman Spector: I answered chair, it was Mr. Matthews

Mulcair (NDP): you said you had another example to give to the cmte?

Norman Spector: I wrote about this e.g. in the afterward to the Kaplan book (
gaaaaawd, enough about your stupid book).

Mulcair (NDP): published? Not reported but published?

Norman Spector: involves Winnipeg as well.

Mulcair (NDP): last thing: you referred to mandate of inquiry, you said rightly that PM promised full public inquiry. After his musings over Xmas, when he said mightn't be necessary, and Johnston says "well tilled ground," and he quotes Cameron to back that up. About 10 Mill, do you think the inquiry's broad enough to follow that up? Should this cmte subpoena records, tax, etc. Or does inquiry have enough of a mandate?

Norman Spector: I think the cmte should followup on these matters.

Mulcair (NDP): about Johnston's mandate?

Norman Spector: it's not broad enough.

4:37 PM
Hubbard (LPC): (yay! Kindly old ramblin' man is back!) You bring us a very interesting story as a career pub servant. You must have been very uncomfortable, watching cash being handed around and the cheques were made out in YOUR name, etc. We also found out, after you went back to BC, when the two parties were talking about merging (Reform and PC), you said you had a conversation with PMS. Mr. Harper and you discussed situation and conversation (according to you) went around relationship that Harper might have w/BM. You gave Mr. Harper some recommendations about BM relationship: you know that recommendation wasn't followed, as recently of 2006, PMS was happy to exhibit BM as one of the main architects of his victory in 2006. When you bring evidence today, about work in PMO, the advice you offered and situation as it was, with respect to people you saw coming & going to see BM, can you give our cmte the names of any of these people?

Norman Spector: I didn't recognize any of those people. I DID meet w/Harper in 2003, after article on cash payments appeared in G&M. Harper had a pained look on his face and asked me, "what should I say?" I didn't give him any advice. I was writing for Globe at time. You've put words in my mouth. I thought it was inappropriate for someone in my position to be giving political advice. I think Harper made a mistake. It's a mistake a lot of people in this country made. Only have to think back to this past September, in a 2h presentation by CTV by their chief anchor on Mr. M. It was a full blown PR exercise, and at very last min had a puffball question about cash. If entire CTV news time didn't smell something (laughter) that would have said 'proceed w/caution,' and if most experienced journalist in Canada, Lloyd Robertson didn't think, "whoah, there's something here that we should be very careful about," why would Harper, poor Stephen harper say "let's be careful about this."

Szabo (chair, LPC): you started off, provided us with puzzle pieces and challenged us to put them together. You talked about 10 mill and where did it you have any evidence that this money is from Thyssen or KHS or any of his companies?

Norman Spector: it's what came out from German justice system about KHS. KHS had 10 mill to dist in Canada. Either he kept it, kept part of it, or distributed it.

Szabo (chair, LPC): are you suggesting that any monies from Thyssen, KHS, or any of his comps got into the PC Canada Fund w/spec directive that they be earmarked for BM?

Norman Spector: no evidence

Szabo (chair, LPC): re BHP, you knew it was cancelled in 1990, subsequent discussions about relocating in Montreal (Benoit Bouchard involved at time). How do you explain to Canadians that after the PM killed multi-mill project, how do you explain that it was still alive? Did BM want to create impression that it was still alive?

Norman Spector: well, that's the smoke of this whole thing. Peter Lougheed, a conservative, had instructed cabinet never to meet w/KHS; Crosbie would never meet w/KHS. And yet KHS had all this access to the PMO, to the point where I met with him. And to the PCO, where Paul Tellier met with him. There weren't a lot of Canadians who paid a courtesy call to Harrington Lake...

4:45 PM
Szabo (chair, LPC): I understand. B/C you're familiar w/BHP, can you give us a plausible explanation for why this should have been marketed to China, France, Russia, other countries...

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): (interrupting) it's almost a quarter to ....

Szabo (chair, LPC): Ya, I understand...

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): Not "Ya," you're going on & on..we're either gonna hear Mr. Rock (Allan Rock) or we're not gonna...we're 15 minutes behind schedule!

Szabo (chair, LPC): our expectation is that we won't have as many questions for Mr. Rock...

Tilson (vice-chair, CPC): But how do you KNOW, sir? You've taken over the meeting, Mr. Rock was scheduled for 4:30 and it's now quarter-to-five! (Szabo interrupting) No! Let's end it!

Szabo (chair, LPC): Mr. Spector, do you have any final words for us?

Norman Spector: good luck. My sense is that DND was not gonna buy these things. They were dead set against them. The only poss way to go would be to find an offshore company somewhere.

Szabo (chair, LPC): thank you, Mr. Spector. Suspend for 5 min.

Return to Part IV ("Hey! You invited *me*!"), Part I ("Don't let this become Frank Magazine"), or Continue on to Part I of my Allan Rock coverage ("").
Grumpy ol' Kitty courtesy of

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