Saturday, November 24, 2007

The $300,000 dollar question

Ahh. Such a week, such a week. A few choice snippets about everybody's favourite entertainment-journalist-variety-show-host-father, starting with an Ottawa Citizen piece:

"Conservative MP Russ Hiebert immediately denounced the decision to summon the German-Canadian businessman and to launch an inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair as 'a politically motivated witch hunt.'"

The good Mr. Hiebert is free to make his case, witch-wise. That said, it would be wise if Mr. Mulroney removed the big black pointy hat that he’s been wearing lately. The same one he wore when he met with Schreiber back in ’92. Lose the broomstick as well. Far be it from me to discourage somebody's fashion sense, but with Prime Minister Harper planting that stake into Capitol Hill and Stephane Dion scattering kindling around while shaking that box of wooden matches in Mulroney’s direction with an evil's obvious that somebody needs one of those Extreme Makovers that are so popular among those who don't get out much.

Not that it's so easy for him. There’s this tidbit out of Luc Lavoie, Mulroney's point man to promote the starving civil servant angle:

“Lavoie also told CanWest News Service this week that Mulroney has since realized that he made 'a colossal mistake' in taking cash from Schreiber as he was leaving politics as an MP in August 1993. He said Mulroney had with serious money pressures as head of a young family with certain lifestyle expectations.”

Mr. Lavoie is obviously looking for a little sympathy for our pointedly ex-Prime Minister, and hey, we’ve all been there. Money's tight. But you've gotta treat yourself sometimes, right? Me, I get Thai takeout more than I should and shop at Loblaws more often than Price Chopper. I feel his pain. And just to show how tight things were, the Toronto Star (who were no doubt delighted to do it)pointed out just how rough things were for the Mulroney pater familias. A choice selection:

"So, how broke was Mulroney?...he had enough money to be able to buy a mansion at 47 Forden Cres. in upper Westmount, the richest part of the richest Montreal neighbourhood, for $1.675 million. And then he and Mila proceeded to spend at least $700,000 fixing up the home, which includes an indoor swimming pool. While prime minister, he collected a hefty salary and lots of taxpayer-financed perks...From 1984 to 1993, Mulroney and his family lived at 24 Sussex Dr., the official residence of the prime minister. In addition, they had free use of the summer residence at Harrington Lake. And when he moved out of those residences, the federal government paid Mulroney $150,000 for furniture he left top it off, the 'broke' Mulroney managed to find a job within days of stepping down as prime minister, returning to one of his old employers, the Montreal law firm of Ogilvy Renault. The salary wasn't disclosed, but you can bet it meant he was no longer poor."
Hard to keep that hard earned coin, ain't it?

I’m thinking that the ‘lifestyle expectations’ comment may not play out as well as he’s hoping. I could be wrong about that, but let me quote one of our brothers south of our border who had the same problem and attempted the same tack:

“We had realized the American Dream and we were living a very expensive lifestyle. It's the type of lifestyle that's difficult to turn off like a spigot.”
Recognize that one? That was friend of the workin’ man Ken Lay back in the day. Still…everything worked out okay for Kenny Boy. Brian's gonna be fine.


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