Thanks for the shrug-friendly emails ladies – you know who you are!! I promise to post pics of me all dolled-up with Tender is the Night. The trip to Houston is no longer iffy… My passport is ready for pick-up! Hubby was starting down the road of, “Technically, you don’t need your passport to travel.” Ever tried explaining things to a border agent?
Explaining things = smooth segue —> Day 1 of Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination. I was glued to the tv. In my own defence, I am not a Court tv person. Neither am I a public inquiry geek (ordinarily). This inquiry has me fully engaged. Richard Wolson who is counsel for the Inquiry, began by buttering the witness up. It was a masterful buttering. Mr. Wolson avers he is “no bull-dog”; asks for the witness’ understanding. At first I thought this was the classic Put Witness at Ease before you go for the Jugular tactic. It was more than that. The questioning is intense. The tension is palpable even through CBC filming. However, Mr. Wolson simply said at one point, “You are the first Prime Minister I have ever met.” The all-too human struggle for this fearless advocate is evident. It is this humanity that has me rivetted.
This morning I heard a journalist from the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntire, analyze Mr. Mulroney’s performance. He says (paraphrasing here) that the same flaws that dogged Mr. Mulroney as Prime Minister now dog him in the Inquiry. To wit – he says too much; is overly sentimental; and never fully admits a mistake.
I have no clear idea of Mr. Mulroney’s trajectory through office. I see his real weakness on the stand as sounding like a broken record. He does wax poetic but so does every former head of government. He is walking a narrow script that has not changed a jot. It lines up too well – his chief mirrors the discovery answers he gave in what 1996? Mr. Wolson, astute as a fox, highlights the pattern. He repeats the same discovery answers, asks questions and elicits the exact same answers again & again. He crosses to the substance but the big strokes are of an unnatural, hollow story. And when a witness is on a sticky wicket, you need them to sound natural.
To drive that pattern home, Mr. Wolson asks the witness about his comment going into the discovery. Which was Mr. Mulroney saying that the problem the government lawyers would face that day is that they expected him to answer their questions. Very humerous? No. It conjures up the image of a spin-master delivering his message, no matter the questions bowled. The same message echoes in the same language today.
Mr. Wolson’s cross on the discovery also eats into Mr. Mulroney’s credibility further. He makes the case that (to use lawyerese) Mr. Mulroney was guilty of material non-disclosure of his ‘legitimate commercial relationship’ with Karlheinz Schreiber. Mr. Mulroney demurs. He insists (a) the precise question was not asked; (b) the Karlheinz Schriber ‘acquaintanceship’ was not part of that case & by extension, the discovery. It does beg the question how forthright Mr. Mulroney is before the Inquiry today – are the right questions asked? Mr. Wolson presses the point through the long day to show how very thin the excuse is. Another image – Mr. Mulroney outsmarts 9 government lawyers by deliberately minimizing his meetings with Karlheinz Schriber as getting together for coffee. It’s huberis & it sticks. As does the other image – 75 $1,000 bills pocketed.
This must be the 3rd degree of hell for Mr. Mulroney. He sees the lines of questioning. He is a lawyer. I can’t say what this all means in the long run. I feel lucky to be watching this cross-examination. Yes, I am a geek & it’s not just knitting!
I have knitting things to post about but this is super long already.