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Canada's former prime minister defends his big cash transaction

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said he was no longer in politics when he accepted money from a lobbyist.

Associated Press

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said he was no longer in politics when he accepted money from a lobbyist.

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney formally denied any wrongdoing while acknowledging he accepted several cash-stuffed envelopes containing a total of $192,000 from a foreign lobbyist.

He was testifying at an inquiry headed by Judge Jeffery Oliphant into his dealings with German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Mulroney, 70, said he accepted the cash in 1993 after his term as prime minister ended.

He said the amount was not the $255,000 that Schreiber claimed he paid for his help to locate a plant to build German-designed armored military vehicles in Canada.

Mulroney didn't report the income for tax purposes for six years, saying he had treated it as a retainer on which taxes could be deferred.

Also, Mulroney said he didn't disclose those financial dealings at a public inquiry in 1996 into the sale of Airbus jets to Air Canada.

The Mounties accused the former prime minister of conspiring with Schreiber and former Newfoundland Premier Frank Moores in an alleged kickback scheme from the jet sale in 1988.

Mulroney then sued the Mounties and the federal government for libel and ultimately won a settlement worth $1.8 million.

Viewers dumping Fox after 'Red Eye' slight

Many Canadians, still angered over the Canadian military being trashed on a Fox News show two months ago, are dumping the channel from their cable and satellite TV service.

Shaw Communications is allowing its 700,000 customers to get rid of Fox News and opt for another cable channel.

Fox's overnight Red Eye show caused a national uproar when participants took turns trashing Canada and its reliability as an ally, and ridiculed its military efforts in Afghanistan, where Canadian soldiers are being killed.

Fox News is being moved to an opt-in service over the "inappropriate and disrespectful comments" that have been found to be "offensive to our customers," Shaw said.

The company can't just drop the service because of contractual agreements, said Shaw president Peter Bissonnette.

News in brief

• It was the end of an era Thursday when the General Motors truck plant in Oshawa closed after 44 years in business. The slump in truck sales and GM's economic plight caused the closing of the Toronto-area plant, which had turned out more than 10 million vehicles since 1965. It produced the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, and employed 2,600 workers.

• British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell's Liberal government won a third consecutive term, promising strong economic leadership in tough times. Campbell convinced voters his government was best able to handle the economic situation and prepare for a recovery boosted by Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics. The Liberals won in 49 of the province's 85 ridings (districts), while the socialist New Democrats won in 36 districts.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar's rally to 86.5 cents U.S. settled down to 84.76 U.S. cents Friday. The U.S. greenback returns $1.1798 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada key interest rate is 0.25 percent and the prime lending rate is 2.25 percent.

A spring market rally stalled on the Toronto Stock Exchange with the composite index lower at 9,758 points Friday, while the TSX Venture index was up slightly at 1,062 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 6, 10, 24, 28, 31, 46; bonus 25. (May 9) 14, 19, 23, 31, 34, 39; bonus 24. (May 8) 3, 16, 17, 25, 33, 35, 42; bonus 7.

Regional briefs

• Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co., will open a studio in Vancouver to produce computer animation for theme parks, DVDs, television and theatrical exhibitions. It will be Pixar's first studio outside California and will open in the fall with about 100 workers.

• The Alberta government is refuting complaints by opposition politicians upset over lower royalties to partners in the Syncrude oil project. This is a reflection of much lower world oil prices, said Energy Minister Mel Knight. Keeping royalties low when prices fall helps protect oilsands jobs and companies will pay much more when prices are higher, he said.

• Another major Canadian daily newspaper is dropping Monday publication because of financial constraints. Canwest Global Communications said its Victoria Times-Colonist will stop printing a Monday paper effective June 22. It is also ending Monday print editions of the Toronto-based National Post for the summer.

• William "Bill" Hutton, a former longtime Canadian broadcaster, died in Halifax at age 83. A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, he worked across Canada including at CFRB, Toronto, and CKWX, Vancouver, headed Independent Radio News in London and was general manager of CFNY in Brampton, Ontario, before retiring in 1989.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canada's former prime minister defends his big cash transaction 05/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 2009 8:49pm]

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