A first year of blogging in 2009 – penning on the tenth anniversary of my first blog article (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

Ten years ago today, on February 20, 2009, I began posting my second blog article, which consisted of a series of posts written through the course of 2009, focusing on Canadian politics and entitled, “The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada”.

It was a long title that was not self-evident. Nonetheless, one can ponder about key words like: Airbus Affair, Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s investigation, myth of political vendetta in the investigation, politics of Brian Mulroney and of Jean Chretien, and Canadian social undercurrents.

In writing the posts, I first focused on the title’s first part, namely the “Airbus Affair”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s investigation relating to it, and the “myth of political vendetta” in the police investigation.

I began by reviewing the current state of matters in early 2009:

“The long awaited, long-overdue Canadian government inquiry into the Airbus Affair involving former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber, and millions of dollars in commissions rumored to have included kickbacks to Mr. Mulroney personally from a 1988 sale of European Airbus planes to Air Canada – a hot topic of Canadian federal politics for well over a decade, 1, 2 – is finally getting started at the end of this March 2009. How exciting it is for the Canadian political scene.

Or is it?”

(“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 1)”, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Okay, the opening reads like, that, after having been a “hot topic” of Canadian politics for nearly two decades, the Airbus Affair regarding “millions of dollars in commissions” given by the European company Airbus Industrie that may have included kickbacks to then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for the sale of planes to Air Canada in 1988, might finally be getting a Canadian government public inquiry though I was not sure of it.

Well, that was the rhetorical style in which I began.

What was happening in 2009 was much less in scope; and I immediately answered in the negative to my own question quoted above:

“Not really. A Canadian government public inquiry headed by Justice Jeffrey J. Oliphant of Manitoba is indeed underway in its preliminary stage and the first phase of the inquiry into the facts will begin in late March in Ottawa. 3 But this inquiry is not about the Airbus Affair, only into allegations made by Mr. Schreiber in a civil lawsuit against Mulroney and during hearings held by the Canadian parliamentary Ethics Committee, in 2007-08, that he had a business service agreement in 1993 with Mr. Mulroney while the latter was still the prime minister, that he then in accordance gave Mr. Mulroney three cash payments totalling $300,000 during 1993-94 shortly after the latter had stepped down, and that Mr. Mulroney subsequently did nothing, or very little, to justify the payments. 4…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As described above, the public inquiry headed by Justice Jeffrey J. Oliphant would only focus on allegations made by the German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber, that he and former Prime Minister Mulroney had had a $300,000 business service agreement before the latter’s stepping down and he made the payments afterwards but Mr. Mulroney subsequently did not do the work needed.

Mr. Mulroney, on his part, asserted that the amount of money he had received was only $225,000, he had then done the work and there was no need for an inquiry:

“… Mr. Mulroney however stated during the Ethics Committee hearings that he got into some sort of business consulting arrangement with Mr. Schreiber only after he had left the prime minister position, that he has fully done his part in the agreement despite receiving only $225,000 (rather than the promised $300,000) from Mr. Schreiber, and that there is no need for a public inquiry. 5

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As in the above two quotes, in 2007-08 there had been hearings by the Canadian parliamentary Ethics Committee, and Schreiber and Mulroney had each told their side of the story.

So there were various kinds of official fanfares, but weren’t they just about some small potatoes when compared to the “millions of dollars in commissions” involved in the Airbus Affair?

In the sense of the money involved, yes, small potatoes. In comparison, the Airbus Affair felt like a classic case of government corruption scandal as I noted in the article’s first footnote. The Airbus sale to Air Canada had been brokered by Schreiber and Prime Minister Mulroney’s close friend, former Newfoundland Premier and former Air Canada board member Frank Moores, and the two would then privately distribute the Airbus commissions:

“1. Air Canada’s purchase of European Airbus planes in 1988 smelled of a possible scandal from the beginning, as the purchase deal by then government-owned Air Canada had been brokered by controversial German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber and (former) Air Canada board member Frank Moores who was a former Newfoundland premier and a close friend of then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and as commissions of millions of dollars from Airbus Industrie were planned right from the start, to be distributed in private by Schreiber and Moores…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

But not small potatoes in politics. In 2009 it was the first time in history a Canadian government Commission of Inquiry would be conducted on matters about a sitting or former prime minister. (“Commissions of Inquiry”, August 28, 2018, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada)

That was precedent-setting importance when it came to government leadership ethics and conduct.

Ironically, the credit for this public inquiry’s happening was Mr. Schreiber’s, as I noted that it came about after Schreiber’s filing a lawsuit against Mulroney and speaking to the media about the matter, at a time when he faced the prospect of deportation to Germany to be prosecuted there for fraud in a corruption scandal involving former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl:

“In fact, there might not have been any inquiry scheduled on any question about the ethics and conduct of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, at all, despite the kind of things that have dogged him since shortly after he became national leader and continued through when he was leaving office in 1993 and making decision to accept money from businessman Karlheinz Schreiber. 6, 7, 8 Represented by renowned Toronto criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan, Mr. Schreiber has been under increasing pressure since after he became a criminally accused fraudster in Germany in 1999 (a far cry from the earlier days when he was once a district court judge in Munich) related to a corruption scandal dogging former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl as well as to the Airbus Affair, facing deportation by Canadian authorities; but initially he continued to deny having any role in the Airbus Affair (or having given any money to Mulroney). 9, 10 Schreiber however began to realize that Mulroney was publicly turning negative toward him just as his political-connection fortune started declining … and he decided to file a lawsuit to get $300,000 “compensatory damages” from Mulroney; that led to a media report in late 2000/early 2001 about Schreiber having paid Mulroney $300,000, and finally to November 2003 when Schreiber talked to one of the leading experts on the Airbus Affair, author William Kaplan, nonetheless emphasizing that the money was not part of any Airbus commission. 11 …”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As described, Schreiber had been tight-lipped about the Airbus Affair but when he faced deportation and saw that Mulroney was turning unfriendly, he brought forth this ‘small money’ dispute.

When Schreiber did his first major interview on this matter in November 2003, with author William Kaplan as cited above, the RCMP had recently closed its criminal investigation of Mr. Mulroney in the Airbus Affair; Schreiber then became a sort of ethics crusader on this new matter while he fought legal battles to avoid deportation, and even wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“… The breaking of silence by Mr. Schreiber came about seven months after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who had spent years investigating Mulroney’s role in the Airbus Affair, had announced in April 2003 that the Airbus Affair criminal investigation against Mulroney was terminated without finding evidence for a criminal proceeding against Mulroney. 12

Mr. Karlheinz Schreiber then became more and more indignant as his lost one after another legal battle to avoid extradition to Germany where he is to face criminal charges; he made appeals to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he was adamant that he is not going back there without being given the opportunity to account how he was ‘ripped off’ $300,000 by the (former) Canadian prime minister he has been dealing with in his second homeland since the early 1970s, and he talked about “public trust”, “clean up” and “fundamental justice” versus “abuse of power”, “criminal activity” and “totalitarian Governments”. 13

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As described above, the sentiment Schreiber expressed was that the Canadian government should not simply deport him back to Germany to face criminal charges there when a former Canadian prime minister had “ripped off” him in business dealings here.

I noted that it was not an “easy” situation for Prime Minister Harper, that Mulroney was “some sort a patron” for Mr. Harper, having helped with the 2003-2004 merger of his old, “practically unelectable” Progressive Conservative Party with Harper’s “up-and-coming” Canadian Alliance:

“But it would not be an easy demand for Prime Minister Stephen Harper for whom Mr. Mulroney has been some sort of a patron since 2003-04 when Mulroney encouraged a merger between Harper’s up-and-coming but largely western Canada-based Canadian Alliance and his old, practically unelectable Progressive Conservative Party; 14 …”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Also, Mr. Peter MacKay, a top Harper cabinet minister whose father had been in Mulroney’s political circle and was a friend of Schreiber’s, and who led the Progressive Conservatives’ merger with Harper’s party, in 2003 publicly vouched for Mulroney’s innocence in the Airbus Affair:

“… when the RCMP in April 2003 announced termination of its Airbus Affair investigation, then Progressive Conservative MP, justice critic and leadership contender Peter Mackay, son of former Mulroney government’s solicitor general Elmer Mackay who has been a personal friend of Karlheinz Schreiber, commented, “It’s a sad comment that it took the RCMP this long to come to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to proceed”, and declared, “I see it as a total, unqualified vindication of Mr. Mulroney and his complete innocence in this entire affair”. 22, 23

22. Mr. Peter MacKay’s father, former Mulroney government solicitor general Elmer MacKcay and former Pierre Trudeau Liberal government justice minister Marc Lalonde guaranteed part of a $1 million bail for Karlheinz Schreiber’s release from extradition detention…

23. Peter MacKay later became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and agreed to merge the party with Stephen Harper’s Canadian Alliance to become the new opposition Conservative Party, in government today…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Prime Minister Harper then turned to an eminent Canadian, University of Waterloo President Dr. David Johnston, for advice. In 2008, Dr. Johnston advised that there should be a limited public inquiry on the Mulroney-Schreiber dispute – referred to as the Mulroney-Schreiber affair by the media – but it should not include the Airbus Affair, which according to Dr. Johnston was “this well-tilled ground” investigated by the RCMP for years already:

“Prime Minister Harper then turned to an academic, Dr. David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo, to advise him what to do while the parliamentary ethics committee hearings featuring Schreiber, Mulroney, Mulroney’s long-time aide Fred Doucet and others were under way; Dr. Johnston reported back that there should be a limited public inquiry based on Karlheinz Schreiber’s allegations about Brian Mulroney, but that there is no necessity to include the Airbus Affair in the scope of the public inquiry because the RCMP had spent years conducting a criminal investigation into that, found “insufficient evidence” and closed its file; Dr. Johnston referred to the Airbus Affair as “this well-tilled ground”. 16

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I should clarify that Prime Minister Harper publicly announced the inquiry prior to consulting Dr. Johnston on its scope. (“The investigations: 2007-2009”, March 27, 2009, CBC News)

So that was the current state of affairs in February 2009 when I began my second blog article – prior to the start of the public inquiry.

Still, I noted that Airbus Affair-related matters were not explicitly excluded in the written rules for the inquiry but were left for the Oliphant Commission’s discretion:

“But wait. It turns out the Oliphant inquiry could still be more than only about the $300,000 or $225,000 in dispute between the two gentlemen, Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney. The Terms of Reference of the inquiry, as decided by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the recommendations of Dr. David Johnston, say to examine the “business and financial dealings between Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney”, and that what those dealings were is within the matters the Oliphant Commission will determine. 17

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Justice Jeffrey Oliphant could still look into related matters if he so wished, I felt. But my sense was that he likely would not, given Dr. Johnston’s assessment that the Airbus Affair was “this well-tilled ground”; and so I opined that it would be up to Mr. Schreiber’s telling more for those matters to be heard:

“… Mr. Mulroney however stated during the Ethics Committee hearings … that there is no need for a public inquiry. 5

How boring it is to do something there is no need, or only insignificant need for – even Justice Oliphant makes more than the money in question for his honourable work on the matter.

And so more of a bore it will be if others do not hear more surprises from Mr. Karlheinz Schreiber during these upcoming hearings of the Oliphant Commission.”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

To counter the perception of the Airbus Affair being “this well-tilled ground” as expressed by Dr. Johnston, I analyzed reported facts from the press archives to try to debunk the notion that the RCMP had satisfactorily investigated the Airbus Affair and found nothing wrong with Mr. Mulroney; and I was able to demonstrate that the RCMP had not done a thorough job at all, in particular did not even get to the $300,000 that Schreiber had given Mulroney. On the basis of the facts analyzed, I concluded:

“…

And so you see, from 1989 to 1995 the RCMP had sit on a ‘nominal’ criminal investigation for 6 years, allegedly due to pressure from the Mulroney government (1984-1993), then for 4 years from 1995 to 1999 the RCMP presumably did not do much either (given the RCMP’s own admission that they started to interview Karlheinz Schreiber from the year 2000 forward), possibly to do with the Chretien Liberal government’s inaction, and then from 2000 to 2003 the investigation was likely more active – still under the Chretien government – when RCMP interviewed Karlheinz Schreiber “numerous” times by Sgt. Sylvie Tremblay’s account; but then the RCMP was unable to even figure out the $300,000 from Schreiber directly to Mulroney in spite of the many interviews with Schreiber, let alone uncover anything more elaborate.

Nowhere near “a total, unqualified vindication of Mr. Mulroney and his complete innocence in this entire affair” that Mr. Peter MacKay confidently declared in April 2003 after the RCMP announced termination of the Airbus Affair investigation.”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I pointed out that, in fact, the RCMP continued to express an interest in investigating the Airbus Affair provided new information became available:

“As a matter of fact, as late as of 2006 an RCMP spokeswoman, Sgt. Nathalie Deschenes, still stated that “anybody” could bring new information on the Airbus Affair to the RCMP and a new investigation could be commenced, though some felt the agency had become intimidated by Mr. Mulroney’s past legal action. 33

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I also pointed out that, the last time at the height of the Airbus Affair publicities in 1995-1997, the RCMP’s lack of resolve or candour had been the main reason that the government in January 1997 settled with Mr. Mulroney on his libel lawsuit:

“But either the RCMP have indeed been this impotent, or regarding the Airbus Affair the agency has had leads it was unwilling to pursue, or information it was unwilling to disclose. The last of these scenarios, namely the RCMP’s unwillingness to disclose certain information (the particular information in question was not about Mulroney’s role in the Airbus Affair but about the extent of the RCMP investigation, and was wanted by Mr. Mulroney’s lawyers), was in fact instrumental behind the Canadian government’s decision to settle a civil lawsuit with Mr. Mulroney in January 1997, paying his legal expenses on his November 20, 1995 defamation lawsuit over a September 29, 1995 Airbus-Affair investigation letter sent to Swiss authorities containing criminally-accusatory language against him. 34

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In any case, in the subsequent months in 2009 following my several blog posts on these matters, Justice Oliphant stayed clear of the Airbus Affair in the public inquiry hearings, to the point that political commentator Norman Spector expressed his regret in a The Globe and Mail article:

“… Regrettably, notwithstanding some intriguing evidence, Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant made clear that the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada was not within his mandate.

And he quickly shut down any questioning that may have helped reveal what Mr. Schreiber did with the $20-million in commissions he received.”

(“The Oliphant inquiry was an almost perfect Ottawa case study”, by Norman Spector, June 11, 2009/April 28, 2018, The Globe and Mail)

Mr. Spector, a former Mulroney government official and Prime Minister Mulroney’s chief of staff, no doubt knew as well as anyone – except Schreiber and Mulroney themselves – the extent of Schreiber’s official contacts with Mulroney, having personally witnessed Schreiber’s unparalleled lobbying access; in his disappointment, Spector wrote that the limited public inquiry matter was, well, “small potatoes compared to the Airbus Affair”:

“During the Oliphant commission hearings, we learned that Mr. Mulroney met with Mr. Schreiber – a German-Canadian arms dealer – as many as a dozen times while in office. These meetings included breakfast at 24 Sussex Dr. and a private meeting at Harrington Lake, the prime minister’s summer residence. Both Privy Council clerk Paul Tellier and I testified that we could think of no other example of such access to Mr. Mulroney.

Mr. Schreiber continued to shell out hefty lobbyist fees, but in the end, the cost to taxpayers of the matter being considered by the Oliphant commission comes down to the waste of public servants’ time – small potatoes compared to the cost of the sponsorship program, and small potatoes compared to the Airbus affair.”

(Norman Spector, June 11, 2009/April 28, 2018, The Globe and Mail)

So, “small potatoes” when it came to the matter being examined, but precedent-setting inquiry for its public scrutiny of matters of a former prime minister, were the state of affairs in 2009 when the Oliphant Commission examined the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair.

With the Oliphant Commission at work, in August 2009 Schreiber was deported back to Germany, and was later convicted of tax evasion and sentenced on November 14, 2013, to 6 and 1/2 years in jail. (“Arms lobbyist deported: Figure in CDU party donations scandal returns to Germany”, August 3, 2009, Spiegel Online; “Karlheinz Schreiber gets 6½ years for German tax evasion”, November 14, 2013, CBC News; and, “Decree in Karlheinz Schreiber trial”, Photo by Karl-Josef Hildenbrand, November 14, 2003, Getty Images)

In May 2010, Justice Oliphant released his public inquiry’s findings, concluding that Mr. Mulroney’s conduct in his “financial dealings” with Mr. Schreiber had been “inappropriate”:

“The conduct exhibited by Mr. Mulroney in accepting cash-stuffed envelopes from Mr. Schreiber on three separate occasions, failing to record the fact of the cash payments, failing to deposit the cash into a bank or other financial institution, and failing to disclose the fact of the cash payments when given the opportunity to do so goes a long way, in my view, to supporting my position that the financial dealings between Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney were inappropriate. These dealings do not reflect the highest standards of conduct, nor do they represent conduct that is so scrupulous it will bear the closest public scrutiny.”

(“The Schreiber-Mulroney affair: Key quotes from Justice Jeffrey Oliphant”, by Mary Vallis, May 31, 2010, National Post)

Hmm, accepting cash stuffed in envelopes on three different occasions, not recording them, not depositing them into bank accounts, and not disclosing them when asked about his relationship with Schreiber. One wonders what Mr. Mulroney had been thinking.

Whatever that money was for, Mr. Mulroney has never been a “close friend” of Mr. Schreiber’s, concluded Justice Oliphant:

“My perspective of the relationship is markedly different from that of Mr. Schreiber. To put it bluntly, I hold the view that Mr. Schreiber is deluding himself if he believes that Mr. Mulroney was ever a close friend.”

(Mary Vallis, May 31, 2010, National Post)

In my February 20 post in 2009, I had noted in a footnote that Schreiber’s relationship with Mulroney dated back to 1983 when he and Frank Moores helped Mulroney depose Progressive Conservative Party leader Joe Clark and become the leader:

“23. … in April 2003 the PC party leader was former Prime Minister Joe Clark, a former leadership rival, long-time partner in government and ideological opposite of Brian Mulroney; Mr. Clark had been deposed in his earlier stint as PC party leader in 1983, by Mr. Mulroney with the help of, among others, former Newfoundland premier Frank Moores and German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber – two personalities later at the centre of the Airbus Affair after Mulroney became prime minister…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Following the public inquiry’s completion, in July 2010 Dr. David Johnston was named by Prime Minister Harper to become the Governor General of Canada. The appointment made political commentator and Airbus Affair observer Andrew Coyne wonder what might be in it:

“It’s true that it was Johnston, as adviser to the Prime Minister on the terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry, who recommended against including the Airbus scandal in its mandate, a decision that looks all the more baffling in light of the judge’s findings: not only that Brian Mulroney took hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, shortly after leaving office, from the very man from whom he was accused of taking bribes while in office, but that he lied about it, up to and including his appearance before the inquiry. Regardless of whether Mulroney was personally involved, the circumstances surrounding the Airbus deal are so suspicious that, even 22 years later, they cry out for an inquiry — not in spite of the passage of time but because of it. Johnston’s reasoning, that Airbus, having once been the subject of an RCMP investigation, was “well-tilled ground,” is simply unsupported by the facts: the RCMP had only just begun their investigation when it was shut down by the leaking of the infamous “Swiss letter,” a calamity from which it never recovered.”

(“That David Johnston scandal, in full”, by Andrew Coyne, July 12, 2010, Maclean’s)

In 2009 for my blog writing, though, I did not get bogged down with following the money trail.

Being more interested in politics and in government leadership ethics than in the details of commercial kickbacks to a prime minister per se, I proceeded in the blog post series to review broader issues in relevant Canadian politics during a longer historical period – beginning from Mr. Mulroney’s ascent to power in the early 1980s – with the hope that they would shed revealing lights on the Airbus Affair in particular.

Consequently, “the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada”, became a part of this long 2009 article’s title.

But in my article’s first post, I did not get to what the “myth of political vendetta” was in the RCMP investigation of the Airbus Affair, nor did I really discuss that bigger affair, except noting:

“Earlier, in August 1999 over two-and-a-half years after the Canadian government had settled a civil lawsuit with Mulroney, Mr. Mulroney’s spokesman Luc Lavoie made the accusation that there was a “political vendetta” behind the continuing RCMP criminal investigation (probably seeing that the investigation was going to continue well into the New Millennium). 24

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In the blog post series through 2009, these various matters were looked into as the broader politics was reviewed.

I began Part 2 by showing that some key basic facts about Mr. Mulroney’s politics would shed light on why allegations of corruption, in particular the Airbus Affair about possible commercial kickbacks, arose.

For one key fact, Mr. Mulroney’s politics emphasized economic privatization and free trade, and was closely identified with that of Ronald Reagan’s in the United States and Margaret Thatcher’s in Great Britain; in relation to that, “the connections between the conservatives’ politics and their business and personal lifestyles” were regularly scrutinized by the left-leaning Canadian media, as I noted:

“When the Mulroney conservatives ascended to power in 1984 on a platform of economic privatization and free trade with the United States, and were perceived as practising politics more closely identified with that of the rightwing Mr. Ronald Reagan in the United States and Mrs. Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, the connections between the conservatives’ politics and their business and personal lifestyles naturally became subjects of scrutiny by the traditionally left-leaning Canadian media. 37 Since that early days the press media have regularly exposed facts as well as innuendos, while the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Fifth Estate TV program has relentlessly pursued some of the harder topics. 38

(“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 2)”, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

For another key fact, Mulroney’s politics and policies proved “extremely unpopular with most Canadians” in the end, and after his handing over the government to his successor Prime Minister Kim Campbell in 1993 the party, “once led by the founding prime minister of Canada Sir John A. MacDonald”, was nearly obliterated in the October 25 election:

“Mulroney’s approach to politics in the end proved extremely unpopular with most Canadians. The Progressive Conservative Party he had led for ten years, 1983-1993, nine of which as prime minister with two consecutive terms of parliamentary majority, a party once led by the founding prime minister of Canada Sir John A. MacDonald, in the October 25, 1993 election under his successor, the first female Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell, won only two parliament seats. 39

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

With the above two key basic facts in mind, I reasoned that the subsequent government of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien would be willing to “take a hard line” when approached by the RCMP to initiate cooperation with the Swiss authorities to investigate the Airbus Affair; and I noted that, like the first female Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell, Kimberly Prost, the Justice Department lawyer who wrote the September 29, 1995 letter to the Swiss authorities, referring to “criminal activities carried out by the former prime minister”, was also a woman:

“Given this background of history it is obvious that it was politically appealing in 1995 for the Justice Department to take a hard line when it was approached by the RCMP to initiate cooperation with the Swiss authorities in the Airbus Affair investigation; as for the real story of how the Justice Department letter dated September 29, 1995 and signed by senior counsel Kimberly Prost – another woman – came to include the reference “criminal activities carried out by the former prime minister”, it has never been adequately explained, i.e., who was, or were, behind the criminally accusatory language that would result in a $50 million defamation lawsuit from Mr. Mulroney and over $2 million of legal-settlement costs by the government. 41

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Compatible with my reasoning about the key basic facts regarding the Mulroney government, Norman Spector’s article in 2009 at the end of the Oliphant Commission’s public hearings, cited earlier, also clearly demonstrated the contrasting responses by Prime Minister Mulroney earlier and by Prime Minister Chretien later to Schreiber’s “aggressive” business lobbying:

“Still, one group of Canadians is sure to get value for the millions the commission will spend examining another of Mr. Schreiber’s projects, Bear Head. Since that project was considered both by Liberal and Conservative governments, political scientists will find buried in the Oliphant commission transcripts and exhibits an almost perfect case study of how Ottawa really works.

Under Jean Chrétien’s Liberals, the project was put to death in less than two years; during the Conservative era, it proved impossible to kill. How can one explain the differing response to Mr. Schreiber’s aggressive lobbying?

Frank Moores and Fred Doucet under the Conservatives and Marc Lalonde under the Liberals had no difficulty making contact and arranging meetings with powerful ministers. And they all had easy access to the PMO. The principal difference between the Conservative and Liberal eras was Mr. Mulroney’s personal involvement – and the personal involvement of his successive chiefs of staff, including me – which created the widespread perception in Ottawa that Bear Head had friends at the highest levels of government.

Under the Liberals, Marc Lalonde wrote to Mr. Chrétien – his former cabinet colleague – about Mr. Schreiber’s project, but neither Mr. Chrétien nor his chief of staff took a personal interest in it. …”

(Norman Spector, June 11, 2009/April 28, 2018, The Globe and Mail)

That kind of cosiness with business lobbyists was likely a reason not only for the Mulroney government’s being dogged with corruption scandals exposed pursued by the media, but also for Mr. Mulroney’s taking cash stuffed in envelopes soon after leaving government – as the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair finally revealed decades later.

Also interesting is where the word “vendetta” originated regarding the RCMP criminal investigation of Mulroney, that as alleged by Mulroney’s associates it had involved not only the police, but also the media and especially a number of female journalists.

In August 1999, Mulroney’s spokesman Luc Lavoie called the RCMP criminal investigation a “political vendetta” only days before Schreiber was first arrested for deportation, as I noted in a footnote of Part 1:

“24. Mr. Mulroney spokesman Luc Lavoie’s calling the continuing RCMP criminal investigation a “political vendetta”, came in August 1999 just days before the RCMP would arrest Karlheinz Schreiber in Toronto to try to deport him to Germany to face criminal charges there; it would take almost another 4 years before the RCMP would close the investigation without finding sufficient evidence against Mulroney…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

But several years earlier, in 1996 for his libel lawsuit against the RCMP and the government, Mulroney’s side already alleged that there was a “vendetta” against him in the Canadian media, and subpoenaed three top journalists, all female, along with Justice Minister Allan Rock’s executive assistant by the name of Cyrus Reporter, for testimony, as I described in Part 2:

“In 1996 during his civil litigation with the RCMP and the Canadian government over the Airbus Affair, Mr. Mulroney’s side expressed the view that there was a vendetta against him in the Canadian media that contributed to the RCMP criminal investigation, and his lawyers subpoenaed three top Canadian journalists to testify to find out their roles in it, who were: author and former The Fifth Estate host Stevie Cameron, The Globe and Mail newspaper columnist Susan Delacourt, and Maclean’s magazine writer Mary Janigan; all happened to be women (in addition to the three female journalists, Mulroney’s lawyers also subpoenaed the executive assistant of then justice minister Allan Rock by the name of Cyrus Reporter). 42

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As cited above, the three female Canadian journalists subpoenaed by Mr. Mulroney were author and former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation The Fifth Estate TV program host Stevie Cameron, The Globe and Mail newspaper columnist Susan Delacourt, and Maclean’s magazine writer Mary Janigan.

Of the three, at least Stevie Cameron was very well known for her anti-corruption writings with a focus on Mr. Mulroney and his associates since the early time of the Mulroney government era, and was also viewed as a key person for the RCMP’s Airbus Affair investigation, having cooperated with the police since soon after the 1988 Airbus plane deal:

“It is also known that media materials provided to the RCMP had been crucial in the agency’s 1995 decision to revive the Airbus Affair investigation, and that author and journalist Stevie Cameron has been generally viewed as a key person in a tireless media campaign driving the investigation, not only through her articles, books and public speaking but also her communications with the RCMP, cooperating with the RCMP since 1988 and was later officially designated a “confidential informant” by the agency. 44, 45

Not a surprise at all for Stevie Cameron to be casted as someone driving behind the RCMP Airbus-Affair criminal investigation, as she has been a leading Canadian journalist of anti-political-corruption repute ever since the early years of the Mulroney era. …”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In 2007 during the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair, Ms. Cameron reflected on her past role in exposing Mulroney by citing Schreiber’s lament to Mulroney about her on January 29 of that year:

“Ms. Cameron herself is also sure that the persons she has been chasing view her in this way as well, as she has been quoted as saying on November 13, 2007: 57

“Would I be at the top of Mulroney’s list of journalists? You bet. In a letter Schreiber wrote to Mulroney on Jan. 29 this year, he said, ‘All my personal problems began with Stevie Cameron’s book On The Take and Allan Rock’s political witch hunt with the RCMP against you.’”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In this 2009 article’s Part 2, I presented a concise overview of Stevie Cameron’s anti-corruption writings, from the early time of the Mulroney era in the mid-1980s to the time of the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair in 2007-2009.

Initially, in the mid-late 1980s, Cameron reported extensively on the “lifestyles and related problems” of the Mulroney family, namely extravagance paid for by the Canadian government and by his Progressive Conservative Party; what she exposed became a “hot topic” before the 1988 election – Mulroney nevertheless won it despite the negative publicities:

“… by the mid-1980s, Cameron had begun to take on assignments investigating political ethics and conduct, and she made her initial fame in this field through reporting on the lifestyles and related problems of the family of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, in 1987 exposing the so-called Gucci-gate, i.e., Prime Minister Mulroney’s closet built to house 50 pairs of Gucci shoes, 30 suits and other personal furnishings. 48

More intriguing among what Cameron reported in 1987 than the fact that the Progressive Conservative Party helped pay for the Mulroney lifestyles, was that during those early years there were already prospects of a legal dispute with a legitimate businessperson who did services for the Mulroney family for their lifestyles, who was threatening to take the family and the government to court for money owned; but he was given career-ending threat not to pester Mr. Mulroney who being the national leader was powerful and influential. 49

The Gucci-gate and related topics of lavish personal spending (of government and party money) by then Prime Minister Mulroney and his family became a hot topic before the 1988 election, pounded upon by opposition parties and journalists alike. …

49. The businessperson threatening to sue was interior designer Giovanni Mowinckel, in a dispute with Mrs. Mila Mulroney and the government over interior design costs for the Prime Minister’s official residence…”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Then, in the early 1990s, Cameron was the host of the CBC’s hard-hitting The Fifth Estate TV program; also, beginning from the late 1980s, she specialized in writing books investigating corruption in the Mulroney government and the Mulroney circles:

“Moving on from her 1987 lifestyle stories on then prime minister Brian Mulroney and his family, journalist Stevie Cameron hosted the flagship broadcast program of Canadian investigative journalism, The Fifth Estate, in 1990-1991. 55

After the 1987 Mulroney-lifestyle stories Cameron also began to concentrate on a career as a book writer, specializing in investigative political journalism, and she has been growing her reputation ever since in this field, through a series of bestselling or award-winning books on subjects centred at corruptions in the era of the former Mulroney government, starting with, Ottawa inside out: power, prestige and scandal in the nation’s capital (1989; an introduction to political life and business lobbying in Ottawa, with a focus on the years of Mulroney’s first term in government, 1984-1988), then after the Mulroney era had ended, On the take: crime, corruption and greed in the Mulroney years (1994; a book credited with bringing to public attention the Airbus Affair and contributing to the revival of the RCMP criminal investigation), then after the government’s 1997 legal settlement with Mulroney on his defamation lawsuit, Blue trust: the author, the lawyer, his wife, and her money (1998; the real-life stories of Montreal tax lawyer Bruce Verchere, whose father had been a British Columbia supreme court justice, and who was entrusted with supervising Brian Mulroney’s personal business affairs while Mulroney was prime minister, stories about Verchere’s manner of business, his Swiss and Vatican bank connections, his marital infidelities and dispute with his wife who was a successful computer-software businesswoman, and his ultimate suicide in August 1993 – only two months after his appointment as chairman of Atomic Energy Canada Limited by Mr. Mulroney the day before Mulroney was to step down as prime minister), and finally, The last amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the anatomy of a scandal (2001; a book co-authored with then CBC The Fifth Estate producer Harvey Cashore, describing various international business and political-bribery activities of German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber). 56

The last in the above series of books from author Stevie Cameron has been proven very credible by Karlheinz Schreiber’s own disclosures and revelations of facts in the last few years. …”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Cameron’s books listed above, published from 1989 to 2001, were respectively on the subject of: power and scandal in Canada’s capital Ottawa; crime and corruption in the Mulroney years, including the Airbus Affair; the life and death of a lawyer who supervised Mulroney’s personal business affairs; and Schreiber’s international business and political-bribery activities.

Especially worth noting was the influence Cameron’s books exerted, as quoted above. While the first book introduced the reader to politics and business lobby in Ottawa, the second book was credited with bringing the public’s attention to the Airbus Affair and leading to the RCMP’s intensified criminal investigation of Mulroney in 1995; and the fourth book was an introduction to Karlheinz Schreiber’s international activities and in some sense anticipated the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair.

In other words, several times Cameron’s books were galvanizing factors for, or forerunners to, major Canadian political affairs about corruption or ethical misconduct.

Thus, in praise of Cameron’s achievements, I wrote:

“… Ms. Cameron’s reputation as a courageous and solid investigative journalist doggedly on the money trails of former prime minister Brian Mulroney and German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber has been firmly established.”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

The third book of Cameron’s listed above is perhaps the exception, in the sense that it has not foreboded a scandalous affair so far.

But that book is perhaps the most interesting, or most intriguing, of them as I wrote:

“For Stevie Cameron, the story of Bruce Verchere, former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s tax lawyer, has continued to be a subject of intense interest, as Ms. Cameron posted a blog article about him as recently as on February 26, 2008; in her blog article, Cameron made it clear that when Mulroney was the Prime Minister he had a “lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland” (something Mr. Mulroney’s spokesman denied when Karlheinz Schreiber first said it in 2006-07, as mentioned in an earlier part of this blog article), and that as explained the day before on February 25, 2008 by Mr. Schreiber in front of the parliamentary ethics committee this lawyer was Mulroney’s tax lawyer Bruce Verchere, who was also his financial trustee while he was serving as prime minister. 58

The reason for then prime minister Brian Mulroney’s Canadian lawyer to be referred to as his lawyer in Switzerland is that Bruce Verchere was also the Canadian lawyer representing the Swiss bank where (in a branch in Zurich, Switzerland) Mr. Schreiber opened bank accounts for Airbus commissions and other funds including his now famous $300,000 given to Mulroney in 1993-94.59, 60, 61

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As described above, the central figure in Cameron’s third book, lawyer Bruce Verchere, was once Prime Minister Mulroney’s tax lawyer and financial trustee and, at the same time, a lawyer representing the Swiss bank where Schreiber had accounts for the Airbus commissions as well as the $300,000 he later gave Mulroney.

In other words, Verchere, who died of a suicide in August 1993 soon after Mulroney’s departure from government, could have been a key to the mysteries of Airbus Affair, namely to the possible Airbus kickbacks to Mulroney that the RCMP failed to uncover in its long-running and fruitless criminal investigation.

Karlhienz Schreiber has alleged something nearly to that effect. In Part 1 of my 2009 blog article I quoted from a 2007 media story referring to Schreiber’s allegation about Mulroney’s “lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland”:

“And yet by early November 2007 when he was trying hard to avoid extradition to Germany, railing against “abuse of power” by Mr. Mulroney earlier when the latter was prime minister, Mr. Schreiber took an extra legal step to try to expose Mulroney’s role in the Airbus Affair, a role that was connected to the company Government Consultants International, an Ottawa lobbying firm during the Mulroney era founded by Frank Moores, Mr. Mulroney’s appointee to the Air Canada board, according to a report in The Globe and Mail newspaper: 26

“An adviser to former prime minister Brian Mulroney asked Karlheinz Schreiber to transfer funds, made in connection with Air Canada’s 1988 purchase of Airbus airplanes, to Mr. Mulroney’s lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland, according to an affidavit sworn by Mr. Schreiber and filed Thursday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The affidavit states that Mr. Schreiber informed Mr. Mulroney during a meeting at Zurich’s Hotel Savoy on Feb. 2, 1998 that one of Mr. Mulroney’s closest friends and advisers, Fred Doucet, had asked him to transfer funds “related to the Airbus deal” from the lobby firm, Government Consultants International, or GCI, to Mr. Mulroney’s Swiss lawyer.”

Such new and shocking revelation would make one wonder what else important Mr. Schreiber may have yet to disclose (even if in the case of the above accusation Mr. Mulroney’s spokesman denied it, stating that Mr. Mulroney never had a lawyer in Geneva, Switzerland). 27

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As above, in 2007 in information formally provided to the court, Schreiber alleged that Mulroney’s adviser Fred Doucet had once asked him to send funds “related to the Airbus deal” to Prime Minister Mulroney’s lawyer in Geneva – namely Bruce Verchere.

After that 2007 court filing, in February 2008 Schreiber explicitly stated to the Canadian parliamentary Ethics Committee – as in the second last quote above – that Prime Minister Mulroney’s “lawyer in Geneva” had been Bruce Verchere, and Cameron also wrote a blog article to explain who Verchere had been.

In a footnote in Part 2 of my blog article, I noted not only Verchere’s close relationship with Mr. Mulroney but also close professional link with lawyer John C. Major, who on November 13, 1992 was appointed by Prime Minister Mulroney to the Supreme Court of Canada:

“60. There are several crucial facts in Cameron’s 1998 book on Bruce Verchere that are worth commenting on here: one, Bruce Verchere’s Montreal law firm Verchere, Noel & Eddy, in 1989 (i.e., when he was the financial trustee for then prime minister Brian Mulroney) merged with Calgary law firm Bennett Jones to form a national law firm Bennett Jones Verchere, and one of the lawyers in this law firm was John C. Major, who had represented Karlheinz Schreiber in Alberta, and who later in 1991 was appointed to the Alberta Court of Appeal and then on November 13, 1992 was appointed by Mr. Mulroney to the Supreme Court of Canada; two, although Verchere and his Montreal law firm also represented the family of murdered Italian banker Roberto Calvi – dubbed “God’s Banker” for his close ties to the Vatican and the Vatican Bank – after Italy’s biggest banking scandal and the unsolved murder, the Calvi family’s Canadian lawyer initially was Arthur Campeau at Brian Mulroney’s law firm Ogilvy Renault, and changed to Verchere’s law firm when Campeau came over in August 1983 just two months after Mulroney had defeated Joe Clark to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in June 1983; and three, Verchere was not only tax lawyer and financial trustee for the prime minister but enjoyed extremely close friendship, accompanying Mulroney in a 1988 White House visit for President Ronald Reagan’s farewell, and was appointed chairman of Atomic Energy Canada Limited in June 1993 one day before Mulroney was to step down, and just two months before Verchere’s own suicide in August 1993…”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

But obviously, by the time of the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair, or even a decade earlier at the height of the Airbus Affair, a man already dead could not cause a scandal, or at least could not do anything to cause one.

Still, Stevie Cameron has been very effective keeping journalistic tabs of the key figures and their activities related to former Prime Minister Mulroney’s ethical problems.

A reason for Cameron’s ability and effectiveness investigating scandals could be the intelligence background in her and her family’s past, which I mentioned:

“… From a family of some background in the intelligence field, Stevie Cameron had apparently worked for a short time at the Communications Security Establishment – a Canadian intelligence agency she discussed at length in her 1989 book Ottawa inside out: power, prestige and scandal in the nation’s capital – before becoming a food and lifestyles journalist; 47…”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In addressing certain media criticisms of Cameron’s writings, specifically that of her having a “conspiracy theorist” mindset, I discussed more about the intelligence background of hers and her father’s, and his tragic death when she was only 12 years old:

“One major category of criticisms levelled at Cameron has been that she collected all kinds of information she could get, including innuendos, rumors and gossips, and presented them as facts against Mulroney, and that she was a “conspiracy theorist”, “gratuitous” or even “mean-spirited” targeting Mulroney; varying degrees of this view have been expressed by many of her critics, notably author William Kaplan, columnist Philip Mathias of the National Post/Financial Post newspapers and Tory Senator Marjorie LeBreton. 62

Regarding her “conspiracy theorist” mindset and her relatively liberal use of materials, Ms. Cameron’s background and interest in the field of intelligence may have given her a sense of liberty to include some innuendos and rumors with the facts in her documentation of corrupt activities.

Reading her books I have had the impression that Ms. Cameron did have a liking in quoting or citing persons in the social environment of a main character in a book, where the opinions or statements were not always verified with sufficient facts; and she did have a tendency to suggest the existence of regular patterns as well as of collaborations among persons behind the scenes, especially as they relate to corrupt practices, without presenting, or possibly even being in possession of, evidence to substantiate them.

That brings to mind that Ms. Cameron’s father, Whitey Dahl, had a colorful and adventurous life with some intriguing mysteries possibly to do with working with the CIA (including playing golf often with former CIA director Allen Dulles and befriending others in that agency), who died in an airplane crash when Stevie Cameron was only 12 years old, and that she has had a genuine fascination for her father’s life story and had even chosen to become a member of the “spy” community early in her career, dropping out only when she found out that she wasn’t good at her job of technical code-breaking of Russian radio communications. 72

It is entirely possible that someone with Ms. Cameron’s background, knowledge and experience has the tendency to suspect more, to try to get at more, and to suggest that there was more, than has met the eye. The point is where a line should be drawn in the judgment of the writer in investigative journalist documentation; and on that Ms. Cameron has been at least as much a political journalist as she was an investigative journalist.”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Because of her journalistic work exposing corruption, Stevie Cameron had concerns for her family’s safety, and she was especially unwilling to be viewed as cooperating with the police, also because of her sad experience with the RCMP at the time of her mother’s death:

“… Cameron however has been unwilling to be treated or viewed as in cooperation with the law enforcement – the RCMP in particular – out of safety concern for her family as well as concern about some of the ways in which the RCMP have operated. 46

46. Some of the reasons author Stevie Cameron has minimized to the public her role in cooperating with the RCMP in the Airbus Affair criminal investigation can be found in an article on the author’s website; two of these reasons I have found both sad and intriguing: one reason is her stated fear for safety of her two daughters, as around the time of publication of her 1994 book, On the take: crime, corruption and greed in the Mulroney years, one of them, Amy, then a Concordia University student in Montreal, was followed and threatened, and one of her publishers’ office and the typesetting company were vandalized; another reason has to do with how she was treated insensitively by the RCMP investigators around the time of her mother’s final days in hospital in Toronto when she had to be on her mother’s bedside, a story reminding me of my unintended absence during my own father’s final days at a turbulent time in 2005 when his passing happened exactly one month after the death of Frank Moores (discussed in the Notes of an earlier part of this blog article) – the RCMP got Stevie Cameron away for an interview in the morning of January 14, 1997 and at the end of the interview when she phoned the hospital she learned that her mother had already died in the middle of the interview hour; …”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As in the above, around the time of the publication of her 1994 book on corruption in the Mulroney years, Cameron’s daughter Amy was threatened, and her publisher’s office and her book-typesetting company were vandalized; and, worse in some sense, in January 1997 when she had to be on her ailing mother’s hospital bedside, the RCMP got her away for an interview – doubtlessly about Mulroney and the Airbus Affair – and in those hours her mother died without her knowing.

I note here that Cameron mother’s death happened in the same month in 1997, mentioned earlier, when the government settled with Mulroney on his libel lawsuit against RCMP and the government.

In the above quote, I also mentioned the resemblance of “my unintended absence during my own father’s final days at a turbulent time in 2005 when his passing happened exactly one month after the death of Frank Moores (discussed in the Notes of an earlier part of this blog article)”.

Those relevant facts about my father and the time of his death – including coincidences with Frank Moores, and with former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major – which was unexpected to me in 2005, had been in the footnotes of the 2009 blog article’s Part 1 dated February 20:

“2. Amid the Airbus Affair publicity there were some influential Canadians who took exception to the prevalent negative view about Karlheinz Schreiber’s way of doing business; one such notable person was then Supreme Court of Canada Justice John C. Major, who had previously acted as Schreiber’s lawyer in an Alberta provincial government inquiry into questionable real-estate dealings involving Schreiber in the city of Edmonton; Justice Major was quoted at the height of the Airbus Affair frenzies in December 1996 that his dealings with Schreiber had been “very honorable”, and that Schreiber had been “badly treated in the accusations” in Edmonton…

20. Mr. Frank Moores, the crucial middle man in the Airbus Affair, is dead and therefore cannot be questioned by the Oliphant Commission in the upcoming limited public inquiry or by any broader investigation/inquiry processes that might be conducted in the future; Mr. Moores died of liver cancer on July 10, 2005; not long afterwards on August 3, 2005, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlan of the Supreme Court of Canada announced the early retirement of Justice John C. Major who happened to be one of the rare influential Canadians personally positive about Karlheinz Schreiber, to take place on Christmas Day 2005 two months ahead of his mandatory retirement at 75; …

21. The time around the liver-cancer death of Mr. Frank Moores and the announcement of Justice John Major’s retirement would happen to be also a very difficult time in my personal life: my father, a professor of philosophy in Canton, China …, who happened to have been born exactly 76 years ago on the date of this February 20, 2009 blog article, exactly two years after Justice Major was born, and exactly two days after Premier Moores was born, was having serious heart-exhaustion problems and would die of heart failure on August 10, 2005, exactly one month after Frank Moores; being in a difficult situation here in Canada myself I did not receive adequate notice of the gravity of my father’s situation and missed being with my father at his final moment, whom I had not seen since just before Christmas in 2001. The several days around my father’s death were also turbulent in Canadian and international human affairs of relevant interest: three days prior on August 7 Peter Jennings, ABC News anchor and probably the most recognizable Canadian in the world, who had just celebrated his 67thbirthday on July 29, died of lung cancer…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As noted above, Frank Moores, another key man who may have possessed crucial knowledge about possible Airbus kickback to former Prime Minister Mulroney, i.e., besides Bruce Verchere who had committed suicide in August 1993, died of cancer in July 2005.

In another footnote, I discussed Moores’s role in the Airbus Affair:

“19. Despite his lifetime denial to the contrary, former Newfoundland premier Frank Moores, a close friend of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, lobbied for and helped complete the 1988 $1.8 billion Air Canada purchase of European Airbus planes; Moores had to resign from the Air Canada’s board of directors to which he had been appointed by Mulroney, ahead of the completion of the deal because of political controversy; after Karlheinz Schreiber received around $20 million dollars of commissions from Airbus Industrie (an amount according to himself), Moores billed Schreiber at least a confirmed $1.3 million for his part of the commissions; the conventional wisdom is that Moores was a middle man for Schreiber in distributing millions of dollars of commissions to others in Canada…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Moores’s death happened at a crucial time, around halftime from November 2003 when Schreiber did his first major interview – with author William Kaplan as mentioned earlier – about the $300,000 he had given Mulroney, to March 2007 when Schreiber filed a lawsuit against Mulroney and the controversy became the full-blown Mulroney-Schreiber Affair. (“Background on the Mulroney-Schreiber affair”, November 29, 2007, National Post)

The deaths of Bruce Verchere and Frank Moores, if they were not purely incidental, added to earlier mysterious deaths – suicides that have been disputed – related to Prime Minister Mulroney’s circles and money, discussed in Cameron’s 1994 book on corruption in the Mulroney years and cited in Part 3 of my 2009 blog article:

“Some persons had already died in mysterious circumstances after they had become entangled in the web of the former Mulroney government’s money, according to Cameron’s 1994 book, On the take: crime, corruption and greed in the Mulroney years: besides what have been mentioned in this blog article about the story of Bruce Verchere (and his suicide), there had been other mysterious deaths of Tory associates of Brian Mulroney’s (that had also been ruled as suicides but were disputed), namely the deaths of John Grant and Roger Nantel who in different capacities had been in charge of dispensing federal government money. (In the Notes of the earlier parts of this blog article I have also mentioned the premature deaths of Frank Moores and Gary Ouellet, noting that my own father passed away in 2005 exactly one month after Moores.)”

(“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 3)”, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

On the anti-corruption side, the personal costs were particularly demonstrated in the case of Ottawa-area businessman Glen Kealey, a crusader who became “financially broke and penniless”:

“A better example of the consequences of anti-corruption crusade, one Cameron as a journalist also wrote about extensively, is the personal experiences of Glen Kealey, an Ottawa-area businessman who had had a dispute with some of the Mulroney associates during the early years of the Mulroney government – regarding an alleged 5%-kickback request from Mulroney cabinet minister Roch LaSalle especially – and subsequently embarked on a campaign to publicize, and to criminally prosecute corruptions in the Mulroney government: he became financially broke and penniless. 93

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Kealey’s case, which Cameron reported as a journalist, also illustrated the difficulty to achieve any tangible result, at all, in anti-corruption crusades; same was true of my own experience in political activism over Mulroney’s leadership and conduct:

“As mentioned in some of the earlier Notes, I myself was once in peaceful political activity, in late 1992 in Vancouver, attempting to publicly air criticisms of then prime minister Brian Mulroney’s leadership in general and especially his conduct during the Charlottetown constitutional process, sending press releases to some media outlets. … But my efforts at airing criticisms brought nothing but personal misery.

Glen Kealey not only lost all his business and money, but after years of hard campaign – including daily protests outside the national parliament lasting through the end of the Mulroney era – achieved only meager results: only one person out of 13 Tory politicians and 3 senior RCMP officers Kealey had wanted to prosecute, namely the former Mulroney cabinet minister Roch LaSalle, was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police (but not by RCMP); the OPP then missed the deadline for proceeding with the criminal charges …

In one of her first newspaper articles reporting on the Glen Kealey story, Cameron even quoted what was written on Kealey’s protest placard outside the House of Commons in the capital: 95

“RCMP always get their man – but not their politicians”.

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As quoted by Cameron, above, from Kealey’s protest placard about police catching criminals, “RCMP always get their man – but not their politicians”.

Apparently, the Airbus Affair turned out to be more of the same, as was my experience as noted above in activism over government leadership and conduct.

It wasn’t until the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair and the public inquiry in 2009-2010, that someone of authority, in this case Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, finally concluded that Mr. Mulroney’s conduct had been “inappropriate” – as already discussed.

In the 1990s when Cameron was writing to expose corruption and matters related to the Airbus Affair, some particularly strong criticisms of her came from the Canadian media baron Conrad Black, who accused her of “journalistically” assaulting Mulroney, of avoiding the court and ‘double-crossing’ the RCMP investigator; such aggressive assertions prompted a journalist to say that Black wanted to have Cameron “put in jail”:

“A most interesting, rather lengthily outspoken and contemptuous attack on Stevie Cameron has come directly from Conrad Black, who was owner of the National Post newspaper in 1998 when he penned a review of William Kaplan’s book, Presumed Guilty: Brian Mulroney, the Airbus Affair, and the Government of Canada. Mr. Black referred to the RCMP Airbus Affair criminal investigation as “a disgraceful abuse of police and ministerial powers”, stated that Stevie Cameron’s “pathological hatred of Mulroney was notorious”, and described certain controversy about Cameron to do with leaked RCMP information – which the government had used as reason for settling Mulroney’s libel lawsuit – as that Cameron “febrilely promoted” the RCMP criminal investigation and then “double-crossed” the investigator Staff Sgt. Fraser Fiegenwald as well as the RCMP legal defence for the lawsuit because she was not willing to “identify her source under oath or alternately face contempt charges” in court: 67

“Because she didn’t wish to have to identify her source under oath or alternately face contempt charges, she destroyed the feeble defence the government had against the man she had obsessively assaulted journalistically for years and she ratted on her police informant. Eventually, impartial history will have to record that for Brian Mulroney to have had such enemies was a badge of honor.

Justice was ultimately done, in that Mulroney was vindicated but most of the wrongdoers went unpunished. Only the RCMP sergeant paid with his job, doublecrossed by Ms. Cameron, the beneficiary of his misconduct, retiring the day before his disciplinary hearing, (with a full pension).”

Black also unabashedly declared that his notion of media ownership had much to do with power struggles directly related to the issue of how former prime minister Brian Mulroney should be treated by the media:

Such barely veiled warnings from the powerful press baron Conrad Black prompted newspaper columnist John MacLachlan Gray to comment unambiguously that Black wanted to have Stevie Cameron “put in jail” and turn Canadian journalists into “toy soldiers”. 68 Also in reaction to Conrad Black’s comments, The former RCMP Airbus Affair investigator Fraser Fiegenwald sent a letter to Stevie Cameron issuing a denial that he had been betrayed by Cameron in anyway. 69

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Conrad Black’s public attack of Cameron in the media and praise for Mulroney received Cameron’s public response, calling Black “Brian Mulroney’s new champion”, as I quoted:

“Even though Stevie Cameron had not always answered her critics directly she took Conrad Black very seriously, and she took steps, fierily and determinedly, to answer Mr. Black’s accusations. Cameron wrote an article in which she called Conrad Black “Brian Mulroney’s new champion” and recounted the kind of denigrating language Black had used in his criticisms of her and the RCMP: 70

Black has emerged as Brian Mulroney’s new champion and the old contempt and patronizing dismissals of Mulroney which litter his autobiography have vanished. But not his contempt for investigative journalists, whom he has described as “swarming, grunting jackals” and police officers he calls “gasconading dupes” and “fascistic palookas.””

Cameron then publicly denied that any leaked information in question had come to her from Fraser Fiegenwald or anyone in the RCMP:

Cameron also stated clearly that contrary to Black’s assertion she was ready and willing to testify in court:

…”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Concerned about potential suppression of press freedom by such a powerful media owner, Cameron also brought a complaint about Black to the journalist organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression:

“In addition to replying to Conrad Black’s scathing criticisms through her newspaper articles, Stevie Cameron took an unusual step to counter what she felt was a “smear campaign” against her coming from Black’s media ownership power, by bringing a complaint to the journalist organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression; Cameron accused that Conrad Black had put “his attack dogs at the National Post“, which had published several stories attacking her, and that Black had used his power as “chairman of Hollinger Inc. and chairman and CEO of Southam Inc., who owns some 58 Southam and Hollinger newspapers in Canada”, to have those newspapers in an organized effort not publish review articles on her 1998 book, Blue trust: the author, the lawyer, his wife, and her money; the board of directors of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression responded to Stevie Cameron’s concern by deciding that the organization would “monitor” Conrad Black’s actions. 71

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I noted the irony that Conrad Black’s wife, journalist Barbara Amiel, had been a fierce critic of Prime Minister Mulroney in the 1980s when Cameron was exposing Mulroney’s extravagant lifestyle funded by the government, and even predicted that Mulroney would be brought down in the 1988 election because of his excess, a prediction that, unfortunately, did not come true:

“The Gucci-gate and related topics of lavish personal spending (of government and party money) by then Prime Minister Mulroney and his family became a hot topic before the 1988 election, pounded upon by opposition parties and journalists alike. One of the journalists who expressed outrageous opinions at the time was Canadian columnist Barbara Amiel based in Ottawa and in London, England, who commented with considerable disdain: 50

“The problem with the Mulroneys, who are certainly bright enough to know this, is that they are still a little too lower-middle class, culturally speaking, to be able to accommodate their hungry social ambitions to this reality.”

Ms. Amiel even made a bold prediction that the many Gucci shoes would end Mr. Mulroney’s political career:

“It is an understandable failing but a failing that will bring them down. The ludicrous thing about Canada is that it is not the dreadful politics of Brian Mulroney nor his lack of principle in foreign and domestic policy that will be his undoing, but one pair of Gucci loafers too many.”

Well, Canadians all know that Mr. Mulroney was a tough leader who could not be so easily brought down by one pair of Gucci shoes too many, not in 1988 anyway, and apparently thus far has never personally lost in a general election or in the court of law.”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Even more ironically, I noted, that ten years later when Mr. Black had become a member of the British House of Lords it was Ms. Amiel’s husband, Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, who was brought down:

Rather, and quite ironically, recently in 2007-08 it has been by this time Ms. Barbara Amiel’s dear husband of intellectual and trans-Atlantic fames, Canadian and international press baron Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, who was brought down for having – together with his associates – tens of millions of dollars too many in a way that constituted criminal fraud and not just lifestyle excess. 51

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I also commented on a similar irony with Black versus Cameron, noting that it was the American justice system that brought down Lord Black:

“Apparently, as of today nothing really bad has occurred to Stevie Cameron in this contest of journalistic wills between ‘the David and the Goliath’, i.e., between her and Conrad Black.

On the other hand, Conrad Black is currently sitting in a U.S. jail serving time for fraud and obstruction of justice that have taken place within his media ownership. The irony is that it has been the American justice system, which the leftwing Canadian journalists tended to belittle, that has done Lord Conrad Black in.”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As in the second last quote above, by 2007-2008 Conrad Black was prosecuted for criminal fraud in the “tens of millions of dollars”.

I commented that it was a case of “Chicago corruption”, mentioning that Black was defended by Edward Genson, the same Chicago lawyer as for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich:

“The Conrad Black case is an instance of ‘Chicago corruption’, which has been discussed in my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”, and which included the ongoing case of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich who is represented by the same Chicago lawyer Edward Genson who defended Conrad Black. The standard views on the Black case are different, however, and they included opinions that Black’s was a case of American justice for a Canadian crime, as well as opposite opinions that Black was harshly targeted because he was non-American. 52, 53

In any case, Ms. Barbara Amiel is fortunate that Lord Black’s high lifestyle with her as Lady Black, personally more extravagant than the lifestyle of the family of former prime minister Mulroney while in office, hasn’t contributed further misery to the life of Mr. Conrad Black in prison. 54

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I should note here, that I had mentioned Black’s media business and criminal case, along with assorted well-known figures related to Chicago – including Barack Obama, Rod Blagojevich, John Nash and Oprah Winfrey – in my very first blog article dated January 29, 2009:

“… Now retuning to contemporary politics and looking at history from one side to another one notes that, being a Democratic politician from the state of Illinois, Senator Barack Obama was very careful during his recent 2008 presidential campaign, avoiding controversies by distancing himself from some of his old acquaintances on the political left such as his (former) pastor, the flamboyant Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his former Chicago Annenberg Challenge colleague, the defiant Prof. William Ayers, each step of the way. 60 But the November election outcome has indicated that most American voters would not mind viewing such past connections of Obama’s as no more than a sort of error in ‘judgment’. 61 And it was when the story came of Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois asking for favor in return for appointment by him to President Elect Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, that the American media had a collective exhalation of understanding: That’s Chicago, isn’t it? 62

Mysteries aside, some of John Nash’s brash but cryptic statements in those old days are nonetheless food for thought: if John Nash was to be the “Emperor of Antarctica” as he claimed in 1959 when declining to take up a prestigious academic position at the University of Chicago, then how should the modern-time, outspoken Oprah Winfrey be referred to as, whose media empire is based in Chicago? 87 Queen of the Arctic who happened to have been born exactly 55 years before the day of this blog article? 88 What about President Barack Obama, who from 1992 till becoming United States Senator in 2004 was on the faculty of the University of Chicago? 89

The Canadian-British media baron Conrad Black did not mind Chicago either, owning the Sun-Times. His 2008 fraud trial in the Windy City was however not up to him, nor was the outcome up to his lawyer Ed Genson. 94

Now you may say that for someone so brash and confident as to give up his Canadian citizenship to become a British lord, Conrad Black probably did not think he would lose in Chicago; but my question is what did he have to gain? 95

95. Despite his massive international newspaper holdings at one time or another and many U.S. media properties, the Chicago Sun-Times has been the only major U.S. newspaper among Conrad Black’s possessions; Black also began his U.S. business empire in Chicago, in the mid 1990s, from there controlling his worldwide holdings…

(“Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”, January 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I wrote then, as in the above, about Lord Conrad Black’s Chicago venture, “what did he have to gain?”

But for a Canadian willing to give up his citizenship to become a British Lord, it likely had been about the glory and allure of power and conquer rather than about media.

Besides the attack by Conrad Black and the criticisms about her “conspiracy theorist” mindset, as already discussed, during her vigorous journalistic pursue of corruption related to former Prime Minister Mulroney Stevie Cameron faced other types of criticisms of note in the media – some of special interest to me.

One type of these other criticisms that I reviewed with special interest referred to Cameron’s husband, former government official and Canadian constitutional expert David Cameron, implying that she had a grudge against Prime Minister Mulroney because his rise to power ended her husband’s federal government career:

“A second type of criticisms of Stevie Cameron has implied that she had a personal (i.e., family) grudge against Brian Mulroney because when Mulroney became prime minister in 1984 it ended the career of her husband David Cameron as a federal government official in Ottawa, “an assistant under-secretary of state” (i.e., assistant deputy minister) specializing in constitutional and federal-provincial relation issues. 64, 65

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In my blog article’s Part 3, I reviewed some key history relating to David Cameron’s government work on Canadian constitutional matters.

Mr. Cameron had been an official in Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government, with a role in Prime Minister Trudeau’s enactment of Canada’s first Constitution in 1982, and following the arrival of the Mulroney government became a vice president at the University of Toronto:

“As pointed out in an earlier part of this blog article and the Notes, in the early 1980s Ms. Cameron’s husband David Cameron was a federal official handling constitutional and federal-provincial relation issues in the Liberal government of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and as such he played a role in Mr. Trudeau’s enactment of the first Canadian Constitution in 1982; he was apparently let go when the Mulroney government came to power.

Ms. Stevie (Dahl) Cameron apparently had married (in the mid-1960s) an exceptionally able intellectual and civil servant – regardless of how he would have faired within the Mulroney government – for very soon after he had been let go David Cameron became the vice president of institutional and governmental relations at Canada’s leading university, the University of Toronto.77

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Then, as Stevie Cameron engaged in her journalistic crusade exposing the excess of Prime Minister Mulroney and the corruption of his associates, her husband worked as a constitutional and intergovernmental affairs official in the Ontario government of Liberal Premier David Peterson, and also as Ontario’s representative to the province of Quebec:

“Then in 1987 only several months after Stevie Cameron’s series of newspaper articles had become famous about Mr. Mulroney’s 50 pairs of Gucci shoes as well as other lifestyle trappings of the Mulroney family, David Cameron was appointed deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs in the Liberal provincial government of then Ontario premier David Peterson. 78

Further along, in early 1989 when Stevie Cameron’s first book, Ottawa inside out: power, prestige and scandal in the nation’s capital, was to be published in the fall and “most insiders” were expecting it to become a bestseller, David Cameron was appointed special adviser to Ontario Premier Peterson on constitutional reform as well as Ontario’s senior representative to the province of Quebec. 79

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As just mentioned, Canada had introduced the country’s first national constitution only in 1982. Subsequently in the 1980s during the Mulroney era, constitutional issues were another major area of media and public interest, i.e., besides corruption-related topics. Hence, I explained, David Cameron’s role in this period somewhat paralleled his wife’s, i.e., opposing the Mulroney government but in the constitutional-reform arena:

“To better understand that the differences between the Trudeau Liberals and the Mulroney Conservatives were fundamental, one needs to take into account that Mr. Mulroney brought in not only the policies of economic privatization and free trade to dismantle the core of the Trudeau government’s socialist, government control-centered economic and social doctrines, 80 but also a set of agendas of decentralization and regionalization of government power, which included aligning with some of the Quebec sovereigntists-separatists (such as Lucien Bouchard, Mulroney’s old friend from his law school days), that were aimed at radically changing the orientation and the scope of the Canadian Constitution which the staunchly federalist Mr. Trudeau had brought in not long before without the agreement of the French-speaking province of Quebec; Mr. Trudeau would become dead set against these agendas during the entire Mulroney era. 81, 82

Thus, from 1987 to 1990 as a key Ontario official-adviser on intergovernmental and constitutional affairs under then Liberal premier David Peterson, David Cameron was in an important position during the period of the Meech Lake constitutional reform, sitting across the table from representatives of the Mulroney Conservative federal government; 83 this the general public knew less than they knew about the newspaper articles and a book from Stevie Cameron outing the Mulroney lifestyles and chronicling Mulroney government scandals.”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As explained above, Mr. Trudeau had enacted the Canadian Constitution without the agreement of the French-speaking province of Quebec, and Mr. Mulroney then embarked on the Meech Lake constitutional-reform process in the late 1980s, with “a set of agendas of decentralization and regionalization of government power, which included aligning with some of the Quebec sovereigntists-separatists”, which Mr. Trudeau strongly opposed.

After the Meech Lake constitutional reform’s failure, the Mulroney government embarked on a new round of constitutional consultations and negotiations led by former Prime Minister Joe Clark, and David Cameron again served as a special constitutional adviser for the province of Ontario, this time under New Democrat Premier Bob Rae:

“After the Meech Lake constitutional accord ultimately failed in 1990, Mr. Mulroney proceeded to give former Prime Minister Joe Clark a leading role on constitutional affairs within his government and bring on the Charlottetown constitutional reform, and Mr. Clark brought the aboriginal people of Canada into the constitutional process. 84 At this time, the even more leftwing, recently elected Ontario government of New Democrat premier Bob Rae turned to David Cameron once more who had returned from his posting in Quebec and was acting in his former job of deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs, again naming Cameron the special constitutional adviser to the premier. 85

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

That led to the widely-publicized Diane Wilhelmy Affair in September-October 1992, when a phone conversation between Quebec’s deputy intergovernmental affairs minister Diane Wilhelmy and Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa’s constitutional adviser Andre Tremblay, was leaked to the media. The conversation was very critical of the tactics deployed by some Ontario officials – including David Cameron – opposite Quebec in the Charlottetown constitutional-reform negotiations:

“That David Cameron played a key role for Ontario in the 1992 Charlottetown constitutional reform, has been recorded in a rather controversial way – at the centre of the Diane Wilhelmy affair in September-October 1992 about a taped phone conversation between Diane Wilhelmy, then Quebec deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs, and an unnamed official (later identified as Andre Tremblay, constitutional adviser to Premier Bourassa); the tape recorded the other official using very nasty language to say things about three Ontarians, one of them David Cameron; the Ontarians were blamed for ‘ripping off’ Quebec in the constitutional negotiations in which Premier Bourassa did not perform well under pressure: 86

XX: We’re walking on our knees, as you know, eh? I think mine are full of holes … We were aggressed, badgered, fatigued. In other words, there were an awful lot of those types of problems. It’s tough to take, psychologically having all these people against you. And they’re all against us. And those Ontarians, they’re the worst sons of bitches you can imagine. Worse than that. It’s terrible.

DW: That’s what we were saying last year. It hasn’t gotten any better, eh?

XX: Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. They are truly, to use a bad word … and Jeff Rose is a perfect one. Bornstein is double-faced, triple-faced. And David Cameron: there’s a guy who’s profoundly hypocritical. And who tells us things that are unbelievable …

DW: Phew, what madness. But when I saw yesterday on television that it was starting all over again. And that they were even going back on the Supreme Court and immigration. Then I said to myself, it’s a national disgrace. We should leave. Mr. Bourassa should take the plane right away and come back here. What a humiliation to arrive at that point.”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Here are some selected, from the above, of what David Cameron’s Quebec counterpart Andre Tremblay said regarding the Ontario officials:

“We were aggressed, badgered, fatigued.”

“And those Ontarians, they’re the worst sons of bitches you can imagine.”

“And David Cameron: there’s a guy who’s profoundly hypocritical.”

And here is what Diane Wilhelmy said of the humiliation to Quebec Premier Bourassa:

“Then I said to myself, it’s a national disgrace. We should leave. Mr. Bourassa should take the plane right away and come back here. What a humiliation to arrive at that point.”

There was a real problem that time. Quebec Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa had a history of skin cancer dating back to the Meech Lake constitutional reform era; this time he was again invited by Prime Minister Mulroney to the negotiation table, and he did not perform well; soon afterwards it was discovered that his cancer was already spreading. Thus, the physical and psychological exhaustions were hard on Mr. Bourassa, and a few years later he died from the disease:

“During the Charlottetown constitutional negotiations in 1992 Premier Bourassa was “fatigued” and did not do well, partly due to the long hours and the intensity of the negotiations and partly because shortly after the Meech Lake accord he had undergone treatments for a serious form of skin cancer, which Brian Mulroney personally noted during his public campaign for the Charlottetown accord’s passage in the upcoming October 26, 1992 national referendum, and which would be discovered already spreading shortly after the Charlottetown accord failed in the referendum; Bourassa would ultimately died of it on October 2, 1996. 88

87. Quebec boycotted further constitutional negotiation after the failure of the Meech Lake accord in 1990, and the initial package of the Charlottetown accord was reached in July 1992 – without the official participation of Quebec – by other provincial, territorial and aboriginal leaders and the federal government negotiators led by Joe Clark; Quebec was then invited to join the negotiation process, and it hesitated, until Robert Bourassa was given personal assurances from Brian Mulroney (overruling part of the initial deal)…”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

The Diane Wilhelmy Affair became a critical factor swaying Quebecers’ sentiments against the Charlottetown Constitutional Accord, which was soon defeated in a national referendum on October 26, 1992:

“Premier Bourassa himself at the time of the Wilhelmy affair acknowledged that the affair, involving national publicity on negative opinions from the Quebec government’s top two constitutional experts, 89 swayed public opinion in his province against the Charlottetown constitutional accord he had helped negotiate. 90 In the end, the Wilhelmy affair became one of the major factors contributing to the accord’s defeat in Quebec in the October 26, 1992 referendum held across Canada. 91

89. Diane Wilhelmy’s background had been considered pro-separatist, and she had also been the top constitutional expert responsible for Quebec’s part in the Meech Lake accord; she was then again (with Andre Tremblay)  given the responsibility for the Charlottetown accord negotiations – under the premier who personally attended the final negotiations…”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Prior to the national referendum, Ms. Wilhelmy went to court to try to legally prevent the leaked phone conversation from airing by Quebec media. Later during the Airbus Affair when Mr. Mulroney filed a libel lawsuit against the RCMP and the Canadian government in November 1995, he chose the same lawyer Wilhelmy had used in 1992, Gerald Tremblay of the law firm McCarthy Tetrault, as his lead lawyer. I related the two in the following observations:

“If one wonders whether Brian Mulroney was mindful, then and later, of how some Quebecers loathed David Cameron’s role in the 1992 Charlottetown constitutional process, and of the fact that Cameron’s wife Stevie Cameron was a journalist-author writing about corruptions in his government, one can take note of the following fact which seems to have been overlooked: Mulroney not only publicly acknowledged during the October 1992 referendum campaign for the Charlottetown accord that the prospect of its passing was hurt by the Wilhelmy affair, but when the Airbus Affair became the top news story in November 1995 partly thanks to publicity from Stevie Cameron’s second bestselling book, On the take: crime, corruption and greed in the Mulroney years, Mulroney would choose lawyer Gerald Tremblay of the law firm McCarthy Tetrault as his lead lawyer for the $50 million defamation lawsuit against the RCMP and the Canadian government – the same lawyer previously representing Diane Wilhelmy in September 1992 trying to get a court injunction to prevent the phone conversation tape (and its transcript) from being aired by the media in Quebec (a partial transcript quoted above had been published in Ontario). 92

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

These Canadian constitutional issues have been of special interest to me. In particular, in November 1992, Prime Minister Mulroney’s constitutional reform processes were among the first topics I commented on when I began my Canadian political activism critical of his leadership, as I recalled in a footnote of my 2009 blog article’s Part 1:

“18. A long time ago – during 1992-1993 – while a faculty member at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and afterwards, I was involved in some activities related to academic politics and Canadian politics (briefly alluded to in my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”); in a press release I wrote and sent to some media outlets, CBC-TV Vancouver especially, dated November 20, 1992, I made the following statement regarding some of what I viewed as then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s misconduct during the Meech Lake and Charlottetown constitutional processes: “They like to say Mr. Mulroney never learns. Well, he can’t be that dumb, can he?” I note that a ‘legal guardian’ of a sort for German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber then in Alberta, Justice John C. Major, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada around this time – on November 13, 1992…”

(Part 1, February 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Another type of media criticisms of Stevie Cameron and her anti-corruption journalism, that I reviewed with special interest, insinuated that her crusade was socially biased, insincere and possibly with hidden agendas, dismissing her with terms like “ancient sycophants”, “self-righteous self-flatterer”, and “inbred puritanism of the old Ottawa establishment”:

National Post columnist Gerald Owen went as far as comparing Cameron (and the American prosecutors in the Conrad Black case) to “ancient sycophants” bent on persecuting the rich and powerful out of envy more than out of justice. 63

Another category of criticisms of Cameron has touched on her Presbyterian background, hinting that she was a “self-righteous self-flatterer”, and yet in another view was of “Victorian sensitivity” and “inbred puritanism of the old Ottawa establishment” – and that some of her writing sounded like “a Presbyterian spinster’s detailed account of an orgy in the choir loft”. 66

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In regard to this line of criticism, I first pointed out that, although viewed in Canada as “hard-hitting”, Cameron’s exposés were “quite tame” compared to some by American left-wing intellectuals:

“On the lighter side of a serious note, as much as her books are viewed as hard-hitting in Canada, Stevie Cameron has been quite tame, albeit sensationalist, when compared to some of the American intellectuals who had similar backgrounds in the apparatus of the state before turning to leftwing politics. …”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

For comparison, I referred to American political scientist Chalmers Johnson, who also had an intelligence background prior to becoming a left-wing writer, and who delivered his criticisms of imperialist aspects of U.S. foreign policies in broader and greater strokes, warning of the consequence of “blowback” by terrorism in his book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, published a year before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.:

“… One such scholar I have mentioned in the Notes of my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late” (in the context of the story of the ‘mad’ mathematician John F. Nash), is Dr. Chalmers Johnson, who was a political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, when I was a mathematics Ph. D. student there. Like Cameron, Johnson had a background in the intelligence arena, having done consultant work for the CIA for a number of years in the past; also like Cameron, Johnson has published a series of books developing his views on a set of related topics, in his case critiques of what he viewed as the imperialist aspects of American foreign policies based on dominance through global presence of the U.S. military; in particular, Johnson considered dangers of terrorism against the United States as a type of “blowback” counter-effect to such policies, and warned the public about such and others in the first book (of this series), Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, published in year 2000, i.e., prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil. 73

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

This is a topic of timely interest now, in light of what I have recently elaborated on regarding the subject of war and peace, in Part 1 of my review of 2009 blog posts.

In 2009, I especially quoted Dr. Johnson from a newspaper article in which his comments critical of the “axis of evil” speech of President George Bush, Jr.’s on January 29, 2002, recalled certain history that in my review is relevant to Cameron’s Presbyterian background but contrary to her “puritanism”:

“For the interest of readers of this blog article, though, that also befits the more common type of alienation displayed by Canadians toward the U.S., I quote here from an article of Dr. Chalmers Johnson’s for The Japan Times newspaper – written in March 2002, i.e., after 9/11 and the world’s responses to the terrorist attacks but before the Iraq war – in which he made a comparison of president George W. Bush’s hawkishness and notion of “faith” with certain disgraceful deeds of a 19th-century pioneering European Protestant missionary in East Asia, the Rev. Karl Gutzlaff of Germany: 74

“In his “axis of evil” speech of Jan. 29, 2002, Bush succeeded in scuttling the emerging hopes for peace on the Korean Peninsula. In Seoul, amid pomp and obfuscation, while he blathered on about Laura, terrorism, democracy, worship, and “the family,” South Koreans may have wondered what he really had in mind. They no doubt feared that they had entrusted their fate to the village idiot.

It was in China, however, that the president gave an Olympic gold medal demonstration of insensitivity and cultural rudeness. In a speech to students of one of China’s most distinguished universities, he said: “America is a nation guided by faith. Someone once called us ‘a nation with the soul of a church.’ Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God, and I’m one of them.”

Bush apparently has no knowledge of the role Christian missionaries played in the imperialist exploitation of China. Missionaries were active in the opium trade. It was a German Protestant, Karl Gutzlaff, who introduced opium to north China. The British and Americans, who pioneered the illegal import of opium into China, used the doctrine of “free trade” as a cover for their activities. One of the reasons the Chinese empire resisted reform for so many decades was that toleration of Christianity, as the Western powers demanded, meant surrendering to the purveyors of filth and crime.”

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I emphasized that Dr. Johnson wrote the above-quoted passages a year before the U.S. launch of the Iraq War that has been discussed in Part 1.

To describe the passages in brief, Dr. Johnson asserted that President Bush’s speech scuttled “the emerging hopes for peace on the Korean Peninsula”; commenting on President Bush’s notions of “faith” and “the soul of a church” in a related speech, Dr. Johnson referred to history when “filth and crime” also came with Christianity to China, mentioning German Protestant missionary Karl Gutslaff, “who introduced opium to north China”.

This part of history was of personal interest to me because of its connection to my maternal family’s historical Chinese Christian heritage mentioned in Part 1 of my current review.

Specifically, my maternal family’s Christian history can be traced to a pioneering church founded by a 19th-century German Swiss Basel missionary recruited to China by Rev. Karl Gutslaff, a prominent leading Protestant missionary in Asia; and when this Swiss missionary and his Swedish Swiss Basel colleague then discovered the involvement of Gutslaff’s organization in the opium trade, they broke ties with him and expose some of the problems:

“I hasten to say that although some of Rev. Karl Gutzlaff’s mistakes in mixing the opium trade with missionary work in China have long been recognized by the Christian community – for someone Rev. Gutzlaff’s statue and distinction who in history was also the first to bring the Bible to Thailand and to Japan in their native languages – I owe part of my maternal family cultural heritage to a (German) Swiss Basel missionary who and whose (Swedish) Swiss Basel fellow missionary were the first to China in the history of their organization, founding a pioneering church in my maternal grandmother’s ancestral village in southern coastal China in 1849 after having been recruited to China by Rev. Karl Gutzlaff; but the Swiss Basel missionaries were among the first missionaries to break with Guztlaff and expose some of his problems once they realized, and got a handle on, the prevalence of opium-trade deception in Guzlaff’s Christian organization – the Chinese Union. 75

(Part 2, March 8, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

A relevance of this particular history to Stevie Cameron’s Presbyterian background, and also to some critics’ use of phrases like “ancient sycophants” and “inbred puritanism” to describe her and her anti-corruption writings, is that Cameron not only wrote to expose corruption but also practiced helping the poor in living her life, and has been praised as “street-side saviour of Canada’s destitute”:

“If, as we have seen, that the criticisms of author Stevie Cameron about her adventurousness in investigative journalism and about possible influence of her marriage on her professional work, when examined carefully, actually served to highlight the seriousness of some of the context and backgrounds to her anti-Mulroney-corruption crusade, then the criticisms about the cultural peculiarity of her religious background (Presbyterian) could threaten to turn her into a ‘saint’ of the society in the eyes of the poor, and justify her crusade in a way that a “sycophant” label on her alone cannot achieve.

Or at least that has been how a ‘progressive’ sector in the Catholic Church in Canada want others to see Stevie Cameron as, i.e., a saint for the poor; they have been hailing her as “street-side saviour of Canada’s destitute”, not so much for her anti-corruption journalistic crusade but for her work helping the poor since 1990-91 when she co-founded the “Out-of-the-Cold” program as an elder at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto, personally doing gourmet cooking for the homeless on a regular basis (at a time when she already had a solid journalistic reputation that included her 1987 Mulroney-lifestyles articles, her 1989 book on Ottawa politics and her hosting of the CBC’s The Fifth Estate), as well as for her work on behalf of missing prostitutes in Vancouver Downtown Eastside when in 1999 while at the helm of the Elm Street magazine she and writer Daniel Wood publicized the story of the missing prostitutes, which according to this progressive Catholic view “sparked public interest and a subsequent police investigation”, eventually leading to the prosecution of Robert William Pickton. 96

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As noted above, one special deed of Cameron’s helping the poor was her writings to publicise the story of missing prostitutes in Vancouver Downtown Eastside, that helped lead to the prosecution of the killer, Robert William Pickton.

Cameron herself, in fact, once lamented that writing about a serial killer were easier than writing about corrupt politicians:

““Among those reasons? While writing about a serial killer, I wasn’t afraid for the lives of my children. I wasn’t afraid for the job of my husband. I didn’t worry that my phones were tapped or that somebody was going to break into my house or my publisher’s office.

“I didn’t look behind me when I crossed the street. I didn’t have to drive carefully on the highway so nobody could run me off the road.

“And the numberone reason why I prefer serial killers? Serial killers don’t sue.”

Litigious politicians make life hell for a writer. Cameron describes how, at her peak as a political scribe, verything was heavily lawyered, and even then publishers might back away from releasing a book for fear of legal reprisals.”

(“Stevie Cameron prefers serial killers to crooked politicians”, by Susan G. Cole, February 15, 2011, NOW)

My goodness, would not some of those intimidation tactics against her, also discussed earlier, have been illegal?

As in the last quote from Part 3 of my 2009 blog article, another of Cameron’s special deeds helping the poor was her co-founding of the “Out-of-the-Cold” program as an elder at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto and her personally doing gourmet cooking there regularly for the homeless.

While it would be misguided to associate such good deeds with labels like “sycophants” or “inbred puritanism of the old Ottawa establishment”, Cameron’s actions were extra special when her family history and her church’s history were also taken into account.

Cameron’s family tradition had been political conservative, I noted:

“There indeed had been conservative influence in Stevie Cameron’s family background, and she has been open about it: a great-great-grandfather, a grandfather and an uncle of hers had been Tory politicians, and in the 1970s she once campaigned for Tory candidate Duff Roblin (a name which I suspect could be related to her mother, Eleanor Roblin Bone Dahl) in Peterborough, Ontario.105 But that background had not prevented Cameron from developing her passion for anti-corruption investigative journalism focused on the former Mulroney Conservative government.”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I would think that in choosing such a career departing from her family tradition, Stevie Cameron was very much motivated by what she felt would be right, would be fair and would be just.

Likewise, Cameron’s church where she co-founded the “Out-of-the-Cold” program, the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto, was historically one of the oldest and richest Presbyterian churches in Toronto and Canada. I briefly reviewed that history:

“With or without praises from some on the Catholic Church side, the Out-of-the-Cold program started by Cameron at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto has been very widely praised and has been an inspiration for people from other walks of life, including professional chefs, lawyers and healthcare professionals, to participate in or start various charity programs helping the homeless. 106

Perhaps it’s best to take a look at how the Presbytery of Eastern Toronto has described the Out-of-the-Cold program founded by Stevie Cameron at St. Andrew’s Church in this presbytery – in a September 2005 article titled, “A united effort crowns righteousness”, written by staff writer Amy MacLachlan of the Presbyterian Record. 107

Its opening passage is about the area of the presbytery:

“As one of the church’s largest and richest presbyteries, East Toronto occupies an interesting spot on the landscape. Even though it was only created in 1949 (when the Presbytery of Toronto was divided into east and west), its history includes some of the oldest churches of the denomination in Canada. …”

Further in this article, about the Out-of-the-Cold program:

“The presbytery is also ministering to groups who are marginalized because of poverty, various disabilities, or sexual orientation. Many of the presbytery’s congregations support Evangel Hall, an inner-city mission providing food and shelter to the city’s homeless. The presbytery also runs several Out of the Cold programs. Known as “the church with a heart in the heart of Toronto,” St. Andrew’s, King Street, was one of the first Toronto congregations to operate this program, led by congregation member and journalist Stevie Cameron. Out of the Cold offers warm meals, and sometimes a warm bed, during the winter months to those who have nowhere else to go. The initiative at St. Andrew’s has been so successful that it is often used as a model and training centre for other congregations wanting to develop their own homelessness projects. St. Andrew’s is one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in Toronto, established in 1830.”

If you say Stevie Cameron’s gourmet cooking probably made the difference, I would have to guess you are right, but St. Andrew’s Church established in 1830 is not only one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in Toronto, but also a historic downtown church located at King Street and Simcoe Street only two blocks from the Toronto Stock Exchange on King Street between York Street and Bay Street, i.e., it has been one of the very richest, and this church says so about its own history: 109

“The present building was opened for worship in 1876. At that time the King and Simcoe Streets location was a busy place and most of the congregation lived within easy walking distance of the church. Across the street stood Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Upper Canada College stood on a second corner and on a third was a popular tavern. With St. Andrew’s, the four corners were known locally as Legislation, Education, Damnation and Salvation!!”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

To summarize the above from a 2005 article in the Presbyterian Record and from St. Andrew’s Church’s own history account, led by Stevie Cameron one of the oldest and richest historical church, originally built across the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and today situated only two blocks from the Toronto Stock Exchange, was transformed into a place of warmth and comfort for the poor and destitute.

No doubt, Stevie Cameron family’s older generations and her church once had a lot like, if not in common with, “the old Ottawa establishment” albeit in different cities; but Cameron’s courage and work brought about remarkable changes as I remarked:

“This church tells you that it used to be the place where, in-between their other activities carrying important future implications to Ontario and Canada and themselves, rich and powerful people went to reflect on their sins.

From this point of view, and as earlier pointed out also, it has been Stevie Cameron’s willingness and courage to break with traditional societal taboos and stereotypes that have underscored her success, including as a journalist and author exposing topics from about the imperious Brian Mulroney to about the down-and-dirty Robert Pickton.”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Now, not just Cameron’s ‘puritan’ Christian background but her specific Presbyterian background had links to my family’s Christian background.

Specifically, my family’s early Chinese Christian heritage mentioned earlier, namely dating back to the era of a German Swiss missionary who broke with and exposed the opium-trade involvement of the leading Protestant missionary Karl Gutzlaff, also had historical as well as modern links to Stevie Cameron’s Presbytery in Toronto, Canada.

The 2005 Presbyterian Record article quoted in my second last quote above, written by staff writer Amy MacLachlan, discussed not only Stevie Cameron and her “Out-of-the-Cold” program for the homeless, but also the ethnic churches in the same Presbytery, including a “Chinese, Toronto” church led by Rev. Thomas Eng, and Celebration North led by Rev. Peter Ma:

“… Despite its fabled past, the presbytery is in the midst of change. Encompassing a downtown portion of the city as well as its northern and eastern outskirts, the demographics of East Toronto aren’t quite what they once were. Originally a destination for immigrants from the United Kingdom, the bustling city has grown to include immigrants from non-European countries, changing the community’s makeup as well as the people in the pews. Toronto is the most multicultural city in Canada and the presbytery’s 25 congregations reflect that fact.

East Toronto includes five ethnic congregations – two Chinese, one Mandarin, one Formosan and one Taiwanese. (Geographically speaking, there are also several Korean congregations in the area, but formally they belong to the Western Han-Ca Presbytery.) Chinese, Toronto, holds English and Chinese services with music in both languages, and two Sunday schools. It also offers a long list of fellowship programs for all ages and stages of life, including a sports group and a drama group called ACTS – Acclaiming Christ Through Stage, that performs in the church and in the community.

It was through the vision of Thomas Eng, minister at Chinese, Toronto, that Celebration North was born. Celebration has a large Asian contingent, but is English-speaking. Although they don’t have their own building, the church’s minister, Peter Ma, has led the congregation of about 75 adults since its inception in 1996. Ma is devoted to reaching those who do not go to church. He proclaims that attendants need not worry about violating protocol. …”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

The building of the “Toronto, Chinese” church led by Rev. Thomas Eng, namely the Toronto Chinese Presbyterian Church, had been built on efforts spearheaded by Rev. Edward Ling; about Rev. Ling, I quoted a Toronto Star article titled, “Community leader also man of faith”:

“He was born in the manse of a Presbyterian Church in Kuangtung Province in China. His father was a Presbyterian minister, his grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, and so Edward Ling became a Presbyterian minister, too.

But it happened in Canada, 56 years after his birth, and after he had helped build the Chinese Presbyterian Church, Toronto’s oldest Chinese church, as a thriving cultural and spiritual centre on Beverley St.

A successful importer and exporter, he put all his business dealings on hold for two years in the late 1950s, while he went to every Chinese restaurant and business in the city and suburbs to cajole them for cheques and cash to build a new church. At the time, the congregation was using a room at the Young Men’s Christian Institute, located in two houses at 474 University Ave., but had long outgrown it.

As the church elder heading the building fund, Rev. Ling was determined Toronto’s Chinese community would have a building that would become central to their lives. “My father had a vision and he made it happen,” said his eldest son, Alex.

The lieutenant-governor of the province was on hand for the laying of the cornerstone at 177 Beverley St. in 1960. …”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

That was the story of the first real Presbyterian church building for the Chinese community in Toronto.

I commented that though it did not compare to Stevie Cameron’s St. Andrew’s Church it was a good start for an ethnic community:

“A school-style church building was no St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Toronto, in wealth or in physical endowment, where church elder Stevie Cameron has served many gourmet dishes to the homeless; but it was a good start for a community, i.e., the Chinese community, that had to be much more frugal, by and large. …”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Rev. Edward Ling is a brother of my maternal grandmother, and their grandfather mentioned in the Toronto Star article in the second last quote had been an origin of their, and thus my, family Christian heritage:

“Rev. Edward Ling was a younger brother of my maternal grandmother. Their grandfather had been not just a Presbyterian minister but one of the first doctors of Western medicine in the eastern region of Guangdong province of China, and was originally from a humble village in which the first Protestant church in that region had been founded in 1849 by a Swiss Basel missionary (as discussed in an earlier part of this blog article and in my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”).”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As noted above, my great-great-grandfather was not only a Presbyterian minister but also “one of the first doctors of Western medicine in the eastern region of Guangdong province of China”.

Rev. Peter Ma is a grandson of the late Rev. Edward Ling, and their family branch’s modern Christian heritage is closely associated with Knox College of Toronto, as I described:

“Rev. Ling’s sense of diligence, frugality and servitude to the church and to the community have been inherited by his successful children and grandchildren, particularly by his son Alex who had succeeded him in small business, serving as the founding president of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas as well as an adviser to Toronto Mayor David Miller… and by his son Winston, vice president of finance at Tyndale University College & Seminary in Toronto who, following the father’s example, in 1995 moved from the corporate world to work for the Christian community; 116 both are elders at the Chinese church.

Rev. Ling’s grandson Peter Ma is a graduate of Knox College at the University of Toronto; Rev. Ling’s daughter-in-law Stephanie, i.e., Winston Ling’s wife, holds a Ph.D. degree from and has been a governing board member of Knox College, and she has been active in Christian charity activities as a board member of the Scott Mission in Toronto …”

(Part 3, March 20, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In my 2009 blog article’s Part 4, I went on to discuss the heritage of Toronto’s Knox College, a heritage rooted in the 19th-century Scottish Free Church movement and closely affiliated with the anti-slavery movement in Canada:

“In its history, the renowned Knox College founded in 1844-45 by the Presbyterian Church in Canada once had a prominent leading role in the free-church and anti-slavery movements in Canada.

A main founder of Knox College was Rev. Dr. Robert Burns, a Scottish Presbyterian minister and one of the leaders of the 1843 Free Church movement in Scotland (the “Great Disruption”), who was invited to Toronto in 1844 to start the Free Church movement in Canada, became minister of Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto and led the founding of Knox College. 118

The first Principal of Knox College – a position begun in the 1850s – was Rev. Dr. Michael Willis, a colleague of Burns and also from Scotland, who when became the principal was already the founding president of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada. 119 The anti-slavery history in Canada at the time was mainly known for the “Underground Railroad” – a network of anti-slavery Americans and Canadians who smuggled black slaves from the American South to freedom and settlement in Canada. 120

(“The myth of political vendetta in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Airbus Affair investigation, the politics of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien, and some social undercurrents in Canada (Part 4)”, April 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

I also discussed Knox College’s Presbyterian namesake founded seven years earlier in Illinois in the United States, which awarded its first honorary doctorate to Abraham Lincoln that was also his first:

“As much as being a part of the anti-slavery history, though, Knox College of Toronto is not related to (and should not be confused with) Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Located at a town that was the centre of anti-slavery activity in the state of Illinois and a “Freedom Station” on the Underground Railroad, this liberal-arts Knox College had been founded seven years earlier in 1837 by a group of anti-slavery advocates led by Presbyterian minister George Washington Gale, starting out as a bible-training college with an odd name, Knox Manual Labour College, for the reason that students worked on the farm to support their educations; this Knox College’s establishment had the approval of Abraham Lincoln among other state legislators, and subsequently it was the ‘historic’ site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate – one of a series of political debates in 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas – for election to the U.S. Senate; Lincoln lost the election but the debates propelled him to national fame and in two years’ time election to the U.S. presidency, defeating Douglas this time. 121  Abraham Lincoln also received a honorary degree from this Knox College – his first and the college’s first honorary doctorate. 122

(Part 4, April 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

The Scottish Free Church movement and its historical Toronto association were a second component of my Chinese Christian family heritage – the Swiss Basel Mission being the first, noted earlier – through Rev. William Chalmers Burns.

Rev. William Burns, historically famous “revival preacher of Kilsyth” in Scotland, and the first official missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England Foreign Missions, was a nephew of Toronto Knox College founder – and one of the Scottish “Great Disruption” leaders mentioned above – Rev. Dr. Robert Burns; in China, Rev. William Burns revived my maternal family village church originally founded by Swiss Basel missionary Rev. Rudolf Lechler, and tutored and baptized my great-great-grandfather, then a young pupil:

“… my great-great-grandfather, namely Rev. Edward Ling’s medical-doctor-and-Presbyterian-minister grandfather (as discussed earlier in the context of a Toronto Star article about Rev. Ling, and in my January 29, 2009 blog article, “Greeting the New Millennium – nearly a decade late”), who had been born in or around 1849, the year the first Protestant church in his home region of China was founded in his humble village by Swiss Basel missionary Rev. Rudolf Lechler, in around 1860-61 became a Christian when he was a young pupil tutored by Rev. William Burns at the school of that church and was baptized by Rev. Burns 130

The Rev. William Burns in China in 1861 was the person Canadians had known as Rev. Robert Burns’s young nephew, William Chalmers Burns, who in 1844 had accompanied Robert Burns to visit Canada, where Robert Burns stayed to lead the free-church movement and found Knox College. They and William Chalmers Burns’s fellow young preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne were enthusiastic members of the Scottish Free Church movement led by Thomas Chalmers, and when visiting Canada the young W. C. Burns was already internationally known as the remarkably incredible revival preacher of Kilsyth, having drawn crowds as large as 10,000 to his spiritual-revival sermons in 1839.132

William Chalmers Burns was born in 1815 in the same year the Swiss Basel Mission was founded in Basel, Switzerland, which as a Lutheran foreign mission subsequently had strong influence over British foreign missionary work – particularly that of the Anglican Church – for the next several decades. 133 In 1847, Burns became the first official foreign missionary sent abroad by the Presbyterian Church of England Foreign Missions, going to China in the same year as the two first Basel missionaries to China, Theodore Hamberg and Rudolf Lechler. 134 In 1860-61, Rev. William Burns was invited to the Ling family’s home village in the Shantou (Swatow) region of Guangdong province to visit the first Protestant church of the region founded by Rev. Lechler in 1849, which had been left with only 13 disciples on their own in 1852 when Rev. Lechler was expelled by the regional government and returned to Hong Kong. 135 Rev. Burns preached and taught school in the same house where Rev. Lechler had done so, and revived and took under his spiritual wing this local church. 136

Rev. William Burns died several years later in 1868 at the age of 53, up in the unfamiliar Northeast of China (i.e., Manchuria, homeland of the imperial Qing-dynasty ethnic people), exhausted, nearly alone amongst a small group of Chinese worshipers but still full of the spirit that had set him apart. 137

(Part 4, April 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

Before going to China, Rev. William Burns visited Toronto and Canada with his uncle Rev. Robert Burns, and while in Canada he baptized a newborn baby who turned out to become Canada’s first Presbyterian foreign missionary, a famous one by the name of Rev. George Leslie MacKay:

“Prior to his life journey in China, William Chalmers Burns was in Canada from 1844 to 1846, preaching in churches in different part of the country. In the Woodstock area of Ontario (Oxford County) Rev. Burns baptized a baby born in 1844 – the year he arrived in Canada – by the name of George Leslie Mackay. 140 Little Mackay grew up with W. C. Burns as his idol, studied at Knox College in Toronto and at other Presbyterian institutions, became the first foreign missionary sent abroad by the Presbyterian Church in Canada (and became a medical doctor), following the example of his idol to China and following his idol’s footsteps to do missionary work in the Shantou (Swatow) region; but after arrival Mackay decided to sail across the sea to take a look first at the island of Taiwan, and once he saw the Tamsui town in Taiwan he knew instantly Taiwan would be his home, where today a large Mackay Memorial Hospital (in the capital city Taipei with branches including in Tamsui Township) stand in testimonial of his contributions to his adopted homeland – even if the hospital originally was not named for him but after a Captain Mackay of Detroit whose wife donated money for his clinic on the condition that the hospital be named that way. 141

Rev. Dr. Mackay died at the age of 57 in 1901 in Taiwan, after a fruitful and fulfilled life, whose achievements beside the medical hospital included founding around 60 churches with thousands of coverts, founding the Oxford College – forerunner of Taiwan Theological College and Seminary where in the 1960s Rev. Edward Ling studied to become a preacher – and serving as the elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in 1895…”

(Part 4, April 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

In that early historical time, there was a sort of a ‘puritan’ episode in Knox College’s prehistory and history, that separated this Presbyterian branch from the established St. Andrew’s Church – well over a century before Stevie Cameron’s work to transform the latter as I noted – over the Free Church movement and the related anti-slavery movement:

“The purpose, or morale, of the preceding, long-winded family history digression in this blog article about Brian Mulroney, the Airbus Affair and Stevie Cameron, is the illustration that in the proud history of Canadian Presbyterians there was a long period from 1843-44 to the end of the 19th century when, inspired by Scottish Presbyterians, the Church was split into two, the Established Church and the Free Church, with the former then overseen by and beholden to the government and the landownership, while the latter independent and democratic in its religious affairs, governing, and finance: 148 in this historical division, the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto where Stevie Cameron has been an elder and founded the Out-of-the-Cold program, was the centre of the Established Church in Canada, from which the Free Church led by Rev. James Harris, broke off, founded Knox Presbyterian Church as its new centre, 149 brought over Rev. Robert Burns and Rev. Michael Willis (among others) from the Scottish Free Church, founded Knox College, and became active also in anti-slavery activity.

The Chinese Presbyterians in Toronto have been associated with the Free Church tradition, and with the heritage of William Chalmers Burns from Scotland and in China. They have also been associated with the early heritage of Swiss Basel missionaries in China, who made efforts to separate missionary work from the state of being tainted by unscrupulousness under German missionary Karl Gutzlaff – who had taken part in the opium trade himself and in the Opium War as a British colonial official – and to expose some of the problems in Gutzlaff’s organization Chinese Christian Union. 150

(Part 4, April 29, 2009, Feng Gao’s Space: Analysis of Current Affairs, Politics and History)

As I have discussed in the present Part 2, the Mulroney-Schreiber Affair, the Airbus Affair and anti-corruption journalist Stevie Cameron’s career crusade to investigate corruption and ethical problems related to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, have had various broader aspects and connections that are of special and even close interest to me.

(Continuing to Part 3)

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