elizabeth.thompson - May 15th, 2009
Miedler at the opening of Christian Louboutin’s European flagship store in London
From the moment her husband took the stand at the Oliphant Commission inquiry into his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber, Mila Mulroney has faithfully followed the proceedings from a front row seat.
Until today, that is.
Turns out that Mila Mulroney had more important things to do – namely organize the bridal shower she is throwing this evening for her son Mark’s fiancé Vanessa Miedler. The two reportedly met when Mark was in London, England.
Miedler, who has built a reputation in London as a discerning fashionista has also worked as “retail editor” for Condé Naste’s Tatler Magazine – a bit of a style bible for the U.K’s upper crust.
Something tells me Miedler and Mila, who is no stranger to shopping herself, are going to get along just fine.
elizabeth.thompson - May 14th, 2009
Looks like former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney has still got some supporters and they’ve got long memories. Seems they have never forgotten his government’s decision to allow thousands of Tamil refugees into Canada so they showed up this morning to show their support as Mulroney arrived for his third day on the stand at the Oliphant inquiry into Mulroney’s dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber.
elizabeth.thompson - May 14th, 2009
Dan Robertson and Robin Sears at work
One of the daily challenges for any reporter on Parliament Hill is to cut through the spin and counterspin (and sometimes the counterspin to the counterspin) in a bid to tell readers, viewers and listeners what is happening in politics.
When it’s well done, spin is an art. Good spin, artfully executed, can put politicians in a better light, cast doubt on the truthfulness of their opponents and in extreme cases, extricate politicians from potentially career-killing gaffes.
However, the one golden rule for good spin is that it has to be credible. You can try to frame the issue and put the best possible light on the facts but at the end of the day if it’s not believable it will just disappear into the ether.
One of the best examples of an effective spin machine has to be former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s public relations teams at the Oliphant Commission. From press conferences to web sites to tweeting on Twitter, Robin Sears and his team at Navigator have been artfully highlighting the elements of Mulroney testimony that advance his case or delivering subtle – or sometimes not so subtle – digs at Mulroney’s opponents.
Yesterday, however, their efforts had mixed results after they went after two journalists covering the Oliphant Inquiry who have spent years digging into Mulroney’s dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. Shortly after Mulroney got emotional on the stand while talking about the impact the Airbus Affair had on his family, Navigator spinner Dan Robertson sent out his own take on the it.
The problem, though, is that for most reporters – especially those who have covered Mulroney over the years – it just wasn’t credible. It would have been totally credible if Mulroney had gotten angry on the stand and lashed out. After all, Mulroney spent a large part of the day taking advantage of the fact he was testifying under privilege and didn’t have to worry about being sued for defamation to attack journalists and media organizations that dug into the Airbus Affair. But the idea it would bring the seasoned politician, who has verbally jousted with reporters over the years, to tears was just too big a stretch.
After two days of being questioned by his own lawyer Guy Pratte, today Mulroney faces questions from commission counsel Richard Wolson.
No doubt the spin machine will be back in full gear.
elizabeth.thompson - May 12th, 2009
Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appeared in good humor this morning as he arrived hand-in-hand with his wife Mila and an entourage of his lawyer Guy Pratte who will question him this morning, RCMP body guards and media relations manager Robin Sears.
Mulroney also seem to have attracted a large number of supporters including Fred Doucet, his former chief of staff and longtime friend who played a key role in the events the inquiry is probing. While Karlheinz Schreiber dismissively referred to Doucet as the “doorman,” it is Doucet who arranged many of the meetings between the two men including a key meeting on June 23, 1993 at Harrington Lake. The inquiry will have to decide whether it was at that meeting, held before Mulroney left office, where the two men struck an agreement to work together that led to Schreiber paying Mulroney envelopes of cash.
As for Mila Mulroney, she has just taken her seat – about as far from Karlheinz Schreiber as you can get and still be in the same room.
elizabeth.thompson - May 5th, 2009
Posted with permission of Jake Wright
From the start, Justice Jeffrey Oliphant’s inquiry into the business dealings between former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and German-born businessman Karlheinz Schreiber has set out to be as open and transparent as possible. Proceedings are televised gavel-to-gavel by CPAC. Evidence tabled before the commission is posted to the web – often the same day – and transcripts of testimony are posted to the web as well.
However, it turns out that the Oliphant Commission is more open than the commission might realize.
An accidental click of the mouse this afternoon revealed that the WIFI system set up by the commission allows anyone using the system to peruse anything in the public folders of unprotected laptops in the area.
Further investigation revealed that of the 10 connections that showed up on the “shared” bar on the right side of the screen – three could be accessed. One could be accessed but was empty and two could be accessed and contained content.
One of those belonged to talented Hill Times photographer Jake Wright, who pointed out a similar technical glitch occurred to a lawyer during the Gomery Commission held in the same room.
The second accessible computer – with the not terribly original tag of “laptop”- appeared to have a public folder full of files, photos, documents and even a Pamela Anderson video. Who it belongs to is a mystery (and no, we didn’t poke around all the files to find out). Inquiries of a couple of male colleagues revealed that they might enjoy looking at the generously endowed actress but not enough to have downloaded a video of her Comedy Central roast.
Wonder if that is how someone is passing the time during the more tedious moments of the hearings.