In what sources say was an authorized leak from the top, Harper's office revealed Mulroney had terminated his membership in the Conservative party he led under its earlier incarnation.
Nonsense, Mulroney fired back through his various fronts. He's still a member and will stay that way until the day he dies. He told friends he merely declined to give bagman Senator Irving Gerstein a top-tier party donation, noting that was a bit much given he'd been declared a pariah by Harper two years ago. But the current PMO insists "the Dark Lord" hasn't been a paid-up member since 2006 and recently demanded to have his name removed from all party activity and fundraising lists.
The PMO objective is obvious: They want Mulroney safely barge-poled away from Harper as the nasty inquiry into his business dealings with arms dealer Karlheinz Schreiber fires up.
Mr. Martin seems to forget what finally forced Harper's hand into creating the Oliphant probe:
In an abrupt about-face, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a review of Brian Mulroney's dealings with a controversial businessman and cut off contact with the man he valued as a political adviser.
Friday's reversal came just a day after new allegations from Karlheinz Schreiber threatened to draw Harper himself into the tangled Mulroney-Schreiber-Airbus affair.
For days Harper had repeatedly dismissed Liberal demands for a probe into allegations involving $300,000 in cash payments to Mulroney by Schreiber.
But the same prime minister who had responded with taunts and threats to counter-investigate former Liberal prime ministers delivered a bolt out of the blue on Friday afternoon.
Not even Mulroney got an advance phone call from Harper.
The announcement was prompted by a 20-page affidavit filed the previous day in Ontario Superior Court with fresh claims against Mulroney – and, for the first time, a mention of Harper in connection with the affair.
Schreiber's affidavit alleges that Mulroney was still serving as prime minister in June 1993 when he agreed to enter into a business arrangement.
It says a Mulroney adviser once asked him to transfer funds, in connection with Air Canada's 1988 purchase of Airbus planes, to Mulroney's lawyer in Switzerland.
As for Harper, the affidavit claims that Mulroney told Schreiber about an upcoming visit to the current prime minister's country estate in July 2006. It alleges that Mulroney promised to discuss Airbus with the prime minister at his retreat in Harrington Lake, Que.
Hapless Harper is going to find himself
- Tied to the one of the least popular former Prime Ministers in Canadian history,
- Unable to point to Liberal transgressions and
- Unable to claim economic leadership.