Wow. It's been a busy few days. When we last left you, Stephen Harper was set to call a probe to investigate if an inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair was necessary.
Then, late Monday night, Mulroney himself came forward demanding a full blown inquiry. I know Mulroney wants to clear his name and is probably looking forward to a chance to settle some old political scores but it's hard to see how this ends well for him. There was a great 22 Minutes skit after the Airbus settlement. When asked to explain the 2 million dollars that were "wasted", the "mounties" answered "when I think about the look in the eyes of the average Canadian at the thought that maybe, just maybe, Brian Mulroney would be going to jail - well, you just can't put a price tag on that kind of happiness." We all saw how the Gomery inquiry, which found no wrongdoings by Martin or Chretien, stuck to them; Even if Brian is cleared, between his reputation and the fishy business of cash transfer, it's impossible for his reputation not to take a personal hit.
Following this, on Tuesday, Harper stunned everyone by calling the "extremely dangerous" inquiry he had warned against just a week prior.
As one might imagine, there's a ton of coverage on this in today's papers. Maclean's has a good round-up of the Mulroney/Harper friendship, the QP fireworks, and the media coverage. The Globe has a series of articles where we learn, among other things, that "Because Mr. [Frank] Moores is dead, he can't be a witness at the public inquiry."
The big news today is that University of Waterloo President David Johnson will draft the terms of reference for the inquiry.
So, the big question is, will all this help or hurt Harper? Well, it certainly won't help him, that's for darn sure. Given that the Conservative Party has disintegrated and reformed itself since these events took place, it really shouldn't be impacting Harper, but one imagines he'll take a hit on this, in the short term at least. The Liberals are certainly going to try and use this to burn the bridge on the ethics issue since it's one of the areas where the Tories currently have the upper hand on them. With the "in and out scandal" going nowhere, this might be their chance to neutralize the CPC on ethics. There are enough open questions about letters to Harper that, at the very least, they can try to drag him and his party into it.