I just finished William Kaplan’s A Secret Trial, quite possibly the most important book on public life in Canada that has been published this year. The book aims to correct the main assumption of Kaplan’s previous book, Presumed Guilty, which exonerated Brian Mulroney from any wrongdoing in the Airbus affair.
It turns out that, while there is still not a shred of evidence that Mulroney was involved in the Airbus kickbacks scandal, he wasn’t as forthcoming with Kaplan, the RCMP, or the Canadian public as he should have been. Shortly after he left office, Mulroney accepted $300 000, in cash, in hotel rooms, from Karlheinz Schreiber.
Kaplan is pretty annoyed with all concerned. He lectures Mulroney on the obligations of leadership:
“Power and privacy have an inverse relationship in a democracy: the more of the former, the less of the latter. Put another way, being prime minister of Canada is the biggest trust of all, and the obligations that go with it last forever.”
He’s also plenty annoyed with Stevie Cameron, who continued to deny that she was for a long time an informer for the RCMP, despite “the extraordinary court proceedings on March 4, 2004, and the presentation of irrefutable evidence that Cameron was both a police informer and a liar.” He then proceeds to lecture her on journalistic integrity.
Finally, Norman Spector adds a painful Afterward, exposing the bipartisan nature of the culture of corruption in Ottawa. It’s extremely depressing.
This is a great book. As far as I can tell, the book has received two proper reviews, one in the Globe and Mail, and one in the current edition of the LRC. Additionally, Paul Wells wrote about it in Maclean’s, and Michael Bliss discussed it in the Post.