Welcome to Ottawa Suzanne Coté, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice at a tidy salary of $358,000 per year.
Of course, that’s chump change for a high-powered corporate legalist like Suzanne–not to mention her spousal unit, Gérald Tremblay, who not so many years ago was trousering $1.5-million from the feds for representing Byron Muldoon in his $50-million libel suit against Ottawa.
Readers will recall that lawsuit was settled, in large part, on nose-stretching exculpatory testimony from Muldoon. (ed. note: Byron and Jian Ghomeshi shared the same spin-weasels, Navigator, owned and operated by convicted fraud artiste, Jamie Watt.)
In addition to Tremblay’s $1.5-million, Ottawa forked over another $600,000 in blood money to Luc Lavoie, the vulpine Muldoon bumboy who caught farts on behalf of his truth-challenged client: At one point, Lavoid proclaimed that “Karlheinz Schreiber is the biggest fucking liar the world has ever seen.”
Muldoon had sued the RCMP and the federal Justice Department for claiming in Swiss court documents that he had received $5-million in kickbacks in the deal that saw Air Canada, then a Crown Corp., buy 34 Airbus A320s airliners for $1.8 billion.
On the eve of the trial, then-PM Jean Crouton ordered a settlement, after Paul Desmarais, billionaire father-in-law to Crouton’s daughter, personally assured him that Byron was clean and Ottawa should pay his $2.1-million in legal expenses and apologize for their calumny
Later, when Mulroney ‘fessed up, admitting that Schreiber had paid him $225K–or $300K, depending on which version of Byron’s lies you prefer — Lavoid revised his assessment of Schreiber, calling him “one of the world’s top five liars.” Eventually, Lavoid had to acknowledge that Byron made a “colossal mistake” in accepting $300,000 in cash from Schreiber, at which point Byron fired him and hired Watt.
Lavoid and the joke-cracking Tremblay, of the saturnine Montreal branch of McCarthy Tétreault, had a grand time on the Airbus gravy train, often in late night revels at the city’s high-end piss tanks. But the vastly over-refreshed Tremblay always managed to grab a few zzzzzzz’s before returning to court to resume the Airbus pre-trial travesty.
On one occasion, at the same time that Tremblay and Co. were conducting one of their infamous pub crawls, Stevie Cameron was hosting a fund raiser at her Toronto home, when the phone rang. On the other end was Harvey Cashore, the CBC Fifth Estate gumshoe. Harvey and Lavoid were calling from one of their favourite bistros, hooting hysterically at another Tremblay zinger.
For years, Lavoid and Muldoon had slandered Cameron at every opportunity and here was Harvey consorting with the sleazebags. Of course, as it transpired, Cashore was adept at betrayal, having endlessly slagged Cameron to book publisher Jan Walter when he and Cameron co-wrote The Last Amigo: Karlheinz Schreiber and the Anatomy of a Scandal.
But I digress.
Ever since Byron confessed to taking funds from Schreiber, naysayers have grumbled about perjury. How can anyone be paid tens of thousands of dollars in $1,000 bills, in hotel rooms and lobbies, from someone he’d only had coffee with a few times? Others have demanded that Mulroney refund the out-of-court settlement money to Ottawa.
Alas, President Steve’s crusading Justice Minister Peter MacKay, son of Muldoon-Schreiber go-between Elmer, has yet to apply his famously keen legal mind to the matter. Perhaps he can find time now that Suzanne has her Supreme Court Santa suit.
Tremblay became a member of the Order of Canada in December 2003; Cameron in 2011.
Lavoid is a member of the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Cashore toils anonymously at CBC.