The following is a conclusion of the Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, found on page 29 of the report
Airbus Libel Case Settlement
The Opposition insisted that as part of our study we examine the Airbus Libel case settlement between Mr. Mulroney and the former Liberal Government. As Allan Rock, Minister of Justice at the time of the settlement testified before us, the now public information about the business relationship between Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Schreiber, while it could have impacted the terms of the settlement, did not change the essential reason for the decision to settle.
Mr. Rock testified, “The advice I had from the department, with which I agreed, was that the gist of the reason we apologized to Mr. Mulroney was the language used in the letter of request, and if you read that language, you’ll see it was conclusory. It asserts as a matter of fact that there was criminal activity. That’s why an apology was given.” Further, he testified, “…regarding who is responsible for the $2.1 million, the government acknowledged that the letter should not have been sent in that language. It was the language used that was the essential harm here, and it was for that reason we apologized and agreed to pay
Given that a decade-long RCMP investigation into the Airbus purchase which proceeded well past the date of the libel settlement found no evidence of criminal wrong-doing, and given the lack of any new evidence before our Committee, it must be concluded that the settlement reached with Mr. Mulroney was appropriate.