PRESS RELEASE: February 10, 1997

Two weeks into its defence, and with two weeks to go to before the Government calls its experts who will destroy the Government's inflammatory allegations of "excess profits" and a "massive rip-off of the taxpayers", the Government is apparently continuing its disinformation campaign.

We saw the same arrogance on the GST issue and in the Airbus fiasco. It is as if the Liberal Government believes that they have the divine right to deceive and to get away with it.

Here are some of the myths still being propagated by the Liberals:

1. MYTH: They have to protect the public

FACT: Where were they in the protection of the public interest when they cancelled the contracts knowing that all they had was a string of unfounded allegations in the Nixon Report, and no hard evidence or wrong doing. Where was the due diligence which would normally have gone into the cancellation of a $700 million project? Why the failure to recognize the conflict of interest of Mr. Nixon with the Government?

They knew the cost and they went ahead and cancelled the Contracts anyway on the assumption that they could deprive Canadians of their rights by legislation. They were contemptuous of the rule of law and the Canadian public by their deceit. Now they really just want to protect themselves. Victimize the victim, rather than acknowledge they were wrong, or let the courts proceed.

Knowing full well the costs of cancelling the Contracts would be high, the Prime Minister proceeded on the assumption that they could deprive Canadians of their rights through legislation.

2. MYTH: Bill C-28 was defeated by a Tory-dominated Senate

FACT: The Senate was made up of 51 Liberals, 50 Tories and three independents. The Bill was defeated by principled Senators, including Liberal Senator Sparrow.

3. MYTH: They harp on the fact that the contract was signed in the middle of the election as if there was no prior contractual obligation to close

FACT: They ignore the law of Canada, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ron Engineering and other cases. There was a succession of binding legal contracts between the Government and the developers, beginning in July of 1992. The closing date was set early in July of 1993 to be October 7, 1993. There were binding legal contracts existing in August of 1993 as a consequence of the finalization of documents between the parties and the Treasury Board and Cabinet approvals. Briefing notes prepared for Robert Wright, the Government's negotiator, say "August 30 -- legally binding agreement".

In its simplest terms, like a house purchase, there was a binding purchase and sale agreement in August with a closing in October.

Failure to close by either side would have been a breach of contract.

The Special Senate Inquiry came to the same conclusion.

4. MYTH: They say that cancelling the contracts was in the best interest of the public

FACT: This is rhetoric of convenience looking for an excuse.

The developer has never argued that the Government of Canada could not, for proper policy reasons, cancel the contracts, as long as they honoured the laws of Canada. However, the Government breached the laws of Canada and massively defamed the parties involved.

Their attitude now is, "to hell with the laws of Canada, we have to protect the Liberal Government from paying the price for breaking the law. Victimize the victim and protect the perpetrator!

Why can the Liberal Government not live within the law of Canada when the rest of Canadians have to? Why retroactive denial of rights?

Next time you hear these myths, why don't you ask, "when are you going to tell the truth?".

Until the June 20, 1996 defeat of Bill C-28, the Government's only solution was legislation. However, the court damages assessment case has now gone on for another 7.5 months. Legislation should not now be a solution.

The Government only needs legislation if they broke the law. Legislation is an act of desperation. The Government is about to commence arguing before the judge that the Airport Contracts represented a risky deal that may have lost money for the developer. Unfortunately, this position is in direct contradiction to that previously espoused by the Government.

Where is the Justice Minister in all of this? Would he again introduce and support legislation to limit full access to the courts, a right that every Canadian is entitled to in order to protect his Government? Similar rights were granted to Mexicans and Americans by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien under NAFTA, i.e. due process and fair compensation.

It would be improper and contemptuous of the court for the Justice Minister to introduce or support, in the middle of his defence in the court case, legislation to sharply limit the damage for his Government's breach of contract and defamation. The courts have already given judgment against the Government for breach of contract.

Now is the time for the Government to acknowledge that the Nixon Report was wrong and to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement in good faith, recognizing their own estimates of the damages and the progress in the courts. Failing that, the independent determination by the court based on established law is the ultimate democratic solution. It is the equivalent of expropriation under existing law.

Fairness and honesty and the rule of law require that the Government not be the judge in its own cause.

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