Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Harper Moves Fast and Well on Independent Advisor Appointment

Mr. Harper has moved quickly and well to appoint the independent advisor on the Mulroney/Schreiber affair. The appointment of Professor David Johnson, President of the University of Waterloo is an excellent choice.

I also like the mandate and the flexibility and discretion afforded Professor Johnson.

a) specifies the duties of the Independent Advisor as to conduct an independent review of those allegations respecting financial dealings between Mr. Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, P.C., and to submit to the Prime Minister by January 11, 2008 a report in both official languages, which shall
(i) make recommendations as to the appropriate mandate for a public inquiry into those allegations, including the specific issues that warrant examination, under the Inquiries Act,
(ii) state whether the Independent Advisor, in the course of his review, has determined that there is any prima facie evidence of criminal action; in that case, the report shall make recommendations as to how this determination should be dealt with, and what should be the appropriate mandate and timing for a formal public inquiry in those circumstances, and
(iii) make recommendations as to whether any additional course of action may be appropriate;
(b) authorizes the Independent Advisor to adopt procedures for the expedient and proper conduct of the independent review, including reviewing relevant records and documents and consulting as appropriate;
(c) fixes his remuneration as set out in the attached schedule, which per diem is within the range ($1,200 - $1,400); and(d) authorizes the payment, in accordance with Treasury Board policies, of the following expenses incurred in the course of his duties:
(i) travel and living expenses while in travel status in Canada while away from his normal place of residence in accordance with the Treasury Board Travel Directive and Special Travel Authorities,
(ii) expert staff, as required, and
(iii) any other reasonable expenses as necessary to conduct the independent review.

I applaud the swiftness, quality and the mandate behind this decision by Mr. Harper.
This review process is not a witch hunt and never was. It is the beginning of a hunt as to which version of the truth we will believe, that of Mr. Schreiber or that of Mr. Mulroney. That is the ultimate question and it is still an open question waiting for an answer