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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Ethics Committee Should Stand Down and Lets Get On With the Public Inquiry

UPDATE: There is a piece in the Globe and Mail today Monday Jan 14/08 by William Kaplan - the man who wrote the book on this Schreiber/Mulroney stuff...literally. He concurs with my position on the emerging role of the Ethics Committee continuation of hearings...time to go to the Inquiry and for the politicians to get out of the way.
If the Ethics Committee is to continue to look into the Schreiber/Mulroney Affair will they be able to be effective, given their rules and the partisan nature of their procedures? For example the committee failed, refused or neglected to put Mr. Mulroney under oath but did so with Mr. Schreiber. Why?

Dr. Johnston’s report outlines 17 questions about former Prime Minister Mulroney’s business dealings with Mr. Schreiber. They are:

1. What were the business and financial dealings between Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney?
2. Was there an agreement reached by Mr. Mulroney while still a sitting prime minister?
3. If so, what was that agreement, when and where was it made?
4. Was there an agreement reached by Mr. Mulroney while still sitting as a Member of Parliament or during the limitation periods prescribed by the 1985 ethics code?
5. If so, what was that agreement, when and where was it made?
6. What payments were made, when and how and why?
7. What was the source of the funds for the payments?
8. What services, if any, were rendered in return for the payments?
9. Why were the payments made and accepted in cash?
10. What happened to the cash; in particular, if a significant amount of cash was received in the U.S., what happened to that cash?
11. Were these business and financial dealings appropriate considering the position of Mr. Mulroney as a current or former prime minister and Member of Parliament?
12. Was there appropriate disclosure and reporting of the dealings and payments?
13. Were there ethical rules or guidelines which related to these business and financial dealings? Were they followed?
14. Are there ethical rules or guidelines which currently would have covered these business and financial dealings? Are they sufficient or should there be additional ethical rules or guidelines concerning the activities of politicians as they transition from office or after they leave office?
15. What steps were taken in processing Mr. Schreiber’s correspondence to Prime Minister Harper of March 29, 2007?
16. Why was the correspondence not passed on to Prime Minister Harper?
17. Should the PCO have adopted any different procedures in this case?
I don’t think any of these are political questions but they all have political implications. My hope is that the Ethics Committee stands down on this and lets Mr. Harper and Dr. Johnston get on with setting up the Public Inquiry.