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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Judge Won't Restrict His Inquiry Into Mulroney Schreiber Affair.

The Globe and Mail is reporting an interesting development on the Mulroney Schreiber Affair and the pending Judicial Inquiry.

Associate Chief Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, the man conducting the Inquiry, rejected arguments my Mulroney’s lawyers to narrow the scope of the Inquiry. The Chair wants to review the “appropriateness” of former Prime Minister Mulroney’s behaviour with “the closest possible scrutiny.

The Mulroney legal team was trying to get the Inquiry to agree that he could not consider the Criminal Code, the Income Tax Act, and anti-corruption legislation in his deliberations.
Thankfully the Chair decided that these laws are applicable for consideration when inquiring into the “appropriateness” of Mulroney taking a large cash payment from Schreiber for lobbying purposes shortly after leaving the office of Prime Ministers.

The Chair described his task saying “I intend to determine, on an objective basis, whether Mr. Mulroney…conformed with the highest standards of conduct.” He goes further to say “I believe that this standard is one that reflects the importance to Canadian democracy of the office of the prime minister, as well as the public trust reposed in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of public office holders.”

Oliphant was clearly not amused by the Mulroney gambit to narrow the scope of the Inquiry. He noted that in 1988 then Prime Minister Mulroney distributed a document to his cabinet entitled Guidance for Ministers. That document apparently warned the Mulroney cabinet that they had an obligation to go further than “simply to observe the law.” Oliphant was pretty clear that he was going to hold Mulroney to the same standard.

I hope CPAC will be covering this Inquiry from gavel to gavel like they did with Adscam. Not just because of the politics but because it will help Canadians who are concerned about our democracy but also the quality of the character of our elected representatives.