Reboot Alberta

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.


  1. Anonymous11:56 am

    Hmm, would be great to see that smugness removed from Mulroney.

  2. Anonymous4:56 pm

    Ahhh...good post.. but let's leave the man alone already? I agree that politicians should be held to a higher standard, but dragging this on forever is getting old. I am sure our tax dollars can be better spent. The damage to his reputation is done and hopefully the "fear" seed has been planted for current/future politicians.

  3. The inquiry has been delayed due to Harper's in ability to keep a promise to hold it and his usually sitting on things he does not like hoping they go away. It starts in March and will be good for Canadian democracy methinks.

  4. Anonymous10:58 pm

    My understanding is that a public inquiry kills the chance of Mulroney being prosecuted on corruption charge, because evidence brought forth in an inquiry cannot be used in court proceedings. Moreover, the purpose of inquiries, as I understand it, is remedial: how did the horse get out and how can we lock the barn door? as opposed to punitive: "Let's punish the guy that opened the door." Is my understanding on this faulty?

  5. Inquiries only find and determine facts. they do not affix blame. Criminal and civil proceeds can follow based on the facts and findings. An Inquiry is not a court but it follows the rule of law and the rules of evidence. An Inquiry finds the facts and a court tries them.

    Mulroney is not off the hook due to the inquiry unless of course the facts are found to be that he acted appropriately.

    The Inquiry could find that the applicable law is so vague that taking cash from a known arms dealer for lobbying purposes on his behalf is just long as you are selling pasta for him.

  6. Anonymous10:16 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Ken. Now, would anyone like to take a guess at how many times over the past ten years in Canada an inquiry involving a "public servant" has been followed by criminal or civil proceeds?
    Marnie Tunay

  7. Criminal charges were laid and a bunch of folks went to jail over politicians just corrupt party hacks and business people. It happens for sure.


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