Friday, January 25, 2008

Take Off the Kid Gloves, Mr. Szabo

From today's Globe & Mail:
Brian Mulroney may not return for a second appearance in front of a Parliamentary committee looking into his relationship with Karlheinz Schreiber unless he gets assurances from the committee that it won't stray from its mandate.

In a letter to committee chair Paul Szabo, Mr. Mulroney's lawyer is accusing the House of Commons panel of bias and of violating his client's rights, saying its final report on the matter could be tainted. Guy Pratte writes that Mr. Szabo wrongly allowed questions not related to the committee's mandate and expresses concern about a request from Mr. Szabo that Canada's Auditor-General examine the former prime minister's tax records.

Mulroney's lawyer wrote to the Ethics committee: "... allow me to remind you that Mr. Mulroney has co-operated fully with the committee and to assure you that he intends to continue to do so to the extent that legitimate questions remain to be examined. But given the way the proceedings have unfolded thus far, any reasonable observer must conclude that very serious breaches of fairness have occurred..."

Can you say someone has "cooperated fully" when they lied?

Most reasonable observers concluded that Mulroney was not only treated fairly, but was treated so fairly as to enable him to walk all over the hearings:

* Mulroney wasn't made to swear an oath.
* Mulroney was allowed to present his case with very little cross examination.
* Mulroney was treated with deference and respect, even while uttering what appeared to be great big fat whoppers.

The Globe goes on, "In his letter, Mr. Pratte says that Mr. Szabo's inquiry about having the Auditor-General's office audit Mr. Mulroney's income-tax returns was an attempt to violate the former prime minister's privacy." But Ethics chair Paul Szabo asked for the Audit-General to handle the tax returns to protect Mulroney's privacy - it was a way to avoid the returns becoming public.

We need to see the tax returns, and they need to be made public. Mulroney must return to the Ethics committee, and he must answer probing questions about his previous testimony and anything else the committee deems relevant.

The Ethics committee cannot give in to Mulroney's bullying the way governments have previously.



Anonymous said...

"Take Off the Kid Gloves, Mr. Szabo"

Yes the CBC needs to The ethics commitee is tainted.

We need a hearing into Pablo, and whoever the other liberal was taking question from the CBC.

Was it The chair? I don't know but who was the othetr liberal taking question from the CBC?

Yappa said...

To anonymous at 2:46 -

I don't see any scandal in a CBC reporter suggesting a question. I can see why the CBC took it seriously - they have rigorous standards and don't want any perception that their reporters are collaborating with a party - but other than their own internal procedures, my reaction is, to quote the last line of Buckaroo Banzai: "So what? Big deal."