Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mulroney Playing for Time

Brian Mulroney is looking for a 2-week adjournment of the public inquiry into his dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber.

Mulroney's lawyer contends the extension would give counsel more time to examine documents (gee, what have they been doing all these months?) and allow inquiry head, Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, time to clarify just how Mulroney's conduct is to be assessed.

Pratte wants a line drawn to demarc "above reproach" from "ordinary dirtbag." That fictional line would be the day Mulroney left office. From the Toronto Star:

Oliphant has already rejected a contention by Mulroney that the only proper yardstick for assessing his actions is the 1985 cabinet ethics code he himself put in place.

The judge served notice, in a ruling last month, that he would cast a wider net and take account of ethical provisions contained in federal statutes such as the Financial Administration Act, the Income Tax Act and even the Criminal Code.

Oliphant hastened to add that he didn't intend to draw any conclusions about civil or criminal liability, something he's barred from doing under his mandate.

He concluded, however, that he couldn't be bound by the narrow confines of the 1985 ethics code. "This inquiry is ultimately concerned with the good government of Canada," said the judge.

It's hard to say but Pratte seems to be invoking the legal maxim, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Mulroney's team also want to know what smoking guns Schreiber will bring to the inquiry. In the wake of the Commons ethics committee hearings, Schreiber has already disclosed documents suggesting that Mulroney aide Fred Doucet wasn't truthful when he told the committee, under oath, that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the Airbus-Air Canada deal. Doucet's evidence served to corroborate Mulroney's unsworn statements. If, as the documents appear to suggest, Doucet was lying, then it raises no end of questions about Mulroney's evidence.

If you're interested in what started this all, Stevie Cameron has reproduced the anonymous letter she received at The Globe and Mail. She also has the transcript of notes taken during her interviews with the Mulroneys' chef, Francois Martin.

If you're looking for more, check out the items done by The Fifth Estate at

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