Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Harper government's actions in Schreiber extradition hearing tomorrow under scrutiny

Their actions to date, as led by Justice Minister Nicholson, throughout the fall to push full steam ahead with Schreiber's extradition and particularly in early October when a Schreiber letter had just been received by Harper suggest that they want Schreiber extradited, like yesterday. Nicholson's comments in the House today do not suggest that they have changed course, despite the obvious importance of retaining one of the central figures in the upcoming inquiry in the country:
Schreiber, who has been under an extradition order for close to a decade, has a hearing Thursday in Toronto and could immediately be put on a plane to Germany to face fraud, bribery and tax evasion charges.

Opposition MPs demanded Wednesday that the government hold off on the extradition so that Schreiber can testify in person at the inquiry. Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson - himself a former parliamentary secretary in Mulroney's government - sidestepped the demands.

"The matter is before the court and to be decided within the next 24 hours," said Nicholson, "all the more reason why it would be inappropriate to comment."
Justice Minister Nicholson might want to listen to such expert views:
The prospect of an inquiry may help Schreiber's effort to remain in the country for now, since his testimony - and that of Mulroney - would be key, said Patrick Monahan, dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School at Toronto's York University.

"I would think that the attorney general is going to want to insist that Mr. Schreiber be available to testify at the inquiry," Monahan said.

"That could involve returning him to Germany with the assurance that Mr. Schreiber will be available to come back to Canada for the period of time necessary to testify at the inquiry. But if the German government is not in a position, for whatever reason, to provide that assurance, then presumably Mr. Nicholson will not wish to proceed this time with the extradition of Mr. Schreiber."
Presumably. All eyes will be on the Justice Department tomorrow. We shall see if the government really intends to ensure Schreiber's availability.