Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Justice Minister Nicholson and the Conservatives doing exactly nothing to ensure Schreiber appears

Well, today the Conservatives are showing their true colours on the Schreiber matter. The upshot of Nicholson's letter today to the Ethics Committee is that the Conservatives are apparently willing to execute the Schreiber extradition order with haste come December 1 in order to get him the heck out of dodge. Despite the advice of the law clerk to the House of Commons to the Ethics Committee, to the effect that the Justice Minister has the power to ensure Schreiber appears by amending the current extradition order, Nicholson denies he has that power. There's no other conclusion to be drawn than the Conservatives want Schreiber out of here, now, and are unwilling to do anything to assist his testimony being obtained in any way.

So the Conservatives are effectively having it both ways. Seeming to "do the right thing" by calling a public inquiry on the one hand. But doing exactly nothing to stop the Schreiber extradition, in contravention of significant Canadian public support for it and the majority will of the House Ethics Committee, on the other hand.

The legalities will continue, however. And though Nicholson's now weighed in, a Speaker's warrant is being issued, a step up from the Committee summons. So Schreiber may yet be appearing on Thursday, but after that all bets are off. It may be one day and that's all she wrote. Schreiber's lawyers will apparently, based on a CP report, seek a stay with the Ontario Court of Appeal on Friday to prevent his extradition pending this latest appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. But I disagree with this aspect of the Globe report:
Mr. Nicholson acknowledges in his letter that the extradition can be delayed pending an appeal.
That's not what Nicholson writes. He says an extradition "may" be delayed pending an appeal. That's not as assured a statement as the Globe presents it to be. I'm nitpicking, but still.

Here's Nicholson's letter (click to enlarge):

The Conservatives are doing nothing to assist Schreiber's testimony occurring. Speaks volumes.