Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mulroney/Schreiber roundup - with bells on

Lots going on...

1. My big question today on the Mulroney/Schreiber affair is this. We have learned that in addition to the letter(s) Schreiber wrote to Harper in March of 2007, seven months or so ago, Schreiber also wrote to Harper six weeks ago. We also learned on Sunday in the Toronto Star that at about the same time, during the first week in October, the Justice Department seemed to be - all of a sudden after weeks of delay by the Minister - in a big rush to hurry Schreiber's extradition hearing along. Coincidence? Once again, the extended excerpt that has the time frame:
On Sept. 20, Schreiber's legal team wrote to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson asking the minister to quash the government's surrender order in light of the new developments between Germany and Switzerland that remove most of the key evidence from the case.

For nearly three weeks, Nicholson did not respond to the letter.

On Oct. 3, Schreiber turned himself in at the Metro West Detention Centre, in keeping with his bail conditions. The next morning, the Supreme Court of Canada was set to rule on his request for a review of one of the justice minister's earlier refusals to stop the extradition.

About 18 minutes before the Supreme Court released its decision, Schreiber's legal team filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada to allow him to remain in Canada until Nicholson ruled on their Sept. 20 request to reconsider the extradition.

The RCMP, however, had apparently not been told about the latest legal manoeuvre.

About an hour before the Supreme Court was scheduled to deliver its judgment Oct. 4, Schreiber was approached in his jail cell by two guards, who told him to get dressed for court.

Puzzled, Schreiber explained to them that he had no court appearances scheduled for that day.

After nearly three hours, a guard came and told Schreiber to change back into his jail clothing because the Mounties weren't coming to take him away after all.

At about 2.50 p.m. next day, federal justice department lawyers notified Schreiber's lawyers that the government would ask a court to quash his injunction application, which could pave the way for his immediate extradition.

The hearing was to take place 12 minutes later, before a Federal Court judge.

Greenspan's office was quickly on the phone with two federal justice department lawyers and Federal Court judge Johanne Gauthier.

Gauthier adjourned the hearing until the next Tuesday. But it didn't go ahead as scheduled. Instead, Schreiber's lawyers abandoned their Federal Court application and shifted the case to the Ontario Court of Appeal, which had the effect of buying Schreiber more time.
Recall the harsh rebuke to the federal Justice Minister Nicholson in written submissions by Schreiber's counsel, the Greenspans. Minister Nicholson who served under Mulroney.

There is certainly a big question mark surrounding the haste exhibited by the Justice Department in early October toward Schreiber and whether it was coincidental to Schreiber's October missive to the Prime Minister. And this intriguing coincidence has everything to do with the Harper government's actions in the present day. Not something that happened 10 or 15 years ago. Doesn't look good at all.

2. Regarding Schreiber's imminent Thursday extradition hearing, if it were to be ordered, it would not look very good on the government at all. They need to be revising their position, if they have not done so. Otherwise, they'll look like they're trying to hide something by getting Schreiber out of the country.

3. The big show from yesterday had to be Brian Mulroney's speech last night to the St. FX alumni event. TV cameras on hand and all to witness the defiant Mulroney who did not disappoint:
"I want to tell you here tonight that I, Martin Brian Mulroney, 18th prime minister of Canada, will be there before the royal commission with bells on, because I have done nothing wrong and have absolutely nothing to hide," he said.
Um, just wondering, but who references themselves in such a manner? It had a bit of an imperialistic edge to it. All part of the big splash that was required, I take it.

4. Did you catch Schreiber's reaction to this statement? Dialing up a storm out of his jail cell to Lisa Laflamme these days, he said something to the effect of Mulroney being the number one liar he'd known in his life. Providing a fascinating preview of he-said/he-said testimony to come, to say the least. Isn't it interesting to see how sought out Schreiber is on the matter these days. A credibility contest exists where there really should be none at all.

5. Note this highly relevant question asked in the House of Commons yesterday:
Michel Guimond of the Bloc Quebecois questioned whether Schreiber or Mulroney had ever funded Harper's past leadership campaigns, prompting guffaws and eye-rolling from the Conservative benches.
Get used to rolling your eyes, Conservatives. But unless Harper reveals his leadership campaign contributors, there's no reason to stop asking such questions. It may bear upon his present actions in this matter.

6. The RCMP are in on the investigative end. Pursuing the political corruption end of things, it appears.

7. Who cares what former Judge and Mr. Chatterbox Gomery has to say about this pending public inquiry? It's going to be political he says and many judges won't touch it? Falling off my chair at that one...and laughing heartily.

8. Here's video of Tuesday's goings on in the House of Commons. Note Harper's somewhat subdued demeanour, also noted by Garth Turner:

As Turner hints, bet they're regretting their choice of "the government is clean" line in the Throne Speech, hey? Not that we haven't enjoyed it around here...:)