Thursday, November 15, 2007

Schreiber to be extradited; Justice Minister Nicholson now under the spotlight

"I guess politics has taken over," said Eddie Greenspan today. Isn't that just a mouthful? The news:
Karlheinz Schreiber has lost another bid to stave off extradition to Germany to face fraud, bribery and tax-evasion charges.

Ontario's Court of Appeal ruled Thursday against Mr. Schreiber, though it's expected he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Schreiber's lawyers had been concerned their client could be removed from the country immediately, and had asked the Crown for an assurance that he won't be extradited without at least two weeks' notice.

Crown lawyers later advised the court that federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who has the final say over extradition orders, had agreed not to do anything until Dec. 1.
That latter tidbit, that he won't do anything until December 1st, presumably came after a phone call from Crown lawyers to a mysterious someone during the hearing after Schreiber's lawyers asked for a notice period before extradition:
However, Dennison’s justice department colleague, lawyer Richard Kramer, asked the court for a brief recess so the federal legal team could obtain advice by telephone.

Kramer did not say who they would be calling.
Well, I think we can guess. The federal lawyers were calling the man of the hour now, Justice Minister Nicholson. The opposition is rightfully putting the spotlight on him now as it's up to him as to whether Schreiber stays or goes. He has discretion despite the court ruling today to keep Schreiber in the country.
Opposition MPs have called on the government to halt its extradition efforts until after a public inquiry into Mr. Schreiber's relationship with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Reacting to today's decision, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said Mr. Nicholson must “act now” and use his discretionary powers to stop the deportation.

“Otherwise it will be a scandal within a scandal,” said Mr. Dion, speaking to reporters in Victoria, where he attended a roundtable on homelessness, poverty and harm reduction. His comments were echoed in Question Period by Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe.
There's no getting around it. If Nicholson doesn't keep Schreiber here, it'll be terrible optics for the Conservatives. There'll be no spinning that. Think Germany will want to send him back here after the difficulty they've had in extraditing him?

So the main witness against Brian Mulroney is presumptively to be extradited and the Conservative government has signalled thus far it will not employ its discretion to stop it. And Brian Mulroney is suing a Liberal MP for defamation over comments made on television.

Certainly doesn't seem like any of these Conservatives are interested in any kind of public inquiry, formal or otherwise, now does it?