Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Will the Conservatives heed the will of the Ethics Committee or ignore it?

Looks like the Schreiber testimony is getting bogged down in legalities, despite the majority support of the Commons Ethics Committee for Schreiber's attendance. Whether Schreiber will now be seen and heard from this week is becoming a guessing game:
The chairman of the Commons ethics committee issued a formal order yesterday compelling Karlheinz Schreiber to testify in Ottawa this week about his dealings with former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

But the prospects of the German-Canadian businessman being freed from jail to testify on Parliament Hill are mired in quarrels about the correctness of little-used Commons procedures; whether he can or should apply for bail; and whether his extradition order is automatically stayed because he has filed with the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal.
Although at least one lawyer, in the same report cited above, is stating that Schreiber may be staying put for now, which would ensure he would testify at the Ethics Committee, just perhaps at a little later date than this week:
Toronto lawyer Daniel Moore said Schreiber automatically would be allowed to stay in Canada because his lawyers have, for the third time, filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

A decision on whether to hear an appeal would take about three months.
I'm not sure about that view. If it's true, why is Pat Martin's hair on fire? Maybe it's just that his hair is always on fire. And the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed Schreiber's appeal and only managed to coax a December 1st date out of the federal government at which time Schreiber may be deported. As far as we know, there's been no stay granted by the Court of Appeal which would halt Schreiber from being extradited post December 1st. There may be a requirement that he get two weeks notice, however.

Bottom line, it's a bit of a mess. And if Schreiber is leaving the country on Saturday, the Conservatives will have allowed it to happen amidst all the uncertainty and in contravention of a majority vote of the Ethics Committee requiring Schreiber to attend. It's hard to believe that they would allow that to happen.