Friday, December 07, 2007

Liberals tried to delay Mulroney’s appearance until after David Johnston’s report

Afraid Mulroney’s testimony will weaken case for public inquiry.

CBC's Cashore suggests he would not testify voluntarily.

This little nugget, reported on TV yesterday by CTV’s Bob Fife and Globe and Mail reporter Brian Laghi, appears to have flown under the radar:

“Actually Lloyd, the Liberals tried to block Mr. Mulroney’s appearance until late January, after the independent investigator sets the terms of reference for a public inquiry. They were afraid that if he shows up Thursday and he shows he didn’t do anything illegal, that the public inquiry wouldn’t be held. The NDP wouldn’t go along with this.”
--Bob Fife, CTV News, December 6

Presumably, this discussion took place at the in-camera meeting of the committee’s steering committee, after Karlheinz Schreiber gave his testimony Thursday.

Video of Fife’s report is here (titled “CTV News: Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reports 3:21”). The above comment starts around the 2:40 mark.

The Globe’s Laghi also mentioned the Liberals’ attempt to delay Mulroney’s testimony, on “Mike Duffy Live,” but video is not available.

Interesting. The party that insisted on having the ethics committee conduct hearings and got Schreiber out of jail with a rarely-used Speaker’s warrant – all while knowing that a public inquiry is coming – tried to delay the appearance of one of the key witnesses after only three days of hearings.

Another interesting shoe yet to drop in this story is whether the journalists of interest, such as Stevie Cameron and “Fifth Estate” journalists Linden MacIntyre and Harvey Cashore, will testify before the committee or a public inquiry.

Cashore appeared on TVO’s “The Agenda” last night, and suggested he would not testify voluntarily, but demurred when host Steve Paikin asked him what he would do if served with a Speaker’s warrant:

Paikin: You know who else they [the committee] wanna call (points to Cashore).

Cashore: Uhm, me. Yeah. (laughs)

Paikin: They wanna call you. Are you prepared for that?

Cashore: Well, I’ve gotta, you know, think about what that means. My job as a journalist is not to go speaking to, you know, to be a function or an arm of a committee like that. My stories speak for themselves. So I would say what I’m excited about is they have the power to subpoena people who I couldn’t talk to. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Paikin: I’m sure you’re thrilled about that. But what happens when the Speaker issues his warrant to get you and put your butt in that chair? You gonna go?

Cashore: Well, we’ll have to see what happens. We’ll have to see.

Paikin: We’ll have to see what happens? What kind of answer is that?

Cashore: (laughs) I’m being a politician!

A link to video of the December 6th show is here. The above exchange is about three-quarters through (there is no time counter on the video).

My guess is that no reporter will appear voluntarily before the committee or inquiry, and would fight a Speaker’s warrant in court.

But it would be interesting to see whether the committee would even take steps to obtain Speaker’s warrants for journalists. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Journalists can deliver a drive by smear and then not have to be accountable regarding the truth of their accusations. It is disgusting and should be stopped!!

Joan Tintor said...

If they get sued for libel they must prove what they published is true (or is protected under some other defence to libel).

But I believe Mulroney has never sued any journalists for libel re: Airbus. I suspect many journalists have deduced that if he truly had "nothing to hide" he would have done so by now.

Pat said...

I wouldn't bet any money on Muldoon ending his career without suing some journalists. In fact I think some folks at CBC are a tad nervous. Good riddance to 'em.

Anonymous said...

I like the drift of this story. Maybe it is time for the 'conservative establishment' to have a real showdown with the leftist media in this country and make these weasels stand down? A nice fat juicy settlement would put these weasels back on their heels for awhile.
(real conservative)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

It does make you wonder why some journalists were so anxious to have Schreiber extradited post haste.