Parliament can stop Schreiber
Politics Watch ® News Services
November 20, 2007, updated 5:00 p.m.
|German businessman Karlheinz Schreiber faces
extradition within days.
OTTAWA (PoliticsWatch.com) —
The man at the centre of an upcoming public inquiry about the
business dealings of former prime minister Brian Mulroney may avoid
extradition to Germany if he is called to testify before Parliament.
Liberal MP Paul Szabo, who is the chair of the Commons
access to information, privacy and ethics committee, told reporters
Tuesday that Parliament has the power to delay Karlheinz
Schreiber's extradition to Germany.
Szabo's committee is considering whether or not to launch its
own investigation of the former prime minister's dealings with
Schreiber. Schreiber is currently in a Toronto jail cell and is
facing extradition next week to Germany where he is wanted on a
series of charges.
Szabo said he has already discussed with House legal counsel the
possibility of bringing Schreiber before the committee.
He said he has been told the committee can summon Schreiber and
delay his extradition if it obtains a "Speaker's warrant,"
which informs the federal justice minister, Ontario attorney general
and the RCMP about Parliament's interest in hearing from a
"If that happens, then Mr. Schreiber cannot be extradited until he has satisfied the Parliamentary
requirement," Szabo said in response to a question from
PoliticsWatch.com. "Should the justice minister proceed (with
extradition) after having been given notice of the Speaker's warrant ... he would be in contempt of Parliament."
Schreiber has already said in interviews that if he is deported to
Germany he will not cooperate with any investigation in
The only requirement for Parliament to obtain a warrant for
Schreiber is for a committee to be holding a proceeding that would
require him as a witness. Szabo said obtaining the warrant is "certainly doable very
However, there are now questions about whether or not an
investigation of the Schreiber-Mulroney matter is within the scope
of the access to information, privacy and ethics committee.
At a committee meeting on Tuesday, Szabo told MPs that the
committee's clerk has informed him that four opposition motions
dealing with investigating the Schreiber-Mulroney affair may be out
That frustrated NDP MP Pat Martin, who had planned to bring
forward his motion calling for Schreiber and Mulroney to appear
before the committee as early as this week.
After much procedural wrangling, Szabo adjourned the meeting before
the issue was resolved, prompting Martin to slam his pencil on the
desk. Martin rose from his seat to confront Szabo and angrily
accused him of stalling the committee's investigation.
"You're a disgrace, a disgrace," Martin said to Szabo.
"That's it. You're done."
Martin quickly exited the committee room and refused to talk to
"We got screwed, that's what happened," he said as he
Szabo's ruling also angered Bloc MPs on the committee.
"You have no right to stop a meeting when no decision was
taken," Bloc MP Michel Guimond told Szabo.
After question period, a calmer Martin accused Szabo of
"sabotaging" the committee to prevent it from
investigating Schreiber's time in Ottawa.
"I can only surmise the Liberals don't want Mr. Schreiber (at
the committee) because they don't want to hear what he has to say
about other wheels of commerce he may have been greasing over the
years in Ottawa," he said.
The Liberals on the committee have a motion to investigate the
Schreiber-Mulroney affair, but it is only in the context of whether
the current Conservative government was involved in covering up
Szabo said he will issue his decision on whether the committee has
the authority to probe the matter at the start of Thursday's
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