Schreiber may testify before ethics committee
Robert Fife, CTV Ottawa Bureau Chief
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:02PM EST
OTTAWA - The opposition parties have struck a deal to have the House of Commons Ethics committee study the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, CTV News has learned.
A motion to be voted on Thursday will also call for Karlheinz Schreiber to appear before the committee as soon as possible, according to an MP who sits on the committee.
The opposition parties, which outnumber the Conservatives, want the committee to have a broad study of Brian Mulroney's dealings with Schreiber.
They also want to examine Prime Minister Stephen Harper's conduct and that of the Privy Council Office in the way they handled letters Schreiber had sent Harper in March 2007.
Harper has said he never received the Schreiber letter and that his officials passed it on to relevant officials at the Justice department.
In those letters, Schreiber alleged that he discussed $300,000 in cash payments with Mulroney at Harrington Lake two days before Mulroney retired as prime minister.
Mulroney and Fred Doucet, who accompanied Schreiber to the meeting, have staunchly denied the allegation.
If the motion to have Schreiber called as witness passes on Thursday, it could delay his extradition to Germany, where he faces charges of fraud and tax evastion.
His extradition is currently scheduled for early December.
On Tuesday, tempers flared during an ethics committee meeting when Liberal MP Paul Szabo, the committee chair, ended the session before members could discuss a proposal to have Schreiber testify. New Democrat MP Pat Martin lashed out at Szabo, yelling: "You son of a bitch!"
He later accused the Liberals of being reluctant to discuss the Schreiber affair.
Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale told Mike Duffy Live on Tuesday that the Liberals are interested in proceeding with the issue, but that there were too many other items on the meeting agenda for the matter to be discussed.
He had also said that the chair needed time to consider the legal and procedural issues that would involve Schreiber testifying before the committee.
Schreiber, a German-Canadian businessman, alleges he gave Mulroney the $300,000 in three separate cash payments at hotel rooms in Canada and the U.S.
Mulroney has denied any wrongdoing and none of the allegations have been proven in court.