09 November 2007

Words of Wisdom

Now that the Harper government has announced its intentions to have a probe into the Mulroney affair, hopefully this will spell the end of the opposition parties' calls for a full inquiry. As I've already said, the amount of money required to put on a full inquiry far outweigh the amount of money involved. There is a possibility that the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister is at stake, and that is something to be taken very seriously; however, I do not believe even that important principle can justify the costs of the inevitable witchhunt that an inquiry into Mulroney's dealings with no doubt devolve into. And I am not the only one. Jean Chretien, the most successful Liberal in the past twenty-five years, has this to say in his book:

For the opposition parties, calling for a public inquiry is usually an easy way to dig up dirt or keep a hot issue on the front burner after they've exhausted their own supply of facts and questions...Very few of these inquiries in my experience have every been of much use, and those few were valuable only because they didn't turn into television soap operas. If there's a problem, you should face up to it and make a decision. If you need more information, you can always ask the department to give you a full report. If you need an independent point of view [RGM - as Harper is seeking] you can ask someone to carry out an investigation without a lot of fanfare...But it is the nature of public inquiries to get turned into show trials, kangaroo courts, and political entertainment. The rules of evidence don't have to be respected as they are in a court. There's not the same right of due process or even the same process to protect the innocent during the investigation into a possible wrongdoing. Scores of reputations are shattered for no good cause, people lose their jobs merely because their names happened to be mentioned in passing.

So there you have it. The Liberals have got Harper to compromise somewhat from his earlier stance. They should let this be the end of it.

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