Mulroney refuses to appear before ethics committee
Brian Mulroney has refused to appear before the Commons ethics committee for a second day of testimony into his business dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber.
The former prime minister announced his decision on his personal website on Tuesday, but gave no details about why he would not oblige the committee's request for further testimony.
Mulroney's online statement said his lawyer, Guy Pratte, has written to the ethics committee clerk to decline the request to have Mulroney testify on Thursday. Mulroney's representatives will also contact committee chairman Paul Szabo directly.
"A detailed response will be sent to Mr. Szabo on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008," the statement says.
Last week, Szabo said Mulroney's testimony is vital, and threatened to subpoena the former prime minister if he refused to appear before committee members voluntarily.
"There's quite a number of questions that have come up as a consequence of the testimony of other persons.… Some of the points are certainly important to clarify," Szabo, a Liberal MP, said on Feb. 18.
Mulroney already testified before the committee on Dec. 13 in Ottawa.
On Friday, Pratte stated that Mulroney would only appear before the committee again if he felt he needed to clarify anything, or challenge any testimony given by other witnesses, including Schreiber, who testified Monday.
Pratte also noted last week that Mulroney wanted to be informed of the specific allegations against him.
Some MPs on the committee, including Liberals Robert Thibault and Brian Murphy, have indicated they would not support any attempt by Szabo to subpoena Mulroney.
The committee is probing the business affairs between Mulroney and Schreiber, a German-Canadian businessman.
Schreiber, who is fighting extradition to Germany to face fraud and other charges, said Mulroney did nothing to earn the $300,000 Schreiber paid the former prime minister in the early 1990s.
Mulroney, however, said he received only $225,000, and was paid for acting as a lobbyist for German arms company Thyssen on Schreiber's behalf.