Top APEC lawyer attended Liberal fundraiser

The top lawyer at the APEC Inquiry attended a fundraising dinner for the Liberal Party last week to hear Prime Minister Jean Chretien speak.

The admission by Marvin Storrow, chief counsel for the APEC Inquiry, raises again the matter of bias at the controversial hearings into RCMP conduct at the APEC summit in 1997.

The admission came on a day when lawyers at the inquiry were debating recalling several key witnesses because of new evidence that links the prime minister's office with RCMP officers in charge of APEC security. It comes at a time when a vital point of discussion is whether the prime minister should be made to testify at the inquiry.

Storrow said Friday his law firm covered the cost of the $400 ticket to attend the fundraising dinner.

The dinner was held in Vancouver. Reform MP Ted White told the Commons Friday that Storrow walked through APEC protesters to attend the dinner.

In a written statement, Storrow said, "The fact that I attended an event with hundreds of others to hear the prime minister of this country speak has nothing to do with any issue before the ongoing inquiry."

The issue of calling the prime minister as a witness at the APEC inquiry provoked a loud argument during the hearing's final moments in Vancouver Thursday.

Joe Arvay, a lawyer representing student protesters, accused the commission of giving Jean Chretien "special treatment" by letting him challenge any subpoena ahead of time.

The head of the commission, Ted Hughes, seemed incensed by the suggestion, and said he has no knowledge of anyone being treated differently.