Thursday, November 29, 2007

Schreiber Refuses to Testify

Claiming he requires the opportunity to review documents located in Toronto, Ottawa and Switzerland before testifying, Karlheinz Schreiber has refused to speak at today's Parliamentary ethics committee hearing.

The Committee has defeated a motion to postpone the hearing to this evening or tomorrow to permit him to have access to such documents.

Schreiber has chosen to provide occasional responses to very general enquiries. As well, he did specifically deny ever having met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper or having ever donated to the new Conservative Party.

Beyond that, he continues to refuse most substantive questions.

Schreiber has responded by simply stating "defer," or "I have nothing to say." Reiterating the contents of a statement he read at the outset of the hearing, he stated, "I rest on my statement. I will not answer these questions and I have nothing to say at this time."

The questioning, nonetheless, continues. The Committee has virtually no effective remedy or leverage with Schreiber, and as a practical matter will have to proceed on Mr. Schreiber's own terms.

Claiming a desire to avoid even inadvertent perjury, Schreiber insisted on the need to review his documentation. "I was born ugly, not stupid," he told the Committee.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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