Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ethics commissioner doesn't know how to do his own job

Shapiro like an absent minded professor according to Russ Hiebert, while Ed Broadbent goes farther and suggests that Shapiro should resign over his handling of the Sgro case.

"I don't want to be difficult," said NDP committee member Ed Broadbent, "but I do want to find out how you see your mandate."

MPs grilled Shapiro for nearly two hours on a number of issues: why he gave former immigration minister Judy Sgro and her staff a chance to review details of his still-unfinished seven-month long investigation into why she granted a minister's permit to a campaign volunteer; why he hired outside lawyers to review his decision; and about his understanding of what Parliament's ethics watchdog is supposed to do.

"I'm learning as I go along," said Shapiro. "What makes sense, what doesn't make sense, what's helpful and what's not helpful. The list of those things I'd do differently gets quite long."

Shapiro seemed unprepared for this appearance. He didn't bring copies of the lawyers' advice on the Sgro case with him. He couldn't recall how many people were being given a chance to comment on his investigation, and he couldn't tell Broadbent the job title, or role of the staff member in Sgro's office, a person Shapiro says acted inappropriately.

Last week Broadbent suggested Shapiro resign for his handling of the Sgro investigation. He says it's clear from Thursday's performance that the ethics commissioner still doesn't understand his own mandate.

"I think he has a difficult time making good political judgment," said Broadbent.

Well, after messing up and appointing Sheila Fraser the Liberals had to find a nice safe, slightly incompetent chap to be the ethics commissioner, after all, they wouldn't want another person actually prying into their sordid affairs.