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It’s time for the ethics committee to investigate the Cadman affair.

You’ve seen many Conservatives and a couple of others claiming online that since the RCMP could find no evidence of any wrongdoing with what they did in trying to persuade Cadman to vote for them Conservatives, that should be the end of the matter, or that it will put the affair on the back burner.

I’m in the camp of those who say it’s far from over (and also in the camp of those who fully expected the RCMP to come out and say what they did, but that’s another story).

As Danielle points out, the RCMP also didn’t find any evidence to charge former PM Brian Mulroney with any wrongdoing over his dealings with Mr. Shreiber , but that hasn’t stopped all parties from agreeing there needs to be a public inquiry into the Mulroney/Shreiber affair to look into the unanswered questions of that mess. If there are some unanswered questions with regards to that, there are even more involving what was offered to Chuck Cadman and what then-opposition leader Stephen Harper was referring to when he said an offer had been made to replace “any financial considerations he might lose due to an election.”

As the Toronto Star asks in its editorial today: What financial issues? What insecurity? What exactly was Cadman offered and on what terms?

There is no real difference between this situation and the Mulroney/Shreiber situation, except the most important: it directly involves the Prime Minister and top Conservative officials, rather then a former retired PM. If Harper and the Conservative officials are innocent of any wrongdoing, as they insist, then they should have no problem with the House of Commons Ethics (edit: or Justice, see footnote at end of article) Committee taking a look into the matter. If they are innocent as they say with nothing to hide, the Conservatives need to tell Ethics Justice chairman Art Hangar to stop running from the room every time this issue is brought up. (Running away from people, be it committees or reporters, sure seems to be a common trait with these Cons, doesn’t it?)

While I don’t hold out much hope for the Cons. to change their stance, I have a bit more hope with the NDP. The Star says in its editorial today that the NDP should now support the aforementioned committee doing an investigation now that the RCMP has ended its looking into its affair. Many NDP bloggers have taken issue with Liberals pointing to the anonymous NDP strategist who was quoted in the papers saying the real reason the NDP didn’t support an investigation into Cadman was that it would benefit the Liberals, and not the NDP. This, they have argued, was not being representative of the NDP and it wasn’t fair to quote an anonymous spokesperson as representing the party’s views. Well, as the Star says, there is now no reason for the NDP to oppose this investigation. We’ll now see if the NDP really is interested in looking at this affair and get to the bottom of what exactly transpired, or if it will play politics and continue to side with the Cons. on this issue. I’m encouraged that some NDP bloggers are now supporting an investigation, so I have hope the NDP will do the right thing and change its stance on this.

And, if it does, and if Pat Martin (the NDP member on the ethics justice committee) supports this, that would give the opposition more votes on this issue then the Cons, if I’m not mistaken. If that’s the case, the first vote should be to remove Art Hangar as committee chair if he continues to pull his running from the room act and refuses to hold a vote on the opposition motion. With the NDP onside, I believe there still would be enough votes to start an investigation into this even with an opposition member being chair.

[email protected]: Kady O’Malley of Macleans – the expert in the media on H. of C. Committees – corrects me in my comments section by informing me that Art Hangar is actually the chair of the Justice Committee, where the Cadman affair is currently mired in. However, she also points out nothing stops it from being investigated by the ethics committee, which is where it should be in the first place, in my view, so my original title stands, as well as my urging the NDP to change course and to also remove Hangar from his chair position in Justice if he continues to run out on proposed votes for investigating this.

Oh, and another thing to my Conservative commentators – just because James Moore comes out on Friday and issues blanket declarations and somehow looks confident about lawsuits means absolutely nothing as pointed out in comments – if the cases were all about looking confident by acting brash, we wouldn’t need courts, and we’d believe every word that came out of Pierre Poilivere’s mouth in the House. In either case, that’s limited to Conservative Kool-Aid drinkers and partisans, but not the rest of the general population, I’d be quite confident in saying.

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