Liveblogging the Ethics committee, Day Three, Part Two, Subsection B: Patrick Muttart. He'll tell us what's what! (Oh, and maybe Doug Finley, too!) - Macleans.ca

Liveblogging the Ethics committee, Day Three, Part Two, Subsection B: Patrick Muttart. He’ll tell us what’s what! (Oh, and maybe Doug Finley, too!)

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3:37:15 PM
I can’t believe Patrick Muttart isn’t here. I just don’t know what to believe in anymore. Oh wait, I can believe that Gary Goodyear has a point of order. That will be my rock.

Right now, Gary Goodyear is reading out from a package of lawyers’ letters related to the non-appearance of not-his-witnesses: Brian Hudson, Irving Gerstein and Patrick Muttart. Although Gary Goodyear says that he just got this document – which worries him tremendously – the rest of us have had copies since the start of the meeting, thanks to the Conservative Whip’s office, which was handing them out to all and sundry.

Which brings up an interesting point: If these are not, as Goodyear avers, “their’ witnesses, why does the whip have copies of correspondence between these witnesses’ lawyers and the clerk?

3:42:22 PM
Like ITQ, Gary Goodyear is even more especially concerned about the letter regarding Patrick Muttart’s lawyer’s letter – that would be A. Hamilton, incidentally, who has been scurrying around the committee room all day. Why? We’re not sure – he keeps being interrupted by growly opposition heckling, and attempts by the chair to answer questions that Goodyear intended to be rhetorical.

3:44:38 PM
Szabo admits that it was actually Gerstein’s housekeeper who was served – not Gerstein himself, who wasn’t in the country.

Goodyear is on a tear, however – he doesn’t have all the information.

Okay, seriously: What court proceeding is Patrick Muttart party to? Why should he be afforded the “Mayrand Accommodation”? Otherwise, it will jeopardize his testimony in a “real courtroom” – that’s the other key phrase of the day, by the way. Was Szabo willing to cut the same sort of “deal” with Muttart?

3:47:06 PM
Szabo notes that Muttard had actually agreed to appear sans summons, until yesterday, when he sent word that he, too, wanted to be given special privileges under the sub judice convention, even though he was told that he could make that argument at committee, should a question arise that he felt he couldn’t answer.

3:50:01 PM
Szabo tries desperately to explain that he only found out about all this stuff yesterday – yesterday evening, in fact – when it was too late to do anything.

The Conservatives keep accusing Szabo of circulating information only to Liberals, which – I don’t think that’s actually true, because if it was, the Bloc and the NDP would be complaining too.

And why is Gary Goodyear getting all this stuff? During his testimony, Steve Halicki mentioned at one point that he had sent a courtesy email to Goodyear, who is, coincidentally, his MP, and Goodyear had replied by saying that he couldn’t discuss the meeting, since it would be a conflict of interest.

3:53:21 PM
According to Gary Goodyear, these hearings are going well for the Conservatives, although he seems awfully cranky if that’s the case.

3:55:38 PM
Paul Szabo is, once again, pleading to reason — he’ll make the information available as soon as he can. Goodyear, meanwhile, says something about understanding how hard it must be for Szabo to “look like a fool”. Too easy.

Szabo has now checked the record, and can state that during yesterday’s press conference, he stated that the summons had been issued — not served — which he did not know at the time. All he knew was that the summonses had been delivered to the bailiff.

Now, however, he can confirm that, as for yesterday’s witnesses, summons were served on Heidi Kiorni, which I probably misspelled, the agent for Sylvie Boucher, Henri Gagnon, agent for Daniel Petit, and Andre Laurin were all served last week. Only one of the four, Andre Duval, was unable to be served — and that witness told the cler earlier that week that the party had told him to decline all invitations.

So basically, when the Conservatives were circling the scrum yesterday, claiming that the witnesses hadn’t been served, that was untrue. Also, that bit about the party not instructing witnesses to refuse to attend? That also seems to be – shall we say truth-challenged?

4:03:55 PM
Never mind that, though – what Dean del Mastro finds *really* offensive is Pat Martin “taking the Lord’s name in vain” – and on CPAC, a family network.

You really can’t make this up.

4:06:17 PM
Pat Martin makes an offer – if the chair stops letting the Conservatives take over the meeting with points of order, he’ll stop swearing. Which cracks up the media tent at Camp In and Out, and seems the perfect place to close.

4:07:24 PM
A tiny bit of closing housekeepery — witnesses tomorrow, who will probably show up, since none of them are affiliated with the Conservative Party — and we’re out of here.

4:10:12 PM
Wait, no, we aren’t. Pat Martin wants to make sure there is sufficient time to talk about the consequences for those who ignored the summonses – maybe with law clerk superhero Rob Walsh, even. He doesn’t want potential future witnesses to get the idea that committee invitations are optional, and he won’t tolerate this insult to Parliament by the Conservative Party of Canada.

So there.

David Tilson, meanwhile, wants to know why Marc Mayrand is coming back, and whether he will have the same “special exemption” as he did when he appeared last time.

He will, as per Szabo, but will have to give his reasons for declining to answer under the sub judice principle, as was the case last time, and he’ll be here to take questions – that’s all. He’s here to help.

4:15:59 PM
David Tilson doesn’t know anything at this point. Although he definitely isn’t sounding quite as belligerantly righteous on the issue of summonses, and who has, and has not, been served.

4:18:26 PM
And on that enigmatic note, we’re out of here for the day – but we’re back with a vengeance tomorrow.