2/02/2006

Gomery Report: Phase 2

Yesterday, Judge Gomery released the second half of his report. In this report he detailed a number of recommendations (18, to be exact) which he feels will restore accountability to Ottawa. CTV has their report here. They mention that Harper's Accountability Act and Gomery's Recommendations are similar in many respects, but also have their differences. As an aside, I think it would be interesting to compare Gomery's Report and Harper's Accountability Act. PoliticsWatch has a little to add, and also reminds us that "though the scandal has been the subject of news stories for almost six years now... there has only been one guilty plea so far from an ad man who received sponsorship funds."

There is an interesting comment in the opening statement of the report.
In recent years, academics and political observers have recognized the growing power of the executive arm of government, both in the Prime Minister's Office and the bureaucracy. At the same time, they have observed that Parliament, its members, and its committees have been gradually becoming less relevant, and weaker, with the effect that Parliament as an institution no longer fulfils its traditional role as a check on the exercise of the power of the executive, represented by the office of the Prime Minister, his advisors, his appointees, and the most senior bureaucrats.
It is from this persepective that Gomery writes his recommendations. There must be a way to keep the elected representatives relevant. There must be a check on the power of the Prime Minister. Without it, democracy begins to break down and we have what is in effect an elected dictatorship.
The second interesting comment in the opening statement is this:
For anyone looking in my reports for specific sanctions against individuals who may have acted improperly, you will be disappointed. The terms of reference which gave me the mandate to conduct this inquiry specifically prohibit me from "expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization", and I am instructed" to ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing criminal investigation or criminal proceedings". Investigations and criminal proceedings are still ongoing and I am unable to comment on them, or to answer questions on specific individuals or their actions.
I am happy to see this statement. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Martin, made far too much of the "fact" that Gomery would be telling us who was responsible for the Sponsorship Sacndal. Sadly, much of the public bought this lie, and never read the terms of the Commission. Had he been able to assign criminal culpability however, Martin still would have gotten off I think.
I think I'll flip through some of this report this afternoon. I doubt I'll read it all though. If I do, I may post some more thoughts.

6 comments:

GritPatriot said...

I was surprised when Harper said he would not implement all of the recommendations.

Ruth said...

Why?
Harper's Accountability Act goes further than Gomery's report in some areas, and not as far in others. In most cases however, the two are very similar, if not identical. It makes sense to me that two different groups of individuals would come up with two different ways of tackling the same problem, and one way is not better or worse.
As for the recommendations that are not currently included in the Accountability Act, it is my understanding that there will be some discussion as to whether or not that can be included as is under the current plan. Modifications may be needed, or they may not be included at all.

Vincent Riccio said...

I have posted my full comment concerning your post on my blog.

http://vincentriccio.blogspot.com

Ruth said...

Yeah, and your post read a lot like "blah blah blah blah blah."

Here's what I had to say about your non-issue:

"You're kidding me, right?
Terms of Reference for the Gomery Commission, article k:
the Commissioner be directed to perform his duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization and to ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing criminal investigation or criminal proceedings;

In other words, Gomery may not place blame. He may not find any individual criminally liable for what happened. Please note that this is a limitation on the powers normally provided under the Inquiries Act, which may be found here.

Thanx for stopping by.
Tool. "

And by the way, if you had actually bothere to READ my blog at all, you would have noted that ROOTLEWEB is the name of my blog and RUTH is my name.
And I am a she, not a they...
...
although I have been known to use the royal we on occaision

Vincent Riccio said...

Attention Ruth:

I invite you to re-read the Inquiries Act because it seems that you have misunderstood the context in which commissioners may act.

I am sure that you were alluding to...

Notice to persons charged
13. No report shall be made against any person until reasonable notice has been given to the person of the charge of misconduct alleged against him and the person has been allowed full opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel.

R.S., c. I-13, s. 13.

Nowhere in this section of the Act does it state that Gomery must lay blame; it only states that he must give notice of the alleged charge. In all reality, it is the job of the RCMP who is conducting the investigation to rightfully announce who is guilty.

Thanks for stopping by.

Oh by the way, if you require a tool, I know many quality shops in my city where you can acquire one.

Ruth said...

You're kidding, right?
I said:"Gomery may not place blame. He may not find any individual criminally liable for what happened. Please note that this is a limitation on the powers normally provided under the Inquiries Act"

So, in other words, Gomery was expressly FORBIDDEN from laying blame. This is not stipulated by the Inquiries Act. Instead of expanding Gomery's powers, as all Opposition Parties requested, the former Liberal government chose to LIMIT Gomery. That is, they forbid him from doing certain things that he otherwise would have been able to do.
Meanwhile, Mr. Martin got on TV and lied to the whole Canadian people and said that Gomery would tell us who was responsible for the Sponsorship Scandal.
Or did you forget that part?
I've probably got a transcriptof that broadcast lying around here somewhere if you want to see it.

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