Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hanging Blame On Shapiro

Bernard Shapiro may be a blind partisan and bungling incompetent, but claiming that he's got blood on his hands is going just a little too far:

A war of words has broken out between the Harper government and opposition parties after Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai attacked Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro, calling him a "Gestapo chief" who contributed to the recent suicide of his brother-in-law in India.

Mr. Obhrai said his estranged brother-in-law hanged himself in his family home in India on Feb. 24. He said he had warned Mr. Shapiro the man was mentally unstable.

Mr. Obhrai still intends to pursue his $5-million lawsuit, launched in December, against Mr. Shapiro for comments the Ethics Commissioner allegedly made about the Conservative MP.

Mr. Obhrai is alleging Mr. Shapiro's comments have caused lasting harm to his reputation inside and outside the political arena. The lawsuit stems from accusations made by the estranged brother-in-law claiming the MP took $40,000 to fast-track the immigration paperwork of family members.

Shapiro's investigation of Obhrai was found to be so baseless that he was found to be in contempt of Parliament--a Liberal minority Parliament, no less--for having launched it in the first place and shot his mouth in the press about it. He should have been fired back then for character assassination, an unseemly and hypocritical abuse of office.

But he did not put the rope around that man's neck, much less goad him into doing it.

Shapiro's unfitness for office is already well-established. Piling on him like this might needlessly make a martyr out of him. Fire him upon passage of the Accountability Act and have done with him, but don't give him the opportunity to play the victim of a vindictive government.

Source: National Post


ferrethouse said...

I don't think it is that far fetched to suggest that an ethics inquiry into family corruption that led to the public exposition of all sorts of dirty family laundery contributed to his suicide. Shapiro's reckless partisanship played a role without doubt.

Luke said...

When I first heard about this, I thought it was a little farfetched. But as I hear more about it, Shapiro seems to deserve the criticism in this case.

First, the lawsuit was launched in December, long before Shapiro became a political issue. Second, the investigation was proven to be baseless press smear against the Conservatives. And third, it reveals an ongoing ethics investigation into Shapiro.

So we've learned that 1) Harper was actively trying to replace Shapiro before he launched his 'investigation' into Emerson and 2) Shapiro was already considered by most to be biased and corrupt. As for whether he has blood on his hands, that depends on whether they can prove that he knew the accusations were baseless before he interviewed the brother. We already know he was informed that the brother was unstable and not considered fit for questioning.

And let's face it - if the ethics commissioner hounded my unstable brother until he committed suicide, and did so not for a valid investigation but to smear me publically, I'd be pissed too. Wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shapiro has got himself into a whole lot of trouble and he will have no choice but to resign. Mr. Obhrai produced a letter he wrote to Shapiro when he was investigating together with police reports etc showing the brother to be unstable. Yet he persisted. Why?
Mr. Shapiro has brought discredit to the Office of the Ethics Commissioner and he needs to resign. Mr. Obhrai owes nobody an apology and the Liberals can get stuffed.