Harper says No to inquiry

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No inquiry?! Really?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to avoid a judicial inquiry into the fraudulent election calls by Conservatives in the last election.

He remembers what happened to Paul Martin when he appointed Judge Gomery to investigate the Liberals' sponsorship scam.

Harper would be crazy to do the same.

That's why Harper says "let Elections Canada do the investigation."

Opposition MPs say they won't let the matter drop and will keep on badgering Harper until he caves in to public pressure. Public opinion polls show that 75 % of Canadians believe there should be a public inquiry - even some of the 38% who think that Harper has nothing to hide.

They wonder why Harper keeps saying no.

The two main opposition parties want an inquiry that can subpoena documents, compel conservatives to testify, and eventually cleanse the electoral system.

"There is an investigation by Elections Canada, which is the independent authority to do just that," says Harper.

Liberal leader Bob Rae Harper pressed again:

"Why is the Prime Minister refusing to set up a Royal Commission to look at what happened and establish a truly fair election process in Canada?"

Harper repeated his answer: "There is an ongoing investigation by Elections Canada, which has that responsibility under the law."

For the last three weeks political debate on Parliament Hill had been dominated by the fraudulent telephone call scandal.

With the New Democratic Party leadership convention coming up next week and Finance Minister James Flaherty's budget after that, Harper believes he can tough it out and eventually the fraudulent telephone call scandal will go away, die a natural death all on its own.

That flies in the face of a Postmedia and Global TV public opinion survey last week which found that 75 percent of Canadians want an independent commission of inquiry with judicial powers to investigate fully the "robocalls" of the Conservative Party in the last election.

Rae told reporters this week that Harper will eventually have to yield to public opinion and appoint a commission of inquiry to search the electoral habits of the Conservative Party from top to bottom.

"I think the pressure will grow among the public, he said." It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. "

The sponsorship scandal took 14 months to really start to get to the bottom of things.



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