We all know by now that Stephane Dion doesn't speak English very well, but does he not understand it very well either? As the transcript below reveals, he is limited to sticking to his script when trying to push the government for answers. When the answer you recieve to your first question makes your next question irrelevant, would it not behoove a leader to be ready with a back-up question, rather than press blindly ahead and look ridiculous?
Where is the ability to adapt, improvise and think on his feet that a national leader has to have? If Stephane Dion isn't up to the job of leading the questioning in Parliament, then he should sit down and let Michael Ignatieff run the show in QP.
Dion looked a bit foolish, and his inability to press the attack almost overshadowed Liberal efforts to gain traction on the issue.
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for months the government has known about very serious allegations concerning former prime minister Brian Mulroney. It received hundreds of pages on the whole affair. The Prime Minister even received personal letters from Mr. Schreiber and yet the government did nothing for months. Why?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, last week I announced that as a result of a sworn affidavit that has been filed in court the government would appoint an independent third party to advise the government on how to proceed with such allegations. Let me make clear what we will be doing. We will be asking that independent third party, whom we will be naming very shortly, to provide us with the terms of reference for a full public inquiry as well as any other course of action that the independent party deems appropriate.
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the information prompting a reaction from the Prime Minister had been in his hands for months: a letter from Mr. Schreiber, marked “To the Addressee Only - For His Eyes Only”. This from a Prime Minister obsessed with controlling everything down to the last detail, as his caucus knows all too well. The Prime Minister is hiding behind the PCO and junior staff in his own office. Will he step up to the plate and do the right thing, that is to launch immediately a full public inquiry?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I just answered this question about a public inquiry. The independent third party will give the government the appropriate terms of reference for such an inquiry, and such an inquiry will be launched. Let me just speak to this issue of the letters, which the Leader of the Opposition alleges I have. Let us be very clear. I remind the Liberal leader that Karlheinz Schreiber has been the subject of extradition proceedings by the federal government for the past eight years. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that when somebody writes about his extradition proceedings, that is not handled by the Prime Minister. That goes to appropriate government officials.
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, even Mr. Mulroney is calling for a full public inquiry. The Prime Minister must be the only person who does not think it is a good idea. Why? What is he afraid of? Will he do the right thing? Will he take on his responsibilities and call a full public inquiry now?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Leader of the Opposition had whipped himself up into that question and has failed to listen to the previous two answers. That is precisely what the government will be doing. Under the circumstances, the independent party that the government will be employing will be making a recommendation to the government on the appropriate terms of inquiry for a full public inquiry.
I know who is the one to be blamed