Testifying before a Committee

As you may know, the Canadian Parliament continues to look into allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the administration of the government's sponsorship program over the past ten years. Chuck Guite, the former head of the sponsorship program, began his testimony yesterday, and the National Post has corralled several lawyers to dissect the tactics and style of the politicians questioning the man.

"This is not a court of law; it is a court of public opinion. It is all about the cameras, it is all about the optics and all about partisanship, so we're not really getting a real inquiry. The public, at the end of the day, will never get a true picture," said John Rosen, a Toronto criminal lawyer.

"The fault of most politicians on these inquiries is they don't know how to ask questions," he said.

Of course, the setting isn't exactly ideal, as Hillwatch has commented.

Committee staff, translators, MPs staff and media are constantly milling about as if they were in a train station.

Sometimes MPs ask penetratingly intelligent questions about your submission; other times they ask question that have absolutely nothing to do with your subject.

Government members want you to say something supportive about the Government. Opposition members want you to criticize the government.

And, finally, a vote can be called in the middle of your testimony and all the MPs get up and leave!