by Larry Smith
According to Fred ’This is War’ Mitchell, he will not be bound by any court of law when it comes to what he considers to be his unqualified right to say and do whatever he pleases in parliament.
In a previous column I described the current controversy over parliamentary privilege as a storm in a teacup, deliberately manufactured to deflect attention from a PR problem over influence peddling on a massive scale by Canadian resident Peter Nygard.
I gave a potted history of the arcane 16th century British origins of the concept of parliamentary privilege. But I also pointed out that the controversy threatens to open a constitutional pandora’s box - depending on how far government politicos are prepared to take matters.
Both Mitchell and his colleague - Jerome ‘Rubis’ Fitzgerald - have made an indignant pretence of claiming a right to parliamentary privilege with complete immunity from the law. "Any injunction which purports to restrict that (right) seeks to do so in vain,” as Fitzgerald declared melodramatically.
But if we take just a few steps back in time to when the Pindling government was faced with its own massive influence peddling scandal, we learn that the issue of parliamentary privilege was placed on the other foot then.