The text of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tuesday announcement seeking terms of reference for an inquiry into the Brian Mulroney-Karlheinz Schreiber affair:
On Friday I announced that I would be appointing an independent and impartial third party to review what course of actions may be appropriate given Mr. Schreiber's new sworn allegations. These allegations remain unproven and untested in a court of law and arose in a private lawsuit. There are, however, now issues that go beyond the private interests of the parties in the lawsuit.
Many have called for a public inquiry, including, most recently, Mr. Mulroney.
Given the conflicting information and allegations (including what appears to be some conflicting information under oath) and the extended time period over which the events referred to in various documents and allegations surrounding this matter have occurred, I have decided to ask the third party to advise the government on appropriate terms of reference for a public inquiry.
If in reviewing material, the independent party finds any prima facie evidence of criminal action he or she will identify this and advise how this should be handled and what impact, if any, it should have on the nature and timing of the inquiry.
A public inquiry is a major step and one that should only be taken when it addresses Canadians' interest, not those of the various parties, whether Mr. Schreiber, Mr. Mulroney or political parties. That is why it is important that we engage the necessary independent expertise and take the time to ensure that the terms of reference meet that test.