March 27, 2019 12:20 pm

Bill Kelly: Politicians investigating politicians doesn’t work

Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith was asked following a failed ethics committee vote on allowing a probe into SNC-Lavalin, whether he was going to run for the Liberal party again.


The political chess match surrounding the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file continues in Ottawa and it’s not going well.

The Opposition tried to open a second investigation into the affair with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and not surprisingly, the government members of the committee voted down the idea.

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READ MORE: Liberals block push for ethics committee probe of SNC-Lavalin scandal

But while the SNC-Lavalin controversy continues to swirl, we need to address an important concern that has arisen from this investigation, namely, that politicians investigating politicians almost never works.

What is advertised as an effort to seek the truth too often becomes a partisan political circus.

Those being questioned are usually evasive and vague with their answers and those who pose the questions seem more concerned with scoring political points than they are with getting to the truth.

WATCH BELOW: Ethics Committee rejects opposition call for new SNC-Lavalin probe

How often do committee members use their allotted time to make grandstanding statements instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing, namely, questioning the witness?

It’s an exercise in futility that rarely bears fruit.

READ MORE: Justice committee receives promised extra material from Wilson-Raybould on SNC-Lavalin

That’s not to say that we should abandon the idea of political oversight — quite the contrary, governments can screw up and they must be held accountable.

Maybe an independent commissioner, not appointed by the government, but by the Governor General, should oversee such investigations, instead of a bunch of MPs who seem more focused on the next election than they are in seeking the truth.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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