Conservatives recruit top bureaucrats to aid in contempt hearings

Committee will rule whether Harper government is in contempt of Parliament


The Harper government has enlisted 10 bureaucrats to aid Conservative ministers testifying at the House affairs committee, which will rule on whether it is in contempt of Parliament. The House affairs committee will deliberate over whether the Tories violated parliamentary rules by refusing to disclose the costs of their law-and-order legislation, and by allowing Bev Oda to mislead parliament over funding cuts to Kairos, an international aid group. The committee hearing is a result of Speaker Peter Milliken’s ruling last week that found the government had misled the House “on its face.” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will testify at the committee, but the Conservatives have also drafted top bureaucrats from the Canadian Border Services Agency, CSIS, Correctional Service of Canada, the departments of Justice and Public Safety, the National Parole Board, public prosecutions and the RCMP. Critics say the presence of the bureaucrats is an attempt to frustrate the work of the committee, which is expected to rule that the Tories are in contempt. Liberal MP Scott Brison called the move a photo-op. “Effectively the civil servants are being brought as wallpaper or a backdrop for Harper’s refusal to come clean with Parliament.” If the Tories are found in contempt of parliament, the Liberals may make a motion of non-confidence as early as March 25, which could result in an election being called.

Globe and Mail

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Conservatives recruit top bureaucrats to aid in contempt hearings

  1. We all know this is a political game played by the opposition .There is no way the Conservatives can win with the deck stacked against them.These silly games are really annoying to many Canadians and outside of the Beltway it does not stick.To hear the eastern media especially the talking heads on the CBC you would swear our democracy was about to fal .That only happened when Chretien almost lost the Quebec referendum but a little guy named Dion saved his butt.For that the Liberals left him with thousands in debt and brought in Iffy. The American interloper who returned home to be King

    • "There is no way the Conservatives can win with the deck stacked against them."

      Or, if they're in wrong.

      • Come on you know this is political .The Lying Liberals who stole millions off us with Ad Scam a few went to jail now are preaching ethics.They are into an election and they are trying to paint the Conservatives as crooked as they were with the Canadian people.It will not work .The economy is the big thing and no one would want the interloper Iffy and Layton in charge of the purse.We know right off the bat if they were in power they would suddenly find the tax breaks for corporations necessary.They are hypocrites.One senator on his way to jail.They will vote the government in Contempt for doing what Chretien did all the time with a majority government

        • Yup.

          But when the House of Commons asks for something, the government has to provide it. It's about politics, sure… but what kind of precedent does that set if the government withholds very pertinent information for no good reason? If the government had provided the information, we wouldn't be sitting here right now. When your party has the kind of numbers the Liberals had under Chretien, your party can act like he did. Until then… scoreboard. Cons don't have the numbers.

        • b b b b b but adscam

    • "We all know this is a political game played by the opposition .There is no way the Conservatives can win with the deck stacked against them.These silly games are really annoying to many Canadians and outside of the Beltway it does not stick."

      Or you know, the Conservatives could have governed responsibly and ethically. I'm sure that if the Liberals were in power and were about to be judged in contempt of parliament you'd be just as accepting of their behaviour…

      • Happy St Patrick's day!!

        I tried to reply to your oyher comment but this software its really going crazy, it takes me to the page shows me how many comments are there but it doesn't show anything.

  2. I thought staffers weren't allowed to appear at committees because it was the Minister who was responsible for everything.

    • They are not staffers – bureaucrats.

      • Same difference, especially given the heavy handed tactics the Tories use to get civil servants to do their bidding.
        How did we get here? Oh right, a majority of Canadians DIDN'T vote for Harper, yet he represents us all.

      • indeed I just watching "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister" at home.
        I guess the Harper has done like wise.

        Sir Humphrey Appleton redux

  3. One week it was the Ministers that were responsible then it's the civil service. Does anyone in The Harper Government of Harplandia ever take responsibility for their actions? I guess we can come up with a new verb to describe this kind of deflection — "to harper."

  4. These committee meetings have become micro Question Periods.

    Brison accusing Tories of a photo-op, lol! Sure Scott – Mr. Nasty-Makething-up.

    "Brison asks why Toews/Nicholson have hidden costs of their "U.S.style-prison agenda" from Canadians.

    Toews challenges Brison's characterization of their prison expansions as "U.S. style mega-prisons." He asks Brison to show where such a prison is being built. "

    If this was closed doors they could not play to the media.

    • How dare our democracy operate in a public manner. Don't worry, I'm sure your guys are working to close those doors.

      • There is no democracy happening in those meetings, just posturing Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs behaving like thugs. They are not even discussing anything and they don't care about budgets – their intent is to get a contempt ruling.

        • Seems as though those meetings could have been avoided without too much effort. Too bad that the Conservatives chose the route they did, eh?

  5. Ten bureaucrats, eh?

    Heads up, guys… watch for any buses you might end up being thrown under.

    • They're going to place the bureaucrats side by side on the driveway in front of the parliament buildings and see if they can jump a bus over them.

    • Would those be little green bus or full size coaches. I wonder about the driver who keeps running all of them over. You would think that he might be a little mentally unstable after driving over all of them.

  6. Let's face it, the opposition would've said "nope, not good enough!" to anything that the government put in front of them.

    There is no one opposition committee member that anyone can point to and say that they're a serious MP who's above the partisan game. NONE.

    Pat Martin is a joke of an MP.

    • Um, the opposition didn't rule; the Speaker of the House of Commons did.

      When you' get elected Speaker, by all means, feel free to make all the 'political'
      decisions your office requires you to.

      [Btw, by political decisions, I really meant legal decisions based on real precedents.]

  7. Mmm contempt of Parliament ,,,surprised they haven't come after me yet.

  8. Sheesh they are nasty!

    "If the oppositon is predisposed … that they will find the government in contempt, then why are we doing there," Mr. Lukiwski asks. Mr. Walsh shrugs, saying ultimately how MPs decide on an issue depends on the numbers arrayed on each side and suggests there's no use crying about it. "Too bad; so sad."

    • I know, can you believe it? The outcome of issues is dependent on how people vote on them! What kind of democracy is this?

  9. Harper's strategy is obvious: line up the bureacrats to stand and wait while Toews and Nicholson show up late; then one of the bureacrats will faint in the background and distract the committee.

  10. Another step closer to a tory majority.

  11. If these are items of contempt by the Harper Regime 'you aint seen anything yet' or 'just watch me'.

  12. I can't speak about THE HARPER GOVERNMENT being 'legally' in contempt of Parliament, but from a Canadian's perspective, I find this current PM and his rasher of boorish thugs in contempt of Canada and its decency, tolerance and fair-mindedness. I find them offensive to the core and morally bankrupt.

  13. Sure would like to know what kind of carrot or stick is being held out to the 'witnesses'. We might see a whole lot of new senators if this shameful government stays in power – or, some heads could roll if they aren't seen as giving the right message for the Harpo government. It's all a distraction from what's important, in any case. Let's get on with it and throw the bums out!!

  14. More political games from the coalition of Libs/Separatists and NDP'ers, cheered on by their media. Everyone and their goat knows the lefty coalition of Liberals/Separatists/commies are going to rule the Government in "contempt". Whether the Government is actually in "contempt" is NOT the concern for the opposition or their media… Just an excuse for a 300 million dollar election, so the Liberals can get rid of their inserted, unelected, American leader. The coalition and the media manufacturing a narrative for the sole purpose of forcing an election and then campaigning on that fairy tale theme. The desperation of the coalition and the media for a return to power is really getting tiresome. The irony of the adscamming Liberals/Separatists campaigning on ethics is laughable to anyone who isn't a Liberal or a Separatist, or encrusted within the taxpayer subsidized media. Stop the games and force an election already.

    • That short attention span will get you every time. The only 'coalition' put to paper was the request signed by Duceppe, Layton and the Social Reject (aka Tubby) when he was the Bleater of the Opposition

      • What are you? Daft! or just a nit wit… The Liberal/Separatist/NDP coalition is alive and well, and in fact the coalition document signed by Iggo, Duceppe, and Layton doesn't expire until June 30th 2011… The liberal/Separatist coalition are forcing an election to avoid another embarrassing photo-op, and the coalition of (power at any cost) is still the only chance American Igg and the Separatists have at seizing power.

    • I know it's shocking isn't it.
      Fancy holding the pasty doughboy and his chums to the same standard of laws that apply to the proles.
      I mean really…. (clutching ma pearls now)

  15. What do these 10 beaucrats have to do with the refusal of the Harper puppets in not providing the costs of the law and order legislation to parliament? Harper and his gang are not only in contempt of parliament but also dismissive of the Canadian public and the Canadian Democracy. So much for your "transparancy and accountability" Mr. Harper.

  16. Life sure isn't fair, is it?

  17. For 13 years the Liberals claimed "cabinet confidence" on budget matters?
    What dumbass was in opposition and allowed that to go on?

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