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Less than a week to go


 

I am reasonably informed that all sides will be back at the table tomorrow morning to discuss the release of detainee documents. Meanwhile, Peter Jones, a former member of the Privy Council Office, fusses over the issues of trust and security and partisanship.

The key is that the Opposition MPs on this committee would have to agree to park at the door their impulse to use secret information to score real-time political points over the policies of the government of the day. Their role would be limited to providing the nation with the assurance that these policies were implemented properly, which would require some mechanism that would kick in if the committee felt the policies were not being implemented properly (but what to do in a situation where the government members felt they were, but the opposition members felt they weren’t?). The larger political debate over whether those policies were the right ones would go on in Parliament, as it does now, and the parliamentarians who had access to secrets would likely have to hold their tongues from time to time.


 

Less than a week to go

  1. Yes, he's just 'fussing'. It's exactly this attitude on the part of journalists, that there's really nothing worth keeping secret, that concerns the bureaucracy and the government. It shows that journalists such as Wherry would have no issue splashing leaked information all over in their magazines, newspapers or blogs. Bravo.

    PS – Of course when a journalists gets info from a confidential source, that's sacred and can't be revealed at any costs, even in court.

    • The internal consistency in this post is fantastic

      • Pointing out hypocrisy is inconsistent? I don't recall writing that journalists are wrong to protect their sources, only that they don't apply to similar standards to other professions.

        • Actually journalists preserving the confidentiality of their sources and the government preserving the confidentiality of these documents is entirely consistent. Both are acting in their own self interest:

          – a journalist who revealed his confidential sources would not get any more info from them which would undermine his ability to keep his job

          – a Conservative who revealed what those documents say would show how political and not security related the redaction, censorship and lack of accountability really is which would undermine his ability to keep his job

  2. From the article:

    "Implicit in this would be a right for at least some parliamentarians to have access to secrets. Presently, no such role effectively exists, and parliamentarians do not have such access."

    The guys with the black pens seem to have access. As does the PM. He's a parliamentarian. No?

  3. Bah this is silly. A proper method can't be created on the back of a napkin in 2 days. This has been under review since 2006 and nobody was planning to move until the major report came in.

    HARPER: IGNORE the deadline!

    The opposition is weak and doesn't like cats. Therefore they will do nothing.

    Promise to come back with legislation by next year.

    • It would take maybe 20 minutes. Harper is stalling for no apparent reason except the possibility that it reflects badly on his government.

  4. This would work better if there were some negative feedback in the loop. For example: if policies are found to have been implemented improperly then the Opposition pays the CPC 1 million dollars. If policies are found to have been implemented properly then the CPC pays the Opposition 1 million dollars.

    • I'm thinking you either reversed who pays who on whether the policies were done improperly or properly, or you've hit upon a sneaky scheme to get the conservatives more money with no risk.

      • No reversal, that's the whole point of negative feedback. Currently the CPC is motivated solely to avoid finding any wrongdoing while the Opposition is motivated solely to find some. This makes for an extreme divergence of interests, which is inherently unstable. Add some motivation the other way for each (a.k.a. negative feedback) and the system becomes inherently more stable.

        Just applying tried and true principles from the engineering world to politics, is all.
        See this tutorial for reference.

    • I'm not sure that your scheme fully takes into account that Harper knows what is in the documents, while the other side does not.

      As for humour, there are serious allegations made by a civil servant with knowledge of the matter, and our own government is stonewalling the necessary investigation without colour of right. I'm not sure this is the time for games.

  5. "The key is that the Opposition MPs on this committee would have to agree to park at the door their impulse to use secret information to score real-time political points over the policies of the government of the day."

    Shouldn't government MPs, including the cabinet, be held to the same standard?

    • They aren't. Opposition MPs have a free for all,
      like meeting with lobbyists……..and the Opps have a majority in committees and in the House re: votes,
      so Libs saying that only govt MPs are in a position of power is wrong.

      • Really?

        OK, enlighten us.

        What expenditure decision or contract decision or, frankly, any decision can the opposition make on behalf of the government?

  6. You do realize that, especially with the penalties imposed, you've designed a system which encourages the government to implement policies improperly?

    • No, since my proposal, (which was actually more of a joke, but apparently when it comes to anything Harper-related certain people completely lose whatever sense of humour they might have had) only refers to this particular incident, not future incidents, and therefore has no bearing on any future implementation of policies.

      Never mind.

      • "when it comes to anything Harper-related certain people completely lose whatever sense of humour they might have had"

        Hmmm, one regular poster in particular comes immediately to mind . . .

  7. "park at the door, etc."

    Ya think?

    And government MPs on the committee would have to park at the door their impulse to hide anything and everything that portrays them in a bad light, but, hey why not save that for your next OB-Ed ?

    (OB-Ed: An opinion column by someone apparently connected and learned who states the OBvious as if it's a revelation.)

    • Gee toby, the first half of the 'document disclosure' will be the Chretien/Martin years.
      Or have you Liberals forgot that?

      All the docs pertaining to the capture of the first detainees, and the failed Liberal detainee handover agreement will be first out of the chute.

      • The Liberals have been asking for disclosure of those documents as well. They aren't afraid of accountability.

        They have documents that have been redacted. I presume they will start with those.

        I presume only because we know the Conservatives will come up with some other trick to prevent disclosure. Something like "oh, we can't find them now" or "it will take us months or years just to get them here".

  8. Unfortunately, as was widely reported the other day, the redaction decisions were made by senior Deputy Ministers.

    But when one's preferred party is not in power, it's perfectly legit to question the integrity of the civil service, right?

    • DMs serve at the pleasure of the government, so if they want to keep their jobs, the government had better be pleased.

      • So our entire system of government is fundamentally flawed, since this is the case with every party in power.

    • And when one's preferred party is in power, it's perfectly legit to question the integrity of democratically-elected representatives of the people…

      • And when did I do that exactly?

    • And the Conservatives would never illegal interfere in access to information requests, either.

      • If you are speaking of the current 'scandal', had you read kady in committee,
        you would now know that the request was NOT and ATI request.

        It was a request from a reporter at the Globe and Mail….and the reporter requested something that was not yet available, the total cost of govt advertising.
        That reporter did get the info AFTER the ads were run, and in record time,
        3 weeks compared to the usual (Liberal time) 3 months.
        But don't let the facts get in the way of Liberals and their media 'making things up'.
        You usually don't stoop to such lows Ted,
        quite disappointing.

        • I don't have the document in front of me, and I'm not so incensed as to go searching for it, but I believe that the recent report on Access to Information stated that the current government is quite substantively the poorest ever in releasing information.

        • Um, no. I am not referring to that, whatever it is that you are referring to.

          I'm referring to the direct political interference by political staff in the release of information for which the PMO has apologized and fired or disciplined the staffer, once it became obvious and unavoidable.

          I'm referring to the ongoing violation of the act with unprecedented delays as documented over and over by the former Information Commissioner before he was pushed out of his job and by the interim Information Commissioner. And for the record, the Liberals were bad on lots of things but never as bad as this at complying with access laws and disclosing documents.

          I'm referring to the most recent <a href="http://www.canada.com/news/Feds+slammed+record+access+information/2902562/story.html">damning report from the interim Information Commissioner in which she gives Harper a failing grade in most ministries, a "red alert" in a few ministries and warns that access to information is "being totally obliterated" because of chronic delays by the Conservatives.

        • Um, no. I am not referring to that, whatever it is that you are referring to.

          I'm referring to the direct political interference by political staff in the release of information for which the PMO has apologized and fired or disciplined the staffer, once it became obvious and unavoidable.

          I'm referring to the ongoing violation of the act with unprecedented delays as documented over and over by the former Information Commissioner before he was pushed out of his job and by the interim Information Commissioner. And for the record, the Liberals were bad on lots of things but never as bad as this at complying with access laws and disclosing documents.

          I'm referring to the most recent <a href="http://www.canada.com/news/Feds+slammed+record+access+information/2902562/story.html">damning report from the interim Information Commissioner in which she gives Harper a failing grade in most ministries, a "red alert" in a few ministries and warns that access to information is "being totally obliterated" because of chronic delays by the Conservatives.

  9. Why doesn't the Prime Minister trust the Military Police Complaints Commission to see the documents? They got blacked out copies too. Since when can the PM decide what information our military watchdog agency can see?

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