The end is nigh, or not -

The end is nigh, or not


Canwest previews the impending, or at least inevitable, ruling of the Speaker on Parliament’s right to access Afghan detainee documents. Nelson Wiseman talks to CBC radio’s The House (scroll down) about what might happen. Kady O’Malley predicts something is coming this week, perhaps even tomorrow. (I’m reasonably assured nothing’s happening today.)


The end is nigh, or not

    • Maybe they need help to feel the presence.

      Betcha Charlie Angus can play a stirring rendition of "I Saw the Light"

  1. Would it no be absolutley hilarious that if Miliken suggests something like what the NDP propose whereby they swear in some MP's to secrecy then let them look at any and all documents …. however they can't tell anyone what they find due to the oath of secrecy – rofl!

    • My understanding is that they could report on anything that isn't genuinely a threat to national security. It's generally the details (i.e. names of undercover operatives and informants, etc.) that need to be kept secret, not broader information like whether or not we've been handing over prisoners to be tortured.

    • Actually, for anyone above the age of 12, no part of this matter, or its resolution, would be considered "absolutely hilarious".

      • You're right; the inevitable leak of such information a couple hours after being so sworn would be more sad than funny.

  2. I think the Liberal/NDP/Bloc motion following the ruling will be more important than the ruling itself.

    The question is: will Harper see his shadow, and we'll have 6 more months of this dysfunctional mess, or will he run to (or call) the GG and ask that parliament be dissolved?

    I'm guessing that he'll delay, maybe even prorogue, since an election will interfere with his G8/G20 grand photo-op plans.

    • I find it unfathomable he'd go for an election rather than give up the docs, if that's what he was ordered to do.

      • If he does, it does lead one to question what exactly would be in the documents.

      • I think that Milliken will find a way to refuse to answer the question. I hope he proves me wrong,

        • I think we're likely to see a potato toss here.

        • The Milliken Way!

      • I really do not expect the speaker to issue a ruling in favour of the privilege claims. Speaker Milliken has consistently avoided tough rulings and, arguably, fails to even maintain order in the House. Can't see him attacking the government so directly.

        Second, even if the Speaker supports to privilege claims the matter still goes back to the House for disposition. In all likelihood, the Libs will find a way to avoid forcing a crisis. I think they know darn well the Harper would not hesitate to dissolve Parliament and force and election rather than release the detainee docs. Harper cannot consider progration again so soon. So, unless the PM can adjourn the House (anyone know when the summer adjournment is scheduled?), he would have to go for dissolution The GG hasn;t exhibited much more backbone than the Speaker, so I don;t think we could expect Mme. Jean to deny such a request. The Cons would scream coalition coup across the land again and the election would be on.

        If you are Iggy, do you want to fight your first campaign as leader on obscure parliamentary privilege questions and against a PM screaming that a coalition it trying to execute a coup? Don't think so. Moreover, the Libs do not want an election before the fall, at the earliest. So, again, delay makes sense for them. The trap for Iggy is that Harper, "armed" with a new, hand-picked GG, will gain be in a solid position to dissolve the House prior to the fall session and thus call an election on his own terms.

        So, while the opposition parties will try (need) to keep the detainee issue simmering in the hopes of further document leaks, they will not force a near term Parliamentary resolution in their favour because they know they'll lose the resultant election.

        • Interesting analysis.

        • "If you are Iggy, do you want to fight your first campaign as leader on obscure parliamentary privilege questions and against a PM screaming that a coalition it trying to execute a coup?"

          In the end, that's the heart of the question. Unless the opposition can wrap this entire narrative up in an election ready message, that has already started to gain traction with the average elector, it will be a non-starter.

          To my mind, the opposition hasn't created an alternative option the electorate really wants, so they stay with what we have. As I belive Wells has asserted, the canadian electorate doesn't vote for a party offering basically the same stuff, only fresher; they either vote for a new model altogether or against the incumbent by not turning out (see Peterson, post Meech).

          • Unless the opposition can wrap this entire narrative up in an election ready message, that has already started to gain traction with the average elector, it will be a non-starter.

            Yes, and "culture of deceit" ain't gonna do it.

            Something along the lines of "actions speak louder than words" might.

        • Let's walk through this.

          Harper would be pretty stupid to ask for dissolution before a vote. Canadians would look up from their desks and kids soccer games and ask why he wanted to have an unnecessary election when he's already broken his promise for fixed election dates once and he just took a 3 month break to re-start/re-calibrate his government. For what major reason, Canadians would ask, have you thrust this election upon us Mr. Harper? And if he didn't call it soon, he'd be calling an unwanted, unnecessary election during the beginnings of summer holidays. Harper calling a snap election right now would appear self-serving and unnecessary to Canadians. Especially since in his re-calibration he didn't define any major new issues or direction, and his budget passed.

          If he waited until the motion, he'd still be quite stuck. The motion could not be a confidence motion on its own – it is a privilege motion on whether individual Conservative MPs are in contempt – so Harper would look even stupider and more self-serving to ask for dissolution after a vote.

        • You really don't think the Liberals would be willing to go to an election with a ready-made "Stephen Harper would rather call an election than allow Top-Secret cleared people to see documents that might protect our soldiers — what's in those documents?"

          • Precisely.

            If it comes to a vote of contempt or sanction by the House and the Cons lose, then confidence vote or not, Harper will "call" the GG and demand a dissolution. Don't see how Harper is snookered as tedbetts suggests. Politically, all the Cons need to scream is "national security", "protect our troops", "coalition again", "coup", and "separatists in government" and they completely overwhelm opposition claims of privilege and contempt of Parliament. The vast majority of voters react viscerally to the former list and simply don;t understand the latter.

            Libs aren't ready for an election on any current question. I think they'd be committing suicide to fight one on the privilege question.

          • But you're assuming Liberals are stupid and will try to frame the debate in terms of Parliamentary Privilege rather than "Harper hiding documents that would exonerate our troops!"

    • Would he really go to an election now? Isn't Layton treating his cancer? Would Harper risk the negative publicity of going to the polls while this is the case?

      • maybe but I think the bigger issue is the documents themselves. he would start out the election clearly on the wrong side of the issue.

  3. Pretty suspenceful. I don't even want to speculate because SH is full of exasperating surprises.