The negotiations -

The negotiations


The Star reports that government house leader Jay Hill and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will be negotiating with opposition parties tomorrow on the release of Afghan detainee documents.

The Liberals have mandated house leader Ralph Goodale to work on this file, while NDP house leader Libby Davies and defence critic Jack Harris will play key roles for their side. Separately, Jack Layton met today with Gilles Duceppe and Michael Ignatieff and hopes to meet with the Prime Minister later this week.


The negotiations

  1. Jack Layton met today with Gilles Duceppe and Michael Ignatieff and hopes to meet with the Prime Minister later this week.


  2. Wherry doesn’t highlight the thrust of the Star’s reportage –Harper indicated he’s not budging. His appointed negotiators are naught but lackies for his position so it’s clear an election’s afoot UNLESS the Speaker was just reading us the intro to the baldest manipulation of parliamentary privilege. That is, his next reading will tell us that indeed the Gov’t cannot break the law and an order to do so is a ‘conflict of priviledge’ and thus the Court is the only place where this scale can be weighed.

    • Leave the law stuff to the lawyers.

  3. The NDP poll numbers peak whenever Jack Layton is out of public view. I'd keep him buried if I were them.

  4. CR is working to shut out Gilles… Jack does not think that is right.

  5. Wherry, I’d like to draw your attention to “The Need for Codifiction of parliamentary priviledge” by Derek Lee, MP published a few years ago in Canadian Parliamentary Review. It will be interesting to see if the Opposition can fight the Speaker and Harper,should a judicial path be next up, by demonstrating to the media and the public that this impasse should not go to the Court for the reasons given by Lee in his essay.

    • In order for that to work, the opposition would need to be out there right now pushing this, as making this about something as nuanced and arcane as parliamentary privilege won't be easy when the Conservatives are going to come out and try to paint this as a black and white issue about partisanship, the law, and supporting the troops. Ironically, it is entirely possible that Rahim Jaffer is helping the Conservatives by providing a great sideshow for the media and opposition to follow that detracts from the real issues at hand.

      I'm thinking negotiations will fail, the government will be found in contempt of parliament, and this whole thing will end up at the Supreme Court. And, in the mean time, Stephen Harper will push as hard as he can to force the opposition to bring down the government on something unrelated. I think we're looking at a fall election if the opposition doesn't cave.

    • Thank you for that reference. I went o the site and you can find all sorts of stuff on privilege in the archives.

  6. Jack is organizing a new coalition and he wants Harper to join this time ?

  7. I think that Harper understands that the Supreme Court will likely refuse to hear this case. As a matter of fact, I would be very surprised if the Court took this one.

    We are going to the polls.

    The stupidity of it all is that even if Harper returns to power but only with a majority, we will be right back to square one on the Afghan file. I also think that Harper is again underestimating the electorate on this Afghan issue. If he's under the delusion that Canadians won't react to a televised debate where he would argue that the Geneva Convention didn't apply in Afghanistan, he's in for a rude awakening.

  8. (some honourable members) Hear! Hear!

  9. Read Spector in the Globe and take a look at s53 of the Act. It's not clear the SCoC can refuse a referral from the Governor in Council – i.e., the GG on advice of the PM. If that's the case, then the potential for a month-long delay exists. Wild card might be the GG. Could she refuse to make the referral on the grounds that it is an attempt to defy the House? Not likely.

    Harper is not going to release anything of substance. I still cannot see Iggy going to the mat on this. Not a winning issue unless there is some truly terrible revelation. But absent the doc release, that doesn't seem to be likely in the near term.

    I expect the House will somehow make it to the summer recess without this coming to a head. With any improvement in the pools, Harper will then pull the plug prior to the fall session.

  10. Interesting reference. Thanks. If the SCoC has to receive the question, based on that interpretation, so be it. That would certainly buy some time, but how much?

    I linked elsewhere to stuff on privilege found on the House of Commons site. It seems to me from those references that having accepted the reference from the GG, the SCoC will decide that the privilege exists – as the Speaker has ruled – and not proceed further.

  11. Iggy may not want to go to "the mat" on this one but if Harper makes it a confidence issue, he will have no choice. He cannot stand down.

    I don't know what happens next. What I do know is that Harper will not comply and release the documents. So… no matter what, we are heading for a showdown.

  12. I think you're being short-sighted. To put it in terms you could understand, imagine Chretien had declared any document pertaining to AdScam a matter of national security and refused to release unredacted documents to anyone. You're saying he had and should have had that right.

  13. I'm being short-sighted, am I? Why? Because I'm not as ideological like you? lol. Get a grip, dude. It's only politics. I hope it's not your life.

  14. This isn't politics. This is about our democracy. I don't particularly care about Afghan detainees (or no where near as much) but rather about limiting the power of the executive. The PM/executive was too powerful when Chretien was in the PMO, and the concentration of power has only increased. I don't see why it should be hard to imagine why it's bad to have an unaccountable and opaque executive, regardless of who holds the chair or what the issue is.

  15. Well, despite your alarmism, Canadian democracy survived Chretien, and it will survive Harper, too. I just get tired of people who pretend that the world as we know it is at stake simply because politicians they don't like might get their way. And it especially happens on the left.

  16. Okay. So as long as its better than Stalin we shouldn't raise any alarm? Got it.

    Yeesh. On a related note, how do you feel about Senate reform? If you think it's important that the Senate be elected, why do you not think it's important that the government is accountable to it, as part of Parliament?

  17. You wrote that Iggy cannot stand down.

    Where have you been for the last twelve months? Of course he can stand down, and do it every bit as compliantly as his predecessor Stephane Dion did.

    The Liberals seem to be great at drawing lines in the sand. They just don't seem too keen on learning that the other guy is more than willing to walk right over them.

  18. Do you really want him to stand down? I mean, I think we should all consider the ramifications for our democracy if we allow the executive to arbitrarily withhold any information it likes from Parliament.

  19. You mean the ramifications for your own ideological view of the world if Harper wins again? Give me a break. Your beef with Harper is partisan and ideological. The world isn't going to end if you don't get your way. Thank God.