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The task before them


 

Canwest surveys some of the options and precedents that could influence this week’s negotations—John Geddes has explored the sub-committee on organized crime, we explored various options here, and Sujit Choudhry has submitted one possible facet of a solution.

All that referenced, one should probably mind the complexity of this situation—or at least the potential thereof. Start, for instance, with the basic premise that a compromise will be based primarily on some committee of parliamentarians. Then consider the following.

How many members will comprise this committee? Which members? Can the parties nominate their own delegates or will all sides have to agree on the membership? Who will chair the committee? Who will decide the chair? Will the committee operate on consensus or a majority vote? Will the opposition, in keeping with party standings in the House, constitute a majority on the committee? How would the committee function during an election campaign? How, if at all, would the committee change in the event an election changed the party standings in the House or the status of the committee’s members?

What kind and amount of resources—in terms of money and staff—will the committee be provided? What, if any, timeline will the committee function under? How broad—in terms of timeline and subject matter—will the committee’s mandate be? What will be its defined purpose? What and who, specifically, will it be asked to investigate?

What standard of secrecy will be enforced? Will each MP be able to designate a member, or members, of their staff who will function under the same discretion? What will the committee ultimately be allowed to report? Who will decide what it can report? Will a third-party arbitrate any conflicts concerning what can be made public? If so, who will be the third-party? Will the government be given a chance to review any disclosures before they are made public? Will the committee be the sole judge of what constitutes the public interest and what constitutes national security? If so, again, will those decisions be based on the consensus or a majority vote of the committee?


 

The task before them

  1. Could we just have a full public inquiry already?

  2. I'm glad there's no Euroeconomic crisis brewing on the horizon, that every Canadian that wants a job has a job, that the federal government's budget is balanced and that there is no public debt.

    Since that's the case, it makes any expenditure on a committee to examine these documents seem so worthwhile and vital to all Canadians. It's also reassuring to know that our elected officials have nothing more pressing to occupy their time.

    And that's good for all Canadians, he said dripping with sarcasm.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  3. All of which should keep the actual work of the committee in abeyance until after the next election (and probably the one after that).

  4. I don't think committes can continue to work if there is an election. Therefore, I think it is logical to assume an election that changes the numbers in the House would change the committee.

    On this latter point, the entire issue would be moot if any party had a majority. Majority parties don't tend to let motions ordering them to do things pass or to let a committee find it in breach of privilege.

  5. So, our government can't walk and chew bubblegum? And, are you saying it's the government's job to guarantee full employment? 'Cause I sure don't,

  6. Under what conditions would you find it acceptable to tackle this issue?

  7. But the breach of privilege has already been found. An election now wouldn't change that. So this particular breach of privilege is not moot if an election were to occur tomorrow. Mind you, if the Conservatives were to get a majority, the punishment for said breach would be a little less painful than a light slap on the wrist.

  8. Surely in the long history of this country, through 2 world wars some similar situations have arisen and therefore precedent exists. Keep it simple.

  9. If the solution to the breach is a committee, committees cease to exist during prorogations and dissolutions.http://www2.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/Docum… It seems to me that if the House decides on a committee to be the solution to how the House will look at the documents, it is possible that the issue of the breach will have been set aside and no further developments will occur to look for wrong doers and punish them.

    "But the breach of privilege has already been found".

  10. Continued…

    As has been observed by others elsewhere, the Speaker doesn't conclude a breach of privilege has happened, only that it appears a privilege of the House has possibly been invovled. "The Speaker's role ought to be explained, and it is that the issue put before the Speaker is not a finding of fact, it is simply whether on first impression the issue that is before the House warrants priority consideration over all other matters, all other orders of the day that are before the House."http://www2.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/Docum

  11. Continued…

    As has been observed by others elsewhere, the Speaker doesn't conclude a breach of privilege has happened, only that it appears a privilege of the House has possibly been invovled. "The Speaker's role ought to be explained, and it is that the issue put before the Speaker is not a finding of fact, it is simply whether on first impression the issue that is before the House warrants priority consideration over all other matters, all other orders of the day that are before the House."http://www2.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/Docum

  12. Why not just have 8 people who meet in secret and can see everything. They would be expected to use the utmost discretion in what information was made available outside the meetings. Hopefully those in possession of the documents would be able to highlight portions which they feel are sensitive and provide reasons for their assertion (gee, that would have been a good use of the past five months or so, too bad it would have to be done on such short notice due to Harper's disgraceful behaviour).

    Problem solved!

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