Will the House of Commons be recalled to vote on Syria?

The PMO says it’s premature to discuss


This afternoon I put that question to the Prime Minister’s Office: Will the government seek to recall the House for a vote before proceeding with any intervention in Syria?

In response I was told that, “It is premature to discuss recalling Parliament at this time.”

Even if it is premature to discuss recalling Parliament, it is hopefully not premature to speculate about doing so.

First, the precedents.

Following the Conservative party’s election pledge to “make Parliament responsible for exercising oversight over the conduct of Canadian foreign policy and the commitment of Canadian Forces to foreign operations,” the House voted in 2006 and 2008 to extend this country’s mission in Afghanistan. But, in 2010, the Prime Minister decided that the House didn’t need to vote on participating in a “technical or training missions,” only “combat” missions.

In regards to the bombing of Libya, the House of Commons voted in March 2011 to endorse the mission and the House voted to extend that mission in June 2011 and September 2011.

Of course, we do not yet know whether something is about to happen in Syria, whether Canada will participate whatever that is and how Canada might participate if we do.

Thomas Mulcair was asked yesterday whether he thought Parliament should debate Canada’s role and he linked recalling Parliament to any intervention.

Well, if there is any thought of an intervention, of course Parliament has to be reconvened.  It’s a clear undertaking of Mr. Harper, but we have no indication in that direction right now.

Note that though the Prime Minister has said he will seek to prorogue Parliament this fall, he hasn’t actually gone ahead and done so yet and so Parliament could be recalled without going through the trouble of a Throne Speech.

Meanwhile, in Britain, where it is apparently not yet premature to discuss these things (possibly owing to the differences of time zones, I guess) Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the House of Commons will be recalled for Thursday to debate and then vote on intervention in Syria.


Will the House of Commons be recalled to vote on Syria?

  1. “This afternoon I put that question to the Prime Minister’s Office: Will
    the government seek to recall the House for a vote before proceeding
    with any intervention in Syria?”

    Yes, but only if we don’t mention the word senate.

  2. Let’s see. Which lawmaker’s body will get recalled first to vote on an American strike against Syria? The Canadian Parliament? Or the American Congress?

    Need I remind everyone, Bush had bi-partisan Congressional approval for Iraq.

    • Neither?

    • Which lawmaker’s body will get recalled first to vote on an American strike against Syria?

      Presumably most would agree that if this is just about an AMERICAN strike then there’s be no need for Parliament to be recalled. I thought that it was pretty clear from Wherry’s post that the issue would be whether or not Parliament would be recalled if CANADIAN planes were about to start doing bombing runs over Syria (or if Canadian ship were about to start firing missiles). His question was specifically about recalling Parliament before an INTERVENTION in Syria after all.

      I presume that this all comes from an assumption that when Obama spoke to Harper recently it’s at least possible that he wasn’t just seeking moral support.

    • Turns out I was wrong.

      The answer is, the American Congress.

  3. Good, even-handed discussion with minimum of snark.

    It would be interesting to hear more from Mulcair, as Leader of the Official Opposition. At what point does he believe the Commons needs to reconvene? If we provide moral support for a response to a chemical attack even if we are not involved in said response? Does he believe Canada is not firmly on the record against chemical use in war? Baird was one of first Western officials to condemn gas attack. Does Mulcair support that condemnation? This isn’t an attempt to box in Mulcair. But this is precisely the time for an Opposition Leader to speak, and for his/her remarks to be reported fully and accurately.

    For example, at what point would Mulcair (and Trudeau, for that matter) draw a red line and what should the response be when it is crossed?

    Do Mulcair and Trudeau believe CF-18s, C-130s and C-17s flying to Cyprus to support a prospective attack on Syria require a House of Commons debate beforehand? Are there briefings which the two won’t discuss?

  4. British PM Cameron recalls House of Commons to deal with Syria situation.
    Canadian PM Harper says”David what the hell are you doing? Why would you do that?!! What do they have to do with it?”

  5. Should we not find out who actually used the Chemical weapons? Everyone outside corporate western media is pointing at the US allies, the Al Qeada affiliated groups that populate the rebel front line forces as using the chemical weapons, not the Assad regime. There are also leaked emails that point to the rebels. There is also video that point to the rebels. There is also leaked phone calls that point to the rebels. The people who have a vested interest in an escallation of war are the Rebels, the US war machine, and lending institutions that will facilitate the loan to the US war machine on behalf of the US people. Also 91% or Americans do not support a war in Syria. So far all the wars in the middle east have been proven to be or suspected to be based on poor intelligence and best, and false flag events at worse. In libya for example the current leader of the armed forces is the former head of the Libya branch of Al Qeada. The Al Qeada flag is or was flown over court houses in Libya after the rebels there siezed power. Are we supposed to go to war on the speculation that it was not the terrorists in the rebel forces who used the chemical weapons? What is with the lust for war? If Iran or Russia shut down the straits of hormuz in responce the price of oil will spike and the world will enter another deep recession and Canadians will lose their jobs, homes, and businesses. Perhaps we need to approach war and regime change with a little more attention to detail.