Would the Prime Minister like to go to committee? - Macleans.ca

Would the Prime Minister like to go to committee?

The Liberals invite the Prime Minister to talk about the Duffy affair


The Liberals have the day tomorrow to put a motion before the House of Commons. Here is what they will be asking the House to consider.

That the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics be instructed to examine the conduct of the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the repayment of Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses; that the Prime Minister be ordered to appear under oath as a witness before the Committee for a period of 3 hours, before December 10, 2013; and that the proceedings be televised.

This at least puts the Conservatives in the position of having to explain why Mr. Harper shouldn’t testify before a committee. Conservatives who might find the idea somehow ridiculous might be asked to explain why it would be any more ridiculous than say this. Keith Beardsley, on the other hand, has cautioned that Justin Trudeau is setting an interesting precedent in wanting to see a Prime Minister testify under oath.

There is, of course, Question Period. And, though Mr. Harper appeared before a Senate committee to discuss Senate reform in 2006, prime ministerial appearances before parliamentary committees would seem to be relatively rare (I’ve asked the parliamentary library to see if there is any official record of prime ministerial appearances at committee).

On the other hand, there is, as was pointed out to me this evening, what has become something of a tradition in Britain. Since Tony Blair agreed to do so in 2002, the British prime minister has appeared twice annually before the Mother Parliament’s liaison committee. Here, for instance, is David Cameron’s most recent appearance.


Would the Prime Minister like to go to committee?

  1. Kathleen Wynne, a sitting Premier, testified before a committee at Queen’s Park re gas plants.

  2. I don’t know why the Liberals would possibly think that Harper would tell the truth under oath. He’s not going to stop lying just because someone told him not to, unless Wright or others with inside knowledge step forward.

    • Perhaps they just want to catch him lying under oath.

      • Even more likey they want to get him on the record as refusing to testify before the committee under oath…those caddish liberals eh.
        I can’t imagine Harper is dumb enough to not avoid such an obvious noose, or even the the danger of looking shifty by giving excuses as to why not. We can but hope though.
        It is possible JT is a sly one. Putting out a seemingly naive request like this Elicits the kind of general groan response you can see even on this thread. The upside for the shiny pony is he looks like the only truly shiny new ethical, not cynical, freshly out of the wrapper, unstale, not mice nibbled loaf of yummy new bread out there on offer.Everything else is mouldy or half baked. Don’t say it’s the absolute truth, but it Fits his overall narrative anyway.
        And it’s doesn’t matter a damn if the punditry all go – what a naïf? In fact he’s probably hoping this is going to be the reaction of the NDP in particular. Naughty, sly little pony.
        edit: Oops, i may have inferred the media all vote ndp. Nah, that can’t be true eh.

  3. Personally, I think ” The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit ” (Trudeau) will take the Harper Conservatives to task, not the NDP. Harper has tried to make it clear, his sites are on Trudeau, because just last week, Trudeau sprayed his sent on the front of Harpers lawn(Calgary), right in his grill. The problem that’s going to be for Harper is, Trudeau is not corrupt like the Conservative, and the smell of corruption has now landed on Harpers doorstep, and that will serve the Libs well into the 2015 election. This PMO scandal and robo calls will be the ball and chain for the cons in 2015.

    • This seesawing cult of personality for Trudeau (or Harperor Jack Layton/Mulcair or Liz May) has to stop. It’s just ridiculous to conclude that someone is not corrupt when we have no record in office to compare. You’re just offering yourself up to be disappointed by someone with a different colour banner.

      What are the things he will do to change the office of Prime Minister to prevent subsequent abuses? That’s what you need to know, not just blind hope, combined with a warm feeling from watching a leader on TV.

      As citizens and supporters we need to question anyone who proposes to be leader and volunteer and vote for people willing to be actual parliamentary representatives who will at least try to call their own leaders to account, not just forgive whatever shortcomings in order to beat the other guys.

      • Yes, but Justin is dreamy. That counts for a lot.

      • that’s the difference between Trudeau, harper and mulcair. Trudeau was never bribed or was ever questioned about bribery, and is the only one without any hint of corruption on him. your just talking out of your ass and about old petty stuff that has no merit. He(Justin) just dosnt play your games or to your drumbeat, and that just pisses you guys off.

    • Trudeau isn’t corrupt? What would you call it when you use your position as an MP to bill charities and public institutions for $20,000 speeches? Or getting high in your back yard in the comfort of the knowledge that since your one of Montreal’s elite there’s no chance you’d get in any trouble for it, and then brag about it to a national audience?

      None of that strikes you as corrupt?

  4. How can anyone claim as Beardsley seems to have that “No one escapes the blame on this one?”

    Whatever you think of its stated positions, the NDP would seem to be exempt from fault on a scandal that has occurred in the Senate and the Prime Minister’s Officer, two places where they have no access or influence. The Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois would, similarly, also seem to have clean hands.

    • The NDP are the official opposition and have access and influence is all matters that are government . For now Canada is still a democracy

      • So tell me then, just what is it that the NDP the Bloc and the Green Party have done wrong with regard to Senate appointments, the current expense scandal, or the actions taken or not taken by the PMO? Tell me why I should blame them.

  5. Question period is a farce made all the worse by parliamentary privilege. The fact that it’s televised means politicians can lie their butts off to national coverage with no consequences whatsoever.

    Under oath however I doubt Harper would have the balls to use the same lines he does in QP.

    It’s not a matter of whether this should happen, that’s a given, and I would love to watch as the rats scurry from the light shone by a process such as this.

    Proof again that while the NDP yammers–the Liberals find solutions.

    • Sorry, where has the solution been found? The Liberals have a way to compel the prime minister to testify under oath? No, they can’t?

      Oh, well, more yammering then I guess.

      • You try too hard bud.

        Of all the nonsense that’s been engaged in, this at least is a reasonable suggestion that would get at the heart of things.

        That it won’t happen is assumed, but it puts Harper in the unenviable position of sucking and blowing at the same time. LOL

        • You don’t even believe it will happen so how is it a reasonable solution?

          If we’re going to engage in fantasy, how about we ask the prime minister to agree that he is responsible for what has occurred and so will create an appointments commission (created by all party submissions) for further Senate appointments?

          He won’t do that either, so is it yammering or no?