All in (III) - Macleans.ca
 

All in (III)


 

Bob Rae was asked yesterday how far the opposition was willing to go to obtain documents related to the Afghan detainee affair and, paraphrasing Pierre Trudeau, responded, “Just watch us.”

Jack Harris was asked about the possibility that the government might declare any vote on the matter to be a confidence vote. His response: “Well, you know, the government and the Prime Minister can declare any motion a confidence motion.  They may decide that this is a confidence motion. If so, so be it.”

Make of this what you will.


 

All in (III)

  1. Harper will never provide the opposition an opportunity to take him down on an issue like this. he would rather make the docs public. If he did make it a confidence matter, that would inform us that there is something very politically damaging in these documents.

    • He could always say that the Libs want to turn over sensitive documents to the socialists and the separatists. Never underestimate the shamelessness and incoherence of this man. It's all part of his strategic genius, you see.

    • He would rather make the docs public? I think if that was his strategy we wouldn't be where we are today with the opposition moving contempt charges. Honestly, if there was any chance that Harper was willing to release the documents I think he would have done it already, instead he is using every tool he can to delay. It IS obvious to anyone paying attention to the issue that the gov't has something to hide.

      • Or perhaps the PM is looking ahead, as opposed to so very few here on the website, understanding that releasing the documents unvetted by the judge, would case great consequences for Canada in general, and therefor it might be better to have an election over this then to chance the potential outcome of a three ringed circus. I mean, what do you think could happen when all of this is aired separately in the open? Try to think ahead to where all of this may lead us.

        • Thats malarkey. The opposition has never called for all documents to be publicly released if it involved national security concerns. Swear in the MP's as has been done before, and allow them access, if thats such a concern.

          Lert's poke some more holes in your arguments;

          The Military Complaints Commission had top security clearance to view and vet these documents when it was investigating the complaints brought to its attention, and could decide to make sure legitimate docs of national se4curity were not released. Yet, The government has refused to allow them the docs, fought them in court over access, and refused to reappoint its head commissioner.

          A judge with full subpoena power in a public inquiry setting could also vet national security documents (as was the case with the Maher Arar inquiry). The Conservatives have refused that.

          That leads most everyone to believe this has less to do with national security and more to do with preventing political damage to the Cons. govt or worse, show Cdn officials were complicit in breaking int'l law.

          You can keep repeating/parroting the Tory Talking Points, but that doesn't make them any more believable.

          • I am not parroting Tory Talking Points. I personally believe that the Afghan detainee treatment is about a long and arduous process, in which not just the mlitary was involved. There is a huge international component to this, as is the component of the Geneva Convention. But I ask myself repeatedly how purely theoretical rules can be applied practically in all circumstances when we all know that war, and in particular the Afghanistan war, has a practical component as well. To piece together the practical component will not be easy and a lot oversight can occur within such investigation of the pratical which may lead to disastrous consequences. That is what I believe regardless of how the Tories deal with this.

    • Has anyone suggested that the documents be made public?

  2. That's my complaint – the vote to release the documents was already held and passed. It needs enforcement, not another vote.

    • Yes, but the next vote would presumably be a vote to find the government in contempt of Parliament and haul some Cabinet Ministers before the Bar, so while perhaps not "enforcement", the "another vote" would at least be a vote for punishment (of a kind) for the government's non-compliance.

      • I don't think you should have to vote on that, though. The speaker should decide if the order hasn't been complied with and simply take the appropriate measures.

        • What the speaker should do, and what the speaker will do without continual kicking are different matters.

          Consider this vote another kick.

        • Mike T while the speaker will providing ruling on compliance the House is required to do the work of sanctioning both it terms of levying the contempt charge and determining how to punish that. the House's role in doing so is at the heart of our system of Responsible Government.

      • Punishment of a kind indeed. What kind of punishment is a finding of guilt that requires no literal penalty?

  3. Can a motion to hold a member of Parliament really be considered a confidence motion? I would have thought it was technically procedural and not subject to confidence. Could a motion to adjourn be consider a confidence motion?

  4. If I know Stephen Harper he'll make it a confidence measure, wait for the Liberals to say its not worth fighting an election over which will be quite embarassing for them aftat this point.

    If for some reason the Liberals don't tip their hand Mr. Harper will simply disolve parliament just before the vote and call an election citing that the minority Parliament has once again become disfunctional with the tax and spend Liberals and socialist NDP in obvious cahoots with the seperatists.

    • On what concrete basis can he claim Parliament to be dysfunctional? The Speech from the Throne and Budget will both pass with minimal delay, and he has introduced little else yet. Furthermore, he now has a plurality in the Senate.

      • He can't. But political arguments are rarely formed using a concrete basis.

        For instance to justify the 2008 election (and defying his own fixed election date law no less) Stephen Harper said Parliament had become dysfunctional. And that was when the Liberals were rolling over and passing anything he wanted.

        Of course that election call had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that GDP growth for the previous few months suggested we were hovering dangerously on the verge of a recession.

        Similarily this time it will have nothing to do with the issue of if Parliament has the authority to order the government to provide the documentation it has requested.

        Remember, "It doesn't have to be true, it just has to be plausible."

        • The difference there is that Harper effectively made the campaign about the Green Shift. There is no equivalent here on the Liberal side, but on the Conservative side the baggage and controversies have piled up.

          The risk for Harper is that if he forces an election and doesn't win a majority, he is likely out. Worse for him/them, if the Liberals gained and he lost seats in sufficient numbers, even if he had more seats than the Liberals he could lose government. And the Liberals as a party are much much better positioned for an election now than they were in 2008 under Dion.

          The risk is bigger for Harper. He won't be making every small issue a confidence measure as he has. And I don't think he'll make this a confidence measure.

    • That should get the CAPP folks in the headlines again.

  5. If the PM made it a confidence motion and got the Liberals to back down, that would be the final shovel of dirt on Iggy's politcal coffin.

    • Any chance of being elected, yes. But the Libs will never dump him before he has a chance to lose an election. They'll regret it, but they won't do it.

  6. Many, myself included, are concerned with the PMO taking on more power relative to MPs. I hope the opposition will stand firm in their resolve to take back Parliament.
    As some one who has gone door to door – in the past but not recently – in support of a candidate I think the argument that limits the PMO power and strengthens the local MPs would resonate.
    And it would get me out working in an election campaign again.

  7. However, if he wants to re-ignite the faux coalition coup threat, he probably wants to use it while it seems still fresh in the minds of his minions at least. With all his backpedalling, flipflopping and waffling on other issues, that core CON vote is just as likely to be shifting into neutral unless engaged with some chess-like strawman…

  8. Imagine the Libs' most pressing cause, the hill they're willing to die on:

    captured terrorists' rights

    While I'm sure one could devise a way for the Libs to look more politically tone deaf,

    but it would be tough going.

    • Imagine the CONs' most pressing cause, the hill they're willing to roll out a $300million election campaign on:

      hiding government documents from a committee.

      While I'm sure one could devise a way for the CONs to look more foolish and entitled to their secret entitlements, I can't believe they'd help re-invigorate that ol' staple against their cause. Besides trying to deny women in poor countries birth control and changing our national anthem…

  9. Dear Biff – please report back to your boss that he has been outplayed!
    If he continues to thumb his nose at Parliament – he becomes the Dictator. If he caves – whatever is in those documents – EVERYONE – including the voters – are going to question his judgement – why stall for so long and create such a mystery.
    If he thinks he can simply run to the GG – he has some serious motions that may force her to decline another prorogation / election call and hand over the keys to the collective opposition – without resorting to an election.
    If he forces an election – I suspect that Ignatieff would be forced (even if he is actually in control of what is going on now) to agree to some kind of agreement – on election strategy / on post election governing – with the other Opposition leaders (who he just said he didn't trust).
    So Harper only has one faint hope – that he CAN force an election – AND win a convincing majority – or BYE BYE Stephen!

  10. It has been said in many quarters that to release those documents unedited to the general public could cause serious damage to Canada and Canadians still working and fighting in Afganhistan. Why anyone in their right mind would want to take that risk over how prisoners of war are treated, is beyond the stretch of my imagination.

    • It has been said in many quarters . . .

      Quarters! Quarters? Which quarters?

      Even a penny for your thoughts . . .

      . . . that to release those documents unedited to the general public . . .

      . . . would seem to be a price far beyond their value.

    • baylor, please refrain from further commenting. It's quite apparent from your comment you have little to no knowledge of what is going on. Let me attempt to make it clear for you, although if you haven't figured it out by now, I don't think explaining it is going to help. Nobody, let me repeat, NOBODY is asking for the documents to be released publicly. What the opposition parties are demanding is that they are given unredacted access to the documents for review, by either the committee investigating it or by members from each party that can be sworn to secrecy. Either way the documents will be kept secret.

      • Go easy on baylor – he's just following the conservative misdirection ploy of pretending the opposition want all the documents made public. I mean he couldn't be that misinformed could he?

        Next will come the accusation that even allowing those "separatists the Bloc" access is unwise. I find this argument full of holes when you consider that Quebec soldiers also serve in Afghanistan.

  11. I'd like to see video of that "Just watch us" moment, if anyone has it and can post it, or knows where it is – I can't find it (CPAC, CBC, CTV).

      • Thanks but I know that's out there. It's Rae's I want.

        • i know EFL. I don't have Rae's. I just figured it wold be worth watching the two if it anyone ended up with Rae's, esp. for anyone that had not seen it yet.

  12. agree with both of you and sourstud's point with particular disappointment as it will ensure there is no viable opposition. the Chretien years made clear how bad that is for all of us.