192

‘Anything less will fail to provide Parliament and Canadians with the answers they are entitled to’


 

Michael Ignatieff sends an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister:

Your government’s decision to appoint Justice Iacobucci is an overdue admission that action must be taken to get to the bottom of the Afghan detainee scandal.

Justice Iacobucci’s reputation is beyond reproach and his record of public service speaks for itself. The problem lies not with Justice Iacobucci but with the job you have given him to carry out. We do not know what his mandate or deadline will be, and we do not know whether or how he will report to Parliament and the Canadian people.

Further, Justice Iacobucci will not be empowered to do his job adequately, unless the government gives him the mandate to hold a full public inquiry.

The Afghan detainee scandal is about much more than the government’s refusal to hand over to Parliament and the Canadian people the documents they need in order to get to the bottom of this sorry affair. It is about the government’s handling of the detainee issue from the beginning.

That is why on December 1, 2009, the House of Commons called for a full public inquiry, into the transfer of detainees in Canadian custody to Afghan authorities from 2001 to the present, in accordance with Part 1 of the Inquiries Act.  Anything less will fail to provide Parliament and Canadians with the answers they are entitled to.

Under the process you have proposed, Justice Iacobucci could review documents provided to him by the government, but he would have no way of getting at the complete picture or even of knowing which documents should be made public.

A public inquiry would give him the power to demand materials from the government, to call witnesses and to subpoena testimony. An inquiry could establish the facts and make recommendations for the future.

Detainee transfer is sure to remain an issue of importance for future Canadian missions overseas, and it is vital that Parliament and Canadians learn from the mistakes of the past in order to prevent them from happening again.

Accordingly, I am writing to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to appoint a full public inquiry, in accordance with Part 1 of the Inquiries Act, to report to Parliament and Canadians, in a timely manner, on the transfer of detainees in Canadian custody from 2001 to the present.

The reputation of Canada and of our proud serving men and women demands nothing less.

Sincerely,

Michael Ignatieff
Leader of the Official Opposition


 

‘Anything less will fail to provide Parliament and Canadians with the answers they are entitled to’

  1. Urging in the in the strongest possible terms is like p*ssing into the wind.

    This PM does not yield to threats, or law. Why would he be motivated by this?

    • How is this a threat?

    • From Kady:
      It would allow him to assure the speaker that he went out of his way to give the government the opportunity to clear the whole thing up before blowing the privilege whistle. When it comes to such fundamental issues of parliamentary power, most speakers — including, most likely, this one — are reluctant to enter the fray, Mace in hand, until there's been at least some effort is made by the parties involved to resolve the impasse without intervention.

      Ok. So this is the calm before the actual threat? Sounds like a game of chicken – will Mr. Ignatieff (and the NDP & Bloc) withdraw confidence and force an election?
      I think he has to.

      • Why would he have to? He's certainly made meaningless threats before — and big ones. Remember the one about Harper's time being over?

    • He doesn't yield to law, does he? And here I thought that we had a constitution or something, and elections and all that.

      Never ceases to amaze me how some die-hard politicos warp facts, and reality, for political purposes. Is that illegal too?

        • Yes, and just like McGuinty's here in Ontario, it contains an out. He may have violated the spirit of his own law, but he didn't break it, or at least certainly hasn't been found in violation of it.

          Unless, of course, you think Harper or any prime minister is above the law of the land, which he clearly isn't.

          I just get tired of some of this hyperbole – on both side.

          Harper is not a criminal. Next.

          • That rather depends on what's in the documents they refuse to reveal.

          • Ah, guilty until proven innocent. Hey, that's a heck of a way to show that you're in this for democracy's sake.

            Aren't you following events? They are releasing the documents — to Iacobucci — and letting him decide.

            Again, if you don't have facts on your side, what do you have? A bunch of leftists clicking thumbs up on you posts? lol

          • Unless you're arguing that nobody should be allowed to be charged with a crime until it's proven, then no, not guilty until proven innocent.

            Iacobucci has already demonstrated that he will not protest if the Conservatives do not release the entirety of his reports, even if he feels there is no national security issue therein.

            This is similar to an accused criminal being allowed to decide what evidence is valid.

          • Oh, so you've already charged Harper with a crime, even though there hasn't been an investigation. And now that there will be an investigation, you don't even like that. Wow.

            But nice to know what many of you seem to think of Justice Iacobucci. You see, he's now part of the conspiracy, too, while none of your assumptions about this affair are in need of scrutiny in the slightest.

          • Nobody's charged Harper with anything, because nobody's been able to investigate anything, because Harper's been preventing it from happening. So the proper analogy would be that we would like to investigate, but the person is preventing us from getting into their home. Now that we've made it clear that this is going to be investigated, he's allowed us access to a single room.

            Also, don't ascribe what I say to others, and don't ascribe what others say to me. While you might be comfortable with groupthink, my thoughts are my own.

            What I think of Justice Iacobucci is not in any way an assumption. It's based on his own words. Where the Conservative government prevented a portion of his earlier report from being released even though he felt it was not a national security issue — but he remained entirely silent on the matter until they decided it could be released.

          • "Ah, guilty until proven innocent" You're joking, right?

            Sort of like the captured detainees–who we don't care about because they are the worst kind of scumbag, trying to kill our brave men and women, who deserve any torture they get, etc. etc. And all without a trial!

            How does Iacobucci know he's got all the documents? Can you answer that?

          • A fixed election law sold with an escape hatch which he jumped through the first time it was convenient for him. Had to get that election in before the recession hit.
            Yes he violated the spirit of his own law. Does this make him a criminal? No, but it surely makes him a hypocrite.
            I seem to recall our PM declaring a proposed coaltion "illegal". While it was unsavory, it was certainly not Illegal. Yet that did not stop SH from declaring it as such. What about that letter SH drafted to the GG, proposing a similar coalition? Was Stephen Harper "warping facts, and reality for political purposes?" No, it's not illegal, but I find it unsavory.
            I don't care for Mr Harper and will continue to vote for anyone but the Conservative party for as long as he remains leader – including the "Next" election.

          • OK, so you admit that you were wrong in accusing him of not following the law? As for your other accusations, I can't answer what isn't there. I don't recall Harper making the comments which you use as the basis for your rant. You hate Harper. Good for you.

  2. ''…Under the process you have proposed, Justice Iacobucci could review documents provided to him by the government, but he would have no way of getting at the complete picture or even of knowing which documents should be made public….'

    LOL
    Iffy thinks that unless his buddies from Carr and Munk centers get to hurl accusations of war crimes,
    the Judge can't possibly decide which documents to release, unredacted.
    Better do a little reading up on the good Judge Iffy,
    if there is evidence of war crimes, he will not sit on the info.

    • "if there is evidence of war crimes, he will not sit on the info."

      Is it likely he will be looking at those docs if they exist? But this judge is unlikely to be herded anywhere, i'll grant you that.

      • "if there is evidence of war crimes, he will not sit on the info."

        Nope, I don't think he will. But in an analogous situation, he recommended the release of relevant information, then bit his tongue when the Conservative Party refused.

        http://farnwide.blogspot.com/2010/03/afghan-detai

        I think Iacobucci will do the right thing to a certain point, then sit silently while Harper does something different. Iacobucci is a fig leaf.

  3. Drawing a line in the sand.

    About time.

    • You mean other than all those other lines in the sand that he's drawn, such as EI benefits, or Harper's time being up?

      • Or 'I am prepared to lead a coalition government'….

    • Sand provides a shifting foundation … Ignatieff seems to know no other.

  4. The PMO knows they are hooped. Harper is basically out of options.

  5. That is the sound of Iggy backing down. He is helping Harper run out the clock on the question of privilege.

    • Because he has re-iterated his demand for a full public inquiry?

      In what universe is that a backing down?

      • Do you see the phrase "parliamentary supremacy" anywhere in his letter?

        • Um, no.

          But since you seem to want to ignore the question, I'll ask again: in what way is he backing down? Or to put it another way, when you ask for one thing – full inquiry – and the other guy after lots of tactical maneuvers finally comes your way a tidbit and you respond by asking for the same thing again – full inquiry – in what way is he backing down?

          The order to produce documents was only initiated because Harper refused to order a public inquiry. When Ignatieff reiterates the demand for an inquiry, how is that backing down?

          • The inquiry is a sideshow at this point. The issue is parliamentary supremacy. Iggy should not be negotiating with Harper over an inquiry and using parliament's supremacy as a bargaining chip. It is not something Iggy has a right to bargain away.

          • OK, you'll have to explain that one for me.

            The inquiry has been the main point all the way along because of Harper's refusal to provide the documents he was obliged to provide. The opposition parties upped the ante when they brought in the order, but the order is about getting unredacted disclosure of those documents.

            So how is Ignatieff using Parliamentary supremacy as a "bargaining chip"? If they get the unredacted documents, he's actually confirmed Parliamentary supremacy and gotten Harper to accept it. If they don't, then they follow through on what the non-compliance with the order allows. Either way, how has he "bargained away" Parliamentary supremacy?

          • Put another way, if a judge asked for disclosure and it was not forthcoming, he/she could issue a subpoena which would likely be broader than the initial request and entitling the police to retrieve the documents. If the subject party then produced the original documents in full, the judge would not enforce the full extent of the subpoena, but he/she would also not retract the subpoena until the documents were actually produced in full. The power of the court and the subpoena is not undermined or "bargained away"; rather, it was effectively used to get the documents necessary for the pursuit of justice. Indeed, the court's powers are enhanced because it used the tools available to enforce compliance to the extent desired and required.

          • It is easy to explain. Parliament has past a motion demanding to see the documents. It has asserted its authority to see the documents irrespective of the calling of an inquiry. For Iggy to now come back and say that he is willing to trade Parliament's right to see the documents in exchange for an inquiry (which he seems to be implying), is beyond his power as an MP to do. Parliament is not Iggy's personal property, any more than it is Harper's. He has every right to call for an inquiry, but he has no right to trade Parlament's supremacy for it.

          • There is nothing implied, Iffy said at the beginning of this session he would trade the docs for an inquiry, this is the 2nd time he begged Harper for an out…..which he knows he will never get.
            Iffy is trying to climb down that Opposition erected hill, again.

  6. "We do not know what his mandate or deadline will be, and we do not know whether or how he will report to Parliament and the Canadian people"

    Isn't that rather the point Mr Ignatieff? Now, are you goin to rein in Lee, because i suspect that's exactly what they expect you to do? How committed are you to openness and parliamentary privilege? Because it's becoming rather obvious how committed the other guys are to non, or as little disclosure as possiblle.

    • It's pretty clear in the letter – and consistent with his statements through the fall and winter – that Iggy and the Liberals (gee that sounds like a band!) are open to an inquiry from 2001 onward. That is, they're open to having the judge investigate their actions, too; not just what the Conservatives have done since coming into office in 2006.

      From what I understand, the judges nondescribed terms make the whole thing sound like a one-off, untendered consulting contract rather than a transparent inquiry. It's in Harper's best interest to define his terms, regardless of whether or not that interest is in conflict or harmony with other parties (Liberals, Canada at large, the Forces, etc).

      • i tend to agree with TJ above, that this is basically a fig leaf, or at least a feint to make Ignatieff pull Lee off the case; or just an attempt to test Ignatieff's commitment. We can have the judge look around, but there's still that order of Parliament in obeyance…or do you feel this adequately addresses that?

  7. What will Iggy do if Harper ignores him, yet again? Clear his throat?

    • Except Harper didn't ignore him.

      First, he ran as far away from him as he could with prorogation hoping the issue would die.

      Then, when it became clear that the issue is not going to die, they came up with this strange, vaguely defined review by a retired judge hoping the issue would at least get bumped off the front pages while they flew around to different Tim Horton's trying to sell their re-calibrated vision and budget for the country.

      Iggy has gotten more concessions and backtracking here than anyone has yet gotten from Harper. It is barely anything though and, from this letter, Ignatieff clearly shows he's not buying into the maneuver.

      • Unfortunately, these guys only play hardball, Ted. Most recent example: they complketely ignored Iggy's strongly voiced objection to the appointment of the new Rights & Dem head. Even if they give in to the inquiry, Iggy would be viewed as allowing them to ignore a Parliamentary order to produce the documents. The order is the only stick the opposition parties have to make them cough up those documents.

        • It is not the only stick.

          Ignatieff has carefully asked for an inquiry under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act which gives: "The commissioners have the power of summoning before them any witnesses, and of requiring them to (a) give evidence, orally or in writing, and on oath or, if they are persons entitled to affirm in civil matters on solemn affirmation; and (b) produce such documents and things as the commissioners deem requisite to the full investigation of the matters into which they are appointed to examine."

          In other words, he's saying you can give the documents to a judge like we asked before and he/she will write up an independent report, or you can give them directly to us and we will write up that report. Our preference is the former but we're prepared to do the latter.

          The Parliamentary Order having accomplished what they desired, would presumably be withdrawn by the House.

          • Disagree Ted…the order is important. Many of us here want to see parliament reassert itself regardless of PM. Haper's basically the tipping point.

          • So help me out here with your thinking then KCM. Let's say tomorrow, Harper calls for an inquiry and the judge has subpoena powers. You still think, in that case, the opposition parties should force Harper to give them the documents as well or else throw him in jail, throw the full force of Parliament and the courts at him?

            What do you think is going to happen then? In the public's eye in particular?

            Harper is more and more cornered on this issue. The order has not been pulled away, but now, if they follow through, the politico public can see that they gave Harper a chance to do the right thing and he didn't. This is not about Conservatives vs opposition. Our Parliamentary democracy is severely undermined if it does not have public buy-in. Using technicalities is what got the opposition into trouble with the coalition and Harper with prorogation. Democracy is about a heck of a lot more than just technical compliance with the law and enforcing every legal remedy.

          • Harper does not have to call for an inquiry.
            Harper would be nuts to call an inquiry and he will NOT do it.

            Canadians would be happy that the BLOC separatists never ever see secret documents,
            and that the Judge, THIS Judge makes a public report.
            If the Libs carry on with the documents thing after the Judge has made his determinations, Cdns will turn on them, big time.
            It's over Ted.

          • Even bloc separatists are Canadians, for now at least. Do you seriously think they would deliberately put Canadian lives at risk? Have you forgotten there are Quebers serving in Afghanistan?
            If the terms of reference are too limited or the pmo tries to drive the agenda the public will see this for what it may well be – another attempt to avoid accountability. No way is this over.

          • The Bloc reference has nothing to do with soldiers, or putting lives at risk. If there's a future Quebec referendum, what's preventing the Bloc from demanding access to secret documents held by the federal government, detailing the No campaign?

          • Uhhh . . . maybe a parliamentary majority?

            Please try to keep up.

          • Obviously the terms of reference are going to be key. I've reread Ignatieff's letter and it scans better a second time. I believe you are correct in saying this only defers the PO. I can't say i entirely like it, but i can see how it can still be brought forward again.

            "Under the process you have proposed, Justice Iacobucci could review documents provided to him by the government, but he would have no way of getting at the complete picture or even of knowing which documents should be made public.
            Under the process you have proposed, Justice Iacobucci could review documents provided to him by the government, but he would have no way of getting at the complete picture or even of knowing which documents should be made public.
            A public inquiry would give him the power to demand materials from the government, to call witnesses and to subpoena testimony. An inquiry could establish the facts and make recommendations for the future."

            I particularly like the way he's contrasted Harper's proposal and the call for a PI. I think some of us are concerned he may settle for Harper's half measure, leaving Parliamentary Supremacy to twist in the wind. This might work out though.

          • "Democracy is about a heck of a lot more than just technical compliance with the law and enforcing every legal remedy. "

            I'd say! Now tell me, why, within our Canadian style democracy, do we have a provincial/separatist party participating within federal elections? Technically speaking the BQ members have such right, but does it serve our Canadian democracy? I don't think so. Why should any potential PM (either Harper, Ignatieff or Layton) be subjected to a completely lobsided campaign, why should they be expected to face off nationally speaking against a provincial opponent, stritcly speaking. We already have provincial jurisdictions, and provincial elections. Why mix the two and call it a road to democracy? Please, enlighen us.

          • In what sense has the Parliamentary order accomplished what they desired, Ted? The P.O. was to produce the unredacted documents. The latter have not been produced.

            As I noted above, these guys only play hardball. You qouted Kady O Malley. I think if you read somewhere near the end of her article today, you will see that even she suspects that Iggy may capitulate. I think this is what the rest of us are saying: be wary not to give up the only stick you have and weaken our form of Parliamentary democracy by allowing them to sidestep an order.

          • Perhaps I should further clarify that i do not see passing the documents to Iacobucci necessarily as a "stick" because how can we even be sure that they are going to give him all the unredacted documents to review?

          • Isn't that exactly what Ignatieff is saying in rejecting Harper's proposal?

      • Ignore his call for an inquiry, like he's ignored most of his shouted demands as leader.

  8. Mr. Ignatieff, put the government on probation.

  9. I'm not impressed by the call for an inquiry while the question of privilege is unsettled. Not impressed at all.

    The question of privilege is a much more important question than whether the documents themselves are sensitive, or even what happened in Afghanistan.

    Explaining why should be the Leader of the Opposition's role. 20 years from now we will have a parliament that is looking at some other issue and another commitee will be pressing the government for information. By then it won't matter WHAT the information about Afghan detainees was, but it will still matter WHO has the right to examine it.

    Calling for an inquiry is status quo politics, playing games with the games players, a distraction from the real question: Is the Canadian government accountable to parliament or not?

    • Agreed, but the order from Parliament was made because of Harper's ongoing refusal to investigate or provide documents or call an inquiry.

      If Harper backs down even more and calls the inquiry, then the need for Parliament to receive those documents directly, goes away. He will have given them what they wanted, and conceded the supremacy of Parliament.

      To me that is responsible. Following through on a point of Parliamentary supremacy after an inquiry is called, would be unnecessarily divisive and punitive. May make us feel good but it won't enhance our democracy or the conduct of our MPs, in my view.

      • Meanwhile the Minister of Defence is making comments about and confirming the content of the redactions in the very documents under question. HE doesn't even believe they are a matter of national security or why would he say anything other than 'no comment' to Canadian Press? Apparently everyone but the parliamentary committee and the MPCC are entitled to know what is in the documents.

        That's not only bizarre, but an insult to parliament, and the very definition of contempt.

        First let's make sure the government is accountable to parliament, and then we'll get on with the performance appraisal.

      • Couldn't agree more toby/JM. Ignatieff has a chance to stand up for parliament here. If he caves on this or an inquiry we'll start to hear whispers about how he wasn't really interested at looking that far back anyway. That may not be true, but it'll be hard to refute all the same.

    • You know, there's a flip-side of that argument, too. It's the opposition that's decided to use this specific case to test the bounds of Parliamentary privilege. For what purpose? To genuinely inquire about the handing over of detainees, or because it's the only mud they have to throw?

      • Is that what you want out of subsequent governments Dennis? An executive level of government, perhaps not your party, with no legislative body to provide checks or balances on its spending or performance? Because if the government can just ignore parliament that's what you have.

        The game is over if there is no referee.

  10. It's a good thing nobody takes Small Dead Animals seriously.

  11. Did it ever dawn on the people criticizing Iggy, that if the Cons reject a full inquiry (which they likely will), he's positioned them to continue attacking parliamentary supremacy. Umm, a full inquiry is the best case scenario for the Libs, so if the Cons reject, we're back to defying Parliament, with the added KICKER that the Nicholson Judge gambit is off the table as an adequate response.

    Please look beyond your nose, because the tactic is full proof.

    • A full inquiry is a good thing, but it still does nothing to break the impasse over parliamentary supremacy.

      • Where has he taken pursuing the Parliamentary Order off the table?

        The PO was passed only because it was their only stick to get the inquiry Harper refuses to call. If he calls it, the order accomplishes its goal; clearly the preferred route in getting to the bottom of the detainee issue. If he refuses, then it is still there.

        • Ted, ENOUGH with the common sense!

          Don't ever go near a chess board people, might hurt yourself!

          • I wouldn't be at all surprised if you and ted are right, that an inquiry granted is in fact an admission of Parliament's supremecy. But right now Harper's opted for a half measure. I don't see him outright rejecting an inquiry and setting himself up for defiance of parliament again. He's going to spin this as this is as far as i go, and it's enough. Lee should continue with his motion, it's the most likely way to either a full inquiry or a release of the docs to parliament.

          • If you study Lee's response to Nicholson, recognition of Parliamentary Supremacy remains a core issue, which no Inquiry resolves, in and of itself. At a very weak minimum, it would need, as Lee asked, a Govt statement recognising Parliamentary Supremacy, along with an inquiry, and that is as weak a minimum as you're gonna get. What we need are really two things: recognition of Parliamentary Supremacy through production of uncensored docs as ordered, and an inquiry, as per the NDP motion of Dec. 01, supported by Libs & Bloc. Lee: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat
            Motion: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat
            Order: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

          • Oh, and of course, a motion of censure of the Govt for going rogue and ignoring an Order of Parliament for over three months and counting. But that, along with an Inquiry and a Govt statement from AG/PM recognising Parl Supremacy, is an incredibly weak and generous minimum on behalf of Parliament. Still, it upholds minimal standards of parliamentary honour.

      • You can walk and chew gum at the same time. People are getting tunnel vision for no reason. Let's see how the gov't reacts, that's what matters here? If they reject, right back, if they accept, mission accomplished.

    • The tactic is full proof.

      There is no such thing, nor do I think one would ever come from Iggy, either.

    • Not being a partisan tactician it might occur to me, but I would reject it as the same sort of silly buggers that sending documents over to Iacobucci represents. We have a continuing insult to parliament, compouned daily by the government's continuing release of information selectively (i.e. Mackay's weekend confirmation that CSIS was involved in joint interrogations).

      We want more and better than Libs vs. Cons. We want a functioning, representative government, and that can't wait for another protracted argument about the scope of inquiries or reviews that may or may not proceed.

      By the way, some of us non-tactitians do know how to play chess but resist the temptation to use the board for banging our heads or others.

  12. How about instead of ad hominem attacks you refute the details of the post, if you think you can.

    • Because joke websites aren't worth the time it takes to read them.

    • The details of the post are intended to distract from the substance.

      Whenever there is a difficult question of facts and substance, you can count on a conservative to go after something about the messenger.

      Facts are facts. Are the facts as presented by Colvin and other documents and Milewski and Attaran correct or not. Everything else is just spin.

      • Whenever there is a difficult question of facts and substance, you can count on a conservative to go after something about the messenger.

        That's pretty rich, considering the guy I was replying to is doing exactly that (going after the messenger, regardless of if they have their facts correct or not)

      • you see, that's exactly the point in which you and I must disagree: CBC reporting should be inclusive, and when Harper's motives are clearly "seen' by CBC as to be suspect, then CBC reporrting should have second thoughts about Ingnatieff's possible motives as well. Fair is fair. If Harper is constantly put into a bad light from the very beginning (hidden agenda ad naseum) and thereby MADE supect , the same should apply to all political leaders. Fair can only be fair if it is indeed fair.

        But have a closer look at Peter Mansbridge's face when he talks about Harper or Ignatieff. See if you can spot the tell tale signs found in body language. Many viewers may not be aware of such important clues, but they pick up on them just the same: unknowingly sending them off in subjective directions. Compliments of the CBC.

    • SDA also says the CBC is campaigning for the men "who wish to impose a brutal, misogynistic theocracy in Afghanistan."

      Doing the due diligence on Attaran? Sure. Presenting the CBC's failure to do so as some conspiracy to further the motives of the people Canadian troops are fighting against? Alarm bells ring.

      • Par for the course over at SDA.

    • so another website makes a pile of allegations without documentation (or at least not documented here) and those that dismiss said post based on the history of the place the post is from are supposed to do the heavy lifting of proving things while the original allegations are to be accepted at face value. uh huh. that is def the way it works….

      • Who said the original allegations should be accepted at face value?

        The only reaction to them from one side has been "more reason to investigate further" and from the other side "the guy who is talking about these documents once about a decade ago got a favour from Ignatieff so it ignore the documents".

        Oh, and then there is McKay who has admitted that at least part of what those documents say – that CSIS was involved in the interogations – was true.

        But there is still no need to have an independent investigation into all this even though there has been a 12 month long drip drip dripping of evidence countering assertion after assertion by the government.

        • Ted, think you might have been confused by IntenseDebate's unhelpful spacing and the lack of specifics in my post. I was replying to John G who was suggesting that those do not take SDA's allegations at face value should do the heavy lifting to prove Attaran is beyond reproach notwithstanding that SDA's own allegations against Attaran seem to be not documented in his JohnG's posting of them here.

    • Why don't you? As purely an exercise in Devil's advocacy, if nothing else.

  13. Gilles Duceppe had Mr. Ignatieff dead to right when he said (about his position on the budget) – this man obviously doesn't play poker – because he has no idea how to bluff…
    You don't reveal your cards right until the last moment..if then!
    Morally, Mr. Ignatieff is right!
    Tactically – (and frankly strategically too) he keeps opening his mouth and limiting his options.
    UNLESS…and I'm giving his key caucus members more credit than I am him…they already have a deal in place with the other Opposition parties to corner Harper in such a way that even his most rabid supporters will be disgusted with him – and then go to the GG and present her with an alternative Coalition government…until say – the end of the normal five year term of the government…
    In those circumstances I think it would fly

    • and then go to the GG and present her with an alternative Coalition government…until say – the end of the normal five year term of the government…
      In those circumstances I think it would fly

      No, those circumstances wouldn't fly in a hundred years. In other words, no way in hell we're having a coalition government until the end of five years. I suggest you go back to the drawing board.

      I'm also still amazed at some people's ongoing love affair with that undemocratic monstrosity called coalition. I thought you guys learned your lesson on that one the last time. Kumbayah.

      • Undemocratic monstrosity…just where does it say that in the constitution? Just cuz Harper says it's so, doesn't make it so.

        • No, common sense and the Canadian people said so. The only ones who didn't are leftists, who apparently have no problem of governing over people without their consent. Except, of course, when they say Harper tried to do it a few years earlier, even though he didn't.

          Harper never had as much support as when that monstrosity rose its ugly head, but you folks keep on endorsing it, ya hear? Just keep thinking that you're so much smarter than us that you don't even need to be voted by us.

          Anyhow, I've beaten this thing to death. For now.

  14. Other than the fact that you're trying to divert the discussion here about Iggy's letter and demand for an inquiry with a discussion of whether or not CBC should have aired Amir Attaran's story…other than that, you need to know, if you don't already, that Small Dead Animals is run and populated by gun-totin', injun-hatin', rural SK redneck racists who barely made it to grade 7 before quitting to pick stones on the farm. Seriously, not a website that reflects the voices of mainstream Canadians. At least, I hope not!

    • THe CBC may be your voice but it is every bit as guilty as SDA of placing their slant on the News. The biggest difference between the two is one billion + dollars annually that we don`t pay SDA.

      • And that the CBC has an ombudsman that responds to challenges of biased reporting.

        • Those challenges to the CBC ombudsman don`t seem to have changed operations much over there.
          Also I`m sure if you had some complaints about biased posting at SDA, some of those good Canadians that Pat. mentioned above ( the gun-totin, injun-hatin, rural SK redneck racists ) would be happy to reply.

          If Pat.`s feelings toward Western Canadians are representative of Liberal supporters in general, I can see why even one Liberal MP in the west will be disappearing.

      • Thanks for sharing your knowledge but my overall point was that we're not talking about CBC here but rather the letter from Iggy to steve about the afghan detainees.

        Maureen is an excellent conservative: she's making us look at something other than the issue at hand.

        • Thanks for the link Ted. I don`t often read that blog but I can see your point about the similarity with the CBC. That disturbing video of the Taliban men whipping the Afghan woman was like some reports I have seen on the CBC: lacking in substantiated claims, and never really explaining why she was being beaten.

          • sharp wit!

  15. Sorry "passed" not "past".

  16. OK, I think I see where you are going here, maybe. Obviously though he is not just one MP but speaks for his party. The Derek Lee who brought the motion and the NDP are taking the same view.

    My main point of contention with what you write is: Where has he said he's willing to make that trade, Greg? That's what I don't get in what you say.

    I'll quote Kady O'Malley's thoughts on this because they reflect my own and, presumably Derek Lee's and the NDP's as well since they've conceded the time to examine this proposal as well:

    "As I've noted more than once in subsequent comment threads, the Iacobucci gambit […] stops the clock on the privilege question, at least in the short term, allowing Lee to defer his motion until he — and the rest of us — have had the chance to peruse the fine print of the as yet unreleased terms of reference. [cont]

  17. If the government fails to let the rest of us in on the details within a reasonable period of time — the NDP seems to be giving them a deadline of March 19th, for instance, or, for that matter, if the minister comes out with terms of reference that are found wanting by the opposition, it could actually bolster — or even add new allegations of possible ministerial contempt — to Lee's arguments, when and if he eventually raises it in the House. It would allow him to assure the speaker that he went out of his way to give the government the opportunity to clear the whole thing up before blowing the privilege whistle. When it comes to such fundamental issues of parliamentary power, most speakers — including, most likely, this one — are reluctant to enter the fray, Mace in hand, until there's been at least some effort is made by the parties involved to resolve the impasse without intervention."

  18. The emphasis is mine.

    The Harperites hope that this becomes another issue of "scandalmongering" with the opposition showing not interest in truth and every interest in making tarring the Tories their primary/sole focus.

    The opposition are playing this well and patiently. Their case is strengthened by this and Parliamentary supremacy is strengthened by using – and clearly using – such an unprecedented House Order as a last last resort.

    Either way, the opposition, Parliament and Canadians win if the Order is used to get the desired results and not as an end unto itself.

    • It's over Ted.
      If Parliament was supreme, an ex-Supreme would not be making the determination.
      And it will be a final determination, because if the Libs question the report from THIS Judge, they will be booed out of Dodge.
      It's over

      • Running scared Wilson?

      • So, now that Harper is King, do you get to wear some purple robes or something? I mean, will you be rewarded with an estate of some kind for your unwavering loyalty to the talking points?

        Or do you just get to kiss his ring like the rest of us?

  19. Getting back to an important point raised by the Ignatieff letter, and contrary to his assertion, hasn't the sensitivity of the documents always been at the heart of the issue? (although I'll concede that it could be a stall, but that's why you bring Iacobucci in, no?) Yes, Iggy and co. want to make this into a full-blown political scandal. He admits as much. But do we really want to hand over just any document to any Parliamentarian that wants it? Are there no procedures in place to protect national interests? Does Parliamentary privilege supersede national interest in making documents public?

    • Name me instances where documents viewed in camera became public knowledge. I know of none. If there are, then the odds must minute, like 0.000000000000000001, or something. And of all the docs likely to become public knowledge, those that affect nat'l security? The political price for such irresponsibility would be incalculable. Finally, every single legislature in the world trusts its parliamentarians with such docs. Are ours uniquely untrustworthy and incompetent? Enough already: produce the docs.

    • "But do we really want to hand over just any document to any Parliamentarian that wants it?"

      This isn't what is being debated. It's a parliamentary committee that requested the documents within its scope of inquiry, and the request was confirmed by a subsequent vote in the House of Commons. Parliament as a whole gets to decide, legally and morally what is in our national interest, not retired generals, not Christie Blatchford, not Peter Mackay.

      If the issue was how to protect our national interest, the compromise postion has already been offered: the committee members could be sworn in as members of the Privy Council and the documents would be provided to the committee in camera.

      • Really. Is Jack Layton responsible for the safety of our citizens or troops, or is our prime minister responsible?

        Again, there are TWO issues at play here. One is parliamentary privilege, the other is national security. And the usual suspects seem only concerned with one because, well, because it suits their current political motives.

        Harper has provided a compromise. That's STILL not good enough. Only a full blown scandal and inquiry are, right?

  20. You'll forgive me if I'm skeptical over your self-declared desire for a "referee."

    Anyhow, you didn't address my post. Additionally, I've raised another issue many times. Do Parliamentarians have a right to any document they want, no matter how sensitive or related to national security?

    I realize this may be nothing more than a ploy by the Tories, but is there not a genuine issue here? And, if here is, are people ignoring it because, surprise, surprise, all they're interested in is sticking it to Harper?

    • See below where you raised this in the main. It isn't "any parliamentarian" it's a committee tasked with reviewing Canada's activities in Afgahnistan, supported by a vote in the House of Commons.

      Since you're into turning tables, do you want just any Minister to be able to hide documents from Parliament?

      • No, I want our government to protect our national interest. Don't you?

        You know, I see a lot of people showing concern over what Parliament can and can't get their hands on, I don't see people caring a whole lot about national. It could be a distraction, but bringing Iacobucci in suggests it's not a token matter.

        Critics want to have their cake and eat it. They want as much mud to stick on Harper, yet consider no other consequences of their actions.

    • No Parliamentarians do not have a right to any document they want, no matter how sensitive or related to national security.

      That is why the MPCC was set up. But what happened? Harper tried to prevent Colvin from testifying, refused to provide documents, fought the MPCC in court. So it had to go to a special subcommittee on Afghanistan where they continued to not comply and assist.

      At some point, the government has to accept that it is accountable and that there are appropriate channels and bodies to keep it accountable. If it refuses to abide by the normal channels of accountability it brings into question the whole accountability of the government. And in that case, yes, Parliament does have the right to override the PM. We elected Parliament. We did not elect Harper. He is not more important or bigger than our democracy.

      • But here's another point in all of this. It's not for you or Iggy to decide what Parliament has a right to, is it? If Harper disagrees, and persists, it'll go through the courts, like it's supposed to in a constitutional democracy, right?

        Quite frankly, I'd like to see the opposition held accountable, too. After all, Harper's in the minority, yet it's his job to protect this country, its troops, and its citizenry. That's not Iggy's or Jack's job.

  21. WOW! I agree with Dennis! My understanding was that parliament would have to establish a process to review the documents, specifically a process that did not move all of the documents to the public domain. Harper's appointment is one strategy for dealing with the issue (and probably would have been accepted several months back). A public inquiry reporting to parliament is a better approach since it provides greater transparency.

    • Don't forget, there was a commission specifically set up to examine and rule on documents with national security sensitivity, the Military Police Complaints Commission, and Harper ignored them as well, tried to block documents and witnesses, threatened witnesses, fought the MPCC in court.

      • Well, it wouldn't be the first time that these types of organizations have tried to railroad Harper. Just ask Elections Canada. Liberals have been in power a long time. They often don't like it when things change. But, Harper has every right to use the courts. After all, this is democracy, isn't it?

        Besides, what problem do you have with Iacobucci? Do you think a former justice is easy pickins for Harper? Oh yeah, you think it's too late to get to the truth. Right?

  22. so Iggy wants to contract out the job f opposition to the former Supreme… nice leader of the opposition.

    • What would you propose… giving every member of parliament a copy?

      • This question has been dealt with in the past, ie., making some party leaders members of the privy council.

      • Wasn't the parliamentary order to produce the documents premised on precisely that idea – giving MPs (and thus, the whole of Parliament) the opportunity to see the documents for themselves?

        • precisely LynnTO. this is not near as complex as people are making it.

          and yeah Stewart it is exactly what is required. it is what parliament demanded. it didn't demand the production of the documents or to have Iacobucci have some role as either reviewer or leading an inquiry. Parliament made a demand and Iggy as leader of the loyal opposition should be concentrated on make sure Parliament's will is respected, not figuring out alternatives that he can climb down on.

      • What would you propose in the alternative? That any old Minister be allowed to decide what is secret?

        • No, that the government and prime minister of the day protect our national interest. I mean, don't you want that, too?

  23. Ah, I think you're wrong on a few fronts. First, I think national security is more important than politics. Second, I know that the United States has a specific process of revealing sensitive information to Congress. They hold secret briefings to select members, who then can't turn around and shout it to the rest of the world.

  24. Except that public inquires also tend to develop into political sideshows, too. If there's a specific issue of national security involved in relation to these documents, let's deal with them. In fact, if Iacobucci finds the Tory assertions in this regard to be laughable, you then have a justification for an inquiry, don't you?

    • It all depends on the terms of reference…if they're too narrow we might never get to know whether there's a smoking gun or anything else in there at all. And the judge can't be expected to deal with a political question, as in does effect only NS, or is it only embarrassing to the gov't of the day. Admittedly they may often be one and the same.

      • I hate to break it to you, but just about every single public inquire that's been called — at least in my memory — is the result of politics and public pressure. They only ever get called if the latter is strong enough, or if there's a change in government. And, while they're going on, they most certainly take up a large part of the political discourse of the day — often to endless distraction. And they rarely address the underlying problems they were meant to address in the first place. Or, if they do, they're often overwhelmed by the politics of it all.

        • then turn the whole thing back over to the MCC…but we can't as Harper's pretty much shut that one down too.

  25. I'm honestly not being cheeky when I ask: you do realise "in camera" means "in secret", right?

  26. "From smalldeadanimals.com "

    ….moving on…

  27. I"m honestly not piling on when I tell you he clearly does not. But maybe he's gone to look it up, and will have learned something new today!

  28. Then what are you being, since at no point did I state otherwise. lol. Next.

  29. So, we preserve Parliamentary democracy by going fast? Don't quite understand that one.

    Also, I don't quite agree with your logic that the alternative to MacKay's selective release is full disclosure. Again, is there not a genuine issue of national security here?

    Governments selectively release documents all the time. It doesn't mean we remove "top secret" or "confidential" from every file in return.

    • If you thought national security was Harper's concern, then he would have released these documents to the MPCC. But he didn't.

      As we have seen from some documents that were initially released in redacted form and then subsequently released in unredacted form, they have been censoring information which makes them look bad but doesn't have a security concern.

      • Doesn't Harper's release of these documents to Iacobucci explicitly show that he's addressing any issues related to national security? You seem more intent on personally characterizing events instead of getting to the facts. As I've suggested before, many of these attacks seem politically motivated. Iggy admits as much in the letter by wanting to put all of Harper's actions under judicial scrutiny.

        In fact, I have yet to see any reason for a full public inquiry here — unless, of course, you're of the opinion that Harper is up to no good all the time, which many on here seem to actually believe.

        Let's deal with the documents first, then take it from there. No?

        Again, I don't quite understand the rush. These are rather old allegations. Unless, of courses, trying to keep a wannabee scandal alive is the sole purpose.

        • Dennis, you are asking us to trust that Harper will release every document to Iacubucci–who has no way of knowing what documents exist any more than the rest of us. But if you are handed a couple of boxes of papers and are told, "that's all of it," how can you tell there are two boxes missing?

    • No it means that if the government wants to claim the documents were redeacted for national security reasons then it ought not to disclose them to Canadian Press (or retired generals, or political operatives in the PMO or Christie Blatchford) especially since it is currently refusing to provide those documents to a much more legitimated forum.

      If, on the other hand, they were redeacted for political reasons, then cough 'em up.

      • So now Iggy, Jack, and Gilles are a more "legitimate forum" for these documents than Iacobucci, are they? Funny the kind of logic some people use. Is it because of the very partisanship and ideological blinders that you all say Harper is guilty of? lol. Irony is something, ain't she.

        • How did you get Iggy, Jack, and Gilles out of Canadian Press, retired generals, political operatives in the PMO and Christie Blatchford?

          • It could be a debating technique closely related to this one.

  30. Do some of you honestly have nothing better than self-congratulatory taunts? He didn't address my post, neither did you, yet here you both are pretending to be smarter. lol. I honestly can't make this stuff up!!

    • Dennis_F (35 minutes ago): "Do some of you honestly have nothing better than self-congratulatory taunts?"

      Dennis_F (44 minutes ago): "Then what are you being, since at no point did I state otherwise. lol. Next."

      The lack of self-awareness is really fascinating.

      • and here comes another one. Is this the best you have? Is this what makes some people on here think they're capable of intelligent debate? No wonder the leftist agenda isn't going anywhere these days. You spend most of your time congratulating yourselves for stupidity on here. Be my guest. It just proves my points for me. Thanks!

        Oh, and keep clicking on those thumbs up and down logos. I guess you're good at something, right? lol

    • What's the point of addressing your post if you don't understand the words we use?

      Moreover, there's nothing "self-congratulatory" about my post, or Eugene's for that matter. Maybe you could gloss that word while you're at it.

      • I understand perfectly well. You have no intelligent remarks to make. If you do, please point them out.

        Oh, and why do some of you have to pretend to be smarter than others? This seems to be a leftist trait. If you're so smart, why not show it with facts and argumentation, instead of taunts and inanities?

        Next.

  31. Aren't you still stumped about the process governments use to maintain secret documents? Why do some people need these kinds of inane taunts on here? Are they that afraid that their ideology is at stake or something. Man, no wonder Harper has to always watch his back. Look at what he's up against. Certainly not principled stuff.

    • The word is foolproof, not "full proof". For example, one might say, "the Macleans comment boards were not designed to be foolproof", which is a little double entendre.

  32. Who says it has accomplished what they desired, Anon? Who says that the order has been in any way rescinded?

    If the order was rescinded without getting those unredacted documents either before the Parliamentary Committee or an independent judge as part of a parliamentary inquiry, then I would agree with you.

    This is but one thing: a response to Harper's latest tactic, in which Ignatieff has rejected Harper's tactic and reiterated his demands.

    • Ted, the P.O. was to give the documents to the House/Committee, not a Judge. It was passed by the House because Harper refused a public inquiry requested by all opposition parties, remember? Therefore, if Iggy now wants to agree to pass them over to Iacobucci, even on Iggy's terms (highly unlikely), the P.O. has failed to accomplish what it set out to do, no?

  33. "Maureen is an excellent conservative: she's making us look at something other than the issue at hand."

    I think you and I have very different definitions of conservatism.

  34. Iggy's terms are a full inquiry with subpoena powers, so no, if Harper complies with Iggy's terms the order will have accomplished what it set out to accomplish.

    If Harper does not call an inquiry and suffers no consequences, or comes back with something equally weak and that is accepted, then I agree, Ignatieff will have backed down and accepted Harper's rejection of Parliamentary supremacy.

    And I accept that at this stage it is reasonable to doubt or be concerned about or wonder if Ignatieff will follow through, given his back-downs before. But that is speculation, you have to admit.

    All we have here is a rejection of Harper's offer and a reiteration of the demand for a full public inquiry. Not sure how this response, on its face, can be challenged in this way. Especially when it seems the NDP is taking the same position.

  35. "the terms of reference are going to be key"

    Absolutely.

    We can speculate what Ignatieff will do next – and he hasn't earned any benefits of the doubt – but what he has done here I think is very responsible: there is a need for the truth to come out, the opposition thinks a full independent public inquiry is the best way, Harper has blocked every attempt at the truth and accountability, for the first time he's "milimetred" in the direction of accountability, Iggy (and it seems the NDP) has rejected that as not enough. Are there other options the opposition will consider?

    Maybe, but pushing the House Order without giving ear to any proposal Harper puts forward would be equally dangerous for the opposition. The order presents a national constitutional crisis in the making – to act reasonably and be seen to be acting reasonably beforehand will have a significant impact on how or if that crisis plays out.

  36. Dennis:

    Harper has lost all claim to any bona fide on this given his prior responses to every reasonable measure of accountability at every stage. It started a long time ago with Harper's refusal to deal with the documents. We are well past that. He made it about his government and accountability and Parliament.

    The release of the documents to Iacobucci doesn't do anything as far as I can see because we don't know what he is being asked. We don't know his mandate.

    As far as justifying a justicial inquiry, I can understand someone saying "on balance, I still think an inquiry would be more damaging than beneficial", but at this stage with all we know – both about what happened over there, and about the many many official Harper positions that have been thrown out because of subsequently released or discovered information – I don't see how anyone could genuinely they see no reason for an inquiry.

    • So, in other words, you're the arbiter of what's reasonable, and Harper's failure to comply to it means that he can't do anything to pursue his opinion on this. Wow, that's quite diverse view you have of democracy, isn't it.

      Regarding Iacobucci, I find it fascinating how everyone thinks that this guy is now a dupe; that he'd take a job that's bound to make him into some kind of patsy. Hey, he can preside over the highest court of the land, but he can't handle Harper? Fascinating.

  37. As I understand it, the NDP has stated that they will wait until the 19th and then bring the contempt motion if the documents are not produced. Will they follow through or backpedal ignominiously? We shall see. There is no such deadline in Iggy's letter. No mention even of the order that Harper has failed to comply with. Therefore, I am unable to see, I have to admit, how you can be of the view that the NDP is taking the same position.

  38. "Ah, guilty until proven innocent. Hey, that's a heck of a way to show that you're in this for democracy's sake."

    Harper is not on trial. He's a public servant with a duty to be accountable to the public. So far he has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid accountability.

    Nobody called him a "criminal" but he is currently in defiance of a Parliamentary motion, which puts him offside vis a vis the law. He can correct that at any time but has so far refused to do so.

    • Harper's first priority is the Nation,
      not answering to a Liberal party bent on replacing him.

      • Harper's first priority is himself. Not answering to fawning lickspittle like yourself.

    • Actually, someone did suggest that he was a criminal by specifically accusing him of ignoring laws. I suggest you try to keep up with the thread. Thanks.

  39. common man: I live in SK. There are loads of wonderful, caring, respectful and intelligent people in this province. Truck loads.

    However, none of them hang out at SDA. Read the blog for a few days; you'll see what I mean. They come within a hair's breadth of out and out racism at SDA. They had the endorsement of the SaskParty government, until they wrote that drug addicts should have to share needles so they would die sooner. The SDA gang were called "right wing extremists" in the SK Legislature and the premier pulled his endorsement off the site.

    And when Ralph retires, there may be no Liberal-held seats here, as in Alberta. Ralph transcends Liberalism for his constituents.

    • I just don`t like that you categorize folks that hang out at SDA as racists etc. From what I`ve read there today, I can see why they don`t vote Liberal but it seems you are implying that all Westerners that vote CPC are somehow inferior because they are lacking in Liberalism.

      Some Torontonians may read the Star and watch and listen to the CBC and vote in Liberal MP`s and I may disagree with them but we would never refer to them as gun-hatin, injun-lovin, urban, TO vegetarian, communists.

      Also I`ve noticed that Westerners are most likely to display their patriotism; that might help to explain the " quick to fight back " attitude of the SDA crowd when they feel somebody has wronged their country.

      • How is supporting a government that is thumbing it's nose at parliament being a patriot?

    • "There are loads of wonderful, caring, respectful and intelligent people"

      I agree. I am one. And I am a Harper supporter. And I am still a wonderful, caring, respectful and intelligent person. You see, wonders do happen!

  40. No I'm not.

    And bud, try not to take everything so personal and seriously, it was a joke. Just relax a little, drink decaf.

  41. Oh, and the opposition has tools at its disposal, especially in a minority, to deal with a PM who you say is acting bigger than Parliament. They can take him down. They can finally back up their accusations with a vote of confidence — IF it's anywhere near as cataclysmic a situation as you suggest. I won't hold my breath.

  42. Yes, the job of PM is tough. You have to do what you think is right, do it in the right way, answer to Canadians through their elected representatives, plan for today without burning the future, plan for the future without burning the present. It's tough. And we're still waiting for Harper to show any of this in great degrees.

    But if Harper's not up to the job, I know someone who is willing to try.

    But you really do have the whole accountability thing backwards. The opposition is held accountable on elections. The government however is meant to be held accountable each day as well as a summary accountability on election night. They don't get to pick and choose for what and when they will be accountable.

  43. As noted below, you have this backwards.

    In 2008, the people spoke and said we want a Conservative government in a minority Parliament. It is not up to the opposition to force an election in order to hold Harper accountable; it is up to Harper to be accountable to the Parliament we voted in.

    • Doesn't that beg the obvious question, if Harper refuses to be accountable to parliament, isn't it the opposition's duty to boot him out?

      • Realistically it is not quite as simple as saying it is the duty of the opposition to boot Harper out, but they would certainly be within their right to do so.

        Seems that Harper has some options and obligations as well, though, and it is a bit of a balancing act to determine which of those two parties is doing a better (or worse) job of meeting their competing obligations.

  44. Harper will NEVER call a public inquiry on the detainee issue.

    The Judge will make public his report,
    Harper said so today.

    That WILL be good enough for Canadians,
    but if it is not good enough for the Opps,
    Harper will make ANY motion on the issue a vote of confidence.

  45. You've got my words right there, Dennis. No need to put different words in my mouth. I've given you reasons for why Harper has lost the trust of Canadians on this issue; I've not said he can't do "anything". I friggin' hate it when people twist my words around like that.

    Regarding Iacobucci, it completely baffles me how you can claim anyone is questioning him when the process and his mandate are being questions and when Ignatieff says "Justice Iacobucci's reputation is beyond reproach and his record of public service speaks for itself."

    If you have given up on trying to have a reasonable discussion, then, instead of making stuff up that bears no relation to reality, just stop having the discussion.

    As I am doing. Starting right now.

  46. "The Afghan detainee scandal is about much more than the government's refusal to hand over to Parliament and the Canadian people the documents they need in order to get to the bottom of this sorry affair. It is about the government's handling of the detainee issue from the beginning."

    No no no and no!! This here is about the supremacy of Parliament, full stop. For this government to defy a direct order from Parliament flies in the face of democracy and simply CANNOT be allowed to stand.

    This government MUST submit to the House and turn over the requested documents.

    Iggy better not back down on this one.

    • I don't understand. If Parliament submitted a request for Harper to kill himself, would he be obligated to do that, too? Some of you here make it seem that a majority of Parliamentarians can force the government to do whatever the heck it wants.

      However, in the end, it can force its will on Harper and pass a motion of non-confidence, right?

      • "Some of you here make it seem that a majority of Parliamentarians can force the government to do whatever the heck it wants. "

        With all due respect, Dennis, it sounds to me that you need some remedial education on the subject. The answer to this question is an absolute and categorical yes. In a parliamentary system, it is the people and by extension the MPs who form Parliament that have supremacy, not the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ANSWERS to Parliament. Not the other way around!

        This is what happens when you live next door to the Americans and watch too much West Wing.

    • but PolJunkie he already has, or so it seems. he makes clear in the letter that he is willing let the demand for docs slide if Iacobucci's mandate is broadened.

      • I almost punched my laptop when I read it. The man infuriates me! This is what they dumped Stephane Dion for?!?!?

  47. I meant more legitimate than the Minister Says So Rule, but yes, elected members of parliament have a more legitimate purpose in deciding national security than a former judge. It isn't about their personal credibility, it's about their role, and as elected leaders, they have the duty to oversee this very question while Judge Iacobucci does not.

    If you want to get into personal credibility I seem to remember that a certain Minimum Minister has handled these documents. After that the MPCC or the Afghanistan Committee look like Knights Templar.

  48. Then you'll just have to go on being a better person than I am.

    Seriously, don't you find it ironic that you chastize me for generalizing…and then go on to generalize about westerners and patriotism?

    But then, you've set yourself up as the "common man" which most assuredly attempts to imply something. You're more of a common scold, actually.

    Enjoy your superiority, and skip my comments next time. I know I'll skip yours.

    • Hey Pat, I think Westerners do display their patriotism more so then the rest of the country. watch them sing the anthem at any Hockey game in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver. I`m sure there is some historical or geographical reason why. I don`t know how you managed to find any negativie irony in my patriotism comment.

  49. Iggy better not back down on this one.

    It will spell the end of Iggydom.

  50. Twaddle…read up on constitutional democracy before you spout off about democracy. Coaltions are not illegal…neither would Harper's earlier attempt.

  51. "Oh, and why do some of you have to pretend to be smarter than others? This seems to be a leftist trait. If you're so smart, why not show it with facts and argumentation, instead of taunts and inanities?"

    You just don't get self irony do you?

  52. Well, I just don't think this issue is on the public's radar for it to be do or die for Iggy. However, his esteem among politicos in Ottawa is a different story, of course. In the end, does that matter even?

    • "Well, I just don't think this issue is on the public's radar for it to be do or die for Iggy"

      Isn't that what people said about prorogation? Let the record show that Canadians aren't as apathetic as some may think.

  53. Eminently, I believe, though for reasons I don't quite understand. It's the difference between everyone assuming you're a dead duck and not. If the media, the Opposition, his caucus, and the Little Shop all lost respect for Harper simultaneously, no amount of public support would maintain him; or rather that support would not last very long.

  54. Yes, assuming it's allowed to do so.

    But don't you think there is more than one way in which the Government should, at least routinely, be held accountable? The obligation to tell the truth in QP is one such instance; the obligation to produce subpoena'd documents is another: without those obligations, QP and Parliamentary committees (respectively) are emasculated and the principle of quotidian accountability is hung out to dry.

  55. Funny the kind of logic some people use indeed.

    Tobyornotoby is talking about the MPCC that Harper worked very hard to try to prevent from doing its job, including threatening witnesses, not complying with document orders, fighting it in court. Iggy, Jack and Gilles are not a "forum"; a special commission established for just this very purpose – the MPCC – is and so is a special Afghanistan committee that needed to get involved in this issue because Harper wouldn't let the MPCC do its job.

    Talk about bait and switch, with a twist of word and meaning twisting.

  56. I just checked these comments. One thing that needs to be reiterated, given comments by Harper apologists and some of my fellow supposed "Liberals", who accepted the Harperites' premises. The question has been asked: "Do Parliamentarians have a right to any document they want, no matter how sensitive or related to national security?" And the answer is an unequivocal YES! That is the very basis of our system, of any system of democratic governance, necessarily dependent on elected representatives and legislatures. If you don't understand that, you don't understand anything. If you oppose that, you are not a democrat. It is always hard for me to tell when people are being naturally obtuse and when they are being cynical mouthpieces. But without citing chapter and verse of history and precedent, I ask you, just think it through. If the people are the rulers, and MPs their representatives, and power exerted in their name, and power circumscribed, controlled and accountable by and to them, then they must be able to have access to any and all documents and witnesses as they deem fit. And that is the law, consequently. Flout that, and you are flouting democracy. Agree or disagree with the Order to produce docs, once it has been issued, it must be obeyed, or we are no longer a democracy. Please forgive me if what I'm about to say seems harsh, but it is, because there is no gentle way to distinguish between anti-democratic sophism and democratic logic: if you do not agree that the people's representatives have the right to any and all documents and witnesses as they see fit, then you are not a democrat. And you deserve the fate democrats reserve for anti-democrats when fighting for their democracy. Nothing personal, but there are only two paths, and those who do not subscribe to democratic values must be defeated. Simple as that.

    • Eugene, I couldn't agree more but it would appear as though the Liberals themselves aren't completely sold on the principle of parliamentary supremacy. We already know what this Prime Minister thinks of Parliament's powers. The problem is that Parliament will indeed become useless if the people cannot rely on the Opposition to bring the Prime Minister to account.

      The mechanism is there. Ignatieff can make Harper accountable if he wants to. He would certainly have the backing of the other parties.

      So what's keeping him from doing his job?

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