Compromise or confrontation -

Compromise or confrontation


Last week, Susan Delacourt suggested some sort of compromise might get us past Parliament’s demand for Afghan detainee documentation and the government’s subsequent refusal to comply. Alas, it’s unclear if the privy council offers a satisfactory option.

Conversely, the CBC’s Neil Morrison looks to New South Wales, where a similar standoff resulted in the cabinet minister in question being tossed out of Parliament and a ruling from the court.


Compromise or confrontation

  1. For those who are fans of democracy there is no choice to be made. Through a thousand years of frequently violent confrontations between crown and parliament, the principal of the supremacy of parliament in its own sphere subject to the limitations of the Charter of Rights and the Constitution has been won. Nor can a parliament limit the actions of future parliaments. In a previous incarnation Stephen Harper and other conservatives championed this view before they were uterly corrupted by power. An article he co-authored with Tom Flanagan in 1996 can be accessed at the following link:
    It should be obvious to all that, in view of his current actions, Mr, Harper was lying in order to deceive canadians into voting for him.

  2. What's the opposition doing to influence the selection of the next MPCC chair?

    Also, can anybody recommend a good history describing how the McDonald commission of 1977 came into being?

  3. That New South Wales case was a very good example that I truly hope all our politicians are reading up on right now.

  4. Further to the New South Wales case:

    ''…Further legal proceedings followed in relation to orders for papers in 1998-99 over the extent of the
    Council's powers to require the production of documents in respect of which the Government
    claims public interest immunity or legal professional privilege.
    Again, the Court of Appeal found
    that it was reasonably necessary for the Legislative Council to have the power to make orders for the
    production of such papers.
    The only limitation upon the power was held to be in relation to Cabinet documents.

    (page 13)

    • You do know what "Cabinet documents" are, don't you?

      Here's a hint.. check out C-5, S.39

      • But the documents under discussion now are "sensitive" – a distinction which means a different Australian case is on point and suggests the courts would, in fact, have to review the documents to decide which to release.

        "The other side to this practical question concerns the steps governments may take to claim immunity for sensitive documents, be they defined as a class or otherwise. It is suggested that, if Sankey v Whitlam (1978) 142 CLR 1 is a guide, a case by case approach is likely to be adopted, at least to those documents which are not clearly identified as disclosing the actual deliberations of Cabinet.' "

    • and? the documents that are currently being demanded are not cabinet documents.

  5. The NSW case is amusing, but it seems the courts determined that suspending the Minister was unlawful. It also seems the Australian courts don't believe Parliament can compel the release of "sensitive" information (like the documents currently in question) without some sort of court review.