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It would seem that Conservative members of the special committee on Afghanistan failed to show up for today’s 4pm meeting.

Here is the official notice of today’s session. For the record, the government members of the committee are Jim Abbott, Laurie Hawn, Dave McKenzie, Greg Kerr and committee chair Rick Casson.

More from the Globe, Canadian Press, Canwest and the Star. Mr. Hawn explains himself to CTV.

“It’s not the time to be having meetings that are implying, intentioned or not, that Canadians are somehow guilty of war crimes,” Laurie Hawn, the parliamentary secretary for the Defence Minister, said on CTV’s Power Play after the aborted meeting.

Susan Delacourt has the Conservative talking points. Full video of Laurie Hawn repeating those talking points on Power Play is here.


 

No show

  1. Unbelievable.

    • All that's keeping us from being a banana republic is the climate. Good thing AGW is just a worldwide plot to hurt the CPC or we'd be well on our way.

  2. From Kady's blog over at that other place:

    Alright, Ujjal Dosanjh is now scrumming — again. This is shameful, reprehensible, defying the will of Parliament, etc. (Oh, and an informal chat amongst reporters it seems that nobody can remember this government trying this particular tactic to shut down a committee before). Whoops, sounds like Dosanjh may have just gotten himself tangled up with a reference to "war crimes"; he's being quizzed by Juliet O'Neil, but seems to have extricated himself.

    Drama!

    • From Kady;

      "Incidentally, in case anyone was wondering, I don't think that this was a case of every one of the Tories accidentally forgetting to enter this meeting into their datebook. Right as the penny was dropping, I spotted a Conservative staffer of my acquaintence sitting at the back of the room. When asked whether he happened to know where his party's members were, he gave me a no comment as his companion snickered into his shirt. Shortly thereafter, they fled.

      Conservatives, all class.

      • Whoops, italics is Kady… forgot to close the bold.

        Anyways crit, let your friend Mackay know, that this is pretty lame.

        • Sure thing, Blues_Clair. I'll just cast the old "Summon Minister" spell and…. dang it, where did I leave my wand?

          • Thanks crit, it's much appreciated.

          • There's a cheap joke about losing one's wand to be made here, but like your namesake reporting on Old King Cole, I think I'll refrain.

  3. So the Conservatives pulled out their old playbook and got one of the tactics on how to foil committees not friendly to their cause.

    If this is not contempt of Parliament, or showing the government is engaging in a coverup, I don't know what is.

    • Contempt, yes. The latter no.
      Although I think the former is a worse crime than the latter anyway.

      • It's certainly contemptuous of democracy.

        Perhaps we need some new legislation to guarantee government accountability.

        What to call such an Act, hmmm…

        • The Guarantee Act

  4. Talk they will prorogue Parliament, boycotting vital committee meetings — what a contemptuous bunch.

    So cons — if they try to prorogue, you gonna keep voting for them?

    • Absolutely, because a prorogue would give the Cons a amajority in the Senate.
      Without prorogue, Liberals still dominate, the 5 new Senators can only be active after the end of a session.

      The Lib dominated Senate has held up bills that Iffy and gang voted for, just to obstruct….so yes, prorogue!

      • With heavy emphasis on the 'rogue'.

  5. Alright! Everybody go home for Christmas in 3… 2…1…

  6. I think we're rapidly approaching the point where our government has gone so far with their contempt of Parliament that all the stuff in and around Afghanistan actually (both ironically, and shockingly) becomes moot. They're getting pretty close to the line of bringing in to question the very nature of responsible government in Canada. Only the Tories could take a serious issue of war, international law and human rights and actually crank it up to a potential (not yet, but I can see it coming) constitutional crisis.

    It seems as though the government's mantra is "When things get bad – ESCALATE".

    • It's worked for them beautifully so far… why not continue?

    • "They're getting pretty close to the line of bringing in to question the very nature of responsible government in Canada."

      Let's say I agree with your description of Harper/Cons. Have you ever thought Harper learned some lessons while in opposition when Martin was PM?

      "However, Prof. Heard is not in an agreement with Prime Minister Paul Martin's decision to ignore the May 10 passage of a Conservative motion recommending his government resign.

      Martin waited nine days before having a vote on two budget bills that passed second reading by the narrowest of margins after he was able to have an opposition MP, Belinda Stronach, defect to his party.

      "This is part of the problem," Prof Heard said. "Constitutional conventions are based on precedents and he's kind of pushed the envelope of what we've seen in the past. And he pushed it in a very large way by refusing to accept that first defeat on May 10 as an actual vote of confidence.

      "In my own view it was a clear test of confidence. He was able to kind of bafflegab his way out of it and that is probably the more problematic precedent rather than the nine-day delay he had."

      http://www.politicswatch.com/house-may25-2005.htm

      • Two wrongs making a right here, jolyon?

        Martin's behavior does not in any way excuse Harper.
        Especially when a pivotal point of Harper's campaign was that he was not going to be like them.

        • "Two wrongs making a right here, jolyon? "

          No. But Harper is just following precedents. And I would have preferred Libs not setting those new precedents that Harper seems to be following at the moment.

          • Yet it seems you're trying to mititgate the blame that falls on Mr. Harper for continuing in this vein. Why is that?

          • so while you might not be willing to say two wrongs make a right, you are suggesting that a second wrong is excusable?

        • Oh please…..if the 3 losers can secretly agree to seize government, and that's okey dokey,
          the PM can prorogue, a very standard, often used way to renew with a Speech from the Throne.

          We are officially out of recession, time for a new direction and new budget.
          Time to get 5 new Senators into action, a Con majority can finally get some crime bills passed.

          • " … if the 3 losers can secretly agree to seize government … "

            I'm sure you must be talking about Stephen Harper's attempt to do so with the help of the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois from Paul Martin.

          • Still clinging to those lies there wilson?

            I will not even ask you to prove them – we both know you can't.

          • Yes, rather than having them constantly die on the floor because of the Con minority.

          • annually proroguing parliament under duress from the opposition is not standard. please identify a single example.

      • I won't defend Martin's moves here, but frankly, I'm absolutely sick to death of the Tory "the Liberals were just as bad" mantra. For YEARS I had to listen to the Conservatives drone on and on about how terrible things were, and how if only we'd elect them things would be different, and now all I ever hear from them is "What are you complaining about, we're just acting the way the Liberals always used to!!!".

        • I agree, pox on both their houses as far as I am concerned. I only posted Martin example because of your overwrought "bringing in to question the very nature of responsible government".

          • Hey… I'm all for shedding light on Paul Martin's (or any other PM) faults, shenanigans, etc… Particularly with a good grasp of the whole context.

            That context includes the very fact that Paul Martin was held responsible for his and his gang's blunders.

            HE WAS VOTED OUT OF OFFICE.

            When should Harper's chickens come home to roost?

          • "When should Harper's chickens come home to roost?"

            Whenever next election is called, just like Libs.

        • For YEARS I had to listen to the Conservatives drone on and on about how terrible things were, and how if only we'd elect them things would be different…which led to the slogan Demand Better. It seems like just yesterday.

      • Can you show me any precedent of a committee motion being the equivalent of a loss of confidence by the House of Commons? Anywhere?

        Did Martin ever ignore or deliberately try to make the committees dysfunctional? Did he ever direct his MPs to make sure a committee could not do its job? Did he ever cancel an opposition day (rather than reschedule) that he thought he might lose? Did he ever prorogue Parliament to avoid a confidence vote?

        Saying Harper's contempt of Parliamentary democracy was learned from Martin is like saying Einstein owes his theory of relativity to his grade 4 general science teacher.

      • Jolyon,

        I remember that incident very well because I was furious about it.

        I am equally furious about this crap. If I have to hold my nose a vote Liberal, I'll do it. This government is absolutely determined to drive away it's own supporters. They can consider me driven away.

          • I have a lot of respect for the both of you for being willing to turn your back on a government that has failed to deliver what it has promised its supporters. this is the only way or system will work.

        • Might I suggest you only vote Liberal if they're the only chance in your riding to unseat a conservative. Other than that, take a good look at the independants and some of the smaller parties that we typically consider "whacko". Some of them have some good ideas, and while they might not get elected, if voting for them won't swing the balance to anybody worse, they can be used to send a message to our government.

          (And if you find a good independant candidate.. one who really wants to represent the interests of your riding as opposed to any party line.. for heaven's sake, volunteer to help them!)

          • Hmm, if only there were some New Party that was dedicated to Democratic principles that you could vote for…

          • Still choosing between the lesser of evils. I much preferred the NDP before it became "Layton's NDP" and the accompanying smarm.

            Actually, that's a rather common theme with me lately I'm realizing. I tended to like each party more under the old leader than this new crop. May, Layton, Ignatieff, Harper.. what is it with this new bunch that all of them seem less than their predecessors?

          • Thwim

            Are you NDP supporter in past? I ask because it seems NDP are shedding their traditional ideology over power stance and are becoming more mainstream. I wonder how many new people it will attract, and how many supporters will move elsewhere.

            Do you not like Layton as person/leader or do the policies bother you?

          • Uhmm.. I'm not quite sure "supporter" works. I haven't voted NDP yet, although it's been in my top couple of choices a couple of times under McDonough. However, it seemed under Layton the character of the party changed — it became less about the ideas of the party and how they related to the people and more about Layton and how *he* wanted to relate to the people.

            Perhaps that's just repeating what you said however — shedding ideology over power and becoming more mainstream.

            As to the policy issues, in general I'm in favor. I worry about the more extreme ones they seem to want to take on at times but I trust if they were ever actually elected the other MPs would produce enough of a moderating influence that things would work out well.

        • "This government is absolutely determined to drive away it's own supporters. They can consider me driven away."

          I am not a Con supporter so they have not driven me away, at least. I think both Libs and Cons are equally bad, as I said above. It is just that Libs have significant more time in power to behave badly.

        • Committee refused to have a teleconference, there were no witnessess schedualled,
          all it was was another opps bashing the government with kady dutifully taking notes for NNW.

          MPs had long ago made engagements in their communities, and the committee wanted everyone to fly back, on your dime, for a few hours of Con bashing……

          The recession is over, we need a new direction with a Speech from the Throne, we need the 5 new Senators engaged….achieved only by prorogation.

          Don't get caught up in all the Liberal/media spin.

          • I don't care if the Conservative MPs were going to be "bashed." The opposition has a role to play and they will play it for all it's worth. The government MPs have a role to play as well, and they are not ENTITLED to pick and choose when they are going to do their jobs.

            You wouldn't accept this level of committment from a part-time poolboy, why the hell would you accept it from your government?

        • I'm shocked to hear you say that Garvin! Next thing you know, you'll be saying nice things about Garth Turner, if you're not careful.

          I was a Progressive Conservative all my life, but the actions of this government have guaranteed that there is no way I will vote for them. I am appalled at the way they have treated our Parliament.

      • At least Martin had the gumption to call an inquiry.

    • "They're getting pretty close to the line of bringing in to question the very nature of responsible government in Canada."

      Let's say I agree with your description of Harper/Cons. Have you ever thought Harper learned some lessons while in opposition when Martin was PM?

      "However, Prof. Heard is not in an agreement with Prime Minister Paul Martin's decision to ignore the May 10 passage of a Conservative motion recommending his government resign.

      Martin waited nine days before having a vote on two budget bills that passed second reading by the narrowest of margins after he was able to have an opposition MP, Belinda Stronach, defect to his party.

      "This is part of the problem," Prof Heard said. "Constitutional conventions are based on precedents and he's kind of pushed the envelope of what we've seen in the past. And he pushed it in a very large way by refusing to accept that first defeat on May 10 as an actual vote of confidence.

      "In my own view it was a clear test of confidence. He was able to kind of bafflegab his way out of it and that is probably the more problematic precedent rather than the nine-day delay he had."

      http://www.politicswatch.com/house-may25-2005.htm

    • What compels any member to attend a committee meeting? If the opposition wanted to shut down a committee they felt the Government was manipulating, would we prohibit them from using procedural tactics to frustrate it?

  7. Indeed. What is this if not contempt for Parliament?

    • It's *continued* contempt for Parliament.

      Didn't Harper produce a handbook on this stuff? Is it available online?

      • if this is not the day that Don Martin was waiting for then I couldn't imagine what it would be….

  8. Maybe they will pull a Goldstein, and all show up tommorow frothing at the mouth with their mothers in tow!

    {Did he ever come back after his single appearnce at the macleans comment section?)

    • Not that I ever saw. Except that he did post two or three comments over two days, that one time.

  9. From the Globe: "The Conservatives had beaten back calls for a public inquiry into Afghan detainees by saying the matter should instead be handled by the special committee."

    And now they've deep-sixed the Committee.

    If they hate democracy so much, why don't they just stay out of government?

    • And remember, the only reason the committee got involved was because the MPCC was stymied.

  10. Is this in the Tory committee binder?

  11. Does anyone know what happens to the committee now? I'm not familiar with all the ins-and-outs of parliament, and I'm curious.

    The Globe article talks about "shuttering," and "the Commons special committee cannot officially meet and investigate allegations."

    Is this an exaggeration/rhetoric? Is this committee "shuttered," as in closed for good? That would be my interpretation of shuttered, although the Globe article doesn't spell it out in so many words.

    • To my understanding, the committee still exists, but if each and every Tory member refuses to show up to meetings the committee can't achieve quorum, and therefore can't "officially" meet, and therefore effectively can't do anything at all.

      Presumably this will lead to some additional move by Parliament to reassert it's supremacy and primacy, and hopefully at some point in the life of this Parliament they'll change the way committees work. As appears to be the case now, if procedures stay as they currently are, then all the government need do to avoid being held to account by a Parliamentary Committee would be just to pretend said committee don't exist. This really needs to be dealt with, because if this isn't just a one-off thing, and the government intends to simply act as though a Committee of Parliament is not only irrelevant, but doesn't even exist, then I think it could be argued that 161 straight years of responsible government in Canada may be in jeopardy of coming to an end.

      • What about the Hondurian solution – kicking Harper out of the country some night in his pyjamas.

  12. "War crimes"

    Some really are going off the deep end with this one.

    It seems the government isn't willing to play along with the overly heated partisan attacks (including now, allegations of war crimes).

    Of course to say this is undemocratic is rediculous. The CPC sits in minority and sits because the house lets it sit in government.

    So sure of the outrages? Bring down the government.

    Of course that would be silly as this is little more than partisan sniping and everyone who's listening (a tiny slice of the populace – politicos mainly) knows it.

    • Pray tell, how, Biff? The house is already recessed. No motions being brought forward. I mean, I understand that with your total contempt for our government systems you may not see that this is a problem, but when people are actually doing things by the letter and spirit of the rules, certain things have to happen.

      • At the next available opportunity.

        Faux outrage abounds with the opposition these days. In fact we've been listening to it since the last election, from everything from giant ceremonial chequegate, to spendinginyourownridingsgate, to this.

        I'll say it again. So sure of the outrages, and more importantly, the public's agreement with them,

        bring down the government.

        If your're right Thwim, and its just that they can't right now, due to Harper's dastardly timing,

        we should expect to see it very soon thereafter.

        I suspect I'm right, and they'll hurl allegations from the sidelines, but stay safely away from the electorate.

        And all the while taking great pains to keep this issue from being put to the voters, they'll decry the lack of "democracy".

        • There is a whole world of behaviours and escalation steps to take between Harper pissing on democracy and going to the polls.

          The job of the opposition is to try to keep the government accountable. They do this in QP, in scrums, in committees, with House motions.

          Harper has shown his contempt for QP by ignoring legitimate questions, by not holding scrums and controlling his rare press conferences, he always worked hard to make committees unworkable and is now actively trying to shut them down. So now the House of Commons has escalated its attempts to keep the government accountable. At the moment, Harper seems to be pissing on democracy and responsible government again. So we'll see where it goes from here. You don't jump from 0 to election.

        • Right . . . so prorogation is off the table, then? Because that is what would happen without prorogation, in the end. I mean to say, it isn't the Opposition wanting two months holidays.

          • Two months isn't very far away, and it would give them time for the opposition to make sure everything is in order for an election.

            In fact, they could use this "parliamentary and constitutional crisis" for a massive fund-raising drive to fill their war chests. Hit hard on the government on this issue and whip up their supporters into a frenzy. They'll then win all of the tidings in Toronto and…

            Oh wait. Hmm… yeah maybe the left shouldn't have spent all their time crapping on people since the 60's, so that now a significant amount of people will elect chimps with matches to parliament before they'll elect them. It could be solved by actually seeking to win the support of the disaffected, but I haven't seen that tried yet. Not from the party of big ideas.

      • The Cons offered a teleconference instead of meeting in Ottawa.
        They were turned down by Wilfred(?)
        By the look on Dewar's face today on QP, and when he said 'he was not called', I think the Libs did not let anyone know of the offer for a teleconference, rather than fly back to Ottawa for a couple of hours of Con bashing.
        No witnesses were schedualled.

        • Do you have a link for this information?

          I do find it odd, however, that you could produce documents over the telephone. And discussing the contents of said documents (you remember, that are so top-secret even those with top-secret clearance can't see them?) doesn't sound all that secure to me. Unless the Conservatives have some of those Get Smart Cone of Silence thingy's.

        • There was no teleconference offered, this is just a talking point. Kady would have mentioned it in her live blog.
          There was never an off er for a teleconference – repeat after me!!!!

          • The whole teleconference angle seems silly to me. Yes, you might be able to hold an informal meeting by teleconference, but–and someone correct me if I'm wrong–I'm not aware of any parliamentary rules that allow official meetings over the phone. If it's not an official meeting then the opposition can't pass motions calling for the committee to continue sitting or calling witnesses or compeling the production of documents or asking for a speakers warrant or initiating contempt proceedings. The committee would be nutured.

        • a conservative chair called the meeting… why did he not inform the other parties he was canceling it?

          • I don't think the chair can just cancel a meeting. If they could then the majority could be thwarted by a single member.

          • I suspect they didn't want to give the opposition a heads up from a media perspective. If the Conservatives had said "none of us are going to show up", the opposition still would have (or, at least, could have) and they would have come armed with a communications strategy to make the most of the Conservatives shutting down a parliamentary investigation.

    • Yeah, guys, what up with this call for Parliamentary democracy? The only time democracy matters is on election day. Between election days Harper should be allowed to do whatever he wants unfettered by the majority of our elected representatives representing the strong majority of Canadians.

      • Absolutely.

        We get a say once a year or so. Who needs the bother of more democracy?

        And don't get me started with all this cost and waste of time over accountability.

    • But if we are the people who follow this stuff closely and we don't care either, then really what is the point of even pretending that we're choosing our own government?

      How can you cheer for the people who are spitting in your face?

    • What smoke-and-mirrors. An election is NOT an investigation. The government alone has the power to ensure an investigation. Calling an election prematurely is a deliberate avoidance of that responsibility. By denying the ability of any groups to clarify whether or not there HAS been any mistakes made, the government is unfairly stacking the deck.

      Let me break it down further for you: you will be surprised to know that there are MORE functions to a government in a democracy than calling elections once in a while. By deliberately twisting and handicapping those other functions, a government is undermining the principles upon which the democracy is built, whether or not they call elections.

  13. You're joking, right?

    Not only believable, almost expected.

  14. But you seem to want to mitigate the blame that comes down on him. Why is that?

    • Because the blame lies elsewhere.

    • I dislike mainstream parties so I am really not defending Harper. I just get tired of Liberal/liberal sanctimony.

  15. What precedents are there for deliberately trying to make committees unworkable? for cancelling confidence votes you know you will lose? for ignoring motions by the House of Commons?

    • You get bent out of shape when someone ignores a committee, I am bothered by Martin's coup d'etat.

  16. Does anybody know what the rules are as to when quorum is considered to exist? (Just wondering whether quorum would be presumed in the absence of a challenge from a committee member – which would seem to provide an avenue for the opposition members to go ahead with a meeting even with the Cons hiding from it.)

    • I gather that the committee deals with quorum rules at the outset of that committee. So, after prorogation, for example, the rules on quorum would have to be set again. Somehow, I can't imagine a simple 50 + 1 will ever suffice for any committee ever again.

      • Once society I work with has quorum requirements for an AGM, and if those aren't met the meeting must be rescheduled to occur within a 30 day window, with appropriate advertising specified so that people are made aware. At that second meeting, quorum is discarded, and he who shows gets to make the decisions. Something like that may be appropriate for Parliament in general.

        • Seconded!

    • Chapter XIII of the Standing Orders deals specifically with quorum….but the relevant info is summarized in O'Brien and Bosc here:

      http://www2.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/Docum

      unfortunately seemingly no directive re forcing a the next meeting in the absence of quorum as Thwim's excellent potential reform.

      • Thanks for the link, that definitely clarifies some of the rules. (Though it still seems to be assumed that somebody will determine whether quorum exists without any indication of who's entitled to question it.)

        • I think that is precisely the problem that the system is currently running into The Jurist. These rules, conventions and protocols were adopted at a time when it was assumed that those involved in the system would accept the traditions without attempting to fully exploit their weaknesses (note: i mean something more than get a basic upper procedural hand).

          So, for example, you didn't have to put in provisions around who could question quorum or what the next step would be in a committee did not meet quorum. Requiring a majority or member or seven members as the case may be is black and white – there are seven people in the room or not. And, it is interesting to note that O'Brien and Bosc are nearly exclusively ensuring that there is at least one opposition member present then government. This is, of course because government members dominate committees…. it simply does not envision that a sitting government would disregard Parliament to the point of simply not showing up.

          I think a big issue is that, increasingly, because the rules, conventions and protocols which are to guide are parliamentary democracy are not set out in law with legal penalties they are seen as 'optional'. Our traditions may be too naive for our times. I think Diane Davidson, former general legal counsel for the House of Commons of Canada, understood this when she wrote in 1995: "The extensive powers which a parliamentary committee enjoys are not commonly understood and therefore, at times, not properly respected"… i think that the can be extrapolated to the broader system.

  17. And the military is looking into Shoe-Gate, we should know the facts or committee just continues being a 'when did you stop beating your wife' stunt.

    • And I'm sure they will do every bit as good a job as the internal investigation by the RCMP regarding Dziekanski.

    • We'll never know the facts as long as Chairman Harper is in power.

  18. Here, according to the Star's Susan Delacourt, were the talking points that were issued to the Conservatives to respond with as to why they've boycotted the committee.

    More faux patriotism and faux fear about terrorists – more talk that recent polls shows not a lot of Canadians believe.. but it hasnt stopped them from trying.

  19. I'm trying to remember the name of the Liberal MP from the Hamilton area – John (?) – who had his own faux committee meeting in the HoC for a number of weeks to make a point.
    The Liberal Whip of the day – one of the ratpackers – got very frustrated with him – but I think he eventually made his point…
    Maybe this committee could emulate him.

    • Nunziata?

  20. Banana Republics : they're not just for Latin America anymore.

    • And soon it will be warm enough to grow bananas in Canada…

  21. The fact that the most electable opposition party can seemingly do nothing with this — all they had to do this week to win was shut up, and instead they posted Jack Ruby — makes things very disheartening. It feels like we've pretty much hit bottom on both sides of the aisle, and autopilot can only keep us in the air for so long.

    • The Liberals did not create that Jack Ruby post – Richard from Ottawa did… The comments from the Conservatives was too mild…. makes me think it was posted by the Conservatives…you know – to take the heat off the Afgan coverup and boycotting the committee and so on – hmmmm

      • I wouldn't rule that out, but it's still someone's job to keep track of what's on the Liberal website, and anything that easy to turn into a negative headline shouldn't have been up there for a minute. The way they get some momentum is controlling the day-to-day story and leading it somewhere that benefits them… Even if they do know a direction for the latter (and I'm not sure of that), they have to get a better handle on the former, and this is not how it's done.

  22. A new one:

    Meeting by teleconference gate.

    A banana republic. The outrage. Just like Stalin….having a meeting by teleconference.

    I heard that was a tactic Stalin used to ensure authoritarian control,
    have open meetings with democratically elected opposition,

    but via the teleconference.

    Classic dictator stuff, really.

    • Right. The Tories have not sunk to the level of Stalin. Good point, sir!

      Aim high!

      • But close, right? "Banana Republic"….authoritarianism via teleconference. Dastardly.

          • I appear to be the only one here suggesting an election (instead of petty sniping, gotcha set up moments for the cameras or procedural games)

            yet I "hate democracy?"

            Interesting. Perhaps if I suggested there should never be a vote again, I would "love" democracy".

            This democracy word you are using, perhaps it does not mean what you think it means.

  23. I'm disgusted enough to do something I've never done before – donate $20 to the LPC.

    Happy Stephen?

    • You're not alone.

  24. I heard that a Conservative MP got a phone call from a Liberal MP, and the Conservative MP didn't answer the phone. And he had call display!

    Unbelievable.

    What is this if not contempt for Parliament?

    They're getting pretty close to the line of bringing in to question the very nature of responsible government in Canada.

    If this is not contempt of Parliament, or showing the government is engaging in a coverup, I don't know what is.

    Wwhat a contemptuous bunch.

  25. There hasn't been such contempt for Parliament since the opposition passed a spending bill to bankrupt the Canadian economy!

    "If somebody were to come out tomorrow and say you have to reach the objective that was laid out initially immediately, you'd almost have to shut down every major industry in the country from oil and gas to the airlines to the auto industry and that just doesn't make sense," he said.

    Unbelievable.

    • Meh. Try another tactic. We're already wise to deflection.

      • Any one would think this was a minority govt or something.

    • Meh. Try another tactic. We're already wise to deflection.

  26. I am more than prepared to believe that the Tories have a legitimate reason to keep certain secrets secret. The stonewalling may be perfectly justified and in the national interest.

    But this is contemptible. Dammit, people, show up and DEBATE. You idiots have just placed a little more doubt, in my eyes at least, as to the legitimacy of the stonewalling I was tolerating. There is principled defence of the national interest, and there is abdication. You boobs just chose the latter.

    • "Dammit, people, show up and DEBATE"

      This is what bothers me most about Cons. Since taking power in '06 they have done little debating or advancing con philosophy. Cons never complete their thought, they just make assertions with no backing evidence/ideas.

      And I agree, if Cons are going to behave like they have something to hide it is reasonable for Canadians to assume they have something to hide.

      • The Cons have taken a different approach: to control communications. Ever since the hidden agenda and umpteen other false scandals, they've learned the best way to avoid being ridiculed in the press is to avoid the press entirely, at least the Ottawa press gallery.

        • Sorry – but this kinda sounds more like a cult than a legit political party.

        • that is not being accountable, and that is not acceptable leadership in a democracy

          • Not true. Democracy involves all of the people, not a select group of Ottawa journalists. Obviously, they get their message out, and they've won two elections doing it their own way, not subjecting themselves to the whims of the Ottawa press gallery.

          • s_c_f explains the core Conservative argument: "We won, so we can do whatever we want."

          • That's not what I said. In fact, I could twist your words and say the Lib/NDP/BQ argument is "the Cons did not win a majority, so we can do whatever we want"

          • You are right, they have won two elections and they continue to do it their way. But I do not buy that they control communication to keep their words from being twisted – that implies that the media is lying in the grass ready to bushwack them. Uh-uh. The media has a job to do. They are there to question decisions, policies and communications. It is the government's job to defend and justify their positions in the face of hard questions – no matter which party is in power. In my books, this does not mean FOX TV or Mike Duffy or simply taking the back stairs. It is Mr Harper's duty to face the media, and if he chooses not to do so, then I am justified in questioning his commitment to accountability.
            I simply do not like the way he does business. It is secretive, evasive and duplicitous.You are free to support who you like and so is Canada. I am not adverse to Conservative government, but I cannot support or condone the way Stephen Harper chips away at our values and demeans our democracy.

          • If the media were actually there to "question decisions, policies and communications", then I'd agree with you. But they're not. They're there to get Liberals elected.

    • Do you seriously believe the committee would have an actual debate? Do you think there is a whole lot to be discussed, now that we've had a month of discussions and 200 blog posts by Aaron Wherry? What nuggets of news could we expect to come out of this committee? How could this committee improve the government's performance now, or in the future, either in Ottawa, or Afghanistan?

      • You actually believe the only purpose of committees is to improve the govts performance? If the libs had pulled this you'd be screaming bloody murder…and rightfully so. The opposition have a mandated duty to hold the govt to account.

        • Actually, no. I see this issue for what it is, and I see no need for a committee. I did not see the need for a committee intended to embarass the Liberals' handling of the Afghanistan war pre-2006, and I see no need for this committee now. If the Libs had done this I'd feel equally ambivalent.

          • At least your position is consistent…i can't fault that, but neither can i agree.

          • Fair enough. To me, the intention of the committee is to argue that striking a man with a shoe constitutes torture (that is the only evidence so far), and of course, since the transfer agreement was previously changed, there are no goals of the committee other than to try to embarrass the government.

            http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/16/not-tortured-m

            Funny enough, they didn't call it torture when the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at Bush.

          • The funny thing for some apologists is when the rules are used for their benefit, they cite the rules are permissable. When the same rules or procedures are used against them it is an affront to democracy and parliament.

            If the coalition were serious and believed Colvin why did the Liberals and NDP vote in favour of a supply Bill on the last day of the house sitting?

            If the coalition wants to stop the CPC Agenda including the LGR in the Senate stop supporting the government.

            The simple fact is the coalition is hiding behind the undemocratic unelected Liberal majority stuffed Senate to block Bills passed in the House.

            The apologists on behalf of the coalition can whine or raise the bar. The government is well within their rules to miss a few meetings.

  27. Another day another game. Statisticaly these conservatives ought to drop the ball some day.

  28. Van Loan?

  29. More the opposite really. I'm choosing against parties based on their leaders. However, if the NDP or even the Conservatives were to run an outstanding candidate in my riding — one who I thought was willing to stand up to their party where necessary, they'd still receive my vote.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, because of my riding, my vote means about as much as a fart in a tannery, so I have the freedom to choose the candidate who actually has the most radical ideas in the direction I'd like to see the government go.

  30. Wasn't this a meeting to continue the committee over the Christmas break? It wasn't going to be a debate, the committee couldn't compel the release of the sought after documents and, honestly, the committee''s investigation into detainee abuse in 2006 can probably wait a few weeks.

    • How does that matter? Do you let your employees just decide they're not going to bother showing up for work because they think anything they need to do can probably wait a few weeks?

      I don't think so.

      • If somebody invites me to a meeting that's going to be useless, I decline that invitation.

        • In other words Parliament is just a institution of convenience.

        • Rules and Procedures are being followed. Sometimes they benefit the opposition and other times they can benefit the government. A delay until after they return from holidays is not going to a biggie.

  31. Geez, why don't we go right back to 1867 to find some issue as and excuse for this behaviour?

    Unbelievable stretches to try to make this okay. Hey, maybe some MP spit on the sidewalk in 1903 – let's compare and make excuses…sigh

  32. It is hard to be in contempt of Parliament when the opposition parties are themselves so contemptible!

    • Actually you're making contempt look easy.

  33. This was about political grandstanding,

    complete with supercharged, and wholly innappropriate rhetoric and accusations of 'war crimes'.

    • Yep, Colvin was just a liberal stoge…we have not had any kind of inquiry or even rebutting of accusations with conflicting evidence…the govt's essentially shut up shop and run away, and all you see is opposition grandstanding.

  34. This whole mess does have one useful purpose. It confirms,if there was any lingering doubt, that this is a govt of the focus group. There is no affection for our institutions or parliament in itself, no overarching philosophy, no belief in the legitimacy of process. It's all about raw power matched to a entrenched belief that this country is a liberal basket case and will have to be dragged kicking and screaming[ if necessary] into a bold new neo-con day; all opposition will be crushed or disregarded; all means to that ends are justified in the name of the greater good…of course they will define that good. After all it's what the people want deep down, if they're really honest with themselves. Essentially i'm saying the core of these guys are the equivalent of 21st centuary political luddites…who would have believed it in mild and meek Canada…how wrong we were!

  35. Hey gang,

    some of you may recall a theme of mine on this topic that the Afghan detainee issue does not have traction with everyday Canadians, whereas the climategate issue (which has been important to me, as an everyday Canadian) is much graver.

    I have been pointing to the "most read" articles/blog posts, as evidence of this, the climategate related posts shoot to the top whereas the Afghan posts are nowhere on the list. In response one or more (Lynn I believe) has suggested this doesn't necessarily reflect mainstream.

    Perhaps this does:

    76% of Canadians want no Copenhagen deal (citing economic concerns and skepticism of the "science" behind it.

    Here:

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Tories+close

    • And no doubt another poll could be found showing a majority of Canadians do want tougher action taken. Obviously Canadians are conflicted on this issue.

  36. I know what the conflict is. People want something done about the environment, nobody wants to pay for it.

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