Today in symbolic gestures


The Globe reports on today’s House debate.

Opposition MPs are preparing to pass a motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into the handling of detainees in Afghanistan…

Even if the Commons passes the motion, it cannot force the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to launch the inquiry since that is a decision that rests with the executive branch of government. But it would increase pressure on the Conservative minority, which would then be forced to decide if it will reject the will of the Parliament.


Today in symbolic gestures

  1. To be fair, that example wasn't so much a case of the Tories rejecting the will of Parliament as it was a case of the Tories shutting Parliament down before it got a chance to express its will.

    It's kind of like the difference between a party ignoring the results of an election that they lost and a party calling off an election that they're going to lose before the votes can be counted. Technically, no one can say that you lost the election if you stop the votes from ever being counted, and no one can (technically) say that the Tories thwarted the will of Parliament in the case that you cite, because the Tories never let Parliament hold the vote intended to express their will.

  2. I think Mr. Clark just likes writing "the will of Parliament." Its a good luck thing, like spitting three times when a black cat crosses your path.

  3. I've often wondered whether "The Will of Parliament" is meant to be a double entendre.

  4. May it live in infamy with it's neglected older sibling; fixed election dates.

  5. Harper doesn't have to reject it – just place the file down the list of ones to deal with!

  6. The Conservatives vote for these motions all the time and then ignore them let alone when the three oppoistion parties force something through that the Conservatives vote against.
    For instance last Spring Conservatives voted to give pensions a higher priority status during bankruptcy proceeding. Resulting government overnment action = nil.
    They Conserevatives also voted unanimously with the House to give Quebec a billion-plus dollars for having harmonized its sales tax in the early 90s. I'm pretty sure Quebec isn't holding its breath for the cheque.
    The Will of Parliament doesn't mean that much these days, even when the governing party votes on the same side as that "Will."

  7. If the Canadian government refuses to investigate allegations of war crimes, as a signatory, the International Criminal Court is obligated to conduct an investigation.

    Next page in the Tory playbook? Attack the ICC.

  8. I wouldnt doubt it. They are certainly capable of it. I doubt it would do them any good though. In spite of Harper's best efforts we are still a country where the rule of law prevails. I wonder if the same could be said if we had been stupid enough to give him a majority?

  9. I bet if it went far enough down the list it would disappear altogether and could thus be considered "transparent", qualifying it as yet another success in the fulfillment Stephen Harper's transparency pledge.

  10. You might consider yourself too smart to give the CPC a majority. But, I have a bertter idea. Let's leave to all Canadian voters to have their say when the next election comes (in 2012?) . Harper-haters boast about how they are so smart and how they know that Canadians don't want to see the government re-elected. Maybe they know everything.. But we have a democratic system of government and all Canadians of voting age have the right to vote the way they want.

  11. The letter of the law, you mean, because we've already seen in the fixed election date thing how the spirit means nothing. And with Cadman and in and out, there's even some question about the letter.

    However, if we had given Harper a majority? I'm absolutely positive that the rule of law would prevail.. oppress, even, one might say.

  12. Well, I for one would not say that Canadians don't want to see this government re-elected.

    I will however say with some degree of confidence that roughly 60% of Canadians don't want to see this government reelected.

    Of course, in our system, that and $5 will get you a Christmas coffee at Starbucks, and not much else.

  13. more like this one:

    '..The three opposition parties have joined forces to pass a motion calling on the Conservative government to confirm Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.

    The Liberal motion, which passed 161-115 in the House of Commons Monday, is not binding, but it could embarrass the Tories and put more public pressure on them…'

  14. I haven't. Don't tell me the Tories are over 40%!!!

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