Punctuality counts: Liveblogging the leadup to the Lynch report debate at Government Operations

Short version: It’s important to be there on time when you have a motion on the agenda. If not, you condemn livebloggers to spend the entire two hours waiting for debate to begin.

8:42:15 AM
First words that greeted me when I walked into the committee room: “Are you sure you’re at the right meeting?” Of course! It may not be quite as glamourous as the Bernier hearings, but *someone* has to witness the dull trudge of parliamentary history, even if it means dragging oneself all the way to Wellington Building in the midst of a classic Ottawa heatwave..

The motion in question, introduced by Mark Holland last week, is a masterpiece of Machiavellian phrasing, calling on the committee to look into not the NAFTA/Obama/Brodie/PMO/Does One Through Five leak itself—because that would run far afield of its mandate, but the report on the leak, which was prepared by PCO Clerk Kevin Lynch, and is entirely within the scope of Government Operations.

Will it pass? I suspect so, unless the Conservatives decide that, like Ole Yeller, this heretofore functional committee has gone rabid, and needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot. We should know fairly soon after the meeting begins whether that is the case, as the Holland motion is the first order of business on the agenda.

My prediction: after some mild grousing from the government side of the table, it goes to a vote, and goes through with all-opposition party support, which will be henceforth be pointed to by Peter Van Loan as yet another example of the ‘tyranny of the majority.’

Then again, I’ve been horribly wrong before, and fully expect to be even more horribly wrong in future.

8:56:22 AM
One reason why I don’t think the Tories are going to filibuster to stave off the vote: There are witnesses here—a lot of them. Well, a half dozen or so, and Miss Parliamentary Manners strongly discourages committees from calling witnesses to the Hill, and then wasting two hours on procedural wrangling. Not that it doesn’t happen—I still remember the puzzled faces of the privacy experts when Art Hanger stormed out of the Justice meeting where they were expecting to testify—but it’s considered rather rude.

9:02:10 AM
Mark Holland isn’t here, which could be a problem.

9:03:02 AM
Oh, great. Because the mover of the motion isn’t here to defend it, the debate gets bumped to the second slot on the agenda, and the witnesses get to go first. Which means ITQ is going to hit the cafeteria for the duration. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in time for the good stuff.