Transparency theatre

Everyone has someone else to blame for something

As suggested here yesterday, Justin Trudeau rose after Question Period yesterday afternoon and asked for unanimous consent to pass four motions related to the disclosure of MP expenses. As predicted, he did not receive the necessary unanimous consent. So now Mr. Trudeau says he’s disappointed in the NDP, for apparently denying his motions, and the NDP is accusing Mr. Trudeau of attempting a stunt.

After Mr. Trudeau’s motions were rejected, Nathan Cullen proposed a motion seemingly aimed at Mr. Trudeau’s travels that won unanimous support. Then Elizabeth May raised a proposal that apparently was rejected.

Last week, it was the Conservatives who were asking to fast-track a motion in the Senate to call in the auditor general and it was the Liberals who were refusing to consent to an expedited expression of agreement and thus it was the Prime Minister who got to accuse the Liberals of blocking progress. Then the Liberals in the Senate said they wanted the auditor general to investigate the Prime Minister’s Office and the Conservatives dismissed that as a stunt.

Two weeks ago, the Liberal MP Scott Andrews proposed that the ethics committee study the Duffy-Wright affair, but the Conservatives apparently blocked that.

The beauty of a transparency-measuring contest is that at least its politics are fairly transparent. Which is not to say that one should lose all hope that some greater measure of transparency might be achieved as a result—just that one should be prepared for the process of getting to that point to be regularly and obviously silly.