Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Down to the Wire on Detainee Documents in Parliament

So, the parties are still trying to figure out the mechanics of complying with Speaker Milliken's ruling while respecting the harpercon government's bullshit "national security" concerns.

In the Globe & Mail article link there's some speculation about whether the Liberals will attempt to cut a side-deal with harper to allow them to see the documents while excluding the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois:
The Liberals were uncharacteristically silent about the state of the talks, saying they do not want to jeopardize the negotiations, which the key players described last week as fruitful.

But the silence may also be a negotiating strategy – proof to the government that Liberal MPs can be relied upon to respect secrecy requirements should they be permitted to see the documents.

Did you catch that last part? "Should they be permitted to see the documents"? Talk about missing the point! Milliken's ruling clearly stated that Parliament has a RIGHT to see those documents.

I have a couple of thoughts about this. First of all, since Parliament has a RIGHT to see those documents, the process should start TOMORROW, with or without a deal to help harper cover his war crimes and avoid getting his fat ass tossed in the slammer. They can look at stuff WHILE they figure out what they'll release and how. And there can be no debate about this. Parliament is going to see those documents whether the executive branch wants to or not, so get going people.

Secondly, since Parliament means all the people's representatives, and since the parties have representation on various committees in proportion to their representation, that means there can be no deals about excluding some representatives of the people who have a right to be on whatever committee looks at those documents. So that speculation is all a non-starter.

Third, if harper wants to dig in his heels about this, fuck him. Find him in contempt, confine either Cannon or MacKay in the Peace Tower, and force harper to call an election when he's supposed to be pretending to be a "statesman" with this stupid G-2o conference in Toronto.

This is a winnable issue. There was a very heartwarming opinion poll cast recently that said some good things about Canadians' sense of honour and justice:

OTTAWA - A solid majority of Canadians believe prisoners detained by Canadian soldiers have been tortured after being transferred to Afghan authorities, a new Ipsos Reid poll suggests.

A fat majority also say that if torture occurred, it was not only wrong but that they believe there was widespread knowledge of it within the Canadian government -- and that senior officials should lose their jobs, if that was the case.

Pollster John Wright said Canadians are saying they "care deeply" about the possibility of detainees being tortured after Canadian soldiers have transferred them to Afghan custody.

"They're saying it's not proper, it should have stopped and, if it didn't, somebody should have done something about it," he said.

If the political parties can put aside short-term partisan considerations for a moment and remember that they're dealing with issues that are about timeless morality and centuries-old parliamentary traditions, I think we could do a good job of shutting-up the harpercons and their squealing, chicken-hawk mouth-pieces like Ezra Levant.


no_blah_blah_blah said...

The sad news is that the Liberals look like they are going to mess this up like usual.

The good news is there will be an election must be called eventually (even the Liberals can't screw that up), and it seems that Canadians are taking notice and are opposed to the government's actions.

The really good news is that this is Canada and not the U.S. I know that Canada has its fair share of wrongdoings, but some people in the U.S. are just freaking me out (from Pharyngula). In Canada, the fringe is still the fringe. In the U.S., the fringe is starting to go mainstream...

thwap said...


I have no idea how or why the Libs would be so debased as to screw this pooch.

But, that's why I'm not a Liberal.

I watched that video at the end of the link you provided. A lot of fucked-up geezers. The tragedy about the USA is that those people are probably not the nasty, stupid cretins that they appear to be. They're otherwise normal people whose brains have been destroyed by a toxic, corporate-capitalist political environment.

(Well, I suppose on average, a Repug supporter has less brain power than a non-Repug, but still ...)

no_blah_blah_blah said...

To give the Liberals a bit of credit (but only a little bit), the Speaker did hope for Parliament try and work something out. The main problem I have is precisely as you said: Parliament has a right to those documents, and yet MPs are asking the Speaker for more time.

I know this sounds a bit weird coming from a Trekkie who believes in solving things civilly through negotiation, but the Liberals need to show a bit of political killer instinct.

The Conservatives have a political killer impulse... and a tendency to bend rules. They tried to cut funding to political parties. They called an election when Dion was at his weakest, and nearly won a majority. They prorogued Parliament when things looked bad. They can't legislate away things like gender equality or gay marriage, so they cut funding to gay pride parades and dozens of women's rights groups without needing approval from the House. People are turned away from the border for holding unwelcome political viewpoints (e.g. British MP George Galloway).

Even without passing any legislation, the Conservatives are still somehow managing to apply regressive policies.

In fact, I'll admit it: I want the opposition to show political killer instinct.

thwap said...

Yeah, I want a killer instinct too.

But your comment made me look up George Galloway, and i got a trifle bummed to hear that he lost his seat in the last election.

He was a good thorn in the side of all these racist imperialist stooges.