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Reserving judgment

In brief, on the reported deal signed by the Liberals, BQ and Conservatives over access to detainee documents, which the NDP refused to sign, I’m the last person in the Liberal blogosphere to give apologies for the Liberal Party if I think they’re doing something strategy wise based on fear of causing an election, rather then standing on principle, but I’m going to hold off on condemning them on this deal they’ve made until I see how it’s played out.

The reason? The Bloc Quebecois are almost as inclined as the NDP in delighting at making the Liberals look bad if they can, and they are a party with strong […]

This might be why there's no election over Afghan detainee documents

.. because if this poll is correct, the electorate is overwhelmingly for human rights and for following international law:

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. 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. … Almost eight in 10 surveyed said that, assuming transferred detainees were tortured by the Afghan authorities, […]

A Conservative MP with respect for Parliament sighting.

Michael Chong is the Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton-Hills, and served in Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet in 2006 as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. He resigned in protest over the “Quebec is a nation” motion put forth by Harper in the House at that time.

He had an interview with CBC’s Sunday Edition, and I found this part of the interview the most interesting of all:

Enright:

Do you think that flowing from Mr. Speaker Milliken’s ruling this week, that parliament does have sovereign power over the issuance of the declaration of these documents? Do you think that has greater repercussions as far as ordinary MP’s are concerned…. that perhaps, that this […]

It's how you look at it.

Very interesting: One blogger of Liberal persuasion looks at Ralph Goodale’s statements of what will occur if Harper and the Conservatives continue to stonewall on releasing detainee documents and sees no signs of fear, while another blogger of NDP persuasion believes he sees signs of ambiguity/backing off.

You won’t be surprised I’m more in line with the former blogger’s view of things then the latter.

I will say this though: I think I’m beginning to agree with the NDP/BQ view that perhaps expanding Iacobucci’s role to be the person leading a full public judicial inquiry isn’t the way to go. I think it would be fine if he acted […]

This is just a hunch..

..from seeing some of his responses in QP yesterday (that were also duly noted by media observers) but I’m going to bet that Harper will not comply with the Speakers ruling to turn over unredacted/uncensored documents to Parliament.

I predict he’ll put on a show of appearing to be reasonable, but in the end I suspect he’ll try to precipitate a crisis over this and hope he can cow the opposition parties into backing off, and failing that, will dissolve Parliament when his government is ruled in contempt of Parliament. It appears to me he’d rather take his chances with the electorate and try to fear-monger his way into […]

How conveeeenient.

About the only good thing to say about this next news item is that this is just more evidence to present to the public that the Conservative government must have an awful lot to hide from in these documents, when they’re not only trying not to let Parliament have uncensored access to them, but also are trying to get them lost:

The Military Police Complaints Commission heard Tuesday that documents it has requested regarding the transfer of Afghan detainees could take years to sort out. According to testimony by Maj. Denis Gagnon, the relevant files were “all thrown together in a storage bin, a sea container.” The process of Indexing […]

A quote for the ages highlighting that Parliament is Supreme.

“…accepting an unconditional authority of the executive to censor the information provided to Parliament would in fact jeopardize the very separation of powers that is purported to lie at the heart of our parliamentary system and the independence of its constituent parts.” – Speaker Milliken

Here is the basics, as liveblogged by CBC’s Kady O’Malley:

..The chair must conclude that it is within the power of the House to ask for the documents; is it also possible to put in place a mechanism to ensure those documents will be protected? That’s the question, isn’t it? Milliken points to various suggestions made, from swearing MPs into the Privy Council, […]

It's all over but the waiting.

It is reported by several media sources today that the Speaker of the House, Peter Miliken,will bring down his ruling today on the opposition parties privilege motions that charge the Conservative government being in contempt of Parliament for refusing to hand over unredacted uncensored documents pertaining to the Afghan detainee issue and what was known about torture. It is reportedly a 45 minute speech, so it’s obvious Miliken put a lot of thought into whatever his ruling says today. It will take place shortly after Question Period ends, at around 3 pm.

What will he rule? Warren seems to think the Speaker will “cave” to Harper – because he hasn’t […]

Another brick removed from the wall of secrecy surrounding Afghan detainees

This document hardly makes the Conservative government look good. To paraphrase the article, (since I continue to refuse to directly quote the CBC news articles while they have that iCopyright scheme in place), the Conservative government was warned last year that our relationship with the Afghanistan government’s intelligence agency was not only risky, but possibly illegal.. and this warning was delivered while Canadian officials were defending the relationship.

Reports like this continues to suggest that the reason that the Conservative government continue to refuse to turn over unredacted Afghanistan detainee documents is less to do with national security, and more to do with at a minimum trying to prevent acute […]

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