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The makings of Trudeau policy and what he stands for

In my own humble (and admittedly partisan) opinion, I think Justin Trudeau has had a good week. First, he strongly criticized the PQ intention of banning religious headgear from Quebec government institutions etc, calling that going against Canadian values and rights (right in step with how his father would have reacted to this), and then he had the upfront, honest interview of how he had dabbled in pot even as an MP, setting off a predictable torrent from the Conservatives (which I suspect he anticipated and perhaps even wanted).

I would argue that both stances will help, not hurt his reputation with a good portion of what we call […]

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, […]

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 […]

Arrogance

The arrogance (not to mention the paranoid secrecy) of this government can be highlighted by this particular exchange between a Justice Department lawyer and the Military Police Complaints Commission, in a dispute over the government not releasing documents to the Commission:

Commission counsel said it’s hard to know what documents are out there when the government gets to “unilaterally” decide what gets released and what doesn’t. “We have no idea what the universe of documents is that the government is reviewing,” lawyer Ron Lunau said. But Mr. Prefontaine argued the commission’s mandate is limited and certain documents are out of bounds.

The commission also took the government to task for […]

More potentially explosive testimony at Afghanistan Committee

More explosive then Colvin’s testimony, if true:

An Afghan-Canadian who served as translator to Canada’s military levelled potentially explosive allegations at a Commons committee today, saying Canadian troops transferred “innocent” men to Afghanistan’s notorious intelligence service and once shot an unarmed man in the back of the head.

Malgarai Ahmadshah, adviser to the former commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force Afghanistan unit, was speaking to MPs probing the detainee issue and this country’s relationship with the Afghan National Directorate of Security…Mr. Ahmadshah also alleged the Canadian government transferred detainees to the NDS with the understanding they would be abused in order to extract more intelligence information from them. “They were […]

Advice to Speaker Milliken

My first piece of advice: don’t let the government fool you into thinking they’re complying with the demand from Parliament to hand over all relevant Afghan documents unredacted and uncensored, when they go and hand over redacted and heavily censored Afghanistan documents, and none of the documents that was requested by the Parliamentary committee. This is just a propaganda effort from the government designed to fool you into thinking they’re complying.

My 2nd piece of advice; you’ve said you would rule on the opposition parties points of order points of privilege saying the government is ignoring Parliament and in contempt if they do not turn over those unredacted documents once […]

'So be it'

If the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper threaten to dissolve Parliament and force an election rather then be forced to turn documents over to Parliament (and having the spectacle of Parliament’s Sergeant-At-Arms seizing the documents/arresting Cabinet Ministers for contempt of Parliament), that’s their prerogative, and their problem. Nowhere in any of the motions of the opposition parties points of order do they state that the failure to produce documents would be considered a loss of confidence in the Conservative government.

The fact that the Conservative government would rather face an election then turn those documents over to either a public inquiry judge or a Parliamentary committee with proper national […]

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