A suggestion by Justice Minister Vic Toews that the minority Conservative government could make an end run around the House of Commons and use a cabinet order to dismantle the federal long-gun registry is drawing fire from opposition MPs.
"I would be surprised if that would be something they would seek to do by way of executive fiat," former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler said Wednesday. "In my view this would be something you would need to have the House speak to."
Joe Comartin, the NDP justice critic, contended the Toews approach would short-circuit the democratic process.
"If a decision is going to be made to terminate that program, that decision should be made by the entire House," said Comartin.
"To do it by a decision within the cabinet of one political party is not the way to go."
Harper repeatedly argued that the Federal Cabinet had too much control, which must be held accountable to a "non-binding" parliament. It is within this context that the comments from Toews are all the more astounding. In one of the first comments on legislation, this government sets a tone of elitist dictation, which will usurp the normal democratic process to meet its goals.
A quick read of the political landscape reveals that the Conservative could well kill the program through the normal parliamentary channels- there is plenty of apprehension from all parties. So why threaten to make declarations from the ivory tower when it isn't crucial? Clearly, it demonstrates that the Harper campaign was a mirage of manufactured ideals meant to appease. Harper appoints Emerson, to the dismay of MP's "outside of the loop", contradicts his stand on the Senate and now Toews argues against consulting with parliament on crucial legislation.
Toews statements also reveal a top-down approach which directly contradicts the entire Conservative platform. Is this the reform Canadians were sold? Or is this pledge a callous manipulation of the rules to allow elitist rule? This government is projecting a detachment and arrogance I thought only people "in power too long" could convey. These aren't missteps we see, this is clearly a basic philosophy. A Minority government demands humility, and yet we see staggering arrogance straight away. Clearly, these people were never "of the people", as they claimed, because their actions betray a sense of what is acceptable and what is not. The obvious arrogance of this government will be their undoing, in shorter order than circumstances should have allowed.