Thursday, February 11, 2010

Liberals "Set Trap" For Conservatives

Just thought I'd pickup on the asinine characterizations, relating to last week's move by the government to cancel summer break. Much applause from this quarter, as expected the Liberals are not only agreeing to work, but are making a few demands of their own:
No detainee committee, no deal on break weeks, Liberals say

The immediate recall of the all-party committee investigating the Afghan detainee scandal is the price the Liberals are exacting from the Tories for their support to sit through two break weeks this spring.

There are other demands, too.

The Liberals want a guarantee that all ministers will be “fully available” whenever requested. They want all other Commons committees to be reconstituted within the first three sitting days so they can deal with government estimates. (It usually takes a week to 10 days for committees to get up to speed after a prorogation.) And they want four designated opposition days during March.

Liberal Whip Rodger Cuzner laid out these demands in a letter to his Tory counterpart, Gordon O’Connor. It says these criteria must be met in order for the Tories to “repair some of the damage” caused by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to shut down Parliament until after the Olympic Games.

Mr. Cuzner noted that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff quickly said his caucus would agree to sitting the two weeks requested by the Tories. Clearly, Mr. Ignatieff’s agreement does not come without a price.

Given all the propaganda coming from the PMO, pretty hard for them to refuse these demands. Many Conservative MP's and officials on record saying the Afghan Committee will be allowed to continue, so these demands must be accepted. If the government refuses to make Minister's available, it fuels unaccountability.

By asking that all Committee's are reconstituted immediately, the Liberals seize the initiative on getting Parliament to work. The government must agree, or their flimsy prorogation arguments are further exposed.

These are reasonable demands, that the government must adhere to or willingly project counterproductive optics. Good luck with that.


Northern PoV said...

When I saw yesterdays Iggy letter to the BC MPPs and todays' item here, my ego took over and I couldn't help but think this:
The OLO read MY comments in YOUR blog back on Feb 3 and got some backbone! ;-)

"Of course the opposition will agree to the changes. But they should extract a price:
* committee restart minus the sabotage manual and tatics
* gov't complies with House order for info on detainees
* some contrition re prorogation (vague promise not to do it again would suffice)

meet the bullying arrogance with appropriately targeted and reasonable demands that will further expose these aspiring autocrats for what they are"

Steve V said...

The thing is, these demands are entirely fair and actually challenge the Conservatives to back up their rhetoric with agreement. Their MP's are running around saying the Committee can do it's work, they can start all Committee's up straight away, so they really have no choice but to agree.

Anonymous said...

I love it!
Not only is it a great tactical manoeuvre, but it's the right thing to do.

Great job OLO!

Jesse said...

The only possible weak point is they're demanding it in exchange for their agreement to work through their vacation.

Steve V said...

Why wouldn't they agree to work? Where's the downside in that?

Anonymous said...

If the PMO turns it down they will look like huge douches.

1) Vacations will still be on, and
2) They will look bad for blocking the committees.

Jesse said...

Won't the PMO argue that, since their recalibration was totally legit, this demonstrates that the Liberals don't actually care about working, since they're making demands?

Obviously I think it's stupid, just assuming that'll be the talking points.

Omar said...

While these demands are certainly reasonable ones, I always get a little queasy when the Liberals start demanding things of this government. Bullishly talking the talk has all to often manifested itself in taking a pass on walking the walk.

Steve V said...

"Won't the PMO argue that, since their recalibration was totally legit, this demonstrates that the Liberals don't actually care about working, since they're making demands?"

Except all of these demands offer ways to make Parliament work faster. If you're arguing that there is much work to do, as the Cons have when they put this cancellation out, pretty hard to reject measures which SPEED up Parliament. Maybe they won't like what we want to speed up, but they can't make the argument you suggest- these are all constructive proposals.

Jesse said...

Except for the opposition days and "full availability" of ministers.

How about if I say that they should have only asked for the detainee commission to come back immediately?

Steve V said...

Oh okay, asking for Ministers to be ACCOUNTABLE will really blow in the Liberals face. And, last time I checked, more time in Parliament, more opposition days.

Jesse said...

But this is always their game!

All they say is that the Liberals are making demands before they give up their vacation and that the opposition days are probably because Ignatieff wants the opportunity to bring down the government.

They've never felt the need to say something coherent or true.

Steve V said...

I think that's the weakest of tea. I don't share your concern, I think we've cornered them with these reasonable demands.

Northern PoV said...

given the media tipping point Steve pointed to yesterday, I think the Liberals are safe in making demands that are reasonable and constructive

if Harper says no, the new media environment means some will likely spank him

and even if the Libs agree w/o getting their demands met, it will look like Harper is yet again the bully as people are starting to pay attention

Steve V said...

It's not like these are obstructionist demands, they're measured and constructive, if you actually take the Cons at their word. Cough.

Jerry Prager said...

Well even the Christian Conservative has admitted there was lost time.

Steve V said...

What a GENIUS, that guy. LOL.