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.