Friday, April 30, 2010

United We Stand,.......

There is only one scenario where the opposition doesn't get what it wants on the detainee file. While the opposition negotiates with the government, I would hope they are also negotiating with themselves. Harper's best hope to divulge as little as possible, is to siphon off one opposition party and cut a side deal. It's imperative that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc maintain a united front, because it is this posture that will extract the most desirable outcome.

I'm not against Iacobucci being retained in some capacity, if he answers to Parliament and not the PMO. There is a certain rationale to having third party investigation, because nobody disputes that national security is an issue, weaved within the "culture of deceit". Reasonable Parliamentarians accept some tension, so if Iacobucci were truly independent and his direction clear, that might be acceptable in a certain sense. Of course, this approval assumes that Parliament is in the "loop" so to speak, that's a critical distinction. HOWEVER, any endorsement of this compromise must be acceptable to ALL three opposition parties, any deal that leaves certain parties out is a semi-victory for Harper and the extraction will be lessened with division.

The opposition should huddle after each meeting with the government and ensure they are on the same page through this process. I have been thoroughly impressed with the united front to date, and truth be told we wouldn't be in this place today, if not for a common working spirit. Now that we've reached the 11th hour, don't let political posturing usurp fundamental considerations, and this includes all sides. I would proceed with the premise that any "solution" must be acceptable to all opposition parties, if it isn't, then NO deal. That posture will provide the best outcome.


thwap said...

Agreed. And this isn't about partisan victories. I truly believe that harpercon "conservatism" is more dangerous to Canada than the Bloc.

The Bloc just wants to take a province that isn't happy within Canada out of Canada.(And appears to be increasingly unable to do it because thanks to a greater sensitivity to French Canadians' rights, more Quebecers don't see the point of separation.)

The harpercons want to turn Canada into an international bully, a torturing, imperialist toady to the worst sort of brutality and stupidity from the US right-wing. They want to destroy our public health care system. They want to impose Christian theocracy on us.

ij said...

I actually HOPE that Quebec does separate if Harper get his majority and that it leaves a door open to welcome other Canadians who are willing and able to speak French and operate in the language to move in and settle. It would be a much more open and democratic society than ROC under Harper, and Montreal is a fabulous cosmopolitan city that puts even (?) Toronto to shame, let alone Calgary - not in the same league. Please go ahead and let those of us who are unhappy in Harper's Canada come to live and contribute, yes, in French, avec plaisir.

Tof KW said...

thwap said...
They want to impose Christian theocracy on us.

Actually they don't, they are just using the religious crazies as patsies to increase the CPC's vote count and to take their political donations.

The Republican Party down south has been doing this for years, and the problem is this group has caught on and is demanding real power and real results from all the years of GOP domination in American politics. After all, Roe vs Wade was never struck down after all this time.

Mike Huckabee's presidential run in 2008 was the biggest external sign of this struggle. The leadership of the GOP doesn't know how to contain them anymore. The group scares sensible, moderate conservatives from supporting the party.

They will eventually ruin the conservative movement here too, they are just not as entrenched yet. Give them time, you know the trends in the US always take an extra decade to break through the semi-permeable membrane that is the Canada/US border.

Owen Gray said...

The government has already brought out that old bugaboo about an "unholy coalition."

It is imperative that the opposition parties not be intimidated by that tactic.

Gene Rayburn said...

ij wow such a profound post....what was the subject again?

Oh wait it wasn't your narcissistic musing about separatism? Geez what an option. "If you dont like Harper you have to learn another language." What kind or ridiculous conditional freedom is that? That's douchnozzle freedom man.

Montreal is fucking cold in the winter. You forgot to add that point.

DL said...

I have a feeling the Liberals will split with the other opposition parties agree to a very weak solution that will involve Iacobucci being involved. The fact is that a. the Liberals are the only one of the opposition parties that really doesn't want an election right now and b. the Liberals don't really want the documents to be released because there may stuff in them that reflects badly on decisions made when Liberals were still in power in 2005.

Greg said...

I think it should be up to the Cons to obey the Speaker's ruling. This is putting way too much emphasis on the opposition bending to the will of the government, when the Speaker was clear that was not necessary.

Gene Rayburn said...

I have a feeling that anything DL posts will be incredibly partisan, overly negative regarding the Liberals and heavily steeped in opinion.

Or will it be different?

Shiner said...

have a feeling the Liberals will split with the other opposition parties agree to a very weak solution that will involve Iacobucci being involved.

I think you're right DL. Liberals have to come to the realization that their fortunes are not going to improve enough for their liking. Roll the dice and have an election on Harper's unwillingness to be found in contempt. Ignatieff needs to shake things up, Canadians won't wake up tomorrow and decide they like him.

Liberals should all be writing their reps to let them know that this is a deal breaker.

Steve V said...

Ya, Jack is just itching to go to the polls, given his health. Such a tool man.

Gallahad said...

DL, as usual never lets facts, get in the way of his usual bullshit.

The Liberals have said on numerous occasions that they are fine with an inquiry into the Afghan detainee
issue, from the START of the mission in Afghanistan.

Harper refused.

The Liberals also suggested to have committee members sworn in as members of the privy council and view all documents unredacted in camera.

Harper refused.

DL, your contributions, are starting to be as worthless as shit.

Joining forces with all the con trolls now are you?

Try debating honestly, and have a little bit of intellectual integrity.

Tof KW said...

DL said...
I have a feeling the Liberals will split with the other opposition parties ... only opposition party that really doesn't want an election right now ... there may stuff in them that reflects badly on decisions made when Liberals were still in power in 2005.

Way to go DL, you managed to go, what? Around 24 hours before the dipper hack inside just had to come out?

Steve wrote…
"...and truth be told we wouldn't be in this place today, if not for a common working spirit. Now that we've reached the 11th hour, don't let political posturing usurp fundamental considerations, and this includes all sides."

BTW - Iggy and the Libs were pretty unequivocal in calling for any inquiry to go back to 2001. The 2005 deal to transfer detainees went into effect just days before your dear leader decided to vote non-confidence in the Martin government. I'm sure there were plenty of warning signs for the Grits about the Afghan prisons, but I'll give them a pass because they were probably too busy campaigning at the time. By why let the facts get in the way of you taking cheap shots at them, eh DL?

In my days with the PC’s, these squabbles and pot shots between your two parties was music to my ears.

Grow up DL!

Steve V said...

What I'm worried about, is that the NDP start grandstanding, because they NEVER like to see Libs get any traction. As for folding, after last fall, wherein you bent over for a penny, PLEASE.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

Exactly right.

DL said...

I hope that I'm wrong and that the Liberals don't cave in to Harper in exchange for the world's smallest fig-leaf (i.e. anything involving Judge Iacobucci). We will know soon enough.

Steve V said...

We agree on that, hopefully they hold out for more than the NDP did. BTW, good luck with the puberty, be over in no time.

Scotian said...


Your first comment underscores EXACTLY why I distrust NDPers these days, they are and have been for the last four years placing the Liberals on the same political footing as the Harper CPC and in many cases being even more focused on attacking the Libs than the Harper CPC, despite the indisputable evidence that the Harper CPC is something far worse than anything we have EVER seen from the Libs. Harper's CPC wants to dismantle everything progressive done in our history, much of it done by the Libs (granted some with NDP ideas and with the NDP pushing for them) as government. That the NDP has under Layton chosen to place beating Libs as at least as if not more important than stopping Harper from ever coming to power let alone staying there showed me that they stopped placing their principles first before electoral success and stopped being any different than any other party despite their claims to the contrary. Indeed, Layton has betrayed that legacy IMHO and is why I cannot vote for NDP federally while he is leader. Something I resent bitterly I might add, especially a couple of elections back when I had to vote against a candidate I normally voted for.

As to Steve V's post itself, he is exactly right. The most important thing is to see the will of Parliament enforced and not to let Harper get away with dodging that, and ALL the parties need to place that as the most important thing of all. I will be bitterly disgusted with any opposition party that allows itself to be pealed away by the Harper CPC with anything that undermines this ruling. Besides the important aspects of this from a process side (which is where I tend to come from on this issue) one would have to be blind to the political aspects and advantages of being able to argue with evidence that Harper is someone that not only refuses to respect the rule of law but the most basic and fundamental aspects of our Parliamentary system of government. How any opposition party could fail to recognize just how potent a tool that would be to defeating this government whenever the next election comes is something I simply cannot fathom.

Bottom line, only the opposition parties should define what national security concerns apply since they are the majority of the House, and none should simply accept Harper's since he has already shown that he classifies things that are politically embarrassing that way given what some of the unredacted documents that have been leaked have shown when compared to the redacted versions. It is after all only the House which can make that determination and not the government (when the government is a minority anyway) alone, that is at the heart of the Speaker's ruling. That the government is usually left to do so in minority is one thing, but it cannot do so if the House decides it has done so improperly and wants to verify with examination and oversight which is exactly what we have happening here.

Steve V said...


I actually find it quite telling, that a post on opposition unity, is reduced to trying to find an angle to attack the Libs. Pathetic, but hardly surprising.

Omar said...


Are MPs still permitted to mail out 10%ers as long as they are for their own ridings? I received one today from that slug, Greg Kerr.

Steve V said...

Think so.

Big Winnie said...

I think Iacabucci should be given the "golden handshake" and sent on his way. He is currently working for the government, no one knows other than the government what his mandate is, and I feel tax payer money can be saved by allowing MPs to see the unredacted docs instead of him.

I also agree that the opposition parties can't back down on this issue. If any opposition party "makes a deal" to prevent the docs from coming out, they will lose all credibility.

Greg said...

I am discouraged by this whole thread. This is exactly the dynamic the Conservatives are trying to gin up. Keep your eyes on the prize. We have won, but only if we stick together. If Harper picks one of us off, we are done for.

Tomm said...


You said:

"...Roll the dice and have an election on Harper's unwillingness to be found in contempt."

I think that would be playing into Harper's hands. He has a defensible position. If a solution isn't negotiated, Harper may very well just go to the polls. Lord knows the CPC is ready.

Harper's position is he is not going to break the law or put Canadian lives at risk. It plays well. Further, this whole issue unsettles Canadian's. What if war crimes were committed? Do those soldiers get "outed" by their own government and sent to The Hague in shackles? It is an unsettling future.

It might not be "United We Stand" but "United We Fall".

Solidarity with the BQ on truly national issues is like hugging a pit bull.

Gallahad said...

Hello Tomm,

Nice to see you back.

No one is accusing our troops of war crimes. It is our government who should be accountable for their actions.

Our troops are not at any greater risk if this information comes out.

People in Afghanistan know they have a corrupt government, and they are well aware what goes on in their prisons.

We are supposed to be in Afghanistan fighting for democracy and human rights.

We should be showing the Afghan people how a real democracy deals with these issues. We do not cover up our mistakes, and we hold those who committed those mistakes accountable. We respect human rights, and international law, and we do not condone torture.

That will honour our troops and the sacrifices that they have made.
I want our troops to be able to leave Afghanistan with honour.

Stephen Harper is not respecting parliament or the concept of Parliamentary Supremacy. He is not respecting the Canadian constitution. We have an inherited system of Westminster government, and Parliamentary Supremacy goes all the way back to the Magna Carta.

The English fought a civil war, and beheaded a king for not respecting the will of parliament.
Parliament is the supreme authority in the land. Stephen Harper serves at the pleasure of the house, not the other way around. The executive is answerable to parliament.

This goes to the very heart of our democracy. If the opposition will not stand up and fight for democracy, and Parliamentary supremacy, we may as well dismiss them all and install Harper as our king.

Do you ever ask yourself why Harper is fighting so hard to hang on to those documents. Do you not think there is a reason for that.

Do you honestly believe, he is not covering up the fact that our government has been complicit in and has condoned torture.

We have most likely broken international law, and the Geneva convention, which we are a signatory to.

If there was something in those documents to implicate the Liberals, Harper would have gleefully handed them over by now.

So Tomm, if Stephen Harper will not obey the will of parliament, and respect democracy, and the Canadian Constitution, he should be found in contempt of parliament.

And the opposition should be willing to force Harper's hand defeat him if need be and have an election.

I don't believe under that scenario, Harper would do well.

Do you really want the CPC, to be fighting an election on secrecy, and unaccountability?

Tomm said...


I've been busy.

I think that what you are saying is noble and righeous. But I don't think it will play out that way.

If War Crimes were committed, they weren't committed by politician's but men on the ground.

The politician's were the ones to change the rules (18 months later than they should have). I know how you feel. I've seen my share of people that want Harper so badly they can taste it. It is clouding their judgment.

Afghanistan is badly governed and filled with independent, aggressive and clannish communities. Violence is a way of life. For us to walk in with our white parade gloves and expecting them to stay clean was never in the cards. That was always part of the decision making. Ask Bill Graham, if you can find him.

We (Canadian's on the ground) tried very hard to be helpful and fair. But looking under all these rocks is a bad idea. Bad for Canada.

There is also the risk that the Liberal Party will end up wearing this. I know I'll blame them if they end up holding up every piece of dirty laundry for the world to see, for the sake of an internal political witch hunt.

Scotian said...


When I first heard about this a few years ago I was furious, and one of the points I made then was that if true then the average soldier was being placed in an impossible position. They faced either leaving themselves open for possible war crimes charges way down the road if it comes out, or they if they refused the orders were looking at a court martial in a combat theater for disobeying orders, just about the worst circumstances going. That was why I was so infuriated back then, because I could understand why the average soldier would go along even if they thought they might be in contravention of Geneva, they were left in a catch 22 of charges now that they KNOW will go against them with the court martial, or maybe charges later way down the road but the cost would be their self respect and honour.

Do I want to see in these documents that we as a country have been complicit in torture, that we have caused our military to be complicit in torture and stained their honour? Of course not, indeed I come from a family with a bit of military history to it through the last three generations. However, I also know that I want to see the rule of law prevail, and if this was a policy of the government then they need to be held to account for it, and it is the policy makers that are going to be the primary targets for the charges not the average soldier not saying there won't be some charged there too, just pointing out that the primary responsibility lies with those that set the policy not those placed in the position of carrying it out or being sent to jail themselves.

Either way though it has to be done, and while Canadians are not going to want to hear about how our soldiers in uniform are complicit in torture, they are also not going to be too forgiving of those that put them in that position and then tried their best to cover it up. This presupposes that is what these documents contain, a not unreasonable supposition given how far Harper has gone to hide them to this point but still only that.

This leaves aside the more fundamental point that what Harper has tried to do and the Speaker prevented him from doing is placing his government above the rule of law in this country. It is Parliament that defines the powers of government and from where the government derives it legitimacy, not the other way around. If Harper had a majority he could hide things because he could have a majority of MPs (his) supporting it, but in a minority he cannot, yet that is exactly what he has been claiming he has the authority to do. There are NO laws that take precedence over this Parliamentary Privilege and he should know it, so his claiming he has to place other legal concerns ahead shows not respect for the rule of law and protection of the military but contempt for the rule of law and using the military as a cover for his own mistakes/scandals.

Harper can try to sell this the way you think, and you may be right and it could work. If it does though it perverts the most fundamental aspects of how we govern ourselves, it shows anyone that supports such a move as a radical and anything but a conservative, because no self respecting real conservative could be in support of such. (conservative in the true sense of the meaning, not the partisan party political sense)

Tomm said...


Thanks for the comment. It is good to see your words again. I trust things are well for you.

I would like to comment on a couple of things.

You said:

"...I want to see the rule of law prevail, and if this was a policy of the government then they need to be held to account for it..."

Just a gentle reminder that it was the Liberal government that put the flawed policy in place and the Conservative government that changed it.

Secondly, you said with respect to the Speaker's decision and Parliamentary Privilege:

"...If Harper had a majority he could hide things..."

This is an important point. The government of Canada is fashioned to work under a Majority parliament. Minorities have been rare and the speaker's decision is in many ways unique to this circumstance.

I also agree with you that there should have been and can still be, more working together between parties.

However, from a CPC perspective, the Liberal's whipping the vote of a private member's bill is quite distasteful.. The reason they are whipping it even more so. Further, the Liberal support for our Supreme's to be functionally bilingual in technical law is a real slap in the face to much of Canada. (If you disagree, I trust you are comfortable with our government having few/none Supreme Court Justice's from Western Canada, or Newfoundland (aboriginal too?).

These sorts of antics (yes, they are antics) does not open the door for rapprochement. They are partisan actions by politicans being too clever by half.

With respect to your key point about the providing unredacted documents to Parliament. I am pleased the Speaker ruled the way he did and I agree that our MPs have to be trusted with confidential information such as this. I hope there is an agreement to review all of the documents and further hope that the committee can use it to create high quality recommendations that then get adopted.

Steve V said...

"However, from a CPC perspective, the Liberal's whipping the vote of a private member's bill is quite distasteful.. "

Honestly Tomm, if you find that distasteful, you should be puking your guts out at the CONTROLLING way your caucus is whipped. A bunch of sheep, that do whatever they're told, the most useless caucus in history. You conbots are a hoot, with your selective attention.

Tomm said...


I can't recall Harper ever whipping his caucus on any private member's bill, either before he became PM or since. If you have different information, please share it.

In fact I would be curious to see how rare an action this is.

All of this so Ignatieff can maintain consistency with the old Liberal decisions, throw a bone to his Montreal and Toronto base, and pretend to hold out an olive branch to rural Canada. Distateful x 2.

With respect to the CPC caucus, I'm guessing you want more sound bites to attack and you are not getting them. Perhaps it just means that Cheryl Gallant's ego is smaller than Marlene Jenning's. Just a thought.

I was disappointed that Marlene's little quip linking Jaffer's cocaine to Harper "getting high with a little help from his friends" didn't make it to CBC. A little gem like that should have been fodder for an un-biased news organization.

Steve V said...

Can you recall a con every voting against Harper's wishes? Oh, I remember one Michael Chong, and how that turned out. Face it, it's a sheep caucus, and for that reason give me a break with the critical eye directed towards the Libs- it's a far, far more open caucus, where MP's actually have input and influence.

Tomm said...


CPC members have had free votes on issues of moral choice and also on private member's bills. I don't believe this government has brought a moral issue vote to the floor directly up to now.

Steve V said...

Tomm, CPC members don't even get to speak their mind, and the chorus you hear on every issue proves just that. If it makes you feel better to think reform is still alive, that's a nice delusion, but the reality isn't even close. Don't believe me, ask anyone who isn't a conbot, including your sympathetic media types. Iron fist Steven, that's a known quantity.

Gallahad said...


You brought up a point in one of your posts, that I would like to address.

You were talking about bill C-232, the bill that would require all future Supreme court justices to be fluently bilingual.

You do realize that bill has passed the HOC. The unelected, appointed Conservative dominated senate has indicated that they will block this bill.

How do you feel about that?

The unelected Conservative dominated senate will be blocking a bill that the elected members of the HOC, has passed.

Now Tomm, I consider you an honest debater, and an honest Conservative. Do you really approve of this?

I know you do not like this bill. That is not the point. The point is that the unelected house is blocking a bill the elected house has passed.

After years of the Conservatives railing against the unelected Liberal dominated senate, blocking bills that the elected HOC, had passed, do you agree with this?

Will you defend this. Or will you be an honest conservative, and condemn this action.

I suspect that you did not agree with the unelected Liberal dominated senate, blocking government bills.

And do not tell me that it is not the same thing. Please show some intellectual integrity, and honesty, and condemn the actions of the unelected Conservative dominated senate.

Tomm said...


Good question. You are right that I think the HofC did a horribly regional and partisan thing. Further the minority government voted against it.

So the question is, should the CPC members of the Senate find some mechanism to block the bill, either through theire numbers, or by delays?

My view is that they should block the bill. They should do it by mechanisms other than delay. They should try and get it amended sending it back to the HofC with changes that make it non-binding or as recommendations. That would then give the PM flexibility without breaching the law. If that does not work, I would suggest that they vote against it directly, again sending it back to the HofC for review.

All of this should be very public and very clear.

My rationale for this has multiple elements, one has to do with the Senate being an elected body. I agree with the PMSH that the Senate should be elected or appointed based on a direct election formed recommendation.

If the Senate is accountable to Canadian's than Senators should be confident standing up for their views.

Their views can differ from the House if they are accountable for them. PMSH has appointed Senators with greater accountability.

Further, the Bill was passed by non-government members (with support and sponsorship by a separatist party) and has the capability of destabilizing Canada. It is bad for the country. In most of Canada, the law is not in both official languages. The best jurists are almost by definition only legally competent in one language.

My views.