Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blame It On The Heat

Did it every dawn on people being played like a violin, that the only reason Baird and company stormed into Committee, is because they know it will be reported as a wash, no accountability, NO consequence? Pretty pathetic that all we get is, "well, you know, Parliament has been sitting to long, so, this is to be expected". Oh BULLSHIT.

Being fair doesn't include lumping everybody together in the same pile, nor does it include giving voice to the absurd, as though part of a balanced presentation. John Baird wasn't invited to the Committee today, he and his posse stormed in, with one intention- to create CHAOS and distract the Committee. Any person with a grade two intellect knows the motivation, so to then put the whole fiasco into a collective light, completely, and unfairly exonerates the culprit.

So, let's get this straight, the opposition is just supposed to sit back and accept the Conservative theatrics? If they challenge said nonsense, then that response sullies them as well? Any Canadians who still bother to pay attention, just throw up their arms and scoff at the dysfunctional MP's and their silliness. In reality, the supposed pursuit of intellectually honesty demands that people call out the Conservatives on this stunt, and call them out HARD. And, if you want to make it personal, the entire act is hatched within the knowledge that people are incapable of deciphering and their misdirected necessity to appear "fair" will render it all a draw. Cut to the chase, the brazenness equates to laughing at the supposed account holders, because they are so sure it won't matter.

What an embarrassing display. And, what a shame that all parties will be painted with the "those kids" broadstroke, when really it all boils down to a bully Minister, on orders from the PMO, making a mockery of institutions which are supposed to matter. I guess the great irony, the more the Conservatives are allowed to pull off this crap, the more people it will turn off in general, which means less people will bother to read or view in the future, further eroding an already disappearing audience. On second thought, maybe that's justice.

32 comments:

Annie... said...

My other half keeps saying the government and Harper included, act like a bunch of 12 year old bullies.
Will they ever grow up?

kirbycairo said...

The problem is that the opposition simply plays into the hands of the Harper bullying strategy every time. Instead of just forcing the aides to appear using the power of parliament, the opposition lets the Government set the terms and play the game. Baird is an obnoxious buffoon, and the opposition are a bunch of spineless twits who deserve to loose because they don't have the balls to win.

Tomm said...

Of couse, this has to be 100% the fault of the CPC. How could it be otherwise? The BQ, NDP, and LPC invite political staffers to their committees since they always have the majority of the seats and use it to embarrass the government.

None of these committee's are actually trying to do anything of substance, or perhaps they get to it, just enough to showcase how seriously valuable their work is. They are mostly trying to find angles to embarrass the government. How much better can it get than trooping a bunch of political staffers out to answer nasty set-up questions for the cameras.

The Conservatives finally put their foot down and indicate that all staffers are doing their Minister's work and so the Minister will appear in their stead to answer Departmental questions. The Committee majorities and their Liberal chairs hold their breath until they turn blue and use their bully pulpit to silence the Ministers.

The Minister then blows a gasket and they take that sound bite and put it on the telly.

The rest as they say, is history.

Gayle said...

Awww Tomm. I sure feel sorry for you conservatives, the way the rest of the world victimizes you all the time.

Anyway, beneath all that victimhood is the fact that staffers can be compelled to appear at committees, and the government is powerless to stop it.

Though I believe the real goal of the government is to piss people off so they stop paying attention, and that way Harper can get away with what he wants to get away with.

Maybe he learned a lesson from that ill advised prorogation after all.

Tomm said...

Gayle,

You said:

"Awww Tomm. I sure feel sorry for you conservatives, the way the rest of the world victimizes you all the time."

...It is a burden.

You also said:

"Though I believe the real goal of the government is to piss people off..."

There is no doubt in my mind that driving the LPC MPs (and their media hounds) crazy is one of the goals.

I think I'm going to send the PM an e-mail suggesting he consider moving the CBC corporate office to Winnipeg. I think it may be a good move for a number of reasons...

Tof KW said...

Tomm, you do realize that without staffers testifying at these Parliamentary committees, we voters would have never found out details about the sponsorship scandal.

I know you want to stick up for your team Tomm, but do you have any idea of the future ramifications this will have if we voters tolerate what the Harper government is doing?

Steve V said...

Actuall Tomm, CBC has a full 18 minute "soundbite" available. Give it a view and then get a clue.

Greg said...

This is all leading to Harper, looking solemn, announcing an election this fall, because Parliament has become dysfunctional again and he needs a majority to fix it.

Big Winnie said...

Moving forward, the committee should issue summons/subpeonas to potential witnesses.

As for staffers not being allowed to testify, I would like to point out that in the real world, if an employee makes a mistake, it is that employee who is taken to task, not the supervisor/manager.

I'm realy sick and tired of hearing how the government is being "bullied", "intimidated" etc at committees, when it is they who constantly intimidate and bully.

RuralSandi said...

Hmmm...they use the staffers as kids argument (they are intelligent and educated) and Soudas is 31.

But, they have no problem sending a 19 year old off to war.

Tomm - you really fall for the theatrics don't you.

Tomm said...

Gregg,

I think there may be some truth in what you say.

Steve,

I don't have time today to watch the 18 minutes of horror, however my past CPAC watching has led me to the conclusion that there is a multitude of bad actors from 4 different parties out there and only one of the four parties is the CPC.

Rural,

I wish Baird hadn't done this. It would have been more effective for the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of the PMO to have shown up and indicated he was ready and willing to answer all questions politely and with serious intentions.

Gayle said...

Tomm - now don't be disingenuous. You know perfectly well I meant that the CPC want to turn voters off from paying attention to what the parliamentarians are doing. At least you should know since you go on to prove my point when you say this:

"however my past CPAC watching has led me to the conclusion that there is a multitude of bad actors from 4 different parties out there and only one of the four parties is the CPC."

So the job of the CPC, as you yourself admit, is to piss people off, making a mockery of our parliamentary system, so voters do not pay attention, and Harper gets to govern unchecked.

You then promote the liberal media bias fabrication so that you can ignore bad press, and focus only on the good.

It is a total lie, and I am beginning to believe that, like wilson, you are more than well aware it is a lie. Your job is to come onto the blogs and promote something you know to be untrue.

How very conservative of you.

Gayle said...

"It would have been more effective for the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of the PMO to have shown up and indicated he was ready and willing to answer all questions politely and with serious intentions."

Sure, if his goal was to help the committee to get to the truth. But if his goal is to disrupt the committee and turn people off politics, he should have done exactly what he did.

Shiner said...

Isn't it awesome how Conservatives like Tomm are more concerned that the government might be embarrassed than that there might be something the government should be embarrassed about? Stupid government operations, looking into government operations! The nerve...

Malcolm Barry said...

All you can expect from a Pig is a Grunt. Terrible display by the Tory/cons on instructions by Harper et al.

Scotian said...

Gayle:

I see you are finally starting to see the same things I saw in Tomm's arguments a couple of years ago when I decided I was no longer going to deal with his responses to my posts and comments. He is well mannered, appears civil, and is no better than those like Wilson when it comes to actually dealing with substantive reality and facts as opposed to partisan spin. He is at base just the fine dressed version of a wilson or Biff, he is not someone interested in facilitating actual serious discussion about politics from a principled conservative view, he is representing his side and doing all he can to support them and to undercut anything that might hurt them while trying to appear that he is a principled conservative. However, his true nature peeks out from time to time as you have noticed.

He is as partisan as the rest Gayle, to be honest I am surprised that he has been seen as different by so many bloggers as he has since he first showed up. Indeed, I personally find him more repulsive than those like wilson because he pretends to be something he is not, and wastes a lot of serious people's efforts and time when he gets them to treat him as a serious commentator from the conservative side.

I don't know his motivation, nor do I care really, I just know what he shows and that it enough. Anyone that believes in things like the liberal media conspiracy myth in Canada has already shown to me to be too disconnected from reality to take seriously, and while Tomm is far more urbane, witty, and charismatic than those like wilson he is serving the same agenda which makes him someone that should not be treated any differently towards than any other hard core partisan no matter how much he tries to appear differently from those.

Notice how he ignored the most relevant criticism of his comment from T of KW about the bad precedent this action creates and how if this had been the way the prior Liberal government had acted then the Sponsorship scandal (which is the main reason Harper got into power) details would not have come to light in the first place. Tof KW's point is what I have been saying for years, the precedents that Harper creates are so damaging that his government represents a grave and serious threat to the future health, stability and integrity of this nation's future, not because I disagree with him on partisan, or on ideological grounds but because I oppose his naked contempt for the precedents and laws defining how we govern ourselves. What makes Harper so dangerous is the multitude of dangerous precedents he makes as he treats our system as if it was more like the American republican model with Executive separation rather than the Parliamentary model that actually exists in this nation.

Remember, Harper claims we elect governments and PMs when we actually elect MPs, that a government is superior in power to the Parliament that it is created from (as witnessed in the arguments on the Afghan docs submitted to the Speaker by the government), concepts so alien to our history and system that in a sane reality they would be highlighted by national political media for the radicalism that they truly are instead of what we have been forced to put up with.

I oppose Harper for those reason, not partisan, and nor ideological, because I am one of those citizens that considers process to be no less important than the ideological/philosophical nature of those that will use that process to advance their political aims. This is something Harper CPC supporters don't get, nor sadly many other opponents of Harper who think I must have a partisan affiliation of some sort to be that opposed to him. I weep for our future alas. In case it needs explaining explicitly, I agree with the post of Steve V's about what is really going on here and the most likely explanation for it.

Tof KW said...

Thank you Scotian - excellent post, as usual. And yes I noted with interest that Tomm completely ignored my questions; which is an answer in itself.

What Harper's apologists fail to acknowledge is the damage of inertia, or how we more appropriately term it as precedence, within our legislative system. The sins of past governments are usually carried on, and further perfected by the current governments, and the cycle continues into the future unless the electorate somehow organize and respond to stop it.

For example the trend to concentrate powers within the PMO, and make our MP’s ‘nobodies’ with little independence within parliamentary votes was begun under the Trudeau administration. Now rather that revert to past practice, Mulroney saw the benefit and further perfected what Trudeau had started; and likewise Chr├ętien did little to reverse the trend. And now we’ve got Harper, the most micromanaging PM in this nation’s history. What in hell are we going to get next? Why would any future PM what to change things to the way parliament worked up until the 1960’s, when it undermines their power and is to their disadvantage to do so?

What Tomm fails to see is a future when (gasp!) a coalition Liberal-NDP government takes over from Harper. Will Tomm agree when PM Iggy and deputy PM Layton begin to disrupt and destroy parliamentary committees, prorogue to avoid confidence votes and pesky inquiries into serious investigations about government actions, to continually avoid accountability, obfuscate, deceive and basically turn parliament into a farce.

I don’t think Tomm would like that very much …yet he agrees with it when his ‘team’ is performing and perfecting this very activity. A principled conservative would see these acts and worry what it means for the future of government transparency and accountability; especially when the ‘other side’ holds government.

Scotian said...

"A principled conservative would see these acts and worry what it means for the future of government transparency and accountability; especially when the ‘other side’ holds government." Tof KW 3:19 PM, June 03, 2010

Yes, they would. The problem is we have so few principled conservatives left in our public discourse anymore. I grew up around principled conservatives as well as principled liberals, and what we have today sickens me beyond belief.

No real conservative ESPECIALLY a Canadian conservative rooted in Canadian Conservative thinking would find what Harper does as PM in any way acceptable. I think the main reason he gets away with it is because he removed the competition for the sane conservative voice, the PCPC with the help of traitor MacKay. I find it ironic that if MacKay had not gone the merger route he would likely have been the one to lead the PCPC back to power and see the demise of the CA, as it was trending that way when he sold out his party to Harper because of how the CA had discredited itself, which in turn was why Harper was so desperate to finally "unite the right" under his leadership (aka keep the CA but brand it as Conservatives like the PCPC and remove any other conservative option for the voters, and since many long time con voters do so out of civic obligation they will find it hard to not vote) at that point.

I know Canadian Conservativism and I respected it even when I disagreed with it, because I knew it respected the core values and principles of Canadian democracy as defined by our Parliamentary representative government. What we have in Harper is anything but, and that anyone can claim to be a serious conservative of principles while supporting what this man has shown himself to be in power proves they are clearly not a principled conservative, at least not a Canadian one (one might be able to argue they are an American one given what they have evolved into or perhaps devolved might be the more fitting word sadly).

Harper always scared me not because of his ideology (although I also had some real concerns about that too) but because of his contempt for the fundamental Canadian values and rule of law where his views of what was correct conflicted with what the clear majority to supermajority of Canadians supported especially on but not limited to social justice and economic matters. I wasn't a big Mulroney fan when he was in power, but even then I could point to some of his actions with pride, like with Apartheid, or the acid rain issue, Harper has nothing like that. I might add I gave Mulroney credit for what I thought he got right AT THE TIME. I can do no such thing with the Harper government, not one little bit.

I really miss principled conservativism, I really really do. The inability of these so called principled conservatives like Tomm that fail to understand just how damaging the precedents Harper has set from literally his first day as PM onwards for any future ability to hold a government ot account all because it is their side getting to do it at the moment is proof that their conservativism is partisan, not principled. Principled conservativism would be horrified at such and would not be cheering it because as you said they would understand just how damaging these precedents will be to their side when their side is inevitably removed from power as happens to all governments eventually.

This is a good part of why I weep for the future of Canada, history shows that once the precedent is set it tends to get used and further abused down the road, and Harper has set so many horrendous precedents in his two minorities it beggars the imagination just how bad the fallout will be down the road.

Tomm said...

Lord all mighty.

I leave for a few hours and people are lining up to pee on me. I'm not a frickin tree!

Tof KW, you asked:

"Tomm, you do realize that without staffers testifying at these Parliamentary committees, we voters would have never found out details about the sponsorship scandal.

I know you want to stick up for your team Tomm, but do you have any idea of the future ramifications this will have if we voters tolerate what the Harper government is doing?"


My answer is I don't like what is happening with Baird losing his cool. I don't like the CPC pulling back its staffers, but if I were a federal civil servant being attacked by the NDP/BQ/LPC pit bulls, I would also see the whole thing as a kangaroo court. These committee's think they can haul anybody they wish off the street, impeach their character, say whatever they wish in front of the camera, and throw them out when they are done with them.

Sounds a lot like Abu Ghraib interrogators to me. It is crap, and you should acknowledge that as a fact.

If these committee's weren't so hell bent on drive by smears I would have a lot more sympathy for them. As it is now, I really don't. It is all attack politics. As I said before.

With regard to where is this all taking us, etc. etc. I suggest you have a look at the following website.

http://jeanchretien.libertyca.net/html/JeanChretien.html

This stuff isn't new. Jean Chretien didn't even invent it. Before him was Muldoon and before him old "fuddle duddle" himself.

Each one of these guys were street brawlers in addition to being PMs. If you think this is a Harper thing, get a grip.

sassy said...

You're correct Steve.

Baird is to the committee what a troll is to a blog.

Tomm said...

Scotian,

Why do you do this?

We have engaged in serious and principalled discussion before and I think both grew in the process.

Sorry. But the CPC is joined in this kangaroo court by the LPC, the NDP and the Bloc. In fact the CPC is the only one brave enough to call a spade a spade.

Steve V said...

Tomm

Your feeble attempts to justify the inexcusable is astounding. Spade a spade, my goodness.

Tomm said...

Steve,

Is the LPC, NDP, and BQ also calling it a kangaroo court?

If so, I stand corrected.

If the LPC, which you purport to having some part, were willing to take the high road and not practice gotya politics with the committee's, I'd be praising you.

But I have watched CPAC too.

Why does everything have to be a confrontation? Wouldn't it be nice if a government bill was praised? wouldn't it be nice if the government then responded with friendly amendments? Wouldn't it be nice if they all agreed and worked forward to do something together for Canadian's?

That is what I thought was happening with the immigration bill, but I hear that last minute double crosses and monkey wrenches are inherent in the process.

Steve V said...

"Why does everything have to be a confrontation?"

Correct me if im wrong, but I think the answer is on page 8 of the how to disrupt Committee's handbook.

Just stop talking....

Tomm said...

Steve,

I'm done.

Tof KW said...

Tomm, the place has always been hyper-partisan. Anyone who thinks things were more 'genteel' back in the day needs to review those old classic exchanges between Diefenbaker and Pearson. But there is a difference between usual political partisanship and, well, the shit going on within the institution today.

Opposition parties doing what they can to grill the government is their job. I didn't expect anything less from Harper when the CPC was hammering the Martin government.

The government's response to prevent ministry staff from being questioned is a very dangerous practice - if this sticks and future governments continue this policy, this is a perfect way to veil a host of transgressions from parliamentary committees.

As for the opposition parties acting like 'brawlers' ...well what has changed things to cause them to behave that way?

I suggest you look at guys like Baird, and dig back all the way to the Harris years. Acting like an asshole is standard operating procedure for him.

Gayle said...

"If I were a federal civil servant being attacked by the NDP/BQ/LPC pit bulls, I would also see the whole thing as a kangaroo court. These committee's think they can haul anybody they wish off the street, impeach their character, say whatever they wish in front of the camera, and throw them out when they are done with them."

More creative writing.

The witnesses are not being attacked - they are being questioned, in the same manner thousands of witnesses before them were being questioned. No one's character is being "impeached" and no one is being dragged in off the street.

Yet again, conservatives make stuff up to support their dubious points.

Gene Rayburn said...

"Why does everything have to be a confrontation? Wouldn't it be nice if a government bill was praised? wouldn't it be nice if the government then responded with friendly amendments? Wouldn't it be nice if they all agreed and worked forward to do something together for Canadian's?"

Yeah but wouldn't it be nice if Harper didn't have to refer to bullying and intimidation so often?

I guess the government would find their bills received more positively if they didnt serve them up asshole style.

Shiner said...

FFS, I'm so tired of Conservatives complaining about the Opposition not being nice to them. They are the Opposition (capital 'O'), it is, quite literally, their job to oppose. It is not their job to pat the government on the head, or stand in the House and thank them for all the wonderful things they're (not) doing. Why can't Conservatives be bothered to just learn the friggin' basics of our system of government!?

Shiner said...

TofKW said:
Anyone who thinks things were more 'genteel' back in the day needs to review those old classic exchanges between Diefenbaker and Pearson.

Forget Diefenbaker and Pearson, you need look no further than MacDonald and Brown. Our system of government is confrontational because it works.

Scotian said...

Tomm:

I seem to remember leaving several comments at my blog saying I found you to not be principled, not intellectually honest and therefore not someone I was going to continue to respond to, I guess you forgot that though. I did treat your seriously for a time until I discovered that for all your reasonableness in appearance at heart you are a partisan first principled conservative second if at all. I would also point out that the characterization you have about how CPC staffers are being treated could be used by the Liberals during Martin's minority when his government staffers were being attacked by the CPC you know. The problem I have with you here is that you fail to understand just how much the Harper CPC breaks the rules that govern Parliamentary procedure and channel how partisanship is practiced into commonly agreed to rules so as to allow the institution of Parliament to function, even in a minority.


This is the first minority government in our history that has been as dysfunctional as it has been, and it is not because the Opposition is going out of its way to make it so but the government. they came up with the handbook for disrupting committees a couple of years ago. They are the ones that have decided to flout the rules yet again about the power of committees to summon witnesses (Ministers only policy also means that they can refuse to answer questions staffers cannot, another reason why limiting it to Ministers is a real problem) in this latest mess. It is the CPC under Harper that has shown itself to be willing to break all precedents and rewrite the rules so as to suit itself even when such acts are unprecedented, like calling a prorogation to stop facing a confidence vote one was looking to lose.

This is why you aren't credible as a principled conservative, but only as a partisan Conservative.

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